1. PRIORITY REVIEW OF PFIZER-BIONTECH VACCINE Pfizer-BioNTech on July 16 announced the US FDA granted priority review status for the Biologics License Application for their 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. An FDA official reportedly said a decision on whether to grant full approval for the vaccine’s use in people ages 16 and older will come soon, possibly within the next 2 months. The FDA must make its decision by January under the priority review. Pfizer-BioNTech completed their application in May and expects to apply for full approval for people ages 12 to 15 when data are available. Moderna has begun its application to the FDA for full approval of its 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and J&J-Janssen also is expected to seek full approval of its 1-dose vaccine. Full approval of a vaccine could impact US vaccination coverage by prompting vaccine mandates for some schools, businesses, or the US military, and by swaying some who are reluctant because of safety concerns to undergo vaccination.

2. FRANCE VACCINATIONS In an effort to control the surging Delta variant (B.1.617.2), French President Emmanuel Macron announced that proof of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test must soon be provided to enter certain public venues or transportation. 

3. HAJJ Historically, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca draws millions of visitors from around the world. Last year, Saudi Arabia limited visitors to only 1,000 pilgrims, but for the ongoing Hajj (July 17-22), the government is permitting a total of 60,000 visitors, limited to Saudi residents who are fully vaccinated, aged 18-65 years, and have no chronic health conditions. While this is considerably more people than were permitted in 2020, it is still far fewer than the more than 2 million who typically attend Hajj.

In order to reduce risk, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah implemented additional restrictions and protective measures. Upon arrival, pilgrims are assigned to groups of 20, with no mixing between groups. Individuals are assigned specific dates and times to visit the Grand Mosque, where 6,000 individuals are permitted to enter every 3 hours. Facilities at the Grand Mosque undergo sterilization between each session. Despite the additional protective measures, including the vaccination requirement, the US CDC still has a Level 3 Travel Warning in place (Avoid Nonessential Travel) for the Hajj, due in part to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with mass gatherings.

(J. Harris: Too bad. I surely hope that this type of Covid Caution doesn’t spread to really important super spreader events like  THE 81ST STURGIS MOTORCYCLE RALLY to be held in August in SD [].See you there???)

4. SUPER ANTIBODY In a study published July 14 in Nature, researchers describe a newly discovered “super antibody” capable of protecting against SARS-CoV-2 and a group of related coronaviruses, called sarbecoviruses. The antibody, named S2H97, is believed to work by attaching to a section of the ACE2 receptor binding motif on the virus spike protein that is only exposed when a sarbecovirus is attempting to enter a cell. S2H97 was able to prevent the spread of multiple sarbecoviruses between cells in a lab, and the antibody also protected hamsters from infection with SARS-CoV-2 isolated from the initial Wuhan, China, outbreak. Researchers further described the antibody as a pan-sarbecovirus due to its broad efficacy across the sarbecovirus subgenus. The description of a usually hidden antibody binding region in the ACE2 RBM is important because it could be used as a target for future vaccines and therapeutics. Additionally, a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine could be used to prevent outbreaks from as-of-yet-undiscovered members of the Coronaviridae family of viruses.


J. Harris: Our neighbors in LA must have more Covid, more Testing, or (likely) both.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED (Thank you George and Sam)


Click here to see the video — it could save your life


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QUICK NOTE IN WASHINGTON POST, TODAY, 5/27 ”In a non–peer reviewed preprint study, German scientists say they have determined the cause of rare blood clots in some people who got the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.”


1. The majority of Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the United States, is immunized – about 70 percent are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the tribe’s president. And leaders of other American Indian tribes say their vaccination numbers are similarly impressive. Reasons for this success, those leaders explain, include their sovereignty to distribute vaccines and cultural values that emphasize community. 

2. One vaccinated person in Ohio will receive $1 million tonight when the state reveals the first winner from its immunization lottery. Nearly 2.8 million Ohioans have registered for the “Vax-a-Million” program, which in total will give $1 million prizes to five adults and full-ride scholarships to Ohio public colleges to five teens. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said the lottery contributed to higher vaccination rates, particularly among young adults, in the state.


“…Amazon reportedly is considering delving deeper into the prescription drug business by either opening standalone retail pharmacies or adding pharmacies to its Whole Foods stores, Business Insider reported…Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 and last year launched Amazon Pharmacy…”

‘Overrun with kids attempting suicide’: Children’s Colorado declares state of emergency (J. Harris: Why? Pot? Covid? School changes? Depressed or poor parenting?)



Characteristics of COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks at Child Care Facilities — District of Columbia, July–December 2020 Among 469 child care facilities in the District of Columbia, 23.9% reported at least one COVID-19 case, and 5.8% reported outbreak-associated cases during July 1–December 31, 2020. Among 319 cases, approximately one half were among teachers or staff members. Outbreak risk was increased in facilities operating ❤ years, with symptomatic persons who sought testing ≥3 days after symptom onset, or with asymptomatic cases. (CDC MMWR, 5/21/2021)


Mask Use and Ventilation Improvements to Reduce COVID-19 Incidence in Elementary Schools — Georgia, November 16–December 11, 2020 COVID-19 incidence was 37% lower in schools that required teachers and staff members to use masks and 39% lower in schools that improved ventilation. Ventilation strategies associated with lower school incidence included dilution methods alone (35% lower incidence) or in combination with filtration methods (48% lower incidence). Mask requirements for teachers and staff members and improved ventilation are important strategies in addition to vaccination of teachers and staff members that elementary schools could implement as part of a multicomponent approach to provide safer, in-person learning environments. (CDC MMWR, 5/21/2021)


“… Results: …Main Outcomes and Measures  Participants underwent T2R38 phenotype taste testing to determine whether they were supertasters (those who experienced greater intensity of bitter tastes), tasters, or nontasters (those who experienced low intensity of bitter tastes or no bitter tastes) and underwent evaluation for lack of infection with SARS-CoV-2 via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and IgM and IgG testing. (A group of participants was randomly selected for genotype analysis to correlate phenotype). Participants were followed up until confirmation of infection with SARS-CoV-2 via PCR testing. Phenotype of T2R38 was retested after infection with SARS-CoV-2. The results were compared with clinical course:……….A total of 1935 individuals (1101 women [56.9%]; mean [SD] age, 45.5 [13.9] years) participated in the study. Results of phenotype taste testing showed that 508 (26.3%) were supertasters, 917 (47.4%) were tasters, and 510 (26.4%) were nontasters.

... A total of 266 participants (13.7%) had positive PCR test results for SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 55 (20.7%) required hospitalization. Symptom duration among patients with positive results ranged from 0 to 48 days. Nontasters were significantly more likely than tasters and supertasters to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 …(, to be hospitalized once infected (odds ratio, 3.9 [1.5-10.2]; P = .006), and to be symptomatic for a longer duration (mean [SE] duration, 23.7 [0.5] days vs 13.5 [0.4] days vs 5.0 [0.6] days; P < .001). A total of 47 of 55 patients (85.5%) with COVID-19 who required inpatient admission were nontasters. Conversely, 15 of 266 patients (5.6%) with positive PCR test results were supertasters.

Conclusions and Relevance  This cohort study suggests that T2R38 receptor allelic variants were associated with participants’ innate immune response toward SARS-CoV-2. The T2R phenotype was associated with patients’ clinical course after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nontasters were more likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 than the other 2 groups, suggesting enhanced innate immune protection against SARS-CoV-2.


1. There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: ‘abstemious’ and ‘facetious.’  

(Okay, admit it, you just went through   a-e-i-o-u  in your head.)  

2. There are only four words in the English language which end in ‘dous’: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.      

(You’re not possibly still doubting any of this, are you ?)


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B.1.1.7.   U. K.





Coordinated Strategy for a Model-Based Decision Support Tool for Coronavirus Disease, Utah, USA


The coronavirus disease pandemic has highlighted the key role epidemiologic models play in supporting public health decision-making. In particular, these models provide estimates of outbreak potential when data are scarce and decision-making is critical and urgent. We document the integrated modeling response used in the US state of Utah early in the coronavirus disease pandemic, which brought together a diverse set of technical experts and public health and healthcare officials and led to an evidence-based response to the pandemic. We describe how we adapted a standard epidemiologic model; harmonized the outputs across modeling groups; and maintained a constant dialogue with policymakers at multiple levels of government to produce timely, evidence-based, and coordinated public health recommendations and interventions during the first wave of the pandemic. This framework continues to support the state’s response to ongoing outbreaks and can be applied in other settings to address unique public health challenges.

(J. Harris: This study in a state with a small, uniform, compliant population seems to show a useful model for pandemic control.)

Hopkins Cited:

1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and outcomes of COVID-19 in the ISARIC Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK cohort: a matched, prospective cohort study (ASPIRIN, MOTRIN, ALLEVE, ETC)

“NSAID use is NOT associated with higher mortality or increased severity of COVID-19. Policy makers should consider reviewing issued advice around NSAID prescribing and COVID-19 severity.”

2. Mucormycosis: The ‘Black Fungus’ Maiming Covid Patients in India (BBC) Even as a deadly second wave of Covid-19 ravages India, doctors are now reporting a rash of cases involving a rare infection – also called the “black fungus” – among recovering and recovered Covid-19 patients. Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS. Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.

3. Neutralizing Antibody Vaccine for Pandemic and Pre-emergent Coronaviruses (Nature) Here, we show that macaque immunization with a multimeric SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) nanoparticle adjuvanted with 3M-052/Alum elicited cross-neutralizing antibody (cross-nAb) responses against batCoVs, SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7, P.1, and B.1.351. Nanoparticle vaccination resulted in a SARS-CoV-2 reciprocal geometric mean neutralization ID50 titer of 47,216, and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in macaque upper and lower respiratory tracts. Importantly, nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding a stabilized transmembrane spike or monomeric RBD also induced SARS-CoV-1 and batCoV cross-nAbs, albeit at lower titers. These results demonstrate current mRNA vaccines may provide some protection from future zoonotic betaCoV outbreaks, and provide a platform for further development of pan-betaCoV vaccines.


HHS Announces $250 Million from American Rescue Plan to Develop and Support a Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations in Underserved Communities The US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of approximately $250 million to develop and support a community-based workforce who will serve as trusted voices sharing information about vaccines, increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. This funding will help community-based organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists and others to conduct on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about vaccination, help make vaccine appointments, and assist with transportation and other needs to get to individuals to each of their vaccination appointments. (HHS, 5/4/2021)



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COVID 19 vaccine appointments are available at our office by going to to schedule an appointment. We currently have doses of the Janssen (J&J) single dose COVID 19 available. If you need assistance scheduling please contact us at 903-938-8338. 

Jennifer Hancock, RN, BSN  

Executive Director – Marshall-Harrison County Health District

(J. Harris: Counts are stable locally but are going up in Tyler and LA areas.)

Find COVID-19 Vaccines Near You

(J. Harris: The CDC Vaccine Finder)


US Vaccination

The US has distributed nearly 230 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered nearly 175 million doses. The US is currently administering 2.8 million doses per day*, including 1.3 million people fully vaccinated.

A total of 112 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to approximately one-third of the entire US population and 43% of all adults. Of those, 66.2 million (20% of the total population; 26% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 77% have received at least 1 dose, and 58% are fully vaccinated.

In terms of full vaccination, 32.8 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 28.5 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 4.9 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

As a virus variant sweeps Europe, a look at lessons for the rest of the world.

“…The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is not only more contagious than the virus’s initial form, but is also deadlier… outbreaks have since ballooned, and B.1.1.7 has crowded out other versions of the virus, becoming dominant in more than a dozen European countries…lawmakers in continental Europe were slow to react…“People underestimated it, instead of saying we should learn from what’s happening in the U.K.”

(J. Harris: There are several other timely short summaries at this site. Remember, our vaccines are superior to the AstraZeneka Vaccine that they use in Europe — and are much safer.)

In Mississippi, 73,000 Vaccine Slots and Few Takers

(J. Harris: Unfortunately, these same problems are apparent in parts of East Texas. If I was still practicing medicine, I likely would ask any patient who declined Covid vaccination, without a sound medical reason, to find another doctor…. Yes, in nonemergency situations and with a decent interval of time provided, a doctor may ethically dismiss a patient. A few times when I suggested that this action might need to be taken, patient compliance improved. Now, I honestly do not know how to convince hesitant people to take the vaccine. All I can do is try to avoid the unvaccinated, carless, and ignorant.)

China’s response to COVID-19: a chance for collaboration

How has China managed to control COVID-19? And is the global scientific community in a position to benefit from China’s experiences?

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China’s strategy was built on active case finding and case management with identification and quarantine of close contacts, as well as risk-based lifting of restrictions. Chinese authorities aim to test each suspected case and all close contacts of those infected…pooled testing approach coordinated by the government with the cooperation of residents enabled 10·9 million people—almost the entire population of [Qingdao] city—to be tested within 5 days.




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The Future of Everything

Imagine an exchange that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can buy and sell everything from stocks to cryptocurrency to art. Trades happen almost instantly, without the need for middlemen or gatekeepers. Profits can turn to losses in the wink of an eye. 

A blockchain-based exchange is less far-fetched than ever. This week, the WSJ’s Paul Vigna reports on a number of pilot programs and other experiments investigating how to create digitized markets that can keep up with changing times. 💵The article is part of our latest issue, which looks at what’s ahead for money and finance. Elsewhere, we round up innovative credit-card rewards headed to your wallet, as well as four investments about to go mainstream. We question the speed of stimulus payments, meet the next generation of financial chatbots, dig into the European Union’s roll out of sustainability reporting metrics and look at the potential role of satellite networks in high-frequency trading.

Last but not least, we examine how connected devices are learning to buy and sell goods and services. 📰Read the full report here or in today’s paper. Or keep scrolling. 👇And, as always, send me your thoughts, questions and predictions by hitting “reply” to this email.


🚀 The Future of Everything Festival takes place online May 11-13. Together, we’ll look around the corner at the ideas triggering seismic shifts in how we live, work and play. You’ll collaborate with entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, scientists and thinkers so that you can plan for what’s next with informed projections—not predictions. The Wall Street Journal will deliver all of this and more, so join us and experience the future as it takes shape. Register here for your 3-Day Pass (complimentary for WSJ members).

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J. Harris: Concerning the above charts: The first one, I piece together from several sources, almost daily, with some reports lagging a day or two. It takes me about an hour a day to put it together.

The second chart was in the Marshall News Messenger today and gives WEEKLY stats including fatalities.

The third chart is from the NYT and is a piece of a chart made to order for me. It arrives before the sun comes up daily and requires no effort on my part to assimilate the information — and it is accompanied by up-to-date, edited medical and Covid information in a readable form. You DO NOT HAVE TO BE A SUBSCRIBER to receive it by email or to make your own daily list of places that you’d like to see including virtually anywhere in the world.  Were you to read this magnificent WORK, you could know ‘most everything that is going on in the Covid world ( and could localize your areas of interest as well). The Times does a great job with this constantly updated feature. I don’t know what to call it: a “work” or  a “UNIT.” There are many dashboards, including some very good ones provided by The Texas Department of Health and Johns Hopkins, and from Oregon. However, in my opinion, this is the most useful Covid information that I receive, and these NYT folks are the only ones emailing me a personalized copy. Free. And, oh, you don’t see editorials.

From the NYT: More Good Vaccine News 

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are very effective in real-world conditions at preventing infections, the C.D.C. reported.


Safety and immunogenicity of a recombinant tandem-repeat dimeric RBD-based protein subunit vaccine (ZF2001) against COVID-19 in adults: two randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 and 2 trials

“…Although several COVID-19 vaccines have been developed so far, they will not be sufficient to meet the global demand. Development of a wider range of vaccines, with different mechanisms of action, could help control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 globally. We developed a protein subunit vaccine against COVID-19 using a dimeric form of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as the antigen.

:…  The [new] vaccine candidate, ZF2001, is a protein subunit vaccine that has advanced into phase 3 development. 

“Compared with other vaccine candidates in clinical trials targeting mainly the whole virus or the S protein, ZF2001 targets the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein. 

(J. Harris: The vaccine uses less antigenic material but  has been found to stimulate antibody production and provide protection with tolerable side effects in a vaccine that might lend itself to mass production “cheaply”. It does not require extensive refrigeration. It is involved in  large trials in China at this time.)

Routine asymptomatic testing strategies for airline travel during the COVID-19 pandemic: a simulation study

Routine asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 before travel can be an effective strategy to reduce passenger risk of infection during travel, although abbreviated quarantine with post-travel testing is probably needed to reduce population-level transmission due to importation of infection when travelling from a high to low incidence setting.


1. What it Will take to Vaccinate the World Against COVID-19 (Nature) A special report outlines the challenges — from unleashing the power of mRNA vaccines, to the battle for temporary intellectual-property relief. Within just a few months, pharmaceutical firms have produced hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine. But the world needs billions — and as fast as possible. Companies say they could make enough vaccines to immunize most of the world’s population by the end of 2021. But this doesn’t take into account political delays in distribution, such as countries imposing export controls — or that the overwhelming majority of doses are going to wealthier countries.

2. Wastewater monitoring outperforms case numbers as a tool to track COVID-19 incidence dynamics when test positivity rates are high

Incidence dynamics estimated based on wastewater data were found to better track the timing and shape of the reference infection peak compared to estimates based on confirmed cases. In contrast, case confirmations provided a better estimate of the subsequent decline in infections. Under a regime of high-test positivity rates, WBE thus provides critical information that is complementary to clinical data to monitor the pandemic trajectory.


1. First Mobile Vaccination Units in US to Open in Maryland The nation’s first federally operated mobile COVID-19 vaccination units will soon roll through eastern Maryland. The two mobile sites will provide access to COVID-19 vaccinations for thousands of Marylanders who live in remote or otherwise underserved areas in eight eastern Maryland counties. Targeted to people who are socially vulnerable or live in remote areas, appointments will be booked through the health department in the county of residence. (FEMA, 3/29/2021)

2. Connecticut First State to Open COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Unit In the ongoing effort to bring the COVID vaccine to communities and people in socially vulnerable areas, Connecticut will open the country’s first Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) on March 29, 2021 at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The MVU will travel throughout Connecticut for 60 days to reach populations in 17 communities. Destinations were targeted based on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, US Census Bureau’s Community Resilience Estimates, low vaccine coverage, metrics and other barriers to vaccine access. The MVU will be used to complement ongoing efforts of local public health departments, health care providers, pharmacies, community and faith-based organizations, employers, private sector vaccinators and other federal resources. (FEMA, 3/26/2021)

Amazon gets FDA authorization for COVID-19 test kit



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Vaccinations aplenty in Gregg, Smith, Bowie, with a few in Harrison.


CDC Releases Guidelines for People Vaccinated for COVID-19

A U.S. trial found AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 79 percent effective with no serious side effects. The company will seek emergency F.D.A. authorization.

“The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford provided strong protection against Covid-19 in a large clinical trial in the United States, completely preventing the worst outcomes from the disease while causing no serious side effects, according to results announced on Monday.

“The trial, involving more than 32,000 participants, was the largest test of its kind for the shot. The vaccine was 79 percent effective overall in preventing symptomatic infections, higher than observed in previous clinical trials. The trial also showed that the vaccine offered strong protection for older people, who had not been as well-represented in earlier studies.

industry analysts said the results were better than expected, a heartening turn for a shot whose low cost and simple storage requirements have made it the workhorse of the drive to vaccinate the world.


1. Five Reasons why COVID Herd Immunity is Probably Impossible (Nature) As COVID-19 vaccination rates pick up around the world, people have reasonably begun to ask: how much longer will this pandemic last? It’s an issue surrounded with uncertainties. But the once-popular idea that enough people will eventually gain immunity to SARS-CoV-2 to block most transmission — a ‘herd-immunity threshold’ — is starting to look unlikely.

2. COVID-19 in Primary and Secondary School Settings During the First Semester of School Reopening Florida, August–December 2020 (MMWR) COVID-19 school-related disease incidence among Florida students was correlated with community incidence in the counties observed and was highest in smaller counties, districts without mask requirements, and those that reopened earliest after closure in March 2020. Incidence increased with the proportion of students receiving in-person instruction. Fewer than 1% of registered students were identified as having school-related COVID-19.

3. More than 4 in 10 Health-care Workers have not Been Vaccinated, Post-KFF Poll Finds (Washington Post) Health-care workers were the first group in the United States to be offered coronavirus vaccinations. But three months into the effort, many remain unconvinced, unreached and unprotected. The lingering obstacles to vaccinating health-care workers foreshadows the challenge the United States will face as it expands the pool of people eligible and attempts to get the vast majority of the U.S. population vaccinated. According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, barely half of front-line health-care workers (52 percent) said they had received at least their first vaccine dose at the time they were surveyed. More than 1 in 3 said they were not confident vaccines were sufficiently tested for safety and effectiveness.

Cuba Approves Second Homegrown COVID Vaccine for Late Phase Trials (Reuters) Cuba’s drug regulatory authority on Thursday approved a second COVID-19 vaccine candidate for late-stage clinical trials as the country races to secure a homegrown shot to quell its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic and sell abroad. This month, Cuba started late-phase trials of its most advanced experimental vaccine, named Soberana (Sovereignty) 2, reflecting national pride in its relative self-reliance in areas like healthcare despite the decades-old U.S. trade embargo.

Seroprevalence and immune durability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Wuhan, China

Sustained neutralising antibodies in the Wuhan population suggest durable protection against SARS-CoV-2


Recently, I’ve had to limit my Norweigan Housekeeper’s television schedule. She has been getting some bad Vaccine information from some guy on Fox. His name is Tucker Frederickson, or something like that…. wait, I believe his name is Forrest Tucker. Anyway, she’s not allowed to watch his show anymore. We know who’s the captain of this ship!



Stewardesses is the longest word  typed with only the left hand.

And ‘lollipop’  is the longest word typed   with your right hand.  


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We Do Not Have Time to Worry About China

We Do Not Have Time to Worry About China

By Ron Munden — 3/15/2021

Last week a wrote an article titled, “United States on the Verge of Losing Its Technological Superiority”

The article focused exclusively on Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, interview  by  Fareed Zakaria.  Mr. Schmidt is the chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.  This blue ribbon committee, composed of 15 people, was tasked to do an assessment of the role of AI in the future and the United States position in the field.

As I aways do I posted a lead to the article on facebook along with the link.  As expected very few people clicked on the link.  Based on 15 years of experience, I was not surprised.  “Tits” alway out sell “science” – particularly in Texas.

What was surprising is none of the posts linked to the article were related to science.  Hell – they weren’t even related to tits.  Every one of the posts was a political statement; none addressed anything discussed in the article.

When I wrote the article I was careful to focus exclusively on science and engineering.

This really valids a concern that I believe Mr.  Schmidt has.  He stressed the urgent need to move now if the US has any hope of winning this race with China — politics will ensure that the US comes out on the losing end.

Unfortunately, there is other evidence that politics will lose the technology competition with China.  Look at how the US handled COVID-19.

The United States has had more deaths from C-19 and more cases of C-19 than any other country in the world.  I believe the major reason for this is that we made addressing C-19 a political issue not a science issue. 15 years ago who would have thought wearing a mask would be considered a political statement.  Government entities lined up against each other based on their political leaning.

We could have done much better fighting C-19 if we had  been driven by science and politics had stayed on the sidelines.

Sure over 500,000 people in this country are dead from C-19 but that is small potatoes compared to what is at stake in the AI competition with China.  In my opinion this competition is even more important than addressing climate change.I say this because based on all I read the results AI competition will be determined in the 10 to 20 year timeframe.  The critical dipping point of addressing climate change is in the 40 to 50 year range.  After that point we will be on a downhill slope that can’t be reversed.

If the US loses the race to remain the technology  superpower in the world and China replaces us,  they will be the dominant economic powerhouse within 30 years and able to dictate how nations like the US address climate change.  So China policy, not US policy, will dictate the approach for addressing climate change in the critical stage.

This country is in a high stakes game and we are not in a position to win the war.  A country in the middle of a civil war is not positioned well to win a foreign war at the same time.  So I believe the winner of the AI competition has already been decided.




1. Genomic Evidence of In-Flight Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Despite Predeparture Testing Since the first wave of coronavirus disease in March 2020, citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand have been required to undergo managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for 14 days and mandatory testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of October 20, 2020, of 62,698 arrivals, testing of persons in MIQ had identified 215 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among 86 passengers on a flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that arrived in New Zealand on September 29, test results were positive for 7 persons in MIQ. These passengers originated from 5 different countries before a layover in Dubai; 5 had negative predeparture SARS-CoV-2 test results. To assess possible points of infection, we analyzed information about their journeys, disease progression, and virus genomic data. All 7 SARS-CoV-2 genomes were genetically identical, except for a single mutation in 1 sample. Despite predeparture testing, multiple instances of in-flight SARS-CoV-2 transmission are likely. (CDC EID, March 2021)

2. Antibody Responses 8 Months after Asymptomatic or Mild SARS-CoV-2 Infection Waning humoral immunity in coronavirus disease patients has raised concern over usefulness of serologic testing. Researchers investigated antibody responses of 58 persons 8 months after asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. For 3 of 4 immunoassays used, seropositivity rates were high (69.0%–91.4%). (CDC EID, March 2021)

(J. Harris: This likely means that the antibody tests that were positive 8 months later, likely correlates with at least some retained immunity).

3.Suspected Recurrent SARS-CoV-2 Infections Among Residents of a Skilled Nursing Facility During a Second COVID-19 Outbreak — Kentucky, July–November 2020 Five residents of a skilled nursing facility received positive SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test results in two separate COVID-19 outbreaks separated by 3 months. Residents received at least four negative test results between the two outbreaks, s. Severity of disease in the five residents during the second outbreak was worse than that during the first outbreak and included one death. (CDC MMWR, 2/26/2021)

(J. Harris: So were these repeated infections due to relapse or to a new virus, perhaps with mutations? Time will tell. You know it is being evaluated. Keep wearing your masks)._

Rapid Tests Aren’t Useful if You Can’t Access Them

The Surprising Key to Combatting Vaccine Refusal

In lifting coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Greg Abbott heeds the call of his GOP critics

(J. Harris: Were I to read only one publication for local and Texas Covid information, I would read The Texas Tribune. It is generally corrected from a medical standpoint and has the best basic charts and stats for us non-mathematicians who don’t understand stats very well and can’t even spell ‘statistics’. The ‘New York Times” would be my second choice for the high spot type of world-wide Covid reading.)

Why Opening Windows Is a Key to Reopening Schools

Colleges That Require Virus-Screening Tech Struggle to Say Whether It Works


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“The Marshall Harrison County Health District has been notified of an allocation of 400 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for this week from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). A community COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

HOW TO REGISTER: Pre-registration is REQUIRED online at to secure a vaccination appointment. ⁠You can also go and click on the Sign Up button.

(J. Harris: Apparently the 2nd Shot Moderna Clinic will coincide with this new event as already scheduled)


1. Johnson & Johnson Has Planned Trials of Its Vaccine That Will Include Infants (New York Times) Johnson & Johnson plans to test its coronavirus vaccine in infants and even in newborns, as well as in pregnant women and in people who have compromised immune systems. The bold plan for expanded clinical trials met with the approval of Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that reviewed the company’s vaccine data.

2. Estimating Risk of Mechanical Ventilation and In-hospital Mortality Among Adult COVID-19 Patients Admitted to Mass General Brigham: The VICE and DICE Scores (EClinical Medicine) We found four factors to be independently predictive for mechanical ventilation requirement (diabetes mellitus, SpO2:FiO2 ratio, C-reactive protein, and lactate dehydrogenase), and 10 factors to be predictors of in-hospital mortality (age, male sex, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic statin use, SpO2:FiO2 ratio, body mass index, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio, platelet count, and procalcitonin). Using these factors, we constructed the VICE and DICE risk scores, which performed with C-statistics of 0.84 and 0.91, respectively.

Could our immune system be why COVID-19 is so deadly?

“…Cytokine storms are not unique to SARS-CoV-2 infection; they can be found in most of the critical human coronaviruses and influenza. A subtype outbreaks of the past two decades.

“Cytokines are small proteins that tightly regulate our immune system and how our body reacts to internal or external stress, such as cancer, inflammation, or infection. Cytokines act as conductors, orchestrating our immune response when infected with viruses. One of their roles is to cause inflammation, which is part of the healing process of many infections and injuries

“…Respiratory viruses all activate antiviral responses in the body but there are differences in how each virus attempts to evade the attention of the immune system. The most common strategy is to confuse, or specifically attack, crucial immune response mechanisms—such as the release of cytokines….the researchers’ analysis found specific immune mechanisms that make SARS-CoV-2 uniquely dangerous….”

(J.Harris: These folks are evaluating the various types of “Storm” and developing a data bank or Map to enhance future studies and classifications. I include this material since it presents a good explanation of Cytokinetics.)

Late info:  

There are a lot of openings for tomorrow!

The Marshall Harrison County Health District has been notified of an allocation of 400 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for this week from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). A community COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

HOW TO REGISTER: Pre-registration is REQUIRED online at to secure a vaccination appointment. ⁠You can also go and click on the Sign Up button.


GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK.  CLICK ON “COMMENT” TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK or use one of the alternative methods for providing feedback.

Click here to submit feedback.  Let us know what you think.

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