CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 6/17/2022

I WISH YOU A NICE WEEKEND, BUT DON’T TAKE UNNECESSARY CHANCES.

REPEAT COMMENTS FROM JUNE 8 NYT REGARDING BA .4 AND .5

”…Globally, the most recent data suggest that BA.4 and BA.5 still represent a relatively small share of cases, but that could change in the weeks ahead. In a recent report, the U.K. Health Security Agency noted that in many countries, the two subvariants were replacing BA.2 about as quickly as BA.2 replaced the original version of Omicron….The subvariants have become especially common in parts of the southern United States. In the region comprising Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, BA.4 and BA.5 account for more than one in five infections, according to the new figures….”

”…Latest trends IN LA FROM NYT

An average of 1,421 cases per day were reported in Louisiana in the last week. Cases have increased by 38 percent from the average two weeks ago. Deaths have increased by 38 percent..”

(J. Harris: Bossier and Caddo Parishes are right next door. They may test more there, but we 

will be increasingly plagued by the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants. I have just been told that “BA” stands for Bad Ass in Norwegian.)

IF YOU HAVE HAD COVID BUT ARE STILL TEST POSITIVE, ARE YOU CONTAGIOUS?

1. Some Test Positive for COVID for 10 Days or Longer

2. Early data suggests many individuals still COVID+ after 5 days of isolation, challenging return-to-work recommendations

3. From Positive to Negative to Positive Again—The Mystery of Why COVID-19 Rebounds in Some Patients Who Take Paxlovid

FROM NEJM:

Effects of Previous Infection and Vaccination on Symptomatic Omicron Infections

RESULTS:

1. The effectiveness of previous infection alone against symptomatic BA.2 infection was 46.1%

2. The effectiveness of vaccination with two doses of BNT162b2 and no previous infection was negligible , but nearly all persons had received their second dose more than 6 months earlier.

3. The effectiveness of three doses of BNT162b2 and no previous infection was 52.2%

4. The effectiveness of previous infection and two doses of BNT162b2 was 55.1%

5. The effectiveness of previous infection and three doses of BNT162b2 was 77.3%.

CONCLUSIONS:”No discernable differences in protection against symptomatic BA.1 and BA.2 infection were seen with previous infection, vaccination, and hybrid immunity. Vaccination enhanced protection among persons who had had a previous infection. Hybrid immunity resulting from previous infection and recent booster vaccination conferred the strongest protection.

(Most of the people with whom I confer, have had a total of 4 jabs of vaccine — and are waiting now for a recommendation for a new vaccine or a “mix and match” with existing vaccines.

ALSO FROM NEJM LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

In this study, we characterized infection-induced immunity and vaccine-induced immunity against newly emerged omicron subvariants. Booster vaccination provided sufficient neutralizing-antibody titers against the BA.4/5 and BA.2.12.1 subvariants, albeit to a lower extent than against BA.1 and BA.2.4,5 These findings underscore the importance of booster vaccination for protection against emerging variants.

FROM HOPKINS:

1. ACUTE HEPATITIS & LONG COVID Researchers from Israel published findings from their study on instances of long-term COVID-19 liver manifestation among children. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, involved a retrospective investigation of 5 patients hospitalized in an Israeli children’s hospital. Each of the patients had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and presented with long-term liver injury stemming from their infection. Two of the patients in the study, both under 6 months of age, presented with acute liver failure, the other 3 patients, ranging between ages 8 and 13 years, presented with acute hepatitis and cholestasis.

This review adds to the growing list of evidence tying post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC/Long COVID) to cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin. Last month, multiple technical and news media publications documented an international cohort of children with severe hepatitis. Many experts have suggested that COVID-19 could be a potential source for this unexplained manifestation, considering the lack of apparent epidemiological explanations. The US CDC is examining a series of US cases of acute hepatitis as well, and a recent update indicates that adenovirus type 41 could be a possible causative agent as well. While much has been written about Long COVID, many questions remain, and advocates continue to call for expanded research efforts into explanations and treatments.

2. BA.4 & BA.5 SUBVARIANTS IN EUROPE The European CDC published an epidemiological update on the emergence and prevalence of the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern (VOC). The subvariants were first detected in Europe in March, and in May, Portugal was the first European country to report a COVID-19 surge associated with one of the subvariants (BA.5). Notably, Portugal’s daily incidence appeared to peak in late May/early June. While most European countries have reported relatively low prevalence of these subvariants, they represent an increasing proportion of new sequenced specimens in multiple countries over the past several weeks, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. In particular, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants represent more than 25% of sequenced specimens in Belgium over the second half of May, and more than 10% in some communities in Spain. The increasing prevalence of BA.4/BA.5 corresponds to increasing COVID-19 daily incidence in most of those countries as well. 

The ECDC projects that BA.4 and BA.5 will become the dominant variants across Europe “in the coming weeks” and that the continent can expect an associated COVID-19 surge like those in the countries noted above. The daily incidence in Europe has increased nearly 30% since June 6, with even larger increases in the UK. While there is “no evidence” these subvariants pose higher risk of severe disease, the ECDC notes that an overall increase in transmission can be associated with subsequent increases in hospitalizations and mortality.

J. Harris: So why is the USA reducing vigilance in travelers from Europe? 


3. WASTEWATER SURVEILLANCE Researchers from the University of Illinois and University of Florida published (preprint) findings from a study on the implementation of neighborhood-scale SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has popularized wastewater surveillance as a tool to provide early warning of impending outbreaks; however, most of these efforts have focused on large-scale sewer systems. Neighborhood-scale systems can provide more targeted early warning capacity, but as the catchment population decreases, the volume of fecal matter is less consistent, which can make it more difficult to analyze the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and accurately detect emerging outbreaks. This study covered 7 neighborhood-scale wastewater surveillance systems in Champaign County, Illinois, from January-November 2021, with catchment populations ranging from 853 to 2,402 individuals. In an effort to improve the system’s accuracy, the researchers developed a methodology to normalize the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 N gene fragments by the concentration of pepper mild mottle virus (PMMOV) detected in the system. The presence and concentration of PMMOV served as an analogue for the presence of fecal matter in the sample, which enabled the researchers to establish more accurate baseline metrics and better analyze the relative concentration of SARS-CoV-2. Based on the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 N gene fragments to PMMOV, the system output a binary risk assessment (ie, Low or High). Over the 11 months of the study, the 7 neighborhoods experienced 26 total local COVID-19 outbreaks, and the surveillance system identified High COVID-19 risk corresponding to 19 of those time periods (73% sensitivity). The system identified 17 total High-risk time periods, and 12 of those corresponded to local COVID-19 outbreaks (71% specificity). The researchers also indicated that the surveillance system was capable of providing sufficiently accurate risk assessment for specific variants of SARS-CoV-2, which could provide early warning of the geographic spread of variants of concern. This study provides evidence that smaller-scale wastewater surveillance systems can provide indication of increased transmission risk among specific communities, particularly during periods of relatively low local incidence 



 



 

4. Newest Omicron Covid-19 Lineages Gaining Ground in United States (STAT News) The Omicron lineage BA.2 and its spinoff, BA.2.12.1, drove cases this spring, building into waves of infections in places like the Northeast and parts of California. Now, two other forms of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, are eating into the BA.2 group’s dominance. More than 1 in 5 Covid-19 infections last week were caused by BA.4 and BA.5, according to updated estimates posted  by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 13% the week prior. The rest of the cases are from the BA.2 lineages. BA.4 and BA.5 are picking up speed because they’re able to evade the body’s antibody response even more so than other variants, meaning they’re very good at establishing infections in people who have some level of protection.

5. Pfizer Reports Additional Data on PAXLOVID (Pfizer) Today, we shared data from the Phase 2/3 EPIC-SR study evaluating the use of PAXLOVID™ tablets and ritonavir tablets in patients who are at standard risk for developing severe COVID-19. In previously reported interim analyses, the company disclosed that the novel primary endpoint of self-reported, sustained alleviation of all symptoms for four consecutive days was not met, and a non-significant 70% relative risk reduction was observed in the key secondary endpoint of hospitalization or death (treatment arm: 3/428; placebo: 10/426). An updated analysis from 1,153 patients enrolled through December 2021 showed a non-significant 51% relative risk reduction (treatment arm: 5/576; placebo: 10/569). A sub-group analysis of 721 vaccinated adults with at least one risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 showed a non-significant 57% relative risk reduction in hospitalization or death (treatment arm: 3/361; placebo: 7/360).

6. How Months-long COVID Infections Could Seed Dangerous New Variants (Nature) Virologist Sissy Sonnleitner tracks nearly every COVID-19 case in Austria’s rugged eastern Tyrol region. So, when one woman there kept testing positive for months on end, Sonnleitner was determined to work out what was going on. Sonnleitner and her colleagues collected more than two dozen viral samples from the woman over time and found through genetic sequencing that it had picked up about 22 mutations. Roughly half of them would be seen again in the heavily mutated Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2 that surged around the globe months later. “When Omicron was found, we had a great moment of surprise,” Sonnleitner says. “We already had those mutations in our variant.”  

(J. Harris: Here’s the article from Nature: )

How months-long COVID infections could seed dangerous new variants

FROM JAMA:

1. Effect of Text Messaging and Behavioral Interventions on COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake

”There was no detectable increase in vaccination uptake among patients receiving text messaging compared with telephone calls only or behaviorally informed message content.”

FROM BERCKER SELECTIONS”

Former Houston Methodist employees lose appeal in vaccination mandate case

FROM THE NYT:

Here’s how long some popular at-home virus test kits actually last, according to the F.D.A.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

EARLY PHOTO OF NORWEGIAN INVASION OF TEXAS:

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Harold Nixon Porter Botanical Gardens – 5 June 2021 – Betty’s Bay, South Africa

Editor note:

Another Tom Allin travel story  

By Tom Allin

After watching the penguins for an hour or more we drove five minutes to the Harold Nixon Porter Botanical Gardens.  As noted before our timing was off.  It is the middle of winter not the spring flower blooming season.  However, this botanical garden was still a great visit.

We then decided to walk or at least for us it was more of a hike up into the higher reaches of the gardens.  We spent about three hours hiking up and then back down to the formal gardens.  We slept well and long that night and the next morning.

Use the links below to read Tom’s complete story

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY

ANDROID USERS CHICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY

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Penguins – Cape Nature, South Africa

Editor note:

Another Tom Allin travel story  

By Tom Allin

Our next stop was Stoney Point Reserve home of African Penguins.

I am going to catch everyone up as to how we got to Cape Nature after last writing about De Hoop Nature Reserve.

While we were having a great time at the De Hoop Nature Reserve my phone rang.  The call we had been waiting for since leaving Morocco.  “Your car will be ready to pick-up on 3 June.” Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!

We left De Hoop and drove back to Cape Town.  I had made a hotel reservation in the Gardens area based on a recommendation from Hilleary.  We arrived, checked-in, I walked to a nearby bank and picked up the necessary cash, and let our shipping agent know we would pick up the 4Runner the next morning.  We picked up the 4Runner and immediately found a gas station – 4Runner’s gas tank was on empty and spare gas containers were empty because of international shipping regulations. 

Use the links below to read Tom’s complete story

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 6/14/2022

COVID NUMBERS FROM A REAL DOCTOR:

J. Harris: An Internist friend in the Woodlands with 1200 patients is currently seeing about 3 acute Covid cases per day at present. All have been vaccinated. None are extremely ill. In this episode of Covid (Omicron) none of his patients have required hospitalization, so far. 

His few patients who are unvaccinated may be reluctant to call in when they get sick.

FROM BECKERS

1. FDA to get authority to pull fast-tracked drugs that don’t work

FROM THE WHO:

Preliminary Report for the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO)

(J. Harris: “…more study needed. ” I did not see anything new in the summary.)

FROM THE NYT:

1. How long does Covid immunity last? Will a second illness be worse?

(J. Harris: Good short article that should be read!)

”…Getting vaccinated and boosted… is a good idea even after you’ve had Covid. You only need to wait a few weeks after an infection to get a shot. The vaccines will bolster your antibody levels, and research shows that they are effective in preventing severe outcomes if you get sick again.”

”…as the latest wave heads toward the Western region of the country and the virus shows no signs of easing up, reinfections seem to have become common. Already, many people are reporting second or even third infections with newer variants…..However, the coronavirus doesn’t yet fit into clear seasonal patterns like the other common cold viruses. It can also cause debilitating symptoms that persist for months or years in some people, and has claimed the lives of millions of others….After Omicron emerged, prior infections only provided about 50 percent protection against reinfection,…The coronavirus had acquired so many mutations in its spike protein that newer versions became more transmissible and better able to evade immunity. That means you can catch a version of Omicron after recovering from an older, non-Omicron variant. You can even get sick with one of the newer Omicron subvariants after getting over a different version of it….in a study published in February that has not yet been peer-reviewed, scientists from Denmark found that some people got reinfected with the BA.2 sublineage of Omicron as soon as 20 days after they got infected with the original Omicron BA.1…. while it’s unclear if some people are simply more susceptible to Covid-19 reinfection, researchers are beginning to find some clues. People who are older or immunocompromised may make very few or very poor quality antibodies, leaving them more vulnerable to reinfection,..And early research shows that a small group of people have a genetic flaw that cripples a crucial immune molecule called interferon type I, putting them at higher risk of severe Covid symptoms. Further studies could find that such differences play a role in reinfection as well….The good news is that your body can call on immune cells, like T cells and B cells, to quash a reinfection if the virus sneaks past your initial antibody defenses. T cells and B cells can take a few days to get activated and start working, but they tend to remember how to battle the virus based on previous encounters…second or third infections are likely to be shorter and less severe...reinfections among large groups of people in Qatar, has already started seeing this promising pattern in patient records: Of more than 1,300 reinfections that his team identified from the beginning of the pandemic to May 2021, none led to hospitalization in an I.C.U., and none were fatal….”

FROM HOPKINS SUGGESTIONS:

1. Updated US Infection- and Vaccine-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Estimates Based on Blood Donations, July 2020-December 2021 (JAMA) In this study of US blood donations, the combined seroprevalence from infection or vaccination reached 94.7% by December 2021. Despite this, record levels of infection and reinfections were reported as the Omicron variant became predominant in early 2022. The high infection rates are likely related to increased transmissibility and enhanced immune escape mutations of the Omicron variant, along with waning protection from previous vaccination and infection. During 2021, the infection-induced seroprevalence increased more in regions with low vaccination rates compared with those with high ones. The ability of SARS-CoV-2 variants to cause widespread transmission in the setting of high seroprevalence illustrates the value of COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster doses, to maximize protection.

2. Sanofi Says Next-gen COVID Booster Shot Has Potential Against Main Variants (Reuters) French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) said on Monday an upgraded version of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate it is developing with GSK (GSK.L) showed potential in two trials to protect against the virus’s main variants of concern, including the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 strains, when used as a booster shot. While the two companies’ first experimental COVID shot is undergoing review by the European Medicines Agency, Sanofi and GSK have continued work on a vaccine that is molded on the now-supplanted Beta variant, hoping still that it will confer broad protection against future viral mutations.

3. COVID and Smell Loss: Answers Begin to Emerge (Nature) Researchers are finally making headway in understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes loss of smell. And a multitude of potential treatments to tackle the condition are undergoing clinical trials, including steroids and blood plasma. A study published last month surveyed 616,318 people in the United States who have had COVID-19. It found that, compared with those who had been infected with the original virus, people who had contracted the Alpha variant — the first variant of concern to arise — were 50% as likely to have chemosensory disruption. This probability fell to 44% for the later Delta variant, and to 17% for the latest variant, Omicron. But the news is not all good: a significant portion of people infected early in the pandemic still experience chemosensory effects. A 2021 study followed 100 people who had had mild cases of COVID-19 and 100 people who repeatedly tested negative. More than a year after their infections, 46% of those who had had COVID-19 still had smell problems; by contrast, just 10% of the control group had developed some smell loss, but for other reasons. Furthermore, 7% of those who had been infected still had total smell loss, or ‘anosmia’, at the end of the year. Given that more than 500 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, tens of millions of people probably have lingering smell problems.

4. NIAID Mouse Study Shows Benefits of COVID-19 Nasal Vaccine vs. Intramuscular (NIAID) A new comparison study in PNAS from NIAID intramural scientists clearly shows that for SARS-CoV-2, nasal vaccination – particularly in two doses – has clear advantages over muscular delivery in laboratory mice. The vaccine tested uses an old immune-activation concept: modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), which is a licensed smallpox and monkeypox vaccine, and is being actively pursued as a vector, or carrier, to deliver a viral protein for other infectious diseases. For this vaccine candidate, the MVA vector delivers the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which sits on the surface of the virus, to spur an immune response. Both the nasal and muscular vaccines were durable, maintaining neutralizing levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 for more than six months; the antibodies neutralized the initial virus strain and the Beta and Omicron variants, although to a lesser extent. Potency waned at a rate of about 20 percent per month, consistent with what researchers have observed with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Although the study did not explore the vaccine’s ability to halt virus transmission, scientists theorize that a vaccine that can prevent or quickly eliminate virus in nasal passages would likely reduce the likelihood of person-to-person transmission.

5. Cases and mortality by country

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST:

WHAT ELSE SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE DOING?

”…There’s now a much better understanding of airborne transmission of respiratory diseases. If we got our act together, we could do for indoor air sanitation something similar to what we did to water after discovering waterborne diseases, in terms of regulating it to make it safer with better air cleaning filters, ventilation and other methods. We would see benefits against all the other respiratory viruses that are airborne too. It would be costly at first, but we would recoup that cost because illness is very costly — in terms of the human suffering but also financially…”

AND LASTLY:

TROUBLE IN THE TOMATO PATCH:

Milton’s nearest neighbor (Carl) is causing trouble. Carl, who is said to have a theatrical or legal background — or both — is concerned about Milton’s more advantageous garden location. Carl alleges that Milton has an unfair advantage over all the other tomatoes by virtue of having less crowding, fewer ”pepperish” neighbors, better drainage, more sunlight, more access to nutrients, better medical care, and, especially, superior water rights. In addition, Carl is convinced that Milton gets more attention, affection, and admiration from me. He demands justice and equality and threatens legal action. He may leave and not come back. In fact, he is now learning how to speak Norwegian. Carl says t at he may withhold his tomatoes from the harvest, but, if his tomatoes are harvested, he demands a greater percentage of the proceeds. 

Milton, on the other hand, complains that despite Carl’d overlarge size, he is relatively unproductive and breeds mostly small, sickly-looking, smelly, holey tomatoes with chronic tomato worms and other disfiguring and distasteful skin and internal conditions. Milton also alleges that Carl has large, ugly, chronically exposed roots that he refuses to keep covered. What’s more, these ugly obscene roots chronically trespass on Milton’s space. 

I may need to get help in mediating this situation. Of course, Milton also got here. first.  I don’t know how this will turn out. Of course, Hi-Ho,  I  control the hoe!

                                                                *****

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 6/10/2022

Have a nice weekend. This report has mostly good news except that our local Covid numbers are going up. The hospitals are not crowded. JHH

FROM THE LANCET

Risk of myocarditis and pericarditis after the COVID-19 mRNA vaccination in the USA: a cohort study in claims databases

”…A total of 411 myocarditis or pericarditis, or both, events were observed among 15 148 369 people aged 18–64 years who received 16 912 716 doses of BNT162b2 and 10 631 554 doses of mRNA-1273. Among men aged 18–25 years, the pooled incidence rate was highest after the second dose, at 1·71 (95% CI 1·31 to 2·23) per 100 000 person-days for BNT162b2 and 2·17 (1·55 to 3·04) per 100 000 person-days for mRNA-1273. The pooled IRR in the head-to-head comparison of the two mRNA vaccines was 1·43 (95% CI 0·88 to 2·34), with an excess risk of 27·80 per million doses (–21·88 to 77·48) in mRNA-1273 recipients compared with BNT162b2….Interpretation

An increased risk of myocarditis or pericarditis was observed after COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and was highest in men aged 18–25 years after a second dose of the vaccine. However, the incidence was rare. These results do not indicate a statistically significant risk difference between mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2, but it should not be ruled out that a difference might exist. Our study results, along with the benefit–risk profile, continue to support vaccination using either of the two mRNA vaccines.

FROM THE NYT:

1. Two new versions of Omicron are gaining ground in the U.S., according to C.D.C. estimates.

2. Moderna says new trial results show that a revised vaccine works better against Omicron.

3. Even with federal funds, U.S. schools still rely on low-cost methods to slow Covid, a study shows.

FROM THE DMN:

After a brief increase, Dallas COVID hospitalizations have stabilized

”…Local public health experts don’t know exactly why the area’s hospitals are seeing so few COVID patients, but they suspect it’s a combination of COVID strains that cause less severe illness, widespread immunity, and possibly even Texas’ warm climate…..COVID cases are still climbing across North Texas. Dallas and Tarrant counties could each see more than 600 new infections daily in the next several weeks, according to a June 1 forecast from UT Southwestern….though North Texas is seeing few hospitalizations currently, that could change quickly. Immunity from previous infections and vaccinations can wane within months…..Anyone age 5 or older is eligible for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 5 through 11 can get a booster shot five months after the initial Pfizer vaccine series. People 12 or older who are immunocompromised can get a second booster at least four months after their first booster dose, while anyone 50 or older can receive a second booster in the same time frame…”

FROM JOHNS HOPKINS SELECTIONS:

1. NOVAVAX VACCINE The US FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is meeting today to discuss and vote on the question of whether the benefits of Novavax’s 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine outweigh the risks of use among adults. The Novavax vaccine uses decades-old technology, and a vaccine using more traditional technology could help fill gaps in vaccination coverage among those who are hesitant to be vaccinated with shots using newer mRNA technology. In clinical trials, the vaccine demonstrated 90.4% efficacy in preventing mild, moderate, or severe infections with older variants, and 100% efficacy in preventing moderate or severe infection. However, it is unclear how effective the vaccine is against currently circulating Omicron subvariants. There also are concerns over the risk of the heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis associated with the vaccine, particularly among young men, outlined in a briefing document for the meeting. These rare occurrences of heart inflammation also are associated with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Notably, there is not enough data to evaluate the Novavax vaccine for use among pregnant women, children, or immunocompromised individuals. 

If VRBPAC recommends the vaccine and the FDA grants emergency use authorization, after also evaluating information about the company’s manufacturing processes, the vaccine will be the fourth authorized for use in the US and could be available later this summer. 

2. Pregnant people are at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, including death, and health experts recommend that pregnant people and those looking to become pregnant remain up to date on their vaccinations. Notably, vaccination of pregnant people likely has benefits to newborns, as well.

 3. A new report, which is not yet peer-reviewed, estimates the US death toll of each variant. According to the researchers from Yale University and Public Citizen, nearly half of COVID-19 deaths (46%) have occurred after the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2 was replaced by variants. The research dispels the myth that Omicron causes less severe disease than previous variants. This year, more deaths have been among older adults, especially those in long-term care facilities. The research highlights the importance of continuing vaccination and other public health strategies as long as the virus is circulating and underlines the need for additional surveillance to detect the emergence of new variants. 

4.” …An accepted manuscript by researchers in Israel published last week in Clinical Infectious Diseases evaluates the effectiveness of Paxlovid in a real-world setting among vaccinated and unvaccinated adults during Omicron variant predominance. According to the study, treatment with Paxlovid reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by about half (46%) regardless of vaccination status, while up-to-date vaccination reduced the risk 80%. Notably, Paxlovid was more effective in older patients, immunocompromised patients, and those with underlying neurological or cardiovascular disease, and no interaction was observed between Paxlovid therapy and vaccination status.”

5. Pfizer to Invest $120 Million to Produce COVID-19 Oral Treatment in the U.S. (Pfizer) Pfizer announced today that it will further strengthen its commitment to United States manufacturing with a $120 million investment at its Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility, enabling U.S.-based production in support of its COVID-19 oral treatment, Paxlovid. The investment will expand the production of active pharmaceutical ingredient and registered starting materials used in the manufacture of nirmatrelvir, a novel main protease (Mpro) inhibitor originating in Pfizer’s laboratories. This investment is another major step in Pfizer’s effort to bring more key biopharmaceutical manufacturing to the U.S., increasing Pfizer’s capability to produce and supply treatments and medicines for patients in the U.S. and around the world.

6. The Omicron variant of concern (VOC) continues to account for essentially all analyzed SARS-CoV-2 samples worldwide. Together, the BA.2 sublineages represent 86.2% of all sequenced specimens last week***. Both the BA.4 (4.1%) and BA.5 (8.8%) sublineages are increasing in prevalence, and collectively, the BA.1 sublineage represents less than 0.2% of sequenced specimens last week. The WHO now categorizes the Delta VOC as “previously circulating,” joining the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants.

FROM SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN:

How to Compare COVID Deaths for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People

FROM REUTERS: 

1. Novavax COVID vaccine gets backing of U.S. FDA advisers

Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday voted to recommend authorization of Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults.

2. Novavax says COVID vaccine for U.S. to be manufactured by India’s Serum

Novavax Inc said on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine initially available in the United States, if authorized, will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

3. Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 account for up to 13% of COVID variants in U.S. – CDC

The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron are estimated to make up nearly 5% and 8% of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of June 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.

FROM THE GUARDIAN:

We’re playing with fire’: US Covid cases may be 30 times higher than reported

”…But Covid cases could be undercounted by a factor of 30, an early survey of the surge in New York City indicates. “It would appear official case counts are under-estimating the true burden of infection by about 30-fold…”

(J. Harris: Readable. Contains some food for thought.)

FROM THE NEJM VIA JOURNAL WATCH:

Cardiac Events in College Athletes 1 Year After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

”… Concerns about the high frequency of myocarditis in athletes infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the possibility of life-threatening arrhythmias, led to various protocols and the development of prospective registries. In the current study, the Outcomes Registry for Cardiac Conditions in Athletes Study Group prospectively followed 3675 athletes from 45 colleges and universities to assess their risk for adverse cardiovascular events after SARS-CoV-2 infection…Cardiovascular testing including electrocardiogram, troponin, echocardiogram, or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 97% of athletes. Definite or probable myocarditis was found in 21 athletes (0.6%), who were temporarily restricted from sport and later cleared to resume...

During a median follow-up of 1.2 years among all athletes, only two cardiac events occurred (incidence rate, 0.05%). One was a cardiac arrest in an athlete subsequently discovered to have a preexisting genetic structural cardiac disease, and the other was atrial fibrillation that was possibly related to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE:

Omicron booster shots are taking longer than expected. Will the wait be worth it?

”…By the time the US Food and Drug Administration convenes a meeting late this month to discuss plans for updating booster shots in the fall, more than 200 days will have elapsed since Moderna and Pfizer began working on their Omicron vaccines…So what’s the holdup?…. reasons for the delay. To start, the virus keeps changing too quickly. There’s also conflicting data on the superiority of variant-specific boosters over what’s already available, casting doubt on their value. And with the majority of Americans yet to get even their first booster shot, the companies’ financial incentive for making new ones has diminished….In theory, designing the new vaccine is a simple matter of tweaking its mRNA sequence to match the genetic code of Omicron —  But making enough of the vaccine to begin clinical trials takes at least several weeks…“Having the variant-specific vaccine only makes sense if that variant persists for a long enough period of time to vaccinate people against it…Running clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the shots is the most time-consuming step of vaccine development ― regulators need to be sure that the updated shots are safe…Although the Omicron boosters triggered somewhat higher antibody levels against that variant, Although the Omicron boosters triggered somewhat higher antibody levels against that variant, the original booster also worked fairly well…

In March, Moderna began testing a so-called bivalent booster that contains mRNA for both the original coronavirus and the Omicron strain — an effort to “hedge your bets” against the evolving virus, Thackray said. The FDA’s vaccine advisory committee will likely debate the relative merits of the original, Omicron, and bivalent boosters when it meets at the end of the month….But if the updated vaccines are not markedly better, companies may lack the financial incentive to actually produce them…And given that less than half of vaccinated Americans and fewer than one-third of all people in the United States have yet to get their first booster shot, the lack of urgency to make second-generation boosters probably shouldn’t come as a surprise…Throughout the pandemic, health officials have stressed that the goal of the vaccines is to prevent serious disease, hospitalization, and death. “I would argue that we’ve achieved that goal with the [existing] ancestral vaccine,”..“We are going to have to get used to mild and moderate infection and have a reasonable goal for this vaccine, because we are driving people crazy,…There is already booster fatigue.”…

AND LASTLY: 

Milton and the Norwegian both assure me that it will rain today!

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Wine Tasting – 29 May 2021 – Franschhoek, South Africa

Editor note:

More from Tom  

By Tom Allin

Yesterday was a rest day.  We were both worn out after our incredible breakfast provided by Ashbourne Boutique Guest House – eating dish after dish takes a lot of work.  As a matter of fact, other than read and nap the only other thing we did all day was eat two more meals.

Today we are smarter.  No, we didn’t eat less at breakfast but we did take a wine walking tour.

Tim, the owner of our hotel, took the time to map out what he thought was a walk we would enjoy and marked what he thought were the best wineries to stop and explore.  

The hotel’s entire staff was incredible and I am guessing because they took their cues from Tim.  Tim provided information on about ten local restaurants, made dinner reservations for us, provided driving directions, a history of Franschhoek and the background on how his family and he had moved from Germany to South Africa six years earlier.

It was a four-block walk from the hotel to the main two-lane highway.  Running parallel to the highway but about 20 feet nearer the open fields was a six foot or more wide sidewalk.  Even with the Covid keeping people home, the sidewalk had a number of walkers like ourselves.

Use the links below to read Tom’s complete story

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY

ANDROID USERS CHICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 6/10/2022

Have a nice weekend. This report has mostly good news except that our local Covid numbers are going up. The hospitals are not crowded. JHH

FROM THE LANCET

Risk of myocarditis and pericarditis after the COVID-19 mRNA vaccination in the USA: a cohort study in claims databases

”…A total of 411 myocarditis or pericarditis, or both, events were observed among 15 148 369 people aged 18–64 years who received 16 912 716 doses of BNT162b2 and 10 631 554 doses of mRNA-1273. Among men aged 18–25 years, the pooled incidence rate was highest after the second dose, at 1·71 (95% CI 1·31 to 2·23) per 100 000 person-days for BNT162b2 and 2·17 (1·55 to 3·04) per 100 000 person-days for mRNA-1273. The pooled IRR in the head-to-head comparison of the two mRNA vaccines was 1·43 (95% CI 0·88 to 2·34), with an excess risk of 27·80 per million doses (–21·88 to 77·48) in mRNA-1273 recipients compared with BNT162b2….Interpretation

An increased risk of myocarditis or pericarditis was observed after COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and was highest in men aged 18–25 years after a second dose of the vaccine. However, the incidence was rare. These results do not indicate a statistically significant risk difference between mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2, but it should not be ruled out that a difference might exist. Our study results, along with the benefit–risk profile, continue to support vaccination using either of the two mRNA vaccines.

FROM THE NYT:

1. Two new versions of Omicron are gaining ground in the U.S., according to C.D.C. estimates.

2. Moderna says new trial results show that a revised vaccine works better against Omicron.

3. Even with federal funds, U.S. schools still rely on low-cost methods to slow Covid, a study shows.

FROM THE DMN:

After a brief increase, Dallas COVID hospitalizations have stabilized

”…Local public health experts don’t know exactly why the area’s hospitals are seeing so few COVID patients, but they suspect it’s a combination of COVID strains that cause less severe illness, widespread immunity, and possibly even Texas’ warm climate…..COVID cases are still climbing across North Texas. Dallas and Tarrant counties could each see more than 600 new infections daily in the next several weeks, according to a June 1 forecast from UT Southwestern….though North Texas is seeing few hospitalizations currently, that could change quickly. Immunity from previous infections and vaccinations can wane within months…..Anyone age 5 or older is eligible for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 5 through 11 can get a booster shot five months after the initial Pfizer vaccine series. People 12 or older who are immunocompromised can get a second booster at least four months after their first booster dose, while anyone 50 or older can receive a second booster in the same time frame…”

FROM JOHNS HOPKINS SELECTIONS:

1. NOVAVAX VACCINE The US FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is meeting today to discuss and vote on the question of whether the benefits of Novavax’s 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine outweigh the risks of use among adults. The Novavax vaccine uses decades-old technology, and a vaccine using more traditional technology could help fill gaps in vaccination coverage among those who are hesitant to be vaccinated with shots using newer mRNA technology. In clinical trials, the vaccine demonstrated 90.4% efficacy in preventing mild, moderate, or severe infections with older variants, and 100% efficacy in preventing moderate or severe infection. However, it is unclear how effective the vaccine is against currently circulating Omicron subvariants. There also are concerns over the risk of the heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis associated with the vaccine, particularly among young men, outlined in a briefing document for the meeting. These rare occurrences of heart inflammation also are associated with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Notably, there is not enough data to evaluate the Novavax vaccine for use among pregnant women, children, or immunocompromised individuals. 

If VRBPAC recommends the vaccine and the FDA grants emergency use authorization, after also evaluating information about the company’s manufacturing processes, the vaccine will be the fourth authorized for use in the US and could be available later this summer. 

2. Pregnant people are at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, including death, and health experts recommend that pregnant people and those looking to become pregnant remain up to date on their vaccinations. Notably, vaccination of pregnant people likely has benefits to newborns, as well.

 3. A new report, which is not yet peer-reviewed, estimates the US death toll of each variant. According to the researchers from Yale University and Public Citizen, nearly half of COVID-19 deaths (46%) have occurred after the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2 was replaced by variants. The research dispels the myth that Omicron causes less severe disease than previous variants. This year, more deaths have been among older adults, especially those in long-term care facilities. The research highlights the importance of continuing vaccination and other public health strategies as long as the virus is circulating and underlines the need for additional surveillance to detect the emergence of new variants. 

4.” …An accepted manuscript by researchers in Israel published last week in Clinical Infectious Diseases evaluates the effectiveness of Paxlovid in a real-world setting among vaccinated and unvaccinated adults during Omicron variant predominance. According to the study, treatment with Paxlovid reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by about half (46%) regardless of vaccination status, while up-to-date vaccination reduced the risk 80%. Notably, Paxlovid was more effective in older patients, immunocompromised patients, and those with underlying neurological or cardiovascular disease, and no interaction was observed between Paxlovid therapy and vaccination status.”

5. Pfizer to Invest $120 Million to Produce COVID-19 Oral Treatment in the U.S. (Pfizer) Pfizer announced today that it will further strengthen its commitment to United States manufacturing with a $120 million investment at its Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility, enabling U.S.-based production in support of its COVID-19 oral treatment, Paxlovid. The investment will expand the production of active pharmaceutical ingredient and registered starting materials used in the manufacture of nirmatrelvir, a novel main protease (Mpro) inhibitor originating in Pfizer’s laboratories. This investment is another major step in Pfizer’s effort to bring more key biopharmaceutical manufacturing to the U.S., increasing Pfizer’s capability to produce and supply treatments and medicines for patients in the U.S. and around the world.

6. The Omicron variant of concern (VOC) continues to account for essentially all analyzed SARS-CoV-2 samples worldwide. Together, the BA.2 sublineages represent 86.2% of all sequenced specimens last week***. Both the BA.4 (4.1%) and BA.5 (8.8%) sublineages are increasing in prevalence, and collectively, the BA.1 sublineage represents less than 0.2% of sequenced specimens last week. The WHO now categorizes the Delta VOC as “previously circulating,” joining the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants.

FROM SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN:

How to Compare COVID Deaths for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People

FROM REUTERS: 

1. Novavax COVID vaccine gets backing of U.S. FDA advisers

Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday voted to recommend authorization of Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults.

2. Novavax says COVID vaccine for U.S. to be manufactured by India’s Serum

Novavax Inc said on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine initially available in the United States, if authorized, will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

3. Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 account for up to 13% of COVID variants in U.S. – CDC

The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron are estimated to make up nearly 5% and 8% of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of June 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.

FROM THE GUARDIAN:

We’re playing with fire’: US Covid cases may be 30 times higher than reported

”…But Covid cases could be undercounted by a factor of 30, an early survey of the surge in New York City indicates. “It would appear official case counts are under-estimating the true burden of infection by about 30-fold…”

(J. Harris: Readable. Contains some food for thought.)

FROM THE NEJM VIA JOURNAL WATCH:

Cardiac Events in College Athletes 1 Year After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

”… Concerns about the high frequency of myocarditis in athletes infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the possibility of life-threatening arrhythmias, led to various protocols and the development of prospective registries. In the current study, the Outcomes Registry for Cardiac Conditions in Athletes Study Group prospectively followed 3675 athletes from 45 colleges and universities to assess their risk for adverse cardiovascular events after SARS-CoV-2 infection…Cardiovascular testing including electrocardiogram, troponin, echocardiogram, or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 97% of athletes. Definite or probable myocarditis was found in 21 athletes (0.6%), who were temporarily restricted from sport and later cleared to resume...

During a median follow-up of 1.2 years among all athletes, only two cardiac events occurred (incidence rate, 0.05%). One was a cardiac arrest in an athlete subsequently discovered to have a preexisting genetic structural cardiac disease, and the other was atrial fibrillation that was possibly related to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE:

Omicron booster shots are taking longer than expected. Will the wait be worth it?

”…By the time the US Food and Drug Administration convenes a meeting late this month to discuss plans for updating booster shots in the fall, more than 200 days will have elapsed since Moderna and Pfizer began working on their Omicron vaccines…So what’s the holdup?…. reasons for the delay. To start, the virus keeps changing too quickly. There’s also conflicting data on the superiority of variant-specific boosters over what’s already available, casting doubt on their value. And with the majority of Americans yet to get even their first booster shot, the companies’ financial incentive for making new ones has diminished….In theory, designing the new vaccine is a simple matter of tweaking its mRNA sequence to match the genetic code of Omicron —  But making enough of the vaccine to begin clinical trials takes at least several weeks…“Having the variant-specific vaccine only makes sense if that variant persists for a long enough period of time to vaccinate people against it…Running clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the shots is the most time-consuming step of vaccine development ― regulators need to be sure that the updated shots are safe…Although the Omicron boosters triggered somewhat higher antibody levels against that variant, Although the Omicron boosters triggered somewhat higher antibody levels against that variant, the original booster also worked fairly well…

In March, Moderna began testing a so-called bivalent booster that contains mRNA for both the original coronavirus and the Omicron strain — an effort to “hedge your bets” against the evolving virus, Thackray said. The FDA’s vaccine advisory committee will likely debate the relative merits of the original, Omicron, and bivalent boosters when it meets at the end of the month….But if the updated vaccines are not markedly better, companies may lack the financial incentive to actually produce them…And given that less than half of vaccinated Americans and fewer than one-third of all people in the United States have yet to get their first booster shot, the lack of urgency to make second-generation boosters probably shouldn’t come as a surprise…Throughout the pandemic, health officials have stressed that the goal of the vaccines is to prevent serious disease, hospitalization, and death. “I would argue that we’ve achieved that goal with the [existing] ancestral vaccine,”..“We are going to have to get used to mild and moderate infection and have a reasonable goal for this vaccine, because we are driving people crazy,…There is already booster fatigue.”…

AND LASTLY: 

Milton and the Norwegian both assure me that it will rain today!

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P.O. Box 721

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Marshall Depot Lead Donors and Supporters

Marshall Depot Board Honors Lead Donors of 2021

The official logo of the 2022 Annual Marshall Depot fundraising campaign features a beautiful double rainbow over the Depot photo taken by Board member and Ginocchio Restaurant owner Alan Loudermilk, with photo color enhanced by Carl Henderson. The logo features the campaign theme of, with our community’s support, “The Future is Bright for the Marshall Depot!” 

Some of the lead donors and supporters during the 2021 Depot fundraising campaign who received a Depot Appreciation Tile include Michelle and Stan Brannon,  former City Councilwoman Vernia Calhoun,  City Councilwoman Amanda Abraham, Mac Abney for the Pelz Foundation and Turney Foundation, City Councilman Marvin Bonner,  Alan Loudermilk, Susan Marshall, City Councilman Micah Fenton,  Ashli Acker Dansby of Dansby Media, former News Director of KMHT, Mark Robinson of SWEPCO. Presented to Joy Smith and Griff Hubbard, Marshall Depot Board members and formerly of Amtrak, at the April 30, 2022 meeting of the Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization (TEMPO). Others receiving the appreciation gift included the members of the Harrison County Commissioners Court and foundations and individuals in our community.

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Marshall Depot Fundraising Campaign

Marshall Depot Board Kicks off 2022 Fundraising Campaign, Honors Lead Donors of 2021

The volunteer Board of Directors for the Marshall Depot Inc. is pleased to announce that the 2022 Annual Marshall Depot Fundraising Campaign is officially underway.

This year’s theme for the fundraising drive is “With your support, the Future is Bright for the Marshall Depot!” The official image for the 2022 fundraising campaign is a gorgeous double rainbow photo taken by Depot Board member Alan Loudermilk, who is a business entrepreneur, lawyer, and owner of the popular Ginocchio Restaurant, which is adjacent to the Marshall Depot. The official photo was color enhanced by Carl Henderson.

The Depot’s annual fundraising drive is designed to raise funds to assist with the operation, maintenance, and ongoing preservation of the historic Marshall Depot, which operates as an Amtrak station and Texas & Pacific Railway Museum.

The Marshall Depot Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit established in 1990 to assist the City with the restoration, operation, and maintenance of the Depot. The volunteer board raises funds, through tax-deductible donations from individuals as well grants from foundations, to maintain the funding needed each year for the operational costs, insurance, security, maintenance, and ongoing preservation of the Marshall Depot and T&P Railway Museum.

Board President Christina Anderson, who is also chairman of the 2021 and 2022 annual fundraising campaigns, shared that the first step that the Board wanted to take in the 2022 fundraising campaign was to express their deep appreciation to those in our community who stepped up to donate and support the Depot during the 2021 fundraising campaign.

Ms. Anderson shared, ”As we kick off the annual fundraising campaign for 2022, I wish to convey, on behalf of the Marshall Depot Board, our profound gratitude to those community members, governmental entities, and foundations who supported the Depot in 2021, at a particularly critical time.”

Ms. Anderson stated: “We’re very grateful to each and every person who kindly donated to the Depot last year and in years past. But, we also want to send a strong shout-out to the members of the Marshall City Council who voted unanimously last fall to provide a line item of funding for the Marshall Depot and to the Harrison County Judge and Commissioners Court who voted unanimously to increase the line item of funding for the Depot in the County budget.”

Anderson continued: “We also want to express a huge thank you to our lead donors who stepped up to give so generously last year. These people and organizations include McKool Smith, Pelz Foundation, Turney Foundation, Hubbard-Watlington Foundation, Humanities Texas, Sam Baxter, Griff Hubbard, Marty Vaughan, Pat Furrh, Michelle and Stan Brannon, Susan Marshall, Dr. Robert Galvan, Jr., and the Anderson Foundation.”

Ms. Anderson also expressed the Board’s appreciation for others who stepped up to assist such as Ashli Acker Dansby and KMHT with the “Dollars for the Depot” event, the Marshall News Messenger, SWEPCO, Brownrigg Insurance, as well as Alan Loudermilk and the Ginocchio Restaurant for kindly providing the feature for restaurant customers to make a tax-deductible donation to the Depot at the time that they’re paying their restaurant bill.

Ms. Anderson also wished to thank board member Richard Anderson for his valuable and steadfast assistance and a heartfelt thank you to Audrey Kariel, former Marshall Mayor and past Board member, for her continued passion, care, and knowledgeable assistance with regard to the Marshall Depot.

Ms. Anderson explained that, in order to convey the Board’s appreciation, the above- mentioned lead donors were presented an Appreciation Tile displaying the beautiful “The Future is Bright” double rainbow photo that can be displayed on a bookshelf or desk.

Attached are photos of some of the lead donors as they were presented the gift of the Appreciation Tile.

Ms. Anderson went on to say: “We, on the board, are very grateful that our City, County, and community members recognize the valuable transportation asset that the Marshall Depot is and the many other benefits it provides related to economic development, tourism, education, quality of life, as well as documenting and continuing Marshall’s rich and fascinating railroad history.”

She added: “We, as a community, are very fortunate to be one of only about 525 cities nationwide to have an Amtrak stop. Plus, Marshall is one of Amtrak’s crew change stops along the Texas Eagle route, which brings in tens of thousands of dollars to our local economy each year, in addition to the substantial income brought to our community by the thousands of visitors and passengers who travel to our community annually via Amtrak.”

The attached “Did You Know: Important Facts about the Marshall Depot” sheet provides more information about this along with information about other benefits from the Depot.

Ms. Anderson concluded:  “We have a strong and excellent Board of Directors at the Marshall Depot and we’ll continue to share with our community the exciting progress currently underway and being planned for the future. But this hard-working volunteer board continues to need our community’s support to keep this treasured transportation hub and beautiful historic Depot strong into the future. With our community’s support, the future is indeed bright at the Marshall Depot!”

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the 2022 Annual Marshall Depot Fundraising campaign, you can send a check to Marshall Depot Inc, at the following address:  800 North Washington Avenue, Suite 1, Marshall, Texas 75670.

In addition to Ms. Anderson, the Marshall Depot Board includes:  Donald Hocutt, Vice President; Judy Covey, Secretary; Cathy Wright, Treasurer; Richard Anderson, Thad Carter, John Fortune, Mary Hendricks, Griff Hubbard, Marde Jones, Cindy Leleko, George Leleko, Alan Loudermilk, Jim Pedison, Jack Redmon, Joy Smith, Daryl Ware, and Robert Wood.

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/27/2022

I WISH YOU A HAPPY AND SAFE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. 

FROM BECKERS:

1. US has a new dominant COVID-19 strain

FROM THE NYT:

1. Your Lingering Covid Questions, Answered

(J. Harris: Good general reference to keep for Covid. Readable.Keep.)

2. Some universities and schools in the U.S. are reimposing indoor mask mandates.

”…Another Omicron subvariant, known as BA.2.12.1, which spreads more rapidly than previous versions, has become the dominant form of the virus among new U.S. cases, according to federal estimates. For the first time since February, the country is now averaging more than 100,000 new confirmed cases a day, according to a New York Times database, and the widening use of at-home testing means the true number of infections is probably higher…”

3. The White House pushes to get Paxlovid pills into more Covid patients’ hands.

”…Significant obstacles persist in getting Paxlovid to everyone who could benefit from it; more than a million courses of Paxlovid purchased by the government are still available, according to data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services. Because of vague eligibility guidelines that are open to broad interpretation — the medication is authorized for people 12 and older with “mild-to-moderate” Covid-19 who are at risk of severe illness — some doctors are hesitant to prescribe the pill, or require extensive consultation…”

FROM HOPKINS:

1. MONKEYPOX OUTBREAKS UPDATE Read our latest update from May 23 on the monkeypox outbreaks. A new fact sheet also is available. We will continue to analyze the situation and provide updates, as needed. If you would like to receive these updates, please sign up here.

FROM REUTERS:

Canada’s Quebec confirms 15 cases of monkeypox

The Canadian province of Quebec has confirmed 15 cases of monkeypox as of Monday, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.

FROM JAMA:

1. Cardiac Complications More Common After COVID-19 Than Vaccination

2. Transmission and Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Shedding Kinetics in Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Individuals

”…Fully vaccinated individuals had a shorter duration of viable viral shedding and a lower rate of secondary transmission than partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals.”

3. Viral Antigen and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Patients With COVID-19 Infection and Neurologic Symptoms Compared With Control Participants Without Infection or Neurologic Symptoms

” These results suggest that viral components may contribute to central nervous system immune responses without direct viral invasion and highlight the clinical importance of neurologic symptoms.”

4. Association Between the COVID-19 Pandemic and Disparities in Access to Major Surgery in the US

”These findings suggest that the early response to the pandemic did not increase disparities in access to surgical care.”

FROM THE CDC:

COVID-19 Rebound After Paxlovid Treatment

”…A brief return of symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in some persons, independent of treatment with Paxlovid and regardless of vaccination status…”

FROM THE ATLANTIC:

What COVID Hospitalization Numbers Are Missing, By Ed Yong

”…Even when missing people can be replaced, missing knowledge cannot. The pandemic pushed many veteran health-care workers into early retirement, lowering the average experience level in American hospitals. “I don’t think the public really understands how great the loss of this generational knowledge is,” Cabrera told me. In her current job, she had just four days of orientation, which she describes as “shockingly short,” from some people who had been in the ER for less than a year. When inexperienced recruits are trained by inexperienced staff, the knowledge deficit deepens, and not just in terms of medical procedures. The system has also lost indispensable social savvy—how to question an inappropriate decision, or recognize when you’re out of your depth—that acts as a safeguard against medical mistakes. And with established teams now ruptured by resignations, many health-care workers no longer know—or trust—the people at their side….Absurdly, it’s often hard to get people out of the hospital, Sara Wolfson, a geriatrician at Nebraska Medicine, told me. Many elderly patients still need care after they’ve stabilized, but it’s hard to discharge them, because long-term care facilities and home-health agencies are also incredibly short-staffed and unable to accommodate new patients….”

AND LASTLY:

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