Editorial: If Abbott and Trump were true leaders, they’d urge vaccinations

(J. Harris: I generally have avoided “opinion pieces” but this was is so logical that is worth annoying some of my readers — and I agree with it completely.


1. Estimating Under-recognized COVID-19 Deaths, United States, March 2020-May 2021 using an Excess Mortality Modelling Approach (Lancet Regional Health: Americas) In the United States, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) deaths are captured through the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System and death certificates reported to the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). However, not all COVID-19 deaths are recognized and reported because of limitations in testing, exacerbation of chronic health conditions that are listed as the cause of death, or delays in reporting. We estimated that 766,611 deaths attributable to COVID-19 occurred in the United States from March 8, 2020—May 29, 2021. Of these, 184,477 (24%) deaths were not documented on death certificates.

2. Effect of Physician-Delivered COVID-19 Public Health Messages and Messages Acknowledging Racial Inequity on Black and White Adults’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices Related to COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial (JAMA Network Open) In this randomized clinical trial of 18 223 White and Black adults, a message delivered by a physician increased COVID-19 knowledge and shifted information-seeking and self-protective behaviors. Effects did not differ by race, and tailoring messages to specific communities did not exhibit a differential effect on knowledge or individual behavior. These findings suggest that physician messaging campaigns may be effective in persuading members of society from a broad range of backgrounds to seek information and adopt preventive behaviors to combat COVID-19.


Characterizing Long COVID In An International Cohort: 7 Months of Symptoms and Their Impact (Lancet): We conducted an online survey of people with suspected and confirmed COVID-19, and analyzed responses from 3762 participants with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, from 56 countries, with illness lasting over 28 days and onset prior to June 2020. We looked at 203 symptoms in 10 organ systems and traced 66 symptoms over seven months. Patients with Long COVID report prolonged, multisystem involvement and significant disability. By seven months, many patients have not yet recovered (mainly from systemic and neurological/cognitive symptoms), have not returned to previous levels of work, and continue to experience significant symptom burden.

4. The WHO’s Chief Says It Was Premature To Rule Out A Lab Leak As The Pandemic’s Origin (NPR) The head of the World Health Organization acknowledged it was premature to rule out a potential link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak, and he said Thursday he is asking China to be more transparent as scientists search for the origins of the coronavirus. In a rare departure from his usual deference to powerful member countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the international team that traveled to China earlier this year to investigate the source of COVID-19. He said there had been a “premature push” to rule out the theory that the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan — undermining WHO’s own March report, which concluded that a laboratory leak was “extremely unlikely.”


Effect of Oral Azithromycin vs Placebo on COVID-19 Symptoms in Outpatients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection A Randomized Clinical Trial

Question  Does a single oral dose of azithromycin lead to absence of symptoms at day 14 in outpatients with COVID-19 compared with placebo?

Findings  In this randomized trial that included 263 participants with SARS-CoV-2 infection, treatment with a single oral dose of azithromycin, 1.2 g, vs placebo resulted in self-reported absence of COVID-19 symptoms at day 14 in 50% vs 50%; this was not statistically significant.

Meaning  Among outpatients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, treatment with a single dose of oral azithromycin compared with placebo did not result in a greater likelihood of being free of symptoms at day 14.

In Undervaccinated Arkansas, Covid Upends Life All Over Again

(J. Harris: Is it  possible that Arkansas is even more primitive than East Texas.)


Delta Is Driving a Wedge Through Missouri

 (J. Harris: Ed Wong for a year and a half has consistently written some of the absolute best articles about Covid. This is another one. I expect Mr. Wong to win a Pulitizer; he deserves it. This magazine has consistently been in the forefront of quality information providers:

“…Those ICUs are also filling with younger patients, in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, including many with no underlying health problems…This dramatic surge is the work of the super-contagious Delta variant, which now accounts for 95 percent of Greene County’s new cases …For many communities, this year will be worse than last…Those ICUs are also filling with [UNVACCINATED] younger patients, in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, including many with no underlying health problems… they’re…much sicker than those they saw last year…[HEALTH CARE WORKERS ARE] “putting themselves in harm’s way for people who’ve chosen not to protect themselves,..The grueling slog is harder now because it feels so needless, and because many patients don’t realize their mistake until it’s too late…Some health-care workers are starting to resent their patients…Doctors can give every recommended medication, and patients still have a high chance of dying. The goal should be to stop people from getting sick in the first place..[WHEN COMPARED TO THE FLU PANDEMIC OF 1918}… Missourians in 1918 might have had a “better overhead view of the course of the pandemic in their communities than the average citizen has now.” Back then, the state’s local papers published lists of people who were sick, so even those who didn’t know anyone with the flu could see that folks around them were dying. “It made the pandemic seem more local,…. “Now, with fewer hometown newspapers and restrictions on sharing patient information, that kind of knowledge is restricted to people working in health care.”




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I have gladly renewed my Norwegian Housekeeper’s contract — for the 55th straight year, today.  She’s pleasant,  intelligent, industrious,  a fabulous cook, a great mother and grandmother and still beautiful after all these years. You can call me “Lucky.”

There aren’t many accurate stats out for Harriso County today. I was told that there are >20 Covid cases in Christus Marshall. Region G stats have been up, but are not updated yet. 

The NYT stats for Harrison County are also behind, but notice the upward trend in the area. 


The Great Gatsby and the challenge of unreliable narrators

(J. Harris: short, provocative, comfortable read.)

Their spouses died of covid-19 from an unsafe workplace, lawsuit alleges. A new Texas law might block the claim.



1. Virus Outbreaks at Olympic Hotels Sow Frustration, Stoke Infection Fears (Reuters) Coronavirus outbreaks involving Olympic teams in Japan have turned small-town hotels into facilities on the frontline of the pandemic battle, charged with implementing complex health measures to protect elite athletes and a fearful public. Infections here have hit at least seven teams arriving in Japan barely a week out from the July 23 opening ceremony and after host city Tokyo reported its highest daily tally of new COVID-19 infections since late January. Health experts and hotel staff say the outbreaks underscore the risks of holding the world’s largest sports event during the middle of a global pandemic in a largely unvaccinated country.


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Jordan’s Way Comes To Marshall

 Jordan’s Way Becomes To Marshall

The nationally recognized animal welfare advocate, Jordan’s Way, chose Friends of Marshall Animals to be one of the stops on their 50-state rescue/shelter fundraising tour.

Our fundraiser will take place Wednesday, July 21, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., at the current shelter. The scheduling was determined by Jordan’s Way’s travel timetable and we’re honored to be one of only 20 stops in Texas.

The event itself is a live fundraiser; essentially a telethon broadcast to a Facebook audience. In order to meet our goal of $15,000 in four hours, it’s very important that we get prominent local citizens, such as yourself, involved.

Do you have a good sense of humor? Are you willing to participate in stunts that would be beneath your dignity for anything other than a great cause? We need you! 

Some of the activities may include:

– taking a pie in your face

– enjoying a bucket of water poured over your head

– bobbing for dog bones in whipped cream

– shaving your head

– coloring your hair

– eating dog food

If you’re willing to do even more extreme stunts, we’d love to hear about it. We need good incentives to encourage people to donate!

You decide at what total fundraising amount you’re willing to participate in certain stunts. (Note that no one volunteer will necessarily be chosen to perform all of the stunts he or she is willing to do.)

For example:

At $1,000, you’re willing to take a pie in the face

At $5,000, you’re up for a bucket of ice poured over your head

At $10,000, you’ll let a puppy lick whipped cream off your face

At $15,000, you’ll eat dog food

At $20,000, you’ll allow your head to be shaved

Participants are encouraged to recruit other willing volunteers, and also to reach out to their friends, family, & social media with challenges “on the side.”  For example, you might say to them, “please help the fundraiser get to $500, and I will let them throw a pie in my face.”

We are also recruiting local businesses to match donations. They will be recognized on the live feed and also have a post of their own on our social media. Our Facebook page alone has over 12,000 followers.

Here’s a link to the Jordon’s Way fundraiser page for FOMA. People are already donating!

This TV news story about one of Jordan’s Way’s previous stops may give you a better idea of what happens during the fundraiser:


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(J. Harris: And the NYT has a small error; our Covid hospital usage stats are increasing.)


“…Six players on the New York Yankees have tested positive for Covid-19, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Thursday, in the second instance this year of breakthrough cases occurring among some members of the baseball team…The three named players were all vaccinated, according to the team. Two of the players received Johnson & Johnson vaccines and the other was from either Pfizer or Moderna, Cashman says…Earlier this season, eight positive tests were recorded among coaching and travel staff, all of whom had previously taken the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Of the team members who tested positive, only one showed mild symptoms and his condition improved, the Yankees said.

(J. Harris: Sounds like the Yanks need to take a booster? Most likely the DELTA variant is the culprit this time?)


“… many scientists now believe that breakthrough infections [IN VACINATED PATIENTS] are unlikely to cause the [LONG COVID] syndrome. When a vaccinated person is infected, the virus may go through a few rounds of replication, but “the immune response is so quick and so robust that it basically stops the infection in its tracks,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada…”


(J. Harris–quick review)

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rising sharply in 4 states — 7 things to know, per NYTThough new COVID-19 cases are rising in most states, the rates per 100,000 residents in Florida, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada are among the highest in the country. Florida is reporting 5,178 new daily cases per 100,000 people, Arkansas is reporting 1,023, Missouri is seeing 1,608 and Nevada at 676 per 100,000.


1. Pfizer Expected to Brief U.S. Officials in Coming Days on the Need for a Booster Shot (Washington Post) Pfizer  is expected to brief top U.S. government health officials in the coming days about the need for a coronavirus vaccine booster shot after an unusually public spat between the pharmaceutical giant and federal officials over whether a third shot will be necessary, according to the company and six people familiar with the plans. Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech announced on Thursday that they planned to seek regulatory approval for a booster within weeks because they anticipated that people would need a third dose six to 12 months after receiving the companies’ two-shot regimen.

2.  The world is unprepared for new ‘age of pandemics,’ G-20 panel“Rather than thinking we were unlucky with COVID, the lesson may be that we were lucky with Ebola, lucky with SARS, lucky with MERS, lucky with N1H1……. the risks of a coronavirus pandemic have been doubling nearly every decade…The report calls for at least doubling current international spending on pandemic prevention and preparedness to $75 billion over five years. That includes $10 billion a year to finance a Global Threats Fund to improve surveillance for future pandemics and increase the supply of vaccines, treatments, and other medical resources needed to respond to outbreaks more quickly…”

3. Deaths from COVID ‘Incredibly Rare’ Among Children (Nature): A comprehensive analysis of hospital admissions and reported deaths across England suggests that COVID-19 carries a lower risk of dying or requiring intensive care among children and young people than was previously thought. In a series of preprints published on medRxiv, a team of researchers found that COVID-19 caused 25 deaths in people younger than 18 between March 2020 and February 2021. About half of those deaths were in individuals with an underlying complex disability with high healthcare needs. Taken together, the unusually comprehensive studies could provide some comfort to parents who have been shielding children who they thought might be vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19.


Durable Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses 8 Months after Ad26.COV2.S Vaccination

“These data show that the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine-elicited durable humoral and cellular immune responses with minimal decreases for at least 8 months after immunization. …with increased neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 variants over time, including after single-shot vaccination, further supports the use of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine to combat the global Covid-19 pandemic.

(J. Harris: This one jab vaccine will continue to be widely used all over the world because it works and its side effects, which have been widely noted, are, fortunately, rare. It is easy to keep cool and to dispense and it is relatively inexpensive.  Unfortunately, it does have a short shelf life apparently, and  it didn’t completely protect the NY Yankees on two different occassions.)


Safety, Immunogenicity, and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine in Adolescents

“…Evaluation of BNT162b2 [PFIZER VACCINE] in younger adolescents was undertaken for several reasons. The incidence of Covid-19 is reported to be higher among 12-to-17-year-old adolescents than among younger children.21 In addition, children, especially from low-income families, have been negatively affected by the lack of in-person learning during the pandemic.17,18 Therefore, a demonstration of efficacy and safety in 12-to-15-year-old adolescents is important in order to expand the emergency use authorization to include children 12 years of age or older and make a critical step toward achieving herd immunity. Finally, the favorable safety and side-effect profile and high efficacy, along with the acceptable risk-to-benefit ratio in adolescents, now justify vaccine evaluation in younger age groups….These results have several implications. Vaccination of adolescents is likely to confer the direct benefit of preventing disease along with indirect benefits, including community protection… Although children generally have a lower burden of symptomatic Covid-19 than adults, schools, youth sports, and other community gatherings may represent important sources of ongoing outbreaks and transmission, despite high rates of adult immunization… Vaccination of adolescents will allow them to reintegrate into society and resume in-person learning safely, which are especially important outcomes given the severe mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on this group…. Recent real-world data suggest that BNT162b2 prevents asymptomatic infection….[and] it is likely that vaccination will also prevent asymptomatic infection in children, thereby broadening community




It concerns the dyslectic, agnostic, insomniac who tosses and turns all night wondering if there really is a Dog?.

(and wouldn’t you know it, I now find that the joke has been all over the net for years. I’m glad Blackie didn’t have to see it there, or here?)



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Opinion: Critical Race Theory DOES NOT

 Opinion: Critical Race Theory DOES NOT

By George Smith  — July 16, 2021

Despite news and pundits stating it, Critical Race Theory DOES NOT teach superiority of any race over another. It’s a study about certain systems set up to discriminate against a race or races.

It is a fact that this country…in its laws by state and nationally DID discriminate against myriad races and religions. That practice is happening today with voter suppression laws and gerrymandering.

Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.

The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.

A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to black people in those areas.

Racism has existed since the founding of this county. It still exists today. It is history…and embedded in the present culture.


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Opinion: If I Was Going To …

By George Smith  — July 14, 2021

Another-Trumpian-moment-in-history story of the day:

Former President Donald Trump says he never threatened a coup and that “if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley.”

This was in response to a report in a book that Milley feared Trump would attempt a coup after he lost his re-election bid.

Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Oh, yes, I remember!

“I didn’t molest her. But if I was going to molest someone, it wouldn’t be her, because she’s not my type.”


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Delta is here as are some of my grandchildren, so my reports will be a bit more terse. Perhaps Milton can help me out. Tomorrow, my joke will be my all time favorite!


Good morning. The Delta variant is more contagious. It does not appear to be more severe.

“…When a variant is more contagious, it leads to a rise in the number of infections, especially among the unvaccinated. When a variant is more severe, it causes worse symptoms for the average person who gets the virus and leads to a greater percentage of cases that result in hospitalization or death…journalists and some experts talk about the new variant being “worse,” “riskier” or “more dangerous” — broad concepts that muddy the difference between contagiousness and severity..Delta. It is significantly more contagious than even Alpha by almost every measure. It does not appear to be more severe, based on the data available so far.

(J. Harris: The English experience with Delta is briefly reviewed, also.)


Study Suggests Lasting Immunity After COVID-19, With a Big Boost From Vaccination

“…recovered health care workers who had received 1 dose of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna vaccines had a marked increase in neutralizing antibody levels against all 3 of these variants compared with their unvaccinated peers. “Vaccination of convalescent individuals boosted the humoral immune response [against delta] well above the threshold of neutralization… These results strongly suggest that vaccination of previously infected individuals will be most likely protective against a large array of circulating viral strains, including variant [d]elta…variants will not cause serious illness in most people who have recovered from COVID-19. Nevertheless… they should be vaccinated “because they become bulletproof when they do so…. findings suggest that the mRNA vaccine likely generates a fairly durable and broad response, although…. further evidence is needed to confirm these implications.”

[For vaccinated folks who haven’t had Covid],…“Unless COVID mutates enough to really escape the immune response…likely we will [NOT] need boosters soon…”

(J. Harris: This is a short and readable reassuring article.)


National nurses organization urges CDC to reinstate universal mask wearing

“This comes as the delta COVID-19 variant, first detected in India, fuels surges across the U.S. As of July 14, COVID-19 hospitalizations were trending upward in 31 states.’


Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in US Patients Receiving Dialysis 1 Year After the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic

(J. Harris: Most people in the United States were sero negative for Covid in January, 2021.)


1. VACCINE EFFICACY IN IMMUNOSUPPRESSED POPULATIONS The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced it will co-fund a study to assess immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in patients aged 18 or older who are immunocompromised or who take immunosuppressive medications following an organ transplant.

2. .The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant and increased clinical severity—the jury is out

(J. Harris: This is the Alpha  B.1.1.7   It not the DELTA VARIANT)


“We believe the jury is still out on whether B.1.1.7 infections are associated with increased mortality, with more time and data required.”

3. Quarter-dose of Moderna COVID Vaccine Still Rouses a Big Immune Response (Nature) Two jabs that each contained only one-quarter of the standard dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine gave rise to long-lasting protective antibodies and virus-fighting T cells, according to tests in nearly three dozen people. The results hint at the possibility of administering fractional doses to stretch limited vaccine supplies and accelerate the global immunization effort.

4.. Science & Technology 

A Covid Test as Easy as Breathing (NYT) The SpiroNose, made by the Dutch company Breathomix, is just one of many breath-based Covid-19 tests under development across the world. Scientists have long been interested in creating portable devices that can quickly and painlessly screen a person for disease simply by taking a whiff of their breath. Still, scientists say, advances in sensor technology and machine learning, combined with new research and investment spurred by the pandemic, mean that the moment for disease-detecting breathalyzers may have finally arrived.



“As the COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues, it is critical that vaccines are delivered fairly and equitably—so that everyone has access. …CommuniVax, a coalition to strengthen the community’s involvement in an equitable vaccination rollout, released a new report, Carrying Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination Forward: Guidance Informed by Communities of Color. This report provides specific guidance on adapting COVID-19 vaccination efforts to achieve greater vaccine coverage in underserved populations, and through this, to develop sustainable, locally appropriate mechanisms to advance equity in health. The report provides 5 overarching policy and practice recommendations, across two focus areas: urgently providing COVID-19 vaccines for Black and Latino communities and putting in place essential changes to provide a more robust public health system moving forward.

Read the report here


Sorry, I can’t resist this one; perhaps I have an affinity for bartenders? 


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7 things to know about the lambda COVID-19 variant


1. Public & Global Health

Officials Tighten Restrictions In Seoul Amid Another Wave Of COVID-19 Infections (NPR) Despite early successes last year in controlling the pandemic, South Korea on Friday announced it would raise restrictions in the capital region to the highest level as a fourth wave of infections is gaining speed. The country recorded 1,316 cases Friday, breaking records for a second straight day. That’s not high by international standards, but health authorities say the peak of this fourth wave of infections is likely yet to come, and barring effective countermeasures, could see case numbers nearly double. Driving the surge are residents of the greater Seoul region, accounting for four-fifths of cases, and people in their 20s and 30s, who made up 43% of confirmed cases on Thursday. Many of them frequent the capital’s eateries and night spots, and most are unvaccinated.

2. Efficacy of Portable Air Cleaners and Masking for Reducing Indoor Exposure to Simulated Exhaled SARS-CoV-2 Aerosols — United States, 2021 (CDC MMWR) A simulated infected meeting participant who was exhaling aerosols was placed in a room with two simulated uninfected participants and a simulated uninfected speaker. Using two HEPA air cleaners close to the aerosol source reduced the aerosol exposure of the uninfected participants and speaker by up to 65%. A combination of HEPA air cleaners and universal masking reduced exposure by up to 90%.

3. Government Affairs and National Security

The Rise of ‘ARPA-everything’ and What It Means for Science (Nature) US President Joe Biden’s administration wants to create a US$6.5-billion agency to accelerate innovations in health and medicine — and revealed new details about the unit last month. Dubbed ARPA-Health (ARPA-H), it is the latest in a line of global science agencies now being modelled on the renowned US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), whose work a generation ago laid the foundation for the modern Internet.  With more DARPA clones on the horizon, researchers warn that success in replicating DARPA’s hands-on, high-risk, high-reward approach is by no means assured.


A customer asked, “In what aisle can I find the Polish sausage?”

The clerk asks, “Are you Polish?

The guy, clearly offended, says, “Yes I am. But let me ask you something,

If I had asked for Italian sausage, would you ask me if I was Italian?

Or if I had asked for German Bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German?

Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish?

Or if I had asked for a Taco, would you ask if I was Mexican?

Or if I asked for some Whiskey, would you ask if I was Irish?”

The clerk says, “No, I probably wouldn’t.”

The guy says, “Well then, because I asked for Polish sausage, why did you ask me if I’m Polish?”

The clerk replied, “Because you’re in Ace Hardware.”



Who wears white and rides a pig?

Laurence of Poland


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F.D.A. Will Attach Warning of Rare Nerve Syndrome to Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to warn that Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine can lead to an increased risk of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain–Barré syndrome, another setback for a vaccine that has largely been sidelined in the United States….No link has been found between Guillain-Barré syndrome and the coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, the other two federally authorized manufacturers. Those rely on a different technology….Several thousand people — or roughly 10 out of every one million residents — develop the condition every year in the United States. Most fully recover from even the most severe symptoms, but in rare cases patients can suffer near-total paralysis….Guillain-Barré syndrome has also been linked to other vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that flu vaccines, including the 1976 swine flu vaccine, led to a small increased risk of contracting the syndrome, although some studies suggested that people are more likely to develop Guillain-Barré from the flu itself than from flu vaccines. 

(J. Harris: Rare as this complication it is, I’d rather take Moderna or Pfizer vaccines right now. The JNJ is said to have prolonged Delta coverage, however — see below). Fortunately, Buillain-Barre Syndrome is usually not fatal.)


J&J-Janssen recently announced preliminary data demonstrating its single-shot SARS-CoV-2 vaccine generates a strong immune response against all highly prevalent variants for at least 8 months, including Delta. 


MIX & MATCH VACCINES This week, Germany became one of the first countries to strongly recommend that anyone who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for their first dose should receive a dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines for their second dose.


1. Turkmenistan Makes COVID-19 Vaccination Mandatory (Reuters) Turkmenistan’s healthcare ministry said on Wednesday it was making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all residents aged 18 and over as the former Soviet region of Central Asia reported a fresh spike in new cases. Turkmenistan has reported no COVID-19 cases but introduced a number of restrictions such as setting out requirements for wearing facemasks. Turkmenistan’s healthcare ministry said in an announcement published by state media that exceptions would only be made for those with medical contraindications to inoculation. 

2. Gene Hunters Turn Up New Clues to Help Explain Why Covid-19 Hits Some People So Hard (Stat News) Over the last 15 months, more than 3,300 researchers from 25 countries have poured data from millions of people, including more than 125,000 Covid-19 patients, into the initiative, making it one of the largest gene-hunting missions in history. The international effort has revealed that an individual’s genetic inheritance can indeed influence their risk of infection and the severity of disease. On Thursday, it was reported in Nature that more than a dozen parts of the human genome were linked with either enhanced susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV-2 or severe Covid-19. The research won’t change current treatment decisions for patients, but these genetic clues may point to existing drugs that could be repurposed to help the worst-off among them.

 (J. Harris: This will be valuable and exciting information, but it will take a few years to be of much real use.)

3. CDC Data Shows Highly Transmissible Delta Variant is Now the Dominant Covid Strain in the U.S. (CNBC) The highly transmissible delta variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States, surpassing the alpha variant, according to Covid-19 modeling data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Delta, the variant that was first found in India and is now in at least 104 countries, represented 51.7% of new Covid cases in the U.S. over the two weeks ended July 3, according to recently updated estimates by the CDC.

(J. Harris: And remember, in Israel, Pfizer Vaccine Dwas less responsive against the Delta Virus in preventing illness while at the same time it did generally prevent severe illness. If Delta hits your community, get your masks out and be careful. I don’t know what this might mean for school children in the fall — probably masks?)****


Pfizer-BioNTech on July 8 announced it plans to seek authorization in the US and Europe for a third booster dose of its vaccine based on “encouraging data.”

90-year-old woman infected with UK and South African COVID-19 variants at the same time (BECKER CITED)

Autoimmunity to Annexin A2 Predicts Mortality Among Hospitalised COVID-19 Patients (European Respiratory Journal) This study investigated the possibility that COVID-19 patients have autoimmune antibodies to Annexin A2, a protective protein expressed in the lung and other organs. Since this phospholipid-binding protein is critical for fibrinolysis, lung elasticity, cell membrane repair, and integrity of the pulmonary vasculature, antagonism of Annexin A2 may explain many of the hallmark clinical features of severe COVID-19 cases. In our primary analysis of mortality among the 86 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, we found that anti-Annexin A2 antibody levels strongly predicted death after adjustment for age, sex, race, and comorbidities with an odds ratio of 9.3 per RU (CI: 1.9–44.6, p=0.005).

(J. Harris: This elegant article is readable and may explain many of the deleterious effects of Covid. People have a lung-protective protein called ANNEXIN A2. Covid can somehow produce or cause the production of a deleterious antibody(ANTI-ANNEXINA2 ANTIBODY) as a reaction or response to the Covid infection. Patients with a higher level of the antibody do less well, and when coupled with obesity, diabetes, age and other factors predictably die more often. Later on, genetics will likely be implicated in the equations as well as variants viruses and quantity of initial infections load.)


1. Milton may allow photographs but, at least for now, he prefers not to give autographs nor to make endorsements of this, that, or the other. He is considering a Facebook page. 


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1. Trinity Health mandates COVID-19 vaccine for employees at 91 hospitals

2. There is no need for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to get a booster shot at this time, the FDA and CDC said July 8.

3. ‘Lesson for all’: Delta variant tied to high ventilator demand, says Mercy CAO     (MISSOURI)

“Mercy running out of ventilators is not a management issue. It’s about how rapidly the landscape changes under the delta variant. Sicker, younger, quicker……”I believe this rapid escalation in demand for respiratory support should be a lesson for all in healthcare who have not yet experienced the delta variant…Be prepared and ensure your plan allows for quick access and delivery of additional equipment like our plan provided us.”

Covid News: Mississippi Urges Masks for Indoor Gatherings as Delta Spreads

(“…“We have seen an entire takeover of the Delta variant for our transmission,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, said Friday afternoon. The state is asking that:

All residents over 65 years of age avoid all indoor mass gatherings (regardless of vaccination status).

All residents with chronic underlying medical conditions avoid all indoor mass gatherings.

All unvaccinated residents wear a mask when indoors in public settings.

All residents 12 years of age and older receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Prison after Vaccination

In this analysis, we found that SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections were identified only rarely after vaccination in a carceral setting in Rhode Island. Thus, vaccination of staff members and incarcerated persons, along with a policy of expanded decarceration, appeared to be effective in preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. (J. Harris: Two new words.)

The C.D.C. Issues New School Guidance, With Emphasis on Full Reopening

Lay Epidemiology and Vaccine Acceptance

(J. Harris: Helpful and readable article regarding vaccine hesitancy.)


1. Mounting Evidence Suggests Sputnik COVID Vaccine is Safe and Effective (Nature) Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik, has been the subject of fascination and controversy since the Russian government authorized its use last year, before early-stage trial results were even published. Evidence from Russia and many other countries now suggests it is safe and effective — but questions remain about the quality of surveillance for possible rare side effects.

2. U.S. Donated COVID-19 Vaccines Distributed in Pakistan (Precision Vaccinations) About 2.5 million doses of Moderna (SpikeVax) COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States are being distributed by the Government of Pakistan to vaccinate priority groups across the country, in line with the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan. So far, three million people have been fully vaccinated and 13.5 million partially vaccinated in Pakistan, using vaccines that the Government procured through COVAX or bilateral agreements.

3. Science, Not Speculation, Is Essential to Determine How SARS-CoV-2 Reached Humans (Lancet) On Feb 19, 2020, we, a group of physicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, ecologists, and public health experts from around the world, joined together to express solidarity with our professional colleagues in China.1 Unsubstantiated allegations were being raised about the source of the COVID-19 outbreak and the integrity of our peers who were diligently working to learn more about the newly recognised virus, SARS-CoV-2, while struggling to care for the many patients admitted to hospital with severe illness in Wuhan and elsewhere in China.

(J. Harris: I hope these experts are correct.)



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