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Covid happenings
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #41
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

Coronavirus Cases:

168,060,453

Deaths:

3,489,062

Recovered:

149,405,064

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05-25-2021 10:53 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #42
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

A 4th COVID-19 Surge May Be Starting. How Bad Could It Get?

After more than two months of steep declines, coronavirus infections are on the rise again nationally — along with COVID-19 hospitalizations in many states.

In the past seven days, the U.S. reported slightly more than 65,000 new cases per day on average, a jump of 20% from two weeks earlier. Many states have seen even more dramatic growth, as high as 125% in Michigan, according to an NPR analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

And hospitalizations have risen for seven consecutive days in more than a dozen states, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, according to the University of Minnesota's COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project.

These signs all point to the growing threat of another significant surge in COVID-19 cases, experts say.

But there's cautious optimism that it's not likely to be as devastating as the previous wave, which saw 200,000 or more confirmed cases a day on average for most of December and early January, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

"Thanks to the rapid rollout of vaccines, I don't think we'll have a surge that is anything like what we've seen before," says Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "Still, any additional deaths at this point are tragedies, given that we have on hand vaccines that could have prevented them."

What's driving the growth in infections?

Another surge is inevitable, says epidemiologist Bill Hanage of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. But he adds that "it might not be national, not all at the same time, and the consequences will vary depending on how many people are vaccinated when it kicks off."

Indeed, the rise in cases so far isn't consistent across the country. The Midwest has seen a 58% increase in new cases over the past 14 days, while the number of cases in the Northeast has climbed by 30%. Cases in the West rose by 5% and the South shows a slight decline.

Overall, 33 states and the District of Columbia have rising cases with seven states (plus Puerto Rico) growing by more than 50%.

A host of factors are fueling the resurgence. States have been loosening restrictions, while pandemic fatigue has led to less vigilance about precautions such as mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing.

Perhaps the biggest unknown is how the rapid spread of one particular coronavirus strain may play out.

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant represents a growing share of cases in the U.S. and is likely driving the current increase, notes Hanage. The strain, which emerged in the U.K., is up to 50% more infectious, and new research suggests it's more likely to result in serious illness and death as well.

Hospitalizations are another sign of how the surge is ramping up. The growth over the past week or so is the first time since the winter surge that hospitalizations appear to be rising: 10 states experienced spikes of 10% or more; four states — Michigan, South Dakota, Connecticut and Maryland — saw rises of about 15% or more, according to the University of Minnesota's COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project.

"A matter of choice"

For now, there's still plenty of reason for hope. The vaccine rollout is happening fast, though unevenly. So far, about 17% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated.

And the vaccines appear to be effective at preventing severe illness and death from all the strains currently circulating, including the B.1.1.7 variant, Hanage told NPR's All Things Considered. So it's a race to get people vaccinated before the fast-spreading variant can take over.

There are two more positive factors to consider: the warming weather and existing immunity from previous infections, says Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at the University of Florida.

The fact that a lot of people have been infected naturally — during the last surge and even earlier — "will help take the edge off a bit of what potentially can happen in the future," she explains. "And the fact that we're moving out of the winter months into the spring, all of those things are working to our advantage."

Still, Harvard epidemiologist Hanage notes that it's important to pay attention to high-risk groups who may not be getting vaccinated as quickly.

"It doesn't take a large number of infections in the most vulnerable groups to cause serious problems," he told NPR.

Researchers NPR spoke to all cautioned that public policy and Americans' behavior can still make a huge difference in how bad this next surge will be.

Alessandro Vespignani, a disease modeler at Northeastern University in Boston, warns that relaxing measures like social distancing now could turn this into a bigger surge. Instead, he says, we need more time for the vaccination campaign to roll out.

"We really need to keep fighting for a few weeks," he says. "We see that light at the end of the tunnel and it's just a matter of keeping things together for a few more weeks. It's a matter of choice at this point."

How long will this surge last?

Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, says he's concerned about the next four to six weeks, but he expects that "once we get further into May, things will stabilize and start getting better."

The COVID-19 forecasting team at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab says they see signs that the new surge won't be as prolonged as winter's. In this week's forecasting update, they estimate cases in several Michigan cities may soon reach a spring peak, and they forecast the New York City region may also be stabilizing.

Other experts say a surge could last until June and that there's a chance it could be quite severe.

Nicholas Reich, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says he "would be surprised but not shocked" if the surge did in fact rise to the levels seen in winter. Right now, he says, Michigan at least "is headed in that direction with scary velocity."

Though this resurgence of COVID-19 isn't generally expected to be as bad as the winter wave, experts repeatedly urge that now is not the time to relax.

Earlier this week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that despite the positive momentum, she described feeling a sense of "impending doom" as the number of cases climbs.

"It will be critical for individuals to commit to masking and keeping gatherings small to protect communities in the coming weeks," says Lauren Walens, strategic operations and communications director of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's PolicyLab.

Melissa Nolan, a professor of epidemiology at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, says the current uptick could in fact be followed by yet another flare-up in cases this summer.

"Our models are suggesting June as another peak, approximately a quarter the size of last summer's," she says, as a result of adults and children who remain unvaccinated.

Indeed, the trajectory and duration of the surge will depend a lot on how quickly people get vaccinated and what Americans — and their state and local governments — do in the meantime.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shot...uld-it-get

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06-06-2021 11:56 AM
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MM Offline
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Post: #43
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

The problem is that total cases are reported. These are cases include:

People with no symptoms and forced to be tested for work
People who have mild symptoms and recover
People admitted to hospital for unrelated issues
People who are sick enough to require medical treatment and recover
People who die from covid.

I am only interested in the last two categories.
06-06-2021 10:25 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #44
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

Health officials are pouring their effort into convincing those still hesitant to get vaccinated against Covid-19, but none of the strategies appear to be a "Hail Mary pass" to get the US to reach President Joe Biden's vaccination goal and curb spreading variants.

"I just don't know if there's something out there that we're not doing that for sure will get us over the score line," Dr. Marcus Plescia, the Chief Medical Officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials told CNN. "That's the problem -- we're doing all the things that we know can be effective, but it's just allowing us to maintain this steady state, when what we really need to do is bump the demand back up."
Biden set a goal earlier this year for 70% of American adults to have received at least one dose of vaccine by July 4. Although the country is getting close, with 65.4% of adults having received at least one dose, demand and vaccination rates have declined, leaving experts to worry if enough of the population will be vaccinated in time to curb fall and winter surges.

Low vaccination rates are dangerous when combined with the spread of variants like Delta, which is believed to be more transmissible and cause more serious illness. Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth, a healthcare system in Springfield, Missouri, told CNN the combination is to blame for a six-fold increase in hospitalizations in his system.

"I think it is the Delta variant and there is a lot of kindling with low vaccination rates, so it's spreading very rapidly," Edwards said. "Almost all of our cases are unvaccinated people that, in my opinion, have put themselves in harm's way during this pandemic."
Fortunately, Plescia said, there are tactics underway to encourage vaccinations that have seen success. Some states, such as Colorado, are making a final push by calling unvaccinated people directly to provide them with information and help schedule appointments. Incentives -- from the big ones like million-dollar lotteries to free tickets to the zoo or food coupons -- have also worked, Plescia said.

A strategy Plescia and other experts have supported recently is a transition from mass vaccination efforts to local provider's offices -- a plan that moves slowly but can be effective, he said.
"We do anticipate that this is going to be an important function of public health for quite some time," Plescia said.


Many officials have turned their vaccination attention to young adults -- a population that is low in both vaccination rates and the desire to be vaccinated, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies show.
"High vaccination coverage among all age groups is important for decreasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, especially among groups with lower vaccination uptake, such as young adults," the authors of a study published Monday wrote.
If the weekly pace of vaccinations continues at the rate from the week of May 22, only 57.5% of adults under the age of 30 will have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of August.
More than 71% of those between 30 and 49 years would have been vaccinated with at least one dose by the same time, as well as nearly 86% of adults 50 to 64 years old and nearly 95% of seniors 65 and older, the study found.

Only about half of adults under the age of 30 said they had been vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated, another CDC study found, less than those between 30 and 34 years (55%) and those 35 to 39 years (53%).
The authors of the study said that "a desire to protect others and resume social activities were motivators to get vaccinated, suggesting that messages emphasizing that vaccination would allow them to resume social activities and encouraging vaccination for the greater good might be effective."

Along with increasing vaccinations have come more reopenings and more social gatherings, including weddings, birthday and holiday celebrations.

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06-23-2021 12:08 AM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #45
RE: Covid happenings
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Tokyo Olympics hit by rising Covid cases and scandals days before opening

Games beset by rape allegation and bullying claims as athletes and officials forced to self-isolate

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07-19-2021 11:48 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #46
RE: Covid happenings
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With less than a week before the opening ceremonies begin at this year's Tokyo games, at least two players on the South African soccer team have tested positive for COVID-19 inside the Olympic Village.

The two players, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, are the first athletes to test positive for the coronavirus at the site of the Olympic Village in the Japanese capital. A video analyst for the team, Mario Masha, also tested positive.

All three have been isolated, along with those who were in close contact with them.

Organizers for the games did not name the athletes, but said they were "non-Japanese." Their test results were confirmed by the South African Football Association.
In a statement, the association said the team has "followed all relevant Olympic Playbook rules, protocols and procedures throughout the pre-Games and Games arrival routines."

The association also noted that the rest of the team has tested negative.



https://www.npr.org/2021/07/18/101760682...ic-village

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(This post was last modified: 07-19-2021 11:53 PM by skyblue1.)
07-19-2021 11:49 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #47
RE: Covid happenings
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Tokyo — With just four days to go until the opening ceremony, the COVID-19 pandemic is casting an ever longer shadow over the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Officials have reported at least 12 new coronavirus cases connected with the Games since Sunday, including a U.S. gymnast and the first cases among athletes inside the Olympic village.


Several of the latest COVID-related losses will be felt sorely by Team USA.

On Monday, the Japanese city hosting the U.S. gymnastics team for pre-Games training said a female gymnast from the team had tested positive. The name of the athlete, who is in her teens, has been withheld by the city of Inzai, in Chiba Prefecture, where she had been training.

In a statement released on Monday, USA Gymnastics confirmed that a replacement athlete for the women's artistic gymnastics team had tested positive and that "the local government determined that the affected replacement athlete and one other replacement athlete would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions."

Accordingly, on Monday, the Olympic athletes moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility, as originally planned, and will continue their preparation for the Games," the team said.

While several athletes from overseas have tested positive for the virus since arriving in Japan, the gymnast was the first known COVID-19 case among Olympians from the United States. Another U.S. gymnast was isolating in her hotel room after health authorities determined that they had been in close contact with the young woman who tested positive.


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-olympic-...ronavirus/

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07-19-2021 11:52 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #48
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

New delta variant studies show the pandemic is far from over
A widespread return to COVID-19 restrictions could be on the horizon

The coronavirus’s delta variant is different from earlier strains of the virus in worrying ways, health officials are discovering. And those differences may mean a return to some of the restrictions that vaccinated people thought were in the past.

The variant is not only more contagious than earlier strains, it also makes people sicker. And even vaccinated people can get infected and house similar levels of viral particles in their noses as unvaccinated people, raising concern about the vaccines’ ability to curb transmission, new data indicate. But experts caution that there’s more to infectiousness than just those viral levels in the nose.

Here are five things to know about the new delta data:

1. Vaccinated people can get infected with delta, but the vaccines are still working.
Some 350 of about 470 people, nearly 75 percent, who caught the coronavirus in a large outbreak in Barnstable County, Mass., were fully vaccinated, researchers report July 30 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Public health officials linked many of those cases to packed indoor and outdoor events at places like bars and rental homes. The delta variant, which was first identified in India, was behind 120 of 133 analyzed COVID-19 cases, or 90 percent, in the outbreak.

But while it may sound like the vaccines didn’t do their job, the high proportion of cases in vaccinated people may be because of the county’s high vaccination rate, the researchers say; as of July 3, 70 percent of those eligible in Barnstable County are vaccinated. As more people in a community get vaccinated, the likelihood that someone who tests positive for the coronavirus has protection from the shots also goes up. That’s simply because the vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective.

Sign up for e-mail updates on the latest coronavirus news and research
Crucially, COVID-19 shots still protected vaccinated people from severe disease. While five people were hospitalized, including one unvaccinated person, as of July 27, no one had died.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35,000 of the 162 million vaccinated people in the United States will develop a symptomatic infection every week. That’s about 21 COVID-19 cases in every 100,000 fully vaccinated people getting sick each week. That compares with about 179 infections among every 100,000 unvaccinated people per week.

As for hospitalization, two to three unvaccinated people out of every 100,000 will be hospitalized weekly with COVID-19 and roughly one person per 100,000 will die each week, according to CDC’s calculations. That’s about 25 times the number of fully vaccinated people facing the same fate. Among the fully vaccinated, 0.1 of 100,000 people will be hospitalized weekly and 0.04 per 100,000 will die each week.

2. Vaccinated people might more readily transmit delta to others, but there’s a huge caveat to that.
In that Massachusetts study, both unvaccinated and vaccinated people infected with the delta variant had similar levels of coronavirus genetic material in their noses, as measured by PCR, suggesting similar viral loads. Those elevated viral loads could mean that vaccinated people might more readily transmit delta than other coronavirus variants, despite being protected from the worst of COVID-19 themselves.

That “concerning” finding underpinned the agency’s recommendation from earlier in the week that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in certain instances, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a July 30 statement (SN: 7/27/21).

But this finding comes with major caveats. The result “just gives you an indication of how much viral RNA is in the sample, it tells you nothing about infectiousness,” says Susan Butler-Wu, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Southern California. These data “are a cause for concern, but this is not a definitive answer on transmissibility” from vaccinated people, she says.

When a vaccinated person gets infected and becomes symptomatic, “we already knew that they’d have higher viral loads,” Butler-Wu says. But the immune response jump-started by the vaccine may hamstring many of those viral particles.

“Many of these viral particles are likely coated in antibodies,” says Brett Lindenbach, a virologist at Yale University, meaning the viral particles “should be less infectious.”

The delta variant may spread more easily from vaccinated people than earlier variants, he says, but definitively demonstrating that would require detailed studies that document transmission events from vaccinated people to others. Still, both Lindenbach and Butler-Wu say that mask wearing, for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, can help slow the spread of the delta variant.

3. The delta variant can actually make people sicker.
Three recent studies in Canada, Singapore and Scotland indicate that the variant raises the risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit admissions and death.

In Canada, epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto analyzed data from the province of Ontario to see if different coronavirus variants made people sicker. She and colleague David Fisman had information about who got infected and what the outcome of the infection was. Even after accounting for vaccination, age and underlying health conditions, the delta variant carried a 120 percent increased risk of hospitalization, 287 percent increased risk of ICU admission and 137 percent increased risk of death, the researchers report July 12 at medRxiv.org. “And that’s on top of what we see with alpha,” Tuite says.

In Singapore, a preliminary study in the Lancet posted June 7 to the preprint server SSRN found that the delta variant nearly doubles the risk of pneumonia compared with earlier strains and carries an increased risk of needing supplemental oxygen, being admitted to the ICU and dying.

Those preliminary data haven’t been reviewed by other scientists yet, but agree with data published in the Lancet June 14 from a study in Scotland. There, researchers found that the delta variant doubles the risk of hospitalization compared with the alpha variant.

There is evidence that the vaccines work slightly less well against the delta variant than they did against earlier strains. Still, vaccination reduces the risk of these serious complications. Vaccines are like using an extinguisher on a kitchen fire, says Paul Offit, director of vaccine education at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The goal is to keep the rest of the house from burning down.” The virus can enter cells in the nose, throat and lungs and start to replicate there, “so you can have an asymptomatic infection or a mild disease,” Offit says.

But then, a vaccinated person’s immune system will kick in after a couple of days and prevent the infection from causing more severe disease, he says. “It’s easier to prevent moderate to severe disease than it is to prevent mild disease.”

4. Delta is much more transmissible than previous forms of the coronavirus.
An unvaccinated person infected with the ancestral version of the virus that first emerged at the end of 2019 typically transmitted the virus to two to four people on average.

Someone infected with the delta variant, however, might pass the virus on to five to 10 others on average. That’s nearly on par with the contagiousness of chicken pox, internal CDC documents first obtained and published by the Washington Post show.

5. Public health measures like vaccination and masks remain crucial tools.
The CDC recommended a return to masking, because it is one of the most effective tools to prevent infection.

N95 masks are effective in all settings, but surgical masks fare best when the concentration of viruses in the air is low, an international group of researchers calculated in a June 25 Science study. And their calculations suggest the masks work best against both getting an infection and spreading it when everyone is wearing a mask. And well-fitting masks protect better than ones that have gaps at the top or sides, previous studies have demonstrated (SN: 2/12/21).

Three-layer cotton cloth masks are also effective, researchers reported July 2 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers tested how many stand-ins for virus-carrying aerosol particles mannequin heads “breathed” with and without cotton masks. If all the dummies wore masks, the combined concentration of aerosol particles in the air was 72 percent lower than the number of airborne particles when none of the mannequins were masked.

Combining masks with proper ventilation and filtration may be even more helpful (SN: 5/18/21). In the mannequin study, researchers also placed two HEPA filters in various locations around the room. HEPA filtration cut exposure to airborne particles by 65 percent compared with no filtration and no masks. When all the mannequins were masked and the HEPA filters were on, the average particle concentration was reduced 90 percent.


https://www.sciencenews.org/article/delt...d-pandemic

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08-03-2021 09:20 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #49
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

bump

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08-04-2021 07:33 PM
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skyblue1 Offline
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Post: #50
RE: Covid happenings
Hello world!

resurge in covid cases

largest numbers since January

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08-05-2021 08:42 PM
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