February 25, 2021

Dr. Stuart Weiss: COVID-19 Update Tuesday 9-Feb-2021

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By Dr. Stuart Weiss, Intelligent Crowd Solutions – Rapid Test Center of

Rapid Test Center of New York
Dr. Stuart Weiss, FACEP, FAAP, CBCP

February 9, 2021

CoViD-19 News and Information you can trust. Welcome new readers from the Rapid Test Center.

Topics: So where are we?

New Testing Centers coming soon: We are close to opening testing centers in Chelsea in Manhattan and Westchester County.

Tonight, I want to continue with my “So Where Are We” theme. Yesterday, we discussed variants. Today, I have a few more topics.

So where are we with vaccinations?

The CDC reported today that 62.8 million doses of vaccine have been delivered to states and 43.2 million doses have been administered. 32.9 million people have received 1 or more doses (about 10% of our population) and 9.8 million people have received 2 doses (about 3%). All states have given more than 11,000 doses per 100K people except for Alabama, Missouri and Kansas. Slightly more Pfizer vaccine has been administered than Moderna but they are pretty close numbers. Here is the CDC site with vaccine numbers: Here

If we look at Israel, the number 2 country for vaccinating their population (after UAE) with almost 60% of their adults receiving at least one vaccination, they began to see a significant fall in new cases when they reached around 30% of their population vaccinated. We have a ways to go.

A reader today sent me a question about whether vaccines can prevent spread of CoViD-19. That question is still unanswered and people are studying it. In a study from Israel posted online yesterday, they looked a viral load in previously vaccinated individuals. These people had been vaccinated and then tested positive for CoViD-19. They found a significant decrease in viral load in infected people who had been previously vaccinated. Having lower viral loads give our immune system a chance to fight off the virus and also give physicians a chance to treat a sick person before the virus completely overwhelms someone. This is consistent with finding that even with South African variants where vaccines are less effective, at least one vaccine trial showed no severe illness or death. Lower viral loads may also correlate with lower transmissibility rates but that is not entirely clear yet.

South Africa has stopped the distribution of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine after clinical trial data showed poor efficacy against the South African B.1.351 variant. Based on a small study of patients, they estimated only a 22% efficacy.

Lastly, Moderna is developing a booster shot that should cover the South African B.1.351 variant and hopes to have it out within 3 months (more likely 6 months).

Where Are We In Understanding The SARS–CoV-2 Virus?

The WHO investigations team presented their initial assessment today at a press conference after a site visit in China that began on January 14th. They have visited the Wuhan Lab and the Huanan seafood market among other places. The team concluded that a laboratory release of the virus was “extremely unlikely”. They claim that their investigation points more to an animal transmission to humans through an intermediate host. They are still talking about bats and pangolins.

Several of my friends who have worked with viruses and biosecurity have told me that they possibly see some evidence of virus genetic manipulation in SARS-CoV-2 typically done in a lab during study of a virus. When studying viruses, labs will often induce changes to see what effect those changes have on the virus and its life cycle. No one I’ve talked to thinks that this was intentional release of an altered virus but there is still quiet speculation that this could have been a lab accident. So I am not 100% convinced by the WHO findings yet. Lets see what their final report says.

In an interesting piece from NPR, (HERE), they discuss a patient who has a immune supressing disease and had active CoViD-19 for 154 days. Throughout his illness, which eventually killed him, the researchers sequenced his viral samples. They were shocked by the huge number of mutations that occurred within the man’s body. Some of the mutations were similar to those seen in the UK and South African variants and helped the virus bind more tightly to human cells and evade the immune system. They came up with the theory that new variants may have developed inside immune suppressed people where the virus has plenty of opportunity to try out different mutations to come up with more successful versions of itself. The UK version is thought to have occured this way. This process is happening right now in immune suppressed people around the world giving the virus a living laboratory to try out new mutations. It is only a matter of time until it mutates again and gains more survival traits. I am pleased that here in New York State, eligibility for vaccine has been opened up to people with illnesses that suppress their immune systems. 

Take care of yourself and get yourself vaccinated, if your eligible, so we can get through this together.

Dr. Stu Weiss
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COVID-19 HEADLINES FOR TODAY

Coronavirus update for February 9, 2021

World Wide Updates

France extends state of health emergency until June as country’s death toll tops 80,000
WHO expert says first Covid-19 cases from Huanan seafood market were likely infected around early December or late November 2019
Canada eases some COVID-19 restrictions but further locks down its international borders
Hungary to become first EU country to roll out Russia’s Sputnik vaccine this week
It may take years to figure out how Covid-19 emerged, WHO doctor in Wuhan says
Bad news for AstraZeneca’s vaccine is a roadblock on the way out of the pandemic
Austria to introduce mandatory negative test for anyone travelling out of state of Tyrol
People who lie on passenger locator forms will face up to 10 years imprisonment under new border rules, says UK Health Secretary
“No substantial circulation of Covid in Wuhan before the late 2019 outbreak,” Chinese health official says
New data suggest Russia’s Covid-19 death toll in 2020 among highest in the world
Peru becomes the first Latin American country to roll out the Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm
Athletes to be tested for Covid-19 at least every four days at Tokyo Olympics
Chinese health official says Hunan market might not be the first place of the Covid-19 outbreak
Over 45% of deaths in England and Wales were Covid-19 related in the last week of January
Covid-19 transmission is low in daycare centers that take the right precautions, study suggests
1 in 3 Covid-19 patients put on a ventilator experience “extensive” PTSD symptoms, UK research shows
Vaccinations begin in Iran, with the health minister’s son the first Iranian to receive the shot
WHO says an “intermediary host species” is most likely how Covid-19 was introduced to humans
Chief Investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial says the South Africa study not surprising
Germany edges closer to coronavirus goal — but variants pose a new threat
Iran begins rolling out Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine
130 Hong Kong students put into quarantine after 2 classmates test positive for Covid-19
Peru’s coronavirus vaccine rollout begins Tuesday
China Health official says that experts failed to identify SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in China 
Pfizer says it has increased production to double coronavirus vaccine output
French nun, world’s second-oldest person, beats COVID and is ready to celebrate 117th birthday
Greece imposes stricter measures on Athens region
Spain passes 3 million coronavirus cases
Growing restrictions in Sweden over virus
Total Cases Worldwide: 107,338,664
Total Deaths Worldwide: 2,347,416
Total Recovered: 79,372,711

US Updates

California sees lowest daily case increase in nearly three months
Federal judge issues a permanent injunction on Covid-19 capacity limits for houses of worship in New York
Americans’ perceived risk from the pandemic is lower than any time since October, poll finds
US considers mobile vaccination centers to tackle “undersupply” of shots, White House adviser says
40 hospitals across Washington state may have received counterfeit N95 masks, officials say
It’s very risky for states to ease Covid-19 restrictions now, experts warn
US reports more than 86,000 new Covid-19 cases
FDA needs strong agenda to address US drug supply shortages, candidate for top job says
Los Angeles County is only offering second doses of Covid-19 vaccine due to shortage
US considers Covid-19 testing requirement for domestic air travel
US ramping up Covid-19 genome sequencing to track variants, CDC director says
New York City will start vaccinating residents with underlying conditions next week
Americans cannot drop their guard on coronavirus yet, White House Covid-19 adviser says
9-year-old girl dies three days after testing positive for COVID
Former Wisconsin pharmacist pleads guilty to vaccine tampering
California set to top New York as state with most COVID deaths
Walgreens executive says vaccines will be widely available in the spring
NY lawmakers pitch bill requiring state COVID websites offer translations
Total US cases: 27,775,227
Total US deaths: 478,815
Total Recovered: 17,600,422
Total Tested in US: 321,856,938
Total cases in CA: 3,422,059
Total deaths in CA: 44,584
Total cases in TX: 2,518,785
Total deaths in TX: 40,024
Total cases in FL: 1,790,743
Total deaths in FL: 28,052
Total cases in NY: 1,532,619
Total deaths in NY: 45,270
Total cases in IL: 1,150,170
Total deaths in IL: 21,802

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