April 17, 2021

Dr. Stuart Weiss: COVID-19 Update Wednesday 31-Mar-2021

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By Dr. Stuart Weiss, Intelligent Crowd Solutions

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

March 31, 2021

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

Topics: Entering 4th Wave, Indoor Spaces

A Fourth Wave

It looks like we are firmly entering a fourth wave here in the US and the world is definitely getting worse. Lets look at why I say that:
1. Here in the US, the 14 day average of new cases is up again. Now it is up 20% over the past two weeks
2. Outbreaks in the Northeast and Upper Midwest continue to grow
3. According to the NY Times, 37 states have either high number of new cases and are staying high or lower number of new cases and rising.
4. The number of hospitalizations over the past two weeks is now flat instead of falling.
5. Deaths are still falling but that is a lagging indicator that may lag behind hospitalizations by a few weeks.

We have several factors working against us at the moment:
1. Governors are relaxing CoViD-19 restrictions even in places where cases are rising
2. The B.1.1.7 variants is continuing to gain strength towards becoming the dominant variant
3. All the spring break young people are returning home and bringing CoViD-19 with them and people in general are traveling more.

Now lets talk about the world. Remember, a new variant anywhere is a new variant everywhere in just a few short weeks. If an escape variant happens anywhere on the planet it will spread everywhere quickly.
1. The 14 day rolling average of new cases in the world is up 32%. This is the fifth week in a row that case numbers have risen
2. The 14 day rolling average of deaths is up 16%. This is the second week in a row that deaths have risen worldwide.
3. The five countries reporting the most cases were Brazil, The US, India, France and Poland. India reported a 55% increase in new cases. In South America, the end of the summer season is now leading to increasing cases across many parts of South America with some countries experiencing their worst outbreaks.
4. Variants are spreading across many countries. The B.1.1.7 (UK) variant is in 130 countries. The B.1.351 (South African) increased in 5 countries to 80 countries and the P.1 (Brazilian) variant is in 45 countries. Remember that while the B.1.1.7 is more contagious, the vaccine work well against it. That is not the case with the other variants.

Lastly, the UN COVAX program that was supposed to ensure that vaccine was spread to all countries is not working. Many poor countries do not have vaccine and may not have it for months or years.

Here is the bottom line. This virus is here to stay for a while, essentially years to come. We may get a handle on this in the US with people vaccinated but it will still be spreading in other parts of the world. We will most likely need booster shots as new variants develop.

The question for the short term is how bad will it get in the US over the next few weeks. Will we have a sharp spike in new cases and end up back in the bad days of last year or will we escape that due to our vaccine programs. We will see over the next 3-4 weeks.

Indoor Spaces

Indoor spaces still remain the most dangerous places to be. There is a good article in Nature magazine outlining the dangers of poor indoor ventilation. One of the researchers went around with a portable CO2 (carbon dioxide) detector. The level of CO2 in a room is a good indicator for air quality. Because we breath out CO2 when we exhale, if it builds up, then the room has poor ventilation. Outside, a normal value is 250-400 parts per million (ppm). Air with 1000 ppm is considered poor quality. At 2000 ppm you get headaches, sleepiness, loss of concentration, maybe some nausea. The researcher found several seemingly nice looking indoor spaces that had 2000 ppm of CO2. High CO2 means poor air exchanges and higher risk for CoViD-19 to spread. Remember that the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread via respiratory droplets and aerosol particles which can float in the air for many feet in a poorly ventilated space.

Here is the problem. We are spending huge sums of money disinfecting surfaces when surface contact is not a main way this disease spreads. We are not spending money to fix the main problem, aerosol spread. Just as CO2 can build up, aerosol particles with virus in it can build up as well. Unfortunately, there are no air standards yet although the World Health Organization put out a guide to indoor spaces on March 1st.

While there is no standard, if you are concerned about your indoor spaces, get a cheap CO2 monitor and measure the ppm levels. See if they are 250-400 ppm.

When you are eligible, get your self vaccinated so we can get through this together.

Dr. Stu Weiss
iCrowd.com website
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Coronavirus update for March 31, 2021

World Wide Updates

French President calls for another national lockdown as Covid-19 cases surge
Chinese city on border with Myanmar goes into lockdown
Yemen receives first Covid-19 vaccines as infections surge
European Union regulator stands behind use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine
Austria likely to order 1 million Sputnik V vaccines “as early as next week”
Iraq reports highest number of daily Covid-19 cases since start of pandemic
Chinese scientist calls for wider investigation into the Covid-19 origin
Pfizer says it has met its end-of-March commitment of 120 million doses ready to ship to US
Brazil detects new Covid variant similar to South African one
Cuba reports record number of Covid-19 cases
German city of Hamburg orders overnight curfew to control spread of coronavirus
AstraZeneca vaccine safe and effective, WHO official reiterates after Germany decision 
Spain is seeing a clear and slow increase in Covid-19 cases, health minister warns
Pfizer will produce ready-to-use Covid-19 vaccine in second half of 2021, executive says
Russia registers world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for animals
US and Germany are the biggest investors in Covid-19 vaccine research and development
French President Macron under pressure to lock down as Covid-19 hospitalizations soar
Hungary reports record number of COVID deaths despite high vaccination rates
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 100% effective in 12-15 year olds, clinical trial results show  
China accuses US of “political manipulation” and lashes out at countries that criticized WHO report
UK minister says AstraZeneca’s shot is “safe” as Germany limits its use as a precautionary measure
India’s Covid-19 surge has gone from “bad to worse,” health official says
Italy makes coronavirus vaccines mandatory for health care workers 
China accused of withholding data from WHO coronavirus origins investigation in Wuhan
France announces new COVID-19 lockdown with 3-week nationwide school closure and domestic travel ban
Brazil records almost 58,000 deaths in a month
Finland withdraws Covid lockdown plan after it was deemed unconstitutional 
Sweden postpones easing of some Covid curbs amid third wave
Total Cases Worldwide: 129,384,230
Total Deaths Worldwide: 2,825,926
Total Recovered: 104,261,701

US Updates

Kentucky will open vaccine eligibility to people 16 and older next week
White House announces 3 more mass vaccination sites
Nursing homes see a 96% decline in Covid-19 cases since vaccines rolled out in late December
Trial of Moderna’s variant-specific Covid-19 vaccine has begun, US health institute says
Johnson & Johnson says it met goal to deliver 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to US government by March
Michigan plant packaging Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets OK to work in Europe 
University of Pittsburgh orders shelter-in-place for all students due to rising Covid-19 cases
CDC ensemble forecast estimates a decline in projected deaths by April 24
About 1 in 6 US residents are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, CDC data shows
CDC releases new Covid-19 guidance for adult day service centers
White House pleads with governors and mayors to maintain or reinstate mask mandates to “save lives”
New York City has administered 4 million Covid-19 vaccinations, mayor says
US watchdog calls for greater transparency on coronavirus data from government agencies
Delta will resume selling middle seats on May 1 as US travel industry retires many pandemic-era practices
Michigan governor says “high proportion” of Covid-19 variants contributing to state’s growing case numbers 
More than 12,000 cases of variants have been reported in the US
Pfizer trial data likely a “green light” to vaccinate kids aged 12 to 15 in the US, expert says
White House says Americans deserve “better information” as allies criticize WHO coronavirus report
CDC warned the UK variant would become dominant by March, and there’s evidence it has
Oakland Zoo to begin vaccinating animals most at risk for COVID this summer
Total US cases: 31,151,843
Total US deaths: 564,901
Total Recovered: 23,663,377
Total Tested in US: 391,114,976
Total cases in CA: 3,666,748
Total deaths in CA: 58,789
Total cases in TX: 2,792,858
Total deaths in TX: 48,479
Total cases in FL: 2,057,735
Total deaths in FL: 33,450
Total cases in NY: 1,913,677
Total deaths in NY: 50,584
Total cases in IL: 1,244,585
Total deaths in IL: 23,579
Total cases in GA: 1,059,548
Total death in GA: 19,055
Total Vaccines Administered in US: 150,273,292
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