Monday, August 30, 2021

What Does the Delta Variant Mean for Kids and Covid? | WIRED

What Does the Delta Variant Mean for Kids and Covid? | WIRED

The much bigger problem is how fast Delta moves through an unvaccinated population, Fisman adds. Say that the variant’s arrival means doubling the hospitalization rate for kids with Covid—less than 1 percent of cases in children under 18 before Delta’s arrival, according to the CDC. That’s still a relatively small number. But with a virus now transmitting at a more aggressive clip, the growing denominator—the total number of cases—becomes meaningful. “That means those rare events happen in greater numbers,” Fisman says. “That’s the big worry.”

Evidence mounts that people with breakthrough infections can spread Delta easily

Evidence mounts that people with breakthrough infections can spread Delta easily

Even if you're vaccinated, you can carry the virus to young children and the immunocompromised, potentially killing people.  Let's say there's a healthy person who chose to not get vaccinated because they occupy what I call an "Information Sewer."  Are you so angry at that person's willful ignorance that you're willing to sentence them to death?

A preliminary study has shown that in the case of a breakthrough infection, the Delta variant is able to grow in the noses of vaccinated people to the same degree as if they were not vaccinated at all. The virus that grows is just as infectious as that in unvaccinated people, meaning vaccinated people can transmit the virus and infect others.

What Does the Delta Variant Mean for Kids and Covid? | WIRED

What Does the Delta Variant Mean for Kids and Covid? | WIRED

The largest group is little kids, those under 12, because no vaccine has been authorized for them. But the picture doesn’t get much better in older children. Only a third of kids aged 12 to 15 in the US are fully vaccinated, according to figures gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the figure remains below average for people in their late teens and twenties. So it’s little surprise that 22 percent of the US cases reported in the third week of August, 180,000 in all, were diagnosed in children, up from a 14 percent share overall since the pandemic began. That weekly number is double what it was at the beginning of the month, and that’s putting strain on pediatric units across the US, especially in places where the highly transmissible Delta variant is raging.

Another good reason to mask up.  You're hurting children.  If you're not masking and distancing, you're hurting children and the immunocompromised.  You're choosing to hurt them. 

In NYC the vaccine effectiveness has dropped from 93% to 79%. Wear a mask.

New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Among Adults, by Vaccination Status — New York, May 3–July 25, 2021

During May 3–July 25, 2021, the overall age-adjusted vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization in New York was relatively stable (91.9%–95.3%). The overall age-adjusted vaccine effectiveness against infection for all New York adults declined from 91.7% to 79.8%.

Some of the breakthrough cases are particularly nasty.  Masking, social distancing, handwashing--all the stuff we learned during the first round applies now.  Do it for the immunocompromised.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

New COVID variant detected in South Africa, most mutated variant so far - The Jerusalem Post

New COVID variant detected in South Africa, most mutated variant so far - The Jerusalem Post: The study also found that the C.1.2 lineage has a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year, which is nearly twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of the other variants. The scientists stated that this short period of increased evolution was also seen with the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants, suggesting that a single event, followed by a spike in cases, drove faster mutation rates.

I honestly don't know what to think of this.  

Friday, August 27, 2021

Many Older Americans Still Aren’t Vaccinated

Many Older Americans Still Aren’t Vaccines: The Delta variant has hit many areas with clusters of vulnerable seniors particularly hard. Low elderly vaccination rates in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada have coincided with surging rates of hospitalization and death.

The data visualization in this article is impressive.



Delta Air Lines really doesn’t want to call the delta variant the ‘delta variant’

Delta Air Lines really doesn’t want to call the delta variant the ‘delta variant':
Most haven’t stuck around long enough, or wreaked enough havoc, to become household names. Delta — unfortunately for Delta — was different. The variant accounted for 93.4 percent of new infections in the United States by the end of July.

In his note Wednesday, Bastian also referred to “the most recent virus variants” and simply “the variant” — the term he told the Wall Street Journal he preferred to use last month. His message said that employees who do not get vaccinated will have to be tested weekly and pay a $200 monthly insurance surcharge.

Delta’s rise is fuelled by rampant spread from people who feel fine

Delta’s rise is fuelled by rampant spread from people who feel fine:

Cowling and his colleagues analysed exhaustive test data from 101 people in Guangdong who were infected with Delta between May and June this year, and data from those individuals’ close contacts. They found that, on average, people began having symptoms 5.8 days after infection with Delta — 1.8 days after they first tested positive for viral RNA. That left almost two days for individuals to shed viral RNA before they showed any sign of COVID-19.

And yet my school doesn't require masks.  Ugh.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Highly Vaccinated Israel Is Seeing A Dramatic Surge In New Cases : Goats and Soda : NPR

Highly Vaccinated Israel Is Seeing A Dramatic Surge In New Cases : Goats and Soda : NPR: After reviewing data on breakthrough infections in Israel, the U.S. announced a booster shot campaign beginning in late September for anyone eight months after their second shot. The U.K. has promised boosters soon, and Turkey is offering Pfizer shots to those immunized with the Sinovac vaccine to help citizens planning to travel, since some countries will not recognize the Chinese vaccine. Israel has lowered the minimum age for boosters to 40. "The triple dose is the solution to curbing the current infection outbreak," Anat Ekka Zohar of Maccabi said in a statement. Boosters are not being offered in the Palestinian territories yet, and the World Health Organization has called on countries to stop giving COVID-19 booster shots in order to help poorer countries get vaccinated.

Vaccination is the answer.  Distancing is the answer.  Everything is fluid, and the uncertainty is exhausting.  I guess we will all either learn to get comfortable with chaos or develop chronic addiictions to food, drugs or Netflix to numb the anxiety.

How The US is Getting a Crash Course in Scientific Uncertainty Due to the Pandemic - The New York Times

How The US is Getting a Crash Course in Scientific Uncertainty Due to the Pandemic - The New York Times:

Federal agencies have an unenviable task: Creating guidelines needed to live with an unfamiliar and rapidly spreading virus. But health officials have not acknowledged clearly or often enough that their recommendations may — and very probably would — change as the virus, and their knowledge of it, evolved.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, it’s been a piss-poor job, to say it in the nicest way,” said Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard.
Leaders in the United States and Britain have promised too much too soon, and have had to backtrack. Health officials have failed to frame changing advice as necessary when scientists learn more about the virus.

Let's watch as the entire country discovers that science is a sloppy mess, and that authority is slowly constructed over time, like a Jenga tower.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Delta Variant requires a higher quality mask

N95 masks and delta variant: What you need to know - The Washington Post:

because the delta variant is much more easily transmissible than previously circulating strains of the coronavirus, “we really need highly protective masks along with everything else,” Marr said. “Where a simple cloth mask was helpful before, it’s not helpful enough now,” particularly for people who remain unvaccinated.

My work held an in-person meeting recently and was handing out N95 masks, the cool black ones.  I filled my satchel with them.

Delta Has Changed the Pandemic Endgame - The Atlantic

Delta Has Changed the Pandemic Endgame - The Atlantic:

Delta’s extreme transmissibility negates some of the community-level protection that vaccines offer. If no other precautions are taken, Delta can spread through a half-vaccinated country more quickly than the original virus could in a completely unvaccinated country. It can even cause outbreaks in places with 90 percent vaccination rates but no other defenses. 

This is disheartening.  Also, science writer Ed Yong is a national treasure.

Dramatic video shows alligator attacking trainer before visitor jumps in to rescue her - CBS News

Dramatic video shows alligator attacking trainer before visitor jumps in to rescue her - CBS News: One of the guests, later identified as Donnie Wiseman, yelled "We've got trouble in here!" before jumping into the water and climbing on top of the reptile.

This has nothing to do with the Delta variant, but this guy jumped into an alligator pool to rescue the trainer from the animal's jaws.  He's a freaking hero.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

27 vaccinated people test positive for Covid on a Carnival cruise ship

27 vaccinated people test positive for Covid on a Carnival cruise ship: Twenty-seven vaccinated people aboard a Carnival cruise ship that docked in Belize tested positive for Covid-19 this week. Only one of the positive cases was a passenger; the remaining 26 were crew members. All 27 people are experiencing mild or no symptoms.

I'm wondering what this means--are these breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, who have contracted the Delta variant?  Does the cruise ship require proof of vaccination among passengers?  Given the events of the past 10 years, I tend to think of cruise ships as floating petri dishes.  Looking at the infection rates in New York City, perhaps we are going to live in a less dense future.  However, Hong Kong has had 212 deaths.  Someone needs to write more about this.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

When the Delta Variant Came to Provincetown - The Atlantic

When the Delta Variant Came to Provincetown - The Atlantic

 from July 3 to July 17, the per-day COVID-19 case rate among residents spiked from zero per 100,000 people to 177 per 100,000 people. Among Massachusetts residents who tested positive there, three-fourths were fully vaccinated, and among those vaccinated people, 79 percent—274 individuals—experienced symptoms, mild in most cases. These numbers, along with numbers gathered elsewhere, suggested that breakthroughs were turning out to be more common and more serious than the CDC previously expected. The shots still reduce the severity and deadliness of infections, but compared with the original coronavirus, the Delta variant increases the chance that, if infected, vaccinated people can transmit the virus.

Friday, August 6, 2021

A Doomsday COVID Variant Worse Than Delta and Lambda May Be Coming, Scientists Say

A Doomsday COVID Variant Worse Than Delta and Lambda May Be Coming, Scientists Say: The Delta outbreak is going to get much worse, warns Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist who leads the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "The number of intensive-care beds needed could be higher than any time we've seen," he says. He adds that his team's analysis shows that almost every single one of the 100 million unvaccinated Americans who hasn't had COVID-19 yet will likely get it in the coming months, short of taking the sort of strong isolation and masking precautions that seem unlikely in the vaccine-hesitant population.

I've been on vacation for two weeks. I highly recommend camping at the beach on the Oregon coast, but dress warm as the wind on the beach gets nippy when it is only 60 degrees outside.

With a mutating Covid, perhaps all of our vacations will be socially distanced in the future.

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science | CDC

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science | CDC : Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the viru...