Coronavirus News Roundup, February 13 – February 19

the items belo are highlites from the free newsletter, “smart, useful, sci stuff bout covid-19.” to receive newsletter issues daily in yr inbox, sign here.

why are sars-cov-2 infection rates and covid-19 hospitalizations dropping so rapidly these dys inna u.s.? a 2/17/21 story by derek thompson atta atlantic reprts that it’s a combination of better social distancing, increased mask-wearing, seasonality, a growing № of pplz inna u.s. who ‘ve developed antibodies after infection w'da virus (15% to 30% of u.s. adults), na growing № of pplz inna u.s. who ‘ve been vaccinated against covid-19. “we’re accelerating toward a moment, sometime this spring, when ½ of american adults ‘d ‘ve some kind of coronavirus protection,” thompson concludes.

for a quick dive into key outcomes from large-scale covid-19 vaccine studies conducted by pfizer/biontek, moderna, astrazeneca, novavax, johnson and johnson, and ga♂ya sputnik v, see yale university immunologist akiko iwasaki’s 2/7/21 twitter thread featuring comparative tables, made by yale med school students. “all the tables here…indicate the # covid-rel8d death inna vaccinated as the rite-most column (which is zero).” she adds: “with all these vaccines…we can bring down the № of severe & lethal covid. the variants are here, but current vaccines still protect from severe disease & vaccines for the variants are coming. we will get through this!”

a 2/16/21 story by ariana remmel for nature includes bar charts that illustrate the frequency of side effects reprted to the u.s. centers for disease control among pplz who ‘ve received the pfizer/biontek vaccine against covid-19. the chart shows that fatigue is reprted by 29% and 50% of pplz receiving their 1st- and 2nd-dose, respectively; headaches are reprted by 26% and 42% of pplz receiving their 1st- and 2nd-dose, respectively; and fever is reprted by 7% and 25% of pplz receiving their 1st- and 2nd-dose, respectively. pplz reprt + side effects to this vaccine and to moderna’s covid-19 vaccine than they do to flu vaccines, according to an infectious-disease speshist atta university of washington school of med, the story states. the piece also states that the frequency of anaphylactic (severe, allergic, and life-threatening) reactions to the moderna vaccine is 3 per million doses, n'it’s 30 per 3 million doses sfar for the oxford-astrazeneca vaccine. all these individuals ‘ve “fully recovered,” per the story. anaphylaxis is treatable if caught quickly, according to paul offit, a vaccine speshist at children’s hospital of philadelphia who is quoted inna story. remmel writes: “thris no ? that the current vaccines are effective and safe. th'risk of severe reaction to a covid-19 jab, say researchers, is outweighed by the protection it offers gainsta deadly coronavirus.”

epidemiologist katelyn jetelina of the university of texas health sci center at houston published a 2/14/21 post at her yr local epidemiologist site that summarizes the l8st evidence for drugs to treat covid-19. the post is based na' 280-page reprt on covid-19 treatment options published 2/11/21 by the u.s. national institutes of health. two options shown by studies t'work sfar: steroids called corticosteroids (specifically, they protect against death from severe covid-19 and decrease how long you ‘ve to stay in an intensive care unit), na anti-viral drug remdesivir (it’s protective for hospitalized patients who need supplemental oxygen, other than ventilators). the post includes a 12/10/20 chart published inna british med journal that summarizes the experimental results of many of the drugs tested against covid-19. the post also summarizes the evidence for “drugs tha're making headlines,” but it suggests there currently aint enough evidence to support giving them to covid-19 patients (e.g. ivermectin, arthritis drug tocilizumab, and asthma drug budesonide).

covid-19 mite ‘ve humbled peter diamandis, entrepreneur and founder of the x prize foundation, he suggests in a 2/12/21 blog post. takeaway: despite high-quality pre-arrival and daily testing, a gathering of wha’ sounds like bout 100 pplz for a conference turned into a superspreader event that infected bout a quarter of attendees. a group of audiovisual and production teknicians who kept to themselves and reprtedly wore masks throughout the event was spared. diamandis writes: “masks work.”

the “bona fide nerdy girls” at dear pandemic (specifically, they are an interdisciplinary all-♀ team of researchers and clinicians who work in nursing, health policy, and epidemiology among other fields) are now publishing spanish-language covid-19 information at a f’bok page called querida pandemia.

the unbiasedscipod, a podcast co-hosted by jessica steier, a public health researcher and data sci, and andrea ♥, an immunologist and microbiologist, posts some helpful graphics at its instagram page, including this one on 2/11/21 showing updated u.s. centers for disease control recommendations that pertain to pplz who’ve been vaccinated and l8r exposed to some1 thought to be infected with sars-cov-2 or to ‘ve covid-19. if you fall within two-weeks and 3 mnths of receiving yr final vaccine dose and ‘ve no symptoms folloing contact with some1 whas' the virus or covid-19, you no longer are required to quarantine, per the post. but you still “must continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing,” it states.

you mite enjoy “i’ve never tried yr idea, and now everything s'on fire, and that’s how i know yr idea is bad,” by eli grober (1/17/21) in mcsweeney’s.

this is an opinion and analysis article.

original content at: www.sciamerican.com…
authors: robin lloyd

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