Written by Steven Hansen
The U.S. new cases 7-day rolling average are 15.2 % LOWER than the 7-day rolling average one week ago and U.S. deaths due to coronavirus are now 15.1 % HIGHER than the rolling average one week ago. Today’s posts include:
- U.S. Coronavirus New Cases are 7,428
- U.S. Coronavirus deaths are at 131
- U.S. Coronavirus immunizations have been administered to 88.2 doses per 100 people.
- The 7-day rolling average rate of growth of the pandemic shows new cases worsened and deaths improved
- Virologists Say Genetic “Fingerprints” Prove COVID-19 Man-Made
- How much are Physician behavior contributing to CDC skepticism?
- Leading scientist says that without a full investigation of lab leak theory, the world will face ‘covid-26 and covid-32’
- In countries with little access to COVID vaccines, a proposal is to administer vaccines such as tuberculosis, measles, and polio that use already weakened viruses to boost innate immunity.
- Nearly half of COVID patients leave the hospital in worse condition than they arrived.
- Covid job loss: The cause of the next epidemic?
- What We Know About Vietnam’s New COVID-19 Variant
Hospitalizations Are The Only Accurate Gauge
Hospitalizations historically appear to be little affected by weekends or holidays. The hospitalization growth rate trend continues to improve.
Historically, hospitalization growth follows new case growth by one to two weeks.
As an analyst, I use the rate of growth to determine the trend. But, the size of the pandemic is growing in terms of real numbers – and if the rate of growth does not become negative – the pandemic will overwhelm all resources.
The graph below shows the rate of growth relative to the growth a week earlier updated through today [note that negative numbers mean the rolling averages are LOWER than the rolling averages one week ago]. As one can see, the rate of growth for new cases peaked in early December 2020 for Thanksgiving, and early January 2021 for end-of-year holidays – and it now shows that the coronavirus effect is improving.
In the scheme of things, new cases decline first, followed by hospitalizations, and then deaths. The potential fourth wave did not materialize likely due to immunizations.
Coronavirus News You May Have Missed
Leading scientist says that without a full investigation of lab leak theory, the world will face ‘covid-26 and covid-32’ – Washington Post
A prominent scientist on Sunday added his voice to the growing number of experts calling for a full investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, saying the future of public health is at stake.
“There’s going to be covid-26 and covid-32 unless we fully understand the origins of covid-19,” Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine and a leading expert on the virus, said Sunday on NBC News’s “Meet The Press.” He said coming to firm conclusions about how the virus emerged was “absolutely essential” in preventing future pandemics.
New reports suggest that China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology was at the center of the outbreak, not animal-to-human transmission elsewhere in Wuhan, which was the long-prevalent opinion. President Biden last week ordered a fresh 90-day intelligence review of the virus’s origins with the goal of examining the possibility that it accidentally leaked from the Wuhan lab instead of being spread by bats or other animals to humans in a zoonotic transmission.
The White House wants a deeper understanding of how a virus that has killed about 600,000 Americans and 3.5 million people worldwide came into existence and has charged the CIA and other agencies with doing more to find out.
Hotez, however, said intelligence-gathering alone wasn’t enough.
“I’m personally of the opinion we’ve pushed intelligence as far as we can. What we need to do is an outbreak investigation,” he said, noting that ideally this would be a six- to 12-month operation in Wuhan, in Hubei province, with scientists collecting extensive samples and other forensic evidence.
Initially raised as a possibility by President Donald Trump and some Republicans on Capitol Hill but dismissed by Democrats and many experts, the lab leak theory has gained currency in recent weeks. Many experts cite a World Health Organization report from earlier this year mostly dismissing the possibility as co-authored by Chinese scientists and unconvincing.
Reusing old vaccines to boost innate immunity against COVID-19 – News-Medical
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently the best form of protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its variants. But a new perspective article published in the journal PNAS suggests it’s not the panacea to stopping SARS-CoV-2. Robert C. Gallo of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and colleagues of the Global Virus Network propose administering vaccines such as tuberculosis, measles, and polio that use already weakened viruses to boost innate immunity.
Ending the pandemic requires global vaccination, but some countries cannot accelerate vaccination campaigns like some Western countries. Some countries will be starting vaccinations in 2022 — leaving them at risk for developing more deadly and potentially immune-evasive variants.
By strengthening the body’s first line of defense, the researchers argue it will be beneficial for stopping new pathogens before it has time to spread. Older vaccines that stimulate innate immunity could stall viral spread and allow scientists more time to develop specific vaccines — potentially preventing another pandemic.
“The broad protection induced by LAVs would not be compromised by potential antigenic drift (immune escape) that can render viruses resistant to specific vaccines. LAVs might offer an essential tool to “bend the pandemic curve,” averting the exhaustion of public health resources and preventing needless deaths and may also have therapeutic benefits if used for postexposure prophylaxis of disease.”
Is Physician Behavior Contributing to CDC Skepticism? – MedPage
… But I wonder: How much are our behaviors as physicians contributing to CDC skepticism?
I recently read a quote from a physician saying she disagreed with the CDC’s new guidelines and would continue mask-wearing at all times, as an example to the community.
An example to the community of a doctor not supporting the CDC — is this public health or virtue-signaling?
One pediatrician I know has been attending large, mask-free gatherings, eating indoors, and traveling — yet she second-guessed the new recommendations, saying “it’s too soon.” She was keeping her mask on because she “care[s] about [her] kids.”
I, too, have feelings about the CDC. For example: Why can’t we go about town driving hybrid ice-cream-public-health trucks, turning on the hypnotic little bells, offering snow cones and shots alike?
This may be a good time to reflect: Is the CDC perfect? CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, has noted the agency’s increasing needs and decreasing resources over the past decade. Is this rollout going to be seamless? I have no idea — again, I’m a doctor, not a business person (who presumably makes money from solving consumer rollout logistics) …
Some Countries With The Highest Vaccination Rates Are Facing A Surge In Covid Deaths And Infections-Experts Say Complacency Is Partly To Blame – Forbes
In the U.S., as in many wealthy countries, vaccines are seen as an exit strategy from the economic and social restrictions of the pandemic. As vaccination rates rise in the U.S., experts and officials have urged people not to become complacent and for officials not to remove restrictions too soon for fear of a resurgent wave of the disease. Changes to CDC guidance allowing vaccinated people to forgo facemasks swiftly led a slate of states to rescind mask mandates—some have even banned local officials from putting their own in place—leading many to question whether a weakening of the policies is wise considering a slowing vaccination rate and persistent levels of hesitancy that could prevent the coverage needed to stop transmission.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
The relaxation of restrictions is just one variable contributing towards an outbreak. New variants could drive infections—Uruguay’s outbreak is partly fueled by the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil. The efficacy of the vaccines used is also a pertinent worry, with a number of highly vaccinated countries having made heavy use of Chinese vaccines.
50%. Of the world’s most vaccinated countries mentioned in this story, all have at least this proportion of their population partially vaccinated against Covid-19. Data is available for Bahrain (53%), Chile (55%), the Maldives (57%), the Seychelles (72%) and Uruguay (50%). According to the CDC, the U.S. has a similar level of partially vaccinated people to Uruguay (50%), though a much higher proportion of fully vaccinated people (40% against Uruguay’s 29%).
Virologists Say Genetic “Fingerprints” Prove COVID-19 Man-Made, ‘No Credible Natural Ancestor’ – ZeroHedge
Two notable virologists claim to have found “unique fingerprints” on COVID-19 samples that only could have arisen from laboratory manipulation, according to an explosive 22-page paper obtained by the Daily Mail.
British professor Angus Dalgleish – best known for creating the world’s first ‘HIV vaccine’, and Norwegian virologist Dr. Birger Sørensen – chair of pharmaceutical company, Immunor, who has published 31 peer-reviewed papers and holds several patents, wrote that while analyzing virus samples last year, the pair discovered “unique fingerprints” in the form of “six inserts” created through gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
They also conclude that “SARS-Coronavirus-2 has “no credible natural ancestor” and that it is “beyond reasonable doubt” that the virus was created via “laboratory manipulation.”
Last year, Sørensen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that COVID-19 has properties which have ‘never been detected in nature,’ and that the United States has ‘collaborated for many years on coronavirus research through “gain of function” studies with China.
Beware of ‘expert’ consensus. The covid-19 lab leak theory shows why. – Washington Post
People who believe the coronavirus was manufactured in a lab haven’t been allowed to say so on Facebook since February — until Wednesday, that is, when Facebook announced it was lifting the ban.
Presumably this has something to do with the wavering elite consensus on lab leaks. This consensus was never as monolithic as proponents claimed, nor as stifling as opponents now aver. But it did produce a Facebook ban and a lot of journalism dismissing the hypothesis as a well-debunked conspiracy theory with racist roots.
In one light, this is a happy scientific ending. Over time, with study, natural transmission looked less likely, and a lab accident somewhat more so. As the evidence changed, a previously hard-and-fast consensus became more open to other possibilities, as should be the case for any good scientific theory.
But in another light, this story is a disaster. How did so many smart people come to believe, not just that a natural origin was much more likely than a lab leak — which is still, to be clear, the opinion of many scientists — but that a lab leak was basically an impossibility? For that matter, what other things do “we all know” that just ain’t so?
You don’t have to walk far in my neighborhood to come across one of those ubiquitous front-yard signs announcing that the people living in the house believe “science is real,” among other articles of faith. Upper middle-class Democrats have long prided themselves on belonging to “the party of science,” but former president Donald Trump’s covid denialism supercharged that affiliation into a central part of their identity.
Yet the form this belief in science took was often positively anti-scientific. Instead of a group of constantly evolving theories that might be altered at any time, or falsified entirely, and is thus always open to debate, “science” was a demand that others subordinate their judgment to an elite-approved group of credentialed scientific experts, many of whom were proclaiming the lab leak unlikely in the extreme.
It seems that expert consensus was somewhat illusory, and it would have been well to remember that like the rest of us, scientists are prone to groupthink and nonscientific concerns can creep into their public statements. We all heard the confident pronouncements of support for Chinese scientists, but less about the quiet doubts that were apparently being expressed privately by people uninterested in a bruising public fight.
Moreover, no scientist can decisively settle the lab-leak hypothesis without a full and transparent investigation — which has not happened yet — just as I cannot personally assure you that someone working at another newspaper, on a story I wasn’t involved in, definitely got it right.
Meanwhile, certain facts were suggestive. Labs have leaked deadly viruses in the past. And a lab in the same city where the pandemic began happened to study bat coronaviruses and had a sample of this coronavirus’s closest known relative, gathered from a cave hundreds of miles away. It’s possible, and maybe even probable, that this was pure coincidence. But it is a hell of a coincidence, and it wasn’t kooky to say so.
NEARLY HALF OF COVID-19 PATIENTS LEAVE HOSPITALS IN ‘WORSE CONDITION’ THAN THEY ARRIVED: – IBN
It’s safe to say most people can agree hospitals are places where people go to feel better. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, a new study reveals about half of all COVID patients are actually leaving hospitals in worse shape than when they entered. In another case of COVID “long-hauler” side-effects, a team from Michigan Medicine says around 45 percent of patients who survive the virus exit the hospital with significantly less physical function. “Rehabilitation needs were really, really common for these patients,” says pediatric physiatrist Alecia K. Daunter, M.D., in a university release. “They survived, but these people left the hospital in worse physical condition than they started. If they needed outpatient therapy or are now walking with a cane, something happened that impacted their discharge plan.”
Researchers reviewed the health data of almost 300 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between March and April 2020. This information included discharge data, each patient’s therapy needs, and whether they needed special medical equipment or services after leaving the hospital.The findings reveal doctors prescribed additional therapy for a staggering 80 percent of COVID-19 patients. Concerningly, nearly one in five patients lost so much of their physical ability they could no longer live independently after leaving the hospital. “These patients may have needed to move to a subacute facility, or they might have needed to move in with a family member, but they were not able to go home,” Daunter adds. “This has a massive impact on patients and their families – emotionally and physically.”
Covid job loss: The cause of the next epidemic? – Knowable
Being out of work isn’t just bad for your finances. It’s bad for your health. Most people are aware of the effect of losing a job on mental health: depression, anxiety, social isolation. But job loss can hurt a person’s physical health as well.
Research consistently shows that losing a job and being unemployed — even for just few months — is associated with reduced overall health and a higher risk of physical ailments, including cardiovascular disease, hospitalization and death. And the risk can remain higher for years to come, sometimes decades after people have returned to work.
More from Reset — An ongoing series exploring how the world is navigating the coronavirus pandemic, its consequences and the way forward.
In the first six months of Covid-19, 25 percent of US adults said they or someone in their household lost their job due to the pandemic. Among those who said they lost a job, half reported they were still unemployed six months later. As researchers who study the health effects of job loss and unemployment, we are concerned that the next wave of health problems linked to Covid will not come directly from Covid itself, or the strain it places on health systems — but from its effect on the labor market.
It’s not hard to see why job loss, followed by a period of unemployment, can be bad for your health. The initial months following a job loss can be incredibly disruptive, straining people’s finances and psychology and limiting their social interactions, which reduces social support. Along with losing a job, some people may lose their health insurance, and therefore forgo seeking medical attention when illness arises. Some may turn to alcohol or drugs, eat poorly and exercise less, and research has linked unemployment to bad sleep patterns.
What We Know About Vietnam’s New COVID-19 Variant – Newsweek
A new, “dangerous” COVID-19 variant has emerged in Vietnam that is a hybrid combination of strains from India and the U.K., the country’s health minister said Saturday.
Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that the new variant is more transmissible than those previously known and its genome data will be published soon, according to Reuters.
“Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the U.K. That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the U.K. variant is very dangerous,” Long said during a government meeting, according to Reuters.
Long said that at least four people carry the new variant after it was discovered by genetic sequencing testing by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, according to the online newspaper VnExpress.
So far, Vietnam has detected seven virus variants including B.1.1.7, the U.K. variant and B.1.617.2, India’s variant, according to Reuters.
Four variants of concern are listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that include those that first emerged from India and the U.K. as well as South Africa and Brazil.
“We expect that more variants will continue to be detected as the virus circulates and evolves and as sequencing capacities are enhanced worldwide,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Technical Lead for COVID-19 tweeted Sunday in a thread.
She added that the WHO’s Vietnam office is working with the country’s Ministry of Health and said that “the variant detected is B.1.617.2 with an additional mutation,” which is India’s variant.
The following are foreign headlines with hyperlinks to the posts
China to Allow Couples to Have Three Children to Boost Birthrate
Doctors prepare to ration care as covid surge leaves Malaysia in ‘total lockdown’
Corilagin: could a plant compound used in Chinese herbal medicine help prevent COVID-19? The study, published in the journal Phytomedicine, characterized an active compound, corilagin (a derivative from Phyllanthus urinaria), as potential SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors for its preventive application in daily antiviral hygiene products.
India is banking on locally developed kit to increase COVID-19 testing. India is banking on a locally developed, affordable home-use kit to bump up testing for COVID-19 and reduce the burden on public resources struggling against a runaway pandemic now raging through the country in a deadly second wave.
Delhi’s factories and building sites can reopen, but migrant workers are scattered.
Singapore’s Covid restrictions may be relaxed after June 13 if situation improves
South Africa races to halt third Covid wave as its economic outlook improves
The following additional national and state headlines with hyperlinks to the posts
Home prices rise at fastest pace since 2005 — here’s where they soared the most
Costco is seeing inflation abound, impacting a slew of consumer products
U.S. Manufacturers Blame Tariffs for Swelling Inflation
Different early antibody responses define COVID-19 disease trajectory In a new study posted to the bioRxiv* preprint server, a prospective cohort of patients with COVID-19 exhibited distinct features of the IgG fragment antigen-binding (Fab) and fragment crystallizable (Fc) domains, predicting two distinct disease trajectory two days after a positive test.
SARS-CoV-2 genome mutations display convergent evolution indicating strong adaptive advantages. A recent report by a team of researchers focused on the extent of convergent evolution in the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. The report confirms that top SARS-CoV-2 lineages of concern have the most convergent spike protein mutations. This indicates their fundamental adaptive advantage.
SARS-CoV-2 variants partially escape humoral immunity, but not T cells responses, study finds. Researchers at the Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Amsterdam UMC, and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University studied humoral and cellular immune responses to the wild type SARS-CoV-2, the B.1.1.7 variant (U.K. variant) and the B.1.351 variant (South African variant) in health care workers vaccinated with the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) mRNA vaccine.
Pastor Rick Wiles Apparently Has COVID After Refusing Vaccines
Air travel hits a pandemic peak, but more passengers are resisting mask mandates.
Despite inconsistent public health orders from state and local governments about whether cannabis companies would be considered “essential,” the industry had a breakout moment during the pandemic. Legal cannabis sales in the United States passed $17.5 billion in 2020, a 46 percent increase over 2019. For many Americans, stocking up on marijuana was as essential as stocking up on toilet paper. And the industry found a way to get it to them.
A pandemic-fueled spike in gun buying shows no signs of slowing.
Millions of Americans could face eviction as housing protection expires in June
Today’s Posts On Econintersect Showing Impact Of The Pandemic With Hyperlinks
June 2021 Economic Forecast – Significant Improvement Continues
May 2021 Chemical Activity Barometer Index Continues To Improve
What Is The Most Crucial Issue For Leaders Post-COVID? ANSWER: Developing Women Leaders
Pandemic Causes Stark Rise In Child Reading Difficulties
‘Dog Coronavirus Found In Humans’ – Why You Shouldn’t Worry
Warning to Readers
The amount of politically biased articles on the internet continues. And studies and opinions of the experts continue to contradict other studies and expert opinions. Honestly, it is difficult to believe anything anymore.
I assemble this coronavirus update daily – sifting through the posts on the internet. I try to avoid politically slanted posts (mostly from CNN, New York Times, and the Washington Post) and can usually find unslanted posts on that subject from other sources on the internet. I wait to publish posts on subjects that I cannot validate across several sources. But after all this extra work, I do not know if I have conveyed the REAL facts. It is my job to provide information so that you have the facts necessary – and then it is up to readers to draw conclusions.
Analyst Opinion of Coronavirus Data
There are several takeaways that need to be understood when viewing coronavirus statistical data:
- The global counts are suspect for a variety of reasons including political. Even the U.S. count has issues as it is possible that as much as half the population has had coronavirus and was asymptomatic. It would be a far better metric using a random sampling of the population weekly. In short, we do not understand the size of the error in the tracking numbers.
- Just because some of the methodology used in aggregating the data in the U.S. is flawed – as long as the flaw is uniformly applied – you establish a baseline. This is why it is dangerous to compare two countries as they likely use different methodologies to determine who has (and who died) from coronavirus.
- COVID-19 and the flu are different but can have similar symptoms. COVID-19 so far is much more deadly than the flu. [click here to compare symptoms]
- From an industrial engineering point of view, one can argue that it is best to flatten the curve only to the point that the health care system is barely able to cope. This solution only works if-and-only-if one can catch this coronavirus once and develops immunity. In the case of COVID-19, herd immunity may need to be in the 80% to 85% range. WHO warns that few have developed antibodies to COVID-19 when recovering from COVID-19. Herd immunity does not look like an option as the variants are continuing to look for ways around immunity.
- Older population countries will have a significantly higher death rate as there is relatively few hospitalizations and deaths in younger age groups..
- There are at least 8 strains of the coronavirus.
What we do or do not know about the coronavirus [actually there is little scientifically proven information]. Most of our knowledge is anecdotal, from studies with limited subjects, or from studies without peer review.
- How many people have been infected as many do not show symptoms?
- Masks do work. Unfortunately, early in the pandemic, many health experts — in the U.S. and around the world — decided that the public could not be trusted to hear the truth about masks. Instead, the experts spread a misleading message, discouraging the use of masks.
- Current thinking is that we develop at least 12 months of immunity from further COVID infection.
- The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have an effectiveness rate of about 95 percent after two doses. That is on par with the vaccines for chickenpox and measles. The 95 percent number understates the effectiveness as it counts anyone who came down with a mild case of Covid-19 as a failure.
- To what degree do people who never develop symptoms contribute to transmission? Research early in the pandemic suggested that the rate of asymptomatic infections could be as high as 81%. But a meta-analysis, which included 13 studies involving 21,708 people, calculated the rate of asymptomatic presentation to be 17%.
- The accuracy of rapid testing is questioned – and the more accurate test results are not being given in a timely manner.
- Can children widely spread coronavirus? [current thinking is that they are a minor source of the pandemic spread]
- Why have some places avoided big coronavirus outbreaks – and others hit hard?
- Air conditioning contributes to the pandemic spread.
- It appears that there is increased risk of infection and mortality for those living in larger occupancy households.
- Male patients have almost three times the odds of requiring intensive treatment unit (ITU) admission compared to females.
- Outdoor activities seem to be a lower risk than indoor activities.
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