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COVID-19 News in 2022
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Latest Covid-19 News
in June —
Covid Cases on the Rise
Saved 20M Lives in 1st Year —
Covid Helped Boost
Medical Debt —
Nothing new reported this week. Stay well.
Moderna Announced a
Booster That May Last a Year —
A 4th Covid
Vaccine from Novavax
Reported Covid Cases Grossly Underreported —
Results of At-home Covid Tests Go Unreported —
Americans Getting More Covid Infections
We're Likely to Get
Covid Again & Again
Bore the Brunt of Omicron Deaths
Latest Covid-19 News
I Cancel Booster Shot If I Tested Positive?
Real World Experience Not Matching
Vaccination Protects Against Clots, But Not Long Covid
Travelers Can Do to Protect Themselves
At-Home Test Kits Available Again
Passed 1 Million Covid Deaths Milestone
Over Increasing Cases of Long Covid
What To Do If You Have
One Million Americans
Have Died Because of Covid
Two New Strains of Covid Are Here
Vaccines Being Developed
Latest COVID-19 News
Friday, June 24th
- Cases of
COVID-19 are on the rise again (more than 100,000
reported new cases across the country each day, nearly double the rate a
month ago and 4 times higher than this time last year), but
COVID-19 deaths from those
are about a third lower than a year ago. The virus, for now, is causing
milder symptoms, and that may have a lot to do with our rising immunity
level caused by both vaccinations and previous infections, and the real
number is likely much higher than that because many people now rely on
at-home tests. At the start of the pandemic, cases went undetected because
tests were unreliable and supply was limited (1 in 10 or 12 actually being
captured), which aren't reported to health departments. "For people to have
that information at their fingertips to be able to get the results that they
need so that they can act on them immediately —
totally worth it, but it comes at the expense of the data."
if case counts are much higher than they appear, this summer may not see a
health care crisis like previous surges. Beyond vaccination, if the virus is
spreading a lot in your community right now, anyone who's high-risk because
of age or underlying conditions — or lives with someone who is — would be
smart to dial up on personal COVID-19 precautions: being selective about
time in public spaces indoors and wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask
when you do.
New research published Thursday found that nearly
20 million lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines
their first year, but even more deaths could have been prevented if
international targets for the shots had been reached. Researchers used data
from 185 countries to estimate that vaccines prevented 4.2 million COVID-19
deaths in India, 1.9 million in the United States, 1 million in Brazil,
631,000 in France and 507,000 in the United Kingdom. The main finding — 19.8
million COVID-19 deaths were prevented — was based on estimates of how many
more deaths than usual occurred during the time period. Using only reported
COVID-19 deaths, the same model yielded 14.4 million deaths averted by
vaccines. Oliver Watson of
College London led the new modeling study. The findings "quantify just how
much worse the pandemic could have been if we did not have these vaccines."
An additional 600,000 deaths would have been prevented if the World Health
Organization target of 40% vaccination coverage by the end of 2021 had been
met. Another modeling group used a different approach to estimate that 16.3
million COVID-19 deaths were averted by vaccines. That work, by the
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, has not been
published. "We may disagree on the number as scientists, but we all agree
that COVID vaccines saved lots of lives," he institute’s Ali Mokdad said.
A recent survey conducted by Affordable Health Insurance found that more
of Americans adults owe medical debt, whether they had insurance or not. The
survey of 1,250 U.S. adults found that 56% owe health-related debt and
almost 1 in 6 people with medical bills aren't currently paying it off.
A large chunk of the debt came from Covid-19 treatment and testing.
nearly 1 in 4 owe more than $10,000 in medical bills. One striking finding
from the survey is that having insurance made little difference. In fact,
61% of respondents who have employer-provided insurance, largely due to a
confusing and patchy coverage system that includes co-pays, deductibles and
out-of-network coinsurance, often leading to denials of claims. A problem
more pervasive than previously reported is because
much of that debt that patients accrue is hidden as credit card
balances, loans from family, or payment plans to hospitals and other medical
providers, and is blocking patients
hospital, doctor, or other provider care because of unpaid bills. Hospitals
recorded their most profitable year on record in 2019, notching an aggregate
profit margin of 7.6%, according to the federal Medicare Payment Advisory
Committee, with many hospitals thriving even through the pandemic. As of
last year, 58% of debts recorded in collections were for a medical bill.
Even Medicare coverage can leave patients on the hook for thousands of
dollars in charges for drugs and treatment,
Friday, June 17th
I wasn't able to scan articles for new Covid news this week...
too tired. I was dealing with Covid. We had symptoms of a bad cold. Our free
home tests were positive, so we got the PCR test
(the long test)
at the drug store, and the home test was accurate. Yes, we were vaxed and
(we hadn't gotten the second booster yet),
but we didn't have to go to the hospital and didn't end up in the morgue,
and that's a good thing.
Friday, June 10th
- On Wednesday,
Moderna announced a booster to protect against the omicron variant that
may last a full year instead of the four month's protection expected of
current booster shots.
say that it should be ready by late summer.
Early trial results raise hopes that for the first time, the potential
of a once-a-year booster. It raised antibody levels eightfold in the first
four weeks. About a quarter of those who took part in the trial had
previously been infected with Covid, and in these, antibody levels rose even
further. If the booster does provide year-long protection against Covid, it
could pave the way for dealing with the virus like the flu, where strains
are tracked continuously to identify which should go into the coming year’s
- A fourth Covid
vaccine may become available.
panel of independent vaccine experts recommended Tuesday that the Food and
Drug Administration authorize a coronavirus vaccine developed by the
Maryland biotechnology company Novavax. It does not use mRNA technology and
is protein-based, similar to flu and shingles shots. When it is finally
approved by the FDA and CDC, it would join the Johnson & Johnson,
and Pfizer vaccines as alternatives. Having a protein-based alternative may
be more comfortable for people who can’t or won’t take the mRNA vaccines.
The ultimate use is probably as a booster for use with adolescents and
children. It is already authorized in dozens of countries, including Japan
and Britain. The reason for the lag behind other manufacturers is that the
FDA has "a very high standard," which is why it sometimes is referred to as
a gold standard.
A new state auditor’s report shows that even though Florida reported
some of the highest COVID-19 cases in the country, even that figure was
undercount of the real virus outbreak. The audit spotted millions of cases
where state data did not report demographic data of COVID-19 tests that
might have helped
trends of who was being infected and where they lived. NFL training camps in
Florida also did not report the data they were supposed to. As of yesterday,
most of Florida is still in the "high" risk category on this week’s Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention map.
Interpreting Covid data has become much more complex than in previous waves
of the virus, when more cases usually led to more hospitalizations and
The shift to more widespread home testing means that many Covid cases are no
longer being logged by health officials.
a few state health departments, like Colorado and Washington, collect data
from home tests. The result is that official case counts are becoming an
increasingly unreliable measure of the virus’s true toll. Home testing leads
to marked underestimates of case numbers since they are not reporting their
results. Even if your home test is negative, it is imperative that you
test again 24-to-36 hours later.
Those who test positive with their rapid home test are advised to have it
verified with the PCR test done in a lab.
Friday, June 3rd
why boosted Americans seem to be getting more COVID-19 infections? John
Hopkins reported Covid cases 6x higher than last year. Last Sunday on Face
interviewed John Moore, a professor of microbiology & immunology at Weill
Cornell Medical College, asking why this is happening? Vaccines are still
protecting against severe disease and death, and doing that very well. But
with the latest wave of the more transmissible omicron variant, it is able
to break through antibody protection. The number of mild symptoms treated at
home have doubled.
vaccination and boosting, people feel like they are more protected than
they actually are, so they increase their risks. They return to their
pre-pandemic activities, stop wearing masks in crowded environments,
exposing themselves and become infected. We all do it, but a lot more virus
is circulating now than a year ago and protection wanes over time. Besides
getting vaccinated and boosted, common sense and awareness of the risks to
our health is the single greatest defense we've got. If flying somewhere,
wear a mask even though it's not required. It just makes sense. Ignore your
risks and you will get infected, and may get infected over and over again.
- Clinical infectious
diseases epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim, who studies reinfections,
tells The Atlantic’s Katherine J. Wu that some people have gotten
infected with each new Covid wave. This virus seems capable of tangling into
just about every tissue in the body,
organs like the
gut; has already claimed the lives of millions, while saddling countless
others with symptoms that can
linger for months or years. For now, every infection and subsequent
reinfection, remains a toss of the dice. Vaccination and infection-induced
immunity may load the dice against landing on severe disease, but
that danger will never go away, and scientists don’t yet know what happens
to people who contract "mild" Covid over and over again.
two people’s experience of reinfection will be the same and repeated
reinfections could be an especially dangerous to the immunocompromised.
Every time the body’s defenses are engaged, it takes a lot of energy and
causes tissue damage, and those who caught the virus more than once may
become long-haulers. Few can expect to avoid the virus altogether, but we
should limit our exposures by getting vaccinated, masking, ventilation, etc.
Older people bore the brunt of Covid deaths during the omicron wave.
updated federal data shows that despite widespread vaccination among
death rates among older Americans surged to near-record levels during
the first omicron wave. The reason for the renewed surge may be due to
factors like waning immunity, relatively low booster uptake compared to
primary vaccination series, and general vulnerability to the virus among the
group. In addition, the sheer scale of the spread of the virus during the
omicron wave was significantly higher compared to prior waves of the virus.
Latest COVID-19 News
Friday, May 27th
to get your second booster shot, but just tested positive for Covid? So many
thought they had a cold but got tested to make sure it wasn't Covid, but it
was. Should you cancel your booster appointment? The CDC recommends
waiting at least until your isolation period ends to schedule a
coronavirus vaccine after contracting the virus. Isolation
lasts at least five days after symptoms start and continues until
you have been fever-free for
and all your other symptoms are improving. Some people who are eligible for
a second booster (especially those who have fewer risk factors for severe
Covid) may consider waiting up to 3 months after contracting the virus
before getting another shot because natural infection offers some temporary
protection. That immunity fades rapidly after a few months. Even if you are
eligible for a 2nd booster, you may
consider waiting if you had Covid within the past 3 months.
- Back in November, the
antiviral treatment of Paxlovid for Covid was
monster breakthrough, miraculous, the biggest advance in the pandemic
since the vaccines. As use of the treatment spread, patients complained of a
bitter, metallic taste or one like
grapefruit juice mixed with soap while they were on the drug. More
concerning, some reported experiencing a second round of symptoms and going
back to testing positive when the pills were done, a phenomenon known as "Paxlovid
rebound." Meanwhile, Pfizer has never published any final data on the
use of the drug by vaccinated patients, so medical professionals have
information about how the drug works for those who have received their
shots (most of the adult population in the U.S.).
because people who just recovered from Covid might reasonably believe
they’re in the clear and mingle freely with others, surprise cases of
Paxlovid rebound could end up causing more transmission. The federal
government is not tracking Paxlovid rebound publicly and the CDC released an
on Tuesday saying the agency doesn’t know whether a recurrence of symptoms
can be connected to the drug. Anyone who rebounds should isolate for another
five days. In short, Pfizer’s clinical-trial results may not be matching up
with physicians’ and patients’ real-world experience.
large U.S. study, published Wednesday in
Nature Medicine, looked at
whether vaccination protects against long Covid. It is part of a series
of studies by the Department of Veterans Affairs on the impact of the
coronavirus, based on 33,940 people who experienced breakthrough
infections after vaccination. Six months after their initial diagnosis of
Covid, vaccinated people in the study had only a slightly reduced risk of
getting long Covid. The
greatest benefit appeared to be in reducing the risk of
lung disorders (by nearly 50%) and blood-clotting disorders (by 56%),
was no difference when it came to longer-term risks of
neurological issues, gastrointestinal symptoms, kidney failure and other
conditions. The devastating neurological effects
(most common are brain
fog, numbness, tingling, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, tinnitus and
long Covid can persist for more than a year, even as other symptoms
lessen. After an average of 15 months, a lot of patients (vaccinated or not)
still have difficulties that prevent them from working like they used to
because of their cognition problems.
Friday, May 20th
- Two new strains of COVID that appear to be more transmissible than even
"stealth Omicron," which have the
to evade antibodies from vaccination and prior infection, have arrived in
the U.S. And, mask mandates have been dropped from planes and in airports
across the country. So,
what can travelers do to protect themselves even if the people around
them aren't masking up? First and foremost, get vaccinated and boosted.
second most important thing to do is to wear a mask that's comfortable and
provides the best protection. The CDC has reiterated its recommendations to
wear masks on public transportation, especially at times when people are
crammed together (e.g., boarding). To minimize risk of transmission when
eating, bring it down to eat, then up again as you chew. Choose a direct
flight if possible, practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands or
using hand sanitizer, especially before eating. Also, travelers can minimize
risk by flying when the plane is likely to be emptier, choosing seats with
fewer people around yours or upgrading your seat.
you can also take steps to
frequently touched areas (e.g., eating tray, arm rest, restroom latch,
etc.). There are lots of products that promise to get rid of illness-causing
germs, but there are only a few that will help prevent you from
getting sick on a plane. Clorox To Go travel disinfecting wipes, for
99.9% of viruses and bacteria, including staph, E. coli, MRSA, salmonella,
strep and Kleb. Purell's sanitizer kills 99%. However, they must be
used correctly to get the germ-killing power you want (4 minutes with
Clorox). Read the instructions. Sanitize your hands and keep them away from
your face. And according to research, choose a window seat to cut down on
possible exposure from those moving about the cabin.
With Covid cases on the rise again, the government announced Tuesday
that it is making free at-home test kits available again. Each household can
order up to eight of the rapid test kits. The
at-home test kits are available at
covid.gov/tests. The rapid
tests could come in handy ahead of possible surges this summer and fall. If
you still have kits that you haven't used, check their expiration date. If
they are close to expiration, order some more. Having them on hand when you
aren't sure whether your symptoms are a cold, the flu, allergies, or Covid
may be the only way you can determine whether you should self-isolate to
protect those you care about since many of us don't even go to the doctor if
our symptoms are mild.
Friday, May 13th
the U.S. has passed the 1 million deaths from COVID milestone, with
flags flying half mast this weekend. While most counts have yet to
officially reach 1 million — a tally by Johns Hopkins University passed 999,000 on Thursday morning —
the true sum of COVID deaths nationwide already far exceeds that mark. The
CDC estimated that the number of
excess deaths during the pandemic
already surged past 1 million during the winter Omicron wave in
January. That is more than the number of American deaths from World War I,
World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. More people died
in two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. than in 40 years of the
HIV/AIDS epidemic. In simple terms, if 200 deaths were expected for a given
week and 300 have been recorded, there would have been 100 excess deaths
for that week.
- Public health
experts are concerned over
how many people are getting long COVID-19,
potentially debilitating condition that comes after a patient has recovered
from the coronavirus. Effects from the condition can include fatigue, pain,
neurological issues and even changes in mental health. Initially, it was
believed that only a small number of people would suffer from long COVID-19,
but some studies now indicate a majority of those infected with the
coronavirus are experiencing long COVID-19 symptoms.
from the Penn State College of Medicine
found that more
than half of COVID-19 survivors had long COVID-19.
Another study from the University of Arizona found that about 2 out of 3
people who experienced mild or moderate cases had long-lasting symptoms.
Part of the problem is that its symptoms can vary from person to person and
there’s still a lot of lack of knowledge about long Covid, even within the
medical community. Symptoms can last 3 to 6 months, but other studies show
that symptoms can last for at least a year.
- There aren't any
comprehensive treatments for long Covid, but there are
a few at-home things you can do that may be useful. If you’re
experiencing a lot of fatigue
recovering from Covid, try to identify the activities that trigger your
severe exhaustion and avoid them for a while. Adjust your daily schedule to
include built-in rest periods, for both your mind and your body, to prevent
"severe" crashes. If you suffer from shortness of breath, often
breathing exercises can be helpful — long, slow deep breaths in and out
through your nose. Typically, long Covid patients don’t have any lung
function damage so shortness of breath may relate to the muscles and nerves
that control breathing, rather than injury within the lung.
Friday, May 6th
On May 4th, according to NBC
News' latest tally,
1 million people in the U.S. died because of Covid, and the number would
have been much higher if it wasn't for vaccines.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center
for Health Security in Baltimore and spokesman for the Infectious Diseases
Society of America, some of the biggest mistakes happened at the start of
the pandemic in early 2020, when the government chose "evasion" rather than
a proactive approach, giving the virus a head start to spread. Timely and
widespread testing was crucial to isolate infected people, but there were
constant problems including faulty test kits, delayed test results,
bottlenecks in labs and long lines at testing sites before
at-home COVID tests became available.
testing issues have lingered, with problems continuing. There’s also been
minimal investment in public health infrastructure and hospital capacity,
leading to recurring problems. "The biggest mistake has been to allow
politicians to be in charge of the response. We need pandemic preparedness
and the CDC to be more independent." The COVID-19 vaccines saved almost a
quarter-million lives and prevented almost 1.2 million hospitalizations in
the first six months of 2021. Adalja was surprised by the vaccine hesitancy,
noting it has led to many preventable deaths.
Two new strains of COVID that appear to be
more transmissible than even "stealth Omicron,"
that have the ability to evade antibodies from vaccination and prior
infection, have arrived in the U.S. — and they could mean a new wave is
coming. BA.4 and BA.5 — like the original Omicron, BA.1—originated in South
Africa. Cases are surging there despite the fact that almost all South
Africans have been vaccinated or had COVID, Bloomberg reported last week.
The country's National
Institute for Communicable Diseases reported nearly 4,000 new infections
on Sunday alone. Of those who were tested for COVID, 22% received positive
update on their studies, the company said their vaccine demonstrated
superiority against Beta, Delta and Omicron variants one month after
administration, which continued six months after administration for Beta and
Clover Biopharmaceuticals is
company working on a bivalent vaccine, which combines the trimeric spike
antigens from the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and the Omicron variant. The
company said that their vaccine has elicited broad neutralization against
all Variants of Concern (VoC), including Omicron, in both primary
vaccination and booster settings. Their studies are at the preclinical
the Covid virus has continued to spawn new variants, development of a
broadly protective COVID-19 vaccine that can potently neutralize existing
and potential future variants is critical to preparing for the next chapter
Moderna may have a new 'better' vaccine. The pharmaceutical company says it
may soon be able to produce a
new and improved COVID-19 vaccine that will be
more effective against variants of the virus. It is called a "bivalent"
vaccine and the company has been working on it for more than a year.
Bivalent is the medical term for a
vaccine that stimulates an immune
response against two antigens (both the original strain and the beta
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