Monitoring Incidence of COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths, by Vaccination Status — 13 U.S. Jurisdictions, April 4–July 17, 2021

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7037e1.htm?s_cid=mm7037e1_w

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Averaged weekly, age-standardized rates (events per 100,000 persons) were higher among persons not fully vaccinated than among fully vaccinated persons for reported cases (112.3 versus 10.1), hospitalizations (9.1 versus 0.7), and deaths (1.6 versus 0.1) during April 4–June 19, as well as during June 20–July 17 (89.1 versus 19.4; 7.0 versus 0.7; 1.1 versus 0.1, respectively). Higher hospitalization and death rates were observed in older age groups, regardless of vaccination status, resulting in a larger impact of age-standardization on overall incidence for these outcomes.

Within each age group, the percentage of vaccinated persons among cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increased with increasing vaccination coverage (Figure 1). As the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant surpassed 50%, the percentage of vaccinated persons among cases in each age group increased at rates corresponding to benchmarks for lower VE (i.e., from approximately 90% to <80%). Increases in the percentages of vaccinated persons aged ≥65 years among COVID-19–associated hospitalizations and deaths also appeared higher than expected. During June 20–July 17, age-standardized rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among persons not fully vaccinated increased weekly; among fully vaccinated persons, case rates increased, but rates of hospitalizations and deaths remained largely unchanged (Figure 2).

Author(s): Heather M. Scobie, PhD1; Amelia G. Johnson, DrPH1; Amitabh B. Suthar, PharmD2; Rachel Severson, MS3; Nisha B. Alden, MPH3; Sharon Balter, MD4; Daniel Bertolino, MPH5; David Blythe, MD6; Shane Brady, MPH7; Betsy Cadwell, MSPH1; Iris Cheng, MS5; Sherri Davidson, PhD8; Janelle Delgadillo9; Katelynn Devinney, MPH5; Jeff Duchin, MD10; Monique Duwell, MD6; Rebecca Fisher, MPH4; Aaron Fleischauer, PhD11; Ashley Grant, MPH12; Jennifer Griffin, PhD4; Meredith Haddix, MPH4; Julie Hand, MSPH12; Matt Hanson, MD10; Eric Hawkins, MS13; Rachel K. Herlihy, MD3; Liam Hicks, MPH7; Corinne Holtzman, MPH14; Mikhail Hoskins, MPH11; Judie Hyun, MHS6; Ramandeep Kaur, PhD8; Meagan Kay, DVM10; Holly Kidrowski, MPH14; Curi Kim, MSPH6; Kenneth Komatsu, MPH7; Kiersten Kugeler, PhD1; Melissa Lewis, MPH1; B. Casey Lyons, MPH2; Shelby Lyons, MPH12; Ruth Lynfield, MD14; Keegan McCaffrey7; Chelsea McMullen, MS15; Lauren Milroy, MPH13; Stephanie Meyer, MPH14; Leisha Nolen, MD9; Monita R. Patel, PhD1; Sargis Pogosjans, MPH10; Heather E. Reese, PhD1; Amy Saupe, MPH14; Jessica Sell, MPH5; Theresa Sokol, MPH12; Daniel Sosin, MD15; Emma Stanislawski, MPH15; Kelly Stevens, MS8; Hailey Vest, MPH13; Kelly White, MPH13; Erica Wilson, MD11; Adam MacNeil, PhD1; Matthew D. Ritchey2; Benjamin J. Silk, PhD1

Publication Date: 10 Sept 2021

Publication Site: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Vaccinated vs Not vaccinated

Link: https://covidmitigationmonitoring.wordpress.com/2021/09/13/vaccinated-vs-not-vaccinated/

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Here is a fairly clear picture from the CDC of the impact of vaccination on infections (cases), Hospitalizations and Deaths, through July. You can see here that infections are increasing for vaccinated people, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing also, but to a much lesser degree. In all cases, the fully vaccinated people are experiencing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths at a much lower level than the Not Fully Vaccinated people.

That is the message we keep hearing, but I find that this picture tells the story better than the words.

Publication Date: 13 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Covid Mitigation Monitoring Project

COVID cases hold steady while hospitalizations, deaths rise

Link: https://www.axios.com/covid-cases-hold-steady-hospitalizations-deaths-rise-aaff9ca2-9c52-42a5-b594-ca9985bfa722.html

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Details: A small number of states, including Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, still have high numbers but have continued to see an improvement over the past two weeks.

For instance, Florida saw a 23% drop in cases and a 17% drop in hospitalizations over the last two weeks. But the state still has 345 daily COVID deaths on average.

Meanwhile, the biggest increases in new cases continue to be clustered in the South — including Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina — as well as in Ohio and West Virginia.

States around the country have reported that COVID surges are increasing the strain on hospital systems. This week, Idaho hospitals begin rationing health care amid COVID surges, West Virginia reported record high ICU and ventilator cases, and Wisconsin hospitals said their ICU beds are in short supply.

Author(s): Tina Reed

Publication Date: 9 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Axios

Covid-19 cases in American children are at an all-time high

Link: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/09/13/covid-19-cases-in-american-children-are-at-an-all-time-high

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ON SEPTEMBER 13TH pupils in New York City, America’s biggest school district, will make a full return to classrooms for the first time since the start of the pandemic. That will be a relief for many parents. But it will also bring fear. In America, until recently adults suffered the highest infection rates; today the virus is spreading fastest among young people (see chart). Cases in children are surging, accounting for more than a quarter of total infections in the country in the week ending September 2nd.

Compared with other school districts, New York City is something of a straggler. Pupils in Tuloso-Midway School District in Texas have been back at their desks since the middle of July. Children in Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest school district, began their studies four weeks ago. Parents in New York City will doubtless be wondering whether and how the return to school elsewhere has contributed to the recent spike in cases among young people.

Publication Date: 13 September 2021

Publication Site: The Economist

Covid-19 Could Become Like the Flu if More People Get Vaccinated

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-could-become-like-the-flu-if-more-people-get-vaccinated-11631439002

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Covid-19 might become a routine illness like a common cold or the flu one day, virologists and epidemiologists say. But it will take a lot to get there, and the ferocious spread of the Delta variant that has filled hospitals again shows how challenging that path could be.

More than 20 months after the pandemic began, people around the world are having to change the way they think about a disease that many public-health authorities once believed they could conquer. A terrifying emergency has become a long, grinding haul.

The supercontagious Delta variant has made the virus virtually impossible to get rid of. It has fueled surges in cases across the globe, even in countries like Australia that had largely kept the pandemic out.

…..

For Covid-19 to become mild, most people will need some immunity, which studies have shown reduces the severity of the disease. Infections provide some immunity, but that comes with the risk of severe illness, death and further spread of the virus, compared with vaccines. People could become vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 if that immunity erodes or is weak, or if the virus mutates.

….

A future Covid-19 could be less deadly than the flu, which kills up to a half-million people a year globally, because the most widely used Covid-19 vaccines are better than flu vaccines, said Dr. Garcia-Sastre, an influenza expert. The disease could still remain serious for people with weaker immune systems, doctors said.

Author(s): Betsy McKay

Publication Date: 12 September 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Estimated US Infection- and Vaccine-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Based on Blood Donations, July 2020-May 2021

Link: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2784013

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Findings  In this repeated cross-sectional study that included 1 443 519 blood donation specimens from a catchment area representing 74% of the US population, estimated SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence weighted for differences between the study sample and general population increased from 3.5% in July 2020 to 20.2% for infection-induced antibodies and 83.3% for combined infection- and vaccine-induced antibodies in May 2021. Seroprevalence differed by age, race and ethnicity, and geographic region of residence, but these differences changed over the course of the study.

Meaning  Based on a sample of blood donations in the US from July 2020 through May 2021, estimated SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence increased over time and varied by age, race and ethnicity, and geographic region.

Author(s): Jefferson M. Jones, MD, MPH1; Mars Stone, PhD2; Hasan Sulaeman, MS2; et al

Publication Date: 2 September 2021

Publication Site: JAMA

A Cure for Government Incompetence

Link: https://www.city-journal.org/britain-successful-vaccine-program

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Almost everyone I know in Britain has been surprised—for once, pleasantly so—by the success of the country’s vaccination program against Covid-19. We are so accustomed to the abject failure of our public administration in almost everything, from its political dithering, followed by self-evidently wrong (and costly) decisions, to its bureaucratic incompetence and moral corruption, that when something goes right, we stand amazed. What, indeed, can explain why something should at last have gone right?

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The government decided that everyone should be immunized according to risk—first the oldest people and health workers, then the slightly less old and those with compromised immunity, and then the still less old, and so forth, until all adults will have been covered. By spring, more than half the population had received a first (and most important) dose of a vaccine. Almost no opposition to, or even criticism of, this manner of proceeding has arisen— unlike with almost everything else the government has done in its response to the pandemic—and the uptake of the vaccination offer has been high, except among some ethnic minority groups.

The government website to make a vaccination appointment could hardly have been better designed. It gave a large choice of locations, based on their distance from one’s home; we could select time and place. My wife and I chose the following day at noon at Ludlow Racecourse, where a large vaccination center was operating. We could have had our vaccination at my local doctors’ office, 300 hundred yards away from where we lived, but in a time of lockdown, we wanted a day out: so reduced have been our horizons of late that a drive of 20 miles or so seemed almost exciting.

Author(s): Theodore Dalrymple

Publication Date: Summer 2021

Publication Site: City Journal

ABO Blood Group and Outcomes in Patients with COVID-19 Admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU): A Retrospective Study in a Tertiary-Level Hospital in Bangladesh

Link: https://www.dovepress.com/abo-blood-group-and-outcomes-in-patients-with-covid-19-admitted-in-the-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-JMDH?fbclid=IwAR1FnGnFZREIGviYPE0vurQgjtlKRKAM2_yEYycXyE5ObOInocFuxOXABDA

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Subjects and Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary-level COVID-dedicated hospital in Dhaka city, Bangladesh, between April 2020 and November 2020. Records from 771 critically ill patients were extracted who were confirmed for COVID-19 by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, and blood grouping records were available in the health records.
Results: The blood groups were 37.35%, 17.38%, 26.46%, and 18.81% for A, B, AB, and O type, respectively. Clinical symptoms were significantly more common in patients with blood type A (p < 0.05). Patients with blood type A had higher WBC counts and peak serum ferritin levels and both were statistically significant (p < 0.001). Patients with blood type A had a greater need for supplemental oxygen, and they were more likely to die in comparison to the patients with other blood types (p < 0.05). In multivariable analysis, our primary outcome death was significantly associated with blood type A (AOR: 3.49, 95% CI: 1.57– 7.73) while adjusting for age, male gender, and non-communicable diseases.
Conclusion: Based on this study results, it can be concluded that the COVID-19 patients with blood type A have a higher chance of death and other complications. The authors recommend blood grouping before treating the COVID-19 patients, and healthcare workers should prioritize treating the patients based on that result.

Author(s): Mohammad Rabiul Halim,1,* Shuvajit Saha,2,* Injamam Ull Haque,1 Sadia Jesmin,1 Rahatul Jannat Nishat,3 ASMD Ashraful Islam,2 Seema Roy,4 Miah Md Akiful Haque,5 Md Motiul Islam,1 Tarikul Hamid,1 Kazi Nuruddin Ahmed,1 Md Azharul Islam Talukder,1 Arif Ahmed,1 Emran Hasan,2 Nurjahan Ananna,1 Faroque Md Mohsin,6 Mohammad Delwer Hossain Hawlader7

Publication Date: 2 September 2021

Publication Site: Dovepress

How your DNA may affect whether you get COVID-19 or become gravely ill

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Some people can blame their DNA for making them more likely to get COVID-19 or becoming severely ill if they get infected.

A study of more than 45,000 people with COVID-19 has uncovered 13 genetic variants linked to an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 or a higher chance of developing severe illness, researchers report July 8 in Nature. The team includes more than 3,300 researchers in 25 countries.

Some of the variants had been uncovered in previous studies. For instance, researchers again confirmed a genetic link between blood type and the likelihood of getting infected, but don’t know why people with type O blood may be slightly protected. The study also verified that a variant that disables the TYK2 gene raises the risk of critical illness and hospitalization. That variant is known to protect against autoimmune disease, but leaves people more vulnerable to tuberculosis.   

Author(s): Tina Hesman Saey

Publication Date: 8 July 2021

Publication Site: Science News

Biden Lays Out Plan To Mandate Vaccines Or Testing For Millions Of Workers

Link: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/09/1035149651/biden-will-require-vaccines-for-federal-workers-as-part-of-a-new-covid-strategy

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President Biden on Thursday unveiled a series of steps to combat the newly surging pandemic, including the announcement of a forthcoming federal rule that all businesses with 100 or more employees have to ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing for the coronavirus.

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Among the other steps, Biden also announced that federal workers and contractors will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, eliminating an option laid out in July for unvaccinated employees to be regularly tested instead.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said federal workers would have about 75 days to become fully vaccinated, once Biden signed an executive order later Thursday. She said there would be limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

Some federal agencies will require proof of vaccination while others will accept attestations, Psaki said. Workers who fail to comply with the requirement will be counseled by their human resources departments, and then will face “progressive disciplinary action,” she said.

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Biden announced that 17 million health care workers at hospitals and other health care settings like dialysis clinics and home health agencies that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding will have to be vaccinated.

There will be similar requirements for teachers and staff at the Head Start early education program and other federally funded educational settings, such as schools on military bases.

Author(s): Alana Wise, Tamara Keith

Publication Date: 9 September 2021

Publication Site: NPR

Data Shows Less Alarming Picture of Delta

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/briefing/risk-breakthrough-infections-delta.html

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How small are the chances of the average vaccinated American contracting Covid? Probably about one in 5,000 per day, and even lower for people who take precautions or live in a highly vaccinated community.

Or maybe one in 10,000

The estimates here are based on statistics from three places that have reported detailed data on Covid infections by vaccination status: Utah; Virginia; and King County, which includes Seattle, in Washington state. All three are consistent with the idea that about one in 5,000 vaccinated Americans have tested positive for Covid each day in recent weeks.

The chances are surely higher in the places with the worst Covid outbreaks, like the Southeast. And in places with many fewer cases — like the Northeast, as well as the Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas — the chances are lower, probably less than 1 in 10,000. That’s what the Seattle data shows, for example. (These numbers don’t include undiagnosed cases, which are often so mild that people do not notice them and do not pass the virus to anyone else.)

Here’s one way to think about a one-in-10,000 daily chance: It would take more than three months for the combined risk to reach just 1 percent.

Author(s): David Leonhardt

Publication Date: 7 September 2021

Publication Site: NY Times

New Study Shows Breakthrough Infection Risk Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Link: https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/rick-moran/2021/09/07/new-study-shows-breakthrough-infection-risk-not-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-n1476621

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According to data compiled by the Centers For Disease Control, approximately one in every 5,000 vaccinated Americans has tested positive for the coronavirus. That number is probably much lower in places with significantly fewer cases — like the Northeast, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco areas, where it is probably fewer than one in 10,000.

This is the first detailed data about so-called “breakthrough” infections — positive tests from people fully vaccinated. The data suggests that politicians and public health officials are wildly overreacting to the delta variant’s effect on the already vaccinated.

Author(s): Rick Moran

Publication Date: 7 September 2021

Publication Site: PJ Media