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

New NY governor adds 12,000 deaths to publicized COVID tally

Link: https://apnews.com/article/andrew-cuomo-health-coronavirus-pandemic-7312b49695e726eda8d59848e82271c5

Excerpt:

Delivering another blow to what’s left of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legacy, New York’s new governor acknowledged on her first day in office that the state has had nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than Cuomo told the public.

“The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what’s happening. And that’s whether it’s good or bad, they need to know the truth. And that’s how we restore confidence,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said on NPR.

In its first daily update on the outbreak Tuesday evening, Hochul’s office reported that nearly 55,400 people have died of the coronavirus in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s up from about 43,400 that Cuomo reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office. The Democrat who was once widely acclaimed for his leadership during the COVID-19 outbreak resigned in the face of an impeachment drive after being accused of sexually harassing at least 11 women, allegations he disputed.

The higher number is not entirely new. Federal health officials and some academic institutions tracking COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been using the higher tally for many months because of known gaps in the data Cuomo had been choosing to publicize.

Author(s): MARINA VILLENEUVE

Publication Date: 25 August 2021

Publication Site: AP News

CDC warns of a “significant decline” in vaccine effectiveness for some, prompting booster dose decision

Link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-booster-shot-cdc-effectiveness/?mc_cid=7fce136b2d&mc_eid=983bcf5922

Excerpt:

New data being released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of a “significant decline” in vaccine effectiveness against infection from COVID-19 in nursing home residents, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus causes a spike in hospitalizations among mostly unvaccinated Americans.

The release came as the Biden administration says it is preparing to offer booster shots for all Americans who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, eight months after their second dose, beginning the week of September 20.

“Given this body of evidence, we are concerned that the current strong protection against severe infection, hospitalization and death could decrease in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or who were vaccinated earlier,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Wednesday.

Author(s): ALEXANDER TIN

Publication Date: 18 August 2021

Publication Site: CBS News

Mortality with Meep: Cause of Death Trend — Heart Disease — 1999-2020

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-with-meep-cause-of-death

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The long-term trend has been improvement for this cause of death, with it most obvious for the oldest age groups. This trend has been driven by improvement in medical treatment for the condition, but also due to the decrease in smoking rates… decades ago. Some causes of death have behavior that precedes the death by decades, which can get tricky to track for our top two causes of death: heart disease and cancer. Even so, smoking cigarettes has been a huge driver for both these causes, and made a large differentiator by sex and smoking status for a long time.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 26 July 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

America’s Delta data problem

Link: https://www.axios.com/america-coronavirus-vaccines-delta-data-ababc99b-df6b-4ddb-b4b2-341733933a27.html

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The big picture: The Biden administration is ultimately trying to figure out how well-protected different demographics are against the virus, and for how long. From there, they can decide who should get booster shots.

But while the administration waits for more information, telling the public only that boosters aren’t necessary right now, drug companies and other countries are filling the data and communication void.

“Just think we live in a country which is incapable of telling us the percent vaccinated or unvaccinated who require hospitalization for covid. No less any more data about them. Or track breakthrough infections. Thanks @CDCgov,” tweeted Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research.

Author(s): Caitlin Owens

Publication Date: 9 August 2021

Publication Site: Axios

CDC reverses indoor mask policy, saying fully vaccinated people and kids should wear them indoors

Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/27/cdc-to-reverse-indoor-mask-policy-to-recommend-them-for-fully-vaccinated-people-in-covid-hot-spots.html

Excerpt:

The CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid transmission rates.


The updated guidance comes ahead of the fall, when the delta variant is expected to cause another surge in new coronavirus cases and many large employers plan to bring workers back to the office.


Experts say Covid prevention strategies remain critical to protect people from the virus, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.

Author(s): Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Meg Tirrell, Associated Press

Publication Date: 27 July 2021

Publication Site: CNBC

US overdose deaths hit record 93,000 in pandemic last year

Link: https://apnews.com/article/overdose-deaths-record-covid-pandemic-fd43b5d91a81179def5ac596253b0304

Excerpt:

Overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government reported Wednesday.

That estimate far eclipses the high of about 72,000 drug overdose deaths reached the previous year and amounts to a 29% increase.

“This is a staggering loss of human life,” said Brandon Marshall, a Brown University public health researcher who tracks overdose trends.

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 14 July 2021

Publication Site: Associated Press

Mortality with Meep: Huge Increase in Death by Drug Overdose in 2020

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-with-meep-huge-increase

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In 2020, there were over 93K deaths due to drug overdoses — a 30% increase over 2019.

This is super-bad, and worse than what I have seen for increases in other causes of death. I knew it was going to be bad, but I didn’t realize it was going to be this bad.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 14 July 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Death rates for young American adults rise due to overdoses, traffic accidents

Link: https://thepostmillennial.com/death-rates-for-young-american-adults-rise-due-to-overdoses-traffic-accidents

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Those aged 15-to-44 have seen fluctuating mortality rates since the 1950s, deviating from all other age groups that have seen steady decreases over the years. The age group’s mortality rate for the COVID-19 pandemic “pales in comparison” to the 1918 pandemic, according to Bloomberg.

“In March, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee summed up their findings in a report titled ‘High and Rising Mortality Rates Among Working-Age Adults.’ Advances in overall life expectancy stalled in the US after 2010 even while continuing in other wealthy countries, the committee summed up, attributing this mainly to (1) rising mortality due to external causes such as drugs, alcohol and suicide among those aged 25 through 64 and (2) a slowing in declines in deaths from internal causes, chiefly cardiovascular diseases,” wrote Bloomberg.

Author(s): Hannah Nightingale

Publication Date: 18 June 2021

Publication Site: The Post Millennial

CDC says vaccine link to heart inflammation is stronger than previously thought

Link: https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/558321-cdc-says-vaccine-link-to-heart-inflammation-is

Excerpt:

Males under 30 may face heart problems after getting vaccinated.

Myocarditis and pericarditis share the same symptoms.

Treatment for myocarditis can be solved with over-the-counter medication or resolve itself.

Author(s): Christian Spencer

Publication Date: 14 June 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

Mortality Nuggets: NYT Misleads, COVID Deaths Down, and Car Crash Fatalities Up

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-nuggets-nyt-misleads-covid

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I want you to notice something — the blue bars are the “with COVID” portion of deaths, and the chartreuse bars are the ones “without COVID”. The bars are weekly counts of deaths when they occurred. Ignore the most recent weeks because they don’t have full data reported yet.

The red pluses indicate excess mortality, defined as exceeding the 95th percentile for expected mortality for that week (so it includes seaonality). You can see the excess mortality from the 2017-2018 flu season, which was bad for a flu season.

The non-COVID mortality has been in excessive mortality range for almost all 2020 after March. But since the beginning of 2021, it has dropped off…. and COVID mortality has also dropped off.

I think we may be almost in “normal” range soon. We shall see!

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 13 June 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins

Link: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

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Wuhan is also home to China’s foremost coronavirus research laboratory, housing one of the world’s largest collections of bat samples and bat-virus strains. The Wuhan Institute of Virology’s lead coronavirus researcher, Shi Zhengli, was among the first to identify horseshoe bats as the natural reservoirs for SARS-CoV, the virus that sparked an outbreak in 2002, killing 774 people and sickening more than 8,000 globally. After SARS, bats became a major subject of study for virologists around the world, and Shi became known in China as “Bat Woman” for her fearless exploration of their caves to collect samples. More recently, Shi and her colleagues at the WIV have performed high-profile experiments that made pathogens more infectious. Such research, known as “gain-of-function,” has generated heated controversy among virologists.

…..

By spring of 2021, the debate over COVID-19’s origins had become so noxious that death threats were flying in both directions.

In a CNN interview on March 26, Dr. Redfield, the former CDC director under Trump, made a candid admission: “I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped.” Redfield added that he believed the release was an accident, not an intentional act. In his view, nothing that happened since his first calls with Dr. Gao changed a simple fact: The WIV needed to be ruled out as a source, and it hadn’t been.

Author(s): Katherine Eban

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: Vanity Fair