Coronavirus News Roundup, May 22 to June 4


The objects beneath are highlights from the free publication, “Good, helpful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To obtain publication points each day in your inbox, join right here.

Each Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech now have utilized to the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) for full approval of their vaccines in opposition to COVID-19, studies Daniel E. Slotnik at The New York Occasions. At the moment, each are licensed on an emergency-use foundation by the company. Many individuals, me included earlier this yr, mistakenly have referred to the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as permitted within the U.S. I point out this not as a result of the excellence influences my confidence in these vaccines. Quite, an improve may show vital for vaccine hesitancy. Extra folks within the U.S. who’ve been hesitant are deciding to get a COVID-19 shot, in line with a 5/28/21 Kaiser Household Basis survey famous by Slotnik. Now, if the FDA offers full approval to COVID-19 vaccines, it’s attainable that hesitancy will decline additional and we are able to get nearer to herd immunity (6/1/21).

Failing this quiz by Dr. Arnaud Gagneur of the College of Sherbrooke and Dr. Karin Tamerius for The New York Occasions (5/20/21) taught me how one can be more practical and useful in conversations with individuals who have questions and considerations about COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna’s mRNA vaccine in opposition to COVID-19 has been proven to strongly defend teenagers, the corporate mentioned on 5/25/21, studies Lauran Neergaard for the Related Press on the identical day. In Could, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was licensed to be used in kids ages 12 and up. Moderna reportedly plans to submit its outcomes to U.S. regulatory companies early this month. So, there is perhaps a second COVID-19 vaccine licensed to be used in teenagers inside weeks. “Each Pfizer and Moderna have begun testing in even youthful kids, from age 11 right down to 6-month-old infants. This testing is extra advanced: Teenagers obtain the identical dose as adults, however researchers are testing smaller doses in youthful kids. Consultants hope to see some leads to the autumn,” Neergaard studies.

On the Your Native Epidemiologist web site, Katelyn Jetelina has revealed two posters, one in English (5/20/21) and one in Spanish (5/28/21), with solutions to seven parental considerations concerning the COVID-19 vaccine that has been licensed to be used in teenagers within the U.S. The coated matters embody considerations about negative effects, the effectiveness of the vaccine, the necessity to vaccinate teenagers in opposition to COVID-19, and what mRNA (messenger RNA) does as soon as it will get into the physique: (English); (Spanish).

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management’s 5/29/21 steering on summer season camps, vaccinations and mask-wearing is rounded up right here by Roni Caryn Rabin at The New York Occasions. Particulars reportedly embody: 1) encouraging vaccination amongst folks ages 12 and up who plan to attend camps, 2) recommending that campers and employees can go mask-free at camps with 100% vaccination, and three) recommending that unvaccinated campers can go mask-free outside normally. Camps with unvaccinated attendees ought to sustain different coronavirus prevention measures resembling bodily distancing, grouping kids in pods or cohorts that don’t combine, and enhancing indoor air flow, the CDC advises, in line with the story (5/28/21).

Within the U.S., COVID-19 vaccine distribution initially was left for states to determine and administer, as you most likely know. Thankfully, federal funds had been made obtainable in 2021 to help, and a few vaccination mega-sites have been set as much as goal communities closely affected by COVID-19, folks of shade, and different marginalized or underserved areas. On April 20, I acquired to assist report on the expertise of sufferers visiting such a web site, in Newark, NJ, for his or her second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It was a beautiful expertise, together with the chance to interview folks instantly after they had been vaccinated and the chance to work with photographer Grant Delin. Right here’s the 6/1/21 story that Grant and I collaborated on (be happy to skip scroll instantly to the pictures and captions with quotes from the photographed people).

One downside that has slowed the U.S. response to the pandemic has been inconsistent findings and public-health messages concerning the effectiveness of material and surgical face masks, particularly in contrast with N95 respirators. The latter technically usually are not masks, an epidemiologist not too long ago informed me. N95s are in a separate class of protecting gear as a result of they match tightly on the face, are made of fabric that filters air (surgical and material masks don’t), and defend the wearer from inhaling particles carried within the the air. Against this, surgical and material face masks defend others from particles exhaled or emitted by the individual carrying the masks. A brand new research revealed 5/20/21 in Science supplies a quantitative clarification of the “contrasting outcomes” on how protecting masks and N95s are in stopping the unfold of SARS-CoV-2. If correct, the findings are an intellectually satisfying reply to a few of the points that vexed public-health efforts to require folks to put on masks. Backside line: Face masks are efficient as a measure to forestall the unfold of SARS-CoV-2, the researchers conclude. A abstract of the research summary: Surgical masks are efficient at stopping virus-spread in most settings, the place little virus is current; and a mix of “superior masks” with measures resembling air flow and distancing are efficient in indoor settings resembling medical facilities and hospitals, the place probably increased ranges of the virus are current. In modeling exposures to the virus in air, the researchers discovered that material and surgical masks nonetheless work in non-medical environments to forestall SARS-CoV-2 transmission as a result of there may be so little of the virus within the particles we exhale. Tweets by heart specialist Eric Topol on the Scripps Analysis Translational Institute alerted me to this research.

Are you seeking to cut back your Covid-19-risk in packed out of doors crowds and at out of doors occasions this summer season? On this 5/28/21 story for The New York Occasions, I regarded into the most recent recommendation for how one can cut back your threat of catching or spreading SARS-CoV-2 outside this summer season. The reporting bolstered my behavior of checking on-line coronavirus dashboards. Consultants say to have a look at these key stats on the state, county and metropolis degree the place obtainable: 1 – native an infection (case) charges, 2 – hospitalization charges, and three – % vaccinated. As an example, an infection/case charges beneath 3 per 100,000 folks, averaged throughout a number of days, is an outside security threshold talked about by one knowledgeable, though one other knowledgeable who I quoted within the story opposed utilizing a statistical threshold to make particular person covid-safety choices.

You would possibly get pleasure from, “Greatest STEM toys for one-year-olds, additionally, relax,” by Keith James (6/2/21).


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