Coronavirus News Roundup, May 8–May 21


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

Katelyn Jetelina up to date her COVID-19 vaccine comparisons desk on 5/20/21 at her website Your Native Epidemiologist. Highlights embrace the newest information on how nicely varied vaccines shield in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 variants. The publish additionally features a useful dialogue of two ways in which researchers measure how nicely a vaccine works – efficacy (analyzing the extent of illness safety in experiments) and immunogenicity (analyzing ranges of a sort of antibodies made in response to a pathogen over time).

A complete of 23 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., not too long ago have modified their face-coverings and masks steerage in response to final week’s Facilities for Illness Management’s replace to its steerage for absolutely vaccinated individuals, studies Lindsay Kalter for WebMD (5/18/21). The WebMD story’s second web page hyperlinks to numerous state plans for lifting masks mandates.

A rising physique of proof, together with a examine revealed 5/15/21 in The Lancet and one other revealed 5/6/21 in JAMA, means that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine not solely protects us in opposition to reasonable or extreme COVID-19. It additionally protects us in opposition to getting contaminated in any respect with SARS-CoV-2 and thereby protects in opposition to us transmitting infections to others. Decrease quantities of the virus persist within the nasal passages of vaccinated individuals than in these of unvaccinated individuals, Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned 5/16/21 on CBS Information’ “Face the Nation.” There are very uncommon “breakthrough infections” of SARS-CoV-2 in vaccinated individuals, however “virtually all the time the individuals [with these infections] are asymptomatic [feel no symptoms], and the extent of virus is so low, it makes it extraordinarily unlikely, not unimaginable, however very, very low probability that they’re going to transmit it,” Fauci mentioned. These findings, together with ongoing proof that the vaccines are protected and efficient, even in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 variants, supplied the scientific foundation for the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management’s steerage (5/13/21) stating that vaccinated individuals not have to put on masks nor socially distance in most indoor and out of doors settings, even crowded ones, studies Apoorva Mandavilli at The New York Occasions (5/14/21).

In a New York Occasions survey carried out between April 28 and Might 10, 85% of greater than 700 epidemiologists responded that they suppose individuals within the U.S. will be capable to safely collect open air on the Fourth of July, because the nation “rounds the bend” (as some writers put it) on the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost the identical share of epidemiologists suppose that U.S. faculties can safely reopen within the fall, in response to the survey outcomes, as reported by the Occasions. One other notable discovering from the survey: the bulk (59%) of the surveyed epidemiologists suppose that vaccination charges are a very powerful statistic to look at when contemplating whether or not to “resume most pre-pandemic actions with out new COVID-era precautions.” So, what vaccination charge or stage do you have to search for? “Half of respondents mentioned no less than 80 % of Individuals, together with kids, would should be vaccinated earlier than it will be protected to do most actions with out precautions,” write Claire Cain Miller, Kevin Quealy, and Margo Sanger-Katz (5/15/21).

And the place does one discover U.S. federal, state, and county vaccination charges? Some consultants steadily seek the advice of The New York Occasions’ varied COVID-19 dashboards, together with this U.S. vaccinations tracker, which lets you search for the proportion of individuals in every U.S. county who’re absolutely vaccinated. After all, any single statistical measure gives restricted info. Further components that affect a area’s SARS-CoV-2 threat embrace native immunity amongst individuals who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections or COVID-19 up to now 14 months (areas which have recovered from coronavirus surges could have increased charges of this “pure immunity”) in addition to public-health measures equivalent to masking and distancing necessities.

In freelance journalist Tara Haelle’s 5/13/21 story for Scientific American in regards to the current U.S. authorization to be used of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in adolescents, I discovered a couple of website referred to as VaxTeen. The location states that it’s designed to deal with “the decline in vaccinations” within the U.S. by immediately informing youngsters and younger adults about vaccine misinformation and inspiring these teams to make amends for any lacking photographs. One of many website’s principal sources is a state-by-state index the place teenagers might search for their authorized rights to acquire a vaccination with out parental consent. Every state entry features a assertion on how the native legal guidelines pertain to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Accumulating analysis reveals that COVID-19 vaccines are protected and efficient throughout being pregnant, even in opposition to among the SARS-CoV-2 variants (e.g. B.1.1.7, first recognized within the UK, and B.1.351, first recognized in South Africa), studies Emily Anthes for The New York Occasions (5/13/21). “Vaccinated girls can even cross protecting antibodies to their fetuses via the bloodstream and to their infants via breast milk,” Anthes writes, describing the outcomes of a examine revealed 5/13/21 in JAMA. And neither the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine nor the Moderna vaccine harms the placenta throughout being pregnant, Anthes describes a 5/11/21 examine as concluding. Extra analysis is required to check these similar questions in girls at earlier phases of being pregnant, the story states.

You may get pleasure from, “An open letter to sleep: we have to speak,” by Viktoria Shulevich for McSweeney’s (5/20/21).

That is an opinion and evaluation article.


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