Coronavirus News Roundup, February 20 – February 26



The gadgets under are highlights from the free publication, “Sensible, helpful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To obtain publication points each day in your inbox, enroll right here.

In a 2/19/21 publication for The New York Instances, David Leonhardt writes that some cautionary public well being messages about COVID-19 vaccines, equivalent to messages about dangers, uncertainties, caveats and unintended effects — all of which he calls “vaccine alarmism” — are “essentially deceptive.” Some researchers and journalists are “instinctively skeptical and cautious,” he writes, which has led to public well being messages that “emphasize uncertainty and potential future dangerous information.” For instance, the danger of a vaccinated particular person turning into contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 and passing it on to another person who then acquired extreme COVID-19 could be very small, proof suggests, Leonhardt writes. “You wouldn’t know that from a lot of the general public dialogue,” he writes. Ambiguity like that and all of the information about variants has fueled vaccine hesitancy, in accordance with Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, a public well being researcher on the College, Leonhardt writes. The general public well being messages about COVID-19 vaccines as an alternative ought to be: “They’re protected. They’re extremely efficient in opposition to critical illness. And the rising proof about infectiousness seems actually good,” a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist is quoted as saying.

A story by Claudia Wallis for Scientific American’s March subject studies on methods for addressing the hesitancy reportedly held by some within the U.S. to getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The methods embrace: 1) specializing in enlightening people who find themselves ambivalent or hesitant concerning the vaccine, not on dedicated “anti-vaxxers,” who’re a “tiny slice of the inhabitants,” Wallis writes: 2) addressing “the dearth of belief or tech folks with trusted messengers,” in accordance with a Dartmouth Faculty political scientist quoted within the piece; 3) eradicating “sensible obstacles” to getting the vaccine, which might be addressed with prolonged hours at vaccine websites and emphasizing that the vaccine is free, in accordance with a Kaiser Household Basis director of racial fairness and well being coverage, the story states.

Additionally, it could be clever to query the concept that attitudes and polls precisely mirror habits, that’s, whether or not folks will really courageous important hurdles and get a COVID-19 vaccine when out there. As an example, on 2/20/21 Dr. Uché Blackstock, founding father of Advancing Well being Fairness, retweeted a video posted the identical day by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Ellie Speeding exhibiting a protracted line of dedicated and hopeful vaccine recipients outdoors a 24-hour walk-up vaccination website occasion at Temple College in Philadelphia. To repeat, it was a 24-hour, walk-up vaccination occasion held final weekend, and it was massively in style.

David Klepper, Farnoush Amiri, and Beatrice Dupuy at The Related Press have reported a narrative that profiles the folks and organizations behind among the most damaging COVID-19 misinformation (2/15/21). In brief, avoid COVID-19 concepts by Francis Boyle at Harvard; website Nice Recreation India; Montreal-based Centre for Analysis on Globalization; serial political candidate Igor Nikulin; conspiracy theorists Greg Rubini, Kevin Barrett; virologist Luc Montagnier; and Iranian chief Ali Khamenei


This participating animation by College of Utah cell biologist and animator Janet Iwasa, tweeted in 2/17/21, exhibits how SARS-CoV-2 will get into cells. Right here’s a hyperlink to the positioning with background and the complete animation.

Freelance journalist Wudan Yan properly explains on this 2/17/21 piece for New York journal’s Intelligencer how the COVID-19 vaccines that depend on mRNA know-how might be “readily” modified to enhance their safety in opposition to new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Pfizer and Moderna say their COVID-19 vaccines, which each depend on mRNA, already appear to supply safety in opposition to presently circulating viral variants, however each firms even have vaccine updates within the works. Pfizer says it may doubtlessly have an up to date vaccine prepared, presumably for human testing, in 60 days, Yan studies. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration may enable for security testing of the updates on “just a few hundred folks” as an alternative of on the tens of 1000’s that the unique vaccines have been examined on — which might dramatically pace up their availability for the general public (I believe this streamlined evaluation is kind of the strategy, too, for testing the annual updates to flu vaccines). Vaccine replace fundamentals: The mRNA vaccines inject us with a chunk of the coronavirus’s genetic info (mRNA) that then turns inside our our bodies into a fancy molecule (particularly, a portion of one of many virus’s proteins — the “spike”). Our our bodies be taught to mount an immune response to the protein, “just like what would occur if we have been uncovered to the complete virus,” Yan writes. To tweak the vaccines to account for brand spanking new variants, researchers would swap within the barely completely different mRNA segments that make the piece of the spike protein discovered within the variants, the story states. Researchers should not positive concerning the knowledge of updating COVID-19 vaccines that depend on a virus known as an adenovirus to hold the coronavirus genetic materials into our our bodies, Yan writes, however they’ve concepts for tips on how to work round these questions too.

Taking Vitamin C or zinc, or each, doesn’t scale back COVID-19 signs, in accordance with the outcomes of a randomized research printed 2/12/21 in JAMA Community Open, states Dr. F. Perry Wilson in an edited interview transcript printed by Medscape (2/17/21). “I believe we have to simply settle for the truth that it’s fairly unlikely {that a} treatment for COVID is sitting in our closets,” Wilson writes. “A number of chemical compounds have exercise in opposition to pathogens [e.g. microbes that can make you sick] in take a look at tubes, similar to a number of stuff works in vitro [in test tubes in a research lab] in opposition to most cancers. However this trial [experiment/study] reminds us that, most of the time, biologically promising brokers don’t survive the pains of real-world testing. Hold hope, however convey information.”

You may take pleasure in listening to the sounds of the wind (estimated pace of 5 meters/sec, or 11 mph) and the Perseverance rover on Mars, as offered within the first video on this 2/23/21 story by Mike Wall. Or simply take heed to the Martian wind and floor sounds alone, with the rover noise filtered out.


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