Coronavirus News Roundup, May 8–May 21



The objects beneath are highlights from the free publication, “Sensible, helpful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To obtain publication points day by 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 embody the most recent information on how effectively numerous vaccines defend in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 variants. The put up additionally features a useful dialogue of two ways in which researchers measure how effectively 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., just lately 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 folks, reviews 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 research printed 5/15/21 in The Lancet and one other printed 5/6/21 in JAMA, means that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine not solely protects us in opposition to average 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 folks than in these of unvaccinated folks, 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 folks, however “nearly at all times the folks [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, offered the scientific foundation for the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management’s steerage (5/13/21) stating that vaccinated folks now not must put on masks nor socially distance in most indoor and out of doors settings, even crowded ones, reviews Apoorva Mandavilli at The New York Instances (5/14/21).

In a New York Instances survey carried out between April 28 and Could 10, 85% of greater than 700 epidemiologists responded that they suppose folks within the U.S. will be capable to safely collect outside on the Fourth of July, because the nation “rounds the bend” (as some writers put it) on the COVID-19 pandemic. Practically the identical proportion of epidemiologists suppose that U.S. faculties can safely reopen within the fall, in keeping with the survey outcomes, as reported by the Instances. One other notable discovering from the survey: the bulk (59%) of the surveyed epidemiologists suppose that vaccination charges are crucial 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 must you search for? “Half of respondents mentioned at the very least 80 p.c of People, together with kids, would have to be vaccinated earlier than it could 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 specialists regularly seek the advice of The New York Instances’ numerous COVID-19 dashboards, together with this U.S. vaccinations tracker, which lets you search for the share of individuals in every U.S. county who’re absolutely vaccinated. After all, any single statistical measure offers restricted data. Further components that affect a area’s SARS-CoV-2 threat embody native immunity amongst individuals who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections or COVID-19 prior to now 14 months (areas which have recovered from coronavirus surges may have increased charges of this “pure immunity”) in addition to public-health measures corresponding to masking and distancing necessities.

In freelance journalist Tara Haelle’s 5/13/21 story for Scientific American concerning the latest U.S. authorization to be used of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in adolescents, I discovered a few website known as VaxTeen. The positioning states that it’s designed to handle “the decline in vaccinations” within the U.S. by immediately informing youngsters and younger adults about vaccine misinformation and inspiring these teams to compensate for any lacking photographs. One of many website’s important sources is a state-by-state index the place teenagers could 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 a number of 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), reviews Emily Anthes for The New York Instances (5/13/21). “Vaccinated ladies may also go protecting antibodies to their fetuses by means of the bloodstream and to their infants by means of breast milk,” Anthes writes, describing the outcomes of a research printed 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 research as concluding. Extra analysis is required to review these similar questions in ladies at earlier phases of being pregnant, the story states.

You would possibly take pleasure in, “An open letter to sleep: we have to discuss,” by Viktoria Shulevich for McSweeney’s (5/20/21).

That is an opinion and evaluation article.


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