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                                       APRIL BLOG

                                                    U.S.                                                                  California

                                   CASES               DEATHS                                     CASES                 DEATHS       

December 2020    19,111,443              341,149                                2,120,610               24,241


2021   Timeline

January                  26,185,362              441,319                                3,310,949               40,702

February                 28,602,101              513,137                               3,563,578                51,953

March                     30,459,874              552,072                               3,668,277                59,240

April                        32,225,012               574,280                              3,742,115                62,078

May                        33,261,284               594,468                              3,789,227                63,247

June                       33,624,871               603,966                              3,814,890                63,569

July                         34,434,136               610,859                              3,903,052                64,231 

August                   39,057,368                638,700                             4,326,204                65,757 

September            43,471,906               698,149                              4,720,860                69,130

October                45,979,056               746,021                              4,915,796                71,950

November            48,214,360               776,586                              5,060,666                74,152

December            54,859,966               825,816                             5,515,250                76,520


2022 Timeline

January                74,333,528               884,265                             8,292,735                 79,801

February              79,025,644                949,957                             8,961,636                85,043

March                  81,780,503            1,007,320                              9,102,677                89,052


UPDATED WEEKLY - Last updated on 24 April 2022, 2:26 pm PST, John Hopkins Corona Virus Dashboard and Worldometer


Cases Worldwide

                            John Hopkins                                                    Worldometer

  • TOTAL CASES    -   509,421,422                      TOTAL CASES        -   509,447,517

               Recovered    -                                               Recovered         -   461,949,060

  • TOTAL DEATHS  -       6,217,632                      TOTAL DEATHS      -       6,242,775


POPULATION - is 334,506,463 as of 24 April 2022, 2:26 pm PST, based on Census U.S. and World Population Clock.


Cases in the U.S.

  • TOTAL CASES      -   80,979,898                      TOTAL CASES        -     82,658,881

              Recovered       -                                            Recovered          -     80,442,596

  • TOTAL DEATHS    -        991,245                      TOTAL DEATHS      -       1,018,326


  1. Payroll enrollment rises by 431,000 in March
  2. Unemployment rate lowers to 3.6%
  3. Average hourly earnings for all employees increase $0.13 March 2022


Cases in California

  • TOTAL CASES     -   9,192,666                           TOTAL CASES       -       9,191,546

              Recovered      -                                                Recovered        -       8,946,068

  • TOTAL DEATHS   -        90,014                           TOTAL DEATHS     -            90,145


04/24/2022                   Cases (WHO)                   Deaths (WHO)                Recovered (WHO)

  • Texas                -    6,806,756                             88,444                           6,637,812
  • Florida              -    5,943,165                             73,822                           5,810,014
  • New York         -    5,276,633                             68,744                           5,139,945
  • Illinois                -   3,114,036                              37,859                           3,017,199
  • Pennsylvania   -   2,808,171                              44,613                           2,738,222
  • Ohio                 -   2,688,327                              38,360                           2,632,226
  • N. Carolina      -   2,647,650                              23,363                           2,613,027
  • Georgia           -   2,509,160                              37,659                           2,445,290
  • Tennessee       -   2,027,209                              26,141                           1,996,027    
  • Arizona            -   2,019,174                              29,852                           1,971,532
  • Alabama         -  1,299,624                              19,545                           1,244,255
  • Louisiana         -  1,236,111                              17,223                           1,215,162

  * correction

** no change

             *** reporting information is limited, reduced testing and increased cases


United States progress                                       Updated as of 24 April 2022, 2:26 pm PST

  • Doses Distributed                                                723,183,845
  • Doses Administered                                           572,595,338   
  • 1st dose administered                                       257,255,601                  77.5%                   
  • 2nd dose administered                                     219,338,297                  66.1%
  • Booster administered                                        100,065,793                  45.6%                   
  • Total population                                                334,506,463








Omicron BA.2 Stealth COVID Variant Now Dominant in U.S., CDC Data Shows.   3/29/22 AT 12:58 PM EDT.  The Omicron BA.2 sub-variant of COVID-19 is now dominant in the U.S.  BA.2 was detected in the majority, 54.9 percent, of COVID-19 samples studied between March 20 and March 26 according to CDC estimates.  BA.2 is known for its increased transmissibility over the BA.1.  According to analysis BA.2 had an increased growth rate around 75 percent higher than BA.1.


Despite BA.2's global spread, the variant does not appear to increase risk of hospitalization compared to BA.1.  One crucial characteristic of BA.2 is the ability to re-infect people who have already had BA.1.  Despite BA.2's dominance in the U.S., cases had remained steady.  CDC figures show the seven-day average of new cases has remained between 27,000 and 28,000 for over a week up to March 27.


The new Omicron sub-variant BA.2: what we know so far.  Omicron mutated into sister sub-lineage BA.2.  While Omicron has approximately 60 mutations, it is thought that its sister lineage may have 85 mutations. The World Health Organization, WHO, stated this lineage differs from the original Omicron strain by several mutations, including those of the spike protein, the SARS-CoV-2 protein that mediates host cell entry.  This variant has been termed the “stealth variant” due to a mutation that renders it ‘invisible’ as Omicron to PCR testing.


The BA.2 Omicron sub-variant is now dominant in northeastern US states, per CDC data.  Some experts warn of an impending new wave.  The news comes as a surge of new cases have hit Europe, driven by the more-contagious BA.2 and by countries lifting COVID-19 restrictions.  Experts expect a wave of BA.2 in the US could be milder than in Europe, in part because of previous exposure to its cousin, the sub-variant BA.1.  More vulnerable groups could still be at risk, the experts said.


BA.2 made up 55.4% of samples collected in Health and Human Services Region 1, which covers Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as ten federally recognized tribal nations the CDC said.  BA.2 also made up 51.8% of samples in HHS Region 2, which covers New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.


The rest of the coronavirus samples were made up of other subtypes of Omicron.  According to estimates from the CDC, the sub-variant already makes up about 35% of all cases in the US.

BA.2 is thought to be more contagious than BA.1, however, it is not thought to be more dangerous than other Omicron variants.


What this means for public health.  Current reports liken symptoms of the new lineage to that of the original strain of Omicron:


  • sore throat,
  • headaches,
  • nausea, etc.


It is believed that there are no differences in disease severity, with some even suggesting the symptoms are milder.  Scientists understand previous Omicron infection confers protection against BA.2 and expect the already developed vaccines to be effective against the Omicron sub-variant.  The WHO has made recommendations that understanding the immune escape characteristics of BA.2, is of great priority.


With reports of yet another Omicron sub-variant, BA.3, it is of ever-increasing importance to track the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 strains and understand their implications on public health.


Omicron BA.3 Variant: Know The Symptoms and Its Severity.  WHO expert Maria Van Kerkhove talked about the third variant of Omicron BA.3 and its severity.  Here's everything you need to know about it.  Updated: March 6, 2022 4:01 PM IST.  Reports suggest the Delta variation of Coronavirus comprises around 200 sub-variants.  The Omicron variation currently has BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, and B.1.1.529 sub-variants, with the BA.1 sub-variant dominating until recently. 


All About The Third Variant Of BA.3.  Maria Van Kerkhove, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and COVID-19 Technical Lead at the World Health Organization (WHO), stated the severity of BA.2 and BA.1 sub-variants of Omicron is similar and there is also a BA.3 lineage.  The presence of the BA.3 sub-lineage was also confirmed in a study published in the Journal of Medical Virology


The BA.3 sub-lineage was originally discovered in northwestern South Africa.  The study discovered BA.3 had fewer mutations than BA.1 and theorized the loss of mutations could be a reason for BA.3's lower infection rate.


Is Omicron BA.3 Variant Severe?   Little is known about the severity of the three sub variations' effects, it is clear that they have similar effects because they share the same parental variant.  Symptoms of the Omicron BA.3 variant include:   


  • sore throat,
  • runny nose,
  • sneezing,
  • headache,
  • body ache and 
  • mild fever.


New ‘Deltacron’ Covid-19 Coronavirus Variant Is A Recombinant Of Delta And Omicron.  Some relationships were meant to be - with variants Delta and Omicron circulating so widely for so long, the two viruses didn’t need to find each other.


Deltacron first emerged early January 2022.  Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and team, indicated they discovered a new version of the coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that combined characteristics of the Delta and Omicron variants.  Deltacron has been detected in a small number of cases in France, the Netherlands, and Denmark, the World Health Organization indicated.  Most of its genetic sequence was the same as Delta's, dominant worldwide up until late last year, but the sequence that encodes the virus's spike protein – a key part of its external structure to get inside cells in the body – came from Omicron.


Scientists at Helix, a California-based lab, found two infections involving different versions of Deltacron after sequencing over 29,000 positive COVID samples collected in the United States from Nov. 22, 2021, to Feb. 13, 2022.  The lab also found 20 other infections that had both the Delta and Omicron variants, with one case having Delta, Omicron and Deltacron.


The word “recombinant” is related to “recombining” and refers to the recombining of genetic material. When two different versions of the SARS-CoV-2 infect the same cell to play “hide the spike” and reproduce, they can swap genetic material.  This new “Deltacron” recombinant includes structures from both the Delta GK/AY.4 and Omicron GRA/BA.1 lineages.


Whenever a new version of SARS-CoV-2 questions emerge:


  • Is it more transmissible
  • Is it more likely to cause more severe Covid-19
  • Is it more adept at evading existing immune protection from vaccination or previous natural infection


The emergence of the “Deltacron” variant is yet another reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over until official public health organizations have declared it over - not politicians, TV personalities or some dude on Facebook!  There have been too few reported cases of “Deltacron” variant infections to answer any questions. 


Even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause brain changes. It's too soon to know if the damage lasts.  A new study provides the most conclusive evidence yet that COVID-19 can damage the brain, even in those not severely ill.


The study published in Nature, used before-and-after brain images of 785 British people, ages 51 to 81, to look for changes.  Half the participants contracted COVID-19 between the scans, when the alpha variant was circulating, which left many temporarily without a sense of smell.


Analysis of the UK Biobank "before" and "after" images showed those infected with COVID-19 had a greater reduction in their brain volumes overall and performed worse on cognitive tests than those who had not been infected. 


15 participants sick enough with COVID-19 to require hospitalization showed the most brain changes, but even those who had much milder disease showed differences.  The oldest participants had more changes on average than younger ones.


The areas of the brain most affected are related to smell, said Gwenaëlle Douaud, a neuroscientist at Oxford University who led the research.  If smell recovers, usually the brain region does, too, she said.


LONG COVID:  Is it a syndrome or a series of coronavirus complications?  What we know about lingering symptoms.  Loss of smell is one of the earliest signs of impending illness with diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, said Dr. Ronald Petersen, who directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.  The cause of the changes hasn't been determined, but may be the result of the virus entering the brain or causing an inflammatory or immune response that indirectly changes the brain, Douaud said.


Dr. George Vavougios, a neuroscientist at the University of Cyprus, in his outpatient clinic, saw no difference in brain fog complaints among people who contracted the alphabeta or delta variants.  With each variant, 40% to 50% noticed cognitive impairments since their infection.  The changes were dramatic enough over five or six months to be detectable on brain scans.


It's unclear whether the changes will reverse.  Douaud hopes to rescan the same people in a year or two to learn about long-term effects.  In a year or two, their brains "may have entirely normalized."  It will be crucial, for primary care doctors and specialists to follow their patients who had smell issues from COVID-19 and validate any complaints of brain fog.


'LIFE-ALTERING':  As millions cope with smell loss from COVID-19, researchers find explanations and possible treatments.  People can boost their brain's resilience after a hit from COVID-19, said Patrizia Vannini, a neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who studies the infection's effect on the brain.  "Although certain factors might make some people more resilient than other, resilience has been shown to involve behaviors, thoughts and actions which everyone can learn and develop," she said. 


  • Forming or maintaining social connections;
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including good nutrition, sleep and exercise; 
  • Seeking help when needed;
  • Embracing "healthy thoughts by keeping things in perspective"  


In a study, Vannini and her colleagues showed that older people had greater resilience during the pandemic when they used approaches such as humor to cope.  Those who fared worse gave up trying to deal with the situation.



New Nasal Spray Proven To Be Effective Against All COVID-19 Variants of Concern.  MARCH 29, 2022 Researchers at UBC, Université de Sherbrooke, and Cornell University have shown a new compound delivered in a nasal spray is highly effective in preventing and treating COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant in mice.


Researchers believe this to be the first treatment of its kind proven effective against all COVID-19 variants of concern reported to date, including alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.   Variants of concern have reduced vaccine effectiveness, but senior author Dr. François Jean, associate professor in the UBC department of microbiology and immunology, says unpublished results show promise that N-0385 is also effective at blocking Omicron variant infections in human lung cells.


Once approved, this compound could be used in combination with available drugs that inhibit the virus’ replication, to provide a stronger defense against COVID-19 variants of concern,” says Dr. Jean, founder of FINDER, the level three biocontainment facility where work on SARS-CoV-2 variants was conducted.


The specially designed compound, N-0385, blocks a particular human enzyme’s activity, used by the virus to infect a host cell.  UBC researchers tested four variants, including Delta, in human lung cells and organoids, tissue cultures that can mimic the organ they’re taken from, and found that N-0385 inhibits infection, with no evidence of toxicity.  “The compound is unique because it blocks entry at the cell surface, without having to get into the cell, which prevents it from causing any detectable cell damage.  


The enzyme which N-0385 targets, is present in nasal cells, where the virus tends to enter, making a nasal spray the most practical and effective way to administer the compound.  No mutations relating to the virus have been found in this enzyme’s mechanism so far, as has occurred with other enzymes and COVID-19 variants, making it a useful target for defense against future strains of the virus. 


FDA Authorizes Fourth COVID Doses for Many Americans.  Updated March 29, 2022 at 4:28 p.m.  The FDA approved fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines to protect the most vulnerable people against severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death.  Anyone over 50 and people over 18 who have gotten a solid organ transplant or have a similar level of immune risk, are now eligible for a second booster of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.


"Based on emerging data, a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.  The CDC followed suit hours later, recommending the fourth dose for the limited groups. 


According to CDC data, 45% of people "fully vaccinated" have received two shots of either Pfizer or Moderna or the one dose of Johnson & Johnson, have gotten their first booster.  That leaves challenges, Marks said later in a news briefing.  As for a fourth dose -- or second booster -- "there is evidence it can decrease the risk of hospitalization and death in older individuals.


FDA Roundup: March 11, 2022

  • As part of the FDA’s effort to protect consumers, the agency issued a warning letter jointly with the Federal Trade Commission to Viraldine, LLC  for selling unapproved products with fraudulent COVID-19 claims.  
  • The FDA authorized an extension for the shelf life of the refrigerated Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, from six to nine months, allowing the product to be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius.   This extension was granted following a thorough review of data submitted by Janssen, now applying to all refrigerated vials of Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions.


Pfizer and Moderna Seek Authorization of a Fourth COVID-19 Shot. Will You Need One?  Updated on March 23, 2022.  Pfizer is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize a fourth shot of its COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older.  As the vaccine manufacturer awaits the FDA’s decision, questions remain about the effectiveness of a second booster and whether it is necessary right now.  “There are reasonable arguments on both sides,” indicated Ali Khan, MD, MPP, FACP, executive medical director of Oak Street Health.  “If I think about this from a high level of prudence and trying to protect the patients that are structurally marginalized in so many different ways, the ultimate necessity of a fourth [shot] is not surprising to me.”


Moderna also filed for FDA authorization of a fourth shot of its COVID-19 vaccine for all adults, a broader request than Pfizer’s.


The mRNA booster can persist against the Omicron variant for four months, according to a February CDC study.  Based on that timeline, those who received their shot at the beginning of the booster rollout, in November 2021, may have lower levels of protection by now.  If the fourth shots are authorized, the rollouts may depend on White House funding.  Federal officials said the Biden administration currently lacks the funds to support a second booster rollout for all Americans.


Risk of COVID-19 Among Older Adults.  COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths appear to be declining and plateaued in the United States.  But as the Omicron BA.2 variant grows in prominence among new infections, experts are worried that the highly transmissible strain could jolt trends upward in coming weeks.  Despite a decline in cases, older adults and the immunocompromised are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.  


Whether a second mRNA booster will restore antibodies significantly is unclear.  The bulk of the data on fourth doses comes from Israel, where a recent study found that a fourth dose of either Pfizer or Moderna increased people’s antibody levels to “slightly” higher than those achieved after the third shot.  The study results reflect a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine was 30% effective against any COVID-19 infection and 43% effective against symptomatic infection.  The Moderna vaccine fared worse, with an 11% efficacy against any COVID-19 infection and 31% efficacy against symptomatic infection.


Maximum vaccine efficacy appears to be achieved through three doses of an mRNA vaccine, thus the purpose of a fourth dose would be to restore antibody levels, the researchers wrote. They added that the fourth dose was “immunogenic, safe, and somewhat efficacious,” with little difference between the two vaccines.4


What Are Healthcare Providers Saying?   Dr. Khan indicated reminding people the vaccines work best against hospitalizations and death.  He added that he will not be surprised if a fourth shot is authorized for older adults, but is awaiting CDC guidance before determining if it is necessary.  “In the background, we’re preparing our patients for the potential of the fourth booster and starting to pair that with a message of, ‘this starts to become like your annual flu shot.’”


Regardless of an FDA authorization, it is important for patients to take precautionary measures against the virus, as “cases can skyrocket so quickly,” Khan said.  “That includes wearing a well-fitted mask, staying in well-ventilated areas or outdoors when possible and getting tested when necessary.


Pfizer vaccine didn't protect kids well from omicron but did prevent severe disease, studies suggest.  Vaccines are only authorized for children ages 5 and up.  Studies in children ages 2 to 4 showed that two shots were not effective at preventing infection. Last month, federal officials delayed consideration of the vaccine for the youngest children, hoping that data from a third shot would be more convincing of the vaccine's effectiveness


Children ages 12 and up receive the same 30-microgram dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as adults, while children ages 5 to 11 receive a 10-microgram dose and the youngest children have been tested on a 3-microgram dose. It's possible that higher doses would be more effective, experts said, but Pfizer-BioNTech went with lower doses to reduce side effects, including fever.


Studies by Pfizer-BioNTech, who makes the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in minors, found the shots were about 90% effective against infection - but those studies were conducted before the omicron outbreak. 


Two newer studies tracked infections in December and January as omicron swept across the country, providing the first real-world evidence of effectiveness against the coronavirus variant.


The study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicated two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided strong protection – 74% to 94% – against emergency department visits for older adolescents.  But the vaccine was not effective at preventing becoming infected with COVID-19 and the effectiveness faded after the shots.


While teens were more likely to be hospitalized during the delta outbreak, more children ages 5-11 were hospitalized during omicron, according to the study, which tracked serious infections among healthy children in 10 states, from April 2021 through January.  Protection faded substantially after six months, the study showed, but a booster dose, authorized for older adolescents, restored the effectiveness. 


In the second study, from New York state, researchers examined data from 1.2 million vaccinated children ages 5 to 17.  Vaccination prevented 76% of infections within two weeks of being fully vaccinated for 12- to 17-year-olds, but only 56% of infections one month after vaccination.  For children ages 5 to 11, protection against mild disease fell from 65% to 12% one month after vaccination, according to that study, which has not yet been peer reviewed.  114,000 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States during the pandemic and under 1,000 children ages 5 and up have died.


A booster shot does appear to be extremely safe, according to another study published by the CDC, which showed that among 12- to 17-year-olds side effects were less severe and shorter-lasting with the third dose than the second.  Regardless of the dose, it's possible that a third dose would better protect children against omicron, experts said.   


How to Protect Yourself?  Getting vaccinated is your best bet!




Stay safe.  Mask.  Social distance.  Frequent hand washing.  Avoid crowds




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