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                                       MAY  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

April                       82,658,881           1,018,326                                 9,192,666                 90,145                           

UPDATED WEEKLY - Last updated on 22 May 2022, 8:11 am PST, John Hopkins Corona Virus Dashboard and Worldometer

 

Cases Worldwide

                               John Hopkins                                                           Worldometer

  • TOTAL CASES    -   525,365,358                                    TOTAL CASES    -   527,380,611

              Recovered     -                                                             Recovered     -    97,341,739

  • TOTAL DEATHS  -       6,276,760                                    TOTAL DEATHS  -      6,300,088

 

POPULATION - is 334,654,677 as of 22 May 2022, 8:11 am PST, based on Census U.S. and World Population Clock.

 

Cases in the U.S.

  • TOTAL CASES     -   83,263,020                                    TOTAL CASES      -     84,984,459

              Recovered      -                                                           Recovered       -     81,586,249

  • TOTAL DEATHS   -    1,002,146                                     TOTAL DEATHS    -       1,028,902
  1. April unemployment rate is 3.6%, Average hourly wage + $0.10 in April 2022
  2. California unemployment is 4.6%

Cases in California

  • TOTAL CASES     -   9,449,915                                     TOTAL CASES       -        9,446,122

              Recovered      -                                                          Recovered        -        9,035,533

  • TOTAL DEATHS   -       91,044                                      TOTAL DEATHS     -             91,322

 

05/22/2022                   Cases (WHO)                    Deaths (WHO)                Recovered (WHO)

  • Texas                 -    6,890,909                            88,749                             6,711,854
  • Florida               -    6,111,594                            74,322                             5,865,202
  • New York          -    5,528,174                            69,274                             5,346,162
  • Illinois                 -    3,249,534                            38,068                            3,061,034
  • Pennsylvania    -    2,877,660                            44,898                            2,775,504
  • Ohio                  -    2,743,577                            38,590                            2,656,694
  • N. Carolina       -    2,715,798                            24,627                            2,654,726
  • Georgia            -    2,541,713                            38,157                            2,470,139
  • Tennessee        -    2,049,117                            26,369                                N/A
  • Arizona             -    2,038,129                            30,259                            1,989,921
  • Alabama          -   1,308,412                            19,649                             1,269,871
  • Louisiana          -   1,250,429                            17,313                             1,219,683

 

  * correction

** no change

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

 

United States progress                                       Updated 22 May 2022, 8:11 am PST

  • Doses Distributed                                                741,658,255
  • Doses Administered                                            583,987,461
  • 1st dose administered                                        258,106,038                     77.7%                   
  • 2nd dose administered                                      220,878,432                     66.5%
  • Booster administered                                         102,694,522                     46.5%                   
  • Total population                                                334,654,677

 

 

MAY BLOG

COVID UPDATE

 

VARIANT UPDATE

Omicron infection induces limited immune response in unvaccinated; COVID hospital deaths rise on weekends.  Mon, April 18, 2022, 1:17 PM.   Unvaccinated people infected with the Omicron variant are unlikely to develop immune responses that will protect them against other variants of the coronavirus, a new study suggests.

 

Unlike antibodies induced by COVID-19 vaccines or infections with earlier SARS-CoV-2 variants, antibodies induced by the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants do not neutralize other versions of the virus, researchers found when blood samples were analyzed after an Omicron infection.  Those experiencing Omicron "breakthrough" infections after three doses of the mRNA vaccines, designed to neutralize earlier versions of the virus, had high levels of neutralizing antibodies against the two Omicron variants.  

 

The efficiency was lower against previous SARS-CoV-2 versions.   But among those whose immune systems had not been primed to recognize the virus through vaccination or by natural infection, antibodies after Omicron infection "were very specific for the respective Omicron variant, and we detected almost no neutralizing antibodies targeting non-Omicron virus strains," said Karin Stiasny and Judity Aberle of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria in a joint email.  BA.2-induced antibodies appeared to be particularly unlikely to defend against any other variant, they added. The study "emphasizes the importance of booster vaccinations.   

 

The average number of global deaths from COVID-19 was 6% higher on weekends compared to weekdays throughout the pandemic, according to statistics reported to the World Health Organization between March 2020 and March 2022.

 

The research found that:

 

  • Worldwide - average 449 more COVID deaths on weekends than weekdays - 8,532 vs 8,083
  • The highest increase was in the United States - average 1,483 weekend deaths vs 1,220
  • Brazil followed - 1,061 vs 823
  • the UK - 239 vs 215
  • Canada  - 56 v 48
  • Only Germany reported significantly fewer average deaths on weekends compared to weekdays.

 

The increase in COVID-19 deaths on weekends may reflect reporting delays, but it also is likely due to hospital staffing levels and other organizational factors, researchers indicated. 

 

What's the new omicron XE variant and should I be worried?  APRIL 14, 2022.   A "recombinant" variant has emerged, dubbed "omicron XE," the result of two omicron strains merging together in a single host and then infecting others.  XE is a recombination of BA.1 and BA.2. 

 

Initially the growth rate for XE appeared not significantly different from BA.2, but more recent data from the UK suggests it has a growth rate of around 10 to 20% above that of BA.2.  This data remains preliminary and based on small numbers, so changes may occur as more information is gathered.  If it is true, then XE is likely to be more contagious than BA.2, which was more contagious than BA.1, which was more contagious than delta.

 

While XE still comprises a small proportion of total sequenced cases, showing evidence of community transmission, where it was first detected in England, now has 1,100 cases recorded. It has also been identified in India, China and Thailand.  

 

So what do we know about this new hybrid, and do we need to worry?   Omicron has evolved to multiple different lineages or genetically related sub-variants - original omicron BA.1 (B.1.1.529), BA.2 and BA.3.  BA.2 is more infectious and the new dominant form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus than BA.1 worldwide. 

 

What's a 'recombinant?'  The SARS-CoV-2 virus has continued to change in other ways.   A recombinant is when related viruses exchange genetic material to create offspring with genetic material from both parent viruses.  The recombinant virus depends on which parts of the genetic material from the parent viruses making a new version.  When delta and omicron recombined, the resulting progeny, “deltacron," officially these are referred to as XD and XF.  

 

Do we need to worry?  The immune response that helps to protect against COVID-19 is generated by vaccination or from previous infection - mostly targeting the spike protein.  XE basically has the same spike protein as BA.2.  It doesn't appear protection against XE will be significantly reduced.

 

The best way to slow the emergence of new variants, as well as recombinants, remains having as many people in the world protected by vaccination to reduce the pool of susceptible hosts in which these events can occur.

 

New Omicron COVID sub-variant, BA.4 or BA.5, found in Australia in Melbourne wastewater.

Posted Thu 14 Apr 2022 at 10:42pm, Updated Fri 15 Apr 2022 at 12:40am.  The sub-variant, which is still to be identified as either BA.4 or BA.5, was found in samples taken from the Tullamarine catchment in the city's north-west.

 

As of March, the BA.4 sub-variant had been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Denmark and the United Kingdom, while BA.5 cases have been primarily detected in South Africa, with a single case in Hong Kong.

 

BA.4 and BA.5 strains are still rare, with very few samples of the sub-variant available for epidemiologists to study.  The World Health Organization (WHO) said less than 200 sequences of the new strains had been collected.

 

UPDATE 1-Omicron sub-variant BA.2 makes up 85.9% of COVID variants in U.S. – CDC.  Tue, April 12, 2022, 8:17 AM The U.S. national public health agency said the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron was estimated to account for 85.9% of the coronavirus variants in the country.  A resurgence of COVID-19 cases in parts of Asia and Europe has raised concerns another wave could follow in the United States, but health experts believe it is unlikely.

 

The U.S. Northeast, including New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts, is the hardest hit region across the country, with Omicron BA.2 now accounting for more than 90% of the cases.  Philadelphia, northeastern Pennsylvania, will re-impose its indoor mask mandate from April 18, as a response to a fresh wave of cases.  According to a Reuters tally, COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania have risen 70% within a week, making it among the top 10 states where infections are spreading fastest.

 

BA.2 made up 75.4% of the variants in the country according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with a previous estimate of 72.2%.

 

Will a New Way to Detect Covid Infections Stop the Next Surge?  It could increase testing capacity by roughly 64,000 samples per month.  APR 15, 2022 1:02 PM EDT.  Until last month, the U.S. was conducting approximately 1.5 million tests a day data from the Covid Tracking Project shows.  To contain the spread of the virus, public health experts have repeatedly indicated that widespread testing is the only alternative to mass lockdowns.

 

With U.S. Covid-19 cases on the rise again, the Food and Drug Administration recently granted emergency use authorization for detecting Covid-19 in breath samples.  Research, development and device company, InspectIR Systems's Covid-19 Breathalyzer test, about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, can provide results in less than three minutes. 

 

The test uses a technique called gas chromatography gas mass-spectrometry, to detect chemical compounds associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection when you exhale or breath out. 

 

This technique is widely used to analyze chemicals, tracking organic pollutants in the environment and monitoring food contamination.  InspectIR expects to produce around 100 instruments per week, each used to evaluate approximately 160 samples per day, increasing testing capacity by 64,000 samples per month.  In a study of 2409 people, the InspectIR breath test was able to identify 91.2% of the positive test samples accurately.

 

The White House has warned that without additional funding from the Congress, the federal government will be unable to sustain the testing capacity built over the last 14 months.  After spending the last year building up testing capacity, there will be significantly diminished domestic testing capacity and we may be unprepared for surges.  "That progress will be squandered, the Administration will be unable to help keep domestic manufacturers online starting in June, the White House spokesperson said. 

 

COVID-19, overdoses pushed US to highest death total ever.  Tue, April 12, 2022, 9:05 AM.   2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history.  New data and research are offering more insight.  This month’s updated death tally showed 3.465 million deaths last year or about 80,000 more than 2020's record-setting total.

 

Experts were optimistic 2021 would not be as bad because effective vaccines had finally become available.  “We were wrong, unfortunately," said Noreen Goldman, a Princeton University researcher.  COVID-19 deaths rose as new variants emerged and an unexpectedly large numbers of Americans refused to get vaccinated or were hesitant to wear masks. 

 

The coronavirus is not solely to blame. Preliminary CDC data also showed:

 

  • The death rate for cancer rose slightly,
  • Rates also increased for diabetes, chronic liver disease and stroke. 
  • Drug overdose deaths also continued to rise.  Data through October suggests the nation is on track to see at least 105,000 overdose deaths in 2021 — up from 93,000 the year before.  New research showed a particularly large jump in overdose deaths among 14 to 18-year-olds.

Experts attributed the spike to fentanyl, a highly lethal drug that has been cut into heroin for several years.  More recently it’s also been pressed into counterfeit pills resembling prescription drugs that teens sometimes abuse.

 

Researchers think U.S. life expectancy dropped five or six months in 2021 — putting it back to where it was 20 years ago.  A loss of more than two years of life expectancy over the last two years "is mammoth" Goldman said.  “What happened in the U.S. is less about the variants than the levels of resistance to vaccination and public rejection of practices, such as masking and mandates, to reduce viral transmission,” one of the study's authors, Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said. 

 

COVID-19 vaccines taken by people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which affects millions worldwide, safely and effectively protects them from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a Rutgers study finds.  April 11, 2022.  The comprehensive review, published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, focused on all studies describing the response of patients with IBD who were administered a COVID-19 vaccine.  People with IBD are commonly treated with drugs that suppress the immune system and have reported concerns over whether such treatments might weaken their response to the vaccine.

 

"We wanted to demonstrate in a systematic way that the vaccines will safely protect our IBD patients from COVID-19.  Our systematic review and meta-analysis confirmed that the vaccines are safe and work well in our patients," said study author Abhishek Bhurwal, an Advanced IBD Fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

 

An estimated 3.1 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with IBD, which includes Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

The study focused on four key aspects of COVID-19 vaccination of IBD patients:

 

  • The strength of their immune response to the vaccine - IBD patients showed high levels of antibody response two weeks after the first vaccine, seroconversion, indicating a strong, positive response to the vaccine, with a higher response after two doses.
  • The occurrence of breakthrough infections after taking the vaccine - IBD patients did not experience a higher or lower rate of breakthrough infections.  Additional studies regarding the effectiveness of variants and booster doses are needed.
  • The occurrence of adverse events to the vaccine - IBD patients experienced low rates of adverse events, the most common:  
    • reactions at the injection site,
    • headaches,
    • backache,
    • joint pain
  • Whether differing IBD treatments affected vaccine effectiveness - IBD patients on different immunosuppressive treatments had a similar response to the vaccine.  Because of treatments with immunosuppressive drugs, IBD patients are more susceptible to infectious disease than the general population and encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

 

"Because members of the IBD population are immunocompromised, it was important to document that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines work for them," Bhurwal said. "With this analysis, we can say that two doses of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are safe and effective in the IBD population. But we need further studies regarding booster doses and COVID variants."

 

VACCINE UPDATES

UPDATE 1-FDA to discuss Pfizer, Moderna requests for COVID vaccines in young kids in June. 

Fri, April 29, 2022, 7:06 AM.  An advisory panel of experts will meet in June to review requests from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. for use of their COVID-19 vaccines in young children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

 

The FDA said it would also review Novavax's request for emergency use authorization of its vaccine in individuals 8 and older.  Moderna sought authorization for its vaccine for children under the age of 6.  Pfizer's primary vaccine is authorized for children aged 5 and older in the United States.  Pfizer, expected its latest vaccine data for children under age 5 in April, but said it would complete its submission to regulators for authorization by June.  28% of children 5-to-11 are fully vaccinated in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

UPDATE 2-Pfizer, BioNTech seek U.S. authorization of COVID-19 booster shot for younger kids. 

Tue, April 26, 2022, 1:53 PM.  Pfizer/BioNTech SE indicated they submitted an application health for the authorization of a booster dose for children aged 5 to 11 years.  Earlier data showing a third dose increased protection against the original coronavirus version and the Omicron variant among children in the age group.  

 

There has also been skepticism on the need for boosters in younger children given the reduced risk of severe infection and hospitalization in the age group.  Pfizer/BioNTech have filed for the clearance of a 10-microgram booster dose for children 5 to 11 years.  Adults receive a 30-microgram dose of the vaccine.  The primary two-dose COVID-19 shot from Pfizer/BioNTech was authorized in October.

 

 

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

 

IT’S NOT OVER!

 

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

 

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL

 

 

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