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                        OCTOBER  BLOG

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


UPDATED WEEKLY - Last updated on 24 October 2021 3:15 pm PST, John Hopkins Corona Virus Dashboard and Worldometer


Cases Worldwide

                            John Hopkins                                                    Worldometer

  • TOTAL CASES    -  243,592,205                      TOTAL CASES        -   244,394,800 

              Recovered     -                                              Recovered         -   221,410,169

  • TOTAL DEATHS  -     4,947,219                        TOTAL DEATHS     -       4,963,255


POPULATION - is 333,543,077 as of 24 October 2021 3:15 pm PST, based on Census U.S. and World Population Clock.


Cases in the U.S.

  • TOTAL CASES      -   45,442,006                      TOTAL CASES         -     46,264,596

              Recovered       -                                             Recovered          -     36,000,821

  • TOTAL DEATHS    -        735,930                      TOTAL DEATHS       -          755,721


Cases in California

  • TOTAL CASES      -     4,850,807                      TOTAL CASES         -        4,755,586

              Recovered       -                                             Recovered          -        2,530,073

  • TOTAL DEATHS     -         71,341                      TOTAL DEATHS       -            71,525


The US economy added 194,000 jobs in September.  While job growth was slower, the overall unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 4.8%. The unemployed fell to 7.7 million.


10/24/2021                   Cases (WHO)                       Deaths (WHO)                Recovered (WHO)

  • Texas**             -   4,206,539                                 70,459                               4,003,818
  • Florida **          -   3,681,830                                 58,608                               3,089,778
  • New York         -   2,607,661                                 56,713                               2,167,463
  • Illinois                -   1,680,908                                 28,414                              1,566,181
  • Georgia**        -   1,625,399                                 28,519                              1,153,694
  • Pennsylvania   -  1,530,309                                 30,955                               1,392,581
  • Ohio                 -  1,515,838                                 23,955                               1,404,693
  • N. Carolina**   -  1,463,410                                 17,765                               1,399,393
  • Tennessee**    -  1,272,558                                 16,158                               1,238,709
  • Arizona **        -  1,145,196                                 20,821                               1,058,104


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


 United States progress                                       Updated as of 24 October 2021 3:15 pm PST

  • Doses Distributed                                                501,613,665   
  • Doses Administered                                           411,963,025                82%
  • 1st dose administered                                       219,900,525                67%
  • 2nd dose administered                                     190,179,533                58%
  • Total population                                                333,543,077


State Progress                                                       Updated as of 24 October 2021 3:15 pm PST

   .                                                             1st dose                2nd dose           % fully Vaccinated      

  • California                                  29,152,953            23,974,163                       60
  • Vermont                                        493,133                 441,485                       70
  • Maine                                         1,017,844                 941,408                       70
  • Connecticut                              2,756,425              2,504,611                       70
  • Massachusetts                           5,466,110             4,771,028                       69  
  • New York                                 14,282,049            12,831,988                       65  
  • Pennsylvania                             9,739,348             7,673,543                       59
  • Florida*                                     14,724,066           12,721,909                       59 
  • Texas                                        17,639,244           15,311,779                       52
  • Alaska                                           430,458                381,595                       52       
  • Georgia                                     5,987,762             5,050,565                       47   
  • Tennessee*                                3,694,609             3,224,831                       47 
  • Mississippi**                               1,538,160             1,348,398                       45
  • Alabama                                  2,644,229             2,170,323                       44
  • West Virginia                               874,224                733,677                       40

*    Correction

**  Last on vaccine tracker








CDC Panel Backs Booster Shots For Older Adults, A Step Toward Making Them Available.

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended a third dose of Pfizer's vaccine for people 65 and older as well as others at a high risk of severe illness.   The committee's unanimous vote to allow older adults and long-term care residents to receive an extra dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was announced after two days of presentations reviewing scientific evidence on the safety and effectiveness.  In a 13-2 vote the CDC also recommended people 50 to 64 years old with underlying medical conditions get a third shot.


The CDC also endorsed people ages 18 to 49, who have an underlying medical risk, have access to another dose.  The panel split 9-6 but settled on advising people to consider the benefit and risks in consultation with their medical provider, before receiving a Pfizer booster shot.  In the most contentious deliberation, the committee indicated 18 to 65 year olds working in jobs or other setting where there is a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, should not yet be allowed to receive an extra Pfizer dose.


Dr. Sara Oliver, CDC scientist, stressed at Thursday's advisory meeting that the federal government has purchased all of the COVID-19 vaccines on an emergency basis for the pandemic, including the Pfizer vaccine.  Vaccine providers are required to follow the recommendations of the CDC and the FDA.


MODERNA VACCINE.  The Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA, under an Emergency Use Authorization, EUA, for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.


If you are immunocompromised, you may receive a third dose or booster of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine 1 month after the second dose.   The third dose may still not provide full immunity in people who are immunocompromised, but they should continue to maintain physical precautions to prevent COVID‑19.   Discuss your options with your healthcare provider.


When will children be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?  September 2021, Pfizer/BioNTech announced its COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11 years.  The Pfizer study, 2,268 children, 5 to 11, received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine - 10 microgram doses - which is lower than the 30 microgram doses being given to Pfizer recipients ages 12 years and older.  


Antibody responses and side effects in 5-to-11-year-olds were compared to those of 16-to 25-year-old participants from an earlier study.  The results showed the antibody response in 5-to-11-year-olds was similar to the response in teens and young adults.  Side effects were also comparable.  There were not enough COVID cases in the study to determine if the vaccine protected against infection or illness.


May 2021, the FDA expanded its EUA for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to include 12 to 15 years old.  Earlier, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in children 16 years and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people 18 years and older.


June 2021, Moderna applied to the FDA for EUA of their mRNA vaccine for use in children ages 12 to under 18 years.  The immune response generated by the vaccine in adolescents was found to be as good as the response generated in adults.  Moderna is also studying the vaccine in children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years.



FIRST THERE WAS ALPHA, THEN BETA, DELTA, ETZ, GAMMA, IOTA, KAPPA, LAMBDA AND NOW MU!  The WHO is tracking a new COVID-19 variant called Mu that might be able to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections.  Mu, also known as B.1.621, was first detected January 2021 in Colombia spreading to 39 countries and could have the ability to evade the immunity people get from vaccines prior infections like the Beta variant first detected in South Africa.


The WHO says Mu has a "constellation of mutations" that indicate potential properties of immune escape."  This means the immunity you currently have, through a vaccine or natural immunity after having the virus may not be as effective compared to previous strains, or the original SARS-CoV-2

virus - the Alpha variant - due to genetic mutations identified in this particular strain, says Dr. Cherian. Monoclonal antibody treatments, used for mild-to-moderate COVID-19, may also be less effective against the Mu variant, he says.  "All of this is based on a review of preliminary data.”


The Mu variant first identified through genomic sequencing to analyze viral strains, currently accounts for about 40% of cases in the country, according to a recent weekly bulletin from the WHO.  According to the open-source database, 1,953 cases of the Mu variant have been reported in the US.  At press time, only two states - South Dakota and Nebraska - have not yet seen infections of the Mu variant.  Monday, Aug. 30, WHO classified it as a "variant of interest," or VOI.


"At the moment, it looks like there's genuine concern in the USA, Central America and South America, but a potent variant can traverse the globe in the blink of an eye," said Danny Altmann, immunology expert at Imperial College London.  The recent case surge in America has prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that even the fully vaccinated should wear masks indoors.


The University of Miami detected the variant in 9% of cases at the Jackson Memorial Health System in Miami, according to Medpage Today.  Although the variant makes up less than 0.1% of all COVID-19 cases worldwide that undergo genetic sequencing, it accounts for 39% of cases in Colombia, 13% in Ecuador and increasing in prevalence in these areas.


"A virus's ability to become dominant ultimately depends on two primary factors:  how transmissible/contagious the strain is and how effective it is at causing severe disease and or death," says Dr. Cherian.  "Virus mutations are constantly occurring and ultimately any mutations that cause a particular strain to be more contagious, more lethal or worse or both, are more likely going to have a higher chance of becoming dominant."


How transmissible mu is has not been determined, but Public Health England recently noted that the variant doesn't seem to be spreading rapidly and appears "unlikely" to be more transmissible than the delta variant and there is no indication that mu is out-competing delta.   But the variant's ability to escape vaccine-induced immunity "may contribute to future changes in growth," the assessment said.  WHO is currently monitoring five variants of interest - eta, iota, kappa, lambda and mu - and four variants of concern - alpha, beta, gamma and delta.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser, acknowledged the mu variant isn’t an ‘immediate threat’ to U.S. as delta remains the dominant coronavirus strain.  The highly transmissible delta variant, which accounts for an estimated 99% of all COVID cases in the U.S. currently, is a far bigger concern.  “Bottom line, we are paying attention to it.  We take everything like that seriously, but we don’t consider it an immediate threat right now.”  Deaths and hospitalizations remain at levels seen during the winter months and show no sign of slowing.  The vast majority are people who are unvaccinated.


The U.S. government plans to provide almost $3 billion in funding to shore up the vaccine supply chain, federal health officials said.  The investment will go to U.S. companies to build out production lines for supplies like lipids, tubing, needles, syringes and protective gloves.


The Biden administration previously said that COVID-19 booster shots would be available to adults starting Sept. 20, though availability will be dependent on a stamp of approval from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The move is controversial, as the WHO is pushing for a moratorium on boosters until most of the world has received vaccines, which were largely hoovered up by wealthier countries when they first became available.


Vaccination works!  What is clear from the data is community-level vaccination coverage protects children.  As COVID-19 cases increase in the community, the number of children getting sick, presenting to the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital will also increase.  As of 30 September 2021:

  • The U.S. leads the world with a total of 44,308,351 cases, 716,631 deaths. 
  • India has the third highest death toll after the U.S. at 448,372 and second highest cases at 33,765,488.
  • Brazil has second highest death toll at 596,800 and 21,427,073 cases.
  • In Europe, Russia has recorded 207,255 deaths
  • The U.K. following with 136,662.

Children now make up a quarter of new Covid cases in US, pediatric group says.  Children now make up more than a quarter of new weekly Covid-19 cases across the United States.  Youngsters represent 30% of cases for the week of 9 September nationwide. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics update, AAP, comes as children in the US are returning or are about to return to school after the summer break and virus experts have advised adults to get vaccinated to protect children under the age of 12 in the classroom.  “If we want to protect children, particularly those not eligible for vaccination, you want to surround the children with people who are vaccinated - teachers, school personnel, everyone else,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 


The AAP data states there were 251,781 child cases of Covid-19 of 939,470 total cases recorded between 26 August and 2 September.  The previous two weeks, children had represented 22% per cent of weekly reported cases.  The definition of a child varies state to state, but generally includes youngsters up to the age of 17 or 18.


“After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with over 750,000 cases added between August 5 and September 2,” stated the AAP.


“There is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as the emotional and mental health effects,” said the AAP.   More than 5 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic, around 15.1 per cent of all cases in the US.


Concerns about the strain on the pediatric health care system.  In states where data is available, less than 2% of all child COVID-19 cases required hospitalization and 0.00% to 0.03% were fatal.  "I'm not seeing any patterns that suggest the virus is more virulent or more serious or more severe in children than it was before this variant appeared," Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Stanford University.


Still, the growing number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 could further strain an already overburdened pediatric health care system.  Many children's hospitals are not only dealing with patients who've contracted the coronavirus but also kids with issues indirectly related to the pandemic.  Many children have developed mental health problems stemming from social isolation, and others deferred medical care during the peak of the outbreak last year.


Despite no sharp rise in the number of hospitalizations, Mark Wietecha, CEO of the Children's Hospital Association said many children hospitalized with COVID-19 now, driven by the delta variant, are sicker than those who had contracted previous strains.  While the overall picture remains unclear, he said pediatric hospitals are nonetheless now in need of specially trained medical staff who understand the unique requirements of treating young patients.



New Studies Find Evidence Of 'Superhuman' Immunity To COVID-19 In Some Individuals

Some scientists have called it "superhuman immunity" or "bulletproof." But immunologist Shane Crotty prefers "hybrid immunity to SARS-CoV-2 appears to be impressively potent," Crotty wrote in commentary in Science back in June. 


A series of studies has found that some people mount an extraordinarily powerful immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  Their bodies produce very high levels of antibodies, but also make antibodies with great flexibility — likely capable of fighting off the coronavirus variants circulating in the world but also likely effective against variants that may emerge in the future.


In a study published last month, Paul Bieniasz, virologist at Rockefeller University and colleagues found antibodies in individuals that can strongly neutralize the six variants of concern tested, including delta and beta, as well as several other viruses related to SARS-CoV-2, including one in bats, two in pangolins and the one that caused the first coronavirus pandemic, SARS-CoV-1.   In one study, published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, scientists analyzed antibodies generated by people who had been infected with the original SARS virus, SARS-CoV-1,in 2002 or 2003 and then received an mRNA vaccine this year.


People who have had a "hybrid" exposure to the virus were infected with the coronavirus in 2020 and then immunized with mRNA vaccines.  The antibodies in these people's blood can even neutralize SARS-CoV-1, the first coronavirus, which emerged 20 years ago is very, very different from SARS-CoV-2."


The antibodies were able to deactivate a virus engineered, on purpose, to be highly resistant to neutralization.  This virus contained 20 mutations that are known to prevent SARS-CoV-2 antibodies from binding to it.  Antibodies from people who were only vaccinated or who only had prior coronavirus infections were essentially useless against this mutant virus.  But antibodies in people with the "hybrid immunity" could neutralize it.  These findings show how powerful the mRNA vaccines can be in people with prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2.  Several other studies support the hypothesis and buttress the idea that exposure to both a coronavirus and an mRNA vaccine triggers an exceptionally powerful immune response.


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




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





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