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Key developments for Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Welcome to the newly revamped Key Developments, now twice weekly and with non-COVID news. Right now, it’s actually still just COVID news, but we’ll be slowly morphing it into something broader as we go.

There are over 27.7 million global cases.  Cases have grown around the world by over 1.9 million since last week; global case growth is accelerating. There have been over 900,000 total deaths. We are approaching the very grim milestone of 1 million dead. There are over 6.5 million cases in the US. There have been over 193,000 deaths in the US. The death rate is trending down in the US. India is ramping up in daily case growth, eclipsing all other countries in new cases per day. India is also ramping up in daily deaths:

Oxford/AstraZenica vaccine trials are on hold after reports of a serious adverse event that could be a vaccine reaction. The details of the reaction have not been released but there is word that the patient should recover. The pause may delay the release of the vaccine, but the single event is unlikely to derail the whole project.

A cold-weather COVID-19 resurgence is anticipated by many epidemiologists, and some warn that true second waves could hit areas that were already badly affected before. Fall peaks are likely to be worse than previous ones.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have caused 250,000 cases. You read that right:

Here’s some visuals on the Dakotas that back up the Sturgis assertion:

Dentists are seeing a huge uptick in cracked teeth. The culprit? Pandemic-induced stress. People are clenching their teeth at night, creating micro-fractures which predispose to cracking.

Prolonged gastrointestinal infections can occur with COVID-19. The virus may be present in the gut longer than it is present in the respiratory tract:

There’s more evidence that far-UVC light can kill the pandemic virus:

7,000 health care workers have died from COVID-19, with an inordinate burden of these deaths occurring in Mexico:

Multiple vaccine makers have signed a pledge to maintain safety and not capitulate to political pressure to make shortcuts during the vaccine trial process. This is an important move to secure public trust in the safety of the vaccines we so desperately need. In addition, Dr. Moncef Slaoui says that phase 3 results are a necessity before approval and distribution. He’s an advisor to Operation Warp Speed.

So this is great (sarcasm, dear reader):

There were no serious adverse reactions from the Russian vaccine trials, but before we interpret this Lancet piece too concretely, understand that these trials were not randomized and there was no control arm with either formulation. Large phase 3 trials are still planned for the Russian vaccines.

Pfizer might have results out as early as October. Its phase 3 vaccine trial began in July.


  • 2 Comments

    • Cia

      I was interested in the article linked about the reaction to the Oxford vaccine. I sent it to a couple of friends, one in London, so he’s probably already read about this. The article says that it is believed that the man who reacted may have transverse myelitis, which may cause permanent paralysis. It said that a similar reaction had occurred earlier in someone else. I told my friends that I was surprised the authorities in England seemed to be very upset about the reaction, which, if you read the package inserts, is an autoimmune reaction which can be caused by any vaccine. Not surprising, not that unusual. But it shouldn’t derail the vaccine program. The vaccine may be effective, no vaccine is “safe.” Everyone should read the list of reported reactions on the package inserts of several vaccines, and make a decision as to whether to get it or not, but in full knowledge that it may cause very serious and permanent adverse events. Any vaccine can, and very frequently if you include conditions like asthma. Or it may save you from a disabling or fatal case of Covid.

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    • RS

      I ran across this article (posted on 9/10, so after this key developments appeared) critiquing the research paper about Sturgis. The critiques may interest both people eyeing Sturgis specifically, but also thinking about how to calculate the potential transmission risks for future events like Sturgis : https://slate.com/technology/2020/09/sturgis-rally-covid19-explosion-paper.html

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