USA managed to kill thousands more than expected from COVID-19

In the early weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, the United States recorded an estimated 15,400 excess deaths, nearly two times as many as were publicly attributed to COVID-19 at the time, according to an analysis of federal data conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health.

The excess deaths – the number beyond what would normally be expected for that time of year – occurred during March and through April 4, a time when 8,128 coronavirus deaths were reported.

The excess deaths are not necessarily attributable directly to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They could include people who died because of the epidemic but not from the disease, such as those who were afraid to seek medical treatment for unrelated illnesses, as well as some number of deaths that are part of the ordinary variation in the death rate. The count is also affected by increases or decreases in other categories of deaths, such as suicides, homicides and motor vehicle accidents.

But in any pandemic, higher-than-normal mortality is a starting point for scientists seeking to understand the full impact of the disease.

IMHO, responsibility for the excess, accountability for the death of thousands more than should have been expected, lies upon the head of the incompetent and phony we have occupying the White House as President of the United States.

I spent a significant portion of my life in New Haven, in and around the Yale community. Hard to miss if you’re in that Connecticut city and active in any portion of cultural life. The institutions formed by that university play an even greater role in the life of our nation and, in fact, the world. The Yale School of Public Health deservedly owns that characterization.

RTFA. Learn stuff. Maybe even act politically this autumn to rid our nation of corruption and crime at the head of government.

The hunt for COVID-19 treatment leads to a llama called Winter

The hunt for an effective treatment for COVID-19 has led one team of researchers to an unlikely ally: a llama named Winter and her antibodies

The researchers linked two copies of a special kind of antibody produced by llamas to create a new antibody that binds tightly to a key protein on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This protein, called the spike protein, allows the virus to break into host cells. Initial tests indicate that the antibody blocks viruses that display this spike protein from infecting cells in culture.

“This is one of the first antibodies known to neutralize SARS-CoV-2,” says Jason McLellan, associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin and co-senior author, referring to the virus that causes COVID-19.

The team is now preparing to conduct preclinical studies in animals such as hamsters or nonhuman primates, with the hopes of next testing in humans. The goal is to develop a treatment that would help people soon after infection with the virus.

“Vaccines have to be given a month or two before infection to provide protection,” McLellan says. “With antibody therapies, you’re directly giving somebody the protective antibodies and so, immediately after treatment, they should be protected. The antibodies could also be used to treat somebody who is already sick to lessen the severity of the disease.”

Read on, my friends. Our society dotes on awarding laurels to champions. In addition to the scientists leading the fight against COVID-19, I suggest thanks also be awarded to the critters who test and trial and help us all to survive.