Unvaccinated are “variant factories”

Unvaccinated people do more than merely risk their own health. They’re also a risk to everyone if they become infected with coronavirus, infectious disease specialists say.

That’s because the only source of new coronavirus variants is the body of an infected person.

“Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN Friday.

“The more unvaccinated people there are, the more opportunities for the virus to multiply,” Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said.

“When it does, it mutates, and it could throw off a variant mutation that is even more serious down the road.”

This ain’t news. The failure of sufficient immunization ain’t news either. Both are repetitive examples of mediocre health education in our school systems. Altogether, the sum of cowardice of government, politicians in and out of office, to confront superstition, religion and just plain ignorance in our society.

Covid is already deadlier this year than all of 2020

A return to a sense of normalcy in the U.S. has been boosted by the country’s relatively high vaccination rates, with 53% of the population having received at least one dose. By contrast, some of the world’s poorest countries are yet to register a single dose…

Speaking on Tuesday during a news conference on the pandemic, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the highly transmissible delta variant was the “greatest threat” to the nation’s attempt to eliminate Covid.

Delta, first identified in India, now makes up about 20% of all new cases in the United States, up from 10% about two weeks ago, Fauci said. He has previously warned the country must avoid falling into the trap of believing the coronavirus crisis was over and no longer needed to be addressed…

Health experts are concerned about the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. The Covid variant first identified in India is thought to be on track to become the dominant strain of the disease worldwide.

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Thursday that the spread of the delta variant in the U.S. was “highly concerning,” noting its prevalence in the country is currently doubling every 10 to 14 days.

Sadly, most Americans fail at understanding public health questions at rates similar to their understanding of mathematics. Worth worrying about.

The mRNA revolution is just beginning


Katalin Karikó, biochemist, started working with mRNA as early as 1989

The arrival of a vaccine before the close of the year was an unexpected turn of events. Early in the pandemic, the conventional wisdom was that, even with all the stops pulled, a vaccine would take at least a year and a half to develop. Talking heads often referenced that the previous fastest-ever vaccine developed, for mumps back in 1967, took four years. Modern vaccines often stretch out past a decade of development. BioNTech – and US-based Moderna, which announced similar results later the same week – shattered that conventional timeline.

Neither company was a household name before the pandemic. In fact, neither had ever had a single drug approved before. But both had long believed that their mRNA technology, which uses simple genetic instructions as a payload, could outpace traditional vaccines, which rely on the often-painstaking assembly of living viruses or their isolated parts. mRNA turned out to be a vanishingly rare thing in the world of science and medicine: a promising and potentially transformative technology that not only survived its first big test, but delivered beyond most people’s wildest expectations.

But its next step could be even bigger. The scope of mRNA vaccines always went beyond any one disease. Like moving from a vacuum tube to a microchip, the technology promises to perform the same task as traditional vaccines, but exponentially faster, and for a fraction of the cost. “You can have an idea in the morning, and a vaccine prototype by evening. The speed is amazing,” says Daniel Anderson, an mRNA therapy researcher at MIT…

I grabbed this article because it promised more detail about mRNA. I was already convinced; but, global geek journalism is my personal search engine and this looks useful.

Right here is where I have to stick in a disclaimer. I’m an old geezer, old geek, old-timey radical. So, several years ago – with no background whatsoever – I decided I had to manage my own retirement investment account. I couldn’t do worse than some of the folks with professional credentials who’d been screwing it up. I have to say this because one of my holdings is MRNA…Moderna. No details. No questions, please. I’m not here to tout my few successes. I just love the science.

RTFA. It’s a piece of history. I think we’ll live a measurable bit longer because of the work all these folks are doing.

Port backups force retailers to switch to air freight for imported goods


Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The combination of a record number of containers arriving at the Port of Los Angeles — the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere due to its proximity to Asia — and Covid-19 is slowing down imports to the U.S…

The congestion at ports has some companies forgoing maritime shipping in favor of airfreight to get popular or seasonal items on store shelves faster. Air rates are more expensive than shipping via ocean freight, but they’ve been dropping in recent months, according to online international freight marketplace Freightos…

Matt Castle, vice president of airfreight products and services at C.H. Robinson…said. “One of the things I never thought we would see being moved by air was vacuum cleaners. It’s a hot item now with so many people at home.”

RTFA. This is affecting your life whether you approve or not. Those retailers who aren’t pressed for time-sensitive economic decisions are eating the cost of air freight. Some retailers won’t. They’ll pass it along to their consumers.

Do your homework before you buy!

How many people must die?

The first deaths from COVID-19 were assumed to be in the end of February, 2020. Further testing projected that number was earlier by several weeks.

No matter. Today, we reached over a half-million deaths from this public health disaster. The sort of disaster the United States was long presumed capable of showing the world how to resolve. Unfortunately, American voters had placed a charlatan, a fraud, an incompetent in charge of leading this nation before COVID-19 struck.

Today, we arrived at a number of deaths from this disease greater than the sum of American lives taken in World War 1, World War 2. and that travesty of murder called the VietNam War. And who is truly responsible for this carnage? If you voted for Trump…if you voted for what masquerades as American conservatism, nowadays…you know who you are.

I would hope, I do hope you’ve learned something about the misleaders of America, the “leaders” of most American politics. I doubt many will ever change. I won’t try to forecast how many American voters will reflect upon this result…and change. It’s your decision.

Eideard

Breastfeeding moms with COVID-19 pass antibodies to their Babies

Breastfeeding women with COVID-19 don’t transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus through their milk, but do pass on milk-borne antibodies that can neutralize the virus, a new study indicates.

Researchers analyzed 37 milk samples submitted by 18 women diagnosed with COVID-19. None of the milk samples contained the virus, while nearly two thirds of the samples did contain two antibodies specific to the virus.

Critically, the findings provide evidence that COVID-19 positive mothers should not be separated from their newborn children. At the onset of the pandemic, major health organizations provided contradictory advice on the necessity of separation was necessary.

You’ll find the details of the study over here. Good news, sound science, is always worth checking out.