… “At this stage of the pandemic, data support simplifying the use of the authorized mRNA bivalent Covid-19 vaccines and the agency believes that this approach will help encourage future vaccination,” Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “Evidence is now available that most of the U.S. population 5 years of age and older has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, either from vaccination or infection that can serve as a foundation for the protection provided by the bivalent vaccines.”
People 65 and older should only get another shot if at least four months have elapsed since their most recent booster, according to the recommendation. For people who are immunocompromised, the suggested interval between shots is two months. The agency said immunocompromised people could get additional doses after that “at the discretion of, and at intervals determined by, their health care provider.”
Marks said the decision to defer the length of the interval between boosters for immunocompromised people to their health care providers is a reflection of the fact that there is a wide variety of conditions that trigger an immunocompromised state, making a one-size-fits-all approach impractical….
The changes announced by the FDA made no reference to whether people who have recently had Covid should wait for a period before getting another booster. Current CDC guidance suggests that people who have recently had Covid “may” consider waiting three months before getting another booster.
The FDA issued what is known as a “permissive” recommendation, one that applies only to the bivalent vaccines made by Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership. It is not trying to push everyone aged 65 and older and all people who are immunocompromised to get another jab this spring; rather the agency is saying people within those demographics who want another dose may get one. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, must sign off on the recommendation before it goes into effect; she is expected to do so…
People looking for an additional booster should be able to get the vaccine at their local pharmacy — if the pharmacy still stocks Covid vaccine. The Biden administration announced Friday that even though the Covid public health emergency will expire on May 11, it is retaining an emergency power that allows pharmacists to vaccinate against Covid until at least the end of 2024….
There is an exception involving young children. Children ages 6 months to 5 years who have never been vaccinated and who are receiving the Moderna vaccine should get two doses. For children who are 6 months to 4 years old who have never been vaccinated and are receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, three doses are recommended.
This is very good #COVID19 news. BUT, caution — the very contagious XBB.1.16 form of #SARSCoV2 is causing surges in other countries, but has only begun to spread in USA.
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) April 16, 2023
Per BioBot wastewater data, U.S. levels of SARS-CoV-2 are their lowest of any point in the past year.
Simultaneously, levels are higher than during 37% of the entire pandemic.#MaskUp #VaxUp #CovidIsNotOver https://t.co/zsfi7KAM4B pic.twitter.com/KJevErzUr7
— Mike Hoerger, PhD MSCR MBA (@michael_hoerger) April 13, 2023
Widespread masking is one reason Japan has outperformed other countries in terms of pandemic excess mortality https://t.co/djSAu5iDpY
— chantzy (@chantz_y) April 15, 2023
Usually I get no hits when searching for Russian covid news. Does this mean there’s something unusually virulent emerging?
New coronavirus variant rears its head in Russia — sanitary watchdog. Apart from that, according to the watchdog, COVID-19 incidence dropped by 14% from the previous week and stood at 49,500 cases:https://t.co/qMgdZcbdRu pic.twitter.com/4FxlfnHgPb
— TASS (@tassagency_en) April 18, 2023
Tasmania has recorded the highest spike in patients hospitalised with COVID in the country – as health experts urge residents to have their vaccinations up to date amid a new virus wave.
🔹Hospitalisation: Up 57%
🔹Reported COVID cases: Up 5%#COVID19TAShttps://t.co/yeW0Ap4n6x pic.twitter.com/fdwZWIrNtL
— Denis – The COVID info guy – (@BigBadDenis) April 16, 2023
The XBB.1.16 "Arcturus" variant which can cause itchy eyes has been growing rapidly in Ontario since late March and now the 2nd most prevalent variant.
I have created a tutorial so everyone can learn how to see the top variants in your area here ( https://t.co/Um8FiFs1WD ). pic.twitter.com/N5AL5FsJMc
— Jeff Gilchrist (@jeffgilchrist) April 16, 2023
Translation: The #SARSCoV2 virus switches on genetic signals in human cells that undermine connections between key, signaling chemicals of the immune system and the B and T cells that need to be activated to stop the virus. So, natural immunity is undermined.
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) April 15, 2023
#LongCovid's neurological symptoms may be shaped by exposure to other coronaviruses. New findings suggest a possible role of an 'original antigenic sin.' These people had robust antibody responses to common cold coronaviruses but weak responses to SARSCoV2 https://t.co/sLOqe14BO3 pic.twitter.com/OV9ec6wzmj
— delthia ricks 🔬 (@DelthiaRicks) April 19, 2023
Loss of smell in #LongCovid is linked to distinct changes in the brain, a new study found. In fact, people living w/ LongCovid & suffering from anosmia show certain patterns of activity in specific brain regions. MRI scans were used to analyze the brain https://t.co/wkBZ01sZiH
— delthia ricks 🔬 (@DelthiaRicks) April 18, 2023
In the lab: New Swedish study is developing lab-made antibodies that *tag* #SARSCoV2 for destruction by patrolling immune cells. Cocktail of these antibodies show strong impact against SARS2. It's a move away from monoclonal antibodies which no longer work https://t.co/SiuFrLtT4L pic.twitter.com/A1r178lzJ4
— delthia ricks 🔬 (@DelthiaRicks) April 18, 2023
Virological and serological evidence of circulation of SARS COV 2 among white tailed deer in the US. Large study, worrisome results. High prevalence of ongoing and past infections, showing this is a reservoir in which the virus is circulating https://t.co/sxFQ9rRcj1 pic.twitter.com/qU6ZORH1yA
— Marion Koopmans, virology; emerging infections (@MarionKoopmans) April 18, 2023
Across the wealthy world hospitals, since arrival of #COVID19 are struggling with spread among patients and staff of extremely dangerous forms of fungi and drug-resistant bacteria, on a scale that is unprecedented. Even immune system-devastating #HIV in the 1980s didn't spawn… https://t.co/SDRPr4es2u
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) April 16, 2023
It's disgusting that federal officials and the media are essentially framing our current situation as "sure, COVID is still one of the leading causes of death, but don't worry, it's only old and immunocompromised people." https://t.co/ID7v8IvKdZ
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) April 17, 2023
The decision by @CAPublicHealth to stop requiring masks in health care settings is a failure of public health leadership.
This is an attack on frontline health care workers, who will now face greater risk of Covid infections, reinfections, and long Covid!https://t.co/oIr7KyEZQE
— California Nurses (@CalNurses) April 14, 2023
I guess if you promoted the article as “Republican aides’ draft left in a drawer by Sen. Burr and leaked by Republican aide does not rule out lab leak theory” it might not draw so much attention.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) April 17, 2023
Comments are closed.
Monroe County, NY:
41 new cases on 04/12/23.
40 new cases on 04/13/23.
44 new cases on 04/14/23.
27 new cases on 04/15/23.
42 new cases on 04/16/23.
18 new cases on 04/17/23.
23 new cases on 04/18/23.
Deaths now at 2243, up 7 since last week.
They seem to have stopped watching COVID variants around here. The last one recorded was XBB 1.9.1.
New Deal democrat
Biobot updated yesterday, showing a further slight decrease in COVID particles to 259/mL. Only the West region did not join in the decline. This is the lowest level since late February through early April of last year. Confirmed cases – which are only useful for the trend – ticked higher in the past 2 weeks, but are still lower than any other time in the past year, and since the start of the pandemic except for May and June 2021.
Hospitalizations, at 16,300, have also declined to the lowest level of all time since the pandemic began, with the exception of April last year. Deaths are below 200 to 190. This is about average for the past 45 days, which have been the lowest since the onset of the pandemic except for about 1 week in July 2021.
The CDC variant update last Friday showed that XBB and its subvariants still make up 96.5% of all cases, with subvariants 1.9.1 and 1.16.1 growing to 16% of all cases (but keep in mind that total cases have been declining, so in absolute terms this does not look like the start of a wave at this point).
The CDC is close to authorizing a new round of booster shots for those over 65 or immunocompromised.
So far, so good for our annual(?) springtime lull.
I used to wonder what deer covid had to do with me, since I don’t get close to deer. They are very big and some of them have antlers, so they scare me.
But they do jump over the fence into my yard. Three of them just this week.
And I saw my dog in my yard roll in deer poop before she came back into the house.
I’m the emergency contact for a few of my friends as they are single guys who’s family is out of state. I had to bolt out of work early on Monday as one of them got ambulanced to the hospital. He was short of breath and went to the rapid clinic and they straight sent him to the ICU because of how bad it was. Work was not happy with it, but screw them I’m going and I’m not going to ask permission, and it turned into a circus. Now I’m sick and having trouble breathing but I’m not COVID positive. He’s at home with oxygen tanks and got anti biotics and all sorts of other crap and not doing well.
The SO does not like my former military buddies but I put my foot down and said he’s coming here with us while he’s on O2 and I don’t care about your views on it. Also her sisters are like an hour away so she likes to stay with them. She was understanding about it as her sister also ended up on O2 recently.
Something is going about and it’s not good. Between me and the SO we know half a dozen people who got put on a vent or nebulizer and then sent home with oxygen tanks. I’ve got two people at home now who are not doing well. The SO made a ton of chicken soup and I’ve got enough scotch to down an elephant and I work close by. So it’s party at my place and video games.
Cat hates it as my friend carted his dog over and the cat will not stand for a dog. So I’m sans the little lady but up two marines on oxygen with a golden doodle chasing the cat. Maybe we will finish trials of mana.
@eversor: Approximately where in the US are you? Asking for a friend whose spouse has COPD.
@sab: I think he is in Northern VA.
I’m in Arlington VA smack over the Key Bridge from DC. SO’s family is up in MD and PA Baltimore and Philly area.
Thank you, Anne Laurie, for continuing to provide us with comprehensive information on the virus. I’m in the “old and immune system compromised category,” so I am grateful to be able to be informed. Still masking indoors, but I don’t see many others doing the same.
@Lapassionara: I do quick calculations when I’m on public transport–percent of folks wearing a mask (counting me–I always N95 mask on public transport). It’s dropped somewhat, but I’ve never been the only person wearing a mask, and I’d say it ranges from 10%-25%. I don’t take it every day, and usually not during rush hours, so this is really anecdata, but I’m still glad to see I’m not the only one. Same in stores
ETA: glad the >65 is being approved–gonna get one as soon as I can.
@New Deal democrat: I looked at our treatment plant info, and it tracks with what Biobot shows – very low, although not as low as the lowest points. One plant actually shows a green down arrow, which means viral load decreased by three consecutive ≥25% decreases or ≥30% decreases in two of the previous three weeks. That sounds good to me.
I swear, every time someone imparts some good news about Covid they seem to feel obligated to “balance” it with “but there’s still this bad thing”. And I think Dr. Lucky is being unfair to the government. Are they not supposed to report the facts about Covid deaths? It has ALWAYS been true that the majority of Covid deaths were among the elderly and immunocompromised – they’re just saying that hasn’t changed. I don’t see anywhere they’re saying “don’t worry, no big deal”.
@eversor: You are a good person to let him stay at your house.
I am happy that the FDA is now saying that people over 65 can get a second dose of the bivalent vaccine! That’s great news!
[pssst! There are doses of bivalent going begging, and if you walk into your local pharmacy you can just ask for one. Even if you have already had a first bivalent dose. Even if you are not over 65.
Back when vaccines were in high demand and short supply, it would have been selfish and antisocial to go back for second helpings before it was your turn. But now that excess supply is languishing and stupid people don’t want them? Belly up to the buffet, folks! Get a second dose when you need it! (e.g. 4-6 months after your last dose or last case of COVID.) ]
I wouldn’t go that far but thanks. The raw reality is that it’s just easier to turn my living room into a sick ward than haul my ass to other peoples condos in the area and check in them, bring food, and do laundry.
Wasn’t my intention either. Just all of a sudden people started landing in the ICU and I’d had enough of it so out came the inflatable bed and blankets for the couch and off we went.
This way the chaos is contained. Though now my condo looks and smells like a bachelor pad so this is going to need fixing before the SO gets back and gets midevil on all of us.
Looking forward to next booster authorization. My 5th shot was last September so I know it’s time. I hope Dr. Walensky signs off on it today. Our local pharmacies are awaiting the approval – no further boosters until that signature takes place.
West of the Rockies
Thank you for a mammoth C19 news source, AL! So you’re saying Russia a might be lying about something… that is so unlike them.//
@narya: Yeah. ~big sigh~
Last Friday I went to the movies with a friend. Took the MBTA. There was a game at Fenway so everyone was totally packed into the Green Line cars. And, based on my unscientific survey, I was the only person I could see wearing a mask in that crowded car. ~bigger sigh~
Long Covid story. My daughter’s boss’s mom got Covid and lost her sense of taste. She got Covid again and her sense of taste came back immediately. Not sure wtf that means but the mom is VERY happy.
I still mask everywhere but at my theater when I am onstage a couple times a month. So far, I have been lucky. I did sit in an audience over the weekend, with no masks in sight, including me. It is dreadfully easy to become complacent.
All the “masks don’t work” scrap on Twitter is annoying, especially when I see it from people who ought to know better. No doubt my own avoidance of Covid so far is that we have been isolating a lot.
@Soprano2: First, let me say that I know from your comments, your thoughtful conversations here, and your general kindness that you are not a person who sees the ill or disabled in any negative way. But I think that sometimes it helps to have someone who is living an experience clarify what it is like in order to understand more deeply why people react so strongly to certain things.
For me, the problem is with the cavalier attitude shown repeatedly by so many people, (and focused and reinforced by the CDC director) towards protecting the vulnerable. The director and the organization’s clear verbal expressions of that negative attitude receiving no censure and no comment from the current administration just adds to the fear and frustration.
Dropping mask requirements in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and on public transport is a death sentence for many high risk people who have no choice but to utilize these services.
It’s far, far different, for example , than saying, “Well, I’m angry that I can’t socialize because the government isn’t requiring masks at music festivals or in bars .”
There are some battles that the government can fight and win, and some that they can’t win. That being said, here is how it affects me personally, and so many others. I say this not because I don’t get where you are coming from, but because the actions snd statements of the CDC, healthcare entities, and local governments look, feel, and impact us differently than they do people in robust health.
So, let me start by saying that most of the people I know who are still having to isolate or to grossly limit their contact to stay alive or keep someone they love safe and alive are suffering, truly suffering, economically, professionally, mentally, socially.
There is no workplace masking requirement, and in most workplaces, employees are coming in sick again. There are no distancing measures, no new air filtration measures, and no reasonable accomodations required to be made re: distancing, masking, etc. for the immunosuppressed/ immunocompromised. Yes, vulnerable people can mask, but research has repeatedly shown that a single person masking in an environment full of unmasked people (esp. with an airborne virus that can infect through the eyes). Is still at significant risk. Masking works better if all or most people are masked. Employers tell the vulnerable to use up their leave ir vacation time(if they even gave any).
Fine, but what are the employees supposed to do when that is exhausted? I know at least five people whose careers have been completely derailed because they had to choose between their life or their job. My hubby has lost clients for no greater reason than that he requires clients to wear a (provided and free, with extras out for the taking if someone knows a person in need of masks) mask for face to face meetings, b/c he and I are both on immunosuppressants, and his sibling is battling pancreatic cancer.
People with whom he has had Zoom meetings, who rave about the assistance he provides for them, who refer friends, have suddenly had tantrums and pitched fits when he explains why they will have to wear a mask for 30 minutes: to protect his brother and his spouse, both of whom are likely to die if we contract Covid.
This is what too many people are up against, financially. We can choose to go out to eat or not. We can choose to go to a concert or not. If we’re very lucky, we can pay extra money to have groceries and some other necessities delivered. But we cannot “choose” to give up our lifeline income.
All the time, vulnerable people hear, “Well, it’s your problem, not mine. If you don’t like (people coming to work sick/ no masking anywhere/no distancing/ no reasonable accommodations to save lives) than you stay home. It’s your choice.!”
Well, we can isolate, and suffer the stress, depression, and grief that comes with being cut off from most aspects of normal life, in order to stay alive. No library.No hugging our nieces and nephews. No evenings on the porch, pulling up chairs and visiting with neighbors. No concerts. No nice dinner out to celebrate a 25th anniversary. And we do choose to give those up, to stay alive. All those simple, vital, beautiful things, gone. We have to choose to do so, b/c so many of the people around us (and our government) do not care about the impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens.
Because our CDC thinks it’s “good” that it’s largely just all of us disposable people dying, not the healthy workforce. It’s infuriating and heartbreaking at the same time. But we have made hard choices and continue to do so , and keep trying to find a way to exist in a country that believes we are, at best, invisible, but indicates by word and deed that we are seen as disposable, as cannon fodder and as acceptable losses.
Here’s the other side of the ”if you don’t like it, just stay home” equation. Those who rely on their jobs to support themselves or a vulnerable loved one can’t “choose” to just give up their income, their insurance, their hopes of someday being able to retire. And for those who are the sole breadwinner because of a child, parent, or partner being ill or at high- risk, the choice is even harder.
Seeking healthcare is another area where we are being, ironically, forced to risk our lives to try and stay alive. In my area, only one hospital still has any kind of masking requirement. If I go to see my internist, for example, I can look forward to a 30 minute wait in a crowded room with no staff masked and only a few patients masked. At my last visit, many of the people there clearly had respiratory symptoms. My doctor masks, and is horrified by the lack of masking in healthcare facilities, but is powerless to change it. I went for a cardiac procedure, and only one medical staffer, a technician, was masked. In a cardiac facility, full of high-risk patients.
I have a dilated heart as one of the many issues due to my autoimmune illness. I can choose to not go shopping. I cannot “choose” to not get cardiac care. The CDC knows this, and yet they pull even the most basic safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities. Am I angry? Am i scared? Every day. Are so many others in my position also feeling deserted, unheard, sacrificed? Yes.
This is an underlying issue that the CDC’s and the government’s positions and choices have really pushed to the forefront for the disabled, the ill, and the at-risk elderly.
We are so often seen as not having value. I have personally had a doctor tell me that I “ought to my be eternally in debt” to my spouse for not deserting me when it became apparent that I would have to give up teaching, and that I couldn’t safely “give him children”. This is the kind of attitude that we face far too often.
I can’t count the number of “Christian” people who have told me , unsolicited and without knowing me at all, that “God only gives you what you deserve”.
This attitude is pervasive, destructive, and honestly, it is devastating in a multitude of ways for people on the receiving end of it. We can’t work, or we can’t create a bio family, so therefore we are no longer seen by many as feeling, thinking people. Instead, we become a number, a burden, a “drain on society”. It has always been heartbreaking to experience this, but the added cruelty and isolation brought about by Covid have really made it an unavoidable truth – this is how we are viewed and (de)valued by a startlingly large portion of our country, and the CDC, which by by its very purpose should be formulating policy to protect the vulnerable, and is not.
Another issue is that healthy people often assume that vaccinations will protect the immunosuppressed or immunocompromised in the same way that it protects the young and healthy. The vaccines are a damn miracle in general, but they are not enough for the above group, many of whom cannot produce a strong immune response to vaccinations. I have had every vaccine booster, but I am not fully protected. The next line is, “Well, if you get Covid, just take Paxlovid!” For many on immunosuppressants that keep us alive, those same medications (CellCept, for example, which treats some serious autoimmune conditions and some cancers), have severe interactions with Paxlovid, meaning that we are unable to use the only real post-infection medication still available and effective.
So, when we hear the CDC say that it ‘s “good” that it’s just us junk people dying or getting severely ill from Covid, and that it isn’t important for even our healthcare providers to mask to protect us in healthcare facilities, the message couldn’t be clearer. We don’t count. We don’t matter. And that is a difficult and painful reality to have to accept.
@Wanderer: Same here. Our pharmacist is still waiting for Walensky to give the go-ahead so that he can start scheduling boosters.
@eversor: You are good and kind to do this. 💕
@Mel: Beautifully said. I hope we are able to be boosted soon. In a different timeline perhaps a different leadership team was able to contain this and it would not become endemic.
@Wanderer: My fingers are crossed that we can get boosted soon. We missed our third Christmas with my nieces and nephews and little grandnieces and nephews. I keep hoping against hope that something will change and I can see them and hug them and tell them in person that I love them dearly. I adore them and miss them so much.
@Mel: Stay safe, stay strong. It must be a heavy burden to not see the little ones. Hopefully the approval will be done soon and that will increase the safety margins. There is a small machine for kids that receives/ sends texts, has video chat. Parents must invite people to text and approve all requests asking to text the young ones. They can not, as I understand, contact any websites or anyone not on the approval list. That may be a new, fun way to maintain contact. I use one with my grandkids. I will tell you as the newness wears off the texts as less though. It’s made by v- tech toys. Adults use their own devices.
@Wanderer: Thank you!! I’m looking for one online as soon as I send this.
J R in WV
I was so relieved to see that W VA has a big old white-tail deer bullseye for Covid infections. Got to keep up that stupid reputation !!!