Very effective vaccines will be available to many people by early winter. Phase I is for healthcare workers and others, next older people, and others. Note: the final decisions on what groups are in the phases have not been determined.
The Bad: The pandemic is out of control everywhere, just like the 1908 Spanish flu in the fall. I live in the Bay Area, which has always had strict requirements. Everyone wears face masks and does social distancing but cases are going way up.
My Holiday season advice for this year:
Skip getting together this year. By this time next year, many of us will be vaccinated, especially older people at high risk.
Do not get together with anyone outside your household. That is what we are doing in my family. Of course, we have a scheduled big Zoom meet up with all of us!!
Do not celebrate with anyone who is high risk, such as older people.
Assume everyone, including yourself, has Covid, including family and friends. 50% of infected persons show no symptoms. I have been doing this since March.
Why has he changed his forecast from much later in 2121? Because with over 90% efficacy, many people will want to take the vaccines. The flu vaccines are 40-60% effective. Only about 50% of people get one. Covid is significantly more dangerous than the flu. Plus, the Covid vaccine could be available to all by April!
Return to Normalcy finally!!
Dr. Fauci has always said “cautiously optimistic” about vaccines. For the first time, he said “The results are really quite good, I mean extraordinary,”
Fauci has also said that Covid could remain a chronic problem, and face masks, distancing, etc., would still be needed for some time.
Three of the top vaccines now are mRNA. Hopefully, Moderna and Novavax, which are behind Pfizer in clinical trials, will also have high efficacy. They are Genetic Vaccines that deliver one or more of the coronavirus’s own genes into our cells to provoke an immune response.
This vaccine uses the same new messenger RNA technology as two of the other vaccines in late-stage clinical trials: Moderna and Novavax. They are Genetic Vaccines that deliver one or more of the coronavirus’s own genes into our cells to provoke an immune response. They will hopefully have similar efficacy so we will have three vaccines available. The other vaccines are based on existing dead vaccines. Pfizer Vaccine gives us hope for the future!
Return to Normalcy!
11-9-20 5 min. 18 seconds “How a COVID vaccine might work — and the challenges of distributing it” Video and transcript.
Excerpts: “We’re waiting for the independent review. The peer-reviewed science work is still unknown to us. But, assuming all of this bears out, this is an extraordinary number. This vaccine will easily get into the Hall of Fame batting .900 percent, 90 percent.
It’s stunning, actually. When you think about it, the typical flu vaccine, its efficacy is somewhere between 40 and 60 percent. But there’s still a lot of work to do here, obviously. We’re talking, in all, of 94 cases among tens of thousands, 94 cases of COVID.
The Pfizer mRNA vaccines require storage of at least minus 80 degrees Celsius (minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit) until ready to be injected. That is colder than its competitors. This is creating a problem with what is called cold chain logistics.
It’s actually two shots, one, and then, a couple of weeks later, a second shot. So, getting people in for the first shot in a country where we have a lot of people who are suspicious of vaccines, that’s one thing, and then making sure they come back for the second shot, all those things have to happen in order for this to work.
Understandable analysis and interviews. Good animation of the vaccine and how it works. Video segments on manufacturing and distribution.
With an over 90% effectiveness, the number of humans for the virus to infect will decline. We will get closer to “normal”. Of course, face masks, distancing, etc. will be required until the vaccine is fully distributed. The percent of people vaccinated is the key to success but will take a while.
Video and full transcript PBS Newshour 11-9-20 5 min. 33 seconds. Excerpts: …”over 90 percent effective in preventing COVID among volunteers who had no prior infection. The data hasn’t been published or reviewed by a medical journal yet, but Pfizer released it on November 9, 2020, with the hopes of getting approval for use in the weeks ahead.” Pfizer new vaccine data.
“We can produce approximately 50 million doses this year, approximately 1.3 billion doses next year in the U.S., we will have 12.5 million people that we can protect…. People that they are more likely to get the disease, like first-line workers, very sensitive population, et cetera.”
Hearing about the vaccine directly from the Pfizer CEO is worthwhile to find out about the background. He is not a dynamic speaker but is understandable.
Over 90% effective is fantastic!! Flu is 40-60%, with an average of 50% with annual doses. Probably why the FDA said 50% minimum. Measles is 97% effective with one dose in childhood. Half the doses are available in the U.S. The other half are in Europe as Pfizer’s partner is BioNTech, a German company. Return to Normalcy!
Three of the top vaccines now are mRNA.- 2 doses required (Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax). Hopefully, all will have 90% or higher effectiveness. Genetic Vaccines Vaccines that deliver one or more of the coronavirus’s own genes into our cells to provoke an immune response.
All require storage of at least minus 80 degrees Celsius (minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit) until it’s ready to be injected. The other vaccines in clinical trials are traditional, based on existing viruses. Johnson and Johnson and Astra Zeneca are two examples. They do not require cold storage.
Operation Warp Speed did not fund Pfizer vaccine development. They preferred to be independent. Warp Speed funded distribution, which is why the initial doses will be available very soon.
Issues (my comments)
Messenger RNA vaccines are bioengineered and new. None have ever been approved. Makes it more uncertain.
We don’t know about the very young and old. Very few samples.
Limited data released per FDA requirements. Not peer-reviewed.
Tracking people will be complicated for the second dose.
Storage of minus 112 Fahrenheit degrees required. Hospitals have this, but not many other places such as pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Significant problems in rural areas.
Don’t know how long immunity lasts. When will you need more doses? The flu shots last about a year.
This analysis has some of the best illustrations I have seen, using a living room, a bar, and a classroom.
One time examples, such as the church choir in Seattle or infections in bars, are useful. But we are a visual species. Illustrations and animations can help understand what is happening.
Spanish paper El Pais ran various simulations using the Covid Airborne Transmission Estimator developed by scientists from the University of Colorado. Excellent Illustrations of Covid spreading indoors.
A few excerpts: Irrespective of whether safe distances are maintained, if the six people spend four hours together talking loudly, without wearing a face mask in a room with no ventilation, five will become infected, according to the scientific model explained in the methodology.
The infection risk drops to below one when the group uses face masks, shortens the length of the gathering by half, and ventilates the space used.
If two hours are spent in the classroom with an infected teacher and 20 students, without taking any measures to counter the number of aerosols, there is the risk that up to 12 students could become infected.
To watch the Excellent Illustrations of Covid spreading indoors, translated into English, click here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has new guidance clarifying what exactly “close contact” means when it comes to transmission of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The previous guidance suggested that a close contact occurred when a person was within six feet of an infectious individual for 15 consecutive minutes. The New CDC guidance on 15 minutes of COVID exposure acknowledges that even brief contact can lead to transmission.
Specifically, the new guidance suggests that those spending a total of 15 minutes of contact with an infectious person throughout a 24-hour period should be considered in close contact.
Despite the change, most public health professionals have been clear for months that there is nothing magic about six feet. In the same way, there is nothing magic about 15 minutes. These should be used as rough estimates to indicate the types of contact that are relatively higher risk.
October 30, 2020, CDC report, COVID-19 in a Correctional Facility Employee Following Multiple Brief Exposures to Persons with COVID-19 — Vermont, July–August 2020Click here to read the report Note: the report can be difficult to read but worthwhile. Paragraphs are too long with too much information.
Watch the best visualization of the filtering capabilities of face masks at the microscopic level I have seen. You can scroll through the animations. Less than 5 minutes is required. There are references for more information.
With these animations, you can see how cotton and n95 mask filtering works. For example, you can see the smallest particles being bounced around by air molecules in a random zig-zag pattern, increasing the time they spend in the fiber forest and their chances of getting captured.
Tightly woven cotton outperforms most common fabrics. A nonwoven material like that of an N95 respirator is most effective.
Humans are visual. We can more easily understand if we can see something. But, the virus-containing particles are too small for us to see, even with a standard microscope. Now you can see the particles being trapped in cotton vs n95. How face masks work: excellent animations
I always assume everyone, including myself, has Covid, including family and friends. 50% of infected persons show no symptoms.
I prefer experimental research, where you collect data and analyze it. I was trained in science, starting high school. Observational vs. Experimental Covid research – what’s the difference?
This type of research uses several different types of non-experimental studies where behavior is systematically observed and recorded. The goal of observational research is to describe a variable or set of variables. Many Covid research studies are observational. Over 200,000 people have died, and we need analysis and information as fast as we can get it. There is not enough time to set up experimental research. Observational research can help until there is time for experimental research.
The CDC research study, on 15 minutes of intermittent exposure was observational. The study had only one person. A prison guard interacted with infected prisoners over a specified period of time.
My blog post A home is not always safe from Covid-19 had a study where infected persons and their household members were tested over a period of time. There was significant virus transmission among household members.
Another widely quoted example of observational research on airborne transmission was a crowded choir practice in Seattle in a small room with no masks or social distancing. Other indoor choir practices were not analyzed, such as the effect of face masks and physical distancing.
This research is a scientific approach. One or more independent variables are manipulated and applied to one or more dependent variables to measure their effect on the latter.
For Covid, the vaccine trials are experimental: one group gets the vaccine, the other receives a placebo (saline solution). The research is double-blind: no one knows which one they receive. Observational vs. Experimental Covid research – what’s the difference?
From the first stay at home recommendations in March, we assumed that we were safe at home. We knew that Covid-19 transmission occurs within households. However, transmission estimates varied widely, and the data on transmission from children was limited. This CDC study shows that A home is not always safe from Covid-19.
The research, part of an ongoing CDC-supported study, followed 101 people initially infected with Covid-19. Locations were Nashville, Tennessee, and Marshfield, Wisconsin, between April and September 2020.
What is useful from this report?
A 53% household infection rate, the study said, is higher than what has been documented so far. To date, related research has reported only a 20% to 40% infection rate.
Findings from a prospective household study with intensive daily observation for equal or greater than 7 consecutive days indicate that transmission of Covid-19 among household members was frequent from either children or adults.
October 28, 2020. 28 minutes. Anthony S. Fauci, MD returns to JAMA’s Q&A series to discuss the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. See the topics and times below.One of the best Fauci interviews I have heard.Find out more detail than what you hear on the radio or TV news.
The full interview is worth listening to. Or, scroll through the video or audio recording to find you want.To read the many youtube comments, scroll down past the video list.
Topics: list and times
0:20 NAM Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership
1:19 COVID-19 numbers and excess deaths
4:05 National masking mandate
5:55 How to get people to accept masking
7:07 Herd Immunity and the Great Barrington Declaration
9:51 The holidays and airplane travel
13:44 Therapies update
17:54 Vaccines update
20:08 Vaccine distribution
22:00 Vaccine safety
24:42 How Australia has dealt with COVID-19 spikes
The size of a single human hair is comparable to the size of as little as 400 SARS-CoV-2 particles to as many as 1,000 particles.
Virus sizes vary from the extremely minuscule – 17 nanometre wide Porcine Circovirus, for example – to monsters that challenge the very definition of ‘virus’, such as the 2.3 micrometer Tupanvirus.
How much smaller are most viruses in comparison to bacteria? Much smaller. With a diameter of 220 nanometers, the measles virus is about 8 times smaller than E.coli bacteria
Are viruses living or not?
For about 100 years, the scientific community has repeatedly changed its collective mind over what viruses are.
First seen as poisons, then as life-forms, then biological chemicals. Viruses today are thought of as being in a gray area between living and nonliving. They cannot replicate on their own, but can do so in truly living cells and can also affect the behavior of their hosts profoundly.
Some say it’s more accurate to think of viruses as part of the continuum between chemistry and biology, one that isn’t clearly divided into living and non-living.
When could we first see viruses? Electron microscopes were invented in the 1930s. For the first time, we could see what viruses looked like, such as the H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu.
Where did the word virus come from? The word virus comes from a Latin word describing poisonous liquids. This is because early forms of isolating and imaging microbes couldn’t capture such tiny particles.
If the virus cannot get inside our lungs, it cannot infect us. The primary method of transmission is by human breathing. It is a respiratory virus. The virus is not alive. It is inert and “driven” to reproduce by spreading among humans. As fewer humans are available to infect, spreading will decline. It “waits” for us to give it an opportunity to spread. National Mandatory Face Masks Keep Covid-19 From Spreading.
Compared with other viruses, not many people diefrom Covid, about 0.6%. The flu is about 0.01%. If more people died, we would be much more willing to wear face masks, avoid crowded interiors, etc. We are very lucky that a relatively low percentage of people die with Covid. The death rate for the 1918 Spanish Flu was 6.5%. SARS was 10%.
ANOTHER PRIMARY REASON: FACE MASKS OR SHUTDOWNS. WHICH IS WORSE?
ASSUME EVERYONE IS INFECTED, INCLUDING YOURSELF, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS. 50% have no symptoms and don’t know they are infected.
Face Masks keep the virus from spreading and primarily keep other people safe if you are infected. Face Masks can protect you from infected people coughing and sneezing in your face.
Fall/winter surges is not new. They occurred in the 1919 Spanish Flu and is currently happening in Europe.
We are all waiting for a vaccine or multiple vaccines to become available. We will still need to wear face masks. Vaccines will not be available to everyone until mid- or late 2121. The transmission will decline as more people are vaccinated. The virus will probably always be around, such the flu viruses.
Not everyone will be protected by a vaccine.We will still need to wear face masks. The measles vaccine is 97% effective with two doses. The flu vaccine is about 50% effective. If 100 people get Covid vaccine shots that are 50% effective, 50 will not be immune. If 50% of 100 people refuse to take the vaccine, 50 people will not be immune. That does not leave many that are resistant to infection.
Fauci on his media restrictions, Trump contracting COVID, masks, White House superspreader event, death threats, and more. Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci!
In a wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview on October 18, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses his frustration with a Trump campaign ad. He explains why, early in the pandemic, masks were largely recommended for health care workers; and says that he plans to vote in person.
The episode included videos from a previous 60 Minutes interview 4 years ago, including his vaccine lab.
To find what you want, use the search box on the right. On the right, use Categories and a list of the most recent posts. To get the posts when they are posted, subscribe to the blog via email on the right. I regularly update the posts and include the date updated. I always assume everyone, including myself, has Covid, including family and friends. 50% of infected persons show no symptoms.
More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults are obese. Another 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Now, CDC says there is overweight Covid Risk. Before it was just obese.
The CDC required that states submit their draft plans for vaccine distribution by October 16, 2020. I have no idea how the states could do that reliably as to who gets the vaccine is uncertain. For example, do healthcare workers include nursing home workers and hospital janitors? The final national distribution report from experts was not available until Oct. 2.
The recent report on vaccine distribution came out Oct. 2. Link to my post on Oct. 2 final report on Covid vaccine distribution. The primary candidates for approval (using mRNA, a new technology) require vaccine storage at below 94 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Pfizer’s vaccine requires special ultra-low temperature freezers that can store the vaccine at minus-328 degrees. Also, all require two vaccine doses, very complicated.
For those reasons (vaccine storage and 2 doses) and other reasons, Phase 1a in the new report above gives the vaccine to health care workers and first responders. They have jobs, can be tracked for the second dose, and can get both doses at their places of employment.
Oct. 2 release National Academies Release Framework for Equitable Allocation of a COVID-19 Vaccine for Adoption by HHS, State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Authorities. Discusses the phases in detail.
On Oct. 2, 2020, the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued its recommendations. For lots more information see below. A podcast, press release, and an article discuss the recommendations on who Gets The Corona Vaccine First
The NASEM was asked to develop its allocation plan by both the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This plan will set the US government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is coordinating vaccine and treatment trials
This framework can also inform the decisions of other groups, such as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. In addition to the framework, the report includes recommendations for HHS.
Phase 1a covers approximately 5 percent of the population and includes front-line health workers Phase 1b covers approximately 10 percent of the population and includes people of all ages with comorbid and underlying conditions
Recorded 10-8-20 8 min. 19 sec. video. The interviewer asks Fauci the very tough current questions about infections in the NFL, Trump, and the White House, surges in some states, etc. Fauci does not “point the finger” at anyone. Instead, he repeats what the science says about what should be done. Listen to the video or read the transcript. Fauci on Current Status of Covid Infections
Excerpts: “…obviously, this is a formidable virus that has an extraordinary capability of being transmitted from person to person. But the kind of outbreak that we had in the United States and that many other countries have had does not necessarily have to have been inevitable.”
“I have said (this) multiple times, and I have no problem repeating it now, that what you should do to avoid acquisition and transmission of infection is the universals wearing of masks, avoiding close contact, avoiding crowded situations, trying to do things outdoors much more than indoors, and washing your hands regularly.”
Recorded 10-6-20 41 minutes. Most of Fauci interviews are by adults: scientists, media interviewers, etc. This was a Q&A format with college students. College Student Q&A with Dr. Fauci addressed students’ concerns, the trajectory of the pandemic, and ways we can respond and help.
College Student Q&A with Dr. Fauci had a wide variety of questions
Your most critical decision
College sports and White House recent infections
How do you stay steadfast when times are bad
Advice for how to succeed at your job
Obligation to get a vaccine
Toward the end of the event, Fauci talked about his own background, including the sense of social responsibility his family taught him that led him to his current career.
Research shows coronavirus spreads primarily through the air. Recorded 9-22-20 – Video 6 minutes with a full transcript. How to reduce Covid airborne transmission risk.
More research is showing that airborne transmission is an important factor in transmitting Covid. How should we change our behavior to reduce our risk of infection? Virginia Tech’s Dr. Linsey Marr about aerosols vs. droplets, ventilation and more. She’s a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and her expertise is in the airborne transmission of viruses. How to reduce Covid airborne transmission risk
Short, very understandable with a good expert speaker and practical video excerpts. Only 6 minutes. To watch click here
Cigarette smoke example
Excerpt: … Cigarette smoke is a great way to think about different specific scenarios, whether you’re indoors (or outdoors). Do you want to be indoors with that smoker? Well, you think about what affects the ventilation in the room. If the room is really well-ventilated and there’s lots of outdoor air coming in, then that smoke will be kind of pushed outside.