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  1. An appeal for a new lockdown by the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Here’s How to Crush the Virus Until Vaccines Arrive Why did the United States’ Covid-19 containment response fail, particularly compared with the successful results of so many nations in Asia, Europe and even our neighbor Canada? Simply, we gave up on our lockdown efforts to control virus transmission well before the virus was under control. While many countries are now experiencing modest flare-ups of the virus, their case loads are in the hundreds or low thousands of infections per day, not tens of thousands, and small enough that public health officials can largely control the spread. In contrast, the United States reopened too quickly and is now experiencing around 50,000 or more new cases per day. [If we aren’t willing to lockdown until the case rate is less than one per 100,000] millions more cases with many more deaths are likely before a vaccine might be available. In addition, the economic recovery will be much slower, with far more business failures and high unemployment for the next year or two. The path of the virus will determine the path of the economy. There won’t be a robust economic recovery until we get control of the virus. [An example of a soft lockdown:] Minnesota deemed 78 percent of its workers essential. [A real lockdown combined with testing and tracing] will lead to a stronger, faster economic recovery, moving people from unemployment to work.
  2. The Economist in a book review of How to spot Dodgy Data cited the stability of Georgia's outbreak map:
  3. Two weeks of mandatory masks, but a record 725 new cases: why are Melbourne's COVID-19 numbers so stubbornly high? Melburnians have now been wearing mandatory face coverings in public for two weeks. Yet Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday announced another grim milestone in Victoria's second wave of COVID-19 infections: 725 new cases, a record daily tally for any Australian state since the pandemic began. proper, widespread use of masks by the public should have made a big dent in coronavirus numbers. So why hasn't there been a drop in cases? Philip Russo, president of the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control, last week lamented the "really obvious disoedience" displayed by some people, and speculated masks may also have created a false sense of security among the wider public who may view masks as more effective than they truly are. "far too many people" were going to work while sick, labelling this behaviour "the biggest driver of transmission" in the state. What we are seeing now is actually infections from 5-10 days ago. And any public health interventions implemented now will take 5-10 days to show an effect. We also know COVID-19 thrives in environments where it can quickly infect large numbers of people—and the recent uptick in cases has largely been driven by workplace transmission which occurred before the stage 4 restrictions came into effect. During July's stage 3 lockdown, Melburnians were under the same restrictions as the original lockdown in March and April. Yet vehicle traffic was almost 20% higher than during the earlier lockdown The persistently high numbers may also be partly explained by infected people transmitting the virus to their families, partners or housemates—something that's hard to avoid even in lockdown. While it's frustrating that Victoria's numbers have not trended downwards, it's also true the state has successfully avoided the kind of exponential increase in cases seen in many other countries.
  4. COVID-19: Not all patients develop protective antibodies Scientists from MedUni Vienna's Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research discovered that only around 60% of patients who have had COVID-19 and recovered from it develop protective antibodies and, for the first time, they were able to show that some antibodies even assist the virus by augmenting it to the cells of the host. The positive outcome is that we now have a test that can identify antibodies and show whether people who have already been infected have protective immunity or not. certain immunocomplexes consisting of RBD and patient antibodies, have a higher binding rate to ACE2. This is a hitherto unknown mechanism that enables the virus to dock onto cells more easily. … Potentially, this can make it even easier for the virus to infect cells. [Emphasis added]
  5. What the huge COVID-19 testing undercount in the US means Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions recently published a study which estimated that the true number of people infected by COVID-19 could be six to 24 times higher than the number of confirmed cases. we know the cases and deaths are undercounted due to lack of testing. Particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, only those with significant illness were tested and there were shortages and problems with the test. We also know that there is a significant amount of asymptomatic spread that isn't captured in those testing numbers, particularly in places that still lack access to widespread testing. when there are mild or asymptomatic cases and people don't know that they're sick, then that's contributing to spread. If not identified, that keeps us in this situation even longer where we're not containing the spread. For context, the reproductive number of the flu is about 1.3 and SARS-CoV-2 is between 2 and 3, meaning it's a highly contagious disease. So even at the higher end of the estimates that we expect the true number of cases to be, the majority of the country remains susceptible to the virus. Less than 5% of the U.S. population has been infected. universal mask wearing, frequent hand-washing and maintaining physical distancing. These things work. There needs to be increased, accurate and rapid testing without a long lag time for results so people get results before there may be additional unintentional spread.
  6. I wonder if timing of when the virus became rampant within a country makes a difference: From https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus
  7. Masks mandates have major impact, study finds if the U.S. had introduced a uniform national mask mandate for employees of public-facing businesses on April 1, the number of deaths in the U.S. would likely have been 40 percent lower on June 1. "Controlling for behavior, information variables, confounding factors—the mask mandates are critical to the decline in deaths. No matter how we look at the data, that result is there." Specifically, after accounting for those circumstances, the researchers estimated that mask mandates would have produced a 40 percent reduction in deaths, nationally.
  8. As a boomer, I found this study worrying: Baby boomers show concerning decline in cognitive functioning Findings showed that average cognition scores of adults aged 50 and older increased from generation to generation, beginning with the greatest generation (born 1890-1923) and peaking among war babies (born 1942-1947). "It is shocking to see this decline in cognitive functioning among baby boomers after generations of increases in test scores," Zheng said. "But what was most surprising to me is that this decline is seen in all groups: men and women, across all races and ethnicities and across all education, income and wealth levels." Other research has shown that overall rates of mortality and illness have increased in baby boomers, but generally found that the highly educated and wealthiest were mostly spared. "That's why it was so surprising to me to see cognitive declines in all groups in this study," Zheng said. "The declines were only slightly lower among the wealthiest and most highly educated." The biggest factors linked to lower cognition scores among baby boomers in the study were lower wealth, higher levels of self-reported loneliness and depression, lack of physical activity and obesity. One of the biggest concerns is that cognitive functioning when people are in their 50s and 60s is related to their likelihood of having dementia when they are older.
  9. An assistant professor of biostatistics who is a vaccine researcher expresses her concerns about our current path to a vaccine. The Right Way to Get a Vaccine at ‘Warp Speed’
  10. While there may be beneficial compounds in seaweed, remember not to over consume per Advice on brown seaweed which is specifically for women and children but includes the following: Naturally high levels of iodine in brown seaweed mean that people can become ill if they consume a large quantity of this type of seaweed.
  11. MedicalXpress has an article about using decoys to protect against infection In cell studies, seaweed extract outperforms remdesivir in blocking COVID-19 virus The compounds are found in brown seaweed. In a test of antiviral effectiveness against the virus that causes COVID-19, an extract from edible seaweeds substantially outperformed remdesivir, the current standard antiviral used to combat the disease [SARS-CoV-2] could just as easily be persuaded to lock onto a decoy molecule that offers a similar fit. The neutralized virus would be trapped and eventually degrade naturally. The Cell Discovery paper tests antiviral activity in three variants of heparin (heparin, trisulfated heparin, and a non-anticoagulant low molecular weight heparin) and two fucoidans (RPI-27 and RPI-28) extracted from seaweed. All five compounds are long chains of sugar molecules known as sulfated polysaccharides RPI-27 yielded an EC50 value of approximately 83 nanomolar, while a similar previously published and independent in vitro test of remdesivir on the same mammalian cells yielded an EC50 of 770 nanomolar. "The current thinking is that the COVID-19 infection starts in the nose, and either of these substances could be the basis for a nasal spray. If you could simply treat the infection early, or even treat before you have the infection, you would have a way of blocking it before it enters the body." "Sulfated polysaccharides effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro" was published in Cell Discovery.
  12. A visualization of the count for the top 10 countries by day: How confirmed cases of coronavirus have spread
  13. Found an interesting site for different views of the world while staying in. https://window-swap.com/ It will randomly select the view out of someone's window. If you don't like the view, click in the center bottom to see the view from another point on the globe.
  14. Dr Gregor has a talk The COVID-19 Pandemic May Just Be a Dress Rehearsal that explains the Pandemic Severity Index.
  15. MedicalXpress has an article How neurons reshape inside body fat to boost its calorie-burning capacity that reports that leptin can regulate the presence of neurons in both white and brown fat. What really ignites the breakdown of stored fat molecules are nerves embedded in the fat tissue … If they receive the right signal, they have an astonishing capacity to grow. That signal is the hormone leptin, which is released by the fat cells themselves. the researchers found that the normally bushy network of neural fibers within fat tissue shrinks in the absence of leptin and grows back when the hormone is given as a drug. we did not expect to find this profound level of neural plasticity in an adult, [Leptin] relays signals between fat deposits and the brain, allowing the nervous system to curb appetite and boost energy expenditure to regulate body weight. When mice are genetically engineered to stop producing leptin, they grow three times heavier than normal mice. They eat more, move less, and cannot survive in what should be tolerable cold because their body can't properly utilize fat to generate heat. Give these mice a dose of leptin, however, and they quickly begin to eat less and move more. But when the researchers treated them longer, for two weeks, more profound changes occurred: the animals started to break down white fat, which stores unused calories, at normal levels, and regained the ability to use another form of fat tissue, brown fat, to generate heat.