At least 125,000 fully vaccinated Americans have tested positive for Covid and 1,400 of those have died, according to data collected by NBC News. The total number of breakthrough cases is likely higher than 125,683, since nine states, including Pennsylvania and Missouri, did not provide any information, while 11, like Florida, did not provide death and hospitalization totals. Four states gave death and hospitalization numbers, but not the full tally of cases.
Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 33% of the 481 samples collected from January 2020 through 2021. None of the deer populations surveyed showed signs of clinical illness associated with SARS-CoV-2. Results of the study indicate that certain white-tailed deer populations in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania were exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
It is important to note that this surveillance was designed to determine exposure of deer to SARS-CoV-2 in their natural environment. It was not designed to determine whether the deer were replicating and shedding SARS-CoV-2.
The Biorxiv preprint of the deer study does contain two interesting paragraphs that refer to Sars-CoV-2 positive tests in white tailed deer in 2019 and early 2020:
“Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 40% of the 2021 surveillance samples (Table 1). Antibodies were also detected in three samples from 2020 and one sample from 2019. No detections were observed in samples from 2011-2018. The results from the sVNT screening showed high concordance with those obtained by VNT (Table 1). Specifically, 24/24 of 2021 detections and 24/24 of 2021 negatives were concordant for sVNT compared to VNT.
Most of the positive samples from 2021 had percent inhibition values between 80-100% while the 2019-2020 positive samples had relatively low percent inhibition values (30.03-43.72, Figure 1). Percent inhibition scores ≥30 are considered positive for this assay. Low percent inhibition could represent potential waxing/waning immunity, non-specific antibody binding, or cross-reactivity from exposure to unknown endemic coronaviruses. The three positive samples from 2020 were collected in January, very early in the pandemic. In fact, the majority of the 2020 samples that were available for testing were from January-March, with only 21 samples collected later in the year, 20 of which were collected in October from a single location. Consequently, we have limited information on prevalence over time in 2020.
CDC: “Investigations found that mink from a Michigan farm and a small number of people were infected with SARS-CoV-2 that contained unique mink-related mutations (changes in the virus’s genetic material). This suggests mink to human spread might have occurred. The animals on the farm have since tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 twice, and the infected people have since recovered.
Finding these mutations in mink on the Michigan farm is not unexpected because they have been seen before in mink from farms in the Netherlands and Denmark and also in people linked to mink farms worldwide. Currently there is limited information available about the genetics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has infected people living in the communities near the mink farm. Thus, it is difficult to know with certainty whether the mink-related virus mutations originated in people or in mink on the farm.
To confirm the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from mink to people, public health officials would need more information on the epidemiology and genetics of the virus in mink, mink farm workers, and the community around mink farms. These results highlight the importance of routinely studying the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 in susceptible animal populations like mink, as well as in people.
CDC is aware of reports of a strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus in mink in Denmark that was also present in the local human population. This strain, called “Cluster 5,” had not been seen before and was made up of five mutations. The World Health Organization (WHO)external icon reported that as of November 2020, the Cluster 5 variant was no longer circulating in Denmark. Of mink and human samples tested so far in the United States, none have contained all the mutations that make up the Cluster 5 strain.”
CDC: COVID-19 and Animals, Mar. 25, 2021
In more mink related coronavirus news, Oregon is to require all mink to be vaccinated against sars-cov-2 , Russia has produced its own vaccine for animals and Greece is trying to keep mink infections down with testing and vaccines for workers
Image By Dzīvnieku brīvība – Baltic Devon Mink 05, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87445681
In February 2021, a taxidermist living in Eaton County, Michigan, became infected with COVID-19. A sample from his positive test result was sent to the state lab to be genetically sequenced — and came back as connected to a mutation of the virus found in infected mink, whose fur is used for coats and clothing.
In early February, the linked COVID-19 case involving the Eaton taxidermist was confirmed through genetic testing.
MDHHS confirmed the CDC’s account of the mutations, identifying them as F486L and N501T. Those two mutations have been identified by researchers as the dominant mink COVID-19 strains in the United States, according to a preprint study published last month by two Canadian researchers, and may have evolved in humans before being transmitted to minks,
Michigan State health officials say 246 fully vaccinated Michiganders contracted coronavirus from January to March, and three have died. “These are individuals who have had a positive test 14 or more days after the last dose in the vaccine series,” said Lynn Sutfin, a spokesperson for the state health department.
Some of the 246 people may ultimately be excluded from the state’s tally of vaccine breakthrough cases because they may have had earlier coronavirus infections and still tested positive two weeks post-immunization.