What do the people who say “learn to live with the virus” actually mean?
They mean: fail to learn any of the lessons of the last 18 months, fail to mitigate against the spread of the virus and tolerate avoidable deaths and disease burden.
I’d rather we didn’t.
— Kit Yates (@Kit_Yates_Maths) July 30, 2021
Over to you Kirsty….
Researchers find signs of Covid-19 mutations in NYC sewage, pointing to possible dog and rat infections. After months of testing and re-testing, they found four combinations of COVID mutations that, when compared to a global database of more than 2.5 million sequenced variants, had not been seen before. The four variants are at least somewhat antibody-resistant, which could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, the researchers found.
As with other animals, COVID-19 could be infecting dogs and rats, leading to new mutations and an outbreak in New York City’s sewers. While animal-to-human transmission of the virus is exceedingly rare, it has been seen in the U.S. in minks
These lineages contain mutations rarely observed in clinical samples, including Q493K, Q498Y, H519N and T572N. Many of these mutations were found to expand the tropism of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses by allowing infection of cells expressing the human, mouse, or rat ACE2 receptor.
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.
Two more mink have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus from a Fraser Valley, British Columbia, farm already under quarantine from positive tests in May. In this instance, four mink had escaped their cages and were captured on the farm.
As a result of the new infections, a moratorium has been placed on any new mink farms in B.C., with a cap on existing mink farms at current numbers.
Three B.C. mink farms have had animals test positive since December 2020. “All three remain under quarantine, with no mink being moved to or from the properties.”
The US State Department and the CDC have both warned against travel to the UK because of high Covid-19 levels.
The list of councils includes almost all local authority areas in north-east England, close to a half in south-west England and nearly a third in Yorkshire and the Humber. Data also shows that every local area in England is now recording coronavirus rates above the symbolic level of 100 cases per 100,000 people – the first time this has happened since early January, at the peak of the second wave.
Some 50 of the 315 local authority areas in England (16%) are currently recording Covid-19 case rates that are higher than any point since mass testing began, PA analysis shows. Eight of these are in north-east England: Redcar & Cleveland (1,268.0 cases per 100,000 people – the highest anywhere in England); Middlesbrough (1,178.9); Hartlepool (1,061.3); Sunderland (1,036.7); Stockton-on-Tees (944.5); Darlington (863.3); County Durham (783.3); and Northumberland (674.6). In neighbouring Yorkshire & the Humber, six areas currently have record rates: Doncaster (729.1), Wakefield (667.2), Leeds (599.4), Richmondshire (575.1), Hambleton (552.4) and East Riding of Yorkshire (517.9).
“I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast”
The UK Government’s top medic has warned the number of people in hospital with coronavirus could reach “quite scary” levels within weeks and new coronavirus restrictions in England could be needed in just five weeks.
Chris Whitty’s stark warning came just days before has warned just days before Boris Johnsons’ ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday (July 19). The Chief Medical Officer sounded the alarm over a potential “scary” growth in hospitalisations which could leave the NHS “in trouble again surprisingly fast” once restrictions are lifted.
Zvimba villagers in Zimbabwe are living in fear as their cattle are dying in large numbers with some suggesting that they could be dying from COVID-19.
Some villagers who spoke to Pindula News said the mortality rate was high in Kutama village.
Asked if Veterinary officers were assisting them, they said the officers were clueless. Said, one villager:
_They are clueless. They are also surprised._
Meanwhile, a study “Experimental Infection of Cattle with SARS-CoV-2” conducted by Lorenz Ulrich, Kerstin Wernike, Donata Hoffmann, Thomas C. Mettenleiter, and Martin Beer of Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Insel Riems, Germany, observed that under experimental conditions, cattle show low vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
We studied 71 ferrets belonging to 7 owners; the ferrets were used as working animals for rabbit hunting in Ciudad Real Province, central Spain. All 71 ferrets were included in the study, and none showed clinical signs of any illness. Group sizes ranged from 4 to 21 (mean 10). Twenty ferrets belonging to groups 1 and 2 were resampled 66 days after initial sampling. Information on coronavirus disease in the owners was not available. Sampling took place during August–November 2020.
We found SARS-CoV-2 RNA in swab samples from 6 of the 71 ferrets.
We conclude that natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in kept ferrets does occur in circumstances of high viral circulation in the human population However, the high cycle thresholds observed and the lack of virus-positive ferrets at resampling suggest that small ferret populations are less able to maintain prolonged virus circulation than large, farmed mink populations.
The Oakland Zoo in California has vaccinated tigers, Black bears, Grizzly bears, mountain lions and ferrets against COVID-19 this week and is poised to inoculate chimpanzees, fruit bats and pigs. The animals are being given experimental doses of the Zoetis vaccine, said Dr. Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services at Oakland Zoo. The company is donating 11,000 doses to 70 zoos across the United States.
In Denmark, SARS-CoV-2 variants co-circulating in mink and humans collectively acquired at least 35 different amino acid changes in the spike protein. These SARS-CoV-2 variants belong to lineage B.1.1.298. The receptor binding domain (RBD) substitution Y453F, also observed among Dutch farmed mink, appeared in the first transmission Cluster in June. A two-amino acid residue deletion (ΔH69/V70) in the N-terminal domain appeared together with the Y453F in August 2020 and occurred in the subsequent Clusters 2, 3, and 4. A new variant, termed Cluster 5, with two additional amino acid substitutions, i.e., I692V downstream of the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2)/furin cleavage site and M1229I within the transmembrane domain, was identified in September 2020 on 5 mink farms and in 12 human cases (age: 7–79 years; symptoms: asymptomatic to mild).
Given the potential of this variant to spread among humans, as observed for other mink-associated variants, and an increased risk of antigenic alterations with the multiple spike changes, it was deemed necessary to do a rapid evaluation of this “Cluster 5” variant in vitro. To aid timely public health responses, Statens Serum Institut released a preliminary report on 10 November 2020. A more detailed evaluation of this Cluster 5 variant and its in vitro fitness and neutralization potential is presented here.
The World Wildlife Fund has renewed its calls for American mink farms in Spain to be closed down following the news that another four outbreaks of Covid-19 have been identified at establishments in the Galicia province of A Coruña.
These latest outbreaks bring the total at mink farms in Spain up to 9, including 7 in A Coruña, and the WWF welcome the news that the issue is on the agenda for the current meeting of the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH). The organization continues to petition for the forced closure of the 25 mink farms in Galicia, due not only to the proven link between the species and the spread of coronavirus but also to the threat the invasive species represents to native wildlife.
According to the WWF, the Spanish authorities have been slow to take action regarding mink farms, not tightening the controls and checks at these establishments until late last year in contrast with the rapid reactions of other European governments, such as those of the Netherlands and Denmark.
A SARS-CoV-2 strain found on a Polish mink farm can be directly transmitted from the animals to humans and vice versa, the Agriculture Ministry has said. The mink virus variant, the first detected in farm animals in Poland is, up to now, not identical to any of the new strains found recently in humans, but belongs to an animal strain well-known to epidemiologists, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday. It also differs from the strain detected in Danish minks, the ministry added.
The infection on the Polish mink farm in the northern county of Kartuzy was detected in late January. All 5,800 minks have been culled.
The Polish agriculture ministry stated that minks pose a threat of “an uncontrolled spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the formation of dangerous mutations because they are significantly susceptible to infection by this virus”.
Poland has joined forces with other EU countries to push the European Commission into banning mink farming in Europe because of the COVID-19 threat the animals pose to humans and wildlife, the Agriculture Ministry stated.