Deepti Gurdasani: “This is a virus that we need to eliminate”, condemns “herd immunity” policies

“There’s no country that has attained herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2. And, certainly, there are countries with different levels of vaccination. I mean, some countries have over 60 percent of their population fully vaccinated. There are also countries that have had natural exposure to the infection at very high rates. But it hasn’t extinguished the pandemic. We’ve always seen surges even after that. And I think that reflects several factors.

One, I think natural immunity can wane over time. And I think the durability of that immunity does depend on the severity of original infection. When infections are mild and asymptomatic, we can have at least weighting of neutralizing antibodies and how that correlates with waning immunity. We don’t know yet, but we know that re-infection, or the getting infected again with the virus, either the same variant or another variant, are far more common than we originally thought. Although there is protection, even over longer duration of time, it’s not absolute.”

WSWS.org interview with Dr. Deepti Gurdasani **

 

** One of just a handful of people on Earth who seems to understand the existential threat that Sars-CoV-2  poses

 

USA: Alabama’s Covid hospitalizations jump by 30% in one night

A report from the Alabama Department of Health’s online dashboard showed 1,883 hospitalized COVID patients, up by 432 over Sunday’s total. That’s an increase of 29.8% in just one day. The total is the highest since Feb. 1, which was during the downward trend of the winter surge in the virus, just as vaccines were first distributed. The pandemic record of 3,084 inpatients was set on Jan. 11. The new total is 11.3 times the low set on June 20 of 166 hospitalized COVID patients and 75% higher than one week ago.

Birminghamwatch.org report

 

More…

Hospitals in Texas are also swamped with Covid patients

 

 

 

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Github: AY.3.1 – a new sub-lineage of AY.3 concentrated in Mississippi, USA

AY.3 is the main variant being sequenced weekly in Mississippi (>70% of all recent sequences), most falling within this sub-lineage of AY.3 that is distinguished by the mutations described below (>60% of all recent sequences). For example, of 91 Pangolin-typeable sequences generated on 13 July 2021 by Dr. Robinson’s team, from broad sampling across Mississippi, 68 are AY.3 and 13 are unclassified B.1.617.2. Of those 81 Delta sequences, 60 are this new sub-lineage (those sequences are not yet in GISAID and are thus not included in the counts above for the USA or MS). Thus, there is clear epidemiological relevance of this sub-lineage in a region of the USA.

Github: A new sub-lineage of AY.3 concentrated in Mississippi, US

 

USA: AY.3 genomes increasing faster than Delta B.1.617.2

 

Image by Mark Dawdy from Pixabay

USA: 233 San Francisco healthcare workers in vaccine breakthough outbreak

At least 233 staff members at two major San Francisco hospitals, most of them fully vaccinated, tested positive for the coronavirus this month.  About 75 to 80 percent of the more than 50 staff members infected at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital were fully vaccinated, Dr. Lukejohn Day, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in an interview on Saturday. The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center said in a statement issued on Friday that 153 of its 183 infected staff members had been fully vaccinated.

NYTimes.com report

 

Finland: 80% vaccine breakthrough in hospital with B16172 Delta #coronavirus variant – PPE no longer effective

 

 

 

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

UK: Is Delta already making way for a fitter variant?

One thing that we have been keeping on eye on recently is the possible successor variant to Delta B.1.617.2 in the UK.  The Alpha B.1.1.7 variant had a shelf life of about 5 months before it was displaced by Delta. Will Delta have a similar shelf life?

Delta seems to have been on the wane in the UK over the couple of weeks, so is it already making way for a stronger, fitter variant? If it is, it won’t be long before that successor variant becomes apparent, and the removal of all Covid mitigations on UK “Freedom Day” has given it plenty of opportunity to spread quickly.

 

Below, Alpha had a shelf life of about 5 months in the UK. Delta already seems to be waning. What will take its place?

 

Below, Delta may have peaked worldwide, but there is no clear successor variant yet.

 

Below, It doesn’t look like the successor variant will be Delta AY.3 in the UK from this chart, but it’s too early to tell….

 

Below, Delta peaked in early May 2021 in India, but hasn’t immediately been followed by another stronger variant. The next variant could be waiting for a fall in the population’s antibody levels from the Delta wave which could take 3-6 months, creating an opportunity from August 2021 onwards. The shelf life for Delta in India, in a largely unvaccinated population, was just three months.

The problem for the UK government, though, is that by dropping all mitigations on 19th July 2021, they may have encouraged Delta to peak early and, as a consequence, left enough time for a second larger, and perhaps far worse, autumn or winter wave to form.

As we said in this post in on 16th July:

“According to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, the idea is that a Covid-19 wave in the summer will prevent an even worse wave in the winter.  Our prediction is that Johnson will simply get two waves for the price of one – the wave he is promoting now, by removing all mitigations, and an even worse winter wave caused by yet another new variant.”

 

 

USA: AY.3 genomes increasing faster than Delta B.1.617.2

USA: AY.3 genomes increasing faster than Delta B.1.617.2

A long and detailed Twitter thread by Vinod Scaria on the rise of the AY.3 Delta plus variant in the USA which seems to be outcompeting Delta B.1.672 in some states. Outbreak.info is showing that AY.3 genomes are found in 37% of recent sequences.

 

 

 

Github: AY.3.1 – a new sub-lineage of AY.3 concentrated in Mississippi, USA

USA: Cape Cod superspreader – 79% of breakthrough infections symptomatic, 80% of hospitalized were fully vaccinated

Scientists researching the Provincetown, Cape Cod Covid outbreak reported that 79 percent of the breakthrough infections were symptomatic. Four of five people who were hospitalized were fully vaccinated.

The CDC study “raises the very worrisome possibility that high viral loads can occur in people who have Delta, and this is a fundamental as we have to approach the fall and winter,” said David O’Connor, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Washington Post report

 

 

Image by Mark Martins from Pixabay

WAPO: 35,000 symptomatic Covid-19 infections per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans

“CDC Director Rochelle Walensky privately briefed members of Congress on Thursday, drawing on much of the material in the document. One of the slides states that there is a higher risk among older age groups for hospitalization and death relative to younger people, regardless of vaccination status. Another estimates that there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans.”

Washington Post: The War Has Changed

 

More…

“vaccinated individuals infected with Delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people infected with Delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.”

Washington Post: The War Has Changed

 

CDC: The Covid-19 report that changed the CDC’s view on facemasks

 

NEJM: Vaccine breakthrough infections leading to long Covid

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Israel: booster vaccine jab rollout begins – third vaccination in 8 months for some

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Thursday the world’s first vaccination drive to inoculate people over 60 with a third Covid vaccine dose, starting Sunday. Speaking at a press conference at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, where 60-year-old Herzog received the jab, Bennett said: “We are launching our third jab campaign to protect seniors in Israel. From today there is a new mitzvah: to vaccinate your fathers and mothers.”

Haaretz.com report

 

Israel: 60% of severely ill Covid patients are fully vaccinated

 

USA: Washington State Vaccine Breakthroughs by Variant up to 28th July 2021

This week’s update from Washington State showing vaccine breakthrough cases and which Sars-CoV-2 variant is causing them up to 28th July 2021. Of note this week is huge jump for Delta B.1.617.2 breakthrough cases, which have more than doubled in one week from 113 to 254. There are further increases in vaccine breakthroughs for other variants too.

Vaccine Breakthroughs up to 28th July 2021

28th July 2021

Variant
LineageNumber of Vaccine
Breakthrough Cases
With Variant
Percentage of Vaccine
Breakthrough Cases With
Variant
Percentage of
Sequences From
All Covid-19
Cases With
Variant
Increase in
Number of
Breakthroughs
From Previous
Week
AlphaB.1.1.733734%43%29
GammaP.116817%10%12
EpsilonB.1.42911612%15%3
DeltaB.1.617.225426%7%141
IotaB.1.526263%3%4
BetaB.1.351101%1%0
EpsilonB.1.427111%2%0
EtaB.1.52540%0%0
KappaB.1.617.110%0%0
ZetaP.200%0%0
OtherOther546%18%4
Total981100%100%193

Vaccine Breakthroughs up to 21st July 2021

21st July 2021

Variant
LineageNumber of Vaccine
Breakthrough Cases
With Variant
Percentage of Vaccine
Breakthrough Cases With
Variant
Percentage of
Sequences From
All Covid-19
Cases With
Variant
Increase in
Number of
Breakthroughs
From Previous
Week
AlphaB.1.1.730839%44%-1
GammaP.115620%10%9
EpsilonB.1.42911314%16%0
DeltaB.1.617.211314%4%23
IotaB.1.526223%3%0
BetaB.1.351101%1%-1
EpsilonB.1.427111%2%0
EtaB.1.52541%0%0
KappaB.1.617.110%0%0
ZetaP.200%0%0
OtherOther506%19%0
Total788100%100%30

Vaccine Breakthroughs up to 14th July 2021

14th July 2021

Variant
LineageNumber of Vaccine
Breakthrough Cases
With Variant
Percentage of Vaccine
Breakthrough Cases With
Variant
Percentage of
Sequences From
All Covid-19
Cases With
Variant
Increase in
Number of
Breakthroughs
From Previous
Week
AlphaB.1.1.730941%44%12
GammaP.114719%10%6
EpsilonB.1.42911315%16%0
DeltaB.1.617.29012%4%20
IotaB.1.526223%3%1
BetaB.1.351111%1%0
EpsilonB.1.427111%2%0
EtaB.1.52541%0%0
KappaB.1.617.110%0%0
ZetaP.200%0%0
OtherOther496%20%0
Total757100%100%39

 

USA: Washington State Vaccine Breakthroughs by Variant up to 21st July 2021

 

So what is Plan B if the vaccines fail with a new #coronavirus super-variant?

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Israel: 60% of severely ill Covid patients are fully vaccinated

At least 153 patients in Israel’s hospitals are in serious condition, of whom 28 are ventilated. 93 out of the 153 severely ill patients have been fully vaccinated, or 60% of the total.

According to the Israeli Health Ministry, 102 of the severely ill patients are aged 65 and over, 76 of whom are fully vaccinated. At least 39 of the severely ill are between the age of 40 and 65, while 16 of them are fully vaccinated. Six of the severely ill are below the age of 40 but only one of them is fully vaccinated.

Ynetnews.com report

 

UK: 60% of UK Covid-19 hospital cases are double vaccinated

 

Israel: Are recovered Covid patients more protected than the vaccinated?

 

 

 

Image by Parentingupstream from Pixabay

Indonesia: Mortality rate in children as high as 40% in PCR confirmed Covid-19 cases

During the study period, 490 [child] patients were admitted and diagnosed with suspected and probable COVID-19. Of these patients, 50 (10.2%) were confirmed to have COVID-19, and 20 (40%) had a fatal outcome.

The fatality rate was higher in patients aged ≥10 years, categorized with severe disease upon admission, PaO2/FiO2 ratio ≤300 mmHg and chronic underlying diseases. The most common clinical manifestations were generalized symptoms, while acute respiratory distress syndrome (8/20) and septic shock (7/20) were the two most common causes of death. Increased procalcitonin, D-dimer, lactate dehydrogenase and presepsin levels were found in all fatal cases. One patient met the criteria of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

Conclusion: Our work highlights the high mortality rate in paediatric patients with positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test. These findings might be related to or co-incided with COVID-19 infection. Further studies are needed to improve understanding of the role of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 in elaborating the mechanisms leading to death in children with comorbidities.

Pubmed paper: Mortality in children with positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test: Lessons learned from a tertiary referral hospital in Indonesia 

See also:

NYtimes report: Children Are Dying as Virus Surges in Indonesia – hundreds have died from Covid-19 in recent weeks, many of them under the age of 5.

 

 

 

Image by Fikih Firmansyah from Pixabay

 

Singapore: 1,096 new infections of which 484 were fully vaccinated, 333 were partially vaccinated and 279 unvaccinated

In its daily update on Thursday night (July 22), the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed that of 1,096 locally transmitted infections over the last 28 days, 484 were fully vaccinated, 333 cases were partially vaccinated and 279 were unvaccinated.

StraitsTimes.com report

Editors note:  484 out of 1,096 infections is 44 per cent of the total. If you add the 333 partially vaccinated, the percentage of vaccine breakthroughs is nearly 75% of total infections.