COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Long Covid: Rehab centers set up across Europe to treat long-term effects of coronavirus
Across the United States and Europe, new facilities are opening to help the growing number of people still suffering from Covid-19 symptoms many months after their initial diagnosis.

It's not clear how many Covid-19 patients go on to develop what's called long-term Covid, or long Covid, but a recent study that included mostly people who had just mild cases of the virus found that 30% were reporting symptoms as long as nine months after contracting it.

Other studies have found a higher percentage. With more than 110 million Covid cases worldwide -- more than 28 million in the United States alone -- "this could potentially be a second pandemic coming in, being birthed out of the first crisis," said Dr. William Li, a vascular biologist who has been researching Covid for almost a year.
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After a devastating milestone, Covid-19 vaccine makers pledge hundreds of millions of doses through July
"We've done worse than most any other country," Dr. Anthony Fauci said as the US marked half a million Covid-19 deaths.
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They joined a movement focused on kindness. Some say it's helped them get through the pandemic
How a movement focused on kindness has helped people get through the pandemic.
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A double-lung transplant recipient got covid-19 from her donor, report finds. She died two months later.
Three days after a woman received a double-lung transplant at a Michigan hospital last fall, she became seriously ill. She had difficulty breathing and a high fever, and her lung scans showed pneumonia — all symptoms of a severe case of covid-19.

When a nasal swab test for the virus came back negative, the woman’s doctor, Daniel Kaul, was not convinced she did not have the coronavirus. So, Kaul dug deeper. He ordered a coronavirus test of a sample collected from the woman’s new lungs.

When the results came back positive, Kaul wondered, “Could this [have] come from the donor?”

Additional tests would soon confirm Kaul’s suspicions: The unnamed woman, who died of covid-19 two months later, had indeed contracted the virus from her donor’s infected lungs.

... Although the paper identifies a novel new path for the virus, Kaul said the risk of contracting it from a transplant procedure is extremely low and says his report should not discourage anyone from considering a transplant. Instead, he said, it points to the need for more testing to prevent similar cases in the future.

... It is still unknown whether organs other than lungs could be capable of transmitting covid-19, Kaul said.
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U.S. federal regulators are expected to allow the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be stored at standard freezer temperatures.
Federal regulators have informed Pfizer and BioNTech that they plan to approve the companies’ request to store their vaccine at standard freezer temperatures instead of in ultra-cold conditions, potentially expanding the number of sites that could administer shots, according to two people familiar with the companies who spoke on condition of anonymity.

... Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, said Friday that they had submitted new data to the F.D.A. showing their vaccine could be safely stored at -13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two weeks. That could open up the possibility that smaller pharmacies and doctors’ offices could administer shots using their existing refrigerators or freezers.
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Future Vaccines Depend on Test Subjects in Short Supply: Monkeys
The world needs monkeys, whose DNA closely resembles that of humans, to develop Covid-19 vaccines. But a global shortage, resulting from the unexpected demand caused by the pandemic, has been exacerbated by a recent ban on the sale of wildlife from China, the leading supplier of the lab animals.

The latest shortage has revived talk about creating a strategic monkey reserve in the United States, an emergency stockpile similar to those maintained by the government for oil and grain.

As new variants of the coronavirus threaten to make the current batch of vaccines obsolete, scientists are racing to find new sources of monkeys, and the United States is reassessing its reliance on China, a rival with its own biotech ambitions.

The pandemic has underscored how much China controls the supply of lifesaving goods, including masks and drugs, that the United States needs in a crisis.
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Italy misled the WHO by claiming it was fully prepared for a pandemic when COVID-19 hit, lawsuit says
  • Italy is accused of misleading the WHO in its pandemic preparedness when COVID-19 hit last year.
  • It said it was at the top level of readiness, but had not updated its plan since 2006, documents say.
  • The allegation is in a civil lawsuit filed against the government by families of COVID-19 victims.
Documents seen by The Guardian show that the country's self-assessment report, filed to the WHO on February 4 last year, placed itself at "Level 5" — the maximum level of preparedness.

Italy is a signatory to the International Health Regulations treaty, which requires countries to file annual reports on their readiness for public-health emergencies.

When a country says it's on Level 5 of preparedness, it means its health and national-emergency operations are "tested and updated regularly," according to the self-assessment guidelines.

However, the country had not updated its pandemic-preparedness plan since 2006, The Guardian reported. A report on Italy's pandemic response published by the WHO said the country reviewed the plan in 2017, but it merely reconfirmed the 2006 plan, the Associated Press reported.
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Get ready: Back to normal is coming very soon
  • We keep getting better news about how the COVID vaccines will get us back to normal.
  • But public health messages continue to undersell how fast the vaccine will change our lives.
  • People won't need to wait until Christmas to behave normally.
If our messaging on the vaccine is heavily focused on what it allegedly won't do for you, and contends that people will have to keep doing all the annoying things they're doing right now, why wouldn't that lead a lot of people to be hesitant to get the vaccine?

COVID likely will never go away entirely, and people who don't get vaccinated will remain at risk even after the public willingness to comply with restrictions has evaporated due to widespread vaccination among those who were most concerned about the disease and therefore most willing to alter their behavior. Given that COVID will likely be endemic, we want as many people to get the vaccine as possible.

As such, it would be good to see more political figures emphasizing how the vaccines will allow an imminent return of normalcy instead of underpromising and underselling. The vaccines are a very good thing that won't just save lives but will make many activities safe again, and people should know it.
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are variable, but often include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Symptoms begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Most people (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time, but can spread the disease. Some patients continue to experience a range of effects—known as long COVID—for months after recovery and damage to organs has been observed. Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the long term effects of the disease.

Source: Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia