Content about covid

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Yes. Yes I am.

Getting my second COVID booster shot this morning. I've got the first appointment of the day, but I could have any time I wanted—every single time slot was available when I scheduled it online last night.

At 52, I've been eligible for my second booster for some time now. I waited, though, waiting for signs of another surge and hoping to maximize the window during which it gives me elevated antibody levels. A bit of a game, I know, but not entirely without merit. As an immunologist, I bank more on long term memory and the T-cell response, but feel I might as well try to leverage the "sugar high" of an antibody surge.

The pharmacist let me leave right after the shot; she made no mention of a waiting period. So, I'm now sitting in my car in the parking lot for a self-imposed fifteen minute watch period.

tags: covid vaccine science

photo posted by matt in Wednesday, July 20, 2022

'There's No Why': Shanghai Rages At Endless Covid Lockdown (

"You can't do whatever you want, unless you go to America. This is China."

Apparently "whatever you want" now includes basic freedom of movement and ordering of personal supplies and food. China's pursuit of COVID Zero is insane.

tags: china covid

posted by matt in Monday, May 9, 2022

How Covid-scarred Shanghai will finally exit lockdown (

Can the Chinese government stretch its ridiculous COVID Zero policy to October? The sound of people banging on pots and pans in protest of true lockdowns doesn't bode well for that prospect.

tags: covid china

posted by matt in Thursday, May 5, 2022

China Covid: Clashes in Shanghai over lockdown evictions (

If China can't turn a COVID Zero policy into zero COVID, no one can.

tags: covid

posted by matt in Friday, April 15, 2022

I'm sitting in the waiting room at the eye doctor's office. They're still quite serious about masking here. Docs, employees, and all patients and visitors are required to wear them. Signs everywhere. I'm a mask proponent, but we're clearly beyond the timeframe during which forced masking of everyone makes sense. What needs to happen for places like this to drop the requirement? COVID zero? Good luck with that.

tags: covid

postposted by matt in Thursday, March 10, 2022

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We received our government COVID tests today, nearly two years into the pandemic and probably a week or so after omicron peaked around here.

I'm thankful to have them, despite the snarkiness. I just wonder how things would have played out had we been sending these to people from the beginning, or at least closer to the beginning.

I'm also thankful because they made me think of my grandfather and his stories about "the government cheese" from back in his day. He actually liked it — apparently it made for a decent grilled cheese sandwich.

tags: covid

photo posted by matt in Saturday, January 29, 2022

Vaccine inequality is to blame for Covid omicron variant, Rockefeller Foundation president says (

Yes, vaccine inequality is "a key reason for the emergence of the new omicron variant," but vaccine hesitancy shares part of the blame, too. And this report ignores the possibility that the Omicron variant originated in another country and was merely first detected in South Africa. It's entirely possible that the biological origin of this variant lies in a country where hesitancy to take the shot has stalled vaccine uptake despite widespread availability. I expect we'll see more reports like the Dutch study that came out earlier this week, showing the presence of the Omicron variant within a country before the initial reports from South Africa.

Vaccine inequality is a major problem, but so is vaccine hesitancy.

tags: covid vaccines omicronvariant

posted by matt in Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Pfizer to allow generic versions of its Covid-19 pill in 95 countries (

This is a smart move by Pfizer (and Merck, which was first to make the arrangement for an oral antiviral pill for Covid). It's smart patent strategy, and also the right thing to do.

tags: covid pharma patents

posted by matt in Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Do You Need To Bring Your COVID Vaccine Card While Traveling? (

“Don’t laminate it as you still may be adding to it with booster shot information,” she noted.

I learned that this week when I received my booster.

tags: covid vaccine

posted by matt in Tuesday, November 2, 2021

CDC study: Vaccination offers better protection than previous COVID-19 infection (

"...people hospitalized with coronavirus-like symptoms were more than five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 if they had had recent prior infection than if they were recently vaccinated."

Get your shots, even if you've had COVID.

tags: covid vaccine

posted by matt in Saturday, October 30, 2021

‘I hope you die’: how the COVID pandemic unleashed attacks on scientists (

"But Nature’s survey suggests that even though researchers try to shrug off abuse, it might already have had a chilling effect on scientific communication. Those scientists who reported higher frequencies of trolling or personal attacks were also most likely to say that their experiences had greatly affected their willingness to speak to the media in the future...."

The pandemic, and our collective handling of it, has already had societal impacts that we fail to appreciate. A chilling effect on science, and its role in the distribution of knowledge, is disturbing. And that might not be the worst of it. Have we discouraged a generation of people from going into science as a career? Medicine? I don't know, maybe it's had the opposite effect in that regard. I have heard that applications to medical school are up. I didn't expect that.

tags: covid science medicine

posted by matt in Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Renee, Jake, and I are headed down to Orland for a quick visit to the Food and Wine festival at Epcot. This is the first time we've been in an airport since, well, over eighteen months ago when covid brought the world to a standstill. I have to say, it feels really good to be traveling.

Jake and Renee assured me they're both smiling beneath their masks.

tags: covid travel backoutthere

photo posted by matt in Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Merck asks FDA to authorize antiviral Covid pill for emergency use (

And now begins the delicate dance of launching an effective oral antiviral for COVID while still working to convince people to take a vaccine. The availability of molnopiravir will embolden some who refuse the shot, I suspect. Why take the shot when there's a pill?

tags: covid vaccine $mrk

posted by matt in Monday, October 11, 2021

Covid is officially America's deadliest pandemic as U.S. fatalities surpass 1918 flu estimates (

This could be viewed as reflective of the relative virulence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus compared to the virus responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic. It could also be viewed as reflective of the ability of misinformation to overcome 100+ years of scientific and medical progress in combating deadly viruses.

tags: science covid

posted by matt in Tuesday, September 21, 2021

High genetic barrier to SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal neutralizing antibody escape - Nature (

A combination of natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 and an mRNA vaccine might provide some level of super protection. I think there's a subset of the unvaccinated who are relying on their prior natural infection as justification for skipping the vaccine. Turns out, getting the vaccine might make them the fittest of all.

tags: covid vaccine science

posted by matt in Monday, September 20, 2021

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Still life in a pandemic–the pile of my "daily accessories" on my desk has included a mask for over a year now. Ready for that to go away....

tags: covid bw

photo posted by matt in Tuesday, April 20, 2021

UK hits vaccine target; Johnson warns of more virus deaths (

Wow–Britain has an enviable vaccine adoption rate: "about 95% of [its people over 50] received one."

Our rollout in the U.S. is chugging along, with some impressive volume. I've been growing a bit nervous about our overall adoption rate though, and am now a bit jealous of Britain's.

tags: vaccine covid

posted by matt in Tuesday, April 13, 2021

US recommends 'pause' for J&J shots in blow to vaccine drive (

The pause is probably the right thing to do as it allows for the development of a monitoring and treatment protocol. But, the rate at which these clots occur is ridiculously low; lower, even, that some clotting related issues that occur with COVID itself (pulmonary embolism, etc.). Barring a sudden onslaught of these cases, which seems unlikely, I expect the JNJ vaccine will be back online in relatively short order.

tags: covid vaccine

posted by matt in Tuesday, April 13, 2021

FDA panel endorses second Covid vaccine in U.S. as Moderna wins key vote in path to emergency use (

The second vaccine is queued up for approval, hopefully today. The advisory committee recommended approval of Moderna's vaccine yesterday; FDA is expected to approve it today.

tags: covid vaccine moderna $mrna

posted by matt in Friday, December 18, 2020