... a very primitive species ... by marc a. cirigliano
Five undervaccinated clusters put the entire United States at risk by Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield, CNN

Public Health Expert Insights on the Pandemic

Printed under Fair Use.

In today's edition:

  • The pandemic's impact on kids isn't just about illness
  • What's driving India's "black fungus" crisis?
  • David Dowdy's personal Year in Review
ICYMI: COVID-19 and Kids—Impacts, Uncertainties, and the Role of Vaccines
The pandemic has been an incredibly disruptive event in young people’s lives. Last week, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington teamed up for a joint symposium featuring a powerhouse lineup of experts—including Chris Beyrer, Kawsar TalaatJosh Sharfstein, Rochelle Walensky, David Kessler, and Kim Schrier—to discuss COVID’s impacts on youths 5–12 years old and their families, the current state of play in youth vaccine development, and the ethical aspects of global vaccine scarcity and youth immunization.
Key points:
  • COVID-19 has been framed as a serious health threat for adults—less so for children—and this is “absolutely the wrong benchmark,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “Young, healthy children are not supposed to die.” Rare but serious complications in kids, like MIS-C, are also incredibly concerning.
  • Pediatric vaccines offer hope for some degree of normalcy, but kids under 12 will have to wait for ongoing clinical trials. This degree of rigor is appropriate for children’s health, though it remains uncertain if emergency use authorization will be granted in time for kids to head back to school. However, concerns about the rare and largely treatable cases of myocarditis from vaccines are not cause for alarm, the experts said, and parents should consider the vaccines safe for kids over 12. 
  • Finally, the experts zoomed out for an international perspective: While the US plans to reopen schools in the fall, the pandemic is far from over around the world. With variants causing fresh outbreaks in countries with low vaccination coverage, children will continue to experience learning loss and food insecurity and fall further behind in routine immunizations and health care.  
The takeaway:
  • Children should be centered in the US’s and the world’s COVID-19 response, given the massive losses in opportunity, learning, and social-emotional development. Although most children are not at risk of getting seriously ill from COVID, they have been impacted immensely and taking stock of the damage will be crucial in planning for recovery. 
More on COVID and Kids: Tomorrow on the podcast, Kawsar Talaat, who led one of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials in adults, and Odis Johnson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, discuss whether schools may require vaccines, the ethics of immunizing children amid a global vaccine equity crisis, risk factors for serious disease among children, and what is known currently about vaccine hesitancy among parents.
COVID-19 and Fungi: A Nightmare in the Making
As India battles a devastating wave of COVID-19 cases, another crisis is waiting in the wings that could far outlast the pandemic—in the form of a chronic fungal disease that kills slowly and is extraordinarily difficult to treat.
Preying on recovering coronavirus patients, India has seen some 30,000 cases of mucormycosis, better known as “black fungus,” in recent months.
Why is it sweeping India at the same time as COVID? Arturo Casadevall, a leading expert on fungi, spoke with Annalies Winny about why the liberal use of steroids in treating COVID-19 is a key factor, and why India’s Mucor crisis is a warning sign for the rise of fungal infections across the globe.
While the scale of India’s outbreak is rare, other countries are seeing a rise in other types of fungal infections in COVID patients. 
Why? “The common theme is, with the combination of damaged lungs and steroids, you’re going to get fungal disease. Depending where you are, you’re going to end up with different ones,” Casadevall says.
”Looking beyond India, the bigger story is that amid this pandemic, fungal infections are a major calamity because they are so hard to diagnose and treat.”
What's Your 'North Star'?
David Dowdy lifted the lid on his “personal annual review” process in a recent Twitter thread.  
One guiding light: “For me: If I can't be proud of the way I treat others, I'm doing something wrong,” Dowdy tweeted. 
The delta variant: Everything you need to know (TODAY.com)
The delta variant is causing a surge of cases in some countries and prompting several nations to introduce new lockdowns. “It makes sense to be cautious, but I worry that by saying everyone needs to wear masks again that we’re giving the message that we don’t think these vaccines are working,” David Dowdy says. “That would not be a good message to send.”
More places are mixing vaccines, but do they need to? (CNN.com)
From Germany to the Dominican Republic, government health authorities are recommending the "mix-and-match" approach to vaccination in the hope of better protecting people by giving them two different types of vaccine--one as a first dose, and another as a second or even a third dose. This idea of using one type of vaccine for the first dose and using a different type as a second dose has been explored for quite some time, says Amesh Adalja, even before the coronavirus pandemic. 
This Is What America’s Next Big COVID Wave Will Look Like (The Daily Beast)
The Delta variant has surged in countries with even better vaccination rates than the U.S., and yet many states are already acting like the pandemic is over. Chris Beyrer says he’s especially worried about Southern states as leadership was too slow in endorsing the science, and scientific literacy is lower there than in other parts of the country. “The more infectious variants, like Delta, will exploit these vulnerabilities. That’s what viruses do,” he said. 





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