The Dose - 2-26-2022
A few articles of interest.
CDC (Center for Disease Control) has updated COVID-19 Community Levels and added suggested precautions to take at individual- and household-level based on community rating.
China is serious about its No COVID policy.
Hong Kong has further tightened its social-distancing rules, including using the “vaccine pass” system that requires all people in shopping malls and supermarkets to be vaccinated.
The changes were made on Thursday, at the same time the United Kingdom officially canceled all its Covid rules.
On February 8, the government decided to gradually shift towards the western countries’ “living with the coronavirus” strategy by launching a “vaccine pass” scheme to boost the vaccination rate.
It was then criticized by pro-Beijing academics and politicians for deviating from Beijing’s zero Covid policy. On February 16, Xi ordered Hong Kong to make epidemic control its top priority.
Since then, the Hong Kong government announced it requires all 7.5 million people in the city to undergo three rounds of mandatory Covid tests in March. It said the city planned to complete one million tests per day, but might have to send some samples to the mainland’s laboratories despite people’s concerns about a leak of their biological information.
With the mainland’s support, Hong Kong will build four temporary hospitals for Covid patients and expand the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Center.
Although medical experts said a citywide testing scheme would not be effective to finding those infected without lockdowns, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said there was no need to lock down the entire city.
No conclusions, just something to watch for further information as time passes and more data collected and analyzed. Also important to note, autopsy findings do not correlate perfectly with a person exhibiting clinical signs of dementia.
Dr. Andrew Marx, an expert in cellular physiology and biophysics at Columbia University, and his colleagues studied the brains of 10 COVID-19 patients and found defects in proteins called Ryanodine receptors that control the transfer of calcium to cells in Alzheimer's disease. Defective Ryanodine receptors are linked to the accumulation of tau proteins into so-called neurofibrillary tangles. These tangles were present at high levels in the brains of COVID-19 patients, the research team reported in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.
Other research teams found abnormal amyloid levels in the brains of COVID-19 patients, according to reports posted online prior to peer review in the preprint bioRxiv and on the site of The Lancet.
He made it clear that much more research needs to be conducted before definite conclusions can be published.
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, who heads his government’s pandemic response, has suggested his Omicron-wracked nation will start its Covid-19 exit after mid-March.
Asked by foreign reporters in Seoul on Tuesday what pre-conditions must be met before South Korea can exit Covid, Kim said: “The first pre-condition has to be hospital capacity – the medical capacity to take care of the critically ill.”
While Kim would not be drawn on specifics – “I cannot say an exact number for now” – he indicated this condition was being met.
“We judge that we have sufficient capacity to take care of the critically ill,” he said. “But health authorities are beleaguered by the increasing cases.”
Though the country is inundated with a flood of Omicron cases, the medical dikes are holding. On Tuesday, South Korea registered 99,573 new infections, but only 480 were hospitalized with severe symptoms.
The caseloads for the last two days have been below the record highs hit last week, when daily infections were trending north of 100,000. It is too early at this stage, however, to know whether this is simply a blip or an actual downward trend.
Yet despite Kim’s hopes of a shift to normalization in March, South Koreans have heard talk of a Covid exit before.
In late October, the government announced a plan that would have seen a phased, three-month return to normality, with all restrictions being lifted by the end of January.
However, once the Omicron variant started its global spread, that plan was shelved at its earliest implementation stage.