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COVID-19

New COVID-19 mutation may be more contagious

While we know the coronavirus is prone to mutations, scientists have discovered a new one that may be more contagious

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Coronavirus

After surpassing 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S, the most out of any country in the world, new information has presented itself. And, it’s quite concerning.

While we know the coronavirus is prone to mutations, scientists have discovered a new one that may be more contagious, according to a study.

In a paper published Wednesday, scientists identified a new strain of the virus, which accounted for 99.9 percent of cases during the second wave in Houston, Texas, according to the Washington Post. While all viruses undergo genetic mutations, most are insignificant. But, with the sweeping effects of the coronavirus, especially in the United States, the changes in the virus may have troublesome consequences, said study author James Musser of Houston Methodist Hospital.

According to the study, the virus has become more transmissible and “may have implications for our ability to control it,” according to the Washington Post.

Experts say this alteration could be a response by the virus to defeat masks and other social distancing protocols.

“Wearing masks, washing our hands, all those things are barriers to transmissibility, or contagion, but as the virus becomes more contagious it statistically is better at getting around those barriers, said David Morens, senior adviser to Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID.

This new discovery has raised several concerns among the science community. If the virus continues to mutate alongside the growing immunity of the population, it would cause a similar situation as with the yearly flu. Because of the nature of the flu, scientists are forced to toggle the vaccine to keep up with the different strains.

And, with a COVID-19 vaccine reaching the final testing stages with several different eager companies, this new information comes at a critical time.

“This isn’t a murder trial,” said study author James Musser of Houston Methodist Hospital. We’re not looking for beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a civil trial, and clearly, it’s the preponderance of the evidence that I think forces all of us into the same conclusion, which is that there’s something biologically different about that strain.”

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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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