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Health

Delta Variant – July

Mostly via Violet Blue’s COVID updates

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC said that a close contact was somebody that you’re indoors with unmasked for 15 minutes or more. The equivalent of that with the Delta variant is not 15 minutes, it’s one second.” via Stat News

“Delta is more dangerous in many ways. It has an incubation period of four days, rather than six, making people contagious sooner. When the pandemic began, people spread the original coronavirus to an average of two or three people. Today, people infected with delta infect six people, on average.” Via Kaiser Health News

The New COVID Panic

“Another disconnect is what we think of as “severe illness” and what is actually severe illness. My colleague said he could not imagine describing the illness he had experienced as anything other than “severe”—he was unable to do anything for 36 hours and said it was on par with having debilitating food poisoning. But when I asked a couple doctors about this, they disagreed with his ranking. “Technically, it sounds like he had a mild bout of COVID-19, by strict case definitions,” emergency physician and sometime Slate contributor Jeremy Samuel Faust wrote to me. “Mild does not mean pleasant. In fact, you can have fever, chills, body aches, and feel downright terrible for a week or more and still be categorized as ‘mild.’ ””

The Science Says Everyone Needs a COVID-19 Booster Shot—and Soon – 7/30

Within three to five days, the viral load of delta peaks at levels up to 1,000 times higher than seen with 2020 forms of SARS-CoV-2.

According to Israel, and to Pfizer, vaccine-induced immune response shifts from a powerful form replete with neutralizing antibodies drifting in the bloodstream to the quieter B cell memory type within about four months’ time after the second dose. Neutralizing antibody production declines, Pfizer says, about 6 percent per month, hitting 84 percent vaccine efficacy by month six. By eight months, it’s all about memory, which leaves the individuals highly vulnerable to infection.

Worse, the basic case numbers—how many people develop COVID-19 symptoms in a given week—are grossly underreported in the United States. It’s possible that as many as 60 percent of cases nationwide are never reported up the public health food chain to be added to the CDC’s national tally.

In its latest modeling mashup, the CDC forecast predicts that the new delta-driven surge won’t peak until October, possibly not until Thanksgiving.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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