Clues to why one variant spreads faster
WHO changes variant naming system; making vaccine access easier overcomes low vaccine numbers in some places, most US counties lag on vaccination rates
Here’s today’s update:
The USA now has about 64% of eligible people at least partly vaccinated and 14 states or other jurisdictions reporting at least 70%, but this CDC map shows a huge gap remains between places with high vaccination uptake and the rest of the nation. Dark blue indicates high vaccine rates. Most of the country misses that mark — many places by far.
An intriguing study in-press says the British COVID-19 variant (now referred to as variant “alpha,”) spreads so effectively by somehow bypassing immune cells in the airway linings, enabling the virus to replicate unchecked and transmit from person to person easier.
No more message about “avoiding crowds:” New York City plans a blockbuster concert on Central Park’s Great Lawn on August 21. However, attendance will be capped at 60,000 — one-third of the normal capacity of 180,000 people in the vast outdoor space.
Several managers of New Jersey state-run veterans nursing homes whose salaries disqualified them from COVID-19 hazard bonuses got them anyway, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Washington Post looks in-depth at how one of California’s farming areas went from COVID-19 hot spot to a model for vaccination success. The data strongly supports arguments that many of the unvaccinated are willing to get the shots if they can get them easily.
The CDC shifted its warning on travel to Japan from Level 4 (avoid all travel) to Level 3 (OK if you are fully vaccinated.)
ICYMI: CDC data finds that COVID-19 hospitalizations for 12-17 year olds - though still rare — doubled from March to April.
About those variants: The WHO switched from numeric identifers based on genomic data to Greek alphabet designations. Here are the major ones to know:
Alpha - formerly known as B.1.1.7 (Britain)
Beta - f/k/a B.1.351 (South Africa)
Gamma - f/k/a P1 (Brazil)
Delta - f/k/a B.1.671.2 (India)
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