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  • Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
    it's been blown way out of proportion.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • UW model ups projected national COVID-19 death count; predicts nearly 100k more by Nov. 1

      The death projections from COVID-19 continue to rise in the United States.

      A new model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is forecasting 224,089 deaths due to COVID-19 by Nov. 1, which is nearly 100,000 more than the current confirmed deaths in the United States.

      The previous forecast published July 7 projected 208,254 deaths associated with the virus.

      The model said the country's death projection would drop by more than 40,000 to 182,805 if 95 percent of Americans wore masks when leaving their homes. The use of masks is up in the country, but is still "not as high as it should be," according to the IHME.

      IHME said widespread new infections and hospitalizations led to the higher death projections.

      The agency said there has been decreased mobility in some states as COVID-19 infections increase.

      There are 3.48 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 138,000 Americans dying due to the disease.: -

      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
      it's been blown way out of proportion.
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • New studies clarify what drugs help, hurt for COVID-19

        New data was published Friday on dexamethasone, the only drug shown to improve survival in COVID-19 patients.

        Fresh studies give more information about what treatments do or don’t work for COVID-19, with high-quality methods that give reliable results.

        British researchers on Friday published their research on the only drug shown to improve survival — a cheap steroid called dexamethasone. Two other studies found that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not help people with only mild symptoms.

        For months before studies like these, learning what helps or harms has been undermined by “desperation science” as doctors and patients tried therapies on their own or through a host of studies not strong enough to give clear answers.

        “For the field to move forward and for patients’ outcomes to improve, there will need to be fewer small or inconclusive studies” and more like the British one, Drs. Anthony Fauci and H. Clifford Lane of the National Institutes of Health wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

        It’s now time to do more studies comparing treatments and testing combinations, said Dr. Peter Bach, a health policy expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

        Here are highlights of recent treatment developments:


        The British study, led by the University of Oxford, tested a type of steroid widely used to tamp down inflammation, which can become severe and prove fatal in later stages of COVID-19.

        About 2,104 patients given the drug were compared to 4,321 patients getting usual care.

        It reduced deaths by 36 percent for patients sick enough to need breathing machines: 29 percent on the drug died versus 41 percent given usual care. It curbed the risk of death by 18 percent for patients needing just supplemental oxygen: 23 percent on the drug died versus 26 percent of the others.

        However, it seemed harmful at earlier stages or milder cases of illness: 18 percent of those on the drug died versus 14 percent of those given usual care.

        The clarity of who does and does not benefit “probably will result in many lives saved,” Fauci and Lane wrote.


        The same Oxford study also tested hydroxychloroquine in a rigorous manner and researchers previously said it did not help hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

        After 28 days, about 25.7 percent on hydroxychloroquine had died versus 23.5 percent given usual care — a difference so small it could have occurred by chance

        Now, details published on a research site for scientists show that the drug may have done harm. Patients given hydroxychloroquine were less likely to leave the hospital alive within 28 days — 60 percent on the drug versus 63 percent given usual care. Those not needing breathing machines when they started treatment also were more likely to end up on one or to die.

        Two other experiments found that early treatment with the drug did not help outpatients with mild COVID-19.


        The only other therapy that’s been shown to help COVID-19 patients is remdesivir, an antiviral that shortens hospitalization by about four days on average.

        “The role of remdesivir in severe COVID is now what we need to figure out,” Memorial Sloan Kettering's Bach wrote in an email, saying the drug needs to be tested in combination with dexamethasone now.

        Details of the government-led remdesivir study have not yet been published, but researchers are eager to see how many patients received other drugs such as steroids and hydroxychloroquine.

        Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences, the company that makes remdesivir, which is given as an IV now, has started testing an inhaled version that would allow it to be tried in less ill COVID-19 patients to try to keep them from getting sick enough to need hospitalization. Gilead also has started testing remdesivir in a small group of children.

        Supplies are very limited, and the U.S. government is allocating doses to hospitals through September.:
        • U.S. shatters coronavirus record with over 77,000 cases in a day

        The United States shattered its daily record for coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting more than 77,000 new cases as the number of deaths in a 24-hour period rose by nearly 1,000, according to a Reuters tally.

        The loss of 969 lives was the biggest increase since June 10, with Florida, South Carolina and Texas all reporting their biggest one-day spikes on Thursday.:

        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
        it's been blown way out of proportion.
        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
          it's been blown way out of proportion.
          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Singapore researchers discover antibodies that can neutralise coronavirus, paving way for better treatment

            SINGAPORE - The search for antibodies that can neutralise the coronavirus in a Covid-19 patient can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but researchers in Singapore have prevailed.

            They have found antibodies, a key element of the human immune system, that bind to four important sites of the coronavirus.

            In binding to these sites, the antibodies prevent the virus from either hijacking a human cell, or replicating inside of it.

            These findings by scientists from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) were announced at a virtual press conference on Friday morning (July 17).

            Their discovery could pave the way for better diagnostics, to identify people who recover from the infection without symptoms, for example, or lead to improved treatment for patients.

            It could also guide vaccine discovery, or validate the effectiveness of one, the researchers said.

            Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of NCID, said Sars-CoV-2 - the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 - has challenged the international scientific community with numerous unsolved questions.

            But the latest discovery by the Singapore team has shed light on a key unknown: The human body's defence mechanisms against viruses.

            While the findings could pave the way for better treatments and the development of a vaccine, the researchers say a lot more work is needed.

            For example, one big unknown is how long the antibodies would persist in a recovered patient.

            The NCID will continue to monitor the antibody levels in recovered patients over two years to better determine this.

            THE FINDINGS

            The latest discovery, published in two scientific journals - Nature Communications and EBioMedicine by The Lancet - centres around a specific type of antibody that can prevent the virus from hijacking a human cell in the first place, or prevent it from replicating inside a human cell.

            These antibodies are collectively known as neutralising antibodies, and they are but one of thousands of immune system "soldiers" produced by the body during an infection.

            This is because when an invading pathogen is detected, the body produces many different types of antibodies and cells to fight it. All of them play different roles in mounting a defence against the invader.

            Neutralising antibodies are so called because they bind to specific, important sites of the virus, which prevents it from starting its invasion.

            This includes, for example, sites on the surface of the virus that are used to lock onto a human cell, similar to the way a key fits into a lock.

            The recruitment of antibodies to the specific sites on the virus disrupt their "shapes", and this prevents the virus from latching on to the human cell.

            For the study, samples of blood, sputum or stool, among others, were taken from more than 100 recovering Covid-19 patients, the researchers said.

            Scientists then analysed them in laboratories using special equipment and reagents to identify antibodies that "gather" at the four specific binding sites (known to the scientists as epitopes S14P5, S21P2, S20P2 and N4P5) on the virus, neutralising it.

            Professor Lisa Ng, a senior principal investigator at A*Star's Singapore Immunology Network and member of the team which made the latest discoveries said the identification of these specific targets on the virus is a crucial advance in the development of better diagnostics and treatments for Covid-19.

            "There is also potential to use these targets against similar coronaviruses to address other viral outbreaks," she added.:

            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
            it's been blown way out of proportion.

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
              it's been blown way out of proportion.
              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • COVID and Blood Type

                Study finds no relationship between blood type and severity of COVID-19

                Blood type is not associated with a severe worsening of symptoms in people who have tested positive for COVID-19, report Harvard Medical School researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital.

                Their findings, published in the Annals of Hematology, dispel previous reports that suggested a correlation between certain blood types and COVID-19.

                The study did find, however, that symptomatic individuals with blood types B and AB who were Rh positive were more likely to test positive for COVID-19, while those with blood type O were less likely to test positive.

                “We showed through a multi-institutional study that there is no reason to believe being a certain ABO blood type will lead to increased disease severity, which we defined as requiring intubation or leading to death,” said senior study author Anahita Dua, HMS assistant professor of surgery at Mass General.

                “This evidence should help put to rest previous reports of a possible association between blood type A and a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and mortality,” Dua said.

                The rise of COVID-19 in all corners of the world sent scientists scrambling to find characteristics that might render individuals more susceptible to the virus, as well as risk factors that might intensify its severity and progression.

                This has resulted in numerous theories and reports about the association between COVID-19 and blood type, which have often led to more questions than answers.

                HMS researchers at Mass General launched their own investigation by drawing on the massive database of the Mass General Brigham Health system’s Research Patient Data Registry.

                A study population of 1,289 symptomatic adult patients, who tested positive for COVID-19 and had their blood group documented, was culled from more than 7,600 symptomatic patients across five Boston-area hospitals, including Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, treated from March 6 to April 16 of this year.

                No connection

                The statistical analysis determined the independent effect of blood type on intubation and/or death of these infected patients.

                The large retrospective review showed no significant connection between blood type and worsening of the disease, between blood type and the need for hospitalization, positioning requirements for patients during intubation, or any inflammatory markers.

                “Inflammation is a particularly important finding because prevailing scientific thought is that COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the body through systemic inflammation, which can lead to morbidity and death,” Dua said. “We found, however, that inflammation markers remained similar in infected patients regardless of their blood type.”

                An intriguing finding from the study was that there appeared to be a greater chance of people with blood types B and AB who were Rh positive testing positive for the virus. Even stronger evidence was assembled by the team that symptomatic people with blood type O were less likely to test positive.

                “These findings need to be further explored to determine if there is something inherent in these blood types that might potentially confer protection or induce risk in individuals,” Dua said.

                For now, though, the researchers are confident that their principle finding—that ABO blood typing should not be considered prognostic in patients who acquire COVID-19—will help debunk the kinds of clinically unfounded rumors and misinformation that can readily gain traction in the midst of a pandemic, and in some cases become part of accepted medical practice.:

                Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                it's been blown way out of proportion.
                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • As the pandemic surges, Americans see travel horizons narrowing

                  After months of working from home, stir-crazy Americans have finally reached the long, hot days of summer only to watch their vacation horizons dim, with travel options shrinking as the country's coronavirus cases soar.

                  "All I've been doing this year is cancelling trips," 61-year-old Keith Gibbons said with a sigh, a new reality that the government contractor called "very frustrating."

                  Trips abroad are mostly out: The overwhelming majority of countries now bar American citizens amid a sharp US resurgence of Covid-19. The country's caseload has climb to over 3.7 million -- more than one-fourth the world's total -- and deaths have reached over 140,000.

                  As for cross-country trips, it's not that simple: In the vast US, laws on mask-wearing and social distancing vary dramatically, and sometimes confusingly, from one jurisdiction to another.

                  Some states are even imposing quarantines on visitors. Hawaii, for example, has ordered those arriving on the Pacific archipelago to self-quarantine for 14 days.

                  Its governor, David Ige, announced Thursday that beginning Sept 1, visitors will also have to submit to a coronavirus test within 72 hours of departing for the state and present proof of a negative result upon arrival in Hawaii.

                  Meanwhile, New York has extended its list of US states -- totalling 22 now -- whose citizens will be required to self-quarantine after arriving in the northeastern state.

                  And in the city of Chicago visitors from 17 states must self-isolate for two weeks -- or face fines of up to $500 a day.

                  Complicating many Americans' travel plans, the summer destinations of Florida and California are among the hardest-hit by Covid-19, even if the popular Disney World park in Orlando, Florida has partially reopened and a Disney-linked shopping district in California reopened earlier this month.

                  As for ocean cruises, a highly popular travel option in normal years, they remain banned by a federal "No Sail Order" through September.

                  At this point, Gibbons said, "It doesn't seem wise to go anywhere, either because of the local health situation or because the hotels and other establishments are taking steps to deal with Covid in a manner that makes the trip less interesting."

                  So if "you want to go to a nice hotel for the weekend but the restaurants are closed, the pool is closed, services are limited, it doesn't sound like a lot of fun."

                  Saher Rizvi, a 40-year-old neurologist in Washington, was supposed to leave in early July for a 10-day vacation to Monaco with her husband and two sons, aged five and seven. The trip had to be canceled.

                  Today, she draws a sharp red line: Her family will not travel by plane or by train.

                  "I don't think it is safe," said Rizvi, who as a physician has followed the evolution of the pandemic closely.

                  While some people may have to travel by plane or train for important professional purposes or for family emergencies, "for pleasure, it just seems like the risk/benefit doesn't seem worthwhile," Rizvi said.

                  Instead, her husband had been trying to persuade her to rent an RV for a road trip, but she has her doubts.

                  "From a Monaco vacation to the RV, well," she burst out laughing, making clear that the lure of travelling in a compact camper was not compatible with the level of luxury she expected from a hotel overlooking the Mediterranean.

                  Summer vacation has long been a staple for Americans. This year has not been kind to them.

                  The recent surge in Covid-19 infections -- coupled with the devastating blow to the economy and jobs -- has sharply impacted travel plans, according to the US Travel Association (USTA): Bookings for future airplane and hotel reservations dropped a sharp 73% year-over-year in early July.

                  A recent survey by the research institute Longwoods International found that 76% of Americans were prepared to change their travel plans for the next six months because of the pandemic. Indeed, 45% have already cancelled their plans.

                  "I can't complain," Gibbons said. "A lot of people have lost their lives, or are sick; others lost their jobs. So I'm fortunate that I've still got a job and have these choices to make."

                  At this point, Gibbons has successively canceled planned trips to Florida, Delaware and Portugal.

                  USTA, which represents the hotel, restaurant, leisure and air-travel sectors, said most Americans are now planning to travel by car and to stay relatively close to home, even if a few hardy souls are taking the chance of traveling to national parks.

                  Result: With domestic travel spending expected to drop by 40%, this year will be no holiday for the travel and leisure sectors.:

                  Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                  it's been blown way out of proportion.
                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • Serum Institute of India to produce 1 bn dozes of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

                    As the world awaits the reports of the initial trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the esteemed Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with the company wherein it the institute will manufacture and supply 1 billion dozes of the vaccine.

                    As the world awaits the reports of the initial trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the esteemed Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with the company wherein it the institute will manufacture and supply 1 billion dozes of the vaccine.

                    As per reports, the Serum Institute of India will begin human trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford Vaccine from August.

                    "At present, we are working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine which is undergoing phase III clinical trials. In addition to this, we will also start human trials in India in August 2020. Based on the current situation and most recent updates on the clinical trials, we are hoping that the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine will be available towards the end of this year," Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla told news agency PTI.

                    Oxford is likely to publish the data for the initial stages of the trials that has made the vaccine a beacon of hope for the world suffering from fast spreading COVID-19 outbreak.

                    "Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca to produce and supply 1 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University. These vaccines will be for India and middle and low income countries across the world (GAVI countries)," Poonawalla added.:

                    Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                    it's been blown way out of proportion.

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Oxford's COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Takes a Big Leap Forward, Showing Success in Early Trials

                      The foot race to develop the first effective vaccine against COVID-19 involves an awfully crowded field, with 137 candidate vaccines in pre-clinical study worldwide and another 23 actually in development. But a leader seemed to emerge today with research published in the Lancet reporting promising results in a robust study by investigators at Oxford University in England.

                      The study began in April, with a sample group of 1,077 adults aged 18 to 55—an age group young enough to tolerate exposure to SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with less risk of adverse effects than would be seen in older, more vulnerable adults. The group was divided more or less in half, with 543 participants receiving the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, and the other 534 serving as a control group, receiving an existing vaccine against meningococcal vaccine. (The investigators chose not to use an inert saline solution for the control group because both vaccines can cause side effects such as achiness, fever and fatigue. Saline would cause no such symptoms and would thus reveal which group was the control group and which was not.)

                      The vaccine uses a harmless-to-humans chimpanzee adenovirus as a delivery vector. That virus is modified to carry spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2—the component of the coronavirus that, in theory, should induce the sought-after immune response in humans. What the researchers were looking for were two kinds of immune reaction: humoral immunity, or the system-wide generation of antibodies against the virus; and cellular immunity, or the activation of immune system T-cells that attack human cells infected with the COVID-19 virus.

                      They very much got what they were looking for. T-cell responses to the vaccine became detectable by day seven after the injection of the vaccine, peaked at day 14 and remained elevated at least until day 56. Humoral antibodies peaked at day 28 and also remained elevated at least until day 56. That eight-week mark is a good early measure of a vaccine’s efficacy and ability to confer at least short-term immunity

                      “We are seeing good immune responses in almost everybody,” Dr. Adrian Hill, a professor of human genetics at Oxford University and one of the researchers on this particular study, told the Associated Press. “What this vaccine does particularly well is trigger both arms of the immune system.”

                      It actually does even more than that—if more of the vaccine is administered. Of the 1,077 subjects, a handful, just 10, were selected for a second booster dose on day 28, when they were still in the midst of their first-dose immunity. That small sample group kept the risk of overexposure limited to just a few subjects. When the antibodies of 37 of the subjects who had received a single dose were tested against the virus in vitro—or in a test tube—23 of them, or 62%, completely neutralized the virus as late as day 56. When the same study was conducted in vitro with the 10 subjects who had received a second dose, the neutralizing effect was a perfect 100%.

                      The vaccine, for all its promise, is not yet ready for prime time. Phase 2 and phase 3 trials must still be conducted, with much larger sample groups including people who have or have had COVID-19 already. In addition, while using a relatively young sample group was wise in terms of safety, the vaccine still must be tested in older individuals who, after all, are at much higher risk for complications and death as a result of COVID-19 and are the group most in need of an effective vaccine.

                      Some of those trials are already underway. One study of the vaccine involving a sample group of 3,000 people began in Brazil in June. A similar trial began in South Africa at the same time. A bigger study of 30,000 people in the U.S. is still to come, and planned to start later this summer.

                      But even these early results are encouraging enough to help vindicate the decision of Cambridge-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to partner with Oxford. The company has committed to mass producing 2 billion doses of a successful vaccine as soon as it’s perfected.

                      Oxford is by no means alone. Of the 23 vaccines currently in development, another, by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc., in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is also racing ahead of the pack. In a phase 1 study released last week, 45 subjects who received the sample vaccine produced antibodies that neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in vitro as effectively as antibodies produced by people who had actually had the disease. New York-based Pfizer pharmaceuticals is developing its own vaccine in a Phase I/II trial—which tests safety, effectiveness, side effects and dosing and ideal dosing level—has similarly shown promising results, with the U.K. already lining up to buy 90 million doses once it is approved.

                      The Oxford study, the largest of its kind, does bring us a significant step closer to the release of a vaccine—or a whole arsenal of vaccines—against the COVID-19 pandemic. But we’re not there yet. For now, the disease still rages—and the world still waits.:
                      • Doctors Debunk Mask Wearing Myths

                      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                      it's been blown way out of proportion.
                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • Britain Puts $10 Million Into Study on Long Term Effects of COVID-19

                        Britain is putting 8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients, the health ministry said on Sunday.

                        The novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 has been observed to cause many health impacts for some patients beyond immediate respiratory issues, but with other infected people asymptomatic, the workings of the virus are not fully understood.

                        "As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are learning more and more about the impact the disease can have, not only on immediate health, but longer-term physical and mental health too," health minister Matt Hancock said.

                        The Department of Health said 10,000 people would take part in the study, which is being led by the University of Leicester and hospitals in the city.

                        Lung and blood samples of the patients will be taken and they will also be assessed by advanced imaging, and the findings will be used to develop new forms of personalised treatment.:

                        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                        it's been blown way out of proportion.

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Some states keep smashing unwanted Covid-19 records as a Trump official says the surge is real

                          For anyone still wondering whether this surge in new Covid-19 cases is real -- or if it just looks that way due to increased testing -- a Trump administration official put that question to rest Monday.

                          "There is no question we are having a surge right now," said Adm. Brett Giroir, the US assistant secretary of health who's leading the administration's Covid-19 testing efforts.

                          "Yes, we are having increased cases, predominantly in the Sun Belt," Giroir said. "We are having more cases than we did a week ago, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, four weeks ago. That is very clear."

                          As of Monday morning, 31 states have seen more new cases this past week, compared to new cases from the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

                          And some places are getting overwhelmed with new hospitalizations or deaths.

                          In Florida, at least 50 hospitals are out of ICU space, according to data from Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration. Miami-Dade County has exceeded its ICU capacity, with 130% occupancy on Monday, according to the Miami-Dade County Covid-19 dashboard.

                          Los Angeles County reported its highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in a single day, with at least 2,216 people hospitalized Sunday. And more than half of the 2,848 new cases reported Sunday were among people younger than 41.

                          Arizona reported its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day -- 147 on Saturday, according to the Covid Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins University data.

                          Georgia and North Carolina had record-high numbers for the most Covid-19 cases reported in a single day. On Saturday, Georgia reported 4,688 new cases, and North Carolina reported 2,522 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins data.

                          In Texas, Dallas County and San Antonio have brought in refrigerated trucks because they're running out of space to hold the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

                          Now, some local officials are reluctantly considering another shutdown.

                          Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was on the "brink" of another stay-at-home order, saying things "reopened too quickly."

                          "It's not just what's opened and closed, it's also about what we do individually," Garcetti said.

                          Reopening the economy doesn't mean Covid-19 is getting better. It just shifts more responsibility to you

                          "It's about the people who are getting together outside of their households, with people they might know. It might be their extended family, it might be friends. They might think because they got a test two weeks ago, that it's OK. But it's not."

                          The mayors of Houston and Atlanta wanted to backtrack reopenings in their cities, but faced opposition from their governors.:

                          Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                          it's been blown way out of proportion.

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Chronic fatigue syndrome may hold keys to understanding post-Covid syndrome

                            Some survivors of acute bouts of Covid-19 experience a range of persistent medical issues — some lasting for weeks, or even months — that include profound exhaustion, trouble thinking or remembering, muscle pain, headaches, and more. One survivor described it as feeling like she was “hit by a truck.”

                            Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, acknowledged this month that the symptoms in many of these unrecovered patients are “highly suggestive” of myalgic encephalomyelitis, the disabling illness also commonly called chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS. “This is something we really need to seriously look at,” said Fauci.

                            Fauci’s observation, echoed by others, is vitally important, and not only because it provides a warning about the pandemic’s potentially devastating long-term health effects. By noting the possible connection between “post-Covid syndrome” and ME/CFS, Fauci has highlighted the long-neglected field of post-viral illness — a poorly understood phenomenon that likely holds important clues about the causes of, and treatments for, both conditions.

                            In recent decades, researchers have documented persistent sequela among some people who had acute infections of diseases like SARS, West Nile virus, and the 2009 H1NI influenza virus. Why some people are vulnerable to these chronic symptoms isn’t known.

                            The name “myalgic encephalomyelitis” was coined in the 1950s after an outbreak in a London hospital of what appeared to be a viral illness with prolonged complications. No pathogen was identified as the cause. After an outbreak with similar features occurred in Lake Tahoe in the mid-1980s, a team led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called it chronic fatigue syndrome — and the name became widely adopted.

                            The CDC estimates that up to 2.5 million Americans have ME/CFS, although many remain undiagnosed. A significant minority are homebound, even bedbound. As with post-Covid syndrome, most people report that their illness began with an acute episode of infectious disease, often mononucleosis or the flu. Although studies have documented a range of neurologic, immunologic, metabolic, and other dysfunctions, no specific causes have been identified for ME/CFS and no pharmacological treatments have been developed for it.

                            The cardinal symptom is not fatigue per se, but a prolonged relapse of exhaustion, cognitive dysfunction, and other symptoms after a minimal amount of activity. This is generally called “post-exertional malaise.”

                            For decades, many people with ME/CFS have been dismissed by their doctors, employers, and even family members as experiencing exaggerated or psychosomatic ailments. Some people with post-Covid syndrome are also reporting they are being told that their troubling symptoms likely result from anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress.

                            According to an unproven and now widely questioned hypothesis that has long dominated the field of nonpharmacologic interventions for ME/CFS, symptoms are perpetuated by irrational fears of exertion. These “unhelpful” and “dysfunctional” beliefs are said to result in a downward spiral of deconditioning, muscle atrophy, excessive sleep, and depression. The purportedly curative treatments that emerged from this hypothesis were a course of psychotherapy or a regimen of increasing exercise.

                            These two rehabilitative approaches were tested in the high-profile PACE trial, conducted in the United Kingdom and funded by the government. Its results were published in the Lancet in 2011 and later in other journals, Whether in their papers or public statements, the researchers claimed that patients achieved “recovery” and got “back to normal” with the interventions — assertions that were widely disseminated by news organizations.

                            In the last few years, however, news articles and peer-reviewed studies have documented the trial’s many flaws and challenged its findings. In an open letter to the Lancet posted on the science site Virology Blog, more than 100 scientists and other experts cited the study’s “unacceptable methodological lapses” and requested an independent investigation. As a result of these and related developments, the argument that ME/CFS is perpetuated by psychological and behavioral factors that can be successfully treated with psychotherapy and exercise interventions has lost much of its currency in the scientific community.

                            Given the core symptom of post-exertional malaise, the recommendation for graded exercise is increasingly recognized as harmful, not helpful. According to multiple surveys, many ME/CFS patients report serious deterioration after a graded exercise approach.

                            After decades of neglect by federal research agencies, the National Institutes of Health has increased funding for biomedical research into ME/CFS, although the amount is still far from adequate. Attitudes toward the illness in the U.K. appear to be changing as well, with government agencies recently appropriating 3.2 million pounds for a genetics study called DecodeME. While less than the amount spent on the PACE trial, this investment still represents a major acknowledgement that the search for answers has switched gears. These welcome research efforts could also shed light on the pathophysiological processes involved in post-Covid syndrome.

                            In spite of the paucity of knowledge about this new syndrome related to Covid-19, British adherents of the unhelpful-beliefs-and-deconditioning hypothesis for ME/CFS have been advising patients with post-Covid symptoms to resume regular activities as soon as possible and to avoid resting too much — exactly the wrong-headed advice given for decades to legions of people with ME/CFS, leaving many worse off than before.

                            Had U.K. and U.S. medical authorities not been so invested for years in fruitless psychological and behavioral interventions for ME/CFS, perhaps they would have listened over the years when patients told them that exercise and psychotherapy did not get them “back to normal.” Perhaps they would have pursued essential biomedical research instead.

                            We may now be paying the price for this longstanding disregard, given our urgent need for robust information about the possible long-term consequences of a virus that has already infected millions of people around the world, an unknown number of whom will experience some form of post-Covid disability. Studies of these people are likely to yield significant insights into this viral illness as well as into ME/CFS.

                            But we would have been far better off in the first place had the medical and research establishments not spent years ignoring or distrusting the voices of patients suffering from a life-changing post-viral syndrome. Perhaps it is time they started listening.:

                            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                            it's been blown way out of proportion.

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • Tourism Council of Thailand warns of operators fleeing sector

                              Tourism-related businesses are at a tipping point after more than 30% of them have exited the market, with many set to follow, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

                              Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of the TCT, said the tourism industry predicts a further deterioration after six months of the coronavirus crisis, as many related businesses are terminating their operations or selling off assets, choosing not to wait for an uncertain recovery.

                              He said the main types of businesses affected by the crisis are tour operators, bus services with a small vehicle fleet, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels that used to focus on foreign tour groups, especially the Chinese market.

                              Mr Chairat said the TCT is in the process of collecting the exact number of members fleeing the sector, which he believes should amount to more than 30% in the first half of the year, as Thailand continues to seal the borders to international tourists.

                              The Tourism Department said 1,111 tour operators in the January-June period gave up their licences and asked for their guarantees back.

                              The figure hit a crescendo in June as 262 companies permanently quit the market, while withdrawals in the second quarter made up 65.4% of all withdrawals in the first half as tourism reeled from lockdown measures.

                              If travel bubbles cannot be implemented this year, more than 30% of outbound operators will have to permanently shut down their business, said Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Thai Travel Agents Association.

                              At present, most operators have staved off making any decision as they are waiting for further details on travel bubble agreements with other countries. After the infections of an Egyptian airman in Rayong and the daughter of a Sudanese diplomat were detected, these agreements may take even longer to come about.

                              "The domestic market has become a priority market for tour operators who want to maintain business while waiting for borders to reopen," Mr Thanapol said.

                              The association also encourages members to join the government's Moral Support campaign while providing packages to serve domestic meetings and seminars.

                              Mr Thanapol said Thai outbound tourists who prefer standardised services and are concerned about health issues are another potential market.

                              The outbreak could be an opportunity to increase the average number of individual local trips from 3.5 trips a year to six trips by next year.:

                              Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                              Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • United States

                                Coronavirus (aka Trump Virus) Cases: 4,028,733

                                Deaths: 144,958

                                Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                                it's been blown way out of proportion.

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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