Global Observations on COVID-19
- In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the global status of COVID-19. Read more below.
- TAG has released a toolkit for “Dialing Back” that provides recommendations on phased-in reopening. Contact TAG if you are interested.
- We have updated the 50-State Food and Agriculture Worker Vaccination Eligibility Chart. In all states (except for Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Jersey), food and agriculture workers can be vaccinated (be they in food/ag manufacturing, food service, or food retail). In both Vermont and Rhode Island, vaccinations for food and ag works is still age-based. In Rhode Island, individuals over 40 can be vaccinated, in Vermont, individuals over 30 years old can be vaccinated, and in New Jersey, individuals over 55 years old can be vaccinated. To see the latest chart, please see here.
- The Defense Department is trial testing new technologies to cure COVID-19 patients; in a recent test, a military spouse underwent dialysis in which COVID-19 was filter and removed from her blood. She has recovered from COVID-19.
- Michigan’s current COVID-19 crisis may portend to what the U.S. may look like in a few weeks. Currently, Michigan, Florida, Minnesota, and Massachusetts have the highest number of variant cases in the country. Additionally, the new surge of cases in Michigan (over the past few weeks) have been identified in people from their 30’s to 50’s (a much younger population than previously at the start of the pandemic) who have yet to receive a vaccine. These individuals are being sickened and hospitalized at increasing rates. The dominant variant that has been identified is the B.117 variant. CNN discusses this further.
- A few studies exploring the relationship between Oxford AstraZeneca’s vaccine and blood clots have been released. CIDRAP summarizes these studies and the findings here.
- Al Jazeera summarizes the current learnings of the B1351 COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa. This variant contains two mutaions (N501Y & E484K) that could enhance transmissibility and allow the virus to evade “parts of the immune system and antibodies”. This could portend to increasing transmissibility and would require further investigation. There are mixed studies on the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine to be protective against this variant.
- The Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is “not high”. Chinese officials are considering methods to bolster its efficacy with either additional doses, increased doses, different intervals of vaccination, and/or mixing vaccines of different technologies.
- Internationally: Germany’s COVID-19 cases surpass 3 million. Additionally, India’s COVID-19 cases has now surpassed that of Brazil’s to become the second most affected country in the world.
Recommendations for Industry
Global Observations on COVID-19
Although COVID-19 cases remain fairly flat across much of the US, we are continuing to see some significant impact of the variants in certain states (particularly Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Massachusetts), and global observations are showing there to be a continuing rise in many regions – such as India where the case rate is higher now than at its previous peak. There also is a lack of vaccines in some areas, some potential variant resistance to some of the vaccines, and a low efficacy of some vaccines overall (e.g., the Chinese-developed vaccine).
What all this says to us is that we are definitely not out of the COVID-19 woods! On the plus side, related to protection efforts – based on last week’s guidance from CDC (as detailed in TAG’s Friday newsletter) cleaning and sanitation can be reduced to pre-COVID, food safety levels because of the fact that airborne transmission is the primary way COVID-19 is spread. All other preventive measures (masks, distancing, handwashing) should, however, be maintained.
In Case You Missed It
- In Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed the “fourth wave” of COVID in the US and CDC’s new cleaning guidance. Read more here.
- At this time, the B117 variant of COVID-19 (first identified from the UK) has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the U.S. In addition to this, U.S. cases involving the P1 variant, first identified in Brazil, are also rising. Similarly, the B1351 variant (first identified from South Africa) has also been identified in Los Angeles County. These three variants are becoming prevalent and for us all to be cognizant and thinking on; they are all variants of concern.
- Additionally, the rise in variant cases throughout Europe portends to the potential dangers and threats inherent to the rise in variants. New York Times explores this with graphs about the rise of the variants of concern and its rise over time.
- Due to the mix-up at a production facility last week with J&J ingredients, J&J vaccine distribution will be lessened this week.
- Japanese doctors have successfully performed the first world’s first lung transplant into a women who’s lungs were severely damaged by COVID-19. Ultimately, this may be promising for others who may have been dramatically affected by the disease.
- The BBC explores how and why deaths have soared in Brazil. The combination of two variants, vaccine shortages, and Brazil’s leaders’ reactions and responses to the epidemic has contributed greatly to the virus’ continued spread and worsening in the country.
- NPR discusses how “the vaccine passport debate actually began in 1897 over a plague vaccine”.
- Despite the push for promoting vaccine equity throughout the world, the WHO reports that Africa has been left behind in the race for COVID-19 vaccines due to lack of funding, supply shortages, and delayed shipments.
- A recent report in JAMA Network Open has found that “COVID-related mobility restrictions such as stay-at-home orders had disproportionate burdens on women, minorities, and lower-income populations” (CIDRAP).
- In last Wednesday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed TAG’s risk matrix and the current status of COVID-19 transmission. [Read More Here]
- The CDC has updated its guidance for “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home”; there is focus on what to do for:
- Cleaning regularly
- Cleaning and disinfecting the home when someone is sick
- Cleaning and disinfecting bedrooms and bathrooms when someone is sick
- Cleaning and disinfecting different types of surfaces
- Moderna is aiming to enroll over 200 adults in Seattle to test its new COVID-19 vaccine designed to protect against the B1351 COVID-19 variant.
- Following is a little more information on the “double-mutant” COVID-19 variant that was first identified in India and has now also been found in California: The variant has two different mutations, E484Q and L452R, that show similarities to other variants we have seen (except combined)! The former mutation shares a similar mutation to the ones identified in the P1 and B1351 variants in which the spike protein may be mutated; the latter mutation shares similarities with a COVID-19 mutant also identified in California in which the spike protein may bind better to cells, “thereby increasing its infectivity.” More is needed to be studied about this new “double-mutant” COVID-19 variant. Aljazeera breaks down this information here.
- The FDA has released information on the impact of a few COVID-19 tests by SARS-CoV-2 variants. There are 4 tests that the FDA has noted as potentially being impacted by the variants.