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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Southwestern PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 07:36 PM
Number of posts: 43,632

About Me

If an H-1b has an American accent, they are probably not an H-1b. It's race, not citizenship. Americans are more diverse than you think. Millions of US citizens don't look the way you might expect. This fact is very important and will help us win elections.

Journal Archives

DC Will Require Vaccination at Restaurants, Gyms, Theaters, and Other Indoor Venues


After a week of skyrocketing Covid cases, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced today that DC will require proof of vaccination at restaurants, gyms, entertainment facilities, and other indoor venues beginning Jan. 15. Come March, all DC students who are eligible for Covid vaccines must also receive them.

DC will join New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and a handful of other cities that have already rolled out similar policies for indoor gathering places. The news follows the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which has overtaken Delta nationally as the predominant Covid virus strain. Between December 17 and 19, DC reported 3,763 new cases, the highest number by a long shot since the pandemic began.

Patrons aged 12 and older must receive at least one dose of the Covid vaccine by January 15 in order to enter restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concert venues, recreation centers, gyms, concert halls, sporting venues, meeting establishments, and other indoor venues outlined here. By Feb. 15, they must be fully vaccinated. A physical CDC vaccination card, digital copy/photo, or other verification app (such as VaxYes or CLEAR) may all be accepted. There will be no test-out option at this time. The mandate focuses on patrons, but not employees. It does not currently include places of worship, museums, grocery stores, and retail stores. More guidance, including on potential health or religious exemptions, will be issued by the end of next week.

“We’re asking businesses to do more, but we also think this is a benefit to their business,” Bowser said.

Pro-tip: sign up for DC's immunization record site here: https://dchealth.dc.gov/page/dc-myir. Also Maryland and several other states use the same system. Then save the record into your Apple wallet for iPhones or whatever other phones use for payments and tickets and stuff like that. Or store a photo of your vaccine card as backup. Washingtonian should include this in the article. I keep my actual vaccine card in a clear plastic holder at home but don't want to carry it around.

Some European countries had this requirement last summer so it's pretty sweet to see it in my blue American city.

DC indoor mask mandate is back

since cases have shot up. And DC government vaccine mandate now includes booster shot.


A tantalizing clue to why omicron is spreading so quickly

The omicron variant multiplies about 70 times faster inside human respiratory tract tissue than the delta variant does, scientists at the University of Hong Kong report. The variant also reaches higher levels in the tissue, compared with delta, 48 hours after infection.
Using "fake" or pseudoviruses, they found that omicron's spike protein — the region that binds to human cells, triggering infection — was much better at helping the virus enter human cells than the spike protein of delta or that of the original coronavirus.

"Strikingly, Omicron was 4-fold more infectious than wild type [the original version of the virus] and 2-fold more infectious than Delta," Garcia-Beltran and colleagues wrote in their study.

The data suggests omicron may be able to infect people at a lower dose than delta or the original variant, Garcia-Beltran says. "That's a very far-out interpretation," he cautions. "But we think it will probably pan out that way, given that we're looking at a variant with more efficient entry into human cells."

Mask up and be safe out there DUers. Maskholes will no doubt get it and spread it as much as they can. Not a good time to be around unvaccinated conservatives.

WHO gives approval to Novavax-Serum Institute's Covavax Covid vaccine for emergency use


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday gave emergency approval to Covovax, Serum Institute of India’s version of Novavax Inc`s COVID-19 vaccine.

CEO of the Pune-based world's largest manufacturer Adar Poonawalla hailed the WHO for giving approval for emergency use.


“This is yet another milestone in our fight against COVID-19, Covovax is now W.H.O approved for emergency use, showing excellent safety and efficacy. Thank you all for a great collaboration,” he tweeted.

Covavax—a two-dose vaccine— will also likely be used for children aged above 3 years and it would be launched in mid-2022, Poonawalla had said earlier.

Covovax was assessed under the WHO EUL procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety and efficacy, a risk management plan, programmatic suitability, and manufacturing site inspections carried out by the Drugs Controller General of India.

Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine had shown 90 per cent efficacy at preventing Covid illness, according to results from a Phase 3 clinical trial.

In addition to being highly effective in preventing Covid illness of any severity, the vaccine was 100 per cent effective in preventing moderate and severe disease that required hospitalisation, revealed the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Here's another option available to help vaccinate the world soon.

Omicron may be less severe in South Africa. That may not be the case for the U.S.


What about the percentage of Americans who have some immune protection from a prior infection? That's tougher to estimate, says Maciej Boni, an epidemiologist at Pennsylvania State University, because many mild or asymptomatic infections go undetected or unreported. But a recent study by computational biologists at the University of Texas at Austin estimated that about 20% of Americans had been infected with COVID from the start of the pandemic, through August, 2021.

Taken all together, the data suggest that at minimum, 20% of Americans still have had neither a vaccine, nor a prior infection. That's about 66 million people who have immune systems that are completely "naive," as scientists term it, when it comes to exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control estimates cases of omicron are doubling every two or three days in the U.S., and predict that in a few weeks, it could be the dominant variant across the country.

The 66 million Americans people who are naive to SARS-CoV-2 are the people for whom the omicron variant poses the greatest risk. These are the people who are most likely to end up in the hospital during an omicron surge. These are the people for whom a "less severe" variant in South Africa, may actually be a "severe" variant in the U.S.

There are visuals at the link that don't show up correctly here. Check it out

The US also has more obesity to worry about. I've been having salads for lunch just in case.

T Cells Might Be Our Bodies' Best Shot Against Omicron


The new variant may undermine some vaccine-derived defenses. But the immune system’s best assassins are likely to hold the line.

Killer T cells, as their name might imply, are not known for their mercy. When these immunological assassins happen upon a cell that’s been hijacked by a virus, their first instinct is to butcher. The killer T punches holes in the compromised cell and pumps in toxins to destroy it from the inside out. The cell shrinks and collapses; its perforated surface erupts in bubbles and boils, which slough away until little is left but fragmentary mush. The cell dies spectacularly, horrifically—but so, too, do the virus particles inside, and the killer T moves on, eager to murder again.

It’s all a bit ruthless, but the killer T does not care. It is merely adhering to its creed: Virus-infected cells must die so that the rest have a better shot at living. The cold-blooded slaughter can “make the difference between someone having a mild infection and a severe one,” Azza Gadir, an immunologist and scientific advisor at the microbial sciences company Seed Health, told me. And that’s exactly what experts now hope is happening in vaccinated people whose antibodies might be faltering against Omicron, the new coronavirus variant that’s sweeping across the globe. T cells can’t totally forestall infection on their own, so we still need the other strategies we use to keep the virus at bay. But prepped by shots or past infection, these elite killers could help hold the line against hospitalizations and deaths, and offer a safety net that could spare us some of the coronavirus’s worst effects.

Enough preliminary data have been gathered to show that Omicron can undermine some of the defenses that immunized bodies have built. The variant’s spike protein—the molecular key that the virus uses to unlock cells, and the centerpiece of most of the world’s COVID-19 shots—sports more than 30 mutations compared with the original SARS-CoV-2. Last week, several teams of scientists, as well as Pfizer, released early laboratory data suggesting that these tweaks might make the variant up to 41 times better at sidestepping the neutralizing antibodies roused by vaccines. In an actual body, that could make it easier for Omicron to kick-start an infection.

But infection doesn’t always guarantee serious disease. And neutralizing antibodies are not the only defense that the immune system can muster. Immune responses are layered and redundant; where one squadron falters, another can swoop in to help. Killer Ts represent one such layer, and their violent modus operandi comes with serious perks: They home in on different aspects of the virus than antibodies do, and they are much harder to stump with mutations. Against Omicron, T-cell protection might drop slightly, Tao Dong, an immunologist at Oxford University, told me. “But it is not something we should be really worried about.”

For folks stuck at the paywall, this article helps explain how us vaccinated folks are still well equipped to fight off any type of mutated variant infection that evades our antibodies. Early data shows t cells fighting off Omicron-infected cells relatively well resulting in milder cases.

El-Erian faults Federal Reserve for failure to curb inflation

Basically he confirms that the US economy is very strong and can easily raise interest rates to slow down inflation. BBB is part of the solution, not the problem as some misguided senators have claimed.

Metro lays out early plan for reincorporating suspended series of trains


Metro plans to reintegrate its suspended line of trains gradually — by slowly replacing older models with 7000-series cars that will decrease wait times to less than 15 minutes — after the agency gets permission to begin using them again.

The early plan, presented Thursday at Metro’s board meeting, marked the first time Metro officials have publicly said how they will reincorporate more than half of the agency’s suspended rail-car fleet. The return would ease a train shortage that has hobbled the region and frustrated transit riders for two months.

As the agency formulates an exit strategy from its largest crisis in six years, Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said Thursday that he does not know when the suspended cars will be reinstated by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The watchdog agency ordered all 748 cars in the series out of service in October after a National Transportation Safety Board investigation discovered a dangerous wheelset defect in several cars.

“We hope to know more about the timing of the return before the Christmas holiday, but all steps in the process must be satisfied to proceed forward,” Wiedefeld said.

It's disappointing that they still don't know what's causing the wheel widening problem.

I took metro on Monday and it wasn't too crowded and the wait is manageable if you check train times on a transit app. Good that the repairs happened while many folks are still working remote.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Clearly the Covid vaccine boosters made a difference

Posted by IronLionZion | Thu Dec 9, 2021, 03:27 PM (0 replies)

Alexander Vindman: Meeting With Putin 'Occurred About As Good As It Needed To'

Posted by IronLionZion | Wed Dec 8, 2021, 12:41 PM (1 replies)
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