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Study says 460k of first million recorded US COVID deaths caused by variants – News-Medical.Net



In a recent research paper posted to the medRxiv* preprint server, scientists from Yale School of Public Health analyzed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-linked deaths in the United States (US).

Study: One Million and Counting: Estimates of Deaths in the United States from Ancestral SARS-CoV-2 and Variants. Image Credit: Gargantiopa / Shutterstock


Novel SARS-CoV-2 variants with higher virulence, transmissibility, and immune evasion have emerged due to sustained worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission since its emergence in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019. In the US, over one million SARS-CoV-2-related deaths have been reported so far. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 mutants identified worldwide have shifted the course of the COVID-19 epidemic in the US several times. 

As of 12 May 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) has described five SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs), first found in four distinct continents. All five VOCs were more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and spread to the US. COVID-19 vaccines produced based on the non-variant SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., non-VOC SARS-CoV-2) are weakly efficacious against Omicron and Delta VOCs infections yet extremely effective against severe illness. Notably, over the length of the US SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, the particular burden of death from each viral variant remains unknown.

About the study

The goal of the present study was to calculate the number of deaths caused by each SARS-CoV-2 mutant in the US. The scientists built an epidemiologic model to determine the number of documented COVID-19 deaths in the US attributed to each SARS-CoV-2 mutant. They used information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about SARS-CoV-2-linked mortalities by jurisdiction and circulating viral variant percentages. Further, to address parameter uncertainty, the team performed a sensitivity evaluation.

The current analysis was based on the tentative numbers of SARS-CoV-2 mortality from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of CDC. This data was accessed up to 12 May 2022.

To obtain the number of documented COVID-19 deaths caused by each SARS-CoV-2 variant, the team back-distributed mortalities to determine the proportion of eventually fatal COVID-19 cases testing positive every day in each jurisdiction and then contrasted these statistics to percentages of variants between sequenced cases in the exact location and timepoint, controlling for variances in disease severity among variants.

Given the interval between the onset of symptoms, testing, and mortality, the team used lags to estimate the timing of sample procurement for new fatalities. They anticipated that sampling for testing occurred zero, one, two, or three days following the beginning of symptoms, with a correlated probability of 25% for all of these four possible lag times for the primary assessment. The researchers also hypothesized a lag between the start of symptoms and death.


The authors illustrated that 46% (460,124) of the 1,003,419 SARS-CoV-2 mortalities documented as of 12 May 2022 were attributable to WHO-designated SARS-CoV-2 variants in the US at the national level. On the other hand, 54% of all COVID-19 mortalities were attributed to non-variant SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers demonstrated the influence of the SARS-CoV-2 variants throughout the US. The variants caused a significant number of deaths in all regions. The South had the highest variant deaths per capita, with a median estimate of 158 per 100,000, while the Northeast had the fewest, with a median estimate of 111 per 100,000, by US census region. Some areas were disproportionately affected, owing to disparities in vaccination coverage, demographics, preexisting immunity, societal vulnerability, and non-pharmaceutical intervention use.

SARS-CoV-2 Alpha, with a median estimate of 39,548 deaths, Omicron (117,560), and Delta (273,801) were projected to be responsible for almost 40% of national COVID-19 deaths. Indeed, 3,628 of the COVID-19 deaths documented by NCHS could not be assigned to a SARS-CoV-2 variant since the week of mortality was not specified at the state level in the data.


Study findings show that SARS-CoV-2 mutants that have been discovered across the world have claimed a considerable amount of lives in the US. SARS-CoV-2 variants initially found outside the US were responsible for over 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the nation.

The current study backs up the claim that “no one is safe until everyone is safe” by demonstrating the notable effect of SARS-CoV-2 mutants on US mortality, which has emerged in the vicinity of uncontrolled circulation both locally and globally. This analysis implies that fast implementation of methods to mitigate the impact of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants following the commencement of a viral epidemic could be beneficial. The authors noted that more efforts were needed to reduce the likelihood of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants arising, including worldwide COVID-19 vaccination, therapy, and outbreak management, apart from national public health policies.

To summarize, the present work emphasizes the risk that novel SARS-CoV-2 variants pose to Americans, a hazard exacerbated by poor global COVID-19 vaccination rates and a scarcity of therapeutics, diagnostics, and prophylactic approaches for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

*Important notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

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DeMille Anticipates Broader Rollout Of 4th Dose Vaccination – Country 105



The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is getting ready for the annual flu shot campaign, as well as a broader ask for arms to get the fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province expanded the second booster dose eligibility on April 7th to those who are 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over.

“At this time, I’m not hearing any indication of the province opening up (eligibility) to the broader population, and I’m not sure really we would have evidence that would be needed at this time,” DeMille told Acadia News Monday. “We are much lower in terms of the amount of COVID-19 (cases) in the province of Ontario. With the summertime, we see overall less spread (of the virus).”

DeMille did mention that the District anticipates the call will get broader in the fall.

As of June 21st, 133,334 people within the TBDHU have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80,719 have received three doses.

Officials have given fourth doses to 18,687 individuals as of the last update.

DeMille was also asked about a return to school in September, and what that might look like after Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told Federal MPs on June 8th that there is a real threat of the seventh wave of COVID-19.

The Medical Officer says it’s hard to look into the crystal ball and pinpoint what will happen based on the fact that right now a majority of the new infections are the Omicron variant.

“The schools overall did fairly well,” DeMille stated. “We know that a lot of people did get infected, which can cause a lot of disruption because people still need to isolate so that they are not spreading (the virus) to others. Likely a lot of spread happened in the schools when we re-opened in January and through the last few waves.”

DeMille noted that the schools took a lot of measures that helped in previous waves, including improving ventilation.

“I anticipate that (masking) will always be optional, but when the Omicron variant is spreading, it’s always helpful when people are masking in indoor spaces when they are interacting with others,” said DeMille. “(Down the road) we might recommend that people wear masks in schools, but that advice will really depend on what we see circulating, how much it is circulating and what the impact is on schools.”

DeMille mentioned whether it is the school, the workplace, or any other indoor space, the goal is to return to as normal as possible in an eventual post-pandemic world.

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Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, says WHO – Global News



Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said.

The “global emergency” label currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the U.N. agency has stepped back from applying it to the monkeypox outbreak after advice from a meeting of international experts.

Read more:

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There have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death reported in the last six weeks from 48 countries where it does not usually spread, according to WHO.

So far this year almost 1,500 cases and 70 deaths in central Africa, where the disease is more common, have also been reported, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Monkeypox, a viral illness causing flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading largely in men who have sex with men outside the countries where it is endemic.

It has two clades – the West African strain, which is believed to have a fatality rate of around 1% and which is the strain spreading in Europe and elsewhere, and the Congo Basin strain, which has a fatality rate closer to 10%, according to WHO.

Click to play video: 'More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll'

More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll

More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll – Jun 17, 2022

There are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox, although they are in limited supply.

The WHO decision is likely to be met with some criticism from global health experts, who said ahead of the meeting that the outbreak met the criteria to be called an emergency.

However, others pointed out that the WHO is in a difficult position after COVID-19. Its January 2020 declaration that the new coronavirus represented a public health emergency was largely ignored by many governments until around six weeks later, when the agency used the word “pandemic” and countries took action.

(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; additional reporting by Mrinmay Dey; Editing by Sandra Maler)

© 2022 Reuters

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Kingston, Ont., area health officials examining future of local vaccination efforts – Global News



More than 455,000 people in the Kingston region have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now health officials say they’re using the summer months, with low infection rates, to look ahead to what fall might bring, urging those who are still eligible to get vaccinated do so.

Read more:

Kingston Health Sciences Centre to decommission COVID-19 field site

“Large, mass immunization clinics, mobile clinics, drive-thru clinics and small primary care clinics doing their own vaccine,” said Brian Larkin with KFL&A Public Health.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Gerald Evans says those who are still eligible for a third and fourth dose should take advantage and roll up their sleeves during the low-infection summer months.

“Now in 2022, although you still might get COVID, you’re probably not going to be very sick. You are less likely to transmit and ultimately that’s one of the ways we’re going to control the pandemic,” added Evans.

He expects another wave of COVID-19 to hit in late October to early November and that a booster may be made available for those younger than 60 who still aren’t eligible for a fourth dose.

Read more:

Kingston, Ont. COVID assessment centre cuts hours for the summer

“The best case scenario is a few more years of watching rises in cases, getting boosters to control things and ultimately getting out of it with this being just another coronavirus that just tends to cause a respiratory infection and worst-case scenario is a new variant where all the potential possibilities exist to have a big surge in cases and hopefully not a lot more serious illness,” said Evans.

Public Health says they’re still waiting for direction from the province on what’s to come this fall.

“We’re expecting that we would see more age groups and younger age groups be eligible for more doses or boosters but about when those ages start, we have yet to have that confirmed,” said Larkin.

The last 18 months of vaccines paving the way for the new normal could mean a yearly COVID booster alongside the annual flu shot.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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