New York deer infected with Omicron; Wildlife may be a future threat

This is the first time the variant has been found in wild animals, The New York Times reported. Previous versions of covid have been found in animals in at least 15 states. “The circulation of the virus in deer offers it opportunities for adaptation and evolution”, explains a veterinary microbiologist. “And it’s likely to come back and haunt us in the future.”

The New York Times: New York deer infected with Omicron, study finds

Staten Island white-tailed deer have been found to carry the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus, marking the first time the variant has been reported in wild animals. The findings add to a growing body of evidence that white-tailed deer are easily infected with the virus. The findings are likely to heighten concerns that deer, which are widely distributed in the United States and live in close proximity to humans, could become a reservoir for the virus and a potential source of new variants. (Anthes and Imbler, 2/7)

The New York Times: Is the coronavirus in your backyard?

In late 2020, the coronavirus silently stalked the white-tailed deer of Iowa. The virus has infected large males and leggy yearlings. It infiltrated a game preserve in the southeast corner of the state and appeared in free-roaming deer from Sioux City to Dubuque. When scientists sifted through pieces of frozen lymph node tissue – harvested from unlucky deer killed by hunters or cars – they found that more than 60% of deer sampled in December 2020 were infected. (Anthes and Imbler, 2/7)

In other research on covid —

CIDRAP: Omicron strain much less likely to cause serious consequences, study finds

The first US peer-reviewed study of COVID-19 outcomes in patients infected with the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) shows that, compared to patients infected with the previous variants Delta (B1617.2) and Alpha (B117), Omicron patients were younger, had significantly higher breakthrough rates, and were significantly less likely to be hospitalized. The study, published late last week in the American Journal of Pathology, also found that when hospitalized, Omicron patients needed less severe respiratory support and had longer stays. short, consistent with early reports of the generally milder nature of cases caused by the highly transmissible strain. . (2/7)

Statistic: Some long-time Covid patients see improvement, but full recovery is elusive

How long does Covid last? And what does it mean to achieve full recovery? If you ask Joni White, she’ll tell you that she just wants to feel like herself again – or something close to it. And she’s almost there. Retired from federal law enforcement, White now describes herself as a glass artist, but she has been out of her studio for more than a year. On New Years Eve 2020, Covid-19 hit her so hard she thought she might die. Her infected but asymptomatic sister cared for her for three weeks in a home in the Outer Banks in North Carolina until her overwhelming headaches, chest tightness and brain fog subsided. But at home in Hillsborough, North Carolina, White’s headaches and brain fog were still there in April, along with frustration and depression at not being able to perform what were ordinary chores, let alone fuse glass with art. (Cooney, 2/8)

And more pandemic news —

Oklahoman: Joe Exotic tests positive for COVID. Tiger King Star still in Oklahoma

Joe Exotic has tested positive for COVID-19. His lead attorney, John M. Phillips, posted on Facebook on Sunday that the former Oklahoma zookeeper was recovering. “I just spoke to Joseph A. Maldonado,” the Jacksonville, Florida attorney wrote. “Sounded better than he has in days. He’s still in Oklahoma. Should be moved to North Carolina once he’s out of COVID protocol.” Joe Exotic was back in Oklahoma for his conviction in his murder-for-hire case. His lawyer last week described him in a social media post as “sick as hell”. (Clay, 2/7)

Miami Herald: Closed Miami-Dade prison has become a COVID ward as Omicron has grown

In early 2020, as COVID-19 raged through South Florida prisons, Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation wanted to assess how to curb the spread of the virus. One option — reopening the Miami-Dade Training and Treatment Center, a prison that has been closed since 2016 — was quickly rejected by officials overseeing the county’s prison system for the federal government because of the facility’s inability to “meet minimum constitutional standards for the confinement of detainees,” according to a memo from then-Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. But in January, as the omicron variant rolled through Miami, the county turned the jail into a COVID ward, sending at least 70 people to the facility to try to isolate contagious inmates. (Small II, 2/7)

Miami Herald: Reminder: This COVID-19 home test was illegally imported and not cleared by the FDA

South Korean diagnostics company SD Biosensor has recalled its Standard Q COVID-19 Ag home test from the United States after “confirmed reports that the test kits were illegally imported into the United States”. It’s in the recall notice written by the company and posted by the FDA which says that because the test has not been “cleared, cleared or cleared or approved by the FDA” for use in the United States, consumers who have used it are “strongly encouraged to consider retesting with an FDA cleared or cleared test. (Neal, 2/6)

Modern healthcare: 5 takeaways from the new COVID-19 home testing coverage guidelines

Last month, the federal government required private insurers to start covering at-home COVID-19 testing for their enrollees. On Friday, officials released additional information about what insurers must cover in response to stakeholder questions that have arisen since the initial policy was issued. Here are five things to know about the updated guidelines: 1. Plans will not be penalized for temporarily failing to provide free home testing at network pharmacies due to supply shortages. However, if a registrant is able to purchase eligible tests despite supply shortages, insurers must reimburse them, according to federal policy. (Goldman, 2/7)

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