2021.09.30 Immunity or Bust

On islands of immunity authorities lift restrictions, while the world reacts to more unflattened curves.

In the news this week: Japan gambles on lifting all restrictions. TV doctors say the most selfish measure the U.S. could take would be to vaccinate the world. Other TV doctors floor the gas pedal to immunity by downplaying masks in favor of vaccination-only campaigns. Special thanks to the artists of fiverr.com for the new logo. New subscribers were paying full price, they must not have seen the back-to-school discount so TracingCOVID is extending it — just $9 for the full year — into October. Please credit newsletters when and where you can if they help.

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  • Testing 🧪

  • Tracing ✔️

  • Isolating 😷

  • 🆕 Johnson & Johnson Renegades

  • Unflattened Curves

  • **FACES**

  • Infodemic

  • Beyond the Scope

Testing 🧪

Sep. 26 Local complaints, state investigation dogs COVID-19 test company Medivolve with 2 Sonoma County sites (Santa Rosa Press-Democrat) - "The California Department of Public Health is investigating” two sites run by the same company and is urging residents to test elsewhere. “The news comes in the wake of numerous complaints about confusing, delayed or nonexistent test results, along with issues over the company’s billing practices."

Sep. 27 ‘Extremely Frustrating’: Not All School Districts Implementing COVID Test & Stay Program (CBS 4 Boston) - "Parents and students at Middleboro High School were not even aware of Test and Stay protocol but would like to see it implemented." "Some parents say without Test & Stay protocol in place students who are told to quarantine are doing so without any remote option or resources and to go to school virtually which means they’re at risk of falling behind."

Sep. 28 COVID levels Jupiter-area sewage fall 81% after August spike; decline called 'remarkable' | The Loxahatchee River District is using wastewater testing to predict COVID-19 cases, joining cities such as Houston. (The Palm Beach Post) -

Sep. 27 Colorado’s COVID Testing Program Under Fire After Use Of Tests Off-Label Despite Concerns (CBS Denver 4) - "The company was founded by a 25-year-old entrepreneur and makes tests only approved for use in people with symptoms. But last fall, as COVID cases climbed, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment gave them free of charge to hundreds of nursing homes and told them to use the tests off-label on asymptomatic people too."

Sep. 23, 2021 The CDC Made America's Pandemic Worse | The agency didn't just botch the initial test. It resisted mass testing. (Reason) - "The test kit, it turned out, was contaminated. And the part that was contaminated was the third component the CDC had decided to add at the last minute. What's more, the contamination happened at least in part because the CDC had decided to produce the test in-house, at a lab not suited for the project, rather than contract it out to private firms with more experience and more rigorous quality controls."

Sep. 25 Covid-19: U-turn on saliva testing as fears grow around nasal swab hesitancy (Stuff Journalism New Zealand) - "The Ministry of Health is rethinking its approach to saliva testing, after key medical and lab testing bodies make major changes to their position, with one citing a study showing New Zealanders are reluctant to take Covid-19 nasal swab tests. The New Zealand Microbiology Network has reversed its own call from less than six months ago, and now believes saliva testing is accurate enough to be used as a substitute for nasal swabs."

Tracing ✔️

📊 Sep. 21 COVID-19 REINFECTIONS* AND BREAKTHROUGH CASES** BY MONTH AS OF SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 (Oklahoma.gov) - A chart within this document’s subsection shows the rate for unvaccinated reinfections was double that of post-vaccination infections for September 2021.

📊 Sep. 24 Covid case counts set Vermont records, and state data shows concerning trends on fatalities (VTDigger) - Articulate data visualization shows increasing community viral load.

Sep. 24 Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant Infections Among Incarcerated Persons in a Federal Prison — Texas, July–August 2021 (CDC) - Also traces vaccination breakthroughs alongside unvaccinated infections. A concave curved rise in the former shows the rates as not directly proportional.

Sep. 29 Royal Caribbean signs deal for new contact tracing band (Royal Caribbean Blog) - "TraceSafe's bands rely on a location-aware Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which have been scaled for large-scale enterprise operations such as across a fleet of cruise ships."

Sep. 29 COVID-19 contact tracing: local health districts are thousands of cases behind (KTVB7) - Idaho's backlog of 11,000 cases awaiting local review exceeds the limits of computerized databases used in each of the state's seven health districts.

Sep. 29 Contact tracing ramps up (The Courier) - Columbus Health Commissioner Karim Baroudi told the outlet that "community members are more willing to answer contact tracers’ calls now that they’re being handled again locally, as opposed to through a statewide system, as was the case for some time.”

Sep. 28 If you were around someone who had COVID-19, don't expect a call from a contact tracer (Statesman-Journal)

Sep. 27 CPS mom dies after her child exposed to COVID-19 at school where hundreds of kids quarantined (Chicago Sun-Times) - "Before she died late last week, Shenitha 'Angel' Curry — described by family as 'vibrant and outspoken' — said she was frustrated and angry with the school system’s COVID-19 protocols, particularly the contract tracing program which she said never reached her for an interview."

Jan 18, 2021 Evolution of antibody immunity to SARS-CoV-2 (Nature) - A peer-reviewed study found that in contrast to waning antibodies following SARS-CoV-2 infection, the number of memory B-cells which produce antibodies in response to subsequent infection remained robust and dynamic in "7 out of 14 individuals". 

Sep. 24 Average age of Californians dying of COVID-19 getting younger (Los Angeles Times) - "Data from Los Angeles County show how the risk of dying from COVID-19 has increased in recent weeks among adults of all age groups who are unvaccinated."

Sep. 15 The Case for Classroom Notifications (Safe Open Schools) - A group which in the past lobbied against virus spread mitigations is now asking for contact tracing’s exposure notifications to allow kids to not bring disease home to their immunocompromised parents. 

Sep. 25 The delta coronavirus surge was the most infectious period of the pandemic in these S.F. neighborhoods (San Francisco Chronicle) - Neighborhoods have swapped infectiousness rankings. Visitacion Valley and the Excelsior District dropped from winter, the latter seeing its residents 62% less likely to test positive during delta.

Sep. 23 My Family Was a COVID Cluster | Four vaccinated adults and two unvaccinated children had mild symptoms. Is this what the end of the pandemic looks like? (New Yorker) - “What’s in air?” the author's child asked. “Heat?”

Isolating and Alternatives (Masking, Ventilating, Vaccination Cards) 😷

Sep. 28 Some Arizona school districts renew mask policy after ruling (Albequerque Journal) -

Sep. 27 New U.S. travel rules close door on those fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V (Washington Post) -

Sep. 27 Vaccination Status Is the New Must-Have on Your Resume (Wall Street Journal)

Sep. 26 San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair returns with COVID safety protocols for 40K attendees (ABC 7 Bay Area) - "2021 has new rules for those wanting to express their sexual freedom and all things fetish. Proof of vaccination was required for entry along with masks."

Sep. 24 Northamptonshire: Schools in Covid hotspots bringing back masks (BBC) -

🆕 Johnson & Johnson Renegades

Aug. 10 They worry the Johnson & Johnson shot isn’t enough. A new study offers answers — and questions. (Washington Post)

Sep. 2 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines shipped from South Africa to Europe to be returned (Fierce Pharma) -

Sep. 8 People who got Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus shot feel left behind in push for boosters (Washington Post)

Sep. 13 If You Got the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine, Will You Get a Booster Shot? (Parade Magazine)

Sep. 13 Johnson & Johnson Slumps On Covid-19 Vaccination Concerns (Forbes) - "Shares of JNJ fell so quickly that its weekly chart is now negative."

Sep. 13 The J.& J. Conundrum (New York Times)

Sep. 23 Johnson & Johnson Regret (New York Magazine)

Sep. 23 This Is the Only COVID Vaccine That's More Effective Over Time, CDC Says | NEW DATA SHOWS THAT ITS PROTECTIVE POWER GETS HIGHER, NOT LOWER. (Best Life) - "According to the CDC's data, Johnson & Johnson's VE against symptomatic infection increases with time across all age groups up to 64 years old, as well as both before and during the new variant's spread."

Sep. 27 How effective is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Delta variant — and do you need a booster shot? (Ladders Career Advisors) - “This study collected data from March 1, 2020, through July 31, 2021, and found that the effectiveness of the vaccine did not diminish over the duration of the study, even after the Delta variant became dominant in the U.S.”

Sep. 24 Comparative Effectiveness of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccines in Preventing COVID-19 Hospitalizations Among Adults Without Immunocompromising Conditions — United States, March–August 2021 (CDC) -  

Sep. 24 TWiV 808: COVID-19 clinical update #81 with Dr. Daniel Griffin (This Week In Virology) - Calling Johnson & Johnson's the "red-headed stepchild" of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines at the 20:00 mark, Dr. Griffin cited studies of enormous population sample sizes compared to those of Moderna & Pfizer, showing a fraction of the antibodies. Added Griffin, "but somehow J&J works." Once the double-dose recipients of mRNA vaccines are authorized for third-dose boosters, Griffin asked rhetorically, "should that third dose be Pfizer? J&J? Moderna? I don't think that data's coming quickly."

Sep. 23 Those who got J&J -- including immunocompromised people who received the one-dose vaccine -- have largely been left out of the country's booster shot plans. (CNET) - CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen wrote that public health agencies should allow J&J recipients to receive a mix-and-match booster dose. The FDA, if and when it authorizes a booster shot for J&J recipients, likely will not bless the mix-and-match strategy.

Sep. 28 Johnson & Johnson Employee Tells "Project Veritas" On Hidden Camera: Children Don't Need The Vaccine (RealClearPolitics)

Unflattened Curves

Sep. 24 Costco again limits purchases of toilet paper and bottled water (CBS News) -

Sep. 28 U.K. gas pumps run dry as truck driver shortage causes supply chain chaos (CBS News) -  

Sep. 27 Photos From the Front Lines of the Battle to Save African Elephants (Sierra Magazine) - "With the pandemic wreaking such unprecedented havoc on the local economy due to the loss of tourist income, an increase in poaching was only to be expected. But rangers in Samburu were ready. After years of clashing with the Somali mercenary militias, the local rangers were well prepared for an increase in human-wildlife conflict."

Sep. 27 Cargo Piles Up as California Ports Jostle Over How to Resolve Delays | U.S. shipping operations remain clogged as ports, truckers and warehouses can’t find enough workers or agree on 24/7 operations (Wall Street Journal) -

Sep. 29 Covid: Travel industry workers set up online support networks (BBC)

Sep. 27 Surge of families seeking remote learning overwhelms L.A. public schools (Los Angeles Times) - Traditionally, only child actors and a few other categories used this system. Newcomer parents are expecting a specialized qualified teacher for each subject when they were never offered before.


Deceased: Primetta Giocopini, age 105. Woman who survived 1918 flu, world war succumbs to COVID (MSN) - "She had a hard life and her attitude always was ... basically, all Americans who were not around for World War II were basically spoiled brats” Giocopini's 61-year-old daughter told Associated Press. (Sep. 30)

Deceased: Tyler Gilreath, age 20. A devastating shock’: UNCW student brain dead due to COVID-19 complications, mother pleads for young people to get vaccinated (WBTV) - His mother said the harder she pressured him to get vaccinated the more he resisted, "he basically said to me, ‘mom, leave me alone. I can take care of myself.’” As a 60th birthday present to his mother, Tyler had agreed to get vaccinated after he got to Wilmington to start his Junior year. (Sep. 27)

Stevie Bruce, 30 Nurse in hospital with COVID dies while husband begged for help (WYFF NBC 4 Greenville, SC) - Stevie Bruce, 30, was a nurse on a ventilator, who needed an ECMO machine which that hospital didn't have, her husband said. "We were actually trying to have kids, and we were having some fertility issues, and we were recommended against it until we did some more tests," he said. (Sep 20)

Death by suicide: Riley Christiansen managed long COVID, age 18. What killed Riley Christiansen? Bay Area teen’s suicide follows bout with COVID and starting college in pandemic lockdown (Oroville Mercury-Register) - "Beset by short-term memory issues, Riley quit his new job busing tables because he didn’t remember working the night before. In hindsight, his comments to friends and family in the weeks leading up to his death show his increasing distress over changes in his mood and personality." (Sep. 27)

See also the countless faces documented by US HCWs Lost to Covid19 @CTZebra, Young and Severely Affected by Covid-19 @SusanSchutte2 and School Personnel Lost To Covid @LostToCovid.


Section includes emergent information with divergent viewpoints as well as misinformation. Read carefully.

Sep. 29 'I bought a fake health pass … and then I caught Covid-19’ (France 24) - "A few weeks after having bought the health pass, Lexa, who thanks to the document had finally been able to resume her long-missed gym workouts, was suddenly hit by vertigo.”

📊 Sep. 29 What Happens When the World's Most Popular COVID-19 Dashboard Can't Get Data? (Time) - An articulate data map accompanying this article shows varied drops in frequency at which each U.S. state now reports to the channels mined by the Johns Hopkins COVID dashboard team.

Sep. 27 "We still don't know the mechanism for the rare cases of vaccine-induced myocarditis. John Campbells's point of aspirating the syringe, to be sure the needle is not in a vein, and the data he provides here, shouldn't be dismissed" (Twitter.com/EricTopol) [TracingCOVID editor’s note: the notion of insufficient syringe aspiration having any correlation, positive or negative, to myocarditis is disputed by many doctors.]

✨ Sep. 24 It’s the Boosters, Stupid | In a climate of fear, the strict “follow the science” path is not one the Biden administration can afford to take (Medium.com / Donald McNeil Jr 1954) - From top to bottom, this is a must-read article by the New York Times' fired health reporter Donald McNeil Jr. on the political and emotional history of all vaccines, through a lens of US aid. "I’m not surprised that the highest-tech vaccine-makers are reluctant to share their tech with local companies they do not oversee. It’s not just about patents and profits. Vaccines are much harder to maintain quality-control on than drugs. As Moncef Slaoui, the former head of Operation Warp Speed, said: 'if you just look at a bioreactor wrong, you can ruin the whole batch.'"

Sep. 27 The ‘Forever Virus’ Won't Go Away Until Kids Get Vaccinated (Wired) - Larry Brilliant said, "I’m over 75 and a first responder. I don’t think of it as a booster. I think of it as the third of what should have been articulated as a three-shot dose." 

Aug. 5 Fomites and the environment did not have an important role in COVID-19 transmission in a Brazilian mid-sized city (Nature) - In this study's abstract, "secondary transmission" refers to surface transmission through fomites a.k.a. droplets fallen onto surfaces, whereas "primary transmission" means inhalation of circulating aerosols. While primary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been proven in peer-reviewed studies, this study "is a small piece indicating the possibility that fomites and the environment do not have an important role in COVID-19 transmission." The authors added that "further studies are necessary to better understand the world scenario."

Sep. 20 Demand for fake COVID-19 vaccine cards on the rise (CBS KUTV) - "The U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently discovered multiple shipments containing over 3,000 fake vaccine cards all bound for different United States cities." “Here in Utah, 2News Investigates state documents and found a Utah pharmacist lost his license for giving a woman a COVID-19 card without administering the vaccination. In state records, he defended himself saying he was giving the woman ‘a choice.’”

Sep. 24 New Yorkers warned about risks of using fake COVID vaccination cards (Albany ABC 10) - It could land you in jail.

Sep. 25 A Canadian COVID-19 study that turned out to be wrong has spread like wildfire among anti-vaxxers | Study falsely showing 1 in 1,000 risk of heart inflammation after mRNA vaccines 'weaponized' online (CBC)

Sep. 21 COVID, Sinclair Broadcasting and changing job roles: 5 recent studies on the state of local TV news | Research explores how local TV news affects public perceptions of pandemic protocols, the rise of national coverage on local TV news and changes in how local TV journalists do their jobs. (The Journalist's Resource)

Sep. 24 Fact-check: Does the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine kill more people than it saves? (Austin American-Statesman)

Sep. 28 Clinical trial testing Ivermectin, two other drugs against COVID open for signups (FOX 8) - The clinical trial at Duke University appears to be real. Whether its funders were victims of misinformation or are surrendering to misinformation-induced demand is left as an exercise to the viewer.

Oct. 10, 2020 Meet the ‘News Avoiders’ Not Watching the Amy Coney Barrett Hearings (The Daily Beast) - Three scholars in this article are co-authoring a book on the growing trend of total avoidance of news consumption.

Beyond the Scope

Sep. 29 Coronavirus latest: Beijing Winter Olympics to only admit spectators from mainland China due to Covid measures (Financial Times)

Sep. 29 Covid has made biotech companies the hot new tech sector as investor demand drives record IPOs (CNBC) - The iShares Biotechnology ETF, which tracks the biotech industry’s biggest players, has surged roughly 62% over the last two years compared to a 47% rise in the S&P 500.

Sep. 27 America’s pandemic is now an outlier in the rich world | Its daily toll of excess deaths is greater than in all other high-income countries combined (The Economist) -

Sep. 27 Vaccination Status Is the New Must-Have on Your Resume (Wall Street Journal) - "A third of hiring managers surveyed said they were automatically eliminating résumés that don’t spell out vaccine status."

Sep. 26 "One thing that allowed me to get through the worst and most isolating times early on was the prospect of an end. That allowed me to remain serene. But then the goal posts kept getting further and further away, and it’s not as easy." (Twitter.com/RaySuarezNews)

Sep. 26 Alabama lawmakers weigh using virus funds to build prisons (Associated Press) -

Sep. 23 Biden Administration Steps in After DeSantis Withholds Salaries of School Board Members Who Took Covid Seriously | Alachua County Public Schools received $147,719 in federal dollars to make up for funds the state’s Republican governor has withheld as punishment for defying him (Rolling Stone)