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COVID-19 News Update for Jan. 19, 2021

Data Snapshot  

UW Medicine Hospitals:  

COVID-19 Positive Inpatients Jan 18 2021

King County: The county reported -292 new positive cases and -9 new deaths on Jan. 17.  Please note that on Jan. 17 the WA State Department of Health resolved a duplication issue that removed 950 duplicate records for positive cases from their data system, this correction resulted in decreased counts of positives, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Washington: The state reported 277,404 cases and 3,903 deaths as of Jan. 16.  

United States: The CDC reports 22,740,142 cases and 379,255 deaths as of Jan. 13.  

Global: WHO reports 93,956,883 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,029,084 deaths as of Jan. 19.  

*Numbers update frequently, please follow links for most up-to-date numbers.

UW Medicine COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update 

  • First dose: 27,236 
  • Second dose: 5,841 

COVID-19 Literature Report  

COVID-19 Literature Situation Reportis a daily (M-F) newsletter put together by the Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness that provides a succinct summary of the latest scientific literature related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Takeaways: COVID-19 Literature Situation Report Jan. 15, 2021 

  • A more highly transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2, lineage B.1.1.7, has been confirmed in 76 cases in the United States as of January 13, 2021. Models suggest that this variant has potential to drive a new phase of exponential growth in cases in the US, and that even if vaccination protects against infection, substantial transmission of the variant will continue until it becomes the dominant strain. More. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic could result in to 3 to 4 times larger reductions in life expectancy for Black and Latino populations in the United States compared to the reduction in life expectancy among white people. More. 
  • Women hospitalized for childbirth with confirmed COVID-19 were younger, more often Black and/or Hispanic, and more often had diabetes or obesity compared with pregnant women without COVID-19 in the US. More.

COVID-19 Literature Surveillance Team, is an affiliated group of medical students, PhDs and physicians keeping up with the latest research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 by finding the newest articles, reading them, grading their level of evidence and bringing you the bottom line.

Read the latest report: Jan. 18 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report.
Listen to the latest podcast: Jan. 11 | COVID-19 LST Podcast. 

UW Medicine in the News  

The Stand: I’m a Union leader and a Black woman. Here’s why I got the COVID-19 vaccine.
Featuring: Sherronda Jamerson, Mental Health Practitioner Clinical Specialist, Harborview 
“On Jan. 2, I received my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I’m a Mental Health Practitioner Clinical Specialist at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where I’ve worked for the past six years. I currently sit on the Harborview Ethics Committee and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. I’m also the president of AFSCME Local 3488. As a Black mental health care provider and union leader, I have gained the trust and respect of many in my workplace and in the community. As a leader, I’ve never asked anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do. I know people are scared. Being fearful is to be expected. The truth about my experience has produced curiosity and hope for those who are skeptics about the vaccine.”

The Seattle Times: Are new coronavirus variants already in Washington? With limited surveillance it’s hard to know 
Featuring: Lea Starita and Trevor Bedford, Genome Sciences; Pavitra Roychoudhury and Alex Greninger, Laboratory Medicine 
“As mutated versions of the novel coronavirus pop up across the U.S. — including at least one that is more contagious — researchers in Washington say surveillance in the state is falling short of what’s needed to quickly spot new variants. While Washington is doing better than many other states, only about 1.7% of viral genomes has been sequenced since the start of the pandemic. In December — when the new variants began to explode across the U.K. and other countries — more than 70,000 people in Washington tested positive, and fewer than half a percent of those cases have been sequenced so far. Public health, academic and industry scientists who are preparing a recommendation for the incoming Biden administration say an effective program would sequence viral genomes from at least 5% of positive cases, looking for mutations that could make the virus more transmissible, more virulent or resistant to vaccines, said Lea Starita, a research assistant professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington and Brotman Baty Institute. It’s likely at least one of the variants is already in the state and just hasn’t been detected yet due to the low level of sequencing, she added. That means health officials are largely flying blind at a time when new forms of the virus could be spreading silently. ‘With anything like this, you want to be able to put out the fire before it gets too big,’ Starita said. ‘If you can’t see the fires starting, you might be in big trouble.”’

Refinery 29: If I Had COVID-19, Should I Still Get Vaccinated? 
Featuring: Paul Pottinger, Allergy & Infectious Diseases 
If you currently have COVID-19, the CDC emphasizes that you should wait to receive your vaccine until you’ve quarantined, aren’t feeling sick any more, and have met the CDC guidelines for coming out of isolation. And once you recover from COVID-19, you may want to wait 90 days before getting the shot, the agency adds, stating: Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Therefore, people with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.’ Ultimately, whether you decide to wait is up to you — but if you decide to hold off, you should definitely get the vaccine once your 90-day window is up, notes Paul Pottinger, MD, a professor specializing in infectious disease at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Although, until this point, the vaccine rollout has been slow going; you may not be eligible to receive the shot within that 90-day time frame anyway. 

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