Connecting our world at UW Medicine

COVID-19 News Update for Jan. 7, 2021

Data Snapshot  

UW Medicine Hospitals:  

COVID-19 Positive Inpatients Jan 7 2020

King County: The county reported 487 new positive cases and 7 new deaths on Jan. 6.  

Washington: The state reported 250306 cases and 3,605 deaths as of Jan. 5.  

United States: The CDC reports 20,960,096 cases and 356,005 deaths as of Jan. 6.  

Global: WHO reports 85,509,194 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,868,622 deaths as of Jan. 7.  

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

UW Medicine COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update 

Total Vaccinated: 15,506
·       Employees: 12,427
·       Community Members: 3,079 

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. 5, 2021 

  • Mutations in three main epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) affect neutralizing activity of convalescent serum. Mutations occurring at the E484 site had the biggest average effect with a >10-fold reduction in serum neutralization in some donors. The impact of specific viral mutations on neutralization varied substantially across individuals and within the same individual over time, with no mutation completely eliminating neutralizing activity. More. 
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis that included 126 studies and surveys showed COVID-19 vaccine acceptance declined from >70% in March 2020 to <50% in October 2020. More. 
  • SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly in a detention facility in Louisiana. A cohort of detained persons who were tested using PCR on nasal swabs had a 78% cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. 89% of persons in one dormitory who were negative upon initial testing were later found to have detectable virus. More. 
  • A laboratory experiment simulating a reduced occupancy classroom suggests that room ventilation up to 10 air exchanges per hour would not reduce infection probabilities below 1% in the context of SARS-CoV-2 exposure via airborne transmission for over an hour, but the addition of face coverings with moderate to high filtration efficiency used by all individuals could reduce infection probabilities to 0.1% or <0.01%. 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. 6 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report. 
Listen to the latest podcast: Dec. 30 | COVID-19 LST Podcast. 

UW Medicine in the News  

Geekwire: What you need to know about the newly detected, more contagious COVID-19 variant 
Featuring: Deborah Fuller, Microbiology, Trevor Bedford, Genome Sciences 
In a final parting shot, 2020 delivered this bit of late-breaking bad news: A new variant of COVID-19 has emerged that appears more contagious and last week was confirmed in one man in Colorado and another in California. The strain — known scientifically by letter and number jumbles including SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01, 501Y.V1 or B.1.1.7 — was first detected in the United Kingdom in late September. By November it was the most dominant form of the virus among people infected in Southeast England, which includes London. Another variant that shares some of the same mutations has been found in South Africa and is also spreading. It emerged independently from the UK strain. While the news isn’t welcome, experts say it’s also not a shocker. ‘This is what viruses do. They try to evolve to enhance their own replication and transmission rates, said Deborah Fuller, a professor of microbiology in the University of Washington’s Department of Medicine. It’s not surprising at all.’ With more than 85 million reported COVID infections worldwide, there are hundreds of existing novel coronavirus variants. But the ones that gain attention are those that spread more rapidly. 

Healio: Could a single-dose vaccine strategy be more beneficial in COVID-19? 
Featuring: Ruanne Barnabas, Anna Wald, Allergy & Infectious Diseases 
“In an Ideas and Opinions article, Ruanne V. Barnabas, MBChB, MSc, DPhil, associate professor in global health and medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Anna Wald, MD, MPH, professor and head of the allergy and infectious diseases division at the University of Washington School of Medicine, proposed a plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution that would maximize the health benefits for each dose of the vaccine. They noted that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have demonstrated efficacy in COVID-19 prevention after the first dose of the vaccine but before the second in both, with a small group of participants showing an efficacy of 52% after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and an efficacy of 51% at 14 days in the Moderna vaccine. ‘Currently, 3 million doses of vaccine are being shipped throughout the United States, with an equal number being held back to maintain sufficient supply for the second dose,’ they wrote. ‘We propose that priority should be given to providing a single dose to as many people as possible, rather than emphasizing the two-dose vaccination.’ Barnabas and Wald noted that single-dose COVID-19 vaccination would help accelerate pandemic control, as vaccine coverage would be doubled using a single dose vaccine rather than a two-dose regimen. This is because, they said, even a lack of complete protection from a vaccine could lower effective reproductive numbers enough to stop endemic growth. Additionally, they wrote that a single-dose strategy that provides effective protection to as many people as possible as soon as possible is more ethical, as it makes distribution more just.” 

KIRO 7:Feds consider cutting Moderna vaccine doses in half, UW researcher reacts 
Featuring: Ali Mokdad, IHME 
“While Moderna released data that shows half a dose can be as effective as a full dose, it is still in Phase 2 of the clinical trial. Mokdad says this is not the time to skip steps. ‘To cut corners right now on a protocol that has been proven through a clinical trial and science and we have built in a vaccine, to come and change it right now is dangerous,’ said Mokdad. ‘Everyone in the world is watching us. If we fail in this vaccine it will backfire on us.’ Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke out against changing doses on Meet the Press. ‘The idea about stretching it out so you can get more people, that’s if you have not enough vaccine and a lot of people lined up waiting to get a vaccine. That’s not our problem now. We have vaccine, we need to get it into people’s arms.’ In Washington, more than 80% of the vaccine delivered to the state still has not been administered, making it a distribution problem as well as a supply problem. Mokdad worries that if the FDA approval process is not followed, it will impact trust in all vaccines. He worries it could keep parents from vaccinating their children in the future. He says the idea of splitting doses is a distraction. Instead, he says the U.S. should be focused on getting the Astra Zeneca vaccine approved. The U.S. ordered more than 300 million doses, and that will help protect the most people from COVID-19.”

Tweet of the Week   

Recent Posts

UW Medicine COVID-19 Update Jan. 15, 2021

A message from John Lynch about COVID-19 vaccines, roadmap to recovery and COVID-19 variant strains.

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines for Employees

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine distribution, logistics and safety.

COVID-19 News Update for Jan. 14, 2021

UW Medicine COVID-19 inpatient numbers, local to global epidemiology, research, news and the tweet of the week.

Where Do We Go From Here?

A website in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, recognizing members from our own community who have committed themselves to lives of service.

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Recruiting Study Participants

Various studies from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine are seeking participants.