Could Wearing Masks Prevent Covid Deaths
According to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, widespread use of masks could prevent nearly 130,000 of 500,000 COVID-related deaths estimated to occur by March 2021.
These numbers are based on an epidemiological model. The researchers considered, state by state, the number of people susceptible to coronavirus infection, how many get exposed, how many then become infected , and how many recover. They then modeled various scenarios, including mask wearing, assuming that social distancing mandates would go into effect once the number of deaths exceeded 8 per 1 million people.
Modeling studies are based on assumptions, so the exact numbers are less important than the comparisons of different scenarios. In this study, a scenario in which 95% of people always wore masks in public resulted in many fewer deaths compared to a scenario in which only 49% of people always wore masks in public.
This study reinforces the message that we can help prevent COVID deaths by wearing masks.
Can People Infect Pets With The Covid
The virus that causes COVID-19 does appear to spread from people to pets, according to the FDA. Research has found that cats and ferrets are more likely to become infected than dogs.
If you have a pet, do the following to reduce their risk of infection:
- Avoid letting pets interact with people or animals that do not live in your household.
- Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
- Walk dogs on a leash maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals.
- Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
If you become sick with COVID-19, restrict contact with your pets, just like you would around other people. This means you should forgo petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding with your pet until you are feeling better. When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick. If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with your pets and wear a face mask.
When Can Children Get The Vaccine
While children are less likely to develop severe disease and die from Covid-19, there are several reasons for ensuring that eventually there is a vaccine that is safe and effective for children. Although rare, some children may develop severe disease or die from Covid-19. Children have also developed a severe inflammatory syndrome, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Children may be important transmitters of SARS-CoV-2 and vaccinating them with a vaccine that reduces transmission could be important in controlling the pandemic. Finally, having a safe vaccine for children will build confidence towards opening up schools and learning centers for in-person educational processes.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are being studied in children as young as 12 years of age. These studies typically involve several thousand children, and not the tens of thousands studied in phase 3 trials in adults. Assuming the vaccines are safe and effective, the vaccines will be studied in younger and younger children. Studies of the Moderna vaccine in children 1 to 11 years of age may start soon.
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Mounting Evidence Suggests Covid Vaccines Do Reduce Transmission How Does This Work
Vaccination is likely to substantially reduce virus transmission by reducing the pool of people who become infected, and reducing virus levels in people who get infected.
11 May 2021 by Jennifer Juno and Immunity and Adam Wheatley
Since COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out across the world, many scientists have been hesitant to say they can reduce transmission of the virus.
Their primary purpose is to prevent you from getting really sick with the virus, and it quickly became clear the vaccines are highly efficient at doing this. Efficacy against symptoms of the disease in clinical trials has ranged from 50% to 95% , and similar effectiveness has been reported in the real world.
However, even the best vaccines we have are not perfect, which means some vaccinated people still end up catching the virus. We call these cases breakthrough infections. Indeed, between April 10 and May 1, six people in hotel quarantine in New South Wales tested positive for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated.
But how likely are vaccinated people to actually pass the virus on, if they do get infected? Evidence is increasing that, not only do COVID-19 vaccines either stop you getting sick or substantially reduce the severity of your symptoms, theyre also likely to substantially reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to others.
But how does this work, and what does it mean for the pandemic?
How Does Coronavirus Spread
The coronavirus spreads mainly from person to person. A person infected with coronavirus even one with no symptoms may emit aerosols when they talk or breathe. Aerosols are infectious viral particles that can float or drift around in the air for up to three hours. Another person can breathe in these aerosols and become infected with the coronavirus.
When people are in close contact with one another, droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes may land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into their lungs.
Transmission is less likely to happen outdoors, where air currents scatter and dilute the virus, than in a home, office, or other confined space with limited air circulation.
The risk of spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects is considered to be extremely low. According to the CDC, each contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of causing an infection.
The virus may be shed in saliva, semen, and feces whether it is shed in vaginal fluids isn’t known. Kissing can transmit the virus. Transmission of the virus through feces, or during vaginal or anal intercourse or oral sex, appears to be extremely unlikely at this time.
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What Do I Need To Know About Washing My Hands Effectively
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom before eating after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and after handling anything that’s come from outside your home.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- The CDC’s handwashing website has detailed instructions and a video about effective handwashing procedures.
Do I Still Need To Wear A Mask And Practice Physical Distancing After I Am Vaccinated
Yes. Until we substantially reduce community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and see hospitalizations and deaths dramatically decrease, we still need to wear masks and practice physical distancing even after vaccination. The vaccine is not 100% effective and we still do not know if someone who was vaccinated can develop asymptomatic infection and transmit the virus. Although the phase 3 clinical trials were designed to determine whether vaccinated individuals are protected against disease, it will also be important to understand whether vaccinated individuals are less likely to transmit the virus. This is likely but not ensured. If a vaccine not only protects against disease but reduces transmission, and continues to do so for many years, we are likely to reach a state of herd protection when masks and physical distancing will no longer be required. Herd protection is achieved when a sufficient proportion of the population is made non-infectious through vaccination or natural infection so that the likelihood of an infectious individual transmitting to a susceptible individual is very low.
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Could A More Lethal Variant Of The Coronavirus Emerge
Its possible, but unlikely. So far, the variants that are more resistant the bodys immune system, and therefore, can lead to more serious illness the gamma first detected in Brazil and the beta first identified in South Africa have not become dominant. Instead, it is the strains of the coronavirus that are more transmissible the delta first detected in India and the alpha first detected in England that account for most cases.
Q: At The Time Of Authorization What Information Was Available About Serious Adverse Events That Occurred During The Clinical Trial In Individuals 16 Years Of Age And Older
A: Serious adverse events, while uncommon , were observed at slightly higher numerical rates in the vaccine study group compared to the saline placebo study group, both overall and for certain specific adverse events occurring in very small numbers. These represented common medical events that occur in the general population at similar frequency. Upon further review by the FDA, these imbalances do not raise a safety concern, nor do they suggest a causal relationship to vaccination for the vast majority of reported serious adverse events.
Serious adverse events considered by the FDA to be plausibly related to the vaccine or vaccination procedure were one case of shoulder injury at the vaccination site and one case of swollen lymph node in the armpit opposite the vaccination arm.
No safety concerns were identified in subgroup analyses by age, race, ethnicity, medical comorbidities, or prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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What Are The Different Types Of Vaccines In Use Or In Development And Why Are There So Many
Several different types of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, are in use or in development. Many manufacturers around the world are working on this global problem. This means that there will continue to be different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and they may work differently in different people. Some are based on traditional methods for producing vaccines and others on newer methods.
Both of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization in the United States, manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, use one of the most novel approaches: The gene for the spike protein can be used directly as a vaccine in the form of DNA or messenger RNA .
One of the more traditional ways of making a viral vaccine is to inactivate the virus with chemicals, such as is done with the flu vaccine, inactivated polio or hepatitis A vaccines, so that the virus can no longer multiply. Several inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are in use, such as those produced by the Chinese vaccine manufacturers Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech, and others are in development. Other vaccines are based on just a part of the bacteria or virus, typically one or more proteins, such as the vaccines for whooping cough and hepatitis B virus. For SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that focus on a part of the virus, this means the spike protein on the surface of the virus. A protein-based vaccine produced by Novavax is being studied in a large trial in the United States.
Phase Two And Three Clinical Trials Vaccine And Placebo
The efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine was tested in about 44,000 participants aged 16 years and over where COVID-19 was already circulating in communities. About half of these participants were randomised to receive the vaccine and the other half received a saline placebo.
The trial looked at how many people got COVID-19 symptoms after they were vaccinated compared to how many got COVID-19 after getting the placebo.
Participants had two doses of the vaccine or placebo, getting their second dose within 19 to 42 days after their first dose. They were then closely monitored and evaluated for at least 2 months after their second dose.
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How A Gay Community Helped The Cdc Spot A Covid Outbreak And Learn More About Delta
It’s hard to prove that an infected vaccinated person actually was responsible for transmitting their infection to someone else.
“I have seen no one report actually trying to trace whether or not the people who were vaccinated who got infected are downstream and certainly only could be downstream of another vaccinated person,” Kedl says.
There’s new laboratory evidence supporting Kedl’s supposition. Initially, most vaccine experts predicted that mRNA vaccines like the ones made by Pfizer and Moderna that are injected into someone’s arm muscle would generate only the kinds of antibodies that circulate throughout the body.
But that might not be the whole story.
“I think what was the big surprise here is that the mRNA vaccines are going beyond that,” says Michal Caspi Tal, until recently an instructor at Stanford University’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and now a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
What Tal has found is that in addition to the circulating antibodies, there was a surprisingly large amount of antibodies in mucosal membranes in the nose and mouth, two of the primary entry points for the coronavirus.
How Do Vaccinated People Spread Delta What The Science Says
COVID-19 vaccines are effective against serious illness. But researchers are increasingly concerned about breakthrough infections driven by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/AFP/Getty
When early field data showed that vaccinating people cuts transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, researchers were cautiously optimistic. But they warned that many of those studies, although promising, took place before the fast-spreading Delta variant proliferated worldwide. Now, reports from various countries seem to confirm what scientists feared after the variant tore through India with alarming speed in April and May: Delta is more likely than other variants to spread through vaccinated people.
Data from COVID-19 tests in the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore are showing that vaccinated people who become infected with Delta SARS-CoV-2 can carry as much virus in their nose as do unvaccinated people. This means that despite the protection offered by vaccines, a proportion of vaccinated people can pass on Delta, possibly aiding its rise.
People who have a Delta virus and happen to have breakthrough infections can carry these really high levels of virus, and can unwittingly spread the virus to others, says David OConnor, a virologist at the University of WisconsinMadison.
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The Vaccinated Aren’t Sitting Ducks
“This is the first example where we can show that a local mucosal immune response is made, even though the person got the vaccine in an intramuscular delivery,” Gommerman says.
If there are antibodies in the mucosal membranes, they would likely be coating any virus that got into the nose or throat. So any virus that was exhaled by a sneeze or a cough would likely be less infectious.
Gommerman says that until now, it seemed likely that a vaccine that was delivered directly to the mucosal tissue was the only way to generate antibodies in the nose or throat.
“Obviously a mucosal vaccination would be great too. But at least we’re not sitting ducks,” Gommerman says. “Otherwise everyone would be getting breakthrough infection.”
Now, these studies by Gommerman and Tal have yet to undergo peer review, and some have already suggested that the antibodies they have described may not confer true mucosal immunity.
But there’s other evidence that a vaccinated person’s breakthrough infection may not transmit efficiently to others.
, an immunologist at the University of Washington, says a recent study from the Netherlands looked at how well virus from vaccinated people could infect cells in the lab.
Pepper says the answer was not well.
More studies are emerging that suggest there’s something different about the virus coming from a vaccinated person, something that may help prevent transmission.
Whats Required For A Vaccine To Be 100% Effective At Preventing Infection
In order to entirely prevent infection, vaccines would need to induce whats called sterilizing immunity, a type of immunity that prevents a pathogenin this case the coronavirusfrom infecting any cells. If the virus cannot infect cells, then the host cannot transmit it to others.
In a best-case scenario, all vaccines would provide sterilizing immunity, meaning they would protect against disease and prevent transmission. But in practice, most vaccines dont do this. The influenza, rotavirus, and pertussis vaccines, among others, can prevent serious illness from developing, but they dont reach the level of sterilizing immunity.
…The best thing you can do to prevent infectionand therefore transmission to loved ones and people in your communityis to get vaccinated.Jaimie Meyer, MD, MS, a Yale Medicine infectious diseases expert
The same is true for the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines. But studies of the real-world effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines suggest that they can substantially reduce the risk of infection.
And reducing infection is tied to reducing transmission. If youre not infected, you cant transmit, says Dr. Meyer. Vaccines prevent infection therefore, vaccines also prevent onward transmission.
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About Author: Lisa Coon
Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.
Vaccines Dont Always Prevent Infection
Fortunately, the vaccines have vastlyoutperformed expectations. For example, in 6.5 million residents of Israel, aged 16 years and older, the PfizerBioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 95.3% effective after both shots. Within two months, among the 4.7 million fully vaccinated, the detectable infections fell by 30-fold. Similarly in California and Texas, only 0.05% of fully vaccinated health care workers tested positive for COVID-19.
Vaccine developers often hope that, in addition to preventing illness, their vaccines will achieve sterilizing immunity, where the vaccination blocks the germ from even being able to get into the body at all. This sterilizing immunity means someone whos vaccinated will neither catch the virus nor transmit it further. For a vaccine to be effective, though, it doesnt need to prevent the germ from infecting an immunized person.
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