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Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant, 36, Dies From COVID-19

USA TODAY reported:

Maurice “Reggie” Shepperson, a native New Yorker whose brightly colored pants earned him the nickname Skittles during training in 2014, tested positive for the coronavirus in early July and had been fighting it in a hospital for a month, according to Marcia Hildreth, a Southwest flight attendant who called him her best friend.

He was on a ventilator and died early Tuesday, his mother, Dawn Shepperson, told USA TODAY.  A nurse told her it was from COVID-19.

Shepperson, 36, was fully vaccinated, his mother and Hildreth said. He loved to fly and took every precaution, wearing a mask, constantly washing his hands, sanitizing surfaces and wiping everything down in hotel rooms, Hildreth said.

Singapore Teen Who Had Heart Attack After Vaccine Dose To Receive $225,000

Yahoo!News reported:

The 16-year-old teenager who suffered a heart attack six days after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for a one-time financial assistance of $225,000.

This will be provided under Singapore’s Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP), said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (16 August) in a press statement.

Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections After Vaccination Can Lead to Long-Haul Symptoms, Israeli Study Shows

USA TODAY reported:

Nearly 3% of medical workers in a new Israeli study contracted COVID-19 even though they were vaccinated, and 19% of them still had symptoms six weeks later.

Although the vaccines were never expected to be perfect, the findings raise questions about their protection and suggest that even vaccinated people could experience long-term symptoms such as such as fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said he finds it concerning – though not conclusive – that people had lingering symptoms weeks after getting sick.

Study Suggests Lambda Variant Could Evade COVID-19 Vaccine Protection

Fox News reported:

While the Delta variant ravages much of the U.S., driving up cases and hospitalizations mostly among the unvaccinated, another variant known as Lambda is devastating parts of South America, and scientists now worry it could neutralize or evade antibodies generated by vaccines.

In a not-yet-peer-reviewed study published on July 28 on bioRxiv by researchers in Japan, researchers said the Lambda variant currently driving cases in 26 countries — including Chile, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador — is proving to contain as much viral material as the delta variant, thanks to a similar mutation.

U.S. Mulls COVID Vaccine Boosters for Elderly as Early as Fall

The Associated Press reported:

Warning of tough days ahead with surging COVID-19 infections, the director of the National Institutes of Health said Sunday the U.S. could decide in the next couple weeks whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to Americans this fall.

Among the first to receive them could be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans.

Dr. Francis Collins also pleaded anew for unvaccinated people to get their shots, calling them “sitting ducks” for a Delta variant that is ravaging the country and showing little sign of letting up.

Link Between Wildfires and COVID Cases Established

The Harvard Gazette reported:

Thousands of COVID-19 cases and deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington between March and December 2020 may be attributable to increases in fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) from wildfire smoke, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study is the first to quantify the degree to which increases in PM2.5 pollution during the wildfires contributed to excess COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. It will be published online Friday in Science Advances.

One Family’s Tragedy From a Breakthrough COVID Case: ‘It Is Very Imperative That We Still Mask Up’

CBS News reported:

As the Delta variant sweeps across the country, research shows it is extremely rare for people to get COVID-19 after receiving a vaccine – so-called “breakthrough cases” – leading to hospitalization or death.

According to the CDC, 99.9 percent of Americans who have been vaccinated do not get seriously sick if they contract COVID; breakthrough cases make up less than 1% of all COVID cases. Of the more than 168 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated, 1,587 have died of COVID; that’s about 0.0009% of all vaccinated people.

While it is extremely rare for a vaccinated person to die of COVID, for the families of those who are part of that rare group, it’s devastating.

How Do Vaccinated People Spread Delta? What the Science Says

Nature reported:

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.

Europe Eyes Arthritis Drug for COVID-19 Cases

U.S. News & World Report reported:

The European Medicines Agency has started an accelerated review process to determine if a common arthritis drug might help people hospitalized with severe COVID-19, months after the drug was granted an emergency use authorization in the U.S.

In a statement Monday, the EU drug regulator said it was assessing an application to extend the use of tocilizumab for adults suffering from severe coronavirus in the hospital, who were already being treated with other steroids or required extra oxygen, including via a ventilator. Tocilizumab is an anti-inflammatory drug currently used to treat adults and children with severe arthritis.

As Interest in COVID-19 Vaccines Waned, Thousands of Doses Went to Waste in Missouri

The Kansas City Star reported:

Missouri vaccine providers have thrown away more than 81,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations, according to data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The reasons vary. Initially, vaccines tended to go to waste as a result of handling issues, broken syringes or vials that ended up with unused doses at the end of the day.

In recent weeks, some providers said that a drop-off in people looking to get vaccinated resulted in doses that expired or couldn’t be used after they thawed too long in anticipation of demand for shots that didn’t materialize.