Sunday, December 31, 2023

As 2023 Holidays Dawn, Face Masks Have Settled in as the Occasional Feature at US Stores; This COVID Study has been Tracking Immunity for 3 Years. Now It's Running Out of Money, and other C-Virus related stories

As 2023 holidays dawn, face masks have settled in as the occasional feature at US stores:
The scene: A crowded shopping center in the weeks before Christmas. Or a warehouse store. Or maybe a packed airport terminal or a commuter train station or another place where large groups gather.
There are people — lots of people. But look around, and it’s clear one thing is largely absent these days: face masks.
Yes, there’s the odd one here and there, but nothing like it was three years ago at the dawn of the COVID pandemic’s first winter holidays — an American moment of contentiousness, accusation and scorn on both sides of the mask debate.
As 2023 draws to an end, with promises of holiday parties and crowds and lots of inadvertent exchanges of shared air, mask-wearing is much more off than on around the country even as COVID’s long tail lingers.
The days of anything approaching a widespread mask mandate would be like the Ghost of Christmas Past, a glimpse into what was.
Look at it a different way, though: These days, mask-wearing has become just another thing that simply happens in America. In a country where the mention of a mask prior to the pandemic usually meant Halloween or a costume party, it’s a new way of being that hasn’t gone away even if most people aren’t doing it regularly.
“That’s an interesting part of the pandemic,” says Brook --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File
This COVID study has been tracking immunity for 3 years. Now it's running out of money:
A long-running study into COVID-19 immunity has unearthed promising insights on the still-mysterious disease, one of its lead researchers says — but she's concerned its funding could soon dry up.
The Stop the Spread project, a collaboration by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa, has been monitoring antibody responses to COVID-19 in hundreds of people since October 2020.
For the first 10 months of the project, about 1,000 people sent in monthly samples of their blood, saliva or sputum — a mixture of saliva and mucus — for analysis.
The researchers then winnowed that group to about 300 and kept following them as vaccines were developed and new variants emerged.
While there are other longitudinal COVID-19 studies underway, Stop the Spread is notable because it launched so early in the pandemic that some participants hadn't even fallen ill yet, said Dr. Angela Crawley, a cellular immunologist with OHRI and one of the project's co-investigators.
That gave them access to cells and plasma untouched by the COVID-19 virus — a unique baseline, Crawley said, from which they've since tracked changes in immune responses and antibody levels.--->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

U.S. Population Growth Continues Slow Recovery From Pandemic

Americans are lonely and it’s killing them. How the US can combat this new epidemic.

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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