2023-02-23 General


This article says that Canada is giving $30M to the World Health Organization, mostly to support vaccine delivery in hard-to-reach areas.

This sounds like a lot, but the next article I read says that BC is giving the same amount — $30M — in one-time grants to arts events struggling to recover from COVID-19.

Health Care System

This paper from Canada says that in Q4 of 2020, 25% of a sample of Canadians said that they had difficulty accessing health care which they needed. Immigrants were 18% more likely than non-immigrants to have troubles; people with chronic conditions were 35% more likely to have trouble than those with non-chronic conditions. Older people had less trouble (probably because they have more current relationships with doctors); poorer people had more. There were big variations by province.


This preprint from Germany found that people with fatigue/post-exertional malaise had “fewer capillaries, thicker capillary basement membranes and increased numbers of CD169+ macrophages.”

COVID is not the flu, take #579523: this paper from Switzerland found that hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were 1.5 times as likely to die as patients hospitalized with influenza, and twice as likely if they hadn’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccination.

This paper from Germany found that rats that ingested a lot of alcohol formed many more ACE2 receptors — which SARS-CoV-2 uses to get into cells. It might be a good time to cut back on your drinking!

This preprint from Italy says that poorer sleep before infection leads to worse outcomes (more symptoms and longer recovery time) after a COVID-19 infection. (NB: They adjusted for age, gender, and weight, but not wealth. It could be that poor people get worse sleep and have crappier diets / exercise / health /etc. On the other hand, the study was done in Italy; I’m not sure they allow poverty there.)


This paper from Hong Kong found that people with asthma who got COVID-19 were, compared to people with asthma who did not get COVID-19, about three times as likely to develop worse control of their asthma, about 4.7 times as likely to need to increase medical interventions to regain control, and about 5.5 times as likely to lose the ability to control their asthma. (NB: Asthma isn’t generally considered part of Long COVID, but I use the Long COVID heading for any long-term effects.)

This paper from the UK compared surveys on Long COVID with electronic records. Among people who had both surveys and who had COVID on their electronic health records, 14% reported symptoms of Long COVID on the survey, but only about 5% had Long COVID on in their electronic records. The proportion was only a little higher for people who reported debilitating Long COVID symptoms. While it is possible that people were lying on the surveys, it seems much more likely that people got discouraged and/or didn’t have the energy to fight the system to get the care they needed.

The paper had some evidence for the latter hypothesis: white people were more likely to have Long COVID in their electronic record than non-whites. 🙁

This paper says that heart attacks and strokes are much less common after COVID-19 in people who have gotten a COVID-19 vaccination:


This paper with data from Zimbabwe found that 32% of pre-pandemic blood samples from two villages showed cross-reaction with all seven human coronaviruses (including SARS-CoV-2), presumably from past exposure to”common cold” coronaviruses. This could affect/have affected COVID-19 infection/mortality rates. (NB: This is part of why I say where papers or data came from: different populations have different genetic and environmental backgrounds, and that matters.)


This study from USA and Brazil found that they could find COVID-19 in the tears of (a small sample of) hospitalized positive COVID-19 patients. The tests were not very sensitive, only picking up about 20% of the positive cases. However, the mortality was seven times higher (if I’m understanding this right!) in patients who had COVID-19 in their tears, despite that group having dramatically lower comorbidities than the negative-COVID-in-tears-group.

As a side effect of their testing, they discovered that basically all of the hospitalized patients that they tested — with or without COVID-19 — had dry eyes! They suggested that there be studies on using artificial tears in hospitals.

Infections in hospitals are unpleasantly common; I wonder how much eye health has to do with that. When my eyes are dry, I tend to rub them more; rubbing eyes is a really good way to get any pathogens that are on your hands straight into your body.

This report from the USA found that requiring pre-departure COVID-19 testing reduces the the number of infected people entering the country by half. I can’t decide if I am impressed at how high that number is or at how low that number is.

This report from the USA says that in a pilot study of airplane wastewater of ~27 flights each from Netherlands, France, and UK, 81% of each country’s flights had at least one passenger with COVID-19. Again, I don’t know if I should be impressed at how high that number is or how low it is. (NB: commercial transatlantic flights generally carry about 250-400 people.)


This press release from Shionogi, the Japanese developer of Xocova(TM) says that COVID-19 patients who took Xocova did better than patients who did not:

  • They got over symptoms about 24 hours faster;
  • they tested negative about 29 hours faster;
  • they had about a 45% lower chance of getting Long COVID.

They did not study how effective it was at reducing hospitalization or death, alas.

This paper from the USA of people who did not get Paxlovid found that 26% had a symptom rebound at a median of 11 days. 31% had viral rebound (i.e. measured viral load went up). Most rebound was transitory, however.

This paper from the USA found that symptom rebound was higher in Paxlovid recipients (at 18.9%) than in controls (at 7.0%); viral rebound was also higher in the Paxlovid group (at 14.2%) than in the controls (at 9.3%).

Oh look! This study from the USA says that ivermectin still doesn’t do beans against COVID-19 in a developed country. (I have heard that some studies in countries which have a high prevalence of the type of parasites which ivermectin kills show that ivermectin is useful, but the consensus I hear is that’s because people do better if they don’t have parasites.)

Recommended Reading

This article talks about two possible ways to make mRNA vaccines less heat-sensitive.

This blog post covers microclots (one of the leading theories for what causes Long COVID) in great detail.