Discover more from COVID-19 Policy Update
Covid-19 Policy Update #651
CDC Simplifies COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations: Via the CDC.
"Following FDA regulatory action, CDC has taken steps to simplify COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and allow more flexibility for people at higher risk who want the option of added protection from additional COVID-19 vaccine doses."
"CDC’s new recommendations allow an additional updated (bivalent) vaccine dose for adults ages 65 years and older and additional doses for people who are immunocompromised. This allows more flexibility for healthcare providers to administer additional doses to immunocompromised patients as needed."
"Monovalent (original) mRNA COVID-19 vaccines will no longer be recommended for use in the United States."
"CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 years and older receive an updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they previously completed their (monovalent) primary series.”
Individuals ages 6 years and older who have already received an updated mRNA vaccine do not need to take any action unless they are 65 years or older or immunocompromised."
"For young children, multiple doses continue to be recommended and will vary by age, vaccine, and which vaccines were previously received."
"A study of more than 600,000 people in British Columbia, Canada, links COVID-19 and a higher risk of diabetes more than 30 days after diagnosis, concluding that infection may have led to 3% to 5% excess diabetes cases."
"A total of 608 COVID-19 survivors (0.5%) were diagnosed as having new-onset diabetes, compared with 1,864 uninfected participants (0.4%). The rate of incident diabetes per 100,000 person-years was significantly higher in the COVID-positive group than in the COVID-negative group (672.2 vs 508.7 incidents)."
The Terrible Truth: Current Solutions to COVID Learning Loss Are Doomed to Fail: Margaret Raymond in The 74.
White House: Susan Rice, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, is stepping down. A potential replacement could be senior adviser Neera Tanden.
"My highest priority is establishing ARPA-like activities in IES."
"Further, we are determining how to construct a portfolio that balances short- versus longer-term investments and constructs a mix of projects with various risk profiles. One path we are likely to follow involves launching a set of "seedling" projects. Using this approach, we would launch multiple small projects (maybe a dozen) at perhaps $200k each. These seedlings would have a fixed period (less than a year) to achieve a set of agreed upon goals; the most successful would be eligible for future rounds of funding (a practice like our SBIR program). We are considering how to best incorporate a focus on scaling in these later rounds of funding, perhaps modeled on ARPA-E's SCALEUP program."
"We recently launched a NAEP Math Automated Scoring Challenge to predict the scores for open-ended math items, which are more challenging for computers, and, ironically, easier for humans. But we have roughly 250,000 student responses to 10 NAEP questions, so there's a lot of data for sophisticated modeling approaches. We are working on releasing both the reading and math datasets under restricted use data licenses for broader research use and are investigating other NAEP datasets for Writing and Civics that hold promise."
2024 Elections: Via Politico: "Doug Sosnik, a senior adviser to Bill Clinton for six years at the White House digs deeper into what he and others have been calling “the diploma divide,” and it offers an excellent preview of the 2024 House, Senate and presidential elections. Read his full memo and slides"
“As a result of these economic and cultural trends, politics now has a class-based architecture where cultural affinity now surpasses voters’ narrow economic self-interests."
“This educational sorting has made the vast majority of states no longer politically competitive. It is the battleground states in the middle — where education levels are neither disproportionately high nor low — that will decide the 2024 presidential election.”
Biden's COVID Vaccine Rule for Federal Contractors Was Valid: US court rules.
WHO Issues Initial Omicron XBB.1.16 Risk Assessment: Based on the assessment, the WHO on Apr 20 said it elevated XBB.1.16 from a variant under monitoring to a variant of interest.
"So far, no changes in severity have been reported. XBB.1.16 doesn't seem to come with additional health risks compared to XBB.1.5, but it may become dominant in some countries owing to its growth advantage and immune escape properties."
New Data Show Safety of Pfizer COVID Vaccine for Teens Ages 12 to 17: Via CIDRAP.
"From May 2021 to May 2022, 15,493,807 adolescents ages 12 to 17 years received at least one primary dose of BNT-162b2, and 172,032 (1.1%) enrolled in v-safe. The median age of participants in v-safe was 16 years, 54.6% were girls, 62.7% were White, and 73.4% were non-Hispanic or non-Latino."
"Most adverse events were mild; among events reported to VAERS, 91.5% were nonserious. Among adverse events of interest, the authors verified 40 cases of multisystem inflammation syndrome in children (1.2 cases per million vaccinations), of which 34 (85%) had evidence of prior COVID-19 infection. They also confirmed 570 cases of myocarditis (17.7 cases per million vaccinations), 77% of which involved symptom resolution at the time of report."
"The authors conclude that the vaccine is safe for this age-group, noting that the risk of cardiac disease after COVID-19 infection may be two- to sixfold higher than after vaccination."
The Heightened Risk of Autoimmune Diseases After Covid: Via Eric Topol: "There are three large cohort studies that provide strong support of the “substantially increased risk of developing a diverse spectrum of new-onset autoimmune diseases.”
Chinese Censorship Is Quietly Rewriting the Covid-19 Story: Via the NYT: "Under government pressure, Chinese scientists have retracted studies and withheld or deleted data. The censorship has stymied efforts to understand the virus."
Dogs Were Highly Accurate In Detecting COVID-19 In Schools: "Scent-trained dogs detected COVID-19 infection with 83% sensitivity and 90% specificity in nearly 3,900 screenings at California K-12 schools in spring 2022, according to a research letter published today in JAMA Pediatrics." More via CNN.
"The researchers said their study differed from other COVID-19 dog studies in that the canines screened people rather than samples. "Our method was associated with improved testing efficiency but had a modest decrease in sensitivity and specificity compared with laboratory results."
"While modifications are needed before widespread implementation, this study supports use of dogs for efficient and noninvasive COVID-19 screening and could be used for other pathogens," they concluded."
California: "A California district attorney announced Monday he will investigate “any and all wrongdoing” in the Stockton Unified School District after state auditors highlighted millions of dollars of possible fraud in board members’ use of pandemic stimulus funds."
Florida: Via Kristen Panthagani: "Previous drafts of Florida’s vaccine analysis tell a very different story."
New York: "Enrollment in New York City's public schools, the country's largest school district, dropped by 8.3% from 2020 to 2022, according to a fiscal watchdog funded by the city."
North Carolina: "A new analysis of North Carolina test results from the 2021-22 school year shows that students made significant strides from the previous year in recovering instructional time lost to the COVID-19 pandemic."
"The new report shows that in some grades and subjects measured in 2020-21 with the most time needed to recover lost ground, recovery time was cut by almost half. The 15 months needed for recovery in Math 1 after 2020-21, for example, was cut to nine months after 2021-22; the 10 months needed in sixth-grade math was reduced to less than five months after 2021-22; the 14.5 months of recovery time needed in biology was cut to 8.25 months."
"Provide parents with more timely information about their child’s achievement on state exams."
"Insist on strong quality measures for state-administered tutoring and summer school grants, while prioritizing programs that serve older students and those from less-advantaged communities."
"Require schools to use evidence-based curricula and support implementation through reimbursements for high-quality instructional materials and professional development."
"More effectively allocate state dollars to support low-income students through more accurate identification."
Pennsylvania: "It is impossible to save all positions': Woodland Hills looking at cuts as COVID relief funding ends"
Texas: "Dallas Hybrid Preparatory's enrollment has increased since it became the state's first hybrid public school in 2021, and now several pieces of proposed legislation could mean more money for virtual and hybrid campuses."
"In terms of student performance, the school’s hybrid system has been successful, scoring a 91 in both student achievement and school progress in Texas Education Agency accountability ratings. It also allows students to have flexible schedules in order to pursue passions like sports or the arts."
Why the Banking Mess Isn’t Over: Via WSJ.
"For hundreds of smaller banks, the likely solution will be to reduce lending. “What’s going on nationwide is every one of these banks has either frozen their loan-to-deposit ratio or, more likely, is very intent on shrinking it,” said former Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on a call hosted by investment-banking advisory company Evercore ISI this month. “That is why a lot of small and midsize businesses in this country are getting a phone call saying, politely, ‘At the end of the year, we are not going to be able to give you a loan anymore, or we’re going to reprice your loan.’”
Student Access to Teletherapy Skyrockets As Schools Combat Youth Mental Health Crisis: Via Chalkbeat.
"Thirteen of the nation’s 20 largest districts have added teletherapy since the pandemic began."
"This does eliminate barriers,” said Nirmita Panchal, who’s written about the growth of tele-mental health in schools for the nonprofit KFF, which conducts health policy research. “There are definitely some challenges, but big picture, we do see the advantages in linking students who otherwise wouldn’t have care into care.”
“It’s not for everybody, but for those students and parents who want that, it’s been fantastic,” said JaMaiia Bond, who oversees student mental health services for Compton’s schools in California, which started offering teletherapy through Hazel Health this school year."
"The San Francisco-based company has become the top player in providing teletherapy to the nation’s largest school systems. By this fall, Hazel will be working with half of the country’s 20 biggest districts."
School-Based Healthcare Can Address Children’s Unmet Health Needs: Models, Evidence, and Policies: Via the Hunt Institute.
Electoral Advocacy: Social Change Through Political Strategy: New report from 50CAN and FutureEd.
Bill Gates Talks Learning Recovery, AI and His Big Bet on Math: Via The 74.
“There is a gigantic upside in improving our public education system, both economically and in terms of equity,” Gates said. “But the country’s not falling apart as much as you might think.”
"The shortcomings of the U.S. education system are clear in terms of the inequity you end up with: the kind of jobs, salaries, mobility you’d like to see in society. Education is the great enabler of mobility, and we’re falling short on that. In fact, the U.S. economy has done relatively well because there are so many factors that enter into it, including the ability of the U.S. to draw very talented people from the entire world. But I think the predictions that this is going to hurt us in the long run are true, and we’d be further ahead if we were running our education system as well as we’d like to."
The AI Revolution: Google's developers on the future of artificial intelligence. Really good 60 Minutes segment.
The emergent properties discussion at the 12 min. mark is particularly important.
She Literally Did a Cartwheel: On the way to first base.
Why Women Live Longer Than Men: This might be a contributing factor.