"Weekly Coronavirus Questions"

This forum is to discuss general things concerning TSOI.
trader32176
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Re: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions"

Post by trader32176 »

Can a Microwave Kill Coronavirus Particles on Food?

https://www.healthline.com/health/does- ... oronavirus


Many of us use microwaves to warm or prepare food. In fact, according to a publication by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 90 percent of homes in the United States have at least one microwave.

During the coronavirus pandemic, much attention has focused on how to effectively kill the coronavirus on various surfaces. Because of this, you may have wondered if a microwave can kill coronavirus that may be present on food.

Overall, the answer to this question is maybe. Read on to learn more about microwaving, coronavirus, and safe food practices during the pandemic.

Does microwaving food kill the coronavirus?

The answer to whether microwaves can kill the coronavirus is currently maybe. Let’s take a deeper dive into this topic.

What temperature kills the coronavirus?


You may be familiar with the concept of safe minimum cooking temperatures. This is the minimum internal temperature that a food needs to be cooked to in order to kill germs that can cause illness, such as bacteria and viruses.

For many types of food, the safe minimum cooking temperature is 165oF (74°C). However, this may be lower for some food types.

Studies have looked at temperatures that can kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in both laboratory mediaTrusted Source and on N95 respirators. They found that a temperature of 70oC (158oF) could kill the virus. The amount of time needed to achieve this varied by surface.

Based off of this information, can heating food to above 158oF (70oC) in a microwave kill the coronavirus? Let’s tackle this topic now.

Microwaves and coronavirus

Microwaves work by producing radio waves that are transmitted into the device at a specific frequency. These waves are absorbed by water molecules in the food, causing them to vibrate rapidly. These rapid vibrations produce the heat that cooks the food.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), microwaves can be used to disinfect materials that are microwave-safe. They note that a home microwave may completely kill germs within 60 seconds to 5 minutesTrusted Source.

However, the total amount of time that this may take depends on the specific type of germ. The amount of power and time needed for microwaves to effectively kill SARS-CoV-2 is unknown at this timeTrusted Source.

Additionally, there can be variations across different microwaves. Some may not cook at the same strength or in the same way. For example, the CDCTrusted Source warns that home microwaves may not cook with an even distribution.

This means that there could be areas of food where germs aren’t completely killed. Think of all the times you’ve tried to reheat leftovers and found that there are still cold spots in the food.

Viruses vs. bacteria


Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot grow (replicate) inside of food. They’re parasites that need a living host cell in order to make more of themselves.

Because of this, we focus on viruses that are present on the outside of food as opposed to the inside of food. Studies have evaluatedTrusted Source how long SARS-CoV-2 can be found on various surfaces, including some common food packaging materials:

plastic: between 3 to 7 days
cardboard: up to 24 hours
glass: up to 4 days
paper: up to 4 days

According to the CDCTrusted Source, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported due to handling of food or food packaging. While disinfecting foods or food packaging is unnecessary, always wash your hands after handling these items and before eating.

Is it safe to order and eat takeout food?

The pandemic has hit the restaurant industry particularly hard. That’s why ordering takeout food from your favorite restaurant is a great way to support them during this time. However, you may be wondering if ordering takeout is safe.

SARS-CoV-2 is mainly spread through the air. You can contract it if you breathe in respiratory droplets that are made when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes, or talks. Because of this, ordering takeout is relatively low-risk.

Takeout food handling tips

When you receive your takeout food, follow these steps to be sure that you’re handling it safely:

Use your own utensils to carefully transfer the food from its packaging and onto a plate or tray.
Promptly dispose of all food packaging, washing your hands thoroughly after doing so.
Use your own eating utensils and napkins instead of those that were provided with the takeout order.
Wash your hands again before eating.
After you’ve finished your meal, clean your plates and eating utensils or place them in the dishwasher. Then, wipe down the table or countertop that you ate on.

If the restaurant offers contactless curbside pickup, consider using this service. This will help limit the number of individuals, such as delivery people, that come into contact with your order.

Can microwaves kill other types of germs or bacteria?

As we touched on earlier, the microwave can be used to kill a variety of germs on microwave-safe surfaces. This may take seconds to minutesTrusted Source, depending on both the type of germ and the microwave.

However, remember that microwaves can vary in how much power they have and in how thoroughly they heat foods. Because of this, it’s important to check that food items are cooked to the proper internal temperature before eating them.

Kitchen sponges, germs, and microwaves

You may have heard of microwaving kitchen sponges to kill the germs on them. Indeed, a 2006 studyTrusted Source found that a home microwave at full power killed test bacteria and viruses on kitchen sponges in a matter of minutes.

However, it may be a good idea to just toss an old kitchen sponge. This is due to a study from 2017Trusted Source that evaluated the bacteria present on and in kitchen sponges.

The researchers found that regular sanitation of kitchen sponges, such as by microwaving or boiling, actually increased the number of certain types bacteria that are more resistant to sanitation.

Why you shouldn’t microwave masks or books

You may have seen information about using microwaves to disinfect N95 respirators or other personal protective equipment (PPE). It’s true that scientists continue to studyTrusted Source this as a potential decontamination method for PPE.

However, it’s important to avoid microwaving your masks at home. This is because masks can contain materials that aren’t microwave-safe, such as cloth and metal. In fact, it’s possible your mask could catch fire in the microwave!

According to the CDCTrusted Source, reusable cloth masks can be cleaned in your laundry or by hand. The combination of warm water and laundry detergent can kill the virus. Disposable face masks need to be thrown away after each use.

Books are also a fire hazard in the microwave. Because cleaning a book with a disinfectant wipe can damage it, consider quarantining a book for a few days before using it. If you need to use the book sooner, wash your hands after handling it.

Takeaway

Microwaves can kill different types of germs, such as bacteria and viruses. This can include SARS-CoV-2, although we don’t yet know what power and time settings are needed to achieve this effectively.

Additionally, remember that microwaves can differ in strength and how well they heat food. Because of this, germs in some parts of the food may not be killed.

Overall, the risk of contracting COVID-19 from food or its packaging is very low. However, it’s always important to practice good food safety measures in order to prevent becoming sick with a foodborne illness.
trader32176
Posts: 1755
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions"

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I've had my Covid-19 vaccine -- now what can I safely do? Your questions answered

2/3/21


https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/03/health/a ... index.html


The day has finally come. You've received the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine currently on the Western market -- Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca.
Does that mean you're free to go about life as you did before the pandemic once immunity kicks in?

Sorry, there is no immunity passport yet, experts told CNN. There are still safety precautions you need to follow in order to keep you, your loved ones and everyone else safe and protected from the deadly coronavirus.
Read on for answers from the experts on top questions such as when can you stop wearing a mask, eat inside a restaurant, travel, go to sporting events and concerts, and freely visit friends and family.

Can I please stop wearing a face mask?


Let's "face" it: The answer is no.
Try to think of a face mask as your new best friend, one that you plan to cherish and appreciate for a good, long time. Here are five reasons why.

1) It's not 100% protection. Even the best of the currently available vaccines only offer up to 95% protection when you are fully immunized. That means there is a 5% chance you can catch the novel coronavirus at any time.
Think that sounds small? Let's compare that risk to birth control: Pills, patches, vaginal rings and shots are 91% to 96% effective. Yet that translates to nine women becoming pregnant for every 100 women on each of those forms of birth control, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

2) Everyone's different.
Some people are going to mount more robust immune responses to both rounds of the Covid-19 vaccination than others. That's one of the key reasons experts are insisting everyone receive the second shot of the vaccine within a key time frame.
"In looking at the Phase 1, Phase 2 data, what I saw with a single dose is some people had high levels of virus-neutralizing antibody, others were nonresponders," said vaccine scientist Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, in a prior interview.
"So the major reason for the second dose is to get everybody to respond. If you just get a single dose, you don't really know where you stand," Hotez said.

Remember, it can take two to three weeks after you get the second shot before your immunity fully kicks in.

3) A moving target. As is typical with viruses, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating around the world -- creating variants that are proving to be more contagious than those the US is currently battling.
Experts are already warning that antibodies from a prior case of Covid-19 won't protect against being reinfected with a variant from South Africa.
"If it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicate that even if you've been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday. "Previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection."
There is also a possibility that the current vaccines won't fully protect against the new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. That's being studied feverishly right now, so stay tuned.


4) You could be a silent spreader.


Remember "Typhoid Mary" Mallon?
She was an Irish immigrant who worked as a cook for New York families and refused to believe she was an asymptomatic conduit for typhoid fever because she remained healthy. Refusing to cooperate with authorities, Mallon contaminated at least 122 people in the 1880s, leaving five dead, before she was caught and quarantined twice for a total of 26 years.
That scenario could apply to Covid-19.
"We don't yet know whether being vaccinated means that you're no longer a carrier of coronavirus. That is, fully immunized people may still be able to spread Covid-19 to others," said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

"It's possible that someone could get the vaccine but could still be an asymptomatic carrier," Wen said in a Q&A for CNN. "They may not show symptoms, but they have the virus in their nasal passageway so that if they're speaking, breathing, sneezing and so on, they can still transmit it to others."
5) Will immunity last? Researchers don't yet know just how long the immunity given by the current vaccines -- such as it is -- will last. There is a possibility that booster doses may be needed in the months or years to come. That's not uncommon -- adults need tetanus and diphtheria boosters every 10 years.
So until more is known about how long the protection lasts -- and against which variants -- stay safe and protect others by wearing a mask.

When can I hang out with friends and family?

That depends on everyone's vaccine status, experts say. If friends or other members of your family have also received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, the risk is greatly reduced, especially if the visit is outdoors.

"It's probably pretty safe to see others who were also vaccinated, after everyone gets both doses and waits a few weeks," Wen said.
It would also be safe if the unvaccinated friends or family members or friends quarantined for 10 days before the outdoor get-together.
However, if the visit is indoors, "there is going to be some level of risk," Wen said, especially with the current spread of more contagious variants and the less than 100% efficacy of today's vaccines.
"That risk will be much lower than if you were not vaccinated, but the risk is still going to be there to you, and you could still be a risk to the unvaccinated members of your family, as you could be an asymptomatic carrier who transmits to them," Wen said.
"If you really want to spend time with the grandkids indoors, the safest way to do this is still for everyone to quarantine for at least 10 days and lower their risk during these 10 days," Wen said. "Quarantining for seven days and a negative test is an option too, but everyone also has to do the quarantine — a negative test alone is not enough."

And again, just because you've been vaccinated, that doesn't reduce your responsibility. You should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing whenever you are around others.
"You wouldn't want to engage in activities where you could potentially acquire the novel coronavirus and then transmit it to others," Wen said.

"That includes seeing other people who are vaccinated, but not wearing a mask — based on what we know now, they could have the virus and pass it onto you, and you could pass it onto the people you live with. An abundance of caution is still a good idea."


When can I eat at an indoor restaurant or go to a concert or sporting event?


Indoor restaurants are likely hotspots for Covid-19 transmission. That's partly because no one is wearing a mask while they eat, thus spreading their respiratory droplets around as they socialize.

The other reason? Most restaurants do not have HEPA filters or other filtration equipment on their circulation systems, leaving the air poorly ventilated and a prime breeding ground for virus spread. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding "poorly ventilated spaces."

"I think the 6 feet indoors is not enough by itself," said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, who has been studying Covid-19 transmission.
"You have to have good ventilation in that bar or restaurant," said Marr, the co-author of a paper on airborne transmission of Covid-19 via very small droplets called aerosols.

However, even a HEPA filter wouldn't make environmental engineer Marr feel comfortable eating inside a restaurant. In order for the filter to protect you, the virus-laden air would have to pass through the air handling system and be filtered first before it gets to you, she said.
So even with a second vaccine, you're still taking a chance that you might be exposed to Covid-19 and become a silent spreader.

But won't the typical 6-foot spread between tables or booth partitions do the trick?

"I think the 6 feet indoors is not enough by itself," said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, who has been studying Covid-19 transmission.
"You have to have good ventilation in that bar or restaurant," said Marr, the co-author of a paper on airborne transmission of Covid-19 via very small droplets called aerosols.
However, even a HEPA filter wouldn't make environmental engineer Marr feel comfortable eating inside a restaurant. In order for the filter to protect you, the virus-laden air would have to pass through the air handling system and be filtered first before it gets to you, she said.
"HEPA filters reduce the amount of virus in the background air, but most transmission takes place in these close contact type of scenarios where you're near someone that's infected and they're spreading lots of virus. The HEPA filter doesn't help with that," she said.
"And since I can't wear a mask while I'm eating, I'm just avoiding indoor restaurants until this is over," Marr said.

What about fun things to do, such as concerts and sporting events?

"Once vaccinated, an outdoor sporting event or concert is probably safe, if there is good social distancing between households and everyone is wearing masks," Wen said. "Indoor, crowded gatherings are probably still best to avoid even if you're vaccinated."



Can I travel if I've been vaccinated?


"I want to emphasize that now is not the time to be traveling period, internationally or domestically, it's just not a good time to be traveling," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC's new director, in a CNN global town hall last week.

And that applies to people who have already been vaccinated, added Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser.

"Getting vaccinated does not say now I have a free pass to travel," Fauci said at the CNN global town hall. "Nor does it say that I have a free pass to put aside all of the public health measures that we talk about all the time."
"I mean, if you absolutely have to travel and it's essential, then obviously, one would have to do that. But we don't want people to think because they got vaccinated, then other public health recommendations just don't apply," Fauci said.
trader32176
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Re: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions"

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Coronavirus FAQs: If I Have No Post-Vaccine Pain, Is It Working? Plus: Goat Dilemma!

2/12/21


https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... at-dilemma


I got my COVID-19 vaccine and didn't feel any pain after nor experience any symptoms. Could it be that it didn't work?

Our experts agree: If you received your two doses of COVID-19 shots and made sure to follow up with your second dose on time — within 28 days after your first prick for the Moderna vaccine or 21 days for the Pfizer option — you really shouldn't worry.

Current trials show that post-injection symptoms vary significantly among individuals who've received the vaccine, so how you feel after the shot isn't a litmus test for whether or not the immunization worked.

In other words, it's possible to receive a (perfectly-administered) vaccine and suffer no symptoms whatsoever. Just "consider yourself lucky," says Harvard Medical School physician Abraar Karan.

So the idea that our physical responses can tell us if a vaccine worked is a misconception. "The fact that [an individual] did not see a reaction is not a reason to believe that their body did not develop an appropriate response that will be protective," says Jonathan Runstadler, a professor at Tufts University's Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health. Especially, he adds, as our bodies' tendency to react to a vaccine "varies a lot between individuals and the individual's circumstances, like where the needle went into the [patient's] arm or where in the arm the shot was deposited."

But there are some obvious red flags in vaccine administration that should be pretty easy to notice — for example, Karan says, if you see lots of liquid from the tip of the needle squirting out before it even enters your skin. Then, of course, it might be a good idea to alert the nurse or doctor.

The by-and-large wisdom here, the doctors concur: You're probably fine if you've gotten the shot. But it never hurts to stay vigilant — at all stages of the process.

When my mom got her shot, the nurse told her she had to get it in her arm in two minutes – or else the vaccine would expire! Now my mom is worried that she could have gotten an expired dose.

Every vaccine has a shelf life, explains Dr. Hana El Sahly, associate professor of molecular virology, microbiology and medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "Vaccine administering facilities have to abide by those windows of time because the vaccine is tested for stability at this room temperature and it doesn't stay good forever."

For the COVID-19 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, you have 6 hours from the time the vial is punctured. After that, El Sahly says, "the vaccine will no longer be stable, and its biologic effect will vary after that."

However, if you're anywhere within that window, there is no cause for concern.

"All it takes is five seconds to get it in the arm," El Sahly says. "Two minutes to me sounds good!"

And if it took three minutes for someone to roll up their sleeve? Sadly, the vaccinator wouldn't have a choice.

"Throw it away," she says.

It's important to note that being injected with an expired vaccine wouldn't be cause for safety concerns. The concern would be that it might not be as effective in preventing infection with the coronavirus.

Which vaccine should I get?

Right now, the two licensed vaccines in the U.S. – Pfizer and Moderna — are so close in efficacy, and so scarce, that the vast majority of us would be thrilled to get either. But what if a vaccine with less efficacy is approved?

The advice doesn't change, says Ravina Kullar, an infectious disease expert and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America: Get whatever you're offered first. "When you are given the opportunity to get the vaccine, get that vaccine," she says. If, when your turn comes, it's not Moderna or Pfizer, remember that the FDA's efficacy goal was over 50% effective. "It's phenomenal that they're all over 50%," Kullar says.

Another way to look at it: Consider what could happen if you don't get it, Kullar says. "COVID is so prevalent right now that people's risk of getting it if they exit their house is very high."

Do I need to do any blood work first?


Dr. El Sahly and Kullar have the same answer:

No.

What if I've had a different vaccine recently? Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, but wait two weeks first, say Dr. El Sahly and Kullar.

"It is generally recommended to wait 14 days between the other licensed vaccine you received for your health and your COVID-19 vaccine," El Sahly says.

The other day I wore my mask in the grocery store but then kept it on as I drove home because I didn't want to touch it without washing my hands first. I took a deep breath while driving and it caused me to wonder: If I had walked through a cloud of virus and it was stuck to my mask, was I sucking it through the mask closer to my nose and mouth with every breath I took? Is it important to take masks off as soon as you can, or does the virus get stuck and stay there?

Once a virus particle gets blocked by your mask, "it's pretty stuck there," says Linsey Marr, a researcher at Virginia Tech who has spent years studying airborne virus transmission. Marr says it's possible that you might potentially loosen some particles if you were to say, flick or disturb the mask in some way while taking a sharp breath in, "but I imagine that would be rare."

So the importance of taking off your mask as soon as you can would be more for your own comfort. But do remember to take off the mask by handling the ear loops, head ties or headband – and avoiding touching the front of the mask. Because any virus particles your mask stopped would be stuck on the front, so you wouldn't want to get those on your hands. It's also good practice to wash or disinfect your hands after removing your mask.

I was wondering if it is safe to cuddle baby goats during COVID?


It would be a private cuddle session, so only my household, but the goats might cuddle other people that same day. I figured "Goats and Soda" may be able to help!

Sterling news for the cuddling baby goats industry: If you're generally careful, do a private cuddle-sesh and follow all the usual pandemic precautions — it's a go!

"In the general sense, it's safe to do," says Jonathan Runstadler, who studies how emerging viruses transmit in animal hosts at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

To understand the mechanics of why that's the case, Runstadler points to two possible transmission pathways which might cause COVID-19 to move from an animal to a human, particularly in the goats scenario — both of which are pretty low risk.

The first risk is the chance that the adorable goats contract COVID-19 themselves (oh heavens no!) – maybe from another group of people who played with them – and transmit the virus to an unlucky bunch of cuddle-loving humans.

But while COVID-19 has been detected in animals — a handful of documented infections of cats and dogs, some infected tigers at the zoo and minks in mink farms — Runstadler says it's "really unlikely" for transmission to happen directly from animal to human, based on what current studies are showing.

Even though some cases of animal to human transmission have been documented, particularly in the case of high-intensity mink farming, it's usually not a huge risk.

A bigger concern, says Dr. Douglas Kratt, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, is the possibility that an infected person could expel viral particles onto the animal's fur, which could then be picked up by humans who pet the animal. Runstadler agrees.

In technical terms, this is the route of fomite – or surface-level – transmission. That is a higher risk than direct goat-to-human transmission through airborne particles. But experts agree it's still pretty low in the grand scheme of things. Especially because studies show that the virus does less well at spreading via surfaces than through the air.

Plus, the fur of a goat might have an advantage over other surfaces here: "There's some work that shows that the virus can be picked up much less frequently from organic surfaces," Runstadler says. "So, for example, the hair of a goat."

Runstadler says there's a "low possibility" of infection happening this way. But the risk is certainly not nonexistent. The best thing to do is follow all of the typical guidelines to prevent infection when you go to cuddle the goats, and the risk will likely be "negligible," Dr. Abraar Karan says.

"I would wear a mask and wash hands, and use hand sanitizer after playing with the goats," Kratt says. "Practice social distancing [with other goat-cuddlers] and try not to touch your face or eyes before washing your hands."

And perhaps this is a good time to pivot away from the pandemic and share another bit of goat advice from those lazy, hazy days before the pandemic. If a goat eats poison ivy (and they can with no ill effect) and you drink that goat's milk — no worries, it won't give you a rash!
trader32176
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Re: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions"

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Coronavirus FAQs: Mammograms, Vaccine Ingredients ... And Dogs Who Sniff Masks

February 19, 2021


https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... niff-masks


I'm eligible for the COVID vaccine and due for a mammogram. Which should I do first?


Definitely do both, says Dr. Lars Grimm, associate professor of radiology at Duke University. But if you can, schedule the mammogram either before the vaccine or 4-6 weeks after the second dose, in keeping with new recommendations from the Society of Breast Imaging.

That's because swollen lymph nodes are both a common side effect of the vaccines and can also be a marker of early breast cancer, he says — especially when lymph nodes on only one side are swollen.

"It can be the only sign we see," he says, noting that a mammogram often detects swelling that a person wouldn't notice. Of course, other things cause lymph nodes to swell, such as colds – swollen nodes shouldn't cause anyone to jump to the conclusion that they have cancer. But "when we see one, it triggers us to work it up and figure out what's going on," Grimm says.

And as soon as people started getting vaccinated, breast radiologists started noticing a big uptick in the number of women with swollen lymph nodes on one side of their body. They started asking patients whether they'd had the vaccine recently. Now he and his colleagues see vaccine-related swollen lymph nodes every day. The day we talk to him, two of the three patients he'd seen that morning had shown swollen lymph nodes on one side.

The good news? Most people can adjust their vaccine and mammogram schedules accordingly. Even if you can't, Grimm encourages you to pursue both. Worst case scenario? "They might ask you to come back and take more pictures and make sure it's resolved," he says. "It's a pretty low-key thing."

I've heard that the ingredients in the COVID vaccines are dangerous. Even if this is a rumor, I'd love to know what's actually in there!


Anti-vaccination groups have historically propagated false information about the ingredients in vaccines, and the COVID vaccine is no exception. We asked Richard Kennedy, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Vaccine Research Group, to explain exactly what each ingredient in the two vaccines licensed in the U.S., Pfizer and Moderna, vaccines does:

mRNA:
This is the only "active" ingredient in the two vaccines, i.e. the ingredient that provokes the desired medical response. mRNA (messenger-RNA) is a short stretch of RNA that tells cells to make a protein," Kennedy explains, in this case the now-famous spike protein we've all seen so many pictures of. That's what triggers the immune response. And it's similar to the mRNA that's floating around in our cells all the time, he says.

Vaccine critics have raised concerns that these vaccines could enter a cell's genome, and cause unexpected problems. For that to happen, the vaccine mRNA would have to enter a cell nucleus, and according to data from the manufacturers, it doesn't. Even if it did, many scientists say the possibility of an mRNA entering nuclear DNA is low.

The mRNA is identical in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Lipids: "Normally your cells don't like foreign RNA, so they vaccine manufacturers have tweaked it to be stable," Dr. Kennedy says. Manufacturers needed to make the mRNA last several hours in your cells, giving the vaccine time to make enough protein for your body to respond to.

One way they've done that is by adding lipids, molecules made from fats that don't dissolve in water. . Both vaccines contain a variety, including cholesterol and polyethylene glycol-2000 (affectionately known as PEG2000) and some "alphabet soup" molecules with names such as 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]. "Basically they act like little droplets of oil, and the RNA is floating inside," Kennedy says. This serves two purposes, he adds: It stabilizes and protects the RNA, and it helps the RNA get through the cell membranes .

Buffers: The Pfizer vaccine uses salts to maintain the right acidity inside cells. Moderna uses a mixture of mild acids and bases to do that.

These ingredients are commonly used as buffers in other injectable medicines, Kennedy notes. "They make sure that the pH of the vaccine matches the pH of your body and make sure that it won't damage cells when the liquid is injected."

Sucrose: Without an ingredient like sugar, water molecules form crystals that can act like razor blades. "So the sucrose blocks how those crystals form so they don't chop anything up," Kennedy says.

Saline solution: Most of the liquid in the vial is saline solution.

What's not in the vaccine, Kennedy notes, is any live or dead virus. And since these vaccines are made in machines, they're easier to keep sterile than other types of vaccines, which are made using living cells. While researchers aren't yet sure why a small percentage of people who get the vaccine experience allergic reactions, he says many people suspect it's that PEG2000 lipid, which is also found in everything from laxatives to cosmetics to toothpaste.

The bottom line? "The disease has a known mortality rate between 1 and 2 percent," Kennedy says. "If the vaccine were as dangerous as the disease, we should see 34,000 people dying from the vaccine every day."

My dog can't resist sniffing a discarded mask on the street. How risky is that?


Dog-walkers on oft-trodden streets know the perils of the fallen mask.

The good note here, explains Dr. Dana Varble, chief veterinary oficer of The North American Veterinary Community, is that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from such an encounter — both for you and your dog — is "extremely unlikely."

Preliminary research demonstrates that dogs are fairly resistant to infection, Varble says. And even if viral particles did get onto your dog's pelt or body, it would be difficult for you to contract the disease through surface-level, or physical, transmission. You'd have to touch the dog, pick up the particles from the fur and bring them to your eyes, nose or mouth.

Nonetheless, if you're eager to be extra safe — and to avoid a potential nightmare scenario arising from your dog's mask-sniffing escapades — there are a couple things you can do.

"For one, always have your dog on a leash," Varble suggests. "And take careful diligence to keep them away from strewn masks."

One idea is to look for dog paths or less crowded streets to walk your dog where litter is less or a problem. If you do see your dog sniffing on a mask, Varble says, usher them away from the area as quickly as possible. Do your best not to make contact with the mask directly.

In the worse-case scenario, you might need to use your hands to pull the mask out of your dog's mouth. You could carry disposable gloves for these occasions. But even then, Sonali Advani, an assistant professor medicine at Duke University, and Varble agree that your first priority should be to wash your hands with soap and water ASAP! And keep hands away from your face and mouth prior to washing.

Finally: "If you see your dog walk over a mask, something as simple as baby wipes can help to decontaminate fur and feet," Varble adds. "Just be careful around your dog's eyes, nose and mouth and wipe off feet and face softly."
trader32176
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Re: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions"

Post by trader32176 »

Coronavirus FAQs: What Are Mask Braces? What If I Get COVID After 1 Vaccine Dose?

2/26/21


https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... ccine-dose


With concerns rising about more transmissible variants, I've been reading a lot about double masking. But are there other ways to improve mask fit? What about mask braces and mask tape? And do I need to shave my beard?!


Two masks are better than one. That's what Dr. Anthony Fauci has said in the face of looming variants that are likely more transmissible.

The goal is to get a better fit when you're in potentially risky places – say, a crowded store. Anything you can do to improve the seal, especially around the nose creases, is helpful at keeping pathogens out of your personal air space, says Richard Corsi, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University.

But there's no one-size-fits-all solutions. "There's not one way that's better than another," says Sonali Advani, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University.

Try the various options and find one that's comfortable enough to sustain for the length of time you're out in a potentially risky environment.

Here's a closer look at some of the various options.

Mask tape: Similar to what's marketed as medical tape, "mask tape is kind of like a high-tech Band-Aid, says Corsi. It's sold at most pharmacies and online, of course. You can take one strip about 3 inches long and use it to tape your mask down to your skin where it meets your nose or use 3 smaller strips vertically to tighten the fit. "Anecdotally, my wife has used it, and the tape lasts and helps with the seal and fogging her glasses," Corsi says.

Mask braces: Virginia Tech researcher Linsey Marr has tweeted that these are very useful, although she warns that they look super dorky! You can buy these rubber fitters online, or you can make a DIY version with a template – first you have to purchase a sheet of rubber. Marr found a brace a bit tight to wear over a mask for a long time but also easy to tote with a backup mask you keep, say, in your car or bag. "It should greatly improve performance of my surgical mask, which was very leaky around the sides," she noted on Twitter.

There are also mask braces sold online, made of silicone and somewhat resembling the forboding mask worn by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. These braces would fit over a mask to seal it tighter to your face.

A close shave: In normal times, Corsi has a beard and mustache. But he shaved the beard when he realized it was interfering with his mask fit. "When you inhale, the air will go to the path of least resistance," he explains. "Facial hair creates a lot of air gaps to get right in. So it's really important to shave the beard if you want to be protected properly." Go for a clean shave anywhere the mask touches the face, he says.

If I contract COVID-19 after my first vaccine dose, what to do? Should I delay the second dose even if it meant going outside of the recommended time frame?

While there's controversy on the point, it's been shown that for two-dose vaccines, dose 1 does not offer the complete degree of protection as the combination.

In the case of the Pfizer vaccine, for instance, one study calculated efficacy after the first injection to be around 50%. That number shot up to over 92% after the second dose.

Meanwhile, it does take a few weeks for your body to start churning out antibodies after vaccination.

So you could in theory be exposed to the virus while you're in a clinic or pharmacy getting your dose. Or perhaps you get careless after dose one and drop some of your preventive measures — which, please, do not do this!!

Then what?

"If you contract COVID-19 after your first dose [of the vaccine], you should wait until you have recovered from acute illness and have cleared isolation guidelines [before getting vaccinated again]," says Abraar Karan, a Harvard Medical School physician.

Because there's a risk of infecting others, you shouldn't break your isolation prematurely to complete your vaccine sequence.

Sonali Advani, an assistant professor medicine at Duke University worries specially about risks to medical staff and front-line workers — beyond the usual dangers of spreading infection you'd carry by going anywhere at all with a case of COVID-19.

Plus, since you already have the infection ... there's really not such a huge rush to get the second installment of the vax.

One fortunate note: For the very few of us unlucky enough to find ourselves infected between vaccine doses, Advani points to new Centers for Disease Control and prevention guidelines: According to CDC, you can delay your second dose up to 42 days without sacrificing effectiveness.

Advani suspects that should be more than enough time for most to recover from a case of COVID-19, finish up needed isolation periods and get their second dosage within the vaccine window.

And to ensure that this doesn't happen to you, Advani emphasizes following all key COVID-19 preventive guidelines carefully after getting your first dose — distancing, wearing masks and washing hands often and well.

Does it matter if I get the second dose of my COVID-19 vaccine in a different arm than the first?

Our experts agree: No.

It really doesn't matter which arm you get your vaccine in, nor does it matter if you get each dose of the two-part Covid-19 vaccine in separate arms, they say. After all, it's still going into the same body.
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