Complexities of COVID-19 manufacturing

Getting from a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to scaling to manufacture these vaccines for billions of people is far from simple: Manufacturing mRNA vaccines for the first time in a very short timeframe required significant innovation and remains a technically challenging endeavor. The process proved to be technically challenging as Pfizer developed a 50,000 step process.…

COVID-19 in California: An update

A few updates on COVID-19 from where I am living. First while we see a dramatic decline in COVID-19 infections and deaths, there is a fair amount of regional variation within California. The Sacramento Bee reports that: The average number of new COVID infections reported each day dropped by an astounding 98% from December to…

COVID-19’s collateral deaths

People are not just dying from COVID, but the quarantine’s–while necessary–did exacerbate mental health issues for many individuals. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. This American Life‘s had a recent episode showing how isolation likely accelerated the downward spiral of the narrator’s grandmother, who suffered from dementia. The Alzheimer’s…

COVID-19 vaccination update

This weekend I received my second COVID-19 vaccine. While I certainly feel lucky to live in a country with ample vaccine supply, other countries are not so lucky. Let’s take a look at the numbers from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. These numbers are updated through May 2, 2021. First, you’ll see that…

Excess deaths due to COVID-19

Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and US Census Bureau, Woolf et al. (2021) find: Between March 1, 2020, and January 2, 2021, the US experienced 2 801 439 deaths, 22.9% more than expected, representing 522 368 excess deaths…The excess death rate was higher among non-Hispanic Black (208.4 deaths per 100 000) than non-Hispanic White…

COVID-19 and racial disparities

On the eve of Martin Luther King Day, let us take a quick look at the impact of COVID-19 by race/ethnicity. CDC reports rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. One can see that cases are higher for most minorities (except Asians) relative to Non-Hispanic Whites, but hospitalizations and deaths are much higher for all…