Covid-19 spring 2022 Extra Credit Blog Assignment According to some, we are in t

Covid-19 spring 2022 Extra Credit Blog Assignment
According to some, we are in the midst of a 5th surge in this pandemic while some are saying 6th (supposedly depends on how we count the surges or waves). Regardless, more than 2 years into the pandemic, we are not out of “the woods” yet and we don’t know exactly what the future will bring as this coronavirus keeps mutating (evolving). We do now have some effective tools and knowledge at our disposal to help mitigate the effects of the virus infection or to help limit its spread amongst the community. However, to a good extent, both of those require buy in from the community at large. I know already you have been boostered and you have been diligently coming to class wearing face masks, even when not fully mandated to do so on CUNY campuses since mid-spring.
So, where do we go from here? I am sharing with you some website URLs at the end to give you somethings for you to reflect upon and maybe consider some things you have not thought too much about before. Most of the articles are relatively short and fairly easy to read through. It will be up to you do decide which points to tackle in this extra credit assignment. Like the Discussion Board assignments, it is designed to be somewhat open ended. This entry though should probably be at least 200-300 words and these should be your own words please. I want to hear your thoughts. And you may want to respond to your class mates entries. I will be looking for that too.
i) NYC and other areas of the country have started testing wastewater for COVID -19 virus utilizing molecular biology techniques (some useful info. might be found in Ch. 9 of the text also). Is this something sensible for the government to do money-wise? Time-wise? Is it useful to continue tracking the development of new variants? And the rise and fall of current or past variants in a community?
ii)Each variant seems to be more and more transmissible making it harder for us to attain an effective percentage of herd immunity. Two years ago the scientific community talked about needing to reach a level of 70% level from a combination of immunity from vaccination and/or infection. Now we are talking about maybe needing upwards of 90% (in the vicinity of what is needed to curtail measles outbreaks from becoming epidemics). Mostly we have been focusing on protective antibody levels as a tracker of herd immunity; however, we know antibodies in the bloodstream (and tissues) do wane with time and this seems to be a particularly problematic situation with some of the Covid-19 variants (protective antibody production is particularly short-lived, i.e. not particularly durable). And we have been hearing about how these new variants have been increasingly able to evade immune detection by antibodies.
Now that you have gone through Ch 16 and 17, you have some idea as to what is going on here when it coming to how we develop a humoral response. You also learned something about memory cells and clonal expansion as well as about cell-mediated immunity (CMI), which can be a very important aspect of the immune response against virus infections. I am sharing a short article with you about T cell immunity and Covid-19, which up until now has not been that carefully monitored when it comes to COVID-19 infections. As we move forward, do you think the CMI response to Covid-19 is going to be much more critical in the future than the humoral response in protecting us? Something to consider is what people are saying about how the different variants generate protective immune responses vs. responses from natural infection. Should we be encouraging people to continue getting vaccinated? Boostered? How about trying to become infected with Covid-19 deliberately? How about development of an omicron specific vaccine? Or a vaccine directed at a more conserved sequence on the spike protein or another viral protein?
iii)The US government (Congress) is considering adding more funding to so as to be able to continue providing free vaccination, free medications, free testing, etc. in the U.S. and to some extent, to support the vaccination efforts in poorer countries. How do you feel about the government spending more money for US efforts? How about money for other countries?
iv)How do you feel about face mask mandates and vaccine mandates being employed again outside of the CUNY campuses in the future if deemed necessary? I know you have been wearing them in class, if though they have not been required for the last couple of months. How about outside of campuses? Do you encourage your family and friends to wear face masks under situations where they are indoors and outdoors in large crowds (especially when vaccination status is not known). Are you encouraging family and friends to become vaccinated or boostered if they are not yet?
Some useful data to consider: New York State has 77.7% of the population fully vaccinated but the percentage of boostered individuals is considerably less. With NYC, the most current stats are: at least 1 dose, 87%; fully vaccinated at 78%; additional booster at 38%. And it should be noted that adults including those 65 or older are vaccinated at a considerably much higher rate than children, 5 yr or older. And of course, the vaccination levels vary considerably across the country.
Program Overview (of NYC wastewater testing program)
Can we use the sewers to track COVID-19? NYC is still figuring it out
Got a Covid Booster? You Probably Won’t Need Another for a Long Time
Congress could finally pass a Covid bill. They’ll soon have to do it all again.
Amid signs of Covid’s 6th wave, more US areas may see mask recommendations
New York City could bring back Covid mask mandate, vaccine checks if hospitals come under pressure

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