At just over one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, evolution of SARS-CoV-2 has generated viral variants that differ in their genetic sequence from the strain first detected in December 2019. Evidence is emerging about how these variants differ in their transmission characteristics, associated clinical symptoms, and vaccine efficacy. This document is a brief summary of published evidence about characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 variants that may impact the public health response, including transmission and response to vaccination.
This updated in-depth summary (previously released on December 21, 2020) is issued in response to new information that we received about updated definitions of aerosol particles that show that larger respiratory particles (<100 μm) can remain airborne for extended periods, and that in enclosed areas with poor ventilation, these aerosols containing infectious SARS-CoV-2 can spread beyond 6 feet and build up in a room. We apologize for not including this information in the earlier version of this summary.
How Widespread is Mask-Wearing in Washington? UW Study Aims to Find Out, Starting in King County (includes Judith Wasserheit and Brandon Guthrie)
By Sandi Doughton Seattle Times staff reporter
We’ve all noticed that fellow shopper at the grocery store with a mask snugged over his mouth — but not his nose. Maybe you’ve also got a neighbor who tugs her mask down to talk. Or perhaps you’ve detoured around groups of barefaced teenagers jostling each other in a park.
Results to appear in Open Forum Infectious Diseases show hydroxychloroquine does not keep people from developing COVID-19.
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Jake Ellison, UW News
When a vaccine to fight COVID-19 has been approved by the FDA for distribution, it’s unlikely that at first there will be enough doses for everyone. Consequently, the United States will need an equitable and effective plan for who gets those first doses, how they get them and who’s next.
Just as important, that plan — like the vaccine itself — has to be trusted and accepted by the general public.
Most countries world-wide implemented localized or national school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with estimates of >65% of enrolled children globally affected by school closures.1 Since the early pandemic, schools in many settings around the world have fully or partially re-opened for in-person instruction, while in other settings schools have re-opened exclusively using online learning.
UW Medicine, Fred Hutch scientists will jointly test whether the monoclonal drug can prevent infection among people exposed to COVID-19.
Researchers at UW Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are jointly testing monoclonal antibodies created by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to prevent COVID-19, and are starting to recruit patients.
How COVID-19 Affects Some People Long After They Become Infected with the Coronavirus (includes Jennifer Ross)
By Ryan Blethen Seattle Times staff reporter
Nearly eight months after the pandemic was declared, researchers are gaining a more complete understanding of how the new coronavirus affects people.
One thing they’re noticing as time goes on: some people diagnosed with COVID-19 feel sick long after contracting the virus.