"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 4th May 2021

Isolation Tips
Anxiety around socialising again is very real – so how can you tackle it in the moment?
Given the pandemic has made socialising in person near enough impossible for the past year, it’s understandable some people may be feeling nervous about restrictions easing and going back to our old routines. Social anxiety isn’t just about feeling a bit nervous around mingling with strangers though, it’s a mental health disorder that can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities. If you suffer from it, the thought of a packed pub garden can quickly set you on edge. There are some quick tips for easing social anxiety you can adopt if you find yourself feeling worried
Covid: Care home isolation rule axed for low-risk trips in England
Care home residents will be able to leave their home for low-risk trips without having to self-isolate for 14 days afterwards, the government says. The rules will be relaxed in England from Tuesday, allowing for walks or garden visits without self-isolation. The government says a fall in Covid cases means it is "much safer" for care home residents to go outside. The charity John's Campaign says it is a "chink of light" for residents and their families. But co-founder Julia Jones said she wanted to see the full guidance before making a decision about the charity's threat of legal action against the government's 14-day self-isolation requirement.
Covid: Daily tests could replace quarantine for those exposed to virus
Self-isolation requirements for individuals who have been in contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus could be relaxed as a result of a major new study utilising rapid testing. Daily lateral flow tests will be given to as many as 40,000 people who have a positive Covid-19 contact in the government-backed research announced on Sunday. Instead of the 10 days of quarantine currently required, the participants will be sent a week’s worth of tests and will be able to go about their lives as before, as long as the results are negative.
Hygiene Helpers
Estonia introduces a digital vaccine passport
Estonia has introduced a digital vaccine passport to support the country’s response to COVID-19 pandemic; the secure vaccination certificate, called VaccineGuard, is issued through the Estonian national patient portal and is available immediately, enabling the country’s citizens to cross borders with proof of vaccination status. The VaccineGuard platform is based on a yearlong collaboration with the Estonian, Hungarian and Icelandic governments, the World Health Organisation and AstraZeneca Estonia, the local branch of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company. The platform was developed by Estonian-founded deep tech company, Guardtime.
EU Set to Test Vaccine Certificates With Goal of June Roll-Out
The European Union will start testing its vaccine certificate system in early May with the aim of getting it fully operational by June 30, EU officials said. Legislation may not be completely finalized by then, meaning a roll-out could still be delayed, officials said in a briefing Friday. The European Parliament on Thursday broadly backed the European Commission’s vaccine certificate plans, allowing negotiations to begin with the bloc’s member states over final details.
Here’s what to do if you get covid-19 between vaccine doses
people who are planning to be vaccinated should be well, because immune cells need to be healthy to have a robust reaction to vaccine. That waiting period is also designed to protect others — such as in vaccination centers, for example — from exposure to the virus. Experts said the only instances in which people are advised to wait longer than 10 days to get their shot is when they have a specific medical issue that needs to be managed or when they have had covid-19 and been treated with convalescent plasma or lab-manufactured monoclonal antibodies. Some people on immunosuppressive therapies may need to delay a dose because the therapies can blunt the immune response to the vaccine, for instance. And those who have received convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies are told to wait at least three months before getting the shot because they will have antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein “and the vaccine coming in will be spike-protein-induced protection,” Yildirim said.
Community Activities
‘No one knew we were homeless’: relief funds hope to reach students missing from virtual classrooms
About 1.5 million school-age children in the United States are homeless, according to federal data. Last fall, researchers estimated that many of them were among the 1 to 3 million students potentially missing from classrooms during remote learning. Even homeless students who have a device might not have wifi or a place to charge a laptop. “Identification is hard because we depend on teachers and social workers and others to see what the signs are,” said Deborah Dempsey, a homeless student advocate for the Kane County Regional Office of Education, outside Chicago. The 34-year-old Education for Homeless Children and Youths program, also known as McKinney-Vento, ensures that children living in shelters, hotels or “doubled-up” with other families can stay in their school. It guarantees transportation and access to additional services, such as referrals to housing, food and health care. But the law wasn’t designed with distance learning in mind, and many families are reluctant to volunteer that they’re living in a car or moving from couch to couch.
All aboard! Cameroon’s race to vaccinate every child
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers and health workers step aboard a make-shift boat, headed to Manoka, a remote island off the coast of Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital. The boat is made of traditional wooden materials, steered by its passengers and driven by an outboard motor. Wearing life jackets and face masks, the group sits as socially distanced as they can, sharing the space with some water – a necessary carry-on for the journey – and mini-fridges. By reaching Manoka’s zero-dose children, health workers and volunteers unlock a door that brings the entire community into contact with the health system.
A Normal Summer Depends on These Key Vaccine Holdouts
By June or July, if we immunize most American adults and adolescents, levels of virus transmission will decrease precipitously. In an epidemiological modeling study with the CUNY School of Public Health, we found that roughly three-quarters of the susceptible U.S. population would need to be vaccinated to significantly slow or stop virus transmission. However, the new B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant, among others now accelerating across the country, is more transmissible than the original virus lineages examined in our study. This means even higher levels of vaccine coverage, possibly 80 percent or higher, may be necessary.
Working Remotely
Return-to-office fears: Remote workers worry about falling behind in careers
The latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey reveals one key factor pulling workers back to the office even if they might otherwise be more comfortable at home: career advancement. More than half of workers (52%) expect those at their company who work in-person to have better career opportunities in the future than those who work remotely. New collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams have made it possible for a dispersed workforce to collaborate on projects and attend meetings in much the same way that they would if they were all in the same building. Yet, there are some aspects of work that aren’t easily scaled digitally. Despite all the advances in technology, working remotely is clearly perceived to be a drag on career growth: just 15% of workers say they think remote employees at their company will have better career opportunities than those who work in-person.
Remote working: why some people are less productive at home than others – new research
Has working at home during lockdown made people more productive or not? This has been the subject of some lively debate recently. Many companies do not routinely measure productivity. A large number will have traditionally assumed that they get the highest output when staff work longer hours or under close supervision, but remote working is clearly causing some to re-evaluate this. Major firms, for instance professional services group PwC, have been sufficiently impressed to make remote working a permanent option for their staff. On the other hand, some business leaders insist that remote working is compromising productivity and is therefore not workable in the long term.
Why It's The Right Time To Tell Your Boss You Want To Continue Working Remotely, Get A Raise, Promotion Or Search For A New Job
It feels like almost overnight the job market started heating up. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, the U.S. Department of Labor and Federal Reserve Bank chair Jay Powell all have pointed toward a strong “Goldilocks economy” and “jobs boom.” It now looks like workers will be in the driver's seat. The current corporate trend is for a flexible hybrid work arrangement. This would include people coming into the office two or three days a week. There will be a group who will only want to exclusively work remotely and some just desire to get out of their homes and go to the office everyday. This is a perfect time for workers to start asserting themselves. If you want to stay working remotely, you now have some leverage.
Future Of Work: What The Post-Pandemic Workplace Holds For Remote Workers’ Careers
What does the future hold for remote workers? And what will post-pandemic workdays look like—back to the office, working from home or a hybrid? While the light at the end of the tunnel seems within reach, companies across the globe are scrambling to create the future workplace. One way to predict the future of work is to understand people’s remote work experiences over the last year. And based on recent reports, one thing is clear: remote work has left an impression. The Limeade Institute’s Employee Care Report 3.0 found that 100% of formerly onsite workers said they’re anxious about returning to the office, 71% said they were concerned about less flexibility and 77% said they’re worried about exposure to Covid-19.
The loneliness of the modern office team member
Every other week or so, a number emerges somewhere in the world that I find both understandable and troubling. It is the percentage of people who consistently say they don’t want to go back to working full-time in the office. Nearly 60 per cent of British workers said this was how they felt back in September last year and also in March this year, even though more than a third of the UK population had had at least one Covid jab by then. In the US, the share of workers who would prefer to keep working remotely as much as possible went from 35 per cent in September to 44 per cent in January. More recent European research found 97 per cent of people who have been at home would prefer to stay there for at least part of the week once their offices reopen.
Government taskforce urges permanent job flexibility for all workers
In the UK, millions of employees could be given the chance to switch permanently to more flexible working arrangements under forthcoming guidance designed to encourage firms to make long-term some of the emergency changes ushered in by the pandemic. The government’s flexible working taskforce is drawing up guidance – before the expected lifting of the remaining lockdown restrictions, including the requirement to work from home, on 21 June – to support the emergence of new, hybrid ways of working. For example, staff might come into offices only occasionally and work at home or at a neighbourhood cafe for the rest of the week. Peter Cheese, the co-chair of the taskforce, said the pandemic had demonstrated that people could work productively away from traditional workplaces, with 71% of firms reporting that home working had either boosted or made no difference to productivity.
Virtual Classrooms
Comments on: Lessons from a year of remote education
As students head back to the classroom, the framework for traditional education has changed considerably. Schools have invested heavily in digital technology and although the pandemic has highlighted issues of digital inequality, when given the right environment, it has been proven to have huge benefits for students; for example, research shows that schools using a virtual learning environment have higher general pupil engagement level than schools not using them. More than a year into the pandemic, it’s important to think about the lessons schools can learn from remote learning and consider a more digitally focused strategy that optimises learning and student engagement to create more of a blended approach.
New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning
In the U.S., as scenes of parents protesting for schools to resume in-person instruction played out in some communities, a quieter, but no less ardent parent demand was building: Keep virtual learning going beyond the pandemic. School district officials have heard these families, and many are responding in the affirmative. One of them is Maryland’s Montgomery County public schools, where more than half of students remain in full-time remote classrooms after the district resumed limited in-person learning this spring. The school district was among the slowest to get back to in-person instruction. “Some families have seen their kids grow in ways they hadn’t before,” said Montgomery County district administrator Kara Trenkamp, referring to online schooling during the pandemic.
Public Policies
Moderna to provide 500m vaccine doses for Covax programme
Moderna and vaccine promoter Gavi have announced a deal by which the pharmaceutical company will provide up to 500 million doses for the UN-backed Covax programme by the end of 2022.
Biden Confronts Coronavirus Vaccine Patents
The issue is coming to a head as the World Trade Organization’s General Council, one of its highest decision-making bodies, meets Wednesday and Thursday. India and South Africa are pressing for the body to waive an international intellectual property agreement that protects pharmaceutical trade secrets. The United States, Britain and the European Union so far have blocked the plan. Inside the White House, health advisers to the president admit they are divided. Some say that Mr. Biden has a moral imperative to act, and that it is bad politics for the president to side with pharmaceutical executives. Others say spilling closely guarded but highly complex trade secrets into the open would do nothing to expand the global supply of vaccines.
Britain to send 1000 more ventilators to India
Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to India, the government said on Sunday, stepping up its support as India's healthcare system struggles to cope with a huge surge in cases of COVID-19. India has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight, leaving hospitals, morgues and crematoriums overwhelmed. The British government had previously agreed to send 600 medical devices, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators. "This support will help urgently meet some of India's acute needs, particularly oxygen for patients," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement. "We are determined to help our Indian friends in their hour of need."
'Unprecedented achievement': who received the first billion COVID vaccinations?
The world has reached the milestone of administering one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, just four months after the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the first vaccine for emergency use, and roll-outs began in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The speed at which they have been administered is remarkable, but unequal distribution of the vaccinations highlights global disparities, say researchers. “It is an unprecedented scientific achievement. Nobody could have imagined that, within 16 months of the identification of a new virus, we would have vaccinated one billion people worldwide with a variety of different vaccines, using different platforms and made in different countries,” says Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, based in Geneva, Switzerland. As of 27 April, 1.06 billion doses had been given to 570 million people, which means that about 7.3% of the world’s population of 7.79 billion have received at least one dose. But scientists say that more than 75% of the world’s population will need to be vaccinated to bring the pandemic under control.
Coronavirus vaccinations ‘to begin for secondary school pupils from September’
Secondary school pupils will reportedly be offered Covid-19 vaccinations from September under plans being developed by the NHS. Health service officials are compiling planning documents which include a measure to offer a single dose of the Pfizer jab to children aged 12 and older when the new school year starts, according to The Sunday Times. Pfizer has said trials of its vaccine in children aged 12 to 15 showed 100% efficacy and a strong immune response. The plans, which the Times said it had confirmed with Government and NHS sources, are contingent on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) due this summer. Committee member Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, told the Times: “We need to be in a position to immunise children, particularly teenagers, promptly and efficiently if we need to.
Florida GOP Kills Measure To Protect Vaccinated Workers From Retaliation
In one of the more bizarre developments in the heated political wars over COVID-19, Republicans in the Florida Senate have defeated a measure that would have stopped schools from banning vaccinated teachers. The measure was introduced by Democratic State Sen. Jason Pizzo earlier this week to protect teachers and other workers from being barred or fired by employers because they’ve been inoculated against the deadly pandemic. He was spurred to act after a private Miami school put vaccinated teachers on notice that their jobs were at risk. Pizzo’s proposal was an amendment to a bill just passed by the Florida legislature Thursday that would prohibit businesses, schools and government entities in the state from asking anyone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Brazil authorizes production of active ingredient for AstraZeneca vaccine
Brazil's health regulator Anvisa authorized on Friday the government biomedical institute Fiocruz to produce domestically the active ingredient for the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, according to a statement.
WHO authorizes Moderna coronavirus vaccine for emergency use
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday listed the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, adding another shot to its arsenal in the fight against the coronavirus. The shot from Moderna, which is estimated to have an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent, joins shots from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India and Janssen on WHO’s list of emergency use vaccines. The addition of Moderna’s shot to the WHO’s emergency use listing is a prerequisite for it to be a part of COVAX, the program to disseminate shots to low-income countries. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
Maintaining Services
Thousands of doctors planning to leave the NHS citing pandemic stress and burnout
Thousands of doctors are planning to leave the NHS in the coming year, exhausted by the coronavirus pandemic. A survey by the British Medical Association found that half of doctors plan to work fewer hours, one in four were more likely to take a career break and 21% were considering leaving the NHS for a different career. The tracker survey was responded to by 2,099 people. Many blamed their workload, including an inability to take breaks, and almost 40% said they did not have anywhere at work where they could relax safely with colleagues. An acute speciality doctor who outlined their workload told the BMA: "My own mental and physical health will have to become a priority at some point."
Taiwan's first batch of COVID-19 aid leaves for India
Taiwan's first batch of aid to India to help it fight a surging increase in COVID-19 infections left for New Delhi on Sunday, consisting of 150 oxygen concentrators and 500 oxygen cylinders, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said. Countries around the world have been rushing to help India alleviate the crisis. India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave
Nepal Runs Out of Hospital Beds as India's Outbreak Spills Over
The coronavirus outbreak in India has spilled across the border into Nepal, where health officials have warned that hospital beds are unavailable, vaccines are running short and the number of new infections is rising faster than overwhelmed clinics can record them. The situation is so dire in Nepal that the Health Ministry in the Himalayan nation issued a statement on Friday in which, in effect, it threw up its hands. “Since coronavirus cases have spiked beyond the capacity of the health system and hospitals have run out of beds, the situation is unmanageable,” the ministry said after the government recorded 5,657 new infections on Friday, the highest daily total since October.
Australia in talks with French biotech firm over potential new COVID-19 vaccine
The Australian Government is in talks with a French biotech firm over the potential to import another COVID-19 vaccine to our shores. The shot, manufactured by 'specialty vaccine company' Valneva – based in Saint- Herblain, western France – uses similar techniques to those involved in the flu and Polio vaccines and is currently in its advanced stages of development. The product uses technology involving an inactivated version of the virus that has been killed to stimulate an immune response without creating infection.
India's Serum Institute plans to start vaccine production outside India
The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is planning to start vaccine production in other countries as it struggles to meet supply commitments, its chief executive officer told The Times. "There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying by the newspaper in an interview published on Friday. Poonawalla said last week that the Serum Institute would be able to raise its monthly output to 100 million doses by July, later than a previous timeline of end-May. Several states in India have run out of vaccines against COVID-19
Canada receives J&J's COVID-19 vaccine from plant where FDA halted production
Canada's drug regulator said on Friday that doses of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine recently delivered to the country were produced at a Baltimore plant where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) halted production. Health Canada said in a statement that it will hold the vaccine doses until it is satisfied they meet its standards, and is consulting with J&J and the FDA. The first shipment of 300,000 J&J vaccine doses arrived in Canada earlier this week. The FDA halted production of the vaccines at a U.S. manufacturing plant owned by Emergent BioSolutions (EBS.N) earlier this month as it investigates an error that led to millions of doses being ruined in March
US faces COVID-19 vaccine surplus as demand slows
Philadelphia is experiencing a surplus scare. With thousands of coronavirus vaccine doses expiring on Thursday, the city is scrambling to ship them to other distribution sites so it won't be forced to discard them. "The city has a lot of vaccines in cold storage that do have to get used in a very short timeline," said Charlie Elison, a FEMA spokesperson. Philadelphia officials are hoping to vaccinate more people by keeping sites open later to attract walk-ups for those who don't have an appointment. Meanwhile, more shots are sitting unused across the country. For the first time since March 22, the U.S. is averaging less than 2.5 million vaccinations a day. Vaccinations are down nearly 25% after peaking on April 11.
COVID-19: Which coronavirus variants have been recorded in the UK?
Two new coronavirus variants have been identified in the UK - both were first reported in India. The two new variants are under investigation and not classed as "of concern". They share the same lineage - a fingerprint of genetic mutations - as the existing Indian variant known as B.1.617. Public Health England said it has found 202 cases of one of the variants and five cases of the other and they are "geographically dispersed in England". In all, there are four variants of concern known to be in the UK, including those first identified in Kent, Manaus (Brazil) and South Africa. And there are nine other variants under investigation.
Healthcare Innovations
Access to mental health services dwindled as pandemic need strained providers: GAO report | TheHill
Access to mental health services dwindled as providers were strained and under the demand for care during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report made public on Friday. The GAO concluded that the number of people experiencing anxiety, depression and drug overdoses heightened during the pandemic, while mental health professionals dealt with layoffs, decreased hours and having to turn away patients. Respondents to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys determined that about 38 percent reported symptoms of anxiety or depression between April 2020 and February 2021. Eleven percent said the same in 2019. Similarly, emergency departments saw 36 percent more visits for overdoses and 26 percent more visits for suicide attempts from mid-March to mid-October of last year, compared to the previous year.
One vaccine shot leaves many vulnerable to Covid variants, UK study finds
Individuals who receive one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and have never been infected by the virus could be very vulnerable to new variants, according to a new UK study. Researchers from Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and University College London looked at immune responses in healthcare workers who had received one shot of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. The scientists found that people who had not previously been infected by Covid-19 showed very low levels of neutralising antibodies against the original strain from Wuhan, the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Kent and B.1.351 from South Africa. By contrast, those who had previously had mild or asymptomatic infection and then received a single dose appeared to have greatly enhanced protection against both B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, demonstrating high neutralising antibodies and a strong response by T cells, which remember past infection.
Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection boosts response to variants after first vaccine dose
A single dose of vaccine boosts protection against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants, but only in those with previous COVID-19, a study has found. In those who have not previously been infected and have so far only received one dose of vaccine the immune response to variants of concern may be insufficient. The findings, published today in the journal Science and led by researchers at Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and University College London, looked at immune responses in UK healthcare workers at Barts and Royal Free hospitals following their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.* They found that people who had previously had mild or asymptomatic infection had significantly enhanced protection against the Kent and South Africa variants, after a single dose of the mRNA vaccine. In those without prior COVID-19, the immune response was less strong after a first dose, potentially leaving them at risk from variants.
Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants; virus' spike protein damages blood vessels
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants In COVID-19 survivors, the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), mRNA vaccine protects not only against the original virus strain but also against worrisome variants, two studies show. UK researchers analyzed immune responses after a single dose of the vaccine in 51 people, including 25 people previously infected with an early version of the novel coronavirus. Survivors showed enhanced antibody responses against the newer, more infectious variants first seen in the UK and South Africa, whereas people who had not previously been infected did not produce antibodies that could neutralize the variants, according to a report on Friday in Science.
Covid UK: Number of people hospitalised after first vaccine dose is 'tiny', says SAGE
File presented to SAGE shows only 526 people admitted 3+ weeks after a jab This was out of a study of 52,000 sent to hospital in the second wave. Number of admissions tumbles with time after the vaccine. Most patients are in frail and elderly groups known to benefit less from jabs. No data yet for impact of second doses, which could reduce 'vaccine failure'
Tackling the rise of concerning COVID-19 variants in the UK
Variants that are considered to have concerning epidemiological, immunological or pathogenic properties, as well as evidence of community transmission in the UK or abroad, are first designated as a VUI. After being risk assessed by the relevant expert committee, a VUI may be upgraded to VOC. The first VOC — B.1.1.7 — was detected in Kent in September 2020 and is now the dominant lineage in the UK. It has also been detected in more than 100 countries around the world. A similar variant with an additional mutation — B.1.1.7 + E484K — was detected in Bristol in December 2020 and is also circulating in the UK but at very low levels, with no new cases reported since 1 March 2021. Two further VOCs have been identified in the UK — one first detected in South Africa and one first detected in Japan (in a traveller from Brazil). To date, there are relatively small numbers of cases in the UK with only isolated pockets of community transmission. Identified cases are being tackled aggressively through surge testing — increased testing and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations — and genomic sequencing.
Moderna Is Testing a New Version of Its COVID-19 Vaccine That Wouldn’t Require Ultra-Cold Storage
As safety concerns over COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson–Janssen have led to disruptions in the inoculation efforts of numerous countries relying on those shots, companies like Moderna are attempting to fill the resulting gaps. The Massachusetts-based biotech company announced on April 29 that it is investing billions to boost manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Spain and the U.S., building enough capacity to produce up to 3 billion doses of its mRNA-based vaccine through 2022. Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, says that some of the wealthier, developed countries are eager to up their orders of the mRNA vaccines (which include both the Moderna shot and one produced by Pfizer/BioNTech).
COVID-19 variants spread faster but grew milder over time in Ohio
Cleveland Clinic researchers identified 484 unique mutations among six strains of SARS-CoV-2 isolates early in the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that the first variants were more deadly than subsequent strains and suggesting that monitoring circulating strains may help predict patient outcomes. Their study, published yesterday in JAMA Network Open, involved sequencing the viral genomes from specimens obtained from 302 COVID-19 patients at Cleveland Clinic from Mar 11 to Apr 22, 2020, and comparing them with those of the original SARS-CoV-2 strain from Wuhan, China. Infection with early virus subgroups, or clades, was associated with higher death rates than later strains (21.4% vs 5.6%). "These findings help explain persistent hospitalization yet decreasing mortality as the pandemic progresses," the authors wrote. "SARS-CoV-2 clade assignment is an important factor that may aid in estimating patient outcomes."