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March 09 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report

Transmission & Prevention

· Are viral variants and vaccine efficacy linked? An opinion piece penned by a virologist from Weill Cornell Medicine discusses some current issues regarding SARS-CoV-2 variants and COVID-19 vaccine efficacy. The author asserts that caution needs to be taken with vaccine protocols to ensure that improper dosing schedules do not lead to viral variants and resistance and the need for ongoing research into the efficacy of said vaccines in a constantly-evolving viral landscape. The implication being that if care is not taken with these efforts, more vaccine-resistant variants may spring up, worsening the pandemic

Mental Health & Resilience Needs

· Retail alcohol and tobacco sales increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Experts in liver transplantation and preventive medicine from Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles compared retail purchases of alcohol and tobacco products in the continental United States from April 1 to June 30, 2020 to the same period in 2017-2019. They observed a 34% and 13.2% increase in total weighted sales of alcohol and tobacco, respectively, across all demographic and geographic categories except for households making less than $20,000. While this aggregated dataset limits inferences on individual behaviors and some of the increase in retail alcohol sales may be explained by restaurant and bar closures, authors suggest health professionals and policymakers recognize and investigate the potential health impacts of increased substance use during the pandemic.

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