Friday CoronaBuzz, July 23, 2021: 37 pointers to updates, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Please get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, thank you.


Texas Tribune: Texas has seen nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths since February. All but 43 were unvaccinated people.. “Of the 8,787 people who have died in Texas due to COVID-19 since early February, at least 43 were fully vaccinated, the Texas Department of State Health Services said. That means 99.5% of people who died due to COVID-19 in Texas from Feb. 8 to July 14 were unvaccinated, while 0.5% were the result of ‘breakthrough infections,’ which DSHS defines as people who contracted the virus two weeks after being fully vaccinated.”

Deadline: Los Angeles Suffers 40% Increase In Covid Cases In Past 24 Hours; Delta Surge Hitting Younger People. “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 2,551 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday. According to officials, this is a 20-fold increase in a month, up from 124 new Covid-19 cases reported on June 21. It’s also a 40% increase just over the past 24 hours, when the daily count hit 1,821.”

Yahoo News: Florida, Missouri and Texas now account for 40% of new coronavirus cases in U.S.. “Just three states are now driving the pandemic in the United States, as the divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated regions of the country becomes ever more stark, as the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads.”

WPTV: Jupiter Medical Center seeing about 5 new COVID-19 patients each day, doctor says. “Florida’s positivity rate a year ago was 11.3 percent. Now, it’s 11.5 percent. The difference was that in July 2020, the state was seeing a downward trend of COVID-19 cases. The latest figures from the Florida Department of Health show that new cases almost doubled in one week from 23,562 cases the week of July 2 to 45,603 the week of July 9.”


BloombergQuint: ‘Ridiculous’: Vaccine Myths Cripple U.S. Uptake as Delta Surges. “”Just as the Biden administration appeared at the verge of snuffing out Covid-19 in the U.S., a shadow pandemic of disinformation threatens to prolong the crisis. Promulgated virus-like itself through social media platforms, a miasma of uncertainties, anecdotes and outright lies has seized the imaginations of Americans hesitant to be vaccinated, slowing the U.S. campaign to inoculate its population.”

AP: AP FACT CHECK: Biden goes too far in assurances on vaccines. “President Joe Biden offered an absolute guarantee Wednesday that people who get their COVID-19 vaccines are completely protected from infection, sickness and death from the coronavirus. The reality is not that cut and dried. The vaccines are extremely effective but ‘breakthrough’ infections do occur and the delta variant driving cases among the unvaccinated in the U.S. is not fully understood.”


ProPublica: “Don’t You Work With Old People?”: Many Elder-Care Workers Still Refuse to Get COVID-19 Vaccine. “Nursing homes faced a shocking mortality rate during the pandemic. In the U.S., COVID-19 killed more than 133,000 residents and nearly 2,000 staff members between May 31, 2020 and this July 4, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports…. Yet seven months after the first vaccines became available to medical professionals, only 59% of staff at the nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are fully or partially vaccinated — with eight states reporting an average rate of less than half, according to CMS data updated last week.”


CNBC: ‘Don’t want to get vaccinated, leave’ — hedge fund founder mandates Covid shots in his office. “Anthony Scaramucci, founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge, told CNBC on Friday he’s mandated Covid shots at the office of his hedge fund. He also called on all eligible Americans to go out and get vaccinated.”


BBC: Covid-19: India outrage over ‘no oxygen shortage death data’ claim. “Indians have expressed shock and anger after a junior health minister told parliament that no Covid deaths had been reported due to oxygen shortages. Hospitals across the country ran out of oxygen in April and May during a deadly second wave – there were daily reports of people dying from a lack of oxygen.”

Washington Post: White House officials debate masking push as covid infections spike. “The talks are in a preliminary phase and their result could be as simple as new messaging from top White House officials. But some of the talks include officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who are separately examining whether to update their masking guidance, according to a Biden administration aide and a federal health official.”

NBC News: White House boosts funding for Covid tests as infections continue to surge. “The Biden administration is accelerating investments in Covid-19 testing to combat a fourth wave of infections washing over states and regions with low vaccination rates as those rates stall and some people resist a return to mask mandates, three administration officials said.”

Washington Post: China rejects WHO push for more investigation into covid origins in Wuhan. “China said it will not accept the World Health Organization’s suggested plan for a second phase of investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, pointing to obstacles ahead for international efforts to determine the source of the pandemic. At a news conference on Thursday, Zeng Yixin, deputy head of China’s National Health Commission, fired back against WHO criticism of China’s level of cooperation, and said the U.N. agency’s proposed work plan did not respect science.”


Miami Herald: DeSantis: Schools, feds won’t mandate masks. If they do, he’ll have Legislature ban them. “As Florida schools return to in-person learning next month and COVID-19 cases surge, Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to mask requirements Thursday, suggesting he would be willing to call a special session of the Legislature to outlaw it if the federal government imposes a mandate or local school districts defy him.”

Tennessean: Republican lawmakers met privately with state leaders about ending vaccine outreach. “In the days before Tennessee stopped encouraging teenagers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Republican lawmakers met privately with the state health commissioner and a representative of the governor’s office to discuss specifically how to dial back vaccination advocacy to minors. Those same lawmakers on Wednesday shut down opposition comments from Democrats and the public in a highly-anticipated hearing.”

ABC News: Mask mandate imposed on county employees in Las Vegas – but not tourists or casinos. “Alarmed by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Las Vegas, elected officials approved a new indoor public space mask mandate for all county employees, but it excludes tourists and has no bearing on casinos or public schools.”

ProPublica: GOP Legislators in Missouri Oppose Vaccine Efforts as State Becomes COVID Hotspot. “Just as with his insistence that he won the election, former president Donald Trump’s attitudes about COVID-19 hold great sway with his supporters. Trump routinely bashed Fauci and infectious disease experts throughout the pandemic and questioned the severity of the coronavirus. He also strongly carried Missouri’s southwest corner in the November election. While Trump beat Joe Biden by 15.4 percentage points statewide, in rural Taney County, the margin was 57.8 points.”

AL: Kay Ivey tells Alabamians to get vaccinated: ‘I can’t make you take care of yourself’. “A fiery Gov. Kay Ivey made her most forceful statements yet today encouraging Alabamians to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying ‘the unvaccinated folks are letting us down’ in the fight to control the pandemic. She also signaled she would not mandate students to wear masks when classes resume in Alabama’s public schools, saying that decision should be left up to school districts.”


South Wales Argus : ‘No mask, no Wales’ Covid poster embraced by shopkeepers. “Social media guru Owen Williams said he was fed up with people coming to Wales and not realising there were different Covid rules here. The post was something he knocked up in 20 minutes on Friday night but it has already been seen by six million people around the world.”

Rolling Stone: Eric Clapton Will Not Play Shows Where Proof of Vaccine Is Required. “Eric Clapton said he will not perform at any venues that require attendees to prove that they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19. Clapton issued his statement in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday, July 19th, that vaccine passes would be required to enter nightclubs and venues.”

NBC Los Angeles: Man Who Nearly Died From COVID-19 Has Simple Message – Get Vaccinated. “A man who spent more than 90 days in an Inglewood hospital, almost losing his life to COVID-19, returned a year after his release. But this time he came to thank healthcare workers for saving his life. Michael Orantes doesn’t remember much about the time he spent hospitalized with COVID-19.”


AP: Tokyo new virus cases near 2,000 a day before Olympics open. “Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, one day before the Olympics begin, as worries grow of a worsening of infections during the Games. Thursday’s 1,979 new cases are the highest since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15.”

NBC News: American volleyball player Taylor Crabb tests positive for Covid at Tokyo Olympics. “A beach volleyball player’s dream of competing at the Tokyo Olympics for the United States was dashed after he tested positive for Covid-19, NBC News confirmed Wednesday. Taylor Crabb is the first Team USA athlete to test positive who was actually expected to compete in the games.”

CNN: NFL says coronavirus outbreaks among unvaccinated players may lead to forfeits this season. “If a National Football League game cannot be rescheduled and is canceled due to a Covid-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, that team will have to forfeit and will be credited with a loss, the NFL said in a league-wide memo obtained by CNN.”


New York Times: Why Everyone Has the Worst Summer Cold Ever. “Months of pandemic restrictions aimed at Covid-19 had the unintended but welcome effect of stopping flu, cold and other viruses from spreading. But now that masks are off and social gatherings, hugs and handshakes are back, the run-of-the-mill viruses that cause drippy noses, stuffy heads, coughs and sneezes have also returned with a vengeance.”

NBC News: What breakthrough infections mean for the Covid vaccines. “…as the pandemic lingers and more transmissible variants of the virus circulate widely, it’s expected that the number of breakthrough infections will rise. Yet studies have shown that most cases in vaccinated people are mild — if a person develops symptoms at all — and research indicates that vaccines still provide strong protection, even against the known variants.”

The Atlantic: America Is Getting Unvaccinated People All Wrong. “Even against the fast-spreading Delta variant, the vaccines remain highly effective, and people who haven’t received them are falling sick far more often than those who have. But their vulnerability to COVID-19 is the only thing that unvaccinated people universally share. They are disparate in almost every way that matters, including why they haven’t yet been vaccinated and what it might take to persuade them. ”

CNBC: Delta variant is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases known, CDC director says. “The delta Covid variant is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases ever seen by scientists, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The variant is highly contagious, largely because people infected with the delta strain can carry up to 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than those infected with the original strain, according to new data.”

WDSU: A nurse in Missouri says she’s seen more COVID-19 deaths in the last 2 weeks than the past 6 months. “Registered nurse Brittany Dillard has been working at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, since January. She told sister station 40/29 News that she’s seen more patients die in the last two weeks from COVID-19 than in the last 6 months.”


NBC News: Anti-vaccine groups changing into ‘dance parties’ on Facebook to avoid detection. “Some anti-vaccination groups on Facebook are changing their names to euphemisms like “Dance Party” or “Dinner Party,” and using code words to fit those themes in order to skirt bans from Facebook, as the company attempts to crack down on misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.”


Washington Post: Two doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines effective against delta variant, study says. “Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offer 88 percent protection against symptomatic disease caused by the delta variant, compared to 94 percent against the alpha variant that was first discovered in Britain and became dominant across the globe earlier this year, the study said. A double dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was 67 percent effective against delta, according to the British researchers, down slightly from an efficacy rate of 75 percent against the alpha variant.”


Stars and Stripes: South Korea’s coronavirus count hits all-time high due to warship with more than 80% of crew infected. “The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,842 new patients, the highest daily uptick since the pandemic began in January 2020. That’s up from 1,784 infections Wednesday and 1,600 infections a week earlier.”

Kansas City Star: ‘A tipping point’: Kansas City hospitals are turning away patients due to COVID surge. “Across the state line, Missouri health officials on Wednesday reported the highest daily increase in infections since mid-January with 2,995 additional cases. The Missouri Independent, a news organization covering the state, reported that the seven-day average of cases rose to 2,144 per day, up ‘one-third in seven days and more than triple the average of June 21.'”

ABC News: Northeast Florida hospitals returning to COVID-19 peak amid delta surge. “UF Health Jacksonville, in Florida’s most populous city, has seen an ‘exponential’ rise in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted in recent weeks, Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at the hospital, told ABC News. The previous record for the highest number of daily COVID-19 patients across its two campuses — 125 — was set in January; the hospital surpassed that three days ago, Neilsen said, and is currently at 136, with about 40 people in the intensive care unit.”

New York TImes: 31 Children Test Positive for Coronavirus at Summer Camp . “The virus reached the campgrounds, though all but a handful of Camp Pontiac’s staff and its children ages 12 and over are vaccinated. All 31 children who tested positive for the virus are under the age of 12, making them too young to receive vaccines in the United States, Mr. Mabb said.”


CNN: My uncle died of Covid-19 before he could get a vaccine in Kenya, and I got mine in a US drugstore. This is what vaccine inequality looks like. “Of the 3.5 billion people already vaccinated worldwide, only 1.6% are in African countries. New cases have been surging for eight straight weeks on the continent, leading to a fresh wave of lockdowns, overwhelmed healthcare systems, lost livelihoods and — worst of all — a large death toll. In the past week alone, fatalities were up more than 40%. Many of these could have been prevented if more Africans were vaccinated.”

The Atlantic: My Community Refuses to Get Vaccinated. Now Delta Is Here.. “The nurse at the health department told me that she and her co-workers had expected that some people would resist vaccination, but that ‘seeing that resistance persist despite education, despite outreach’ had left her and her colleagues depressed and downtrodden. ‘Why are they not understanding how this is putting people’s lives in danger?’ she asked. Like her, I’ve been haunted by this question. Sixty-two percent of my neighbors remain unvaccinated for complicated, interrelated reasons that map onto existing, bitter divisions. Any solutions, equally complicated, will likely come only after we’ve seen more death.”


AP: 3 GOP House members lose appeals over $500 mask fines. “On Tuesday, the U.S. House Ethics Committee released statements noting that U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of South Carolina had failed in their appeals of $500 fines issued in May.”

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