Monday CoronaBuzz, July 26, 2021: 39 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Here we are right in the middle of it again. Please stay safe. Much love.


Fast Company: Delta variant update: New CDC map shows most vulnerable U.S. areas with low vaccination rates. “Earlier this month, the delta variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, became dominant in the United States with just over 50% of all new COVID-19 cases being caused by it. Now the latest data shows that a full 83% of new cases are from the delta variant, reports NBC News. This is cause for concern as the delta variant is much more transmissible than previous variants.”


7News: 4 fully vaccinated people have died of COVID-19 in DC this year, new dashboard shows. “On Thursday, D.C. Health officials rolled out a new tool to track additional COVID-19 data as the delta variant continues to spread. Among other things, it provides information about the city’s breakthrough COVID-19 cases, meaning cases reported in vaccinated people.”


The Tennessean: Tennessee to restart nearly all vaccine outreach paused amid GOP pressure, says health commissioner. “The Tennessee state government will resume all forms of vaccine outreach, with the narrow exception of social media posts aimed specifically at children, after halting many forms of advocacy this month in response to conservative pressure, the state’s top health official said Friday. Tennessee also faces a new ‘surge’ of coronavirus that shows no signs of slowing, and deaths from the virus are expected to spike in coming weeks, the health official warned.”

New York Times: Some Florida Hospitals Have More Covid Patients Than Ever Before. ” A month ago, the number of Covid-19 patients admitted at two University of Florida hospitals in Jacksonville was down to 14. Now more than 140 people are hospitalized with the virus, a tenfold increase over five weeks — and the highest number of Covid patients this system has seen since the start of the pandemic.”

CBS Boston: Massachusetts Has Now Reported More Than 5,000 Breakthrough COVID Infections, 80 Deaths. “More than 5,000 breakthrough COVID infections have been reported in Massachusetts, according to the latest Department of Public Health data. But the rate of fully vaccinated people ending up in the hospital remains low. A total of 5,166 breakthrough cases have been reported through July 17, resulting in 80 deaths. A week ago, there were 4,450 cases and 79 deaths reported among fully vaccinated people.”

Reuters: South Korea reports record daily infections as Delta variant drives surge. “South Korea reported a daily record of 1,784 coronavirus cases for Tuesday, breaking a mark set last week, as the authorities struggled to get on top of a surge in outbreaks linked to the Delta variant.”


BBC: Covid-19: Recent claims about cremations and vaccines fact-checked. “Throughout the pandemic, statistics have been used in misleading and false claims about the impact of Covid-19 and the use of vaccines. Here are four recent claims we’ve fact-checked.”

New York Times: The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online. “Dr. Mercola, 67, an osteopathic physician in Cape Coral, Fla., has long been a subject of criticism and government regulatory actions for his promotion of unproven or unapproved treatments. But most recently, he has become the chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online, according to researchers. An internet-savvy entrepreneur who employs dozens, Dr. Mercola has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines since the pandemic began, reaching a far larger audience than other vaccine skeptics, an analysis by The New York Times found. ”

BBC: The YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot. “A mysterious marketing agency secretly offered to pay social media stars to spread disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. Their plan failed when the influencers went public about the attempt to recruit them.”


HuffPost: A Vaccine Or This Marriage: Conspiracy Theories Are Tearing Couples Apart. “HuffPost talked to five men and women whose marriages are crumbling or have already collapsed under the weight of viral anti-vaccine disinformation. Most said they did their best to tolerate their spouses’ embrace of conspiracy theories amid the pandemic — until it came to the vaccines, when those delusions suddenly posed a direct threat to their well-being or that of their children. All were pressured by their partners not to get immunized (though most managed to do so in secret anyway), and are identified by pseudonyms to protect their families’ privacy. Three, including Lucy, are now in the process of getting divorced.”


BBC: Australia Covid: Arrests at anti-lockdown protests. “Demonstrations have taken place in Australian cities against tight restrictions imposed to tackle a rise in Covid cases. Thousands gathered in Sydney, with smaller protests held in Melbourne and Brisbane. People chanted ‘freedom’ as they marched through the centre of Sydney. Officers said they had made 57 arrests.”

New York Times: Scarred by Covid, Survivors and Victims’ Families Aim to Be a Political Force. “New grass-roots groups are learning how to lobby for things like mental health and disability benefits, research on ‘long haulers,’ an investigation of the pandemic and a day to honor the dead.”


CNN: Major medical groups call for employers to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for health care workers. “As the number of Covid-19 cases surges in the United States, more than 50 health care groups — including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association — issued a joint statement calling for all health care and long-term care employers to mandate employees be vaccinated against Covid-19.”

New York Times: Biden Officials Now Expect Vulnerable Americans to Need Booster Shots. “Senior officials now say they expect that people who are 65 and older or who have compromised immune systems will most likely need a third shot from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, two vaccines based on the same technology that have been used to inoculate the vast majority of Americans thus far. That is a sharp shift from just a few weeks ago, when the administration said it thought there was not enough evidence to back boosters yet.”

San Francisco Chronicle: If you’re fully vaccinated, what’s your risk of ‘long COVID’ as delta variant spreads?. “Most COVID-19 vaccines are proving very effective at protecting against severe illness and hospitalization from the delta variant, but breakthrough cases do occur — and some experts have said that the potential for lingering health problems known as ‘long COVID’ gives them pause.”


San Francisco Chronicle: As more workers fall ill, Bay Area restaurateurs weigh a dramatic step: banning the unvaccinated. “A growing number of restaurants and bars have become vaccination-only establishments, requiring diners to flash their vaccine cards upon entry. But others say it’s not so easy due to logistics and potential customer backlash. Instead, they’re contemplating alternative measures like shutting down their indoor dining rooms, requiring double masks for staff or simply waiting to see how the new vaccine requirements play out at other businesses.”

NBC News: Some Amazon warehouse workers see spike in Covid cases. “As the nation faces a fourth wave of Covid-19, Amazon warehouse workers say the company is notifying them of a rising number of cases among employees. At the same time, the company is relaxing its mask policies and shutting down on-site free testing at the end of the month.”

CNN: ‘People are just walking out in the middle of shifts’: What it’s like to work in a restaurant right now. “Workers interviewed by CNN Business said they’re struggling in the short-staffed environment. Servers are stepping into other roles as overworked back-of-the-house employees quit, and sometimes seeing their tips ebb as they scramble to keep up with the new responsibilities. Fed-up colleagues sometimes quit in the middle of their shifts.”


Poynter: Governments created an informational black hole for Indigenous communities and COVID-19. “We may never know how many American Indians or Alaska Natives died of COVID-19. The Indian Health Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is not keeping track. The Centers for Disease Control cannot tell us. And some state health authorities will not disclose that data, despite multiple public records requests, even though it would shed light on the pandemic’s death toll in Indian Country.”


Honolulu Star Advertiser: Lt. Gov. Green urges 2-week pause as Hawaii sees its ninth day of triple-digit infections. “Hawaii on Friday marked the ninth consecutive day of triple-digit infections, with 233 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases. It was pretty close to Thursday’s spike to 243 new cases, the highest single-day count since early January, and was the second day in a row that daily coronavirus cases breached the 200 mark.”

NBC News: St. Louis requires masks for everyone amid rising Covid-19 cases. “The St. Louis area is bringing back a mask mandate for all as the number of Covid-19 cases in Missouri continue to rise amid a more-transmissible variant, officials said. Both the city and county of St. Louis will require masks to be worn by the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike in indoor public places starting Monday, the mayor’s office said.”


KCAL: Stephen Harmon, Corona Man Who Tweeted About Refusing To Get Vaccinated, Dies From COVID-19. “A 34-year-old man who tweeted about refusing to get the vaccine died earlier this week from COVID, chronicling his hospital journey along the way. Stephen Harmon’s last tweet from his now-protected Twitter account was written Wednesday, just before he was intubated.”

NBC News: Conservative radio host, former vaccine skeptic ill with Covid-19. “Phil Valentine, who hosts a show bearing his name on WWTN-FM in Nashville, contracted the coronavirus a little more than a week ago and is battling pneumonia, his family said in a statement posted on Twitter.”

CNBC: Dr. Scott Gottlieb urges social media platforms to curb Covid vaccine misinformation. “Social media companies are falling short of their responsibility to regulate the spread of Covid-19 vaccine misinformation on their platforms, Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Monday on CNBC.”


ESPN: Rick Dennison out as Minnesota Vikings assistant after refusing COVID-19 vaccine, sources say. “After refusing to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, Rick Dennison is out as a Minnesota Vikings assistant coach, sources told ESPN on Friday. Dennison, who had served as the Vikings’ offensive line coach/run game coordinator the past two seasons, is believed to be the first NFL position coach to leave his team after choosing not to receive a vaccine.”

ESPN: NFL to fine unvaccinated players $14,650 for any violation of COVID-19 protocol. “Unvaccinated NFL players will be subjected to a fine of $14,650 every time they violate COVID-19 procedures. A spotlight was put on the punishment after a report that Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians would fine a player ‘$14,000 on the spot every time he isn’t wearing a mask or is breaking a protocol.'”


Inside Medicine: Schools opened, suicide attempts in girls skyrocketed.. “After a year of speculation over a brewing mental health crisis among kids and adolescents, in June the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally released data showing that starting in February of 2021, the number of suspected suicide attempts had dramatically increased among girls ages 12-17 in the United States as compared to 2019. You could almost hear a collective, we told you so, from pundits who had spent the year decrying the closure of schools as Covid-19 tore through the country. To them, these statistics were proof positive that closing schools had brutalized kids. Here’s the snag: the rate of suicide attempts appears to have been inversely related to school closures.”


WRAL: Shaw University requiring COVID-19 vaccine for all students this fall. “Shaw University announced in May it will require new and returning students to prove they have received a COVID-19 vaccine before they can enroll for the fall semester. Duke University has also mandated vaccines, but other schools, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University, have not.”


Montgomery Advertiser: ‘This is not a hoax’: Personal COVID-19 loss spurs Alabama family to urge others to vaccinate. “Christy Carpenter wasn’t sure about the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available in Alabama earlier this year. Carpenter, who had some pre-existing health conditions, was concerned about possible side effects. And then she and her 28-year-old son, Curt, got sick. Both were hospitalized in March as the coronavirus rapidly weakened their lungs. Curt Carpenter never came back to their Pell City home. ”


AP: AP-NORC poll: Most unvaccinated Americans don’t want shots. “Among American adults who have not yet received a vaccine, 35% say they probably will not, and 45% say they definitely will not, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 3% say they definitely will get the shots, though another 16% say they probably will.”

NPR: The Delta Variant Will Drive A Steep Rise In U.S. COVID Deaths, A New Model Shows. “The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now. That’s according to new projections released Wednesday from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers working in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help the agency track the course of the pandemic.”

News @ Northeastern: No Needles? No Problem. This Covid-19 Vaccine Could Be Inhaled.. “Scientists have come up with a new way to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and it comes with a twist: No needles needed. This vaccine would instead be aerosolized so it could be inhaled by a patient.”


Advocate: COVID ‘Cluster’ Hits Provincetown, Affecting Vaccinated, Unvaccinated. “The Cape Cod beach town has seen a rise of COVID cases since the July 4 holiday weekend, with 132 confirmed cases reported to the state department of health as of last Friday, according to The Boston Globe. Eighty-nine of those positive cases were among Massachusetts residents, while the others affected people living outside the state or nation. Surprisingly, the COVID diagnoses affected both the unvaccinated and vaccinated.”


The Guardian: Met police investigate anti-vaxxer as speech sparks fears for safety of medics. “Fears have been expressed for the safety of doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff after they were targeted by anti-vaccine activists. Police are investigating comments made by Kate Shemirani, a former nurse who has been struck off for using her position to spread Covid misinformation, during the latest anti-lockdown rally at Trafalgar Square in central London on Saturday.”

Route Fifty: States Braced for a Wave of Covid Lawsuits. It Never Arrived.. “In a legislative flurry, 30 states instituted liability protections in late 2020 and early 2021 designed to protect businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits, out of fear that companies would be sued for exposing workers, clients or vendors to the swiftly spreading, deadly disease. Those lawsuits haven’t materialized.”


Today: Pandemic leads to unlikely friendship between toddler and 99-year-old neighbor. “The bright spot of the pandemic for Benjamin Olson, a 2-year-old boy in Minnesota, has been becoming best friends with his next-door neighbor. Her name is Mary O’Neill and she will celebrate her 100th birthday in December.”


HuffPost: Sen. Ted Cruz’s COVID-19 ’Guarantee’ Comes Back To Haunt Him Exactly 1 Year Later. “MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday reminded Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of his exactly year-old ‘astoundingly, beautifully wrong’ prediction that Democrats would forget about the COVID-19 pandemic if Joe Biden won the 2020 election.”

Mississippi Free Press: As COVID-19 Surges Back to Winter Levels, Gov. Reeves Visits Aspen and Orlando. “In a month, the number of Mississippians hospitalized for COVID-19 has climbed 403%, while the number of patients on ventilators on ventilators is up 550%. But even as Mississippi’s weary public health officials and health care workers were busy fighting the pandemic’s latest wave back home, Gov. Tate Reeves was 700 miles away, regaling a partisan group with tales of his political triumphs.”

Politico: GOP sees widening rift over promoting Covid shots. “While top Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey pleaded with people to get vaccinated, others downplayed the threat of a Covid-19 resurgence — wary of angering a GOP base that views the sputtering vaccination effort as a political blow to President Joe Biden. A news conference with Republican doctors in Congress, ostensibly to discuss the Delta variant, instead turned into a forum for the lawmakers to repeat unverified claims that the virus escaped from a lab in China, and to bash Democrats for not thoroughly investigating Covid’s origins.”

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