Monday CoronaBuzz, August 2, 2021: 55 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Good morning. Please stay safe. Please get vaccinated. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


Washington Post: You’re going to be asked to prove your vaccination status. Here’s how to do it.. “There is a growing number of ways to store your vaccination record on your smartphone, though unfortunately no be-all-end-all app or system. We’re here to make sense of how different options approach your privacy, ensure security and try to spot counterfeits.”


Washington Post: Europe has caught up to the U.S. on coronavirus vaccinations — and is deploying near-mandates to get further. “Though the European Union vaccination campaign got off to an embarrassingly slow start, after seven months the bloc is in essentially the same position as the United States, with some 50 percent of the population fully vaccinated, and nearly 60 percent having received at least one dose.”

New York Times: Those Virus Sequences That Were Suddenly Deleted? They’re Back. “Chinese researchers have uploaded genetic sequences of coronaviruses to a scientific database more than a year after they took them offline.”

Tampa Bay Times: Florida leads nation in COVID infections, hospitalizations as patients get younger. “Florida led the nation last week in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations as the Sunshine State becomes the epicenter of the delta-driven fourth pandemic wave. The state saw 110,477 new coronavirus infections over the most recent seven-day period from July 23 through Thursday, according to the weekly report released by the Florida Department of Health on Friday. Florida averaged more than 15,780 infections a day.”

Houston Chronicle: Texas just passed New York in COVID-19 deaths, despite once trailing by 29,000. Here’s how.. “Texas reached the milestone Wednesday, hitting 53,275 deaths, despite trailing New York by more than 29,000 fatalities last summer. Since then, though Texas is 54 percent more populous, more than twice as many Texans as New Yorkers have succumbed to COVID-19. California, the most populous state, leads the nation with 64,372 virus deaths.”

Washington Post: ‘A rush to get shots’ “They were unmoved by the urgings of President Biden to get vaccinated. They’ve spurned calls from the nation’s leading doctors, as well as from sports heroes and movie stars. But one thing is finally grabbing the attention of millions of unvaccinated Americans — the invasion of the hyper-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.”

WRAL: Local hospitals seeing patient spikes as Delta variant continues to spread. “This time last month, WakeMed was celebrating three consecutive days with zero COVID patients in the ICU. Right now, about 20 people are in the ICU. Among all the COVID patients coming to WakeMed right now, 92% are unvaccinated. Ahead of a new school year, just 1 in 4 students across North Carolina ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated.”

NBC News: Tokyo’s daily Covid-19 cases hit record high during Olympics. “A record number of new Covid-19 infections was reported by Tokyo’s metropolitan government Saturday, as health workers warned they were reaching ‘crisis levels.’ For the first time since the start of the pandemic, more than 4,000 cases were recorded in the Olympics host city, with 4,058 cases in 24 hours.”

Miami Herald: Florida sets a record with 21,683 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, the CDC says. “That’s a jump over the previous record, 19,334, on Jan. 7, during the worst month of the pandemic, when daily case counts were routinely topping 10,000. It was the second peak of the pandemic and in the months following cases returned to average levels of between 2,000 and 8,000 daily cases.”


Daily Dot: Exclusive: Ex-Cambridge Analytica psychologist secretly aided prominent anti-COVID vaccine group. “Leaked chat logs reveal how the former lead psychologist for Cambridge Analytica has been working behind the scenes with a notorious anti-vaccine group in the U.K. The chat records, provided to the Daily Dot by the activist collective DDoSecrets, detail efforts by HART (Health Advisory and Recovery Team), a self-described ‘group of highly qualified UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts,’ to influence politicians on issues related to COVID-19.”

New York Times: How Local Media Spreads Misinformation From Vaccine Skeptics. “Facebook and other social platforms have in recent weeks attracted attention for vaccine misinformation, as Covid cases surge from the infectious Delta variant and vaccination rates slow. But The Freedom’s Phoenix and The Atlanta Business Journal are two small publications — along with dozens of radio and television stations, and podcasts aimed at local audiences — that have also become powerful conduits for anti-vaccine messaging, researchers said.”

World Medical And Health Policy: Accuracy of health-related information regarding COVID-19 on Twitter during a global pandemic. “This study was performed to analyze the accuracy of health-related information on Twitter during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Authors queried Twitter on three dates for information regarding COVID-19 and five terms (cure, emergency or emergency room, prevent or prevention, treat or treatments, vitamins or supplements) assessing the first 25 results with health-related information.”

Poynter: Let’s review some falsehoods about masks. “This is a newsletter about falsehoods, fact-checkers, and fact-checking, so I’ll leave the political analysis to others, but given the potential for zombie falsehoods about masks to reemerge from debunked obscurity, I want to take a moment to highlight some of the most prominent mask falsehoods from the CoronavirusFacts Alliance database.”

FiveThirtyEight: Where Marjorie Taylor Greene’s False Claim About COVID-19 And Obesity Came From. “Since the earliest days of the pandemic, researchers have been studying which kinds of comorbidities can make someone more likely to have a severe case of COVID-19 that could lead to hospitalization or death. After a year and a half, it’s clear obesity or old age does make someone more susceptible. But so do lots of other conditions. ”

BBC: Sky News Australia barred for week by YouTube over Covid misinformation. “YouTube has barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content for a week, saying it had breached rules on spreading Covid-19 misinformation. It issued a ‘strike’ under its three-strike policy, the last of which means permanent removal. YouTube did not point to specific items but said it opposed material that ‘could cause real-world harm’.”


New York Times: Covid Has Created a Scale of Family Loss Not Seen Since AIDS. “From March 2020 to last April, over a million children worldwide lost a mother, father, grandparent or another adult they relied on as a primary caregiver to Covid-19. In South Africa, one in every 200 children lost his or her primary caregiver. In Peru, it was one in every 100.”

ArtsHub: New report calls for ‘public-led reboot’ to save arts sector after COVID. “Decades of policy failure and ‘destructive government financing trends’ have eroded and weakened the Australian arts and cultural sector, with the impact of COVID-19 being the latest blow, according to a new report.”

AP: Tenants prepare for unknown as eviction moratorium ends . “The Biden administration announced Thursday it would allow the nationwide ban to expire, saying it wanted to extend it due to rising infections but its hands were tied after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled in June that it wouldn’t be extended beyond the end of July without congressional action.”

Daily Beast: From Super-Spreader Sex Houses to Nude Beach Fistfights, Vaccinated Partying Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be. “After being woken up by the sound of a little dog below me humping his favorite teddy bear, I crawl down the ladder of a kid bunk bed and head downstairs to assess the damage of last night’s debauchery. Cigarette butts, empty wine bottles, and half eaten baguettes litter the kitchen and pool area of this mini French mansion my friend Jackie is currently dog sitting at. There’s puke around the toilet in the ‘cave’ downstairs, a hot Frenchie sashaying through the kitchen in his gunties, still high on X, and a middle-aged dude starfished face up on these people’s shmancy leather couch, completely naked. Goddamn it’s good to be going back to normal!”

Datebook: Review: Kids books take on the upside-down world of the pandemic. “What did the shutdown mean for families and communities? What has been the impact of COVID-19 — big and small, close to home and faraway? Where can optimism be found? Some recent books — fiction, nonfiction and picture books — take up these questions and help all of us reflect on this unprecedented time.”


BBC: Covid: Pulse oxygen monitors work less well on darker skin, experts say. “A device designed to spot early signs of dangerous falls in oxygen levels in Covid patients works less well in those with darker skin, experts are warning. NHS England and medicines regulator, the MHRA, say pulse oximeters may sometimes overestimate oxygen levels.”

Houston Chronicle: Houston pediatrician warns parents to take COVID ‘very seriously’ with children’s hospitals full. “In the past week, I’ve seen a tremendous uptick. I was on call this weekend, and we had far more positive test results for COVID-19 among our patient population than I had an any other call weekend of this entire pandemic. It’s a combination of the delta variant and of the virus seeking the vulnerable. Ages 12 and under are not eligible to be vaccinated, and unfortunately, a fair number 18 and under are not vaccinated. So in that way, again, it’s a perfect storm.”


WRAL: NC Zoo animals will get ‘uniquely formulated’ vaccine to protect against coronavirus. “The North Carolina Zoo will soon begin vaccinating its animals against coronavirus, starting with the chimpanzees and gorillas. WCNC Charlotte reports the zoo will receive its first shipment of vaccine at the end of July for more than 20 primates. Like humans, each will get two doses. The zoo’s primates will be the first to get their shots.”


ABC 7: Hollywood Pantages Theatre to require ticket holders be fully vaccinated when it reopens. “The Hollywood Pantages Theatre will require ticket holders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and show proof when it reopens next month, officials announced Friday.”

Deadline: The Walt Disney Co. Will Require That Salaried And Non-Union Hourly Employees In U.S. Be Vaccinated. “The Walt Disney Co. has added its name to the growing list of major corporations mandating that employees be fully vaccinated. The new requirement applies to all salaried and non-union hourly employees, in the U.S., and the company said that they are talking to unions representing workers under collective bargaining agreements.”

CNBC: Walmart tells corporate staff, managers they must have Covid vaccine by October. “Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said Friday the retailer’s corporate staff as well as its management-level employees must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Oct. 4, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.”

WFLA: Publix brings back mask mandate for employees as delta variant surges. “A spokesperson for the grocery chain confirmed to WFLA on Friday that Publix will once again require employees to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths regardless of their vaccination status. The new policy goes in effect Aug. 2.”

NBC Bay Area: Twitter Closes San Francisco, New York Offices as COVID-19 Cases Surge. “Twitter has announced that it will close its San Francisco and New York offices immediately as COVID-19 cases surge across the country. Wednesday’s announcement comes just two weeks after the social media company reopened their offices to workers.”

Mashable: ‘Clifford’ delayed as COVID variant cases threaten Hollywood’s comeback. “The fantasy comedy based on Norman Bridwell’s classic children’s books has been delayed to a to-be-decided date. Multiple outlets report that the change in plans is COVID’s fault as cases surge in the United States and elsewhere, fueled by the ‘Delta’ variant of the virus.”

WBUR: How To Run A Ghost Kitchen: The Pandemic Trend Helping Restaurants Cut Out Sit-Down Dining. “Without a seating area for customers to dine in, ghost kitchens produce food that’s almost immediately whisked away to be eaten elsewhere. The concept grew in popularity during the pandemic with many diners ordering food for pickup or delivery. Ghost kitchens are expected to account for 21% of total restaurant sales over the next four years.”


CNN: The pandemic turning point the White House didn’t want. “A surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the contagious Delta variant has forced Biden to drastically rethink his approach to the pandemic, three weeks after he told the country on Independence Day the virus ‘no longer controls our lives.’ In doing so, he is testing the nation’s forbearance amid changing rules and sometimes-confusing messages.”


WUSF: Fried: Agriculture Department Will Release Daily COVID Numbers. “Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says she will provide county data reported daily to the federal government because the state Department of Health switched to releasing such info to once a week.”


CNN: New Orleans EMS can’t keep up with calls due to the Covid-19 surge as mayor restores a mask mandate . “Emergency medical responders in New Orleans have been hit so hard by the resurgence in Covid-19 cases that the city doesn’t have the capacity to handle 911 calls, the mayor said Friday as she announced a new mask mandate and a contract to increase EMS resources.”

Local 10: Miami Beach mayor opposes DeSantis’ stance against face mask mandates. “Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to support the return of face mask mandates as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns the coronavirus’ evolution into the more contagious Delta variant is getting more and more people sick.”


CNN: This Florida mother has been living in her teen daughter’s ICU room for days, praying she survives Covid-19. “Agnes Velasquez remembers the last words her teen daughter said before Covid-19 severely attacked her respiratory system. ‘She told me that she loved me,’ said Velasquez, who rushed her daughter to the hospital. Velasquez spoke with CNN on a video call from the ICU room at Broward Health Medical Center where her 15-year-old daughter, Paulina, has been battling Covid-19 for about 10 days.”

WUVE: Mississippi man says going unvaccinated could cost you a limb. “A Mississippi man said he came close to dying after getting COVID-19. Now he’s hoping others will learn from his health journey after going from vaccine skeptic to a vaccine believer. Bryan Thompson, 43, is married to Audrey. He has a 6-year-old son named Endymion. He works for an IT company from home. He says he’s otherwise a healthy man, but he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.”

Reuters: Hamilton suspects long COVID after suffering fatigue, dizziness. ” Seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said he suspects he has long COVID, after suffering dizziness and fatigue in the aftermath of a hard-fought Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.”


Washington Post: WFT’s player vaccination rate lags behind rest of NFL, frustrating Ron Rivera. “On the first day of training camp, Washington Football Team Coach Ron Rivera walked to the podium for his introductory news conference wearing a black mask. As of Monday, his team ranked last in the NFL in player vaccination rate at 60 percent, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”


KNAU: Ash Fork Schools Close Temporarily After COVID-19 Outbreak. “In a video update, Superintendent Seth Staples says the entire campus was closed several days this week for public health precautions; some students are slated to return next week for a phased-in reopening process beginning with elementary and middle school students…. Staples noted that school districts cannot mandate masks due to a recent executive order by Governor Doug Ducey.”

Florida Times-Union: Duval Schools announces adults-only mask mandate. “Duval Schools employees will be required to wear masks for the next 30 days — but students still won’t have to. In a letter sent Friday afternoon obtained by the Times-Union, Superintendent Diana Greene announced that starting Monday, district employees, vendors and visitors will all be required to wear masks.”

Mississippi Free Press: As Outbreaks Force Schools To Go All-Virtual, Districts Reinstate Mask Mandates. “Only days into the school year, some districts in South Mississippi are walking back their decision to make mask-wearing optional. Yesterday, the Lamar County School District announced that two of its schools, Oak Grove High School and Purvis High School, were shutting their doors on Monday and going all-virtual until Aug. 16 ‘due to the high transmission rate of COVID-19.'”

Fox 5 Atlanta: North Clayton High School to start virtually after COVID-19 outbreak. “A school in Clayton County announced Saturday it would begin the year virtually after a COVID-19 outbreak. North Clayton High School officials said Saturday ‘a number of staff members’ have to quarantine at the College Park school. For now, the school plans to start virtually on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. ”


Route Fifty: Covid-19 Delta Variant FAQs for Government Leaders. “Answers for state and local officials, including should residents keep wearing a mask if they are vaccinated to why are vaccinated people still contracting the virus.”

New York Times: They Spurned the Vaccine. Now They Want You to Know They Regret It.. “Amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections and deaths, some people who once rejected the vaccines or simply waited too long are now grappling with the consequences, often in raw, public ways. A number are speaking from hospital beds, at funerals and in obituaries about their regrets, about the pain of enduring the virus and watching unvaccinated family members die gasping for breath.”

CNN: The surge of Covid-19 infections for unvaccinated people is only beginning, experts warn. “With the recent increase of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations due to the spread of the more dangerous Delta variant, health experts and officials expect the surge to worsen as long as large segments of the country remain unvaccinated.”

Washington Post: Many parents still haven’t gotten their adolescent kids vaccinated. What are they waiting for? . “Federal health officials agree that approved vaccines are safe for teens, and that although most cases of covid-19 are very mild in children, in rare instances the effects of infection can be severe. From a public-health standpoint, vaccinating eligible adolescents is a priority: Teens and kids who are unvaccinated may drive the spread of the virus, extending the pandemic and giving the virus more opportunities to mutate in ways that could erode the effectiveness of the vaccines for everybody. For individual parents looking at their own kids, however, the choice doesn’t always seem so clear-cut.”


MIT Technology Review: Hundreds of AI tools have been built to catch covid. None of them helped.. “The AI community, in particular, rushed to develop software that many believed would allow hospitals to diagnose or triage patients faster, bringing much-needed support to the front lines—in theory. In the end, many hundreds of predictive tools were developed. None of them made a real difference, and some were potentially harmful.”


Stanford Daily: Vaccine supplement can expand immune system’s virus protection, Stanford research finds. “Certain additives can strengthen vaccines to protect the body from a broad range of viruses, researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found in a study published in late June in Cell. Their results give new insight into the effects of vaccines on the immune system and methods to handle future epidemics and pandemics.”


Deadline: Los Angeles Covid Surge Being Driven By White, Affluent Neighborhoods. “Covid cases continued to rise in Los Angeles County on Thursday, albeit more slowly. The raw number of daily cases rose 17% in the past week, to 3,248. That’s roughly half of the 7,458 cases recorded in California on Thursday, even though Los Angeles County’s population accounts for only roughly 25% of the state’s residents.”

BBC: Nanjing: New virus outbreak worst since Wuhan, say Chinese state media. “A Covid outbreak first discovered in the Chinese city of Nanjing has spread to five provinces and Beijing, with state media calling it the most extensive contagion after Wuhan. Almost 200 people have been infected since the virus was first detected at the city’s busy airport on 20 July.”


AP: Missouri AG sues over St. Louis area mask mandate. “The attorney general in Missouri has sued in an effort to halt a mask mandate that took effect Monday in the St. Louis area amid a rise in COVID-19 cases that are burdening a growing number of hospitals around the state.”

ProPublica: How a ProPublica Reporter Learned Scammers’ Secret Sauce. “When reporter Cezary Podkul began investigating how unemployment insurance fraud exploded during the pandemic, he discovered an international web of scammers, stolen identities and ‘sauce.'”


Washington Post: Opinion: Require the vaccine. It’s time to stop coddling the reckless.. “P­­­ay people to get vaccinated, no matter whether that is unfair to those who didn’t receive checks for jabs. Require them to do so as a condition of going to work or enrolling in school. Do whatever it takes — and, recent weeks have shown, it is going to take steps like these — to get the pandemic under control. Those of us who have behaved responsibly — wearing masks and, since the vaccines became available, getting our shots — cannot be held hostage by those who can’t be bothered to do the same, or who are too deluded by misinformation to understand what is so clearly in their own interest.”


New York Times: Biden, Republicans and the Pandemic Blame Game. “Not only are Republicans resisting Mr. Biden’s push to end the pandemic, some of them are actively hampering it. Republican governors slow-walked vaccination efforts and lifted mask mandates early. In Washington, G.O.P. leaders like Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican — who himself didn’t get vaccinated until about two weeks ago — mocked public health guidance that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors as ‘government control.'”

HuffPost: GOP Lawmakers Melt Down Over Having To Wear Masks Again. “On the advice of the congressional physician, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reinstated a mask mandate for all House lawmakers and staff members on Wednesday. The move comes amid rising cases connected to the delta variant of the coronavirus. The result has been a blow-up by House Republicans, with members erupting in fighting and yelling. ”

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