Wednesday CoronaBuzz, August 4, 2021: 51 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

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


U.S. Department of Education: U.S. Department of Education Releases “Return to School Roadmap” to Support Students, Schools, Educators, and Communities in Preparing for the 2021-2022 School Year. “The Roadmap provides key resources and supports for students, parents, educators, and school communities to build excitement around returning to classrooms this school year and outlines how federal funding can support the safe and sustained return to in-person learning. Over the course of the next several weeks as schools reopen nationwide, the Roadmap will lay out actionable strategies to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidance for K-12 schools, so that schools can minimize transmission and sustain in-person learning all school-year long.”


Florida Politics: Florida Hospital Association’s Mary Mayhew says new COVID-19 surge ‘dramatically different’. “The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging Florida now is dramatically different in character from previous waves because the Delta variant is putting many young people into intensive care, Florida Hospital Association President Mary Mayhew said Monday. Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show, Mayhew said Florida’s hospitals, particularly in Jacksonville and Orlando, are filling fast with much younger COVID-19 patients. She called it a crisis.”

AL: ‘We are exhausted:’ Alabama hospital’s number of COVID patients triples in a month. “Earlier this month, Huntsville Hospital Health System was treating 35 COVID-19 patients. Just a few weeks later, that number more than tripled to 129 and, now, has reached 143 with 46 in the ICU and 13 on a ventilator.”

Anchorage Daily News: ‘Sicker and younger’: Unvaccinated people are driving a new hospitalization trend in Alaska’s COVID-19 wave. “Last winter, as the peak of the coronavirus pandemic ripped through the state, the infected patients seen by Dr. Nick Papacostas in his Anchorage emergency room tended to be older, in their 70s and 80s. Now the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 is driving up case counts around the country and in Alaska, where as of Friday barely 44% of the total population was fully vaccinated. And now Papacostas is seeing people in their 40s, 50s and 60s with more serious respiratory problems, who need additional oxygen or even mechanical ventilation, he said. None are vaccinated.”

Salt Lake Tribune: 15 Utahns die of COVID-19 over the weekend. “Utah’s COVID-19 death toll continues to rise as the state reported 15 more fatalities over the weekend. The state health department is no longer reporting numbers on the weekends and released three days of numbers on Monday. The state saw more than 2,200 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The seven-day average for new cases is now 861, the most since Feb. 15.”

Tampa Bay Times: Florida leads the nation in kids hospitalized for COVID. “Florida had 32 pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations per day between July 24 and 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adjusted for population, that’s 0.76 kids hospitalized per 100,000 residents, the highest rate in the country. The Florida Department of Health reported 10,785 new COVID-19 infections among children under 12 between July 23 and 29. That’s an average of 1,540 new cases per day.”

Houston Chronicle: ‘Dark times’: Houston’s fourth COVID-19 wave to be the largest yet, medical leaders predict. “In the Houston area, the previous record for COVID hospitalizations was 2,927 people on Jan. 8. The consortium’s latest model predicts that record will be broken Aug. 8. The previous record for ICU patients — 947, set July 18, 2020 — is predicted to be broken Aug. 15. Even more alarmingly, the surge isn’t predicted to level off there, but to keep climbing sharply. By the end of August, the consortium forecasts that roughly 2,000 people will be in Houston ICUs — double the previous high.”

New York Times: Florida may face its worst wave ever as the Delta variant spreads.. “As the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus rips through the unvaccinated population in the United States, Florida is heading toward its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. The state is still about one month away from its peak, according to an epidemiologist who has been tracking the virus’s reach there.”

CBS Los Angeles: LA County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Nearly Quadruple In One Month. “Five deaths and 2,361 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Los Angeles County Monday, and the number of people hospitalized with the virus has nearly quadrupled in the last month. The new infections brought the county’s total from throughout the pandemic to 1,305,704. The additional five deaths raised the county’s death toll of 24,690.”


CNN: Top RNC official in Florida spreads Covid-19 conspiracies, calling vaccines the ‘mark of the beast’. “Amid recent surging coronavirus cases in Florida, a top Republican National Committee official in the state has spread anti-vaccine rhetoric and misinformation, comparing the Biden administration’s vaccine efforts to Nazi-era “brown shirts,” and twice calling the vaccines “the mark of the beast,” comparable to a ‘false god.'”


Washington Post: Vaccinated people are ready for normalcy — and angry at the unvaccinated getting in their way. “An unwelcome resurgence of the coronavirus has caused a groundswell of impatience, frustration and even rage from Americans who got their shots months ago toward those whose resistance won’t budge. States are reimplementing mask requirements, corporations are delaying their returns to the office and support is building for more coercive ways to tamp down the virus’s spread, including vaccine mandates.”

BBC: Covid third wave: Americans ‘scared and angry’ as pandemic worsens. “The country’s vaccination rate was once the envy of the world and restrictions were lifted in the spring, well ahead of many other nations. But now, with only half of the population vaccinated and the Delta variant surging, the summer of freedom feels like it’s coming to a premature end.”

CNN: Local reporters in Covid hot spots push to break through to the unvaccinated. “As the Delta variant continues to spread, particularly among the unvaccinated, local reporters in Covid-19 hot spots are struggling to get through to vaccine resisters.”


ABC News: Nursing home advocates shift stance on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for staff. “As the delta variant continues to drive the latest coronavirus surge, many long-term care providers and advocates are calling for mandatory vaccinations for staff members — a stark change in tone from earlier in the pandemic.”

NBC News: Officials set up a mobile center at a Missouri fair to boost vaccinations. No one showed up.. “Officials at the St. Charles County Health Department in Missouri said they were disappointed after no one showed up to a mobile Covid-19 vaccination center offering vaccines to those attending a local annual fair this week.”

Daily Beast: State TV: Russians Are Using Prosthetic Arms to Dodge COVID Jabs. “Kremlin-controlled media is deep in a massive vaccine disinfo campaign, and has been ever since COVID jabs were first introduced. The goal, from the beginning, was simple: to undermine foreign-made inoculations, and promote Russia’s COVID jabs as the very best. But now, it seems that the fearmongering is backfiring and impeding the Kremlin’s push to vaccinate its own people.”

AP: Florida breaks record for COVID-19 hospitalizations . ” A day after it recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, Florida on Sunday broke a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year ago before vaccines were available. The Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.”

HuffPost: I’m An ICU Doctor And I Cannot Believe The Things Unvaccinated Patients Are Telling Me. “Then, effective vaccines became widely available in the U.S. — I briefly saw light at the end of the tunnel. The number of patients with COVID-19 in ICUs across the country plummeted. It looked like our sacrifices and commitment as health care workers had paid off. We believed herd immunity could become a reality and we could return to some sense of normalcy. But the relief was short-lived, the hope was fleeting, and we are amid another surge. A surge that is fueled by a highly transmissible variant and those unvaccinated. My experiences in the ICU these past weeks have left me surprised, disheartened, but most of all, angry.”

ABC 33: Alabama pharmacists, clinics see increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines. “Just 34 percent of Alabama’s population is fully vaccinated, which is lowest in the nation. However, demand for vaccines is increasing and that’s encouraging for health leaders.”


The Verge: Facebook is requiring all US employees to wear masks in offices. “Facebook announced on Monday that all employees will be required to wear masks when offices reopen. The policy goes into effect on August 3rd and will remain in place until further notice. The company confirmed last week that it’s requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all employees returning to work at its US campuses, which it plans to fully reopen by October.”

ABC 7: ‘More assertive’: Kaiser Permanente, others announce COVID-19 vaccine requirements. “There is a growing list of companies demanding proof of vaccination. On Monday, Kaiser Permanente announced how it plans to take protection a step further. It will now require all employees and physicians to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, and the more transmissible, more infectious Delta variant.”

NBC News: Tyson Foods to mandate vaccine for all frontline workers and corporate employees. “Meatpacker Tyson Foods announced Tuesday that it would require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated fully this year. The company said 56,000 U.S. employees, representing less than half of its domestic workforce, has been vaccinated so far. Office workers face a deadline of Oct. 1 to be vaccinated fully, while plant employees have until Nov. 1.”


New York Times: Where a Vast Global Vaccination Program Went Wrong. “After months of struggle, the U.N.-backed Covax alliance will soon have many more doses, promising relief for vaccine shortages in poorer countries. But it faces a deepening crisis: difficulties getting shots into arms as the Delta variant spreads.”

Washington Post: New restrictions sweep China as officials race to contain delta outbreak. “Faced with a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, China is implementing a wave of travel restrictions and quarantine orders, the scale of which has not been seen since the country’s initial explosion of cases from Wuhan in 2020. Driven by the contagious delta variant, the outbreak will be a closely watched test of China’s vaccines as well as its draconian containment strategy, which until this point has been largely effective in keeping infections low, experts say.”

New York Times: To Fight Vaccine Lies, Authorities Recruit an ‘Influencer Army’. “Fewer than half of all Americans age 18 to 39 are fully vaccinated, compared with more than two-thirds of those over 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And about 58 percent of those age 12 through 17 have yet to receive a shot at all. To reach these young people, the White House has enlisted an eclectic army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers, TikTokers and the 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo, all of them with enormous online audiences.”

The Guardian: China shuts down transport routes as it battles worst Covid outbreak in months. “The latest outbreak has so far infected more than 400 people in 25 cities, including the capital city, Beijing, and in Wuhan for the first time since it contained the first Covid-19 outbreak last year. Cases have been reported in 17 of the 31 provinces.”

NBC News: Biden to announce U.S. has delivered more than 100 million Covid shots abroad. “President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that his administration has delivered more than 100 million Covid vaccine doses abroad — more than the donations of all other countries combined, the White House said.”

New York Times: Germany Will Offer Vaccine Booster Shots Starting in September. “As concerns grow over the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Germany on Monday became the biggest Western country yet to announce that it will offer vaccine booster shots to a wide range of people considered potentially vulnerable, adding to growing momentum in rich nations to give additional shots to fully vaccinated people.”

The Scotsman: Covid Scotland: Social distancing removed but face masks and home working to remain as Level 0 ends on Monday. “Social distancing requirements will end in most settings, limits on outdoor gatherings will be lifted, and venues such as nightclubs can open. However, the legal requirement to wear face coverings will remain ‘for some time to come, including for older children in schools.”


Orlando Sentinel: As eviction ban expires, Florida has distributed only 2% of funds to help renters. “Florida has distributed only 2% of the $870 million in federal funds it has received so far to keep renters in their homes during the pandemic by paying their landlords, even though a nationwide eviction moratorium ended on Sunday. Housing advocates fear the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium could result in hundreds of thousands of Florida renters being evicted in the coming weeks, forcing some to become homeless just as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading.”

The Advocate: Gov. John Bel Edwards reissues indoor mask mandate for Louisiana. See what’s covered.. “As confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards reinstituted an indoor mask mandate on Monday requiring residents to wear face coverings in schools, churches, businesses and any other public spaces.”


WABC: Coronavirus Update NYC: City issues ‘strong recommendation,’ stops short of mask mandate. “For the first time, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended Monday vaccinated people wear a mask in crowded indoor settings, but he stopped short of making the new CDC masking guidance mandatory in the city.”

Raleigh, North Carolina: Face Coverings Required in City of Raleigh Facilities Beginning Aug. 2. “As the City of Raleigh continues its safe return to the workplace and to reflect recommendations from the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), face coverings will be required inside city buildings beginning Monday, Aug. 2.”

CNN: Attendee at St. Louis County Council vote to overturn mask mandate tests positive for Covid-19. “A person who attended a St. Louis County Council meeting last week where officials voted to overturn a mask mandate has tested positive for Covid-19, officials said Saturday.”

New York Times: N.Y.C. will require workers and customers show proof of at least one dose for indoor dining and other activities.. “New York City will become the first U.S. city to require proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine for a variety of activities for workers and customers — indoor dining, gyms and performances — to put pressure on people to get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning.”


BBC: Barbie of Oxford Covid vaccine designer Dame Sarah Gilbert created. “Barbie maker Mattel has created a doll of the scientist who designed the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert. Dame Sarah said she found the creation ‘very strange’ at first – but she hoped it would inspire children.”

ABC News: Fauci warns ‘things are going to get worse’ with COVID. “As the country grapples with a surge in the delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that lockdowns the country saw last year are likely to not return, though he warned ‘things will get worse’ during an interview on ABC’s ‘This Week.'”

WABC: Texas couple who didn’t trust vaccine change minds after ending up in ICU with COVID-19. “A husband and wife who didn’t trust the COVID-19 vaccine changed their minds when they ended up in the ICU. By that point it was too late for vaccination – and now they are begging relatives to make sure their children get their shots. Lydia Rodriguez and her husband Lawrence, of La Marque, Texas, were both admitted to the hospital nearly three weeks ago with the virus, family members say.”

WLWT: Woman urges people to get vaccinated after losing her brother, dad to COVID-19 in same week. “Payten McCall, 24, and her family were afraid to get vaccinated, but now she’s urging people not to make that mistake after losing her oldest brother and her dad to COVID-19. Her dad, Mark McCall, 60, died early Friday morning in the Covid ward of a Jacksonville, Florida, hospital where her mom, Sherry McCall, 58, was also being treated for the virus. The family was already reeling after her brother, Britt McCall, 35, died on Monday.”

Heavy Consequence: The Offspring Oust Drummer Pete Parada for Choosing Not to Get COVID Vaccine. “The Offspring have apparently parted ways with drummer Pete Parada. According to the stickman, it’s because he has chosen not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to medical reasons.”

NBC News: Virginia Covid patient goes from ‘invincible’ to hospital-bed vaccine advocate. “An unvaccinated Virginia man who’s been hospitalized with Covid-19 is using social media to urge others to go out and get the shot. Travis Campbell, 43, has been in the hospital for more than a week with complications from the virus, which also infected his wife and two of their children.”


Washington Post: The NFL should lead by example and require its players to be vaccinated. “If one of their own — a 6-foot-3, 240-pound former NFL linebacker, now 59 years old and made vulnerable to the ravages of covid-19 by spending part of the past year fighting off a deadly skin cancer — can’t convince the current generation of professional football players working under his tutelage to get the coronavirus vaccine to keep him, his family, themselves, their families and their co-workers and their families safer, then the company that employs them should.”

BBC: Tokyo Olympics: Greece out of artistic swimming events after positive Covid tests. “Greece have withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics artistic swimming competitions after five members of the team tested positive for coronavirus. Seven others have been designated as close contacts.”


Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Henry County Schools to pay staffers $1,000 for getting vaccinated. “Henry County school leaders say they will give $1,000 to staffers who have already been vaccinated or who plan to get shots against COVID-19 by the end of September. The district is using the incentive to get its 6,000 employees inoculated in an attempt to ‘reduce the number of interruptions and shifts in instruction and learning,’ leaders said in a press release.”

WRAL: Wake County school board votes to continue mask mandate for 2021-22 school year. “Wake County Public School System students and employees will continue to wear face coverings at school, the county Board of Education voted Tuesday. The measure approved on a 9-0 vote requires face coverings in all indoor pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school environments, including sports, band and other extracurricular activities.”


BBC: Why bonding over the Euros appeared to increase Covid cases in men. “The Euros were good news for England fans (until the final) but not such good news for coronavirus infections (they went up). In Scotland too, the rise and fall in Covid cases mirrored the country’s footballing fortunes So what does this tell us about how football supporters behave, and why is it typically men who cleave to this kind of group conduct?”


New York Times: ‘X’ Marks the Spot: Officials Map a Route Out of the Pandemic. “Governments and organizations around the world are using geospatial data and digital mapping tools to guide their vaccination campaigns.”


Local 10: Landlords, tenants fill courts as eviction moratorium ends. “Historic amounts of rental assistance allocated by Congress had been expected to avert a crisis. But the distribution has been painfully slow: Only about $3 billion of the first tranche of $25 billion had been distributed through June by states and localities. A second amount of $21.5 billion will go to the states. More than 15 million people live in households that owe as much as $20 billion to their landlords, according to the Aspen Institute. As of July 5, roughly 3.6 million people in the U.S. said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.”

KTVO: Iowa Department of Public Health sued over request for Test Iowa records. “A Utah-based attorney is suing the Iowa Department of Public Health and its spokesperson, Sarah Ekstrand, over failing to provide records on the state’s COVID-19 testing program, court records show.”


Cap Times: Plain Talk: Thanks, anti-vaxxers, for my breakthrough COVID case. “What angers me is that we could be well beyond this seemingly endless crisis if as a nation we would have pulled together and put an end to this awful crisis by using the tools that are available to us. Instead, a smug cadre of charlatan politicians, think tanks that conclude our ‘constitutional rights’ to get sick and infect our families and neighbors are somehow paramount, and just plain American stupid stubbornness has allowed a variant like the delta to emerge and once again create havoc.”

CNN: The really worrisome thing about the Delta variant. “Here’s the real news: there is growing evidence that — for whatever reason (higher viral loads, something different about how the virus is handled by less mature immune systems, or something else), children infected by the Delta variant may develop a more severe form of the disease compared to illness caused by other forms of the virus.”

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