Wednesday CoronaBuzz, August 18, 2021: 74 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Some of these categories are getting too big so I’ll probably be splitting them further. Please stay safe. Please get vaccinated. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


North Jersey: Facing eviction, foreclosure in NJ? Here’s what you need to know, how to get rent relief. “…New Jersey’s eviction moratorium is set to end Aug. 31, 2021 for higher-income renters and Dec. 31, 2021 for lower-income renters. Add to the mix federal protections for certain renters in high-risk regions last until Oct. 3, and it gets complicated. Here’s everything you need to know about renting, the moratoriums, eviction suits and procedures, how to apply for rent relief, how to determine if you qualify, and more.”


Mashable: 4 simple ways to manage your Delta variant anger. “The hyper-contagious Delta variant has officially launched the newest phase of pandemic life. This reality, with infections soaring and vaccinated people unexpectedly masking up again, was expertly illustrated on Twitter this week. A viral meme invited people to temporarily turn their shock into laughter by pairing two contrasting images: the future you’d imagined once America reopened and what actually happened when Delta began burning through the country. Underpinning all of this, for many, is fury. They’re angry at the lost hope, the suddenly heightened risk, and the determined resistance displayed by millions of Americans who’ve refused the vaccine.”


Dallas Morning News: With medical resources ‘stretched to the greatest extent,’ COVID-19 deaths climbing in Texas. “A month and a half into Texas’ delta variant–fueled coronavirus surge, deaths from COVID-19 have begun ticking upward, mirroring the rise in cases and hospitalizations in preceding weeks. An average of 90 deaths a day was reported across Texas over the last week. While that number is well below the peak seven-day average of deaths — about 330 — in late January, the average had dropped as low as 20 in early July.”

7 San Diego: San Diego County COVID Cases Soar Past 1,700. “On Tuesday, health officials said that there were 1,738 new cases reported and confirmed by testings for the disease. Authorities added that there had been 11 new hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19, two of them sick enough to land in intensive-care units.”


Vox: Why no one really knows how bad Facebook’s vaccine misinformation problem is. “…the reality is we simply don’t know the true size or effect of Covid-19 misinformation on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. That’s in large part because Facebook isn’t giving researchers enough of the real-time data they need to figure out exactly how much Covid-19 misinformation is on the platform, who’s seeing it, and how it’s impacting their willingness to get vaccinated.”

Wake Forest University: Reports on breakthrough COVID cases causing confusion about vaccine effectiveness. “Statistics professor Lucy D’Agostino McGowan is taking aim at misconceptions about the number of COVID-19 breakthrough cases and vaccine effectiveness. Reports on infection percentages emphasize the wrong denominator – the bottom number in a fraction. As a result, people may feel overly alarmed by the number of fully vaccinated people who are turning up among the infected.”

Poynter: Science shows mask-wearing is largely safe for children. “What does science say about whether masks can cause harm for the wearer? Generally, we found that concerns about significant negative impacts on breathing aren’t well supported. Worries about masks interfering with communication and serving as a barrier to social connection in the classroom may be more reasonable, experts say.”

TechCrunch: Twitter asks users to flag COVID-19 and election misinformation. “Twitter introduced a new test feature Tuesday that allows users to report misinformation they run into on the platform, flagging it to the company as ‘misleading.’ The test will roll out starting today to most users in the U.S., Australia and South Korea.”


WRAL: More workers are leaving their jobs for family-friendly work options. “The pandemic and current nationwide labor shortage may give workers more power. In early 2020, COVID-19 shutdowns meant more parents worked from home in order to help their children with remote learning. The results of that labor experiment inspired people like Debi Yadegari, who realized she could get more done if she didn’t have a commute time.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah mothers share how it feels living ‘on the edge’ during COVID-19. “Janel Hulbert was juggling her part-time customer service job with her four children’s schooling when her 4-year-old son was left unattended on a school bus for nearly two hours after being picked up for preschool in September. ‘That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,’ the 37-year-old mother said. Hulbert, who lives in Roy, quit her job to focus on her family. And she’s not sure when — or if — she’ll look for another one.”

Business Insider: Nearly half of adults now want to live somewhere with easy access to camping or fishing, marking a fundamental change that’s rippling through everything from housing prices to fashion. “It seems that the outdoors boom isn’t dying down anytime soon. For nearly half of US adults, easy access to the outdoors for activities like hiking, fishing, or camping is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important, according to a new survey conducted by The Washington Post and George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. The poll was conducted among 1,000 adults between July 6 and July 21.”


Mississippi Today: UMMC to open second field hospital, with ICU beds, in parking garage as COVID-19 explodes. “Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, will build and staff the field hospital, which is expected to contain 30-50 patient beds. An estimated 5-10 of those beds will be ICU beds. None of the 50 or so beds in the field hospital UMMC opened on Friday are ICU level.”

Houston Chronicle: Inside a Galveston ICU, young patients once considered safe from COVID now desperately cling to life. “Previously in the pandemic, people age 65 and above made up the majority of hospitalizations nationwide, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. That trend began to shift in April, after vaccines became widely available. As of Aug. 7, most people hospitalized fall within the 18 to 49 age range, the CDC reports. In Texas, COVID is infecting more people in their 30s than any other age group, with about 17,400 cases. People in their 20s are a close second, with about 15,900 cases.”

WSFA: Alabama has ‘negative’ ICU beds available. “As of Tuesday, Alabama was out of intensive care unit beds, but the number of inpatients needing ICU treatment continues to increase. ‘We’ve never been here before. We are in truly now in uncharted territory in terms of our ICU bed capacity,’ said Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson.”

New York Times: American Hospitals Buckle Under Delta, With I.C.U.s Filling Up. “Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that the number of hospitals with very full I.C.U.s doubled in recent weeks. Now, one in five I.C.U.s have reached or exceeded 95 percent of beds occupied, a level experts say makes it difficult or impossible for health professionals to maintain standards of care for the very sick.”

KHN: ‘Tainted’ Blood: Covid Skeptics Request Blood Transfusions From Unvaccinated Donors. “With nearly 60% of the eligible U.S. population fully vaccinated, most of the nation’s blood supply is now coming from donors who have been inoculated, experts said. That’s led some patients who are skeptical of the shots to demand transfusions only from the unvaccinated, an option blood centers insist is neither medically sound nor operationally feasible.”


Mashable: Notorious germ soup CES announces 2022 vaccine mandate. “CES announced Tuesday that, come 2022, proof of vaccination against the coronavirus will be required for those in attendance. The annual Las Vegas consumer electronics conference, which in 2020 drew a crowd of over 170,000 people from around the world, is scheduled for a mix of both online and in-person events when it returns in early January of next year.”


New York Times: Covid Vaccines Produced in Africa Are Being Exported to Europe. “South Africa is still waiting to receive the overwhelming majority of the 31 million vaccine doses it ordered from Johnson & Johnson. It has administered only about two million Johnson & Johnson shots. That is a key reason that fewer than 7 percent of South Africans are fully vaccinated — and that the country was devastated by the Delta variant. At the same time, Johnson & Johnson has been exporting millions of doses that were bottled and packaged in South Africa for distribution in Europe, according to executives at Johnson & Johnson and the South African manufacturer, Aspen Pharmacare, as well as South African government export records reviewed by The New York Times.”

BBC: Just how hard is it to recycle a jumbo jet?. “Thanks to the pandemic and the subsequent collapse in air travel, around a quarter of the world’s passenger jets remain idle – parked at airports and storage facilities while their owners decide what to do with them. Some of those aircraft will never fly again.”

The Verge: OpenTable adds a new ‘verified’ tag for restaurants to check vaccine status. “OpenTable is adding a new feature that will let restaurants tag diners as ‘verified’ for meeting entry requirements. The initial — and obvious — use of the verification feature will be for restaurants to log guests who are vaccinated for COVID-19, but the feature could also be used to do things like confirm a diner is of legal drinking age or other requirements for entry.”

Engadget: Apple will reportedly begin hosting in-store classes again on August 30th. “In the latest sign that things are returning to normal for the company, Apple is planning to bring back its educational classes to retail locations in the US and Europe, according to Bloomberg.” I hope they succeed but that timeline seems awfully optimistic.


CNN: New Zealand announces it’s locking down the entire country … over one Covid case. “New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a nationwide lockdown after the country confirmed one coronavirus case — the first locally transmitted Covid-19 case in the community since February. Ardern told a press conference Tuesday authorities were assuming it was the contagious Delta variant, although genome sequencing is still underway.”

Politico: Troubling CDC vaccine data convinced Biden team to back booster shots. “Top Biden administration health officials concluded that most Americans will soon need coronavirus booster shots after reviewing a raft of new data from the Centers for Disease Control that showed a worrying drop in vaccine efficacy over time, four administration officials told POLITICO.”


Rolling Stone: Mississippi Gov. Refuses School Mask Mandates, Compares Covid-19 in Kids to ‘Sniffles’. “Less than 24 hours after Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Tate Reeves tried to dismiss the threat that Covid-19 poses to children, an eighth-grader in the state died from complications due to the virus.”

NBC Washington: DC to Require COVID Vaccines for All Health Care Workers. “All health care workers in D.C. must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the District’s health department announced Monday. Health care workers must prove by Sept. 30 that they have received a vaccine, Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said at a news conference. ”

New York Times: Georgia will increase hospital funding amid a Covid surge.. “With coronavirus cases surging across Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday announced plans to spend more than $125 million to add staff and increase capacity at hospitals. Mr. Kemp, a Republican, is not requiring state workers to be vaccinated, nor is he requiring that people wear masks in public spaces, indoors or in schools to help stop the spread of the virus.”

NBC News: Texas requests five mortuary trailers in anticipation of Covid deaths. “With Covid-19 surging across the state, Texas has requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government in anticipation of an influx of dead bodies, state officials told NBC News. The mortuary trailers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be stationed in San Antonio and sent around the state at the request of local officials.”

CNN: Arizona governor to exclude school districts with mask mandates from new education grants. “Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that the state would use federal Covid relief money to increase the funding available to public school districts only if they’re open for in-person learning and don’t require children to wear masks.”

Politico: Florida threatens to remove school officials who disobey DeSantis. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fight over school mask mandates took a dramatic turn on Tuesday after the state Board of Education ruled two defiant school districts broke state law and threatened to remove local elected officials for disobeying the GOP governor.”


San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco to reopen mass coronavirus testing site amid delta surge. “The site at Seventh and Brannan streets will be able to administer 500 tests per day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week by appointment only. That brings San Francisco’s total test capacity to about 5,000 a day, as schools reopen and people continue mingling indoors despite the surge in cases.”


WRAL: ‘Humans should get together and fight’: Durham man hopes COVID yard signs convince passersby to get a shot. “Months ago, Jim [Lindsley], and his wife Renee, made signs to put along the street outside his Durham home to encourage COVID-19 safety measures like wearing masks and getting vaccinated. Neighbors have been on board, letting them post signs in their yards as well.”

Herald-Tribune: Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms. “Van Ostenbridge was among the county commissioners who championed the removal of all mandatory COVID-19 precautions in May after the COVID-19 vaccine became readily available. At the May meeting, Van Ostenbridge said he opposed government mandates.”

WLOX: ‘I’m sorry I didn’t get the shot’: Former councilman pleaded for people to get COVID vaccine before he died. “Just days before dying of COVID-19, former Pascagoula councilman Joe Abston apologized to his wife, telling her he was sorry for not getting the vaccine. Abston, 51, died Sunday after a short battle with the virus. Despite the shock and overwhelming grief she is enduring, Joe’s wife of nearly 30 years has been very open about her husband’s condition and how he got there. Missy Abston hopes that by sharing his story, it encourages as many people as possible to get vaccinated and take every protection available.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Sen. Andre Jacque of De Pere hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. “One of the Legislature’s most active lawmakers who has opposed mask and vaccine mandates has received hospital care after testing positive for COVID-19. Sen. Andre Jacque, a Republican from De Pere, said Monday evening he and some family members tested positive late last week and that he was at the hospital with pneumonia. He did not say whether he had been admitted. ”

ABC 13: Mother of 4 dies of COVID weeks after losing husband to the virus. “A widow and mother of four died Monday after a month-long battle with COVID-19, the woman’s cousin told Eyewitness News. Lydia Rodriguez lost her husband, Lawrence, to the virus at the beginning of August after they were both hospitalized in mid-July.”

Florida Phoenix: Nikki Fried calls on DeSantis to declare state of emergency, accept fed help. “Citing new state and federal COVID-19 statistics, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Nikki Fried called on Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday to declare a state of emergency and draw down federal disaster assistance. In her daily announcements of updated COVID data, Fried said Monday that conditions in Florida are becoming dire, yet DeSantis has shown no interest in issuing emergency orders other than to block local restrictions such as mask-wearing mandates, recommended by the CDC, and vaccine mandates.”

NBC News: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for Covid after banning mask, vaccine mandates. “Abbott issued an executive order late last month banning vaccination and mask mandates as case numbers rose in the state and despite pushback from local officials and school districts. In Harris and Tarrant counties — two of the state’s most populous areas — school districts defied Abbott’s executive order as students prepared to return to classrooms. However, Abbott’s order was recently upheld by the state Supreme Court.”

New York Times: Pope Francis Encourages Covid Vaccines in Media Campaign. “Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is ‘an act of love,’ Pope Francis says in a public service ad that will start circulating online and on television on Wednesday. Working with the Ad Council, a nonprofit group, in its first campaign to extend beyond the United States, the pope encourages people around the world to get inoculated.”


Atlanta Falcons: Falcons have reached a 100-percent vaccination rate. “Falcons have reached a 100-percent vaccinate rate. They are the first team in the NFL to have everyone on the squad against COVID-19. WSB (Ch.2 in Atlanta) sports director Zach Klein first reported the news on Monday, citing league sources. The Falcons confirmed the report after the news broke.”

Yahoo Finance: 2021 has been a record year for the golf business. “Within the last week, we’ve seen golf’s two biggest publicly-traded companies — Titleist parent company Acushnet (GOLF) and Callaway Golf (ELY) — report quarterly results. And these reports indicated that just about every benefit that accrued to the industry during the pandemic has only improved this year.”


Lifehacker: Here’s a State-by-State Guide to School Mask Mandates. “With children heading back to full-time, in-person school over the next few weeks while the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges, many parents are wondering whether their kids will be required to wear a mask. With this in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidance on K-12 schools, recommending universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older) regardless of vaccination status. Despite CDC guidance, some states don’t have school mask mandates in place though, so here’s a state-by-state list to summarize the rules where you live.” This is changing constantly so if you need the latest, I suggest you go directly to a school district’s Web site.

The State: Breaking with state law, Charleston County schools will make students wear face masks. “In a move that puts the school district at risk of losing state funding, Charleston County schools decided that everyone — students, employees and visitors — must wear a mask or face covering in schools until at least Oct. 15. The requirement takes effect immediately. The decision, made Monday by the school board during a special-called meeting, makes the Charleston County School District the first public school system to openly defy South Carolina law.”

Daily Beast: South Carolina School Board Loses Second Member to COVID—but Won’t Make Kids Wear Masks. “A school board in Horry County, South Carolina, has been rattled by the COVID-19 deaths of two members within months, just as kids in the district are returning to classrooms without a mask mandate in place. Board member Ray Winters, 50, died Monday from COVID-19, months after a board colleague, 52-year-old John Poston, perished from the deadly virus.”

WTHR: Indiana school district goes online after just 2 weeks of in-person classes. ” Another school district is back to e-learning after a rise in coronavirus cases and quarantines. And, it’s just two weeks into their school year. The Shenandoah Community School District’s nearly 1,400 K-12 students returned to remote learning Monday after the director of the Henry County Health Department told district officials cases were headed in the wrong direction and becoming worrisome.”

San Francisco Chronicle: More COVID cases. More symptoms. More conspiracy theories. Here’s what Bay Area pediatricians are seeing as kids head back to school. “The start of school for tens of thousands of Bay Area children comes as more people — including kids — are getting infected with COVID-19, a rise fueled by the delta variant of the coronavirus that medical experts say is nearly as contagious as chickenpox, and can leave some kids gasping for breath. In Contra Costa County, for example, the case rate — new cases per day per 100,000 residents — more than quadrupled for 0-11-year-olds between July 2 and Aug. 2, and more than quintupled for 12-18-year-olds.”

WFLA: 5K+ Hillsborough Co. students in quarantine/isolation, emergency meeting called for Wednesday. “The Hillsborough County School Board will hold an Emergency School Board Meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 1-3:30 p.m. due to rising COVID-19 cases across the county. As of 7 a.m., Monday, 5,599 students and 316 employees in Hillsborough County Public Schools are in isolation or quarantine. Isolation refers to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine refers to those who have had close contact with a positive case. ”

Alabama Political Reporter: After almost 400 out due to COVID-19, Cullman County Schools won’t require masks. “After nearly 400 students and staff were out of school, quarantined for either testing positive for COVID-19 or having been exposed, Cullman County Schools won’t require masks. Cullman County School Superintendent Shane Barnette in a video posted to the system’s facebook page said the schools are leaving it up to parents as to whether their children wear masks to school. ”

Clarion Ledger: About 20,000 Mississippi students in quarantine for COVID-19 exposure, health official says. “A top Mississippi health official said Tuesday that about 20,000 students are currently quarantined for COVID-19 exposure in the state — 4.5% of the public school population, according to the state’s latest enrollment figures.”

Washington Post: Texas parent rips mask off teacher’s face, school official warns: ‘Do not fight mask wars in our schools’. “Despite the dramatic increase and evidence showing that children are now more likely to contract the virus because of the more contagious delta variant, executive orders from Republican governors banning mask mandates have restricted some schools’ protective measures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends students, teachers and staff at K-12 schools wear masks indoors. Some counties in Texas, including Travis County — the home of Eanes ISD — have defied the governor’s order. ”


University of North Carolina: College drinking declined during the pandemic. “First-year college students are reporting drinking less alcohol and having fewer episodes of binge drinking four months into the coronavirus pandemic than they were before the pandemic started, according to a study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

Arizona State University: ASU study examines relationship between stress, sleep and the transition to online learning before, after onset of global crisis. “The COVID-19 pandemic added stress and uncertainty to everyone’s lives; however, immediately after the transition to remote learning took place, stress and sleep improved in the participants. Although this was a surprising result, this initial improvement in sleep and stress management plateaued after sustained remote learning, with sleep quality eventually deteriorating.”

Greenville News: Clemson, USC requiring masks after SC Supreme Court approves mask mandates for public colleges. “Clemson University and the University of South Carolina announced Tuesday evening that masks will be required in all buildings effective immediately, after the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that universities can require masks. Clemson said in a statement that the university will require masks for at least three weeks, as that is the greatest risk predicted by its public health experts and masks would significantly curb the spread of the virus.”


Newswise: New Study Finds Fully Recovered COVID-19 Patients Do Not Suffer Permanent Lung Damage. “A new study suggests that patients who contract COVID-19 and completely recover from all symptoms do not show evidence of lasting damage to the lungs. The multicenter observational study looked at COVID-19 survivors who experienced asymptomatic, moderate or severe COVID-19 infections and underwent an unrelated elective lung operation for lung nodules or lung cancer sometime after recovery. While traditionally the focus of the examination is on the tumor that is removed, this study also focused on the benign lung tissue around the tumor that had previously been afflicted with COVID-19.”

WREG: CDC: Unvaccinated more likely to get COVID-19 a second time. “Health officials say it is important for people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 to get vaccinated. A new CDC study shows survivors who ignored that advice and had COVID are more than twice as likely to get re-infected.”

CNET: Coronavirus booster: Americans could receive extra vaccine dose by mid-September. “Americans may be able to receive coronavirus booster shots by the end of September, according to a report Monday in the New York Times. The Biden administration ‘has decided most Americans should get a coronavirus booster shot eight months after they completed their initial vaccination,’ The Times reported.”

PsyPost: Neuropsychiatric symptoms may worsen over time in COVID-19 survivors. “Scientists are learning more about the long-term neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. New findings from researchers at Columbia University provide preliminary evidence that depression, insomnia, and trauma-related symptoms might grow worse over time.”

STAT: What’s safe to do during summer’s Covid surge? STAT asked public health experts about their own plans. “Confusion abounds about what is safe to do. (For the unvaccinated, there’s no confusion about what’s most important to do: Get immunized.) To try to cut through the fog, STAT contacted three dozen epidemiologists, immunologists, and other infectious disease experts around the country to see how they are navigating the risk of Covid in these uncertain times. Twenty-eight responded.”

Business Insider: The levels of COVID-19 detected in wastewater show the Central Florida surge isn’t slowing down, officials say. “Health officials in Central Florida say that the high levels of COVID-19 RNA concentration found in the region’s wastewater are ‘very concerning.’ The concentration has risen 600% since sampling began in mid-May, Director of Orange County Utilities Ed Torres told reporters, according to FOX 13 News. The wastewater levels – which public health officials have used as a tool to measure COVID-19 infections – indicate that the surge that is overwhelming Florida hospitals is not slowing down.”

Washington Post: Seven out of 10 people in this Maryland Zip code are unvaccinated. Local leaders are trying to change that.. “Lewis N. Watson, a mortician and pastor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has seen his share of covid-19 losses here over the past year and a half. At the height of the pandemic, about 7 out of every 10 deaths handled by the Lewis N. Watson Funeral Home in Wicomico County were from the virus. Then the numbers began to drop. By late winter, he said, he barely saw any covid-related deaths at his funeral home. That began to change around June, he said, when cases started again to creep up.”

BuzzFeed News: These People Got Vaccinated Against COVID-19 After Holding Out For Months. They Told Us Why.. ” The country is now going through yet another déjà vu moment: Case counts are spiking, hospitalizations are soaring, and daily case records are being broken. Since younger people in the US are less likely to be vaccinated, they’re now making up a bigger share of those falling sick and dying of COVID-19. Vaccination rates have slowly climbed in the last month, as city and state governments began mandating COVID-19 vaccines for some indoor activities and certain professions. But the increase is not happening fast enough to blunt the current COVID-19 wave.”

AP: Amid new virus surge, Florida skeptics reconsider vaccines. “In this inland area of Nassau County, sandwiched between Jacksonville and the Okefenokee Swamp at the Georgia-Florida line, a devastating resurgence of the coronavirus is making even some die-hard vaccine skeptics reconsider the shots.”

CNN: As the government talks about vaccine boosters, it’s time to cover the endemic reality of Covid. “As US government officials prepare to brief the public about Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, there is an emerging consensus coming from influential corners of the national news media: people should anticipate that Covid-19 is here to stay. It’s time to adjust expectations accordingly.”


TechCrunch: A bug in a medical startup’s website put thousands of COVID-19 test results at risk. “A California-based medical startup that provides COVID-19 testing across Los Angeles has pulled down a website it used to allow customers to access their test results after a customer found a vulnerability that allowed access to other people’s personal information.”


PsyPost: New research indicates Trump contributed to Americans embracing beliefs that neutralized social distancing norms. “People who endorsed President Donald Trump’s denials of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to adopt justifications for deviant behavior related to social distancing, according to new research conducted during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. The study has been published in the scientific journal Deviant Behavior.”

Actu IA: Using ML, researchers have found that high blood sugar levels promote severe forms of Covid. “The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) is behind the Blue Brain Project, an initiative that aims to combat Covid-19. To do this, an artificial intelligence tool has analyzed nearly 400,000 scientific articles to understand why some people contract severe forms of the disease and others do not. An important problem that could have found a potential solution: a high level of sugar could be one of the factors generating the severe forms of the coronavirus.”

Axios: Axios-Ipsos poll: Most Americans favor mandates. “Most Americans support mandating masks in schools and vaccinations to return to the workplace, and they oppose states’ efforts to ban such moves, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.”

Newswise: Penn Study Details Robust T-Cell Response to mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines—a More Durable Source of Protection. “Messenger-RNA (mRNA) vaccines against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 provoke a swift and strong response by the immune system’s T cells—the heavy armor of the immune system—according to a study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Although recent studies of vaccines tend to focus on the antibody response, the T-cell response is also an important and potentially more durable source of protection—yet little has been reported so far on the T-cell response to COVID-19 vaccines.”

Penn State News: Black patients more likely to have had strokes prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. “Black COVID-19 patients are more likely to have experienced strokes prior to their diagnosis than their non-Black counterparts, according to a study by Penn State College of Medicine researchers. They said this may be one explanation for why COVID-19 mortality has been high in Black populations.”

Newswise: Researchers to create new “breathing” lung model to study illnesses like COVID-19. “An interdisciplinary team of researchers from McMaster and SickKids are developing a cutting-edge lung model that can better respond to viruses and drug treatments, giving scientists a tool to advance research in lung conditions like COVID-19, cystic fibrosis and allergens for asthma and air pollution.”


NBC News: ‘Easy money’: How international scam artists pulled off an epic theft of Covid benefits. “In June, the FBI got a warrant to hunt through the Google accounts of Abedemi Rufai, a Nigerian state government official. What they found, they said in a sworn affidavit, was all the ingredients for a ‘massive’ cyberfraud on U.S. government benefits: stolen bank, credit card and tax information of Americans. Money transfers. And emails showing dozens of false unemployment claims in seven states that paid out $350,000.”

Law & Crime: Chicago Pharmacist Faces Federal Charges for Allegedly Selling COVID Vaccination Cards on eBay. “A Chicago-based pharmacist faces a 12-count federal indictment for the alleged unlawful sale of COVID-19 vaccine cards to multiple different buyers on eBay over a two-week span in late March and early April 2021.”

Dallas Morning News: Disability Rights Texas files federal lawsuit against Gov. Abbott over school mask mandate ban. “Disability Rights Texas filed the first federal lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates, alleging that his executive order puts students with disabilities at risk. The advocacy group’s suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Austin, escalates the legal fight over mask mandates that’s been playing out as millions of students head back to school amid a COVID-19 surge driven by the highly contagious delta variant.”


Washington Post: Opinion: A Trumpist governor’s anti-mask campaign just got worse. Biden must respond.. “There may be no Republican governor who is more committed to hamstringing local efforts to fight the spread of highly contagious strains of covid-19 than Greg Abbott of Texas. Although his state’s covid surge has gotten so bad that he’s appealing for outside help, he’s nonetheless fighting aggressively in court to maintain his statewide ban on local mask mandates.”

Brookings Institution: Beyond ‘food deserts’: America needs a new approach to mapping food insecurity. “Even in 2019—before the pandemic and after years of steadily declining food insecurity rates—10.5% of U.S. households still faced food insecurity. This rate was highest among households with incomes below the poverty line (34.9%) and single-mother households (28.7%). Latino or Hispanic and Black households experienced food insecurity rates of 15.6% and 19.1%, respectively—disproportionately higher than white households (7.9%). Why, even outside of economic crisis, do over one in 10 families still face food insecurity?”

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