Friday CoronaBuzz, August 27, 2021: 61 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Good morning. I thought I would pass 10,000 articles indexed by the end of September, but thanks to my new improved workflow I passed it yesterday. You can read about how to search and monitor the collection (via RSS feeds!) at .

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


KCAL: Advocacy Group Creates LAUSD-Wide Dashboard Of Positive COVID-19 Cases In Each School. “An advocacy group has created a comprehensive dashboard of all positive COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Parents Supporting Teachers, an L.A.-based advocacy group, said that after repeated requests to create a comprehensive database of positive COVID-19 cases across LA’s school districts was ignored, they created one on their own.”


University of Kansas: Project Chronicles How The Pandemic Changed Community Newspapers’ Business Model . ” In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, community newspapers faced a nonstop news cycle and new challenges in providing vital information to their readers. At the same time, the pandemic presented a financial crisis as advertising revenue declined. A University of Kansas researcher has co-created an oral history of how newspapers in the middle of the country demonstrated resilience in the crisis, finding new methods of funding and developing new business models.”


The Advocate: COVID death tolls soar in Livingston and Tangipahoa. ‘We’re swamped,’ coroner’s office says. “Louisiana Department of Health data show the average number of Livingston Parish residents who died from COVID-19 each week has nearly tripled in the state’s fourth wave, from 2.7 per week in the 15 months before July 4, 2021 to seven each week after that date. Weekly deaths in Tangipahoa more than doubled over the same period, from 3.9 before July 4 to 10 thereafter.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Florida’s COVID-19 resurgence: State reports 26,203 new cases, highest daily total of the pandemic. “The 7-day trend of new cases stands at 21,604 as of Wednesday, a slight increase that ended a short-lived downturn in the COVID case surge. The 7-day average for new deaths is at 228, calculated by date the deaths were reported, according to the Sun Sentinel’s analysis of the CDC data.”

San Francisco Chronicle: 7 counties in Northern California are seeing all-time high rates of hospitalized COVID patients . “Rural California counties are reeling under the latest COVID-19 surge as the delta variant rips across the state and strains already-limited resources in mostly vaccine-hesitant communities. Patients have to wait for beds. Burned-out nurses want to quit. In county after county, intensive care units, which care for the sickest patients, are full.”

Miami Herald: Florida COVID update: 901 added deaths, largest single-day increase in pandemic history. “Florida on Thursday reported 21,765 more COVID-19 cases and 901 deaths to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Miami Herald calculations of CDC data. All but two of the newly reported deaths occurred after July 25, with about 78% of those people dying in the past two weeks, according to Herald calculations of data published by the CDC. The majority of deaths happened during Florida’s latest surge in COVID-19 cases, fueled by the delta variant.”


Washington Post: No, there weren’t thousands of covid deaths in New York that no one reported. “State numbers presented on New York’s covid dashboard included only deaths reported through a state data-collection system by health care facilities, meaning deaths that occurred in hospitals or at places such as nursing homes after positive coronavirus tests. This data excluded deaths that occurred in other types of facilities or in private homes, or deaths that weren’t preceded by a confirmed coronavirus test. (The AP’s story makes this clear.) The result is that the state tracker highlighted 43,415 deaths (as of writing) as reported through its system, while it reported 55,395 deaths to the CDC, a figure now included on the state dashboard. That’s the 12,000-death discrepancy.”

Houston Chronicle: Editorial: Step away from the livestock meds. The Pfizer vaccine just got full approval.. “News flash: Livestock medicines have not been approved for human consumption by the FDA. But on Monday morning, the FDA announced that the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which more than half of all vaccinated Americans have received, had earned full authorization for people 16 and older.”

CNET: Facebook displays FDA approval for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as it fights misinformation. “Facebook on Wednesday said that it’ll be “sharing messages across Facebook in both English and Spanish” about the US Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine became the first to win full approval by the FDA on Monday.”

Mashable: Reddit rejects moderators’ call for harsher measures against COVID-19 misinformation. “Reddit’s volunteer moderators have shared an open letter demanding the company ban subreddits dedicated to spreading COVID-19 misinformation. In response, Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman released the tech bro statement equivalent of a shrug emoji.”

Poynter: Evidence shows that COVID-19 variants are largely spread among unvaccinated people. “A Facebook post authored by someone touting toxicology credentials joined the growing field of inaccurate claims that falsely blame the vaccine for a pandemic that has stretched into a second year.”


Newswise: Grief and Loss for cancer patients in the Era of COVID . “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a time period of grief in many forms, even grief unrelated to the loss of life – some caused by the need for isolation measures to slow the spread of the virus. You might grieve for people who have caught the virus, grieve your loss of routine and grieve the loss of feelings of safety and security in the world. As a cancer patient, you may feel grief about not having loved ones present for treatment.”

New York Times: It’s ‘Back to That Isolation Bubble’ for Workers Pining for the Office. “While workers who want to stay at home forever have been especially vocal about their demands, a silent majority of Americans do want to get back to the office, at least for a few days a week. But as the latest coronavirus surge has led employers to delay return-to-office plans, that larger group is growing increasingly glum.”

USGS: New Research Shows Recreational Fishing Popular During Pandemic Due to ‘Social Fishtancing’. “National CASC Research Fish Biologist Abigail Lynch and co-authors analyzed a survey on recreational anglers and found that recreational angling remained a popular activity for many U.S. anglers during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the perceived safety of social fishtancing.”

NiemanLab: How the pandemic (sort of) changed the way we consume news. “From the moment the pandemic hit in full force in March 2020, it was clear that its seemingly all-encompassing magnitude was having a seismic impact on many people’s news consumption habits. Conversations on and offline routinely included discussions of how we were either unplugging from the news or being sucked in more deeply than ever. (Or both!) We even began using a new word — doomscrolling — to capture the mesmerizing continual intake of fear- and despair-inducing news on our devices. The pandemic bores on, but the implications of that initial shift in news consumption remain cloudy. ”


Washington Post: The lament of covid-19 caregivers in the nation’s safety-net hospitals: ‘What could be next?’. “Every now and then, Chiquita Scott’s mind wanders. Sometimes, it happens in the middle of scheduling additional shifts for an already overworked staff during the coronavirus’s fourth wave of sickness and death. Other times, it is on the drive to the hospital, where some veteran respiratory therapists have seen more death these past 18 months than they have experienced in a decade on the job. Scott works at one of the nation’s safety-net hospitals, places with a mission to provide medical care to people regardless of their ability to pay.”

CNN: ‘I think we already broke’: Mississippi’s nurses are resigning to protect themselves from Covid-19 burnout. “Mississippi now has at least 2,000 fewer nurses than it did at the beginning of the year, according to the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Center for Quality & Workforce. The staff shortages add to the growing strain on the state’s hospital system — both due, in large part, to the Covid-19 pandemic. When asked if the health care system is reaching a breaking point, Singing River Nursing Manager for Personal Care Buddy Gager said, ‘I think we already broke.'”

WFLA: ‘It hurts to breathe’: 2-hour wait for drive-thru Regeneron in Florida. “Tropical Park in Miami is normally known for jogging or shooting hoops, but now it’s a one-stop shop for COVID-19: tests, vaccines, and Regeneron. They’re all available in one spot. There’s no line for the vaccine or for the test, but there is a two-hour wait for Regeneron – the monoclonal antibody treatment for people who have already tested positive. Many of the people showing up are very sick.”


CNN: US Covid-19 cases among children are surging. Experts warn it may get worse. “After a decline in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially — with more than a four-fold increase in the past month, according to the latest report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. From about 38,000 cases a week near the end of July, the week ending August 19 saw more than 180,000 cases in children, the report said.”


AL: Space for the dead: Temporary morgues sent to two south Alabama counties for COVID deaths. “Two morgue trailers have been moved into Mobile and Baldwin counties in anticipation of a rise in deaths from COVID-19. A portable mobile morgue has been placed at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Mobile, and a refrigerated trailer was placed at the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley, according to Ryan Easterling, a spokesman with the Alabama Department of Public Health.”

Axios: ICU beds are running out again. “More than 77% of America’s ICU beds are being used right now as hospitals grapple with a crush of severely ill COVID patients, almost all of them unvaccinated. Why it matters: Hospitals are once again overwhelmed, and this time, they’re also facing staff shortages and burnout that only make matters worse, especially in the face of illness that was largely preventable.”

Houston Chronicle: Houston ambulances face lengthy wait times at ERs as COVID patients flood hospitals. “As local hospitals are strained with people ill with COVID-19, ambulance crews face long delays in emergency departments to deliver patients. Houston Fire Department medics have waited an average of 29 minutes at ERs in August, longer than an any month of the pandemic, according to department logs. The average wait time was 16 minutes in 2019.”

CBS 46: Georgia hospitals on diversion due to surge in COVID-19 cases. ” Several hospitals across the state are no longer able to provide normal emergency care to patients arriving by ambulance due to the strain on resources currently committed to fighting the surge in COVID-19 patients. As a result, many hospitals are having to declare themselves on diversion which, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, is a request to ambulances to transport patients to other local facilities if possible.”


Palm Beach Post: Only 7 ICU beds available in Palm Beach County due to COVID. “On Thursday, 951 adults and 16 children under the age of 18 were being treated in county hospitals for COVID-19. Of those, 222 adults and five children were in intensive care units. The demand on adult ICUs was particularly severe. With others needing critical care for other serious ailments, only seven ICU beds were empty in the county.”

CNN: Hospital filled with Covid-19 patients was forced to turn away someone needing emergency cancer treatment, doctor says. “Dr. Nitesh Paryani, a third-generation radiation oncologist in Tampa, Florida, recently was forced to make a decision that he says he and his family have never had to make in 60 years of treating patients. A nearby hospital was working to transfer a cancer patient to a location that had adequate treatment options. Paryani said he regularly accepts such patients, but for the first time, could not do so due to the number of those sick from Covid-19.”

WMFE: Survey: 68 Florida Hospitals Have Less Than 48 Hours Worth Of Oxygen. “The Florida Hospital Association is sounding the alarm, saying a survey shows 68 hospitals have less than a 48-hour supply of oxygen. Hospitals are using three to four times as much oxygen as they were before the pandemic because more than 17,000 patients are hospitalized statewide with COVID-19. The FHA survey, which was done today, shows 68 hospitals have less than 48 hours worth of supply, with about half of these have less than 36 hours.”


Click Orlando: COVID-19 oxygen demand delaying launches from SpaceX and ULA. “Despite a breakneck cadence of launches during the first half of the year, neither Cape Canaveral Space Force Station nor Kennedy Space Center have hosted a mission since June 30. Had the cadence held, the spaceport was well on its way to approaching a record-breaking 40 to 50 launches in 2021. But changing demands for oxygen have forced suppliers to prioritize hospitals overrun with COVID patients – and high-priority customers like launch providers are not immune to seeing their tanks slowly lose pressure.”

KAKE: These four Chick-fil-A locations closed their dining rooms because they didn’t have enough workers. “In April, May and June the rate of quits per share of employment in the accommodation and food services sector, which includes restaurants, held steady at 5.7%, according to seasonally adjusted data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s far higher than the quit rate across all sectors, which was 2.7% in June. Experts say that when restaurants are short-staffed, it can be even trickier to hire because of the stress placed on remaining employees, among other things.”

CNBC: Delta Air Lines is raising health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $200 a month to cover higher Covid costs. “Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian notified employees Wednesday that they will face $200 monthly increases on their health insurance premiums starting Nov. 1 if they aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19, citing steep costs to cover employees who are hospitalized with the virus.”


CNN: US Surgeon General urges parents and officials take these steps to protect children from Covid-19. “A return to in-person learning has led to thousands of students having to quarantine across the US, with Covid-19 cases among children surging to levels not seen since winter. With the increased threat, the US Surgeon General is urging parents and officials to take measures that reduce the risk of a child’s environment.”

Route Fifty: Full FDA Approval of Pfizer Vaccine Prompts Swift Mandates for State, Local Government Workers. “Cities, states and universities began enacting Covid-19 vaccine mandates Monday afternoon after the Food and Drug Administration announced full approval of the two-dose Pfizer shot. The vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, had been available in the United States under an emergency use authorization since December. That order remains in place for children between the ages of 12 and 15, and for extra doses for some immunocompromised patients.”

AP: Pentagon: US troops must get their COVID-19 vaccines ASAP. “Military troops must immediately begin to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo Wednesday, ordering service leaders to ‘impose ambitious timelines for implementation.'”


BBC: Covid: Taiwan rolls out homegrown vaccine amid criticism. “Taiwan has begun administering its first domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine, amid criticism that its approval was rushed. The island’s health ministry authorised emergency use of the Medigen vaccine last month although clinical trials are yet to be completed. Taiwan’s vaccination efforts have been hampered by delivery delays and hesitancy amongst its population.”

BBC: Japan suspends 1.6 million Moderna doses over contamination fears. “Japan has suspended the use of about 1.63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine due to contamination. The health ministry said ‘foreign materials’ were found in some doses of a batch of roughly 560,000 vials.”


WFLA: Florida surgeon general leaving position next month . “Florida’s surgeon general will leave his position next month when his contract comes to an end. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirmed the news, that was first reported by Florida Politics, on Thursday night in an email to WFLA. According to Press Secretary Christina Pushaw, Dr. Scott Rivkees will depart from the Florida Department of Health when his contract ends in September.”


New York Post: NYPD’s largest police union vows to sue over possible COVID vaccine mandate. “The Big Apple’s largest police union told its members Wednesday that it would sue the city if cops are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, The Post has learned.”

Tampa Bay Times: Tampa Bay Water asks users to cut back as COVID-19 saps oxygen supplies. “Efforts to keep the sickest COVID-19 patients breathing are draining resources across the state and in Tampa Bay — creating competition between hospitals and municipal water systems for crucial supplies of liquid oxygen. For hospitals, oxygen is easier to store as a liquid in the large volumes they now require for COVID-19 patients. For many municipal water systems, liquid oxygen is a key component in water purification.”


Religion News Service: Episcopal Diocese of Maine mandates vaccine for clergy. “The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine mandated Monday (Aug. 23) that all clergy and staff in the diocese be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September. It is one of the first COVID-19 vaccine mandates for clergy in the U.S.”

WRAL: Kenya’s coffin makers say Covid means they’re busier than ever. Some still won’t get vaccinated. “Kenya has struggled with vaccine supply since day one, so far only 3.6 million doses of vaccine have arrived in Kenya, the latest shipment coming from the UK just this week. Even with every available dose, it would only be enough to inoculate roughly 3.5% of the population. But even as supply issues slowly ease, vaccine hesitancy is quickly emerging as a very serious problem.”


New York Times: Chinese Citizen Who Documented Wuhan Outbreak Falls Ill in Prison Hunger Strike . “A Chinese citizen journalist who was imprisoned for exposing the failures of the government’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is seriously ill from a hunger strike, according to messages from her family shared by her former lawyer and a friend. The journalist, Zhang Zhan, 37, had traveled to Wuhan from her home in Shanghai and spent the early days of the outbreak documenting the city’s strict lockdown and the severe impact it had on residents’ livelihoods and freedoms.”


New York Times: Lucille Times, Who Inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies at 100. “Lucille Times, whose encounter with a bus driver in Montgomery, Ala., in June 1955 led her to begin a one-woman boycott of the city’s public transportation, an act of defiance that inspired a mass boycott six months later after another Black woman, Rosa Parks, was charged with defying the same bus driver, died on Aug. 16 at the home of her nephew Daniel Nichols. She was 100. Mr. Nichols, with whom she had been living for several years, said the cause was complications of Covid-19.”

WESH: ‘A nightmare’: Florida woman survives COVID-19, discovers husband had died at home. “A Winter Haven woman thought her COVID-19 troubles were coming to an end when she went home from the hospital. Instead, it was the start of her grief. ‘It’s just been a nightmare. Just a nightmare,’ said Lisa Steadman. The nightmare began when her husband, Ron, tested positive for COVID-19.”


Mississippi Free Press: Mississippi Has Quarantined 15% of All K-12 Students For COVID Cases or Exposures. “About 15% of all Mississippi K-12 students have now been quarantined since the start of the year either for testing positive for COVID-19 or due to known exposures. That figure, based on new data from the Mississippi State Department of Health, includes 65,525 students who have been ordered to isolate in the weeks since classes began.”

Newswise: National Poll: COVID influences families’ back-to-school worries. “After more than a year of pandemic disruptions, families are heading into the next school year worried about COVID’s looming impact on students, according to the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Top of mind for many: a possible repeat of virtual school, falling behind academically and problems connecting with friends as well as wanting to know vaccination rates among teachers and students to feel safer.”


NiemanLab: The pandemic is killing print products at student news organizations. “The print products of student news organizations have been standing on a precipice for a while now. The pandemic — which has disrupted university life and kept student journalists away from their campuses — has given many of them a fatal shove.”

Louisiana State University: Welcome To Fall; Vaccine Requirement Update. “As you may know, yesterday the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 16 and over, paving the way for LSU to require vaccines for students, faculty and staff. Louisiana law allows for students to opt out of vaccinations, and those who choose this route will be required to be tested for COVID on a regular basis. Students have until Sept. 10 to submit proof of their first vaccination or formally opt out via the exemption/waiver form on the LSU Student Health Center Patient Portal. Students have until Oct. 15 to submit proof of full vaccination.”


Press-Enterprise: Unvaccinated residents 120 times likelier to die of coronavirus in Riverside County, official says . “Unvaccinated Riverside County residents 12 and older are 37 times more likely to get the coronavirus and 120 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than residents who are fully vaccinated, the county’s public health director said Tuesday, Aug. 24. Data presented by Kim Saruwatari during the Board of Supervisors meeting mirrors what’s happening statewide and nationally.”

Washington Post: ‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts. “For five months, Chris Brummett has ignored his wife’s pleas that he get a coronavirus vaccine. He cares even less that federal regulators finally issued a long-awaited approval for one of them. ‘My wife is on me all the time to do it,’ said Brummett, 43, from Jackson County, Ind., who followed news this week of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. But Brummett, a libertarian critical of both the Biden and Trump administrations, said he’s struggling to trust any government messages about the virus. ‘I guess for now it’s a no for me.'”

New York Times: Heart Problem More Common After Covid-19 Than After Vaccination, Study Finds. “The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is associated with an increased risk of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, a large new study from Israel confirms. But the side effect remains rare, and Covid-19 is more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccine is, scientists reported on Wednesday.”

NBC News: NBC News poll shows demographic breakdown of the vaccinated in the U.S.. “So who’s been vaccinated in the United States? And who hasn’t? Well, our most recent NBC News poll sheds some light on those question, with the survey finding that 69 percent of all adults say they’ve already been vaccinated, versus 13 percent saying they won’t get vaccinated under any circumstance.”

Slashgear: New CDC study shows just how big a COVID risk the unvaccinated are taking. “As of July 25, the CDC found that unvaccinated people were 4.9 times more likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2 compared to vaccinated people, and that the unvaccinated were 29.2 times more likely to end up hospitalized from the infection. The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant was the most common case of these infections last month.”


Mashable: The weird world of anti-vax Etsy. “It’s not that Etsy’s anti-vax problem is wildly awful — unfortunately anti-vax sentiments feel unavoidable online these days — it’s that it’s so…strange. And it’s quite weird to get flooded with these results when searching things like ‘trespass.’ Etsy is a place you expect neutral, harmless home products and not get your vaccine out of my face nonsense. It’s disorienting to come across these products so suddenly.”


Al Arabiya: Flu shots may be less effective due to limitations caused by COVID-19 on data: Expert. “Flu shots may be less effective this season due to limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which have affected data collection, a health expert said on Sunday. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that health care workers and people who are most at risk of developing serious complications from influenza infection be vaccinated every year before the influenza season, which typically occurs during autumn and winter, begins.”

NewsWise: Like Venom Coursing Through the Body: Researchers Identify Mechanism Driving COVID-19 Mortality. “An enzyme with an elusive role in severe inflammation may be a key mechanism driving COVID-19 severity and could provide a new therapeutic target to reduce COVID-19 mortality, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.”

NewsWise: Individualistic COVID-19 vaccine messages had best effect in US study. “The study… tested messages on nearly 400 participants from across the United States in July 2020 before COVID-19 vaccines were available—and before misinformation on them was widespread. The researchers also found that ‘loss’ framing, highlighting the potential health problems from not getting a vaccine, was slightly more effective than the positive ‘gain’ framing that stresses the benefits.”

Science: Airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. “Wang et al. review recent advances in understanding airborne transmission gained from studying the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections and other respiratory pathogens. The authors suggest that airborne transmission may be the dominant form of transmission for several respiratory pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, and that further understanding of the mechanisms underlying infection from the airborne route will better inform mitigation measures.”

ScienceBlog: Hospital-Acquired COVID-19 Tends To Be Picked Up From Other Patients, Not From Healthcare Workers. “The majority of patients who contracted COVID-19 while in hospital did so from other patients rather than from healthcare workers, concludes a new study from researchers at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.”

ScienceBlog: Social Media Messages From Health Care Workers Help Reduce Travel-Related Covid-19 Spread. “A randomized evaluation of a nationwide information campaign on Facebook found that short messages from physicians and nurses had a significant impact on reducing holiday travel and decreasing subsequent Covid-19 infection rates. Researchers found that the campaign, which reached almost 30 million Facebook users, was an impactful and cost-effective way to slow the spread of Covid-19 and enact behavior change.”

Phys .org: Research shows children have natural ability to survive, thrive and learn during lockdowns. “The research focussed on the national COVID-19 lockdown during school Term One and continuing in Term Two, 2020 and looked at children’s experiences of informal, everyday learning in their household bubble. In Terms Three and Four, primary school children in Years 4–8 took part in a group activity and were interviewed about their own experiences.”


BBC: Australian farmer draws heart with sheep in tribute to aunt. “Like so many families separated during the pandemic, Ben Jackson wasn’t able to say goodbye to a loved one. The Australian farmer was 400km (248 miles) away in New South Wales when his Aunt Debby lost her two-year cancer battle in Queensland. Restrictions forbade him from travelling to Brisbane to attend her funeral. So he turned instead to his own sheep and pasture to show his love, laying out grain in the shape of a heart.”


New York Times: Show Me the Data!. “Who should get vaccine booster shots and when? Can vaccinated people with a breakthrough infection transmit the virus as easily as unvaccinated people? How many people with breakthrough infections die or get seriously ill, broken down by age and underlying health conditions? Confused? It’s not you. It’s the fog of pandemic, in which inadequate data hinders a clear understanding of how to fight a stealthy enemy.”

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