Wednesday CoronaBuzz, September 8, 2021: 33 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

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


Arizona State University: Essays explore altered social experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The collection explores the multitude of ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life in every aspect. As people around the world try to navigate challenges and revelations that have unfolded in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the faculty involved in the project say it is still crucial to consider the societal impact at large, and what it will mean down the line.”


CBS News: There were nearly 300% more new COVID cases on average this Labor Day than last year. “The average weekly number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. was nearly 300% higher this Labor Day weekend compared to the same time last year, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. The average number of deaths was more than 86% higher compared to the same period in 2020. ”

Miami Herald: In Florida, new COVID-19 cases have dipped among adults but not for people under 20. “Overall, new cases among adults older than 20 were 13% lower for the week that ended Aug. 26 when compared with the week ending Aug. 12, according to the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 weekly situation report. But among Floridians ages 12 to 19, cases were up 45%, and for those younger than 12, cases rose a significant 58% during the same time period.”

Daily Beast: The Latest COVID-19 Surge Is Just the Start of a New Nightmare. “This latest fourth wave began, among other places, in southern Missouri in June, before spreading quickly across conservative southern states where vaccinations among those under the age of 65 are almost 40 percentage points lower than in the Northeast. Among those aged 12-17, the gap is even greater. Now, some 100,000 Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19, a number almost as high as during January’s COVID-19 peak, and we are at over 1,500 deaths per day and climbing. Even worse: The spike continues to spread both north, consuming the Midwestern states of Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio; and west into Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.”

Associated Press: COVID-19 surge in the US: The summer of hope ends in gloom. “The delta variant is filling hospitals, sickening alarming numbers of children and driving coronavirus deaths in some places to the highest levels of the entire pandemic. School systems that reopened their classrooms are abruptly switching back to remote learning because of outbreaks. Legal disputes, threats and violence have erupted over mask and vaccine requirements. The U.S. death toll stands at more than 650,000, with one major forecast model projecting it will top 750,000 by Dec. 1.”

Reuters: Indonesia records its lowest rate of positive coronavirus tests. “Indonesia’s daily coronavirus positivity rate dropped below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) benchmark standard of 5% this week for the first time, an indicator the country’s devastating second wave could be easing.”


Tech Xplore: COVID, vaccine misinformation spread by hundreds of websites, analysis finds. “More than 500 websites have promoted misinformation about the coronavirus—including debunked claims about vaccines, according to a firm that rates the credibility of websites.”


NBC News: Spanish-language Covid disinformation is aimed at Latinos as delta surges. “Amid a surge in Covid cases across the country, medical disinformation in Spanish persists on AM radio, social media and closed messaging apps, where people claim that masks do not work and that the vaccines are dangerous and part of the ‘global reset.’ Many of the influencers and groups spreading such conspiracy theories in Spanish are the same ones that spread disinformation leading up to the 2020 presidential election, continuing with false narratives about electoral fraud and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.”

MIT Technology Review: What happens when your prescription drug becomes the center of covid misinformation. “It’s become incredibly complicated, and even talking about it is tricky right now because the conversation is so easily weaponized: when I tweeted in late August that it kind of sucked to see the treatment you use for a skin condition go viral as a ‘livestock drug,’ I was quoted by someone promoting ivermectin as a covid treatment. The argument was that because some people take the drug legitimately for completely unrelated conditions, it must also be safe for covid (it’s … not: the FDA says that ‘taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous’). I’ve watched this play out again and again online: misinformation evolves and adapts as it seeks attention.”


Small Business Trends: Gas Prices May Be Coming Down as COVID Cases Go Up. “Concerns over demand have caused oil and gasoline futures prices to plummet, with Florida gas prices already down by 3 cents and set to drop even lower. The price decrease will continue unless futures prices recover from the recent sharp declines, with Florida gas prices now averaging $2.98 per gallon. It is not looking good though as wholesale gasoline prices are currently at their lowest point since April, when they were at $2.80 per gallon.”

CNN: Here’s how the Covid-19 conversation is changing in the media. “It’s happening from Fox to CNN, from The New York Times to the Los Angeles Times. And it’s happening on two tracks simultaneously. Vaccinated America is learning how to live with mostly mild flare-ups of the Covid-19 virus. Unvaccinated America is grappling with the death and suffering that comes from rejecting the protection of the vaccines. And in places where the two Americas intersect — schools, shopping malls, cookouts, county fairs — it feels like two languages are being spoken without a trusted translator.”


Salon: UAB nurses protest as COVID pandemic rages on: ‘We are extremely overwhelmed’. “A group of night shift nurses and hospital workers gathered outside UAB Hospital this evening, briefly refusing to clock in for work in protest of long hours driven by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and what they say is unfair pay.”


Denver Post: “I am angry today:” Jeffco’s top health official halts mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics after medical staff harassed. “The head of Jefferson County Public Health pulled the agency’s three COVID-19 vaccination vans off the road over Labor Day weekend after nurses and medical staff administering shots to the public were jeered at and harassed by passersby. JCPH Executive Director Dawn Comstock in an interview late Tuesday said that on Saturday, staff manning a mobile vaccine clinic in Gilpin County, which contracts with Jeffco for health services, were yelled at and threatened by passing motorists.”

6 South Florida: No Vax, No Visit: South Florida Doctor Won’t Treat Unvaccinated Patients in Person. “A Florida doctor says she will stop treating patients in person if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19, citing the risk of exposing immunocompromised patients and staffer to the virus that has killed over 46,000 people in the state and more than 648,000 nationwide.”


ABC News: Idaho hospitals begin rationing health care amid COVID surge. ” Idaho public health leaders announced Tuesday that they activated ‘crisis standards of care’ allowing health care rationing for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle.”


GoBankingRates: Stimulus Update: Farm Workers and Meat Packers To Receive $600 Checks. “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday a new plan to distribute one-time $600 pandemic relief payments to the U.S. meat packers and farmworkers. The aid comes as part of a new $700 million aid program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”


Axios: WHO director calls for countries to halt booster shots through end of year. “The World Health Organization on Wednesday doubled down on calls for wealthy countries with large supplies of coronavirus vaccines to forgo booster shots through the end of the year. The big picture: The WHO director’s comments come as the Biden administration weighs offering COVID booster shots later this month, and as a global vaccine disparity persists.”


Florida Politics: Poll: Ron DeSantis net approval falls 14 points among Florida voters as COVID-19 cases soar. “A Morning Consult survey of nearly 4,200 voters in the Sunshine State revealed the pronounced negative shift in public perception of the first-term Florida Governor, who over the last two months has overseen an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases. During that time, his net approval rating — the share of voters who approve of his job performance minus the share who disapprove — fell 14 percentage points.”

NBC 4 Washington: DC Health Care Workers Could Lose Licenses if Unvaccinated. “D.C. health care workers must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 30 or risk losing their medical licenses, according to a new rule from D.C. Health.”


San Antonio Express-News: ‘They are going to hang you’: Woman harasses County Judge Nelson Wolff at H-E-B over mask mandate. “A San Antonio woman unhappy with mask mandates followed Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff through the parking lot of an H-E-B on Sunday, making veiled threats and yelling that he was a communist and a traitor for imposing mask mandates.”

Orlando Sentinel: Volusia Councilman Lowry, conspiracy theory promoter, hospitalized with COVID-19. “Volusia County Council member Fred Lowry, who as a preacher promoted conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and other topics, has been hospitalized with the virus, according to a news report. The 66-year-old last attended a council meeting on August 17, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported. Lowry has been battling the infection for about three weeks, County Chair Jeff Brower said, according to the report.”

NBC San Diego: Anti-Vaxxer Turns Vaccine Advocate After Husband Dies From COVID-19. “Christina Lowe, 32, lost the love of her life and father to her children to COVID-19 less than a week ago. It’s a death she now believes was preventable. ‘I just always thought it’s never going to happen to us,’ Lowe said. ‘It can’t happen to us. We’re young, we’re healthy. And then it did happen to us, and then you start playing the regret game.’ Lowe and her husband Mikel were both adamantly against the COVID vaccine — that is, until he lay dying in a hospital bed.”


WebMD: TikTok Creator Shortly Before COVID Death: ‘Get the Vaccine’. “TikTok creator and artist Alexandra Blankenbiller posted her last video on Aug. 15 from her hospital bed. Voice raspy, breathing with the help of a machine, she pleaded with her followers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Raw Story: Florida fire chief dies from COVID-19 after virus sidelines 75% of department. “A Florida fire chief has died from COVID-19 after the virus sidelined 75 percent of his department last month. Officials in Lake City said they do not know whether Fire Chief Randy Burnham, who died Sunday after battling the virus for several weeks, had been vaccinated. A fire department lieutenant in Lake City, 60 miles west of Jacksonville, is also currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and on a ventilator, according to Channel 4 news.”


Axios: NFL Players Association calls for daily COVID testing for all players. “NFL Players Association President and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter in a blog post Tuesday called for daily COVID-19 testing for all players for the 2021 season due to the spread of the Delta variant.”

USA Today: Sharks assistant Rocky Thompson steps down because he can’t receive COVID-19 vaccine. “Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson has stepped down from his role because of a medical exemption that prevents him from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, San Jose announced Friday.”


ABC News: Nearly 252,000 children in US test positive for COVID-19 amid back-to-school season . “In the last week alone, nearly 252,000 children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the largest increase of pediatric cases in a week since the pandemic began, according to a newly released weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.”


News Channel 8: Florida judge rules to set aside stay, allowing mask mandates in schools. ” Florida’s battle over mask mandates in schools returned to Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper‘s courtroom Wednesday morning, where Cooper ruled to allow mask policies and removed the automatic stay from the previous order.”


Washington Post: What the Sturgis rally shows us about the delta variant. “That’s what makes Sturgis an important test. If it had gone off without big spikes in covid cases, it would have provided strong evidence that this level of population immunity — around 75 percent — would allow us to get back to the way we did things in 2019. But unfortunately, that’s not what happened. In the weeks since the rally began in early August, infection numbers have shot up more than 600 percent in South Dakota. We can expect to see big increases in other states, too, since bikers returned home from the event. Last year, after Sturgis, we saw massive outbreaks across the Dakotas, Wyoming, Indiana, even Nevada. Much of the region was aflame because of Sturgis, probably causing thousands of deaths.”


Ubergizmo: Researchers Find Some People Have ‘Superhuman’ Immunity Against COVID-19. “In a study published last month, Paul Bieniasz, a virologist at Rockefeller University, and his colleagues found that there are some individuals who have developed ‘superhuman immunity’ or ‘hybrid immunity’ against the virus and its mutations and also future mutations that have yet to happen.”


Monmouth University: Most Parents Support School Mask Mandate. “Two-thirds of Virginia voters, including parents of school-age children, support the state’s school mask mandate and many support Covid vaccinations for age-eligible children. The Monmouth (‘Mon-muth’) University Poll also finds that a majority of voters back the University of Virginia’s decision to disenroll students who did not report their vaccination status. Gov. Ralph Northam gets solid marks for his handling of the pandemic, but his overall job rating is somewhat lower.”


Daily Beast: Cops Charge Zip-Tie Guys Who Ambushed School Principal Over COVID Rules. “All three members of an Arizona trio who barged into an elementary school principal’s office with zip ties and threatened to place her under citizen’s arrest for following public health guidelines have instead been arrested themselves, the Tucson Police Department confirmed.”

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