Wednesday CoronaBuzz, September 15, 2021: 46 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.


KCCI: New website helps Iowans find COVID-19 testing locations. “The man behind Iowa’s ‘Vaccine Hunter’ website is helping Iowans find COVID-19 tests. Todd Brady created the new ‘Test Hunter’ website to help people unsure of where to turn to get tested for the virus.”


CNN: 1 in 500 US residents has died of Covid-19. “The United States has reached another grim milestone in its fight against the devastating Covid-19 pandemic: 1 in 500 Americans have died from coronavirus since the nation’s first reported infection. As of Tuesday night, 663,913 people in the US have died of Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data. According to the US Census Bureau, the US population as of April 2020 was 331.4 million.”


The Center Square: Maryland launches social media initiative to combat COVID-19 misinformation. “Maryland’s Department of Health is taking the battle against COVID-19 misinformation into its own hands. In a Monday morning news release, the department said it is launching a social media campaign designed to combat misinformation and disinformation related to COVID-19 to ensure accurate information is distributed about lifesaving vaccines, the importance of testing, and other facts.”

NPR: This Doctor Spread False Information About COVID. She Still Kept Her Medical License. “NPR looked at medical licenses for 16 doctors, including [Dr. Simone] Gold, who have proven track records of doing so online and in media interviews. Fifteen of the 16 had active licenses in good standing. One appeared to have let his license expire, but there was no suggestion in his record that it was because of any disciplinary action. Now, some organizations affiliated with medical licensing are encouraging action.”

FiveThirtyEight: Republicans Aren’t New To The Anti-Vaxx Movement. “Though anti-vaxxers have been around as long as vaccines, the modern anti-vaccination movement really emerged after the 1998 publication of an infamous and since-retracted study in The Lancet that falsely claimed the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. In the years that followed — spurred partly by support from celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy — a new era of vaccine fears began, with small but fierce cohorts of parents refusing to vaccinate their children. And polling has consistently shown those small cohorts included Americans on the left and the right.”

Rolling Stone: Anti-Vaxxers Are Now Gargling Iodine to Prevent Covid-19. “Povidone iodine, often sold under the brand-name Betadine, is an iodine-based treatment largely for topical use that kills bacteria. It’s a ‘commonly used cleanser in the ER and OR,’ says Kenneth Weinberg, an emergency room physician in New York City. ‘If you’re in the ER and someone has a wound to sew it up, you use it to clean with.'”


Daily Beast: Howard Stern Mocks Joe Rogan for Taking ‘Horse Dewormer’. “Howard Stern has had it with the millions of Americans who would rather take medicine designed for deworming horses than accept that we already have a ‘cure’ for COVID-19 in the form of a safe and effective vaccine. And that includes broadcasting disciple, podcast megastar Joe Rogan.”


HuffPost: Texas Embalmer Shares Nightmare COVID Experiences: ‘Unlike Anything I’ve Seen Before’. “Patrick Huey contacted HuffPost after reading a story about a Florida-based ICU doctor who broke down on CNN while being interviewed about patients dying of COVID-19. The Texas-based funeral professional, who has worked as an embalmer for the past 30 years and won the South Central Texas Funeral Directors Association’s first-ever Embalmer of the Year award in 2019, offered to share his own harrowing COVID-related experiences, as well as the toll working in the funeral industry during the pandemic is taking on him and his colleagues.”


Texas Tribune: At least 92 Texas hospitals were out of ICU beds last week, according to the latest federal data. Look up the ones near you.. “Hospital staff has never been in shorter supply, which deepens the strain on all departments, including emergency rooms, respiratory therapy and even labor and delivery. Without the capacity to take on new patients — and equally thin resources elsewhere to transfer them to — doctors fear they’ll have to start making heartbreaking decisions about care in order to save the most lives possible.”

Washington Post: ‘Their Crisis’ Is ‘Our Problem’: Washington Grapples With Idaho Covid Cases. This is about the state of Washington, not DC. “Surgeries to remove brain tumors have been postponed. Patients are backed up in the emergency room. Nurses are working brutal shifts. But at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., the calls keep coming: Can Idaho send another patient across the border? Washington State is reeling under its own surge of coronavirus cases. But in neighboring Idaho, 20 miles down Interstate 90 from Spokane, unchecked virus transmission has already pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point.”

Columbus Dispatch: Rural Ohio hospitals say their ICUs are full as they struggle to keep up with COVID cases. “A rising number of COVID-19 patients are squeezing rural Ohio hospitals and have already filled beds in an intensive care unit in Portsmouth. Portsmouth, about 80 miles south of Columbus, is a city of around 20,000 served by a 248-patient bed Southern Ohio Medical Center. With ICU beds full, the hospital may not have room to treat someone suffering from chest pains or a stroke or who was involved in a car accident, the medical center said in a statement posted to Facebook over the weekend.”

New York Times: Covid Hospitalizations Hit Crisis Levels in Southern I.C.U.s. “Hospitals in the southern United States are running dangerously low on space in intensive care units, as the Delta variant has led to spikes in coronavirus cases not seen since last year’s deadly winter wave. One in four hospitals now reports more than 95 percent of I.C.U. beds occupied — up from one in five last month. Experts say it can become difficult to maintain standards of care for the sickest patients in hospitals where all or nearly all I.C.U. beds are occupied.”


ProPublica: A Boy Went to a COVID-Swamped ER. He Waited for Hours. Then His Appendix Burst.. “As the nation’s hospitals fill and emergency rooms overflow with critically ill COVID-19 patients, it is the non-COVID-19 patients, like Seth, who have become collateral damage. They, too, need emergency care, but the sheer number of COVID-19 cases is crowding them out. Treatment has often been delayed as ERs scramble to find a bed that may be hundreds of miles away.”


Museums+Heritage Advisor: The British Museum reveals COVID impact with 93% fall in admissions income . “The full cost of COVID to the income of The British Museum has been published today by the government after a 97% fall in visitor numbers. The museum’s annual report and accounts to year end 31st March 2021 reveals that admission income for the period fell 93% to £0.3 million, down from £4.3 million in the previous year and net trading income fell by 97% to -£0.3m, from £8.7m in the previous year.”


The Independent: Job listings requiring Covid-19 vaccination soared in late August, career site says. “The rise is believed to be connected to the Food and Drug Administration granting full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on 23 August. Following its approval, vaccine mandates from employers and businesses were expected to become more common.”

BBC: Boeing says air travel to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024. “The plane maker Boeing says it expects that it will take another two and a half years for global aviation to return to pre-pandemic levels. Its vice president of commercial marketing, Darren Hulst, said: ‘The industry recovers to 2019 levels of traffic by the end of 2023, early 2024’ and domestic flying would be at the forefront of any recovery.”


Politico: Biden starts clemency process for inmates released due to Covid conditions. “The Biden administration has begun asking former inmates confined at home because of the pandemic to formally submit commutation applications, criminal justice reform advocates and one inmate herself tell POLITICO.”

The Verge: Refusing to wear a mask on an airplane could now cost you up to $3,000 in fines. “Refusing to wear a mask on an airplane is about to get really expensive. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it was doubling civil penalties for those who refuse to comply with federal mask mandates on commercial airlines, at airports, or on certain forms of public transportation like passenger rail or intercity buses. Repeat offenders could now face fines of up to $3,000.”

Washington Post: Biden administration moves to stave off shortage of monoclonal antibodies. “The Biden administration moved this week to stave off a shortage of monoclonal antibodies, taking over distribution of the critical covid-19 therapy while it tries to purchase more. The policy change that went into effect Monday is all but certain to result in cuts of the medication to some states, especially seven in the Deep South with high infection rates that have been using about 70 percent of the national supply.”

Washington Post: White House lays out new global targets in coronavirus pandemic fight. “President Biden plans to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September, according to a list of targets obtained by The Washington Post. The goals were shared with global health leaders ahead of a virtual summit the White House is scheduled to convene next week, positioning the event as an opportunity to set worldwide objectives to end the pandemic.”

CNN: US military branches set deadline for members to be vaccinated against Covid-19. “Four US military branches have set deadlines for when active-duty, reserve and National Guard service members must be vaccinated against Covid-19. The deadlines set by the services follow Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s announcement at the end of August that all US military service members must be vaccinated after the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine received full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.”


CNN: Russia’s Vladimir Putin is quarantining after several Covid-19 cases in his entourage. “During a televised meeting with government officials and members of the ruling United Russia party, Putin said several people in his ‘innermost circle’ had contracted the virus, including one staff member with whom he worked closely on Monday. The staffer was vaccinated and recently got ‘revaccinated,’ Putin said, apparently referring to a booster shot, which Russia is now offering to those immunized more than six months prior.”

Axios: France grants citizenship to 12,000 COVID frontline workers. “France granted citizenship to 12,000 COVID frontline workers this week in a show of gratitude for their efforts and sacrifices. Why it matters: Immigrants comprise a quarter of the essential workers who remained active in the Île-de-France province during lockdowns, per data from a French health observatory.”


Miami Herald: Florida ready to fine cities, counties ‘millions’ for requiring employee vaccinations. “Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida will fine local governments $5,000 for each employee who is required to be vaccinated, threatening some cities and counties with millions of dollars in penalties for adopting strict vaccine ‘mandates.'”

Orlando Sentinel: Ex-Supreme Court justice backs ‘Grim Reaper’ who sued DeSantis over COVID pandemic. “Daniel Uhlfelder garnered national headlines for donning the costume to criticize DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases surged throughout the state in March 2020, Uhlfelder filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order the governor to close beaches and issue a “safer-at-home” order to curb the spread of the virus. Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll in April 2020 found that he lacked the authority to force the governor to shut down beaches and dismissed the case but encouraged Uhlfelder to pursue an appeal.”


The Guardian: LA officers sue over vaccine mandate as police across California threaten to resign. “Los Angeles police department (LAPD) employees have sued over requirements they get vaccinated for Covid-19, alleging that the department has created a ‘hostile work environment’ for the unvaccinated and that the mandate violates employees’ privacy and civil rights.”

New Jersey Monitor: N.J. top cop notes 22 COVID-related deaths among police in a week as unions continue anti-mandate push. “There was a spate of virus-related deaths among police officers last week as law enforcement unions in some corners of the state fight to head off vaccine mandates, State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said at Monday’s virus briefing. Twenty-three police officers at varying levels of government died last week, Callahan said., and 22 of the deaths appear related to COVID-19. The New Jersey State Police said Tuesday afternoon Callahan was speaking about nationwide figures, not those specific to New Jersey.”


Yahoo Entertainment: Jeff Bridges says his cancer is in remission, but recent COVID battle ‘kicked my ass pretty good’. “Jeff Bridges says his cancer is in remission, but he contracted COVID-19 at a chemo treatment and was close to death. Nearly a year after going public with his lymphoma diagnosis, the 71-year-old Academy Award winner shared that he’s ‘in remission’ and his tumor, which he said was ‘9 x 12,’ has shrunken to the ‘size of a marble.'”

CBC: 107-year-old social media sensation remembered for attending virtual mass in every Irish county. “Nancy Stewart was disappointed when COVID-19 restrictions kept her from attending mass, so she started attending online services. But she didn’t limit her attendance to her local church. Instead, she went to mass in all of Ireland’s 32 counties, as well as in places including Rome, New York and London — and her online fans followed her on her journey. Stewart, who was referred to by many as Granny Nancy, died in her home Friday. She was 107 and was among the oldest people in Ireland.”

Washington Post: This pastor will sign a religious exemption for vaccines if you donate to his church. “A pastor is encouraging people to donate to his Tulsa church so they can become an online member and get his signature on a religious exemption from coronavirus vaccine mandates. The pastor, Jackson Lahmeyer, is a 29-year-old small-business owner running in the Republican primary challenge to Sen. James Lankford in 2022.”

Washington Post: Florida landlord says tenants must get the covid vaccine: ‘You don’t want to get vaccinated? You have to move’. “Although Gov. Ron DeSantis was vaccinated in April, the Republican has said that getting immunized is a personal choice that should be left to individuals. DeSantis has pushed against mask and vaccination mandates in businesses and schools. He has also issued executive orders banning businesses and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination. [Santiago] Alvarez’s policy, which was first reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, tests the boundaries of DeSantis’s orders as some businesses in the state attempt to enact their own coronavirus policies to combat the surge in cases. The Biden administration has urged officials in states with low vaccination rates to take a stricter stand on vaccine and mask mandates.”


Daily Beast: Israel’s Top COVID Truther Claimed COVID That Killed Him Was ‘Poison’ Attack. “One of Israel’s top anti-vaxx activists has died of COVID-19, two days after posting a final message to his followers that ordered them to ‘keep fighting’ against the shot that could have saved his life. Hai Shoulian, 57, spent much of the pandemic organizing protests against coronavirus rules—including mask mandates and Israel’s vaccine-passport scheme, the Green Pass. He lost his life to COVID-19 on Monday morning after spending 10 days at Tel Aviv’s Wolfson Medical Center.”

Bangor Daily News: Detroit couple with 7 children die 1 day apart after falling ill with COVID-19. “The family of a Detroit couple with seven children are grieving after both parents were infected with COVID-19 and died less than a day apart. Troy and Charletta Green, married for 22 years, had plans to go to Florida with their seven children in August, Troy’s sister Tiki Green said.”


WSB-TV: Nearly 30 Georgia teachers, staff lost to COVID-19 since start of school year. “More than two dozen Georgia teachers and staff members have died of COVID-19 since the start of the school year in July, Channel 2 Action News can confirm. The youngest was just 24 years old. They were teachers and coaches. They were bus drivers and school resource officers. They were administrative assistants and day care teachers. They were lunchroom managers and education specialists.”

MLive: New coronavirus outbreaks reported at 69 Michigan schools in the last week. “A total of 332 students and staff at 69 schools have been infected by the coronavirus in new school-related outbreaks, according to data released Monday, Sept. 13, by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, the state reported 30 new outbreaks at K-12 school districts. This is a 130% increase, but school has only been in session for a few weeks. For most, classes began after Labor Day.”

BBC: China’s latest Covid outbreak linked to primary school. “China has seen a new surge in coronavirus cases, linked to a primary school in Fujian province. Initial reports suggest the outbreak could be due to a student’s father, who tested positive last week.”


AP: Largest colleges push student vaccines with mandates, prizes. “An analysis by The Associated Press shows 26 of the nation’s 50 largest public university campuses are not requiring vaccination, representing roughly 55% of students enrolled at those schools. The AP looked at the largest campuses by 2019-2020 enrollment that offer on-campus housing and award bachelor’s degrees.”


Israel 21c: Covid leaves millions with impaired sense of smell. “When Covid-19 first broke out, a telltale sign of catching the nasty virus was loss of smell. Almost two years later, it turns out that it is likely having long-term effects on the sense of smell of recovered patients.”

The Guardian: Fully vaccinated people account for 1.2% of England’s Covid-19 deaths. “People who were fully vaccinated accounted for just 1.2% of all deaths involving Covid-19 in England in the first seven months of this year.”

Texas Tribune: Nearly 2 million people in Texas are overdue for a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “…a large number of Texans apparently have decided to stick with one dose of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines: 1.89 million have missed their second dose as of Sept. 6, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 1 million of them are more than 90 days overdue for their second dose. That means that of those who received a first dose, 11% haven’t gotten their second shot within the recommended time frame.”


PsyPost: Elite athletes fared the best psychologically during lockdown and adapting their training schedules was key. “According to two studies conducted in Serbia during the COVID-19 lockdown, elite athletes and individuals who engaged in vigorous levels of exercise demonstrated the lowest psychological distress during this time. The findings, published in Frontiers in Psychology, further underscored the importance of adaptability, showing that athletes who reduced their training schedules during the early stages of lockdown showed lower distress than those who maintained them.”

Berkeley Public Health: Study shows COVID-19 disruptions led to less access to medical abortion. “A new study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to abortion service availability, especially to medical abortions and telemedicine, in the United States between May–August 2020.”


CNBC: CNBC poll shows very little will persuade unvaccinated Americans to get Covid shots. “Americans who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 are largely driven by a mistrust of the government and fears over vaccine side effects, and there is very little that can be done to persuade them to get the shots, a new CNBC/Change Research poll reveals.”

Axios: Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates. “A majority of Americans — including suburban voters — support vaccine mandates for federal workers as well as private companies, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index. Why it matters: The findings, on the heels of President Biden’s mandates announcement last week, suggest that while his move was divisive, it may be politically safer than his opponents hope.”


Daily Beast: Biden Mandate Sparks Price-Gouging for Fake Vax Cards. “In the days before President Joe Biden announced all private sector businesses with more than 100 employees would have to require their employees be fully vaccinated, fake vaccine cards cost approximately $100. The day after his announcement last week, fake vaccine card prices doubled to $200. The number of sellers peddling bogus cards also went up, spiking from 1,000 to more than 10,000 sellers, security researchers at Israeli security firm Check Point, which was founded by veterans of an elite cyber unit of Israel’s military intelligence directorate, tell The Daily Beast.”


New York Times: What Should You Do With Your Covid Fatigue?. “When the pandemic was new, my family went into lockdown with purpose and determination, embracing new rhythms, rising to the occasion. But in this season of Covid Round 2, all that inner strength has fizzled. It feels as though the race is getting longer. We are wearied from a year of death, from conflict with relatives and neighbors who refuse to mask or be vaccinated, from the uncertainty of not knowing what’s ahead, from our constant internal risk-benefit analysis of every event and gathering in our lives. We are tired. We are ready to move on.”

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