Friday CoronaBuzz, September 17, 2021: 37 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.


Brown University: Database led by Brown economist reveals school-level look at COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education. “The COVID-19 School Data Hub, launched on Wednesday, Sept. 15 by Brown professor Emily Oster and a team of research colleagues, provides a detailed, school-by-school look at which schools and districts operated in person, virtually or in hybrid mode throughout the 2020-21 school year; how COVID-19 case rates rose and fell during that time; and, in some cases, how the pandemic affected enrollment and standardized test scores.”


Tampa Bay Times: Florida leads nation in nursing home resident and staff COVID-19 deaths. “More nursing home residents and staff died of COVID-19 in Florida during a four-week period ending Aug. 22 than in any other state in the country, according to an AARP analysis released today. Florida accounted for 21 percent of all nursing home resident deaths due to the virus nationwide. The data shows the state with 17 percent of staff deaths nationally during this time.”


The Oregonian: Oregon Medical Board revokes license of doctor who bucked COVID guidelines, spread misinformation. “The Oregon Medical Board revoked the license of a Dallas doctor earlier this month after he refused to follow COVID-19 guidelines in his office, spread misinformation about masks and over-prescribed opioids to his patients, according to medical board documents. The board also fined Steven Arthur LaTulippe $10,000 on Sept. 2.”


Ars Technica: Ivermectin overdose death probed in NM: “I don’t want more people to die”. “A person in New Mexico is suspected of dying from an overdose of ivermectin, a state official announced Thursday. A second person in the state is also in critical condition following use of the drug, which is an antiparasitic medication mainly used in veterinary medicine to deworm animals, such as cattle and horses. If the death is confirmed to have been caused by ivermectin, it is believed to be New Mexico’s first known fatal ivermectin overdose.”


Gothamist: In Pandemic’s Aftermath, Calls Grow For NYC To Regulate Commercial Rents. “The City Council’s small business committee is considering a controversial proposal to limit how much landlords can raise rents on commercial tenants. The measure, first introduced by City Councilman Stephen Levin almost two years ago, would apply to storefronts and offices up to 10,000 square feet, which could also include some supermarkets. Levin, who sits on the committee, said rising rents have forced small businesses throughout the city to shut down, and that the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, creating a proliferation of vacant storefronts. ”


Washington Post: Patients and doctors who embraced telehealth during the pandemic fear it will become harder to access. “This summer, more than 430 health-related organizations, including hospitals, professional bodies and patient-advocacy groups, urged congressional leaders to keep the gateways to telehealth open, arguing that much of health-care delivery has moved online ‘not only to meet COVID-driven patient demand, but to prepare for America’s future health care needs.’ Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have shown support for making the shift to telehealth permanent through mechanisms such as the Connect for Health Act. But many states have already rescinded the licensing waivers that allowed clinicians and some other providers to practice across state lines, or are preparing to do so. Other decisions at the state, federal and individual health-care system levels remain uncertain.”

ABC News: Teens turn to COVID-19 vaccine advocacy as most state laws prohibit minors from being vaccinated without consent. “There is a high school sophomore from Texas who wakes up at 6 a.m. on the weekends when she knows her parents are asleep, so she can secretly and quietly make calls as an ambassador for a teen pro-vaccine group, fighting off vaccine misinformation. The reason for all the cloak and dagger secrecy? The 15-year-old, who asked to be called Rain (not her real name), is the daughter of QAnon followers who hold strident views against mask wearing, social distancing and the coronavirus vaccine.”


Vox: Americans are dying because no hospital will take them. “During the current delta-driven Covid-19 wave, Americans are being transported hundreds of miles from their homes because no nearby hospital has room for them. Some of them have even died waiting for medical attention. In other words, US hospitals are being forced — in the middle of a public health emergency — to ration health care for their patients.”

Anchorage Daily News: Amid COVID-19 overload, Alaska’s largest hospital is now prioritizing care under crisis standards. “Alaska’s largest hospital is now implementing crisis standards and rationing medical care amid a crush of COVID-19 patients and staff shortages that have forced providers to prioritize patients most likely to recover. Providence Alaska Medical Center’s chief of staff announced the decision in a two-page letter Tuesday that urges Alaskans to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, get tested, get vaccinated if eligible and avoid potentially dangerous activities or situations that could result in hospitalization.”

Associated Press: Fargo executive: COVID has put hospitals in dire situation. “An executive at the largest health care system in North Dakota said Tuesday that its hospitals in Fargo alone could use up to 300 more nurses to handle COVID-19 cases and is bumping up incentives to try and fill the void.”

Tennessean: East Tennessee hospitals warn frightening COVID spike is beginning to overload the system. “East Tennessee doctors delivered a clear message to the public today: If you get sick from COVID-19, your treatment could take longer and the best resources might not be immediately available to every patient. And if you rely on a rural hospital, things could be even worse.”

ABC 4: St. George Regional Hospital turning down patient transfers due to capacity related to COVID-19. “Intermountain Healthcare’s St. George Regional Hospital is at capacity and healthcare workers say most of their patients hospitalized or in the ICU are unvaccinated. With rising concerns that crisis care could come soon, doctors may have to pick and choose which patients get care. That hasn’t happened yet, hospital officials say.”

Newsweek: West Virginia Breaks Record for Daily COVID Cases Twice in One Week as Hospitals ‘Inundated’. “On Saturday, West Virginia recorded 1,821 new coronavirus cases, reaching an all-time high for daily infections. That tally surpassed a record that was set just three days earlier, when the state recorded 1,738 new cases, the Associated Press reported. Prior to both days, the highest number of daily positive cases in West Virginia was just over 1,700 on December 31.”

Idaho Capital Sun: Inside an Idaho hospital on Thursday, a ‘slower rolling’ mass casualty event. “It was quiet at 10 a.m. in the emergency department of the region’s only major trauma center. The ER had about 30 beds, with two in a hallway. Most of those beds were open and ready to take all comers. That changed quickly. There were 24 patients by 10:43 a.m. When the department’s chief physician checked the board two minutes later, there were 28.”


CNN: FDA’s vaccine advisers meet to decide whether Americans need boosters. “The all-day meeting will be packed with presentations. They’ll include Pfizer/BioNTech, which is arguing that there’s enough evidence of waning immunity to justify giving booster doses to people. The FDA will present its own take on the data that’s been sent to the agency so far — although written briefing materials published before the meeting suggest the agency is remaining neutral for the time being.”


BBC: Covid-19: France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers. “About 3,000 health workers in France have been suspended because they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. A new rule, which came into force on Wednesday, made vaccination mandatory for the country’s 2.7 million health, care home and fire service staff.”

Wired: France’s vaccine passport worked – sort of. “Experts say that the months-long mass vaccinations, with extensive media coverage and a clear, beneficial impact on hospitalisations, have made the general public much less wary than it used to be, helping people accept Covid passports. In July, ahead of Macron’s announcements, the share of people who still refused to get vaccinated against Covid was down to 15-20 per cent. However, while France’s vaccine passport policy has gone down well with much of the population, the minority that opposes it is very vocal.”


Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Governor stops short of measures to address COVID-19′s rampant spread. “Georgia parents were teetering between hope and anxiety in early August as children were returning to classrooms. COVID cases and hospitalizations were rising again after a mid-summer lull, and the CDC had just called for everyone in places like Georgia, with high disease transmission, to go back to wearing masks indoors. Gov. Brian Kemp didn’t echo that call.”

CBS News: Arizona becomes first state to sue Biden administration over COVID-19 vaccine mandates. “Arizona’s attorney general filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to invalidate President Biden’s latest COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal workers and large companies, becoming the first state to mount a legal challenge to the administration’s newest rules.”

Governor of Hawaii: Office Of The Governor News Release: State Launches Hawai’i Smart Health Card For Digital Vaccination Verification. “Gov. David Ige and Doug Murdock, chief information officer, Office of Enterprise Technology Services today unveiled the state’s Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card. The card will enable individuals who received their COVID-19 vaccinations in Hawaiʻi to create a state-issued digital Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card that may be used to confirm their vaccination status to businesses and venues that require it.”


WFLA: Federal judge declines to block Florida ban on mask mandates . “A federal judge declined Wednesday to block a ban imposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Judge K. Michael Moore in Miami denied a request by parents of disabled children for a preliminary injunction against an executive order that DeSantis issued in July that served as the basis for the Florida Department of Health issuing a rule that required school districts to allow parents to opt out of any student mask mandates.”


ABC 7: Long Beach soon requiring proof of vaccination inside bars, breweries and wineries. “The city of Long Beach is following Los Angeles County in requiring people to show proof of vaccination to go to indoor bars, wineries, breweries and distilleries. You will be required to show proof that you’ve gotten your first dose of the vaccine by Oct. 7 and your second dose by Nov. 4. City officials say they’ll issue a new health order by Friday to give people time to adjust.”


Washington Post: Alabama councilman, 19, hospitalized with covid after opposing mask mandate: ‘Terrible not to be able to breathe’. “A teenage city council member in Decatur, Ala., who voted in April to end his city’s mask mandate landed in the hospital with the coronavirus Wednesday night after developing pneumonia and struggling to breathe. ‘I am still shallow in breathing but my oxygen remains okay for now!’ 19-year-old Hunter Pepper, who in August 2020 became the youngest person ever elected to the Decatur City Council, said on Facebook Thursday. ‘Confirming last night after a ‘CT-Scan’ I am now shown to have “Covid Pneumonia” which is absolutely terrible.'”


Palm Beach Post: ‘Tell all of our family to get vaccinated’: COVID kills 6 members of Glades family in 3 weeks. “[Lisa] Wilson, a longtime aide to Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, persuaded pastors to preach about the need to get shots. Her husband, Belle Glade Mayor Steve Wilson, was one of the first in the western farming community to roll up his sleeve, hoping others would follow his example. But despite Wilson’s insistence that the shots would save lives, some members of her own family ignored her. In the last three weeks, six of them died from complications of COVID-19.”

Washington Post: A pregnant woman hospitalized with covid miscarried her baby. Her husband regrets that they weren’t vaccinated.. “Juan Guevara was the first in the family to get sick. In mid-August, the 44-year-old father of two came down with a sore throat, a fever and the chills. He soon tested positive for the coronavirus. Two days after he received the test result, his pregnant wife started feeling ill, too. At the family’s home in Victorville, Calif., about 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Esmeralda Ramos began complaining about muscle pain and headaches. Her back was hurting. Then, she started coughing.”

The Oregonian: ‘We have a little girl here, and she doesn’t have her people’: COVID kills parents of 8-year-old. “It started innocently enough, friends and family assume, with an Aug. 18 trip to the Grant County Fair in central Washington. It was an annual outing for Tom and Josie Burko and her 8-year-old daughter Lillie, and this time they brought Tom’s 70-year-old mother, who lives with them, too. The tractor pull. Livestock shows. Dog showmanship. Cloggers. Music. Tragedy followed. ”

AL: Alabama Pickers, couple known for reselling and vaccine opposition, both dead of COVID. “A married Alabama couple known for their reselling videos on YouTube under the name ‘Alabama Pickers’ have both died of COVID. Dusty and Tristan Graham lived in Huntsville, where they would often post videos about various tips and tricks to reselling vintage items like clothes and home decor. They sold on eBay under the username, bama4348.”


CNN: A Florida chiropractor signed hundreds of mask exemption forms for students. Now, the district has tightened its mask policy. “A school district in Sarasota County, Florida, has tightened its mask policy after a chiropractor signed hundreds of medical exemption forms that allowed students to opt out of wearing masks in schools, officials said. The Sarasota County School Board had voted in August to implement a 90-day mandatory mask policy for students, employees, visitors and vendors, with exceptions for medical reasons or if wearing a face mask would not be consistent with a student’s Individualized Education Plan.”


BBC: Call for investigation of menstrual changes after Covid jabs. “Changes to periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding after having a Covid vaccine should be investigated to reassure women, says a leading immunologist specialising in fertility. Writing in the BMJ, Dr Victoria Male, from Imperial College London, said the body’s immune response was the likely cause, not something in the vaccines.”

ABC News: Mississippi health officials warn some pregnant women have been denied COVID vaccine despite ongoing surge. “The decision to not get vaccinated has resulted in a growing number of pregnant people ending up in intensive care wards, many severely ill with COVID-19. This worrisome uptick has been particularly evident in Mississippi, where state health officials have been sounding the alarm not only about the influx of fetal and maternal deaths, but also about several reports of pregnant women being turned away from getting the shot.”


ABC News (Australia): Online activity during COVID lockdowns sees surge in cyber attacks and espionage. “In its second annual threat report, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has revealed over 67,500 cybercrime reports were made in the last financial year, a jump of 13 per cent on the previous 12 months. About one-quarter of cyber incidents reported to the ACSC last year were associated with Australia’s critical infrastructure or essential services, including education, communications, electricity, water and transport.”


Stanford Medicine: Study links severe COVID-19 to increase in self-attacking antibodies. “A study spearheaded by Stanford researchers indicates that at least 1 in 5 hospitalized COVID-19 patients develops new antibodies that attack their own tissue within a week of admission.”

NewsWise: Medicine that treats gout could also battle COVID-19. “Published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the study found that probenecid has broad antiviral properties, making it a prime candidate to combat not only SARS-CoV-2 infection but also other common and deadly respiratory viruses like RSV and flu. Probenecid is an FDA-approved medication that’s primarily used to treat gout, and it’s already widely available in the U.S. The drug has been on the market for over 40 years and has minimal side effects.”


Newswise: Majority of older adults say health care workers should have to get COVID-19 vaccine. ” A new poll finds strong support among older Americans for requiring health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. In all, 61% of people aged 50 to 80 say the vaccine should definitely be required for all health care workers. An additional 19% say it should probably be required. The remaining 20% said no to such a requirement.”


BloombergQuint: Covid Cover Up? Court Rules on Austrian Pandemic Party Town. “A massive Covid-19 outbreak at the hard-partying ski resort of Ischgl was covered up and then downplayed by Austrian officials to save last year’s lucrative spring season, a Vienna court was told on Friday. The Consumer Protection Association (VSV), a group spearheading the legal action, alleges the failings made the resort an early ‘superspreader’ of the virus in Europe as 11,000 tourists from all over the continent skied, danced and drank, unaware of the outbreak, before returning home and taking Covid-19 with them.”


NBC News: From China, through Telegram: Fake Covid vaccination card market booms. “The online market for fake Covid-19 vaccination cards is booming. Thousands of online sellers are claiming to offer near-perfect copies of the cards at prices that have risen sharply in recent weeks, with some now selling a single card for hundreds of dollars. While it’s unclear how many cards successfully make it to people who try to buy them, the federal government is intercepting reams of them.”


Washington Post: Opinion: Ron DeSantis reaches a new low of cynicism and recklessness. “Although the wave of illness from the delta variant appears to be receding in Florida, the state has suffered a terrible summer toll of hospitalizations and deaths. A governor facing such a cataclysm might naturally be expected to use all methods to keep people safe. Instead, Mr. DeSantis, an ally of former president Donald Trump, has for months been campaigning against mask and vaccine mandates and actively sought to prevent business, government and schools from imposing them. These are vital tools to save lives in the face of a highly transmissible disease, but the governor insists that everyone should have the right to make their own decision. He casts himself as a defender of personal freedom.”

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