Friday CoronaBuzz, September 24, 2021: 30 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.


Masslive: Website allows users to calculate COVID risk for dining indoors, flying, group gatherings. “A new website… allows users to estimate the risk of contracting COVID through certain activities. The calculator takes into account vaccination status, mask wearing and social distancing. The concept is to provide a a new quantitative unit for risk, the website said. It created one microCOVID is a one-in-a-million chance of getting COVID.”


Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowa’s COVID infections and hospitalizations reach their highest level since 2020. “COVID-19 continues to spread in Iowa, with the average number of new infections and hospitalizations reaching their highest level of any time in 2021. Only 13 other states have a higher per capita infection rate, according to the Washington Post. The newspaper’s COVID-19 tracker indicates Iowa is averaging 55 new cases each day for every 100,000 residents. Alaska has the nation’s highest daily average, at 117 new cases per 100,000 residents, while Connecticut has the lowest daily average at just 19 new cases per 100,000 residents.”


NBC News: ‘Vigilante treatments’: Anti-vaccine groups push people to leave ICUs. “Consumed by conspiracy theories claiming that doctors are preventing unvaccinated patients from receiving miracle cures or are even killing them on purpose, some people in anti-vaccine and pro-ivermectin Facebook groups are telling those with Covid-19 to stay away from hospitals and instead try increasingly dangerous at-home treatments, according to posts seen by NBC News over the past few weeks.”

Washington Post: Doctor who has lost over 100 patients to covid says some deny virus from their deathbeds: ‘I don’t believe you’. “Trunsky’s post detailing his interactions with eight covid patients and their relatives highlights the resistance and mistreatment some health-care workers across the United States face while caring for patients who have put off or declined getting vaccinated. Trunsky estimates that 9 out of every 10 covid patients he treats are unvaccinated. His post — a plea for people to get vaccinated — also reveals the physical and emotional toll the pandemic has had on health-care workers, who have been on the front lines for over a year and a half. Roughly 3 out of 10 have considered leaving the profession, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, and about 6 in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.”

Washington Post: Asthma group warns against social media trend of inhaling hydrogen peroxide to treat coronavirus. “A leading asthma patient group has issued a warning against an unproven coronavirus treatment circulating on social media that is leading some people to post videos of themselves breathing in hydrogen peroxide through a nebulizer. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America called the action “concerning and dangerous” in a Tuesday blog post, emphasizing that it will neither treat nor prevent the virus and is harmful to the lungs.”

BBC: Eliyantha White: Sri Lankan shaman dies of Covid after touting cure. “A Sri Lankan shaman who touted a potion which he said would protect people against Covid-19 has died with the disease, his family says. Eliyantha White treated sports stars and top politicians with the potion, which he said came to him in a dream.”

PsyPost: Trust in social media linked to heightened susceptibility to COVID-19 conspiracy theories. “Individuals who rely heavily on social media for news, and who trust social media as a source of information, are particularly susceptible to conspiracy theories, according to new research published in the journal Public Understanding of Science.”


The Guardian: Desperation, misinformation: how the ivermectin craze spread across the world. “Like several other Latin American countries, Peru in 2020 experienced a dire Covid emergency that overwhelmed its underfunded health care system. Many residents turned to self-medicating with ivermectin, Garcia said. Local politicians and television hosts told audiences to take the drug. Some Peruvians began taking ivermectin that was formulated for livestock and administered through injections, and images of people with necrotic tissue on their skin from shots made their way to Garcia’s desk.”

Mashable: How Ivermectin became polarized on social media. “We are in an era of political polarization. And social media is fanning the flames. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s heated debates on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you frequent online concerning people passing on getting a life-saving vaccine and instead consuming horse paste they purchased from their local animal feed store. On social media, medicine is political now.”


New York Times: They Never Could Work From Home. These Are Their Stories.. “More than a year and a half after the pandemic disrupted nearly all aspects of everyday life, one of the starkest economic divides to emerge has been between workers who can work from home and those who cannot. We asked six never-remote workers about their experiences and they shared their stories below.”


Idaho Capital Sun: Dispatches from Idaho’s front lines: ‘We are breaking’. “It was the morning of Sept. 16, and Idaho had just hit ‘crisis standards,’ a point of last resort for health care. Hospitals had so many patients with COVID-19, the state gave them permission to downgrade medical care for everyone. That could mean discharging patients faster than usual, or it could mean the unthinkable: choosing who gets an intensive care bed or oxygen. But the hospital was calm, and so was the man in the cowboy hat. He placed his worn Bible on the front desk and leaned in for a temperature check. He wasn’t at Saint Al’s because he was sick, he told the woman screening him for a visitor pass. He was there to minister to a patient being taken off a ventilator. He picked up his Bible and headed for the elevator.”

Idaho Statesman: COVID-19 has killed thousands in Idaho. Funeral homes are struggling to store bodies. “More than 2,600 Idahoans have died in connection with COVID-19 so far — including a record 25 on Sept. 11. The state also continues to break records for its number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, intensive care unit patients and patients on ventilators. Ada, Canyon and Kootenai counties have seen some of the highest death totals. As a result, morticians are forced to find new ways to store bodies in — and sometimes outside — their facilities. ”


Associated Press: VP interview delayed, ‘View’ hosts test positive for COVID. “A live televised interview with Vice President Kamala Harris was delayed on Friday after two hosts of the ‘The View’ learned they tested positive for COVID-19 moments before they were to interview her. Co-host Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro both learned they tested positive for breakthrough cases ahead of the interview. Both Navarro and Hostin were at the table for the start of the show, but then were pulled from the set.”


ProPublica: The Government Gave Free PPP Money to Public Companies Despite Warning Them Not to Apply. “…a ProPublica review has found…the government gave out generous loans to companies that may not have needed them. And it has often forgiven the loans, despite having said that publicly traded companies would be unlikely to merit such generous treatment.”


OCCRP: U.S. Returns to Equatorial Guinea Millions Seized from its Corrupt VP. “The U.S. will return US$25.6 million in assets purchased with the proceeds of corruption and seized from the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea to the African nation in form of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical equipment, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a statement Monday.”

Politico: Burnout and fatigue hobble CDC’s pandemic response. “CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is trying to build up the response team after paring it down last spring as part of a broader agency reorganization amid optimism the pandemic would ebb. But with the rise of the Delta variant, and projections that cases and hospitalizations could begin to rise again this fall and winter, Walensky is again asking agency staff to help — a plea many are spurning.”

NBC News: U.S. begins reimbursing Florida school officials for pay docked for defying ban on mask mandates. “The Biden administration Thursday began compensating some Florida school board members whose pay was docked this month for defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates, the Education Department said.”


New York Times: Has Covid Cost Australia Its Love for Freedom?. “Some states are trying desperately to hold on to what worked before, while New South Wales and Victoria, home to the country’s biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are being forced by Delta outbreaks to find a more nuanced path forward. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thrown his weight behind a plan to reopen when 80 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. But the road ahead may not be smooth — as shown by protests this week over a vaccine mandate — and state leaders are still insisting that they will go it alone.”


The Grio: Rev. Jesse Jackson released from Chicago facility after COVID recovery. “The Rev. Jesse Jackson was released Wednesday from a Chicago facility a month after he was hospitalized for a breakthrough COVID-19 infection and intensive physical therapy for Parkinson’s disease.”


NBC News: Brazil’s health minister tests positive for Covid at U.N. General Assembly in NYC. “Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for Covid-19 hours after accompanying President Jair Bolsonaro to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, the government said. Queiroga will remain in New York in quarantine, the government’s communications office said.”


WTSP: Palmetto High School senior dies of COVID-19. “Aryana Santana was ready for senior year to start. She was a familiar face at Palmetto High School. She participated in the yearbook and was actively involved with JROTC. Described as ‘a ray of sunshine,’ Santana’s family said she was loved by everybody around her. Then, she tested positive for COVID-19. It lead her to develop pneumonia in both lungs.”

KTVB: 20-year-old Idaho woman dies from COVID-19. “Cleo Shepherd, 20, died Sept. 20, 2021, in the Saint Alphonsus ICU from COVID-19-related reasons, according to her mother, Summer Carr. Health experts have continued to warn the public that hospitalization and ICU patients are younger and younger. This week, St. Luke’s reported their average ICU patient was 72 years old in December. Now, their average ICU patient in 58.”


Associated Press: USOPC: American hopefuls for Beijing Games must have vaccine. “U.S. athletes trying to make the Winter Olympics will have to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 under a groundbreaking new policy announced Wednesday by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that, starting Nov. 1, the USOPC will require staff, athletes and others utilizing training centers and other USOPC facilities to be vaccinated.”


Gothamist: A Brooklyn School Quarantined A Third Of Its Staff, But Parents Weren’t Told The Details. “A Brooklyn High School was forced to quarantine a third of its staff on the eve of the first day of classes after exposure to a COVID-19-positive colleague at a pair of work events held less than 72 hours earlier.”

USA Today: ‘Scared to death’: Dozens of school bus drivers have died of COVID, fueling shortages. “[Natalia] D’Angelo is among at least 12 school bus workers in Georgia — including three in the Griffin-Spalding district — who have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the school year. In all, school bus drivers in at least 10 states have died of the disease since August, according to news reports and a Twitter feed called ‘School Personnel Lost to Covid.'”

Washington Post: Pediatric covid-19 cases rose faster in counties without school mask requirements, CDC says. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday offered more evidence that school mask requirements can help keep children healthy and in classrooms, showing lower spikes in pediatric covid cases and fewer school closures in places that require them. In an analysis of 520 U.S. counties, the CDC found that pediatric cases rose more sharply in places without school mask requirements. And in a separate report that looked at Arizona’s two largest counties, the agency found that schools without mask requirements were 3.5 times as likely to be forced to close as schools with them.”


CBC: COVID-19 infection almost inevitable for the unvaccinated, expert says. “The prevalence of the highly contagious delta variant means unvaccinated Ottawans will almost certainly come down with COVID-19 at some point, according to a modelling scientist. The comments by Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist with The Ottawa Hospital who tracks local COVID-19 numbers, come as Ottawa’s recent daily case totals have hit highs not seen since late spring.”


NBC News: A daily pill to treat Covid could be just months away, scientists say. “At least three promising antivirals for Covid are being tested in clinical trials, with results expected as soon as late fall or winter, said Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is overseeing antiviral development.”

Pew: Americans who relied most on Trump for COVID-19 news among least likely to be vaccinated. “Americans who relied most on former President Donald Trump and the White House coronavirus task force for COVID-19 news in the early days of the pandemic are now among those least likely to have been vaccinated against the virus, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.”


New York Times: Mormons should wear face masks ‘at all times’ in temples, the church instructs.. “All visitors and workers in temples operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should wear face masks ‘at all times’ while in the temple, according to a letter sent by the church’s top leaders to local church leaders around the world on Wednesday.”

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