Friday CoronaBuzz, October 8, 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.


NBC News: Covid-19 booster shots now surpassing initial vaccination doses by nearly half. “An NBC News analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that the number of people receiving booster shots is outpacing those getting their first or second doses of the initial vaccination, and is contributing to a modest increase in Covid vaccinations in October. Of the 6.7 million shots administered from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, nearly 2.7 million were booster shots. That’s compared to the nearly 2 million first doses and nearly 2 million second doses in the same period.”

CNN: Major disappointment: US economy adds only 194,000 jobs in September. “America’s economic recovery has hit a roadblock: US employers added only 194,000 jobs in September, another troubling sign that Covid is disrupting the economy. It marked the second-straight month in which the US economy added far fewer jobs than expected. Jobs growth slowed down dramatically in August.”


Business Insider: A Maryland man is accused of fatally shooting his pharmacist brother because he thought he was ‘killing people’ by giving them the COVID-19 vaccine. “A Maryland man is accused of fatally shooting his pharmacist brother who he believed was poisoning people by giving them the COVID-19 vaccine. Jeffrey Allen Burnham, 46, is accused of killing his older brother, Brian Robinette, 58, and his wife, Kelly Sue Robinette, 57, on September 30.”

National Geographic: Pandemic myths are all over social media—and they’re dangerous for kids. “After Stephanie Africk handed her daughter a mask while leaving their Boston home, she was stunned to hear what her 13-year-old had to say: ‘Masks don’t work, and kids don’t even get COVID.’ The position went against science—and everything her family had discussed. Where’d the teen get this information? Social media. ‘She got the information—or misinformation—from someone on TikTok who she respects and believes.'”

Associated Press: Anti-vaccine chiropractors rising force of misinformation. “Participants traveled from around the country to a Wisconsin Dells resort for a sold-out convention that was, in fact, a sea of misinformation and conspiracy theories about vaccines and the pandemic. The featured speaker was the anti-vaccine activist who appeared in the 2020 movie ‘Plandemic,’ which pushed false COVID-19 stories into the mainstream. One session after another discussed bogus claims about the health dangers of mask wearing and vaccines. The convention was organized by a profession that has become a major purveyor of vaccine misinformation during the pandemic: chiropractors.”


BBC: Ivermectin: How false science created a Covid ‘miracle’ drug. “Ivermectin has been called a Covid “miracle” drug, championed by vaccine opponents, and recommended by health authorities in some countries. But the BBC can reveal there are serious errors in a number of key studies that the drug’s promoters rely on.”


The Spinoff: During lockdown, religion goes online. Can it stay there?. “Faith leaders in Aotearoa are experimenting with online services and prayer during the pandemic. In the latest instalment of IRL, Shanti Mathias explores the potential – and challenges – of the digital divine.”

Associated Press: More than 120,000 US kids had caregivers die during pandemic. “The number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests. More than half the children who lost a primary caregiver during the pandemic belonged to those two racial groups, which make up about 40% of the U.S. population, according to the study published Thursday by the medical journal Pediatrics.”

WUSA: ‘I wish I could say this would be the end’ | Mourners pause as National Cathedral funeral bell tolls for 700K COVID deaths. “It didn’t have to be an inexorable march towards death and defeat. Yet Tuesday evening, mourners and members of the public gathered on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral, as its massive funeral bell tolled for America’s more than 700,000 COVID dead. It was an astounding number – 700 plangent peals of the funeral bell, which was used before the pandemic to mourn the loss of presidents, senators, and luminaries of American life.”


Associated Press: Ghost towns: Nursing home staffing falls amid pandemic. “Even before COVID-19 bared the truth of a profit-driven industry with too few caring for society’s most vulnerable, thin staffing was a hallmark of nursing homes around the country. Now, staffing is even thinner, with about one-third of U.S. nursing homes reporting lower levels of nurses and aides than before the pandemic began ravaging their facilities, an Associated Press analysis of federal data finds.”

Free Malaysia Today: Thailand reviving medical tourism amid coronavirus pandemic. “With the Thai government planning to reopen the country to foreign tourists as part of its strategy of learning to live with Covid, Thai businesses aim to offer Covid-related services as well as revive medical tourism. The upscale Bumrungrad International Hospital has launched its first Covid-19 recovery clinic, offering all Covid solutions to affluent Thais and foreigners, as the government prepares to reopen the country roughly by November.”

WRAL: Widower pleads for COVID vaccinations among assisted facility workers after wife’s death. “Anne [Hughes] was living at an assisted care facility in Pinehurst. William [Hughes] was fully vaccinated and so was Anne, but he said some of the workers she interacted with were not vaccinated. ‘There were a fair amount of fliers at the facility, where I would visit her twice a day, talking about vaccine fairs, encouraging employees who were not fully vaccinated,’ William said.”

Associated Press: Kaiser Permanente suspends 2,200 unvaccinated employees. “Health care giant Kaiser Permanente has put more than 2,200 employees nationwide on unpaid leave who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus — a little over 1% of its workforce. The employees have until Dec. 1 to get vaccinated to be able to return to work and those who choose not to will be terminated, the company said. Kaiser said its overall vaccination rate stands at 92%.”


American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees: Report: Cultural institutions took federal money but still let go of workers. “Some of the nation’s largest cultural institutions accepted more than $1.6 billion in federal help to weather the coronavirus pandemic, but continued to let go of workers – even though the assistance was meant to shore up payrolls and keep workers on the job, according to a report released by AFSCME Cultural Workers United.”


Mississippi Free Press: Pfizer Asks FDA To Authorize COVID Vaccine For Children 5 to 11 After Positive Trials. “Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve their COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11, Pfizer announced this morning. If the FDA approves an emergency use authorization, it would be the first time a COVID-19 vaccine was available for children younger than 12.”

Asahi Shimbun: Tokyo’s vintage bookstores look for pandemic lifeline online. “Hunting for that perfect find amid a trove of old, leather-bound antique books is one of the earthly pleasures the novel coronavirus crisis robbed from bookworms and collectors. But while becoming immersed in the ambience of the historic bookstores in Tokyo’s famous Jimbocho Book Town in person is still impossible for many, store owners have teamed up to make that experience possible online. The effort is aimed at promoting Tokyo’s Kanda-Jimbocho district, an area well known for its many specialty secondhand bookstores, in the hopes that book lovers will still enjoy touring through used bookshops, even if only done virtually, during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WRAL Tech Wire: Red Hat CEO: Employees must be vaccinated or lose their jobs. ” Employees as well as contractors at Red Hat were told Thursday morning that they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose their jobs. Deadline to get a vaccine jab is Nov. 29.”


Roll Call: Pentagon civilian vaccine mandate is a massive logistical lift. “The Pentagon has begun the monumental task of fully vaccinating hundreds of thousands of civilian employees against the coronavirus with just weeks to meet its self-imposed deadline of Nov. 22. But as of yet, it has no system to verify who’s gotten the jab. There are nearly 770,000 civil servants at the Defense Department, and just 42 percent of them, or just under 319,000, are fully vaccinated, according to the Pentagon’s public data.”


Nikki Fried: Commissioner Nikki Fried Releases COVID-19 School Data Blocked by DeSantis Administration. “Today, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, held a virtual press conference to release and discuss school district COVID-19 data which Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration has worked to block. This data shows clear evidence that school districts requiring masks resulted in up to four times lower COVID-19 cases per capita than school districts that did not require masks.”

Florida Phoenix: State will dock salaries from 8 elected school boards due to their strict mask policies. “Eight school district superintendents pled their cases Thursday to the State Board of Education, to keep strict mask mandates in their districts for the safety of children and staff. Instead, they were punished and it was expected, following Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s earlier recommendations.”


NPR: Los Angeles will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor establishments. “Under this mandate, eligible patrons will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, coffee shops, stores, gyms, spas or salons. People attending large, outdoor events will also need to show evidence of either vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to attend the event.”


Washington Post: A Mississippi news anchor is off the air after refusing a coronavirus vaccine. “Meggan Gray signed off her Thursday morning news show with a cryptic announcement. From the desk of WLOX News in Biloxi, Miss., where she had co-anchored ‘Good Morning Mississippi’ for 14 years, she said she “wanted to just take a little moment and let you know that I honestly do not know what the future holds for me as far as my career here.” The next day, she was off the show, and she took to Facebook to explain why: She lost her job after refusing to be vaccinated for the coronavirus as required by her station’s parent company, Gray Television.”


The Virginian-Pilot: Suffolk schools to investigate whether teacher asked student who died to walk sick children to nurse. “School administrators are investigating whether a teacher had tasked a fifth-grader who died of coronavirus complications last week to walk sick students to the nurse. Anthonette Ward, a Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman, said the student’s school has a rule for how to handle children with COVID-19 symptoms, and only adults are supposed to accompany them.”


Associated Press: Flush with COVID-19 aid, schools steer funding to sports. “One Wisconsin school district built a new football field. In Iowa, a high school weight room is getting a renovation. Another in Kentucky is replacing two outdoor tracks — all of this funded by the billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief Congress sent to schools this year. The money is part of a $123 billion infusion intended to help schools reopen and recover from the pandemic. But with few limits on how the funding can be spent, The Associated Press found that some districts have used large portions to cover athletics projects they couldn’t previously afford.”

WRAL: NC researchers will study not quarantining COVID-19 exposed students in some counties. ” Researchers in North Carolina will study a replacement for quarantine in schools that would include coronavirus testing and allow students or school staff stay in school. The ABC Science Collaborative, with permission from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, will study this method in nine school districts that require people to wear masks indoors.”

CNET: School vaccine mandates aren’t new: A history of requirements. “Vaccine requirements in schools are far from being a new concept. As the question continues to be debated whether your local school will mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for students, it’s important to take a look back at the history of vaccine requirements — because vaccinations have been required in schools for a long, long time.”


Miami Herald: Carvalho asks Florida to apply for federal funds to meet ‘moral imperative’ in schools. “Miami-Dade County Public Schools has sent a letter to Florida’s education commissioner asking him to request the billions of dollars in federal funds that are available to help school districts address the needs of students during the pandemic. The school district of Miami-Dade County is still waiting for $800 million in funds for its traditional public schools, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Wednesday during a news conference at the district’s headquarters in Miami.”


Washington Post: Flu practically vanished last year. Now doctors are bracing for potential ‘twindemic’ of flu and covid-19 spikes.. “Survey data released Thursday found slightly more than half of American adults plan to be vaccinated against influenza. That’s not much of a change from pre-pandemic surveys conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, but health authorities are alarmed because some evidence points to a potentially more severe flu season. Experts say Americans have built up less natural immunity against influenza because so few were infected in 2020.”

Bloomberg: Heart damage plagues COVID-19 survivors a year after infection, study shows. “Heart damage from Covid-19 extends well beyond the disease’s initial stages, according to a study that found even people who were never sick enough to need hospitalization are in danger of developing heart failure and deadly blood clots a year later. Heart disease and stroke are already the leading causes of death worldwide. The increased likelihood of lethal heart complications in Covid survivors – who number in the hundreds of millions globally – will add to its devastation, according to the study, which is under consideration for publication by a Nature journal.”


Medical News Today: How has social media affected mental health during the pandemic?. “As government health organizations used it to relay recent findings on prevention and treatment, social media became more than a place to post the latest vacation photos — it became a hub of pandemic-related information. But has the use of social media during the pandemic negatively impacted mental health and well-being? Or has it had the opposite effect? In this Special Feature, Medical News Today looks at what research says about social media use and the COVID-19 pandemic to reveal how it has affected mental health. We also spoke with two experts about this complex topic.”

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