Friday CoronaBuzz, October 15, 2021: 32 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.


Associated Press: Women left behind: Gender gap emerges in Africa’s vaccines. “The health outreach workers who drove past Lama Mballow’s village with a megaphone handed out T-shirts emblazoned with the words: ‘I GOT MY COVID-19 VACCINE!’ By then, the women in Sare Gibel already had heard the rumors on social media: The vaccines could make your blood stop or cause you to miscarry. Women who took it wouldn’t get pregnant again.”


Daily Beast: Anti-Masker Alaska Pol Gets COVID, Boasts About Taking Unproven Meds. “Two Republican state senators in Alaska have tested positive for COVID-19 and one has been leveraging her platform on Facebook to tout a cocktail of vitamins and ivermectin as a miracle cure while railing against recommendations by public health officials. ‘Its my turn to battle Covid head on… game on!’ Republican state Sen. Lora Reinbold wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night. ‘When I defeat it, I will tell you my recipe.'”

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Ivermectin and outrage: The viral aftermath for a conservative Chattanooga activist who lost his brother to COVID-19. “After a roughly three-day stay at Erlanger East Hospital, Marlon Hampton was discharged after declining further treatment, preferring to receive care at his East Brainerd home through hospice and attempt to obtain the vitamins and ivermectin. He died on Wednesday, four days after his discharge.”


Bloomberg News: US consumer prices outpace forecast as inflation dogs economy. “Prices paid by U.S. consumers rose in September by more than forecast, resuming a faster pace of growth and underscoring the persistence of inflationary pressures in the economy. The consumer price index increased 0.4% from August, according to Labor Department data released Wednesday. Compared with a year ago, the CPI rose 5.4%, matching the largest annual gain since 2008.”

Boing Boing: Survey finds 22% of scientists who do media interviews about COVID get violent threats. “Nature surveyed 300 scientists who’ve done media interviews about COVID. The results had some surprisingly positive notes — 85% said ‘their experiences of engaging with the media were always or mostly positive, even if they were harassed afterwards’. But as you might expect, a significant chunk described some ghastly abuse. Fully 15% got death threats, and 22% “received threats of physical or sexual violence.”


Associated Press: Wasted COVID vaccine doses in Louisiana swell to 224,000. “Louisiana’s problem of wasted COVID-19 vaccine shots continues to balloon, with about 224,000 doses thrown out across the state as health providers can’t find enough residents willing to roll up their sleeves. The number of trashed doses has nearly tripled since the end of July, even as Louisiana grappled with a fourth, deadly surge of the coronavirus pandemic during that time that led to increased interest in the vaccines.”

Washington Post: ‘Emotionally, physically, mentally tired’: Nurses say morale has hit a pandemic low. “In interviews, nurses across the country describe plummeting morale during the latest pandemic surge, marked by utter exhaustion and growing workloads. Some thought the availability of coronavirus vaccines would alleviate the burden on hospitals. Instead, emergency rooms were swamped this summer and early fall, often filled with the young and unvaccinated. The crisis has exacerbated staffing problems that existed before the pandemic, leaving nurses shouldering increasing responsibilities as covid-19 patients fill their units. Some nurses are leaving hospital jobs for more lucrative travel nursing positions. Others are leaving the profession altogether.”


PBS News: Rural U.S. hospitals stretched thin after nurse shortage exacerbated by the pandemic. “Nursing shortages are impacting healthcare workers and hospitals across the United States. In just the past few days, nurses and other workers in Southern California and Oregon authorized a potential strike against provider Kaiser Permanente. Staffing shortages are part of those disputes. John Yang reports from South Florida on how shortages are affecting hospitals there.”

CBS News: “Do we need to ration care?”: COVID patients overwhelm Montana hospitals. “Montana, the first state to ban COVID-19 mandates for employees, has one of the lowest vaccination rates and the highest hospitalization rates in the country. Some hospitals have reached the point of not accepting new patients and are preparing to ration care. The intensive care unit at Billings Clinic is operating at 175% capacity. ”

Health News Florida: Lawmakers eye education efforts to address the shortage of health care workers. “Florida health officials say the number of COVID cases is continuing to trend down, but the president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association tells legislators that staffing concerns remain.”

Washington Post: 48 hours to live: An Oklahoma hospital’s rush to find an ICU bed for a covid patient. “Robin Pressley, transfer coordinator at Stillwater Medical Center, was working fast to try to find an ICU bed at a larger hospital for Johnnie Novotny, a 69-year-old retired gas plant operator who had developed a hematoma and needed more specialized care than doctors at this modest rural hospital could provide. Pressley knew that other hospitals in the region were already choked with covid patients due to a summer surge driven by the highly infectious delta variant and the state’s large numbers of unvaccinated residents, like Novotny. But she also knew that Novotny’s life depended on her success.”


New York Times: ‘It’s Not Sustainable’: What America’s Port Crisis Looks Like Up Close. “Like toy blocks hurled from the heavens, nearly 80,000 shipping containers are stacked in various configurations at the Port of Savannah — 50 percent more than usual. The steel boxes are waiting for ships to carry them to their final destination, or for trucks to haul them to warehouses that are themselves stuffed to the rafters. Some 700 containers have been left at the port, on the banks of the Savannah River, by their owners for a month or more.”


CNN: FDA advisory panel recommends Moderna booster for many adults. “An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday voted to recommend a booster shot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for many Americans, at least six months after their second dose.”

CNN: White House says fully vaccinated foreign visitors can start entering US on November 8. “Fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be able to travel to the United States starting on November 8, the White House said Friday.”


BBC: Coronavirus: India to allow foreign tourists after 19 months. “Starting Friday, the country will grant tourist visas to travellers arriving on chartered flights. The facility will be extended to those arriving on commercial flights from 15 November. Foreign tourists who land in India on Friday will be the first to come into the country in 19 months.”

BBC: Covid: Strike fears as Italy’s workers require Covid pass. “Italy’s Green Pass becomes mandatory for all workplaces on Friday, but there are fears of disruption among transport workers and at ports where Covid vaccination rates are relatively low. While more than 85% of Italians aged over 12 have had at least one jab, about three million Italian workers are estimated to be still unvaccinated.”

Washington Post: One of the world’s toughest coronavirus quarantine regimes is finally ending. “Since early in the pandemic, Australia has imposed some of the world’s strictest quarantine requirements, effectively walling itself off and stranding thousands of its citizens overseas in a bid to keep the coronavirus out. Now, after a surge in vaccinations, those walls are starting to tumble.”


Anchorage Daily News: Anchorage Assembly set to vote on override after mayor vetoes emergency ordinance requiring masks. “After a bitter, weeks-long debate, the Anchorage Assembly passed an emergency ordinance late Tuesday night requiring people in the city to wear masks in indoor public spaces — and Mayor Dave Bronson on Wednesday followed through with his vow to veto it.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Dean Angelo, former FOP president, dies of COVID-19. “Former Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo Sr., 67, who led the union during the tumultuous years immediately after the shooting of Laquan McDonald, has died after a weekslong battle with COVID-19.”

WFLA: Request denied: Sarasota business can’t require customers be vaccinated against COVID-19, judge says. “A Leon County circuit court judge denied a request from a Sarasota business to allow it to require customers be vaccinated, upholding a state law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis banning ‘vaccine passports.'”


Washington Post: How the ultra-rich are traveling during covid, according to their travel advisers. “After a year of being confined to their one, two or three homes, they are spending more than ever on vacations to make up for lost time. So what does a dream pandemic vacation look like when you’ve already been everywhere and bought everything? That’s the question travel advisers for ultra-high-net-worth individuals have to ask themselves on a regular basis.”


UPI: Korn drummer Ray Luzier tests positive for COVID-19, will miss shows. “Korn drummer Ray Luzier has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be participating in three upcoming concerts.”


Daily Beast: Anti-Vax Flat Earth Preacher Dies of COVID-19. “Rob Skiba, an influential figure in flat earth and Christian circles, has died of COVID-19, colleagues announced on Thursday. He had been fighting the virus since at least late August, when he began exhibiting symptoms after ‘Take On The World,’ a biblical flat earth conference.”


NHL: NHL down to four players not vaccinated for COVID-19, Bettman says. “The NHL is down to four players who have not received the vaccination for COVID-19, Commissioner Gary Bettman said prior to the season-opening game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.”


Mother Jones: The Kids the Pandemic Left Behind. “The coronavirus pandemic upended the lives of kids like Esteban across the country. For starters, the shuttering of in-person school has been particularly hard on teenagers; in one national poll, nearly half of parents reported that their teens’ mental health had suffered since face-to-face classes were suspended in March 2020. The academic consequences were real, too: The consulting firm McKinsey estimated that at the end of the school year, students at highly diverse schools like Justice were, academically, an average of six months behind where they would have been had the outbreak never happened.”


NBC News: Data shows more children are getting sick and dying from Covid. “Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that cases among children peaked in September, as many schools opened for in-person classes amid the country’s delta variant Covid surge. More than 6 million children have tested positive for Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 1.1 million new cases recorded from Sept. 3 to Sept. 30.”


PsyPost: Social media exposure during lockdown may have triggered emotional overeating due to heightened anxiety. “New research published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being sheds light on how personality, social media exposure, and anxiety interact to influence people’s eating behavior during the pandemic. The findings point to a pathway whereby high neuroticism paves the way for greater anxiety in response to social media exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in turn, increased emotional overeating.”


NOW you tell me. PsyPost: News avoidance during the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with better mental well-being. “At the start of the pandemic, news consumption increased for most participants. Complimenting this increase, participants also turned to a greater variety of news sources. However, after the first few months of the pandemic, news avoidance began to increase. Younger adults were more likely to avoid the news. Feeling emotionally charged, losing trust in news media, feeling overloaded and a need to ignore the news greatly contributed to news avoidance. While people’s general mental well-being did not influence their news consumption habits, those who engaged in more news avoidance had slightly better general mental health.”

Newswise: Lockdown wellbeing: children who spent more time in nature fared best. “A study has found that children who increased their connection to nature during the first COVID-19 lockdown were likely to have lower levels of behavioural and emotional problems, compared to those whose connection to nature stayed the same or decreased – regardless of their socio-economic status. The study, by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Sussex, also found that children from affluent families tended to have increased their connection to nature during the pandemic more than their less affluent peers.”

Newswise: Obesity in four out of ten adults with COVID-19 in intensive care. “People with obesity were overrepresented among adults in Sweden receiving intensive care for COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. Just over 39 percent had obesity, compared with some 16 percent in the population. The risks of prolonged hospitalization and death in intensive care units (ICUs) was also higher for patients with obesity, as a study from the University of Gothenburg shows.”


Washington Post: New survey: Most U.S. churchgoers trust their clergy for covid vaccine guidance, but clergy aren’t really offering it. “Since the coronavirus pandemic began, clergy have been among prominent figures in the news and on social media discussing vaccines. Some have described them as ‘the mark of the beast’ or an infringement on religious liberty, while others have framed the shots as a moral and religious duty. But a new survey out Friday finds the majority of regular churchgoers have heard little if anything, positive or negative, from their clergy about vaccines.”


NBC News: Texas man’s lie about paying someone with Covid to lick groceries sends him to federal prison. “A Texas man who posted on Facebook that he paid someone sick with Covid-19 to intentionally spread the virus at San Antonio grocery stores by licking items was sentenced Monday to just over a year in prison. Christopher Charles Perez, who also goes by the last name Robbins, was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of making false hoaxes related to biological weapons, the Justice Department said in a statement.”

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