Wednesday CoronaBuzz, October 20, 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.


State of New York: Governor Hochul Announces New COVID-19 Data Hub Website to Expand Public Access, Centralize Information and Improve the User Experience. “Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new centralized website for New York State COVID-19 data. This website includes new data as well as a reorganization of previously released data to make it easier for the public to access, read and understand. In addition, more COVID-19 data is now being made available on Health Data NY.”


Virginian-Pilot: Virginia’s new data tool fixed after vastly underreporting children hospitalized with COVID-19. “The Virginia Department of Health temporarily pulled down the COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday and updated it with over 500 more cases, after a Pilot reporter alerted staff to a vast discrepancy a day earlier. On Monday, the agency reported there had been just 380 children hospitalized with the disease since the onset of the pandemic statewide.”

BBC: Covid: Thousands of children left without parents in Iran. “More than 51,000 children in Iran have lost a parent to the Covid-19 pandemic, Iranian welfare authorities say. One such case is that of Eliza, aged four. Eliza was very attached to her father. They read together, sang together, and he was always there to put her to bed. But then one day he started coughing and was taken to hospital. Her father, who was 40, died of Covid.”


Mashable: 8 TikTok accounts to follow if you’re tired of COVID misinformation. “TikTok: an app for music, memes, and medically-accurate vaccine information Increasingly, medical professionals are using the app to share myth-busting information about things like the COVID-19 vaccine, rates of infection, and COVID treatments, all through succinct, engaging videos that will hopefully reach the people who need them. At the very least, they offer a link for other viewers to send to their more stubborn friends and relatives.” Thoroughly annotated with everybody’s bona fides.

Washington Post: Meet the doctors’ group spreading covid conspiracy theories in plain sight on Facebook. “A group of health-care professionals known for spreading conspiracy theories about covid-19 has largely avoided restrictions on Facebook, where its members have reached millions of users with their messages of coronavirus denialism and vaccine skepticism, according to a new report shared exclusively with The Technology 202.”

The Guardian: Group that spread false Covid claims doubled Facebook interactions in six months. “An international pressure group that spread false and conspiratorial claims about Covid-19 more than doubled the average number of interactions it got on Facebook in the first six months of 2021 in spite of renewed efforts to curb misinformation on the platform, according to a report.”

Poynter: WHO database is not proof that COVID-19 vaccines are harmful. “Anti-vaccination groups and COVID-19 skeptics typically use the data from databases like the WHO’s as proof that the vaccines are harmful to people, according to The New York Times. In many cases, the unconfirmed reports are misinterpreted by the groups as fact. PolitiFact has checked similar claims that used the United States’ Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System and the European Union’s EudraVigilance database as evidence of the danger of COVID-19 vaccines.”


Bloomberg: ‘People Are Hoarding’: Food Shortages Are The Next Supply-Chain Crunch. “More than a year and a half after the coronavirus pandemic upended daily life, the supply of basic goods at U.S. grocery stores and restaurants is once again falling victim to intermittent shortages and delays.”

DCist: 49 Out Of The 50 People Who Died Of COVID-19 In D.C. Since June Were Black. “Of the 50 people who died of the virus since June, 49 were Black. Sixty percent of those deaths occurred in just two wards: Wards 7 and 8. The grim numbers coincide with a dramatic rise in cases due to the Delta variant and the latest peak in infections, which came on Sept. 17 in the District.”

BBC: The Indian women widowed by Covid-19. “India has been one of the world’s worst Covid-hit nations, recording more than 440,000 official deaths so far. The pandemic has left tens of thousands of women newly widowed, struggling to adjust to a new life. Many of these women have never worked in a paying job before. According to the World Bank, India’s female labour force participation rate – which was less than 21% in 2019 – is one of the lowest in the world.”


BBC: Covid: Doctors call for Covid Plan B to start in England. “An ‘unacceptable’ level of Covid cases means ministers should trigger their Plan B for the pandemic in England, doctors say. The British Medical Association accused the government of being ‘wilfully negligent’ for not reimposing Covid rules such as mandatory face masks. Daily UK infections have been above 40,000 for eight days in a row.”


CNN: Pfizer vaccine is 93% effective in preventing Covid-19 hospitalization among adolescents, CDC study finds. “The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 93% effective in preventing hospitalization due to Covid-19 among children ages 12 to 18, according to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine effectiveness differed only slightly within that age group, with 91% effectiveness for children age 12 to 15 and 94% effectiveness for those age 16 to 18.”

Washington Post: White House unveils plans to roll out coronavirus vaccines for children ages 5 to 11. “The White House on Wednesday announced its plan to roll out coronavirus vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, pending the vaccine’s approval by federal health officials, which the Biden administration anticipates will happen within weeks. White House officials said they have secured enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine for the country’s 28 million children in that age group and have been working with local jurisdictions to make sure they will be ready to distribute and administer the shots for free.”

ProPublica: The Federal Government Gave Billions to America’s Schools for COVID-19 Relief. Where Did the Money Go?. “After the pandemic shut down schools across the country, the federal government provided about $190 billion in aid to help them reopen and respond to the effects of the pandemic. In the year and a half since millions of children were sent home, the Education Department has done only limited tracking of how the money has been spent. That has left officials in Washington largely in the dark about how effective the aid has been in helping students, especially those whose schools and communities were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.”

CNN: Booster shots could soon be recommended for people as young as 40, source says. “Booster protection in the US could soon expand to a much broader population, as a source says the US government likely will soon recommend additional doses to people as young as 40 who received a Moderna or Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.”

CNET: Russians to stay off work for a week as virus deaths rise. “President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered most Russians to stay off work for a week later this month amid rising COVID-19 infections and deaths, and he strongly urged reluctant citizens to get vaccinated. The government coronavirus task force reported 1,028 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought Russia’s death toll to 226,353, by far the highest in Europe.”

BBC: Covid: WHO warns pandemic will drag on deep into 2022. “The Covid pandemic will ‘go on for a year longer than it needs to’ because poorer countries are not getting the vaccines they need, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Dr Bruce Aylward, senior leader at the WHO, said it meant the Covid crisis could ‘easily drag on deep into 2022’. Less than 5% of Africa’s population have been vaccinated, compared to 40% on most other continents.”

New York Times: Brazilian Leader’s Pandemic Handling Draws Explosive Allegation: Homicide. “A Brazilian congressional panel is set to recommend mass homicide charges against President Jair Bolsonaro, asserting that he intentionally let the coronavirus rip through the country and kill hundreds of thousands in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity and revive Latin America’s largest economy.”

BBC: Get Covid jab or restrictions more likely, Sajid Javid says. “Sajid Javid said the government would not be bringing in its Plan B measures, which include mandatory face coverings and working from home, ‘at this point’. He added that he did not believe the current pressures on the NHS were unsustainable. But he warned cases could rise to 100,000 a day.”

Deutsche Welle: Germany: Pandemic state of emergency may end in November. “German Health Minister Jens Spahn has said that special rules relating to the coronavirus pandemic could end on November 25, the Bild newspaper reported on Monday. But many indoor rules requiring proof of negative test, vaccination and other hygiene measures would need to remain in place, the report added.”


New York Times: California Accounts for 12% of U.S. Students, but Only 1% of Covid School Closures. “Of the 2,321 nationwide school closures since August because of Covid-19, about 1 percent have been in California — even though the state accounts for 12 percent of the nation’s K-12 students, according to data from Burbio, a technology company that monitors outbreaks. So some parents may be wondering: If masking, testing and other prevention strategies are working so well, why is the state adding an immunization requirement?”

New York Times: Hawaii will reopen to vaccinated visitors in November.. “Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that the state will ‘safely open’ to fully vaccinated residents and visitors who are traveling domestically and between islands for business or pleasure, starting Nov. 1.”


New York Times: New York City Mandates Vaccines for Its Workers to ‘End the COVID Era’. “New York City took one of its most aggressive steps yet to increase vaccination rates in a city that was once the epicenter of the pandemic, requiring almost every member of the nation’s largest municipal workforce to get vaccinated by the end of the month or lose their paychecks.”


CNN: Homeland Security secretary tests positive for Covid-19. “Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is vaccinated, tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning, according to department spokesperson Marsha Espinosa.”

Tennessean: Travis Tritt cancels shows at venues that require COVID-19 vaccines, negative tests, masks. “Travis Tritt has canceled shows at venues requiring masks, proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative test. The country singer and songwriter announced the move Monday, which triggered the cancellation of four upcoming shows in Muncie, Indiana; Philadelphia, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Louisville, Kentucky.”

CNN: Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto tests positive for Covid-19. “Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto has tested positive for Covid-19. Cavuto, who has been public about his health challenges over the years, including a nearly 25-year journey with multiple sclerosis, was off his afternoon Fox program on Tuesday as a result of the diagnosis.”


Associated Press: COVID-19 and pregnancy: Women regret not getting the vaccine. “Since the pandemic began, health officials have reported more than 125,000 cases and at least 161 deaths of pregnant women from COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And over the past several months, hospitals and doctors in virus hot spots have reported a sharp increase in the number of severely ill pregnant women. With just 31% of pregnant women nationwide vaccinated, the CDC issued an urgent advisory on Sept. 29 recommending that they get the shots.”

New York Times: Why Public Health Faces a Crisis Across the U.S.. “While the coronavirus has killed more than 700,000 in the United States in nearly two years, a more invisible casualty has been the nation’s public health system. Already underfunded and neglected even before the pandemic, public health has been further undermined in ways that could resound for decades to come. A New York Times review of hundreds of health departments in all 50 states indicates that local public health across the country is less equipped to confront a pandemic now than it was at the beginning of 2020.”


PsyPost: Negative perceptions of COVID-19 decreased intensively on Twitter after the vaccination campaign started. “An in-depth analysis of more than 120m Twitter posts across the globe has shown that users’ perception of the Covid-19 pandemic became less negative as it has progressed. In a paper published to Frontiers, its authors found a significant decrease in negativity in countries which rolled out extensive vaccination programs, such as the US, the UK, and Canada.”


Route Fifty: Most Americans Resumed Risky Activities Before Covid-19 Vaccines Came Out. “A new study identifies various factors that played a role in the resumption of risky travel and leisure behaviors during the pandemic. After months of lockdowns and quarantines, many Americans were eager to return to normal activities, even as public health experts continued to warn the public that the Covid-19 pandemic was not over.”


Orange County Register: Coronavirus: Woman who refused to wear mask in Costa Mesa grocery store goes on trial. “A jury will soon decide whether Marianne Campbell Smith is guilty of a pair of misdemeanor charges, including trespassing and obstructing a business or customers, for allegedly refusing to leave busy Mother’s Market near the Triangle Square during an anti-mask protest on Aug. 15, 2020.”

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