Monday CoronaBuzz, November 01, 2021: 48 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.


TAP Into Newark: (New Jersey): NJ Department of Education Announces Statewide Student Art Project. “Students across New Jersey will have the chance to express their feelings of living and learning through the pandemic by participating in the state Department of Education’s ‘Hope, Healing and Resilience Through the COVID-19 Pandemic’ showcase and arts installation project.”


ABC News: Northern states see uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations as weather gets colder. “In southern states like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia, which were hit early on by the delta surge, hospitalizations are on the decline. But despite the good news, experts are pleading with Americans to remain alert, as the highly infectious delta variant continues to circulate. Despite vaccination rollouts, several states, particularly those in colder climates, are beginning to see a rise in infections.”

ABC News: Colorado battles fall COVID-19 resurgence, with highest hospitalization rate since December. “While some areas of the country are cautiously celebrating falling COVID-19 cases, hoping the declines might signal the return to a long-awaited sense of normalcy, some states continue to struggle as Americans prepare for winter. Health officials in Colorado are growing increasingly concerned as the rate of COVID-19 infections grows to levels not seen in more than 10 months.”


CNN: Facebook is having a tougher time managing vaccine misinformation than it is letting on, leaks suggest. “In public, Facebook has touted the resources it has dedicated to tackling Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation, even scolding US President Joe Biden for his harsh criticism of the company’s handling of the issue. In doing so, it claimed that ‘more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet.’ But internal Facebook (FB) documents suggest a disconnect between what the company has said publicly about its overall response to Covid-19 misinformation and some of its employees’ findings concerning the issue.”

Salt Lake Tribune: COVID denial, communism and QAnon. Conspiracy theory-fueled conference hits Salt Lake City. “A conspiracy and religion-fueled political conference in downtown Salt Lake City drew about 1,000 attendees on Friday to the Salt Palace Convention Center. People there heard from some of the leading far-right political figures, including retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and former CEO Patrick Byrne.”


HuffPost: The Pharmacies Giving Ivermectin To People Bamboozled By Right-Wing Misinformation. “When you visit the ‘COVID-19 Info’ page on Austin Compounding Pharmacy’s website, it tells you in no uncertain terms that “taking Ivermectin once a week will decrease your risk of infection and reduce the severity if you do contract COVID-19.” There is no evidence that is true.”


Washington City Paper: A Brutal List of Ingredients and Products Restaurants Can’t Find or Afford. “Bars and restaurants are struggling to find or afford the ingredients and products they’re used to securing with relative ease. As a result, chefs, owners, and bar managers are making tough choices like whether to increase prices or strip popular dishes or drinks from menus. They say both remedies can draw ire from diners who sound off on social media even though global and national supply chain issues have been well documented in recent months. Input from chefs and owners at 30 businesses reveal that almost everything is 20 percent more expensive than before the pandemic, and proteins are at least $2 to $4 more per pound.”

New York Times: An Unexpected Pandemic Consequence Frustrates Florida’s Biggest City. “The disruption to America’s economy created by the coronavirus pandemic has led to mass cancellations of school buses and ferries, to rental car shortages and a bottleneck of cargo ships waiting at seaports. And, in cities like Jacksonville, it has created a small but growing indignity: garbage left out to rot. In the grand scheme of suffering, there are bigger problems. But it has become yet one more example of a public service that most people take for granted but is no longer working right.”

Associated Press: US cites ‘crisis’ as road deaths rise 18% in first-half 2021. “The number of U.S. traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021 hit 20,160, the highest first-half total since 2006, the government reported Thursday, a sign of growing reckless driving during the coronavirus pandemic. The estimated number was 18.4% higher than the first half of last year, prompting Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to call the increase an unacceptable crisis.”

CU Denver News: The Great Resignation & the Benefits of Quitting. “Outside a Burger King in Lincoln, Nebraska, employees put up a sign before leaving their posts. It read, ‘WE ALL QUIT’—and the photos quickly went viral. The employees who quit represent a major shift in U.S. employment, with increasing groups of people quitting, especially in industries like hospitality and health care. What has become known as “The Great Resignation” comes after more than 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. What exactly is happening with the country’s workforce?”

NBC Chicago: Chicago Rodents Exhibiting ‘Unusual’ and ‘Aggressive’ Behavior During Pandemic, Report Says. “While Chicago was named the “rattiest” city in the U.S. for the seventh year in a row, Orkin said rodents have been exhibiting ‘unusual’ or ‘aggressive’ behavior in cities throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Because the pandemic forced a number of restaurants and businesses to close, leading to less waste, Orkin said the rodents have had to find new food sources.”

NPR: Cigarette sales went up last year for the first time in 20 years. “For the first time in two decades, cigarette sales increased last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, as tobacco companies also beefed up spending to promote their products. The Federal Trade Commission, in its annual Cigarette Report, said that manufacturers sold 203.7 billion cigarettes in 2020, up from 202.9 billion in 2019 — an increase of 0.4%.”


Associated Press: Kansas vaccine mandate foes rally; Holocaust comment decried. “Hundreds of people opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates rallied Saturday at the Kansas Statehouse and pushed state lawmakers to quickly counter them, while an international labor union disavowed a local leader’s comparison of the mandates to the Holocaust that killed millions of Jews.”


CNN: CNN Investigation: Tens of millions of filthy, used medical gloves imported into the US. “A months-long CNN investigation has found that tens of millions of counterfeit and second-hand nitrile gloves have reached the United States, according to import records and distributors who bought the gloves — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Criminal investigations are underway by the authorities in the US and Thailand.”


NPR: ERs are now swamped with seriously ill patients — but many don’t even have COVID. “Even in parts of the country where COVID isn’t overwhelming the health system, patients are showing up to the ER sicker than they were before the pandemic, their diseases more advanced and in need of more complicated care. Months of treatment delays have exacerbated chronic conditions and worsened symptoms. Doctors and nurses say the severity of illness ranges widely and includes abdominal pain, respiratory problems, blood clots, heart conditions, and suicide attempts, among others. But there’s nowhere to put them all.”


9News: Denver Zoo announces 11 lions test positive for COVID-19. ” The Denver Zoo announced Monday morning that 11 African lions tested positive for COVID-19 after their keepers observed coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and nasal discharge. According to a news release from the zoo, when their keepers saw them presenting symptoms they were taken to Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins. Each of the lions was given a nasal swab sample, which all tested positive.”


New York Times: Days away from its deadline, Tyson Foods reaches a 96 percent vaccination rate.. “Nearly three months after Tyson Foods mandated coronavirus vaccines for all its 120,000 U.S. workers, more than 96 percent of them are vaccinated, the company’s chief executive, Donnie King, said in an employee memo on Tuesday.”

New York Times: Merck Will Share Formula for Its Covid Pill With Poor Countries. “Merck has granted a royalty-free license for its promising Covid-19 pill to a United Nations-backed nonprofit in a deal that would allow the drug to be manufactured and sold cheaply in the poorest nations, where vaccines for the coronavirus are in devastatingly short supply.”

Washington Post: Covid cases and deaths grossly underestimated among meatpackers, House investigation finds. “More workers at the country’s top five meatpacking companies were sickened and died of the coronavirus than had been previously estimated, an investigation by the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis has found. At least 59,000 workers at Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, JBS, Cargill and National Beef — companies that control the lion’s share of the U.S. meat market — were infected with the coronavirus during the pandemic’s first year, according to a report the subcommittee released Wednesday on its findings. At least 269 workers across these companies died of covid-19 between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 1.”


Washington Post: U.S. communities want to share unused vaccines with Mexico, but the White House won’t let them. “State and local officials across the country have run into the same problem, as the Biden administration has prevented efforts to donate leftover vaccines to India and other countries suffering from acute outbreaks. The reason, White House officials say, is that vaccines in the United States are the property of the federal government, not the cities or states in which they are distributed. That means the federal government is liable for their use, and donation efforts must be run out of Washington. The White House runs its own program to donate vaccines, usually through the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.”

Washington Post: Air Force is first to face troops’ rejection of vaccine mandate as thousands avoid shots. “Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected federal orders to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus despite the Pentagon mandate, and officials say it is too late for them to do so by the Tuesday deadline, posing the first major test for military leaders whose August directive has been met with defiance among a segment of the force. The vast majority of active-duty airmen, more than 96 percent, are at least partially vaccinated, according to data from the Air Force.”

New York Times: F.D.A. Clears First Coronavirus Vaccine for 5- to 11-Year-Olds. ” The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11, a move eagerly anticipated by millions of families looking to protect some of the only remaining Americans left out of the vaccination campaign.”

Army Times: Four-star: 98 percent of US Special Operations Command has received COVID vaccine. “Roughly 98 percent of U.S. Special Operations Command troops have received the COVID vaccine, the head of SOCOM said Friday. SOCOM’s commander, Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, shared the statistic during the annual Military Reporters and Editors Conference here and said that percentage includes special operators like SEALS and Green Berets, but also administrative and other troops that make up the joint force of roughly 70,000.”


Associated Press: As COVID cases rise, some activists fearful of climate talks. “Climate activist Lavetanalagi Seru has been watching COVID-19 case numbers rise in the U.K. ahead of the U.N. climate conference beginning Sunday, and it scares him — even though he’s been vaccinated and is only 29. But the campaigner from the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network is determined to travel from his home in Fiji to Scotland to bring attention to the plight of island nations being battered by climate change.”


NBC News: Florida Gov. DeSantis recruits unvaccinated officers with cash bonuses. “Law enforcement officers who risk losing their jobs for not wanting to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or make their vaccination statuses known could get $5,000 bonuses to work in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday on Fox News that he wants out-of-state officers and sheriff’s deputies to help patrol the state.”

Associated Press: Florida’s top doctor refuses mask, is told to leave meeting. “Florida’s top health official was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition, officials have confirmed. Florida Senate leader Wilton Simpson, a Republican, sent a memo to senators Saturday regarding the incident at the office of Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky, asking visitors at the building to be respectful with social interactions.”

Washington Post: Supreme Court won’t block vaccine mandate for Maine health-care workers with religious objections. “The Supreme Court on Friday turned down a request from a group of Maine health-care workers to block a state coronavirus vaccination mandate that does not contain an exception for religious objectors. Three conservative justices dissented from the decision. While the majority did not give a reason for denying the request, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote that the workers deserved an exemption.”

Associated Press: New York tells prison inmates: Get vaccinated, get a Big Mac. “New York’s state prisons are encouraging inmates to get the COVID-19 vaccine — and they’re offering up a side of fries with that. A recent memorandum sent by the state’s acting corrections commissioner lists pizza and treats from McDonald’s among the latest vaccine incentives being offered to inmates.”


Press-Enterprise: Company hired by Riverside County to push COVID-19 vaccines also has campaign against shot mandates. “Advocates for increasing coronavirus vaccination rates among Inland minority communities expressed outrage Monday, Oct. 25, that an advertising agency Riverside County hired to urge people to get the shots has launched a separate campaign against vaccine mandates.”

New York Daily News: NYPD top cop urges COVID vaccinations before Friday deadline that could send quarter of force home without pay. “The NYPD is doing everything in its power to convince cops to receive life-saving COVID vaccine shots as the city’s mandate deadline looms — a cutoff that could send a quarter of the police force home without pay.”

AP: NYC braces for fewer cops, more trash as vax deadline looms. “Mounting trash. Closed firehouses. Fewer police and ambulances on the street. That’s the possibility New York City is bracing for come Monday as a COVID-19 vaccine mandate looms and thousands of municipal workers remain unwilling to get the shots.”

KTLA: L.A. police union calls for investigation into city’s COVID-19 testing contract. “The Los Angeles Police Protective League is calling for an investigation into the contract awarded for COVID-19 testing, alleging conflicts of interest and ethical violations. City employees, including police officers and firefighters, who aren’t vaccinated have to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week at a cost of $65 per test, which is deducted from their paychecks.”


Washington Post: Election ‘distracted’ Trump team from pandemic response, Birx tells Congress . “The Trump administration was ‘distracted’ by last year’s election and ignored recommendations to curb the pandemic, the White House’s former coronavirus response coordinator told congressional investigators this month.”

Business Insider: ‘I’ve lost my joy’: Anti-vax Republican, who worked for the Trump campaign and embraced QAnon, says she has COVID-19. “A Delaware Republican who said coronavirus vaccines were part of a satanic plan to cause ‘mass death’ is recovering from COVID-19, she announced Thursday, saying the illness had caused her to lose ‘all of my senses.’ Lauren Witzke, a self-styled ‘Christian nationalist’ who embraced QAnon and support from white supremacists, was the Delaware GOP’s candidate for Senate in 2020, receiving 186,000 votes in her failed run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Coons.”

CNBC: Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones tests positive for Covid a day after Robin Hood charity event featuring Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney. “Longtime investor Paul Tudor Jones tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a massive dinner benefiting the Robin Hood Foundation that featured numerous celebrities, business executives and political leaders.”

Spokesman-Review: ‘Such a traumatic experience’: Nampa toddler recovering after COVID nearly causes liver failure. “In late August, Megan McCabe found herself at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, holding her 2-year-old daughter still while doctors sewed a dialysis line into her neck. A week earlier, the girl, Charlotte, had been playing with her brothers at their home in Nampa and was jumping off the kitchen counter into her father’s arms. Now, pediatric specialists were readjusting a line to help her liver stabilize. The girl had tested positive for COVID-19 just days before, and her condition deteriorated rapidly as her liver failed and abdomen swelled.”


Page Six: ‘SNL’ producers ‘scrambling’ to replace Ed Sheeran amid COVID-19 diagnosis. “The singer – who was scheduled to appear on the Nov. 6 show – announced via Instagram on Sunday that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Now, “SNL” producers are ‘scrambling’ to find a replacement, Page Six has learned.”

Hollywood Reporter: Ice Cube Exits Sony Comedy ‘Oh Hell No’ After Declining COVID-19 Vaccine. “Ice Cube has departed Sony’s upcoming comedy, Oh Hell No, in which he would’ve co-starred with Jack Black, after declining a request from producers to get vaccinated, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.”

Rolling Stone: ‘Couldn’t Believe How Unsafe It Was’: Kiss’ Roadies Blame Lax Covid Protocols for Guitar Tech’s Death. “In the wake of tragedy, members of the tour seem eager to place blame: Some of [Francis] Stueber’s fellow roadies point to what they perceived to be lax Covid-19 safety protocols as the culprit; while the band reveals that workers concealed sickness and even faked vaccine cards in some cases. Either way, as the pandemic continues to imperil the live-music business — and artists fight to get back on the road to work — situations like these beg the question: How much is enough when it comes to keeping bands on the road and their teams safe? ”

NPR: Fox anchor Neil Cavuto urged viewers to get vaccinated. Then came the death threats. “Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto has battled multiple health challenges over the years, including stage 4 cancer, open heart surgery, multiple sclerosis and, currently, COVID-19. Now some of his viewers are sending him death threats — because he encouraged them to get vaccinated for their own safety.”

WRAL: Singer Jon Bon Jovi cancels a concert after testing positive for Covid-19. “Singer Jon Bon Jovi tested positive for Covid-19 before a Saturday performance, prompting the cancellation of a Florida concert.”


New York Times: Has the Virus Infected Huge Numbers of Younger Children?. “A startling statistic emerged as advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday debated use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. According to one federal scientist, by June an estimated 42 percent of these children had already been infected with the coronavirus. That figure was much higher than anyone expected. But the estimate, which was from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, might have overstated the percentage of children who were infected, several experts said in interviews.”


PsyPost: Different social media platforms have distinct effects on well-being during the pandemic, study suggests. “A study published in PLOS One highlights the importance of differentiating between social media platforms when considering the psychological impact of social media. The findings revealed that active use of Facebook during the pandemic was tied to greater negative affect, while active uses of Twitter and Instagram were tied to greater life satisfaction through increased social support.”


The Ohio State University: Ohio State breath test can identify COVID-19 in critically ill patients. “Instead of an invasive nasal swab, researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are exploring the use of a unique breath test for the rapid screening of patients for COVID-19.”

Australia Associated Press: Flight wastewater detects COVID-19 early. “Analysing wastewater samples from long-haul flights of returning Australians could be the key to detecting COVID-19 earlier – before passengers show any symptoms. A CSIRO study of wastewater from Australian repatriation flights returning from hot spots is the first time researchers have matched the plane wastewater testing with follow-up clinical data studies of passengers in quarantine.”


Associated Press: China’s Inner Mongolia quarantines tourists over virus fears. “More than 2,000 tourists visiting China’s Inner Mongolia region have been sent to hotels to undergo two weeks of quarantine following the detection of new cases of COVID-19 in the area. The move follows reports of an outbreak of COVID-19 in the vast, lightly populated region that attracts visitors with its mountains, lakes and grasslands.”


CBC: 2 B.C. doctors linked to website selling bogus mask and vaccine exemption ‘certificates’. “A B.C. physician accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 is now under investigation for allegedly writing phoney mask and vaccine exemptions offered through a Kelowna-based website.”


New York Times: We Need to Talk About an Off-Ramp for Masking at School. “Because the masking issue has been so divisive, I fear we haven’t been able to have a practical, nuanced and data-driven conversation about what a good masking policy would look like now that nearly all school-age kids can soon be vaccinated.”

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