Wednesday CoronaBuzz, November 10, 2021: 50 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.


NIH: When to Test offers free online tool to help individuals make informed COVID-19 testing decisions. “Demand is increasing for COVID-19 testing among individuals and families, especially as winter approaches and people shift to indoor activities. The National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative today announced the launch of the When To Test Calculator for Individuals, a companion to the version for organizations introduced last winter. By responding to just a few prompts, the new individual impact calculator indicates whether a person should get a test—now or soon.”


CNN: Global Covid-19 cases surpass 250 million. “More than 250 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This grim milestone comes about a year and eight months since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic in March 2020. The first 50 million cases were reported over the first eight months — a full year ago, on November 7, 2020 — and there have been about 50 million new cases reported about every three months since then.”

Associated Press: German COVID infection rate at new high as vaccinations slow. ” Germany’s coronavirus infection rate climbed to its highest recorded level yet on Monday as what officials have called a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ gathers pace. The national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said the country has seen 201.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. That was above the previous record of 197.6 from Dec. 22 last year. While it’s still a lower rate than in several other European countries, it has set alarm bells ringing.”

Iceland Monitor: Record Number of New COVID-19 Cases in Iceland. “A total of 167 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Iceland yesterday — the highest number of new cases in one day since the pandemic started, reports. The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants has soared to 370.1, according to”

Johns Hopkins: COVID-19 briefing: Experts worry plateau in U.S. cases foretells winter spike. “A plateau in U.S. COVID-19 cases following several weeks of declining infections is a ‘worrisome’ indication for a potential spike this winter as people congregate inside more often because of holidays and colder weather, a Johns Hopkins University expert said Friday. The United States had been reporting case declines of 10% or more each week throughout September and October, but the 508,332 cases reported this week is nearly the same as last week, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.”


Daily Beast: This Fave Mainstream Media Source Is Funded by Anti-Vaxxers. “Research from the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know has undergirded New York Times reporting on the food system, and outlets ranging from Vanity Fair to the National Review to the Washington Examiner to The Intercept have cited the group’s inquiries into the origins of COVID-19. But the Oakland-based ‘truth and transparency’ organization’s own provenance has gone largely unexamined, even as public interest and political furor over the controversial lab-leak theory—and the even more broadly disputed notion that the novel coronavirus was the result of engineering—have steadily escalated.”

Globe Newswire: New Study: Americans Who Get COVID-19 Information from Social Media Are More Likely to Believe Misinformation, Less Likely to Be Vaccinated. “Americans who consider social media influential on their perceptions about COVID-19 and vaccines are far more likely than the general population to believe false and misleading information about the virus, according to a new study. Based on a survey of 3,000 U.S. adults conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the de Beaumont Foundation and pollster and communications analyst Dr. Frank Luntz, the analysis draws a direct and irrefutable correlation between Americans’ use of social media and belief of inaccurate information. ”


Medscape: Ivermectin-COVID-19 Study Retracted; Authors Blame File Mixup. “The authors of a study purportedly showing that ivermectin could treat patients with SARS-CoV-2 have retracted their paper after acknowledging that their data were garbled. The paper, ‘Effects of a Single Dose of Ivermectin on Viral and Clinical Outcomes in Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infected Subjects: A Pilot Clinical Trial in Lebanon,’ appeared in the journal Viruses in May. ”


BBC: Buyers show remorse over pandemic purchases. “One in 10 people have expressed their regret over buying items ranging from hot tubs to DIY tools during the pandemic, a survey has suggested. Covid lockdowns led to a surge of sales of some items that people could enjoy at home or in the garden, or to keep up their fitness. Now, buyers’ remorse has kicked in for some, who admitted typically spending nearly £1,400 on the items.”

University of Minnesota: Pandemic marked by premature deaths, lost years of life. “More than 28 million extra years of life were lost among 31 high- and upper-middle–income countries, and 33 nations saw declines in life expectancy, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, concludes a study yesterday in BMJ. A team led by University of Oxford investigators conducted a time-series analysis of all-cause death data from the Human Mortality Database for 2005 to 2020 to estimate excess years of life lost and changes in life expectancy associated with the pandemic among 37 countries with reliable death data.”


CBC: Noose left by COVID-19 protesters outside her home outrages Alberta MLA. “A northern Alberta MLA says a group of people protesting COVID-19 restrictions crossed a line when they gathered outside her private residence and left behind a noose marked with a violent threat. Tracy Allard says a protest began Sunday afternoon outside her home in Grande Prairie and soon grew to about 30 people. She said RCMP were called and the crowd dispersed about 90 minutes after police arrived.”

Daily Kos: Anti-maskers show police a video of their assault on Oregon shop owner, are arrested on the spot. “Ricki Collin and Amy Hall, two Portland, Oregon-area anti-maskers, were arrested in Eugene, Oregon, on Wednesday after Hall engaged in an old-timey donnybrook with the owner of a local cookie establishment—because law and order are only important if you’re using them as a cudgel to marginalize people of color, apparently.”


WFLA: Florida to close half its monoclonal antibody sites. “Florida is closing half its monoclonal antibody therapy sites, forcing COVID-19 patients to seek free treatment at state-run sites further away or go to nearby hospitals and medical centers where the treatment can be costly. Amid a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Florida, at least 12 of the state’s 25 sites are slated to close less than three months after Gov. Ron DeSantis opened the first site in Jacksonville on August 12.”

Medical XPress: Online tool effective in triaging nearly all COVID-19 patients. “An automated, online triage tool developed by Penn Medicine categorized nearly every one of the patients who used it into a safe severity level, a new study shows. Published today in Applied Clinical Informatics, the study analyzing the COVID-19 Triage Tool found that just six patients of the 782 analyzed had symptoms that were more severe than what the system assessed. But even in those cases, clinicians working alongside the system were able to upgrade the patients’ assessment to the proper level of severity and attention.”

CNN: More than 10,000 patients caught Covid-19 in a hospital, analysis shows. Some never made it out. “More than 10,000 patients were diagnosed with covid in a U.S. hospital last year after they were admitted for something else, according to federal and state records analyzed exclusively for KHN. The number is certainly an undercount, since it includes mostly patients 65 and older, plus California and Florida patients of all ages. Yet in the scheme of things that can go wrong in a hospital, it is catastrophic: About 21% of the patients who contracted covid in the hospital from April to September last year died, the data shows. In contrast, nearly 8% of other Medicare patients died in the hospital at the time.”


WCCO: COVID-19 In MN: Latest Positivity Rate Nears ‘High Risk’ Threshold. “A day after warning that COVID-19 case numbers are among the highest seen this year, Minnesota health officials reported 7,173 additional cases and 20 more deaths. The Tuesday update from the Minnesota Department of Health contains data from over the weekend and is current as of Monday morning. There have now been 826,404 total positive cases recorded in the state since the pandemic began, with over 8,800 of those cases being reinfections.”


Getty Library: Library Reopening News. “The Library is open for use with limited capacity and by appointment only to all registered Readers and new researchers. All Library users must agree to comply with the Library’s COVID-19 policies before and during their Library visit.”


Washington Post: ‘It’s a walkout!’. “The discontent driving the Bradford workers and so many others had been there for years, an ever-present aspect of an economy that could be especially cruel to anyone without an education. The pandemic — the fights with customers over masks and the fears of falling sick — added to the strain. But it was the labor shortages, which extended to just about every part of the country, that caused workers’ long-suppressed anger to burst into the open.”

Seattle Times: Google temps fought loss of pandemic bonus and won. “Ned McNally, a temp worker at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, received notice in August that he would get a $200 weekly bonus until the end of the year for working a full week. It was a nod to the labor shortages ravaging businesses during the pandemic. But by October, McNally and about 250 other data center temps stopped receiving the payments even though they had met the weekly attendance threshold.”

BBC: Covid: Pfizer says antiviral pill 89% effective in high-risk cases. “A pill to treat Covid developed by the US company Pfizer cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89% in vulnerable adults, clinical trial results suggest. The drug – Paxlovid – is intended for use soon after symptoms develop in people at high risk of severe disease.”


Military .com: No Relief in Sight for Military Family Moves Snarled by Pandemic. “Lauren Sanford knew her family’s permanent change of station move from a Navy base in Japan to Virginia over the summer would likely be harder due to the pandemic. Sanford and her husband, a Navy surgeon, had been through overseas PCS moves before. With the coronavirus still causing havoc, they estimated the two months they had waited in the past to finally receive their household goods shipments after moving into a new home would likely stretch into three months in Virginia. But she wasn’t expecting her family, including their 5-year-old and 3-year-old children, would be forced to live four months without any of the trappings of home due to shipping delays.”

WJW: ‘Growing safety issue’: FDA issues warning about hand sanitizers. “The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about all alcohol-based hand sanitizers. People are getting it in their eyes ‘from splashing or touching,’ and it’s causing severe irritation and damage to the surface of the eye. The FDA says though all ages have been affected, most cases have been seen in children.”


Sky News: COVID-19: MPs’ banquets cancelled due to ‘greater’ risk of coronavirus transmission in parliament. “In an email to those working on the parliamentary estate, seen by Sky News, staff are being given updated guidance on face masks, social distancing and access for non-pass holders in a bid to prevent coronavirus infections from rising.”

Deutsche Welle: Coronavirus digest: Austria to apply tough restrictions on unvaccinated. “Austria is set to restrict entry to many public places for anyone not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Under new rules that go into effect nationwide on Monday, those who cannot provide proof of full vaccination will not be allowed to enter places like restaurants, bars and hairdressers. Unvaccinated people will also be barred from hotels, events with more than 25 people and ski lifts.”

BBC: Covid vaccine to be mandatory for children in Costa Rica. “Costa Rica has become the first country in the world to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for children. The jab will join the extensive list of basic childhood vaccinations already required by law, health officials said. The country signed a deal with Pfizer to acquire doses to start vaccinating all under-12s from March 2022.”

New York Times: Singapore will stop covering Covid costs for those who decline to be vaccinated.. “Singapore will no longer cover the medical costs of Covid-19 patients who are eligible to get vaccinated against the virus but choose not to, the country’s Health Ministry said. ‘We will begin charging Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice’ on Dec. 8, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Those who are not eligible for the shots will be exempt from the rule, it said, including children under 12 and people with certain medical conditions.”

BBC: Covid-19: Vaccines to be compulsory for frontline NHS staff in England. “It will become compulsory for frontline NHS staff in England to be fully vaccinated against Covid, the health secretary has confirmed. Sajid Javid told MPs that he expected to set a deadline for the beginning of April to give 103,000 unvaccinated workers time to get both jabs.”


Wichita Eagle: Questions and scrambling follow news that KDHE will stop providing free COVID testing. “Across Wichita, nonprofits and businesses have been scrambling as word trickles out that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will cease funding free COVID tests as of Nov. 30. How will that affect organizations and individuals, and how much will they have to pay? It depends on a number of things.”

Concord Monitor: N.H.’s COVID-19 vaccination data hasn’t been accurate since June. Why?. “In a new interview with Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette, NHPR confirmed the state of New Hampshire has been relying on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data because the state’s own records are missing thousands of doses. The state’s data correction process could take months, Shibinette said.


Associated Press: Chicago schools set day aside to boost COVID-19 vaccinations. “Chicago Public Schools officials have canceled all classes next Friday in a bid to boost COVID-19 vaccinations among younger students who are newly eligible for the shots.”

NPR: One Chinese town has started a fiery online debate about China’s zero-COVID policy. ” Residents left starving inside makeshift quarantine centers fashioned out of shipping containers. Businesses forbidden from selling goods – even online. A baby reportedly tested for COVID 74 times. These are some of the stories emerging from Ruili, a southwestern Chinese town famed for the quality of its jade. Situated on the border with Myanmar, Ruili has been battered by three successive lockdowns in the last year, pulling the town of about 270,000 people into the center of a fiery debate online about who must shoulder the costs of China’s zero-COVID policies.”


Washington Post: He nearly died of covid, then apologized to hospital staff for not being vaccinated: ‘It all could’ve been avoided’. “Richard Soliz developed multiple blood clots on his lungs after catching the coronavirus this summer, and the staff at the Seattle hospital where he was being treated told him they were concerned one might move to his heart or brain. The 54-year-old was on a heart-rate monitor, oxygen tank and eventually a ventilator. After being admitted to the hospital in late August, he spent 28 days at Harborview Medical Center, including two stints in the intensive care unit. His life, Soliz told The Washington Post, was ‘literally hanging on a thread.’ Once he was well enough to leave in September, Soliz said he couldn’t stop thinking about the staff.”

Times of Israel: ‘It goes to some very dark places’: Health expert on rising threats against her. “A top health official has spoken out about the threats and abuse being directed at her, days after she was assigned a bodyguard over what authorities believe to be an increased level of danger to her safety. Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the Health Ministry’s head of public services and a top COVID adviser to the government, has been repeatedly threatened by anti-vaccine activists and conspiracy theorists who view her as the public face of the health system’s inoculation effort.”

Mississippi Free Press: Faith Leaders Mourn, Memorialize 10,000 Mississippians Lost to Coronavirus. “One thousand white flags lined a park in downtown Jackson Tuesday, one for every 10 Mississippians who lost their lives to coronavirus. Behind them, the governor’s mansion loomed, only a street away. Before them, an interfaith gathering of Mississippi religious leaders joined together to mourn more than 10,000 individuals across the state who have died from COVID-19.”


Ekathimerini (Greece): Former president tests positive for Covid. “Former president Prokopis Pavlopoulos has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced on Friday. Pavlopoulos took a rapid test ahead of a planned trip to Cyprus which showed that he had been infected. The trip was cancelled, as well as other engagements scheduled in the coming days.”

New York Times: N.F.L. Fines Aaron Rodgers and Packers for Violating Covid-19 Protocols . “The N.F.L. has fined the Green Bay Packers $300,000 and two of its players, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard, $14,650 each for failing to follow the Covid-19 protocols agreed on by the league and players’ union.”

Deadline Hollywood: Emilio Estevez Not Returning To ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers’ For Season 2. “The Mighty Ducks franchise will continue without Gordon Bombay. Emilio Estevez, who reprised his role from the 1992 movie and its 1994 and 1996 sequels in Season 1 of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, will not be back for the Disney+ series’ upcoming second season, I have learned. I hear Disney Television Studios’ ABC Signature, which produces the hockey-themed sequel series, made the decision not to pick up Estevez’s option for Season 2 after weeks of back and forth with his team over the show’s Covid vaccination requirement. Reps for the studio and Estevez declined comment.”


New York Times: The U.S. urges Beijing to release a Chinese citizen journalist who highlighted Covid.. “The first known person to be prosecuted for documenting China’s coronavirus crisis is seriously ill in a Shanghai prison and could die if she does not receive treatment, her family and friends say — a disclosure that has drawn renewed attention to China’s efforts to whitewash its early handling of the pandemic. On Monday, the U.S. State Department called on the Chinese government to immediately release the woman, Zhang Zhan. Human Rights Watch has called for the same.”


Hindustan Times: Three more Pakistan women cricketers test positive for COVID-19. “Three more Pakistani women cricketers tested positive for COVID-19 to take the total count to six as country’s cricket board is in a limbo to assemble a proper squad ahead of its home series against West Indies.”

Washington Post: After a historic layoff, Ivy League basketball is back. Did its shutdown go too far?. “The Ivy League was the first conference to shut down its college basketball season in March 2020 as the coronavirus crept closer, a decision that was hailed after other leagues, then the entire world, soon came to a standstill. And as the pandemic worsened, the Ivies doubled down, canceling entire seasons of competition, including basketball. But that’s when the world went a different direction: On other college campuses, basketball teams returned for the 2020-21 season. The Penn Quakers, and their rivals across the Ivy League, didn’t.”

San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Failure to abide by public health measures’ leads to Cal-USC game being postponed. “Cal’s football game against USC was postponed Tuesday after more Bears players tested positive for the coronavirus, making them unavailable to practice this week or play on Saturday. Cal officials subsequently said the game had been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.”


New York Times: U.S. Covid Deaths Get Even Redder. “The gap in Covid’s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point. In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.”

Standard-Examiner: Report: Depression, mental health in children worsened during pandemic. “According to the State of the World’s Children report published by UNICEF, more than 40% of children ages 10-19 across the globe suffer from a mental health illness. In the United States, depression among 12- to 17-year-olds has increased from 8.5% to 13.2% in the past 12 months. The White House also reported earlier this month that emergency department visits among children with moderate to severe anxiety and depression increased in 2020. During that year, there was a 24% increase in emergency room visits for mental health reasons in children ages 5 to 11 and a more than 30% increase among 12- to 17-year-olds. Suicide, alarmingly, remains the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24.”


Harvard Business School: Why COVID-19 Probably Killed More People Than We Realize. “As the number of casualties from COVID-19 ballooned at an alarming rate last year, some feared that government officials were failing to report several coronavirus-related losses and the actual death toll was much higher worldwide. While the official count shows more than 5 million people have died of the disease, a new study of underreported casualties in several countries indicates that COVID has actually killed hundreds of thousands more people than government records document.”

UNC: Scientists identify new antibody for COVID-19 and variants. “A research collaboration between scientists at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified and tested an antibody that limits the severity of infections from a variety of coronaviruses, including those that cause COVID-19 as well as the original SARS illness.”

Science Daily: A new tool for studying COVID’s impact on gut health. “Most of us are familiar with COVID-19’s hallmark symptoms of a loss of taste or smell and difficulty breathing, but a full 60% of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 also report gastrointestinal symptoms (GI) such as nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Infection of the gut, which expresses high levels of the ACE2 receptor protein that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter cells, is correlated with more severe cases of COVID-19, but the exact interactions between the virus and intestinal tissue is difficult to study in human patients.”

Harvard Gazette: Vaccine side effects or a doctor carrying COVID?. “A decision-support tool helped health care workers distinguish symptoms associated with COVID-19 vaccinations from symptoms of the virus itself, found a study by investigators from Harvard-affiliated hospitals in the Massachusetts General Brigham system.”

PsyPost: Analysis of Google search data indicates politics played a major role in shaping COVID-19 fears in the United States. “Political partisanship is a better predictor of the fear of dying of COVID-19 than coronavirus cases and deaths, according to new research that examined search data from Google. The study, published in PLOS One, uncovered significant differences between states that supported Hillary Clinton and states that supported Donald Trump in 2016.”


9News: Victoria sees 1069 new COVID-19 cases amid fears of Melbourne Cup ‘super spreader event’. “Victoria has recorded 1069 new cases of COVID-19 cases and 10 further deaths in the past 24 hours. There are currently 579 people in hospital, with 90 of those in the intensive care unit. The slight drop in cases comes amid concerns the official Melbourne Cup victory party could become a COVID-19 super spreader event.”


New York Times: What I’ve Learned From Running Marathons. ” I’ve never been more uncertain about the future than I am now. But I have learned one thing. Over the past two years, in almost every part of my life, I’ve had no choice but to slow down — and the world didn’t end, as I feared. Like many others, I’m ending this year realizing the life I had before the pandemic isn’t waiting for me on the other side. We all lost a lot. It’s time to figure out what to do with what’s left.”

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