Wednesday CoronaBuzz, November 24, 2021: 47 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Please get a booster shot. I got mine Monday and it knocked me on my tail, but I’ll be better by tomorrow. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


World Trade Organization: WTO, IMF launch Vaccine Trade Tracker. “The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched on 22 November the WTO-IMF COVID-19 Vaccine Trade Tracker, a new database aimed at providing greater transparency on the cross-border flow of COVID-19 vaccines. The portal provides data on the trade and supply of vaccines by product, country and arrangement type.”


Politifact: PolitiFact’s guide to commonly misunderstood vaccine terms, and how to talk about them. “In 2020, words like lockdown, quarantine and herd immunity entered the world lexicon. The massive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 ushered in a new set of buzzwords that are often misunderstood or willfully misinterpreted. As families convene for the holidays, we expect a lot of unfamiliar words and ideas are going to be passed around the table, along with stuffing and rolls. So we’ve developed a quick guide to some of the most misused terms around vaccines that we’ve noticed in our fact-checking.”


New York Times: As Virus Cases Rise in Europe, an Economic Toll Returns. “Europe’s already fragile economic recovery is at risk of being undermined by a fourth wave of coronavirus infections now dousing the continent, as governments impose increasingly stringent health restrictions that could reduce foot traffic in shopping centers, discourage travel and thin crowds in restaurants, bars and ski resorts.”

Associated Press: Vaccines making Thanksgiving easier, but hot spots remain. “The U.S. is facing its second Thanksgiving of the pandemic in better shape than the first time around, thanks to the vaccine, though some regions are seeing surges of COVID-19 cases that could get worse as families travel the country for gatherings that were impossible a year ago. Nearly 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated. That leaves tens of millions who have yet to get a shot in the arm, some of them out of defiance. Hospitals in the cold Upper Midwest, especially Michigan and Minnesota, are filled with COVID-19 patients who are mostly unvaccinated.”


Daily Beast: Seven From Anti-Vax Doctors’ COVID Conference Fall Sick Within Days. “To hear the fringe doctors who gathered at an equine facility for the Florida COVID Summit earlier this month, ivermectin is as effective against the virus in humans as it is against worms in horses. ‘I have been on ivermectin for 16 months, my wife and I,’ Dr. Bruce Boros declared at the end of the meeting at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. ‘I have never felt healthier in my life.’ Two days later, the 71-year-old cardiologist fell ill with COVID-19, according to the organizer of the one-day gathering and two other people with direct knowledge.”

Nieman Journalism Lab: Address — don’t sidestep — health misinformation to debunk falsehoods, study finds . “A common way to tackle misinformation, especially health misinformation, is to ignore it. And this is a strategy often employed by authority figures — sidestep the misinformation, don’t give it airtime, and it might just go away. But the results of a new study suggest that this method of combating health misinformation is less effective than addressing and then debunking misinformation head on. The results were published November 10 in BMJ Global Health.”


NBC News: ‘Snowball effect’: The global reasons why you can’t buy what you want right now. “The long list of problems underlines the fragility of the U.S. supply chain, and it’s keeping Americans from purchasing or forcing them to pay a premium for their favorite products. NBC News looked at seven items affected by backlogs or rising prices, and spoke to industry leaders and experts about the supply chain problems that have caused the items to become more expensive or hard to find.”

The 19th: Violence on planes is at an all-time high. Flight attendants’ jobs have never been more dangerous.. “This year, there has been a more than five-fold increase in the number of violent incidents on planes. The Federal Aviation Administration, which is chiefly responsible for investigating incidents of unruly passenger behavior, initiated 183 investigations in 2020 — about average, though likely high for a year when travel was significantly interrupted. As of mid-November 2021, the FAA has initiated 990 investigations.”


Daily Beast: Police clashed with anti-vax crowds in Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands as ICUs and morgues fill up across the continent.. “Tensions over new COVID-19 restrictions triggered by a deadly surge erupted across Europe in city after city this weekend, some exploding into violent clashes with police. More than 30,000 demonstrators took to the streets Sunday in Brussels, near the EU headquarters, to oppose new measures that include mask mandates and and work-at-home rules.”

AFP: Dutch Police Arrest Dozens Over New Covid Riots. “Dutch police said Sunday they had arrested 48 people after a second night of violent riots erupted over the government’s coronavirus measures. Prosecutors meanwhile updated to four the number of people shot when police opened fire during an ‘orgy of violence’ in the port city of Rotterdam on Friday night.”


Bloomberg: Covid Rebound in U.S. Is as Bad as Last November’s in Some Spots. “In 15 states, patients with confirmed or suspected Covid are taking up more ICU beds than a year earlier, according to Department of Health and Human Services data. Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan have 41%, 37% and 34% of ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, respectively, the data show. The dramatic uptick means there’s proportionately less space in hospitals for those suffering from other potentially deadly ailments.”

Reuters: Dutch COVID-19 Patients Transferred to Germany as Hospitals Struggle. “The Netherlands started transporting COVID-19 patients across the border to Germany on Tuesday to ease pressure on Dutch hospitals, which are scaling back regular care to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases. A patient was transferred by ambulance from Rotterdam to a hospital in Bochum, some 240 km (150 miles) east, on Tuesday morning, and another would follow later in the day, health authorities said.”


CNBC: Several hundred Google employees sign manifesto against widened Covid vaccine mandate. “Several hundred Google employees have signed and circulated a manifesto opposing the company’s Covid vaccine mandate, posing the latest challenge for leadership as it approaches key deadlines for returning workers to offices in person.”

Business Insider: A Chipotle general manager and 4 of his employees quit after a surge of to-go orders drove them to their breaking points. “Peter Guerra, a Chipotle veteran of five years and general manager for six months, worked at the Scofield Farms Chipotle location in Austin, Texas. ‘My store was severely understaffed, we struggled just to keep our heads above water,’ with less and less support from management, Guerra said. He said he was regularly scheduled to work 80 hours a week, but often had to work additional hours to cover for employees who quit and left gaps in staffing.”

CNN: Breakfast is going to be more expensive next year. “Expect to pay more for some of your favorite cereals, snacks, soups and cooking brands next year. General Mills (GIS) notified retail customers that it’s raising prices in mid-January on hundreds of items across dozens of brands. They include Annie’s, Progresso, Yoplait, Fruit Roll-Ups, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charm’s, Wheaties, Reese’s Puffs, Trix and more, according to letters General Mills sent to at least one major regional wholesale supplier last week.”

CNBC: Weekly jobless claims post stunning decline to 199,000, the lowest level since 1969. “The ranks of those submitting jobless claims tumbled to their lowest level in more than 52 years last week, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. New filings totaled 199,000, a number not seen since Nov. 15, 1969, when claims totaled 197,000. The report easily beat Dow Jones estimates of 260,000 and was well below the previous week’s 270,000.”

New York Times: Wall Street Grudgingly Allows Remote Work as Bankers Dig In. “Wall Street is in revolt. Across the financial industry, at firms big and small, workers are slow-walking their return to the office. Bankers for whom working from home was once unfathomable now can’t imagine going back to the office full-time. Parents remain worried about transmitting the coronavirus to their children. Suburban dwellers are chafing at the thought of resuming long commutes. And many younger employees prefer to work remotely.”

Complex: Nike Hits One Sneaker Store With Major Cancelations Before Holiday. “Supply chain issues and transportation disruptions have led to Nike canceling one store’s orders for the remainder of this year and into 2022. Though many industries have been hurt by supply chain woes, this singular email doesn’t mean all, or even most, of Nike’s wholesale partners will be affected at the same level.”


Axios: Booster snafu: Shots lagged data by months. “Federal officials waited months before making all American adults eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot — meaning millions of Americans may not have the strongest possible protection as they head into holiday travel. Why it matters: Critics say the confusing process undermined what has now become a critical effort to stave off another wave of the pandemic.”

New York Times: How the $4 Trillion Flood of Covid Relief Is Funding the Future. “Covid-19 put American infrastructure to the test — and by most measures, it failed, exposing the unstable, outdated systems that uphold our lives. Students without access to the internet tried to get by on once-a-week printed packets. Nurses wore trash bags as medical equipment. Nobody could buy toilet paper. But these failures, along with so many more, may also have provided the impetus — in the form of unprecedented federal funding — for the United States to modernize itself, filling cracks and bridging gaps in our technological, medical and manufacturing capabilities that have been widening for decades.”


BBC: New Zealand to reopen to vaccinated visitors. “New Zealand has unveiled its plans to reopen borders and will allow foreigners to enter next year. Fully vaccinated visitors can enter from 30 April, and will have to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival. More New Zealanders will be allowed to travel home from early next year as well, under similar rules.”

CNBC: Germany considers a full Covid lockdown and mandatory vaccines. “Germany is set to decide on tougher Covid-19 restrictions and could even opt for a full lockdown amid record daily infections and mounting pressure on hospitals.”

ABC News: WHO Europe warns of possible surge in COVID deaths ahead. “The World Health Organization’s Europe office says projections show its 53-country region could face another 700,000 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic by next spring, topping 2 million in total.”

Associated Press: Putin tests experimental nasal vaccine against COVID-19. “President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he has taken an experimental nasal vaccine against the coronavirus, three days after he received his booster shot. Russia is facing its worst surge of infections and deaths since the pandemic began and is struggling to overcome widespread vaccine hesitancy.”

Associated Press: Slovakia approves 2-week nationwide lockdown as virus surges. “Prime Minister Eduard Heger said the measures that become effective on Friday will target all, both unvaccinated and vaccinated. Under the lockdown, people can leave their homes only for some specific reasons. These include buying essential goods, traveling to work and school or to get vaccinated.”

The Hindu: Nine more Army officers at IIM course in Indore test positive for coronavirus; tally 11. “Nine more fully-vaccinated Army officers, participating in a course at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Indore in Madhya Pradesh, tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of the infected officers pursuing this course to 11 in the last four days, a health official said on November 24.”

CTV News: First Canadian kids under 12 get vaccinated against COVID-19. “Last week, Health Canada announced the approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11. The doses are one third the size of those given to the other age groups. Several provinces have already begun scheduling children for a vaccine appointment.”

Euractiv: Croatia summons Austrian ambassador over ‘fundamental human freedoms’ in Vienna. “President Zoran Milanović said his office would summon the Austrian ambassador to convey his concern over ‘fundamental human freedoms’. He also said if the Dutch can comment on Bosnia and Herzegovina every week, he can comment on the situation in Rotterdam.”


Associated Press: Minnesota National Guard to Reinforce Nursing Home Staffs. “The Minnesota National Guard will deploy 400 members to reinforce nursing staffs at long-term care facilities that have been struggling with severe personnel shortages amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Tim Walz on Monday also proposed using $50 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to help these facilities hire and retain staff.”


New York Times: She’s 17, Trying to Get Through School and a Pandemic. “During the spring semester, Genesis [Duran]’s juggling act would begin from the moment she opened her eyes each morning. A little after 7 a.m., when her mother left for work at a nearby Dominican restaurant, Genesis roused [her younger sister] Maia and asked her to splash some water on her face. Genesis made breakfast and logged Maia on for another day of kindergarten. Genesis then had less than an hour to prepare for first period math. The rest of the day would be spent toggling between her own assignments and monitoring Maia’s needs, which invariably won out.”

News 3: Woman arrested at McCarran after mask disturbance, yelling ‘Let’s go Brandon’. ” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police have arrested a woman who caused a disturbance at McCarran airport on Saturday. According to the police report, the woman identified as Katrina Alspaugh became involved in a verbal altercation with another passenger at a security checkpoint when she was confronted about not wearing a face mask. Alspaugh made a motion with her fist as if she was attempting to punch the other person.”

KARE: Buffalo High School teacher fighting to survive COVID-19 . “For 46-year-old Mike Curry – a father of eight – the last 15 days have been met with triumphs and setbacks, according to his sister Melissa Zuniga. ‘His situation has just been so up and down, he’s fine one minute and then just “Bam” he can’t breathe,” said Zuniga. Curry, a social studies teacher and basketball coach at Buffalo High School, has been struggling with COVID-19.”


Variety: Steve Burton Confirms He’s Been Fired From ‘General Hospital’ Over Refusal to Be Vaccinated. “On Tuesday, ‘General Hospital’ star Steve Burton confirmed on Instagram the rampant rumors that he was fired from the long-running ABC soap opera because he would not get vaccinated against COVID-19.”

MarketWatch: There may be a silver lining for Aaron Rodgers and his painful ‘COVID toe’. “COVID toe is a casual name for something medically known as pernio or chilblains, which is a condition that causes symptoms such as discoloration and lesions. It can be extremely painful and turn the toes purple.”

Lima News: Jordan says he had coronavirus earlier this year. “U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan had coronavirus early last summer, while he was in Ohio, the Champaign County Republican said this week in a media interview.”

Rolling Stone: Blackpink’s Lisa Tests Positive for Covid-19. “Lalisa Manobal — better known as Lisa from the K-pop supergroup Blackpink — has tested positive for Covid-19, The New York Times reports. Blackpink’s label/production company, YG Entertainment, revealed the test result in a statement issued to Korean news outlets. YG said Lisa had had not been in close contact with her other three bandmates, but they were still awaiting the results of a PCR test. ”


CTV News: Fifteen Ontario public schools are now closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks. “Fifteen of Ontario’s public schools are now closed due to COVID-19 spread – the highest number of school closures seen in the province to date this year, with the number of closures now exceeding what occurred at this point in the 2020 school year. The Ministry of Education says 170 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the past 24 hours, including 154 in students, 13 in staff and three in people whose association to school was not disclosed.”


New York Times: U.S. pediatricians say Covid cases in children are on the rise.. “Coronavirus cases in children in the United States have risen by 32 percent from about two weeks ago, a spike that comes as the country rushes to inoculate children ahead of the winter holiday season, pediatricians said. More than 140,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus between Nov. 11 and Nov. 18, up from 107,000 in the week ending Nov. 4, according to a statement on Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.”

Politico: Stubborn Covid surges signal bleak winter. “Coronavirus cases are rising once again, disrupting classrooms, overwhelming hospitals and alarming public health officials — even in areas with high vaccination rates — who warn the country is headed for a holiday surge that could leave thousands dead. Though nearly 70 percent of the country has had at least one shot and hospitalizations have fallen from their September highs, the news in many states remains grim and the trend lines portend a fresh wave in the coming weeks.”


Latina: Digital Archive Project ‘Nuevayorkinos’ Is Redefining NYC’s Latine History . “While Nuevayorkinos and its 31,000 followers on Instagram continue to share stories about will power, adaptation, love and belonging, [Djali Alessandra] Brown-Cepeda has been moved by the outpour of people using the page as a place to pay homage to their loved ones who they have lost to COVID-19. For many, Nuevayorkinos had become a digital altar at the peak of the pandemic.”

The Register: 35,000 Singapore residents applied for quarantine-free travel online at the same time. “A website operated by Singapore’s border control agency, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), fell over for five hours almost as soon as registrations for overseas travel were offered to expats who had been stuck in the city-state for over 18 months.”


Stony Brook University: Study Shows Pandemic, Discrimination Contribute to Fewer Infant Vaccinations. “A new study summarized in a research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that a number of factors, including negative impacts from the pandemic during pregnancy, healthcare experiences, and reports of discrimination, made it less likely that infants received their recommended vaccinations in the first months of their lives.”

UCLA: UCLA-led Research Finds Americans Suffering Psychological Distress Over Pandemic-Related Job Loss. “With data from the national population-based Health, Ethnicity, and Pandemic (HEAP) Study, in-depth analyses indicated that, among U.S. adults who were working before the COVID-19 pandemic, negative employment changes, including pay cuts, temporary job loss, and permanent job loss, were associated with higher psychological distress. Stratified analyses by race further revealed the effects of negative employment changes on psychological distress were greatest among Asian Americans and Black Americans.”

Jerusalem Post: Israeli drug for severe COVID reduces death by 70% – phase 2 trial. “Bonus BioGroup released new data this week showing that the 30-days survival rate of 50 severely ill hospitalized patients with oxygen saturation of 93% and below and diffuse pneumonia who received up to three doses of the company’s MesenCure treatment was 94% – meaning 47 out of 50 patients survived.”


Washington Post: Opinion: The CDC got it wrong. It should have urged all adults to get covid-19 booster shots.. “Even though the United States is experiencing a new surge of covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended last week that all adults be made eligible for booster shots but only urged shots for people older than 50. That was a big mistake. It should have urged all adults to get them.”

The Atlantic: The Pandemic Is Ending With a Whimper. “The Biden administration has yet to come out and say that the emergency is ending. To even contemplate it seems disrespectful to the nearly 800,000 dead. The Delta variant and vaccine resistance scuttled President Joe Biden’s hopes of declaring a ‘summer of joy’ this past Fourth of July. Yet even though the threat still exists, the country needs to be nudged into the recovery phase—and only elected leaders can provide that nudge.”


Associated Press: GOP embraces natural immunity as substitute for vaccines. “Republicans fighting President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandates are wielding a new weapon against the White House rules: natural immunity. They contend that people who have recovered from the virus have enough immunity and antibodies to not need COVID-19 vaccines, and the concept has been invoked by Republicans as a sort of stand-in for vaccines.”

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