Wednesday CoronaBuzz, December 29, 2021: 42 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Please get a booster shot. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


Newswise: Vaccines have not killed “twice as many kids” as those that were killed by COVID. “In a widely shared newsletter, Steve Kirsch, a man who promotes himself as an entrepreneur and technology, stated that ‘they’ve now killed close to twice as many kids from the vaccine as have died from COVID.’ He’s also repeated this claim in an interview on The New American, a conservative news site. We find this claim false. There is no confirmed evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine causing the death of even one child.”

Springfield News-Leader: Antisemitic flyers found Christmas morning, spreading COVID conspiracies in Springfield. “This Christmas Day, some Springfieldians woke up not to presents but to an antisemitic flyer. The flyers were left at the front steps of houses in central Springfield sometime during the night of Christmas Eve. At least two dozen flyers were found for several blocks in a neighborhood near Bass Pro Shops. The antisemitic flyers attempt to tie the Jewish faith to false conspiracies about the COVID-19 vaccine — declaring ‘every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish.'”


World Bank: Distributional Impacts of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa Region. “A new report, titled Distributional Impacts of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa Region, asks: How does COVID-19 affect the welfare of individuals and households in MENA, and what are the key issues that policy makers should focus on to enable a quick and sustained economic convalescence?… The report’s findings suggest a substantial rise in poverty, greater inequality, the emergence of a group of “new poor” (those who were not poor in the first quarter of 2020 but have become poor since), and changes in the labor market (notably how hard people work and how many people work).”


BBC: Australia: Hundreds given false Covid results in Sydney lab error . “A Sydney lab has told hundreds of people they did not have Covid when they in fact had tested positive, amid soaring infections in the area. The mistake, which took place over the Christmas period, was due to a ‘data processing error’.”

NPR: Intimate portraits of a hospital COVID unit from a photojournalist-turned-nurse. “To the frustration of health care workers, most new patients turning up at his hospital’s emergency room have not been vaccinated, he says. And as the nation braces for another deadly wave, this time due to the omicron variant, he expects the number of people seriously ill with COVID-19 to go up. With the permission of hospital officials, health care workers and COVID-19 patients, [Alan] Hawes began taking photos on his own time. Many of the images are showcased on the hospital’s Facebook page and have been featured in local news.”


Dallas Morning News: ‘We’re doing badly’: Parkland Hospital reports COVID-19 hospitalization spike, staff hit by virus. “North Texas’ largest public hospital system will open two additional COVID-19 wards amid a sharp increase in hospitalizations as a surge in coronavirus cases, fueled by the omicron variant, begins to hit Dallas-Fort Worth, Parkland Health & Hospital System reported Monday. Total current hospitalizations from the virus have nearly doubled from around 60 last week to about 110 on Monday, said Dr. Joseph Chang, Parkland’s chief medical officer.”

Deadline: Los Angeles Covid Positivity Rate Soars As California Models Predict Hospitalization Surges Due To Omicron. “Last Monday, L.A.’s 7-day average test positivity rate was 3.4%. Today, that same 7-day average has risen more than 300% to 12.4%. That’s a shockingly steep rise over the course of 8 days in a data point that is an average, not a raw number. The one-day numbers are equally shocking.”

Baltimore Sun: With Maryland ‘just at the beginning’ of a COVID surge, strains on hospitals increase, 3 more shift to ‘crisis’ standard. “The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie and the Luminis Health network, which includes hospitals in Annapolis and Lanham, shifted Monday to ‘crisis’ and ‘contingency’ standards of care. That means the hospitals can take emergency measures to ease some of the burden on doctors and nurses, including postponing some patients’ surgical procedures, cutting back on documentation for now, and converting physical spaces to other uses as needed.”

WISN: Hospitals sound alarm about number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. “The latest numbers from the Wisconsin Hospital Association show southeast Wisconsin hospitals have admitted 43 COVID-19 patients in the past day. There are 134 intensive care unit beds available across 31 hospitals in the area. A surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is having a ripple effect on other health needs.”


Reuters: Apple closes New York City stores to shoppers as COVID-19 cases rise. “Apple Inc said on Monday it has closed all of its 12 New York City stores to indoor shopping as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant surged across the United States. Customers will be able to pick up online orders at the stores, an Apple spokesperson said.”


CNET: CDC shortens recommend quarantine duration, with restrictions. “On Monday, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered the amount of time that Americans with COVID-19 need to spend in isolation, reducing guidance from 10 days to five, provided they aren’t experiencing symptoms and stay masked around other people for an additional five days. The quarantine guidance for anyone exposed to the virus received the same revision. The new guidelines come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the US, accounting for 73% of cases in the country.”

CNN: Biden issues proclamation revoking southern Africa travel restrictions. “President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation Tuesday revoking a proclamation put in place last month that enacted travel restrictions on eight southern African nations, including South Africa, as the Omicron variant began to spread. The proclamation repeals the ban as of 12:01 a.m. ET on December 31.”


BBC: Covid: France tightens restrictions amid Omicron surge. “From 3 January, remote working will become compulsory for those who can and public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 people for indoor events. The news comes as France recorded more than 100,000 new infections on Saturday – the highest number reported in the country since the pandemic began.”

Haartez: Bennett: Israel Faces Unprecedented Omicron COVID Wave, ‘We Can’t Prevent It’. “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Tuesday that Israel is on the precipice of a ‘contagion storm, the likes of which we have not yet seen,’ as Israel witnesses a three-month high in new coronavirus infections. On Monday, Israel recorded 2,952 new COVID cases, up from 1,799 the day before.”

BBC: Covid: Omicron and Delta driving tsunami of cases – WHO. “The combination of Delta and Omicron variants is driving a dangerous tsunami of Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief has said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ words came as the US and countries across Europe reported record new cases.”

BBC: China: Public shaming returns amid Covid fears . “Police in southern China have been captured on camera parading four alleged offenders through the streets in a public shaming exercise. The four men were accused of smuggling people across China’s borders, which are largely sealed because of Covid. They were paraded through the streets of Jingxi city in Guangxi province in hazmat suits.”


State of Connecticut: Governor Lamont Announces Plans To Distribute Three Million COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Tests and Six Million N95 Masks in Connecticut. “Governor Ned Lamont today announced plans to distribute three million COVID-19 at-home rapid tests and six million N95 masks in Connecticut in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19 during this heavy travel and holiday season.”

The Hill: Texas runs out of monoclonal antibody treatment effective against omicron. “Infusion centers in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio and The Woodlands have all gone through their supply of sotrovimab, the only antibody treatment believed to be effective against the omicron variant, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said on Monday.”

WPRI: Lt. Gov. Matos tests positive for COVID-19, has ‘very few symptoms’. “Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos has tested positive for COVID-19. In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, Matos said she has ‘very few symptoms,’ adding she believes that’s because she is fully vaccinated and has received a booster dose.”

The Oklahoman: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says he has no plans to get COVID-19 booster shot. “Despite state health officials recommending all eligible Oklahomans get a COVID-19 booster shot, Gov. Kevin Stitt says he doesn’t plan on getting another inoculation. Stitt said Monday he hasn’t received a booster shot nor does he plan on getting another jab. ‘I’m perfectly healthy, and my doctor hasn’t told me I need to get it,’ said Stitt, who was the first governor to contract COVID-19. Stitt said he experienced mild symptoms when he had the virus last summer.”


Orlando Sentinel: Orange Mayor Demings blasts DeSantis, expands COVID-19 testing, requires masks for employees. “As COVID-19 infections surge and residents face hours-long waits for testing, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings blasted Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday about the state’s lack of support during the omicron variant wave. Demings also announced the opening of a new testing site — though a health official conceded the third site won’t meet demand — and reinstated a mask mandate for county employees at work. In all, 80 are out of work with COVID diagnoses.”


Sun Port Charlotte: Shut out during the pandemic, woman recreates Universal rides on social media. “Mandy Slaback has been going to Universal Orlando almost every year since she was 10. When the resort shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Janesville, Wisconsin, resident didn’t know when she would be able to visit again, so she decided to bring the parks home. Using her degree in broadcasting and film, Slaback, 24, put her production skills and love for Universal to work by making videos recreating some of the resort’s most popular rides.”


Daily Beast: Self-Proclaimed ‘Plague Spreader’ Dies of COVID After Boasting About Maskless Grocery Store Stunt. “An Italian anti-vaxxer and COVID-denier who sparked outrage after declaring himself a ‘plague spreader’ and boasting about how he walked around sick and maskless in a supermarket has died of COVID-19, according to local media reports. Maurizio Buratti, also known as Mauro from Mantua, died in a Verona hospital Monday, just a few weeks after being hospitalized. He was 61.”

Washington Post: A respiratory therapist fought on covid’s front lines. The last wave broke him.. “As the omicron variant threatens to bring a punishing fifth wave this winter, the country faces an unprecedented mental health crisis brought on by the nearly two-year pandemic. Hospitals and health-care facilities are woefully understaffed as capacity peaks once again — and workers, emotionally battered, burned out and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, are leaving the field in droves. Efforts to help them have taken on a new urgency, with Congress expected to pass landmark legislation in coming weeks aimed at reducing and preventing suicide and burnout and addressing the mental health needs of health-care workers.”


ABC News: COVID-19 issues continue in NFL; Colts, Panthers hit hard. “The Indianapolis Cots have placed five players on the COVID-19 list as the virus continues to work its way through NFL locker rooms, even with the vast majority of players in the league vaccinated.”


New York Times: New York City’s schools will reopen with ramped-up testing to limit classroom closures.. “New York City, home to the nation’s largest school system, will eliminate its current policy of quarantining entire classrooms exposed to Covid, and will instead use a ramped-up testing program to allow asymptomatic students who test negative for the coronavirus to remain in school.”

Politico: L.A. schools tried to mandate vaccines. Then they faced having to send 30,000 students home.. “In September, the nation’s second-largest school district imposed strict vaccine requirements on children 12 and older, with almost no exemptions. The district blinked at the last minute, however, as community activists and Gov. Gavin Newsom questioned the idea of moving more than 30,000 unvaccinated students back into distance learning.”


Howard University: Howard University to Delay Start of Spring 2022 Semester. ” Our most recent weekly positivity rate has increased to 19 percent, which is the highest number we have seen throughout the pandemic. At that rate, we would not have enough beds to quarantine positive students living in the residence halls, if students returned on the originally scheduled start date for the spring semester. As a result, we will delay the start of the Spring 2022 semester for undergraduate and graduate students until Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Face-to-face courses will begin on that date. University administrative operations will begin on January 3, 2022. Students in professional programs will receive specific guidance from their schools to accommodate accreditation and licensure requirements.”

Poynter: These student journalists were determined to report on COVID-19 — with or without the University of Alabama’s support. “The Crimson White pitched an ambitious plan to the Poynter College Media Project in the spring of 2021: to create its own COVID-19 dashboard that would reflect a more accurate count of cases and vaccination rates than the University of Alabama was reporting. The university, however, wasn’t jumping to help its student newspaper. So the team pivoted as it submitted open records requests and met with sources, still hoping to get access to what seemed like documents that should be public. They provided regular coverage of the pandemic as students returned to the sprawling Southern campus where rates of vaccinations were low and caseloads high.”

Michigan Daily: UMich moves forward with in-person classes starting Jan. 5, updates safety measures. “​​The University of Michigan plans to move ahead with in-person classes starting January 5, according to a Tuesday email from University President Mark Schlissel and University Provost Susan Collins. Additional public health measures — such as requiring proof of vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test for all on-campus performances and athletic events — will also be implemented, according to the email.”


Stat: Forecasting the Omicron winter: Experts envision various scenarios, from bad to worse. “Since the Omicron variant was discovered four weeks ago, epidemiologists have been crunching data as fast as scientists on the front lines can produce it to scope out what the newest coronavirus variant means for the pandemic this winter and beyond. While many uncertainties remain, disease modelers have cranked out several potential visions for what the first months of 2022 may have in store. Worst case — they could bring the deadliest phase of the pandemic yet. But even the most optimistic scenarios aren’t exactly pretty.”

New York Times: Why Covid Death Rates Are Rising for Some Groups. “The overall rate of Covid-19 deaths has declined since vaccines became widely available in April, yet nearly a quarter million people in the United States have died from the virus in the past eight months. The virus is now responsible for a higher share of deaths from all causes for younger Americans and white Americans than it was before all adults were eligible for vaccines.”

ProPublica: They Were the Pandemic’s Perfect Victims. “The pandemic killed so many dialysis patients that their total number shrunk for the first time in nearly half a century. Few people took notice.”

CNN: Do you have a cold, the flu or Covid-19? Experts explain how to tell the difference. “Do you have a sore throat, a runny nose and muscle aches? It could be a common cold, a case of the flu — or Covid-19. The illnesses all share similar symptoms, sometimes making it hard to distinguish which is putting you under the weather.”


SciTechDaily: COVID Kidney Damage: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Infects the Kidneys and Contributes to Tissue Scarring. “The fact that the Coronavirus can result in severe damage in the human body is known, and also that kidneys can get infected. But what exactly happens in the kidney as a result of the infection, remains elusive until now. In this study, published in Cell Stem Cell, researchers investigated the kidney tissue of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. They found scarring of the tissue as compared to Intensive Care patients with a non-COVID-19 lung infection and a control group.”

NewsWise: New Year’s resolution: Don’t let COVID-somnia drag you down. “Everyone aims to have a happier new year, but drudging through another year of a global pandemic is daunting, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping at night. According to a survey commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than half of Americans (56%) say they have experienced ‘COVID-somnia,’ an increase in sleep disturbances, since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the reported sleep disturbances, most common was trouble falling or staying asleep (57%). Additional disturbances included sleeping less (46%), experiencing worse quality sleep (45%) and having more disturbing dreams (36%).”


Washington Post: D.C., Maryland and Virginia emerge from Christmas weekend with record coronavirus case numbers. “D.C., Maryland and Virginia all set records Monday, reporting the highest seven-day averages in new cases of any point during the pandemic. In Virginia, 18,513 people tested positive over the three-day Christmas weekend and 25 died of covid-19. Maryland reported 5,376 new cases Monday, on top of more than 15,000 during the weekend, and has not yet returned to reporting deaths because of a cyberattack that affected the state’s heath department. The District reported 9,200 cases and two deaths from Dec. 23 to 26.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Parts of Bay Area see ‘vertical wall’ jump in COVID cases as omicron spreads. “Parts of the Bay Area have seen a near ‘vertical wall’ jump in coronavirus cases over the past couple of weeks as the highly infectious omicron variant spreads widely — and those places that aren’t yet seeing surges should expect to soon, said Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of medicine at UCSF.”

WRAL: 1 out of every 5 people who got a COVID test result in NC on Sunday tested positive. “The positivity rate has been steadily rising since last weekend and jumped from 15.3% to 21.9% over the weekend, according to WRAL Data Trackers.”


7 News Australia: Development after teen arrested for allegedly clubbing knowing he had COVID. “The teen who was arrested after partying at an Adelaide nightclub while allegedly knowing he had tested positive for COVID-19 has been released on bail. Ralph MacIntosh was released from custody on Tuesday after a decision to refuse police bail was reversed.”

The Guardian: Ghislaine Maxwell: jury weighs charges as judge warns Covid could derail trial. “As jury deliberations in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial resumed in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, the judge told lawyers jurors should prepare to deliberate later in the day – because the surge in Covid-19 cases threatens to derail proceedings.”


New York Times: 2 Georgia Republicans Rack Up Fines for Defying House’s Mask Mandate. “Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Clyde have incurred more than $100,000 combined in penalties for dozens of violations.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you.

Categories: coronabuzz

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply