coronabuzz

Sunday CoronaBuzz, January 9, 2022: 31 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Please get a booster shot. Please wear a mask when you’re inside away from home. Much love.

NEW RESOURCES – AREA-SPECIFIC

Global News: Thousands of rapid test results already reported to made-in-Sask. online database. “A University of Saskatchewan student is hoping his new online tool can help close the COVID-19 data gap arising from increasingly limited access to official PCR testing.”

CORONAVIRUS MISINFORMATION / FACT-CHECKING

NBC Think: Covid vaccine and treatment misinformation is medical malpractice. It should be punished.. “From making false claims about vaccines to offering to sign medically unnecessary mask exemptions in exchange for payment, these ‘disinformation doctors’ are amplifying lies and often profiting from a cottage industry of social media posts, websites, live and virtual conferences and podcasts. In the process, they are weaponizing their white coats and putting patients, the public and their profession at risk.”

ACTIVISM / PROTESTS

Reuters/dpa: Coronavirus: Anti-vaccination protesters tell France’s Emmanuel Macron: ‘We’ll p*** you off’. “Anti-vaccine protesters rallied in cities across France on Saturday, denouncing President Emmanuel Macron’s intent to ‘p*** off’ people refusing Covid-19 vaccines by tightening curbs on their civil liberties. Macron said this week he wanted to irritate unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed. Unvaccinated people were irresponsible and unworthy of being considered citizens, he added.”

BBC: Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass. “French authorities say more than 105,000 people have taken part in protests across the country against the introduction of a new coronavirus pass. A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life.”

HEALTH CARE – CAPACITY

WBAY: HSHS treating record number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals–majority unvaccinated. “A record number of patients are hospitalized and being treated for COVID-19 at the Hospital Sisters Health System. HSHS called it an ‘unfortunate milestone.’ They’re treating 303 patients, up from the previous high of 293 patients in November 2020, before the vaccination was available.”

CBC: Record high number of Ontarians in hospital with COVID-19 as Omicron wave continues. “Ontario reported a pandemic high of 2,472 people with COVID-19 in hospital on Friday, as the number of admissions to intensive care increased again. The previous high of 2,360 hospitalizations came on April 20, 2021, during the height of the third wave.”

CTV News: Laurentians hospitals in critical situation, transferring COVID-19 negative patients to long-term care homes. “Citing a critical situation in Laurentians area hospitals, certain patients, who have tested negative for COVID-19, are being transferred to long-term care homes (CHSLDs) in the region. Laurentians health and social services centre spokesperson Hugo Morissette said staff are being forced to pivot on a daily basis as the epidemiological situation remains distressing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: COVID-19 surge has overwhelmed some Pa. hospitals — and now their workers are getting sick, too. “In the last week, the unprecedented number of infections has sidelined teachers, bus drivers, trash collectors, and others in significant numbers, in some cases disrupting services and schools. The omicron variant is more transmissible and can evade vaccine protection; as health-care workers also catch the fast-spreading virus, it has added a new challenge for hospitals already strained by the worsening surge.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

KLFY: Texas couple charged $3,973 for COVID-19 testing: ‘Makes me sick to my stomach’. “Before flying to Peru to hike the Inca trail, Suli Luque and her husband went to get tested for COVID-19. They needed to show proof of negative test results to be let into the country…. Austin Emergency Center claimed the visit for their COVID-19 tests cost $3,973 altogether, and their insurance company said it was the couple’s responsibility to pay it.”

Reuters: FedEx warns of shipment delays as Omicron leads to staffing shortage. “FedEx Corp warned on Friday that rising cases of Omicron variant has caused staff shortage and delay in shipments transported on aircraft.”

UNITED STATES / UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

Associated Press: US, Japan agree to keep troops on base to curb COVID spread. “The U.S. and Japan on Sunday agreed to keep American troops within their bases as worries grew about a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the country. The restrictions starting Monday will last 14 days, confining U.S. military personnel to base facilities except for ‘essential activities,’ a statement from the U.S. Forces in Japan said. The Japanese Foreign Ministry released the same statement.”

WORLD/COUNTRY GOVERNMENT

Loop Jamaica: Jamaica surpasses 100,000 COVID cases; record 1,593 new ones, 6 deaths. “The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jamaica has surpassed 100,000, with 1,593 new cases recorded over 24 hours up to Friday afternoon. This is the third time this week that Jamaica’s coronavirus infections hit a new record for a one-day period since the pandemic began locally.”

Loop Jamaica: Jamaica still unable to test for COVID-19 variants. “In October of last year, the island acquired a genome sequencer and training of personnel to use the machine was scheduled to begin in order to test for variants of the novel coronavirus by last December. However, the training was pushed back until January 10, and that timeline is also not going to be met in terms of the stated goal.”

Reuters: Restrictions imposed in several states in India as Covid-19 cases rise. ” India reported 159,632 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the country, nudging several state governments to impose fresh restrictions.”

New York Daily News: Vaccine appointments multiply after Quebec requires shots for weed, alcohol stores. “They’re going shots for shots. First-dose vaccine appointments quadrupled in Quebec after the Canadian province required vaccine passports to buy alcohol and marijuana. Quebec announced the new rules Thursday, when there were an average of 1,500 first dose appointments, the Montreal Gazette reported.”

Associated Press: Navajo Nation reports 220 new COVID-19 cases, but no deaths. “The Navajo Nation has reported 220 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths related to the virus. Tribal officials said the number of confirmed cases on the vast reservation since the pandemic began now total 42,887 as of Saturday including 45 delayed reported cases.”

STATES / STATE GOVERNMENT

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Tennessee launches program to help COVID-related mortgage delinquencies. “Tennessee homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgages, property taxes or home insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a new economic lifeline this week. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency is launching a new federally-funded program Monday that will pay up to $40,000 for each household that has suffered from the ongoing pandemic and is delinquent in housing-related bills.”

WABI: Maine CDC director says to focus on COVID hospitalization numbers. “Every day the Maine CDC releases loads of data and numbers to the public that help them track the severity of COVID-19 in our state. It is no surprise that some of these numbers are more important than others. This week Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC offered a little guidance to the public about what numbers they should put more focus on.”

Associated Press: Vermont to provide COVID rapid tests to child care centers. “The state of Vermont is going to be providing free rapid COVID-19 tests to the state’s regulated child-care centers. The ‘Tests for Tots’ program, which was announced Friday, is designed to allow the centers to test children and staff when a positive COVID-19 case is detected at their program.”

WBUR (Massachusetts): State issues COVID-19 booster mandate for nursing home workers. “More nursing home workers will now be forced to roll up their sleeves and get a COVID-19 booster — or risk losing their jobs. That’s thanks to a statewide booster mandate for all eligible nursing home staff handed down by the state’s Department of Public Health.”

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Associated Press: School bus service in 2 NC cities suspended due to driver COVID-19 cases. “The News & Record of Greensboro reports that Guilford County Schools said Friday that 76 of the district’s drivers are out of work with the virus. Superintendent Sharon Contreras said those absences come on top of the district’s pre-existing driver shortage.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

KTVI: Missouri cancer surgery delayed over COVID strain at hospitals. “Scott Mueller said his wife April was diagnosed with appendix and colon cancer in December of 2021. She was supposed to have a colonoscopy and colon surgery in a couple of weeks at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters, part of the BJC Healthcare system. Mueller got the news Wednesday that both procedures would likely be postponed.”

SupChina: Xi’an woman in quarantine begs for period products in viral video, gets bashed by men for being ‘dramatic’. “Are period products necessities or luxuries? Should women be blamed if they are trapped in a quarantine facility without sanitary pads because they should be keeping track of their menstruation cycles? A COVID-19 lockdown and viral video have launched a debate on Chinese social media.” To anyone who thinks that menstrual cycles are some kind of events of inexorable timing and can be planned for, I offer this study from October 2021 on how pandemic stress disrupted menstrual cycles: https://www.verywellmind.com/pandemic-stress-caused-irregular-menstrual-cycles-study-finds-5204326 .

INDIVIDUALS – DEATHS

Iran Human Rights Monitor: Jailed Iranian poet Baktash Abtin dies due to lack of timely medical care for Covid-19. “Baktash Abtin, a member of Iran’s Writer’s Association died today in a Tehran hospital after catching COVID-19 in Evin Prison. Baktash Abtin, 48, was put into an induced coma in a Tehran hospital after being rushed there from Evin Prison on December 14 with severe symptoms of COVID-19.”

HIGHER EDUCATION

Hindustan Times: College students in Pune face challenges amidst rising Covid cases, restrictions. “Amid rising Covid-19 cases in the city, college-going students are facing multiple challenges. While offline classes have stopped, hostel, food and commuting all is getting tougher for many.”

HEALTH

CNET: The pandemic changed health care, and there’s no going back. “Video-calls-as-doctor’s-visit wasn’t a tool created because of COVID-19, but the pandemic has transformed it from an obscure practice to the new way to do health care. Importantly, policy changes made during the pandemic helped knock down some barriers for telemedicine access, and helped providers get paid for it.”

CNN: People desperate for Covid tests are turning to resellers online. “The emrgence of Covid test resales comes as frustrated Americans struggle to get tested and face long lines amid an increased demand following holiday travel and gatherings. Amazon, CVS Health and Walgreens are limiting the number of at-home Covid kits customers can purchase. Walmart recently hiked the prices for some of its rapid Covid tests from $14 to $20 for two. Experts say reselling kits in small numbers and without a large markup price is not illegal — nor is purchasing these products — but there are risks, for both buyers and sellers.”

RESEARCH

Cyprus Mail: Coronavirus: Cyprus’ Deltacron could just be contamination, Imperial College virologist says. “A researcher at Imperial College in London, which has driven much of the UK’s response to the Covid pandemic, says the ‘Deltacron’ variant Cyprus may have discovered ‘looks to be quite clearly contamination’.”

PsyPost: CEO narcissism linked to heightened workplace uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “New research provides evidence that narcissistic business leaders can have a detrimental impact on the workplace by triggering a sense of uncertainty among middle management. The findings have been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

NDTV: 3 Arrested For Celebrating Pet Dog’s Birthday Amid Covid Norms In Gujarat. “Chirag Patel and his brother Urvish Patel, both residents of Krishnagar in Ahmedabad city, had thrown a big party on the birthday of their pet dog, Abby, an Indian Spitz, along with their friend, Divyesh Mehariya, a police official said.”

7 San Diego: Pop-Up COVID Testing Sites May Be Rife for Identity Theft, Experts Say. “Pop-up testing sites have cropped up on street corners, in parking lots and on shopping properties across the country, but health and legal experts say many of these are unregulated and could be rife for nefarious activities like identity theft. In the last few weeks, legislators and attorneys general in several states including Illinois, Maryland, California, Texas and Pennsylvania have said they will be investigating and introducing regulatory legislation overseeing these operations.”

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