Monday CoronaBuzz, January 10, 2022: 47 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

I’ve decided to highlight a tag or two every day if you would ever like to explore CoronaBuzz.

Fact Checks: (RSS ). Fact checks about covid misinformation. Currently about 50 articles indexed.

Fact Checking: (RSS ). Both fact checks and the process / mechanisms of fact checking; I started this tag first before I added a separate fact checks tag. It currently has about 109 articles indexed.

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


New York Times: Covid Test Misinformation Spikes Along With Spread of Omicron. “The burst of misinformation threatens to further stymie public efforts to keep the health crisis under control. Previous spikes in pandemic-related falsehoods focused on the vaccines, masks and the severity of the virus. The falsehoods help undermine best practices for controlling the spread of the coronavirus, health experts say, noting that misinformation remains a key factor in vaccine hesitancy.”

Daily Beast: Anti-Vax Leader Urges Followers to Drink Their Own Urine to Fight COVID. “Anti-COVID-19 ‘Vaccine Police’ leader Christopher Key has a new quarter-baked conspiracy theory for his anti-vax followers to use to cure themselves of COVID-19: Drink their own urine.”

UPI: FDA warns against using COVID-19 test swabs in the throat. “Swabs that come with at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 tests should be used in the nose and not the throat, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns. It issued the warning on Twitter in response to reports that some people are using swabs intended for nasal samples to take samples from their throats and posting their results on social media with the hashtag #SwabYourThroat.”

Pappas Post: Anti-Vaccine Bishop and Unvaccinated Sister Die of COVID-19 Weeks Apart. “An unwavering anti-vaccine Greek Orthodox bishop has died of COVID-19 just weeks after his unvaccinated sister also died due to complications from the virus. The 76-year old Metropolitan Kosmas of Aetolia and Acarnania died after a month-long battle with the virus that saw him moved from a local hospital in Agrinio to an ICU room at Evangelismos hospital in Athens.”


BBC: Covid pass protesters attack French MP Stéphane Claireaux with seaweed. “A French MP has been attacked by a crowd of Covid-19 pass protesters outside his home in the overseas territory of St Pierre and Miquelon. Video showed Stéphane Claireaux being pelted with seaweed and other missiles on Sunday.”


Alabama Political Reporter: Alabama hospitals, schools react as COVID surges. “As the more contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 surges schools and hospitals are taking varied measures to either protect from more spread, or what and see what happens. ”


Reuters: Indian hospitals have plenty COVID hospital beds for children. ” Indian states have reserved more than double the COVID-19 hospital beds for children than recommended by federal experts out of fear of being under-prepared, government data shows, although doctors say not many youngsters have needed critical care yet.”

News-Medical: Rapid antigen tests exhibit high accuracy for COVID-19 screening in children. “A team of researchers from the United States (US) compared the accuracy of the Abbott BinaxNOW coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapid antigen test diagnostic kit against the gold standard reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing method among children.”


Missouri Independent: Missouri COVID hospitalizations set new record as omicron variant spread accelerates. “Missouri set pandemic peaks for COVID-19 hospitalizations and daily net new admissions this week. The Department of Health and Senior Services reported there were 2,933 inpatients, a number that grew an average of 91 per day over the previous seven days. The previous peaks were 2,862 inpatients on Dec. 22, 2020, before vaccines were widely available and 76 net new admissions per day on Nov. 8, 2020.”

New York Times: As an ER Doctor, I Fear Health Care Collapse More Than Omicron. “The harsh reality is this: Fewer providers means fewer available beds because there are only so many patients a team can treat at a time. This also means treatment is slower and people will spend more time in the E.R. And the longer these patients stay in the E.R., the longer others remain in the waiting room. The domino effect will affect all levels of the health care system, from short-staffed nursing homes to ambulances taking longer to respond to 911 calls.”

North Jersey: NJ COVID hospitalizations surpass 6,000 for first time since April 2020. “The number of people hospitalized with COVID in New Jersey reached more than 6,000 Sunday night in one of the largest one-day increases of the current wave of the pandemic. The 6,075 COVID patients in the hospital marked a single-day jump of 328, and is the most since April 29, 2020 during the initial wave of the pandemic.”

Click on Detroit: Michigan COVID hospitalizations rise above previous record following case surge. “Following a record-breaking week of new COVID-19 cases in Michigan, statewide hospitalizations are at a new record-high. According to MDHHS data, 4,901 inpatients were in hospitals statewide as of Jan. 10 with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, breaking the previous record of 4,721, set on Dec. 12, 2021.”

StarTribune: Minnesota hospitals brace for omicron even as COVID-19 declines in ICUs. “COVID-19 hospitalizations requiring intensive care declined from 374 on Dec. 16 to 255 on Friday in Minnesota, temporarily easing pressure on hospitals as they brace for the omicron wave of the pandemic. The fast-spreading omicron variant has produced an uptick in coronavirus infections in Minnesota, which on Monday reported another 10,810 infections and 44 COVID-19 deaths.”


BBC: Ikea cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staff forced to self-isolate. “Ikea has cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who need to self-isolate because of Covid exposure, joining a growing list of firms changing their rules. The retail giant acknowledged it was an ’emotive topic’ but said its policy had to evolve with changing circumstances.”


CNN: US coronavirus surge could peak later this month, expert says, but the next few weeks are critical. “The current Covid-19 surge in the US, fueled by the Omicron variant, could peak later this month — but the next couple of weeks are critical, a health expert says. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, warns long-term planning is needed to avoid continued stress on the health care system, as hospitals become full, schools struggle to keep students in class and testing remains difficult to access.”

Breaking Defense: How COVID-19 changed Navy ops, according to SWO boss. “As the country begins its third year battling the coronavirus, the US Navy’s top surface warfare officer says that if there’s a silver lining to the operational challenges presented by a global pandemic, it’s that it has pushed the service into being more self-sufficient.”

Associated Press: North Dakota officials forced to cut back on COVID case work. “The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is forcing North Dakota health officials to cut back on investigations and they are encouraging people who test positive to isolate on their own. The state Department of Health says it will continue to monitor virus cases for K-12 students, higher education students, people over age 55, and people in health care facilities, long-term care and congregate settings.”

NBC Miami: Florida Adds Over 49K New COVID-19 Cases After Setting Single Day Record. “The report came one day after Florida reported more than 77,000 cases on Sunday, the third time the state had reported more than 75,000 cases since December 31st.”

KVOE: CORONAVIRUS: IRS starting tax season early. “The IRS has announced this year’s tax filing season will begin Jan. 24, 17 days earlier than it started last year. The main reason, like it is for many adjustments the past two years, is coronavirus. The IRS is anticipating a resurgence of COVID cases — underway now across the country — as well as less funding authorization from Congress than requested by President Biden.”


BBC: India Covid: Booster shots start for priority groups as cases surge. “India has begun giving booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to priority groups amid a surge in infections. Health and frontline workers and people above 60 years old with comorbidities are currently eligible to take the jab.”

Reuters: Sweden takes more COVID measures as Omicron squeezes healthcare. “Sweden will introduce more measures to stem the rising number of COVID cases and an increased pressure on the healthcare system, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday.”

Associated Press: Slovakia eases COVID measures as omicron surge yet to hit. “Slovakia is easing coronavirus restrictions after a decline in new infections while the fast-spreading omicron variant is yet to fully hit the country. The changes include the cancellation Monday of the overnight curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. The move allows bars and restaurants, stores and others to stay open without restrictions. Only fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to enter bars, restaurants, hotels, ski resorts, religious services and stores selling nonessential goods.”

Reuters: France averages new record of nearly 270,000 new Covid cases per day. “France reported close to 94,000 new COVID-19 cases , pushing the seven-day moving average of new infections to a new high of 269,614, official data showed on Monday, the 14th consecutive day seeing the value climbing up.”

ITV: Email proves Downing Street staff held drinks party at height of lockdown. “Downing Street staff were invited to a drinks party in the Number 10 garden during the height of nationwide lockdown to “make the most of the lovely weather”. An email shared exclusively with ITV News provides the first evidence of a party on May 20, 2020, when the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors.”


Salt Lake Tribune: Utah prison, jail facilities report COVID-19 outbreaks. “As Utah continues to report record-high coronavirus case counts, cases also are spiking in the state’s prisons and jails. The Davis County Jail is experiencing a new outbreak after the facility had been COVID-free for nine months. As of last week, 24 individuals had tested positive, and a dozen other inmates were being monitored for exposure. On Monday, the number of confirmed cases had jumped to 35, according to a spokesperson.”

WTOP: Md. assembly’s COVID-19 protocols restore public access to legislative complex, limit streaming. “In spite of soaring COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, the Maryland General Assembly’s pandemic safety protocols are shaping up to be much different — and more publicly accessible in some ways — than what occurred during the 2021 session.”

ABC 30: Calif. health care workers who are asymptomatic with COVID won’t have to test or isolate to work. ” California health care workers won’t have to isolate or test negative to go back to work if they are asymptomatic until February 1. As omicron cases continue to surge and hospital staffing shortages increase across the state, California’s department of public health is changing its COVID isolation guidelines.”

WTVD: More than 1,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations added in the last week in North Carolina. “Hospitalizations jumped 376 since Friday. More than 1,000 patients have been added in the last week. That brings the COVID-19 hospitalization number back in line to where it was this time last year. The good news: the weekly share of patients on a ventilator and in the ICU with COVID-19 is continuing to trend down. But pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization are trending up–with 2.3% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients listed as children. That’s one of the highest pediatric percentages the state has ever reported.”

Associated Press: Michigan lieutenant governor tests positive for COVID-19. “Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 but is showing no symptoms while he quarantines with his family. Gilchrist said on Twitter that he tested positive Sunday morning after his 2-year-old daughter, Ruby, began experiencing a runny nose and a mild fever — symptoms that are consistent with the coronavirus.”

NBC New York: New NY Breakthrough Data Show Omicron’s Stunning December Impact as Viral Growth Rates Appear to Slow. “Newly released data on New York breakthrough infections highlights in stark reality the viral force that crippled workforces for virtually every key industry last month, while COVID rates in the one-time epicenter show potential signs of improvement. Fueled by the more vaccine-resistant omicron variant, the daily rate of new COVID infections per 100,000 fully vaccinated New Yorkers grew by more than seven-fold over the course of December, from 29.8 new cases per 100,000 inoculated residents the first week of the month to 223.3 the final week, state data shows.”

The State: SC breaks COVID record again with 16,600 cases, as omicron variant surges in state. “The state Department of Health and Environmental Control released three days of COVID-19 data on Monday showing that 16,630 cases were reported for Saturday. The following day, Sunday, the Palmetto State recorded its second-highest all-time case count, with 15,234 cases and 30 deaths. DHEC also reported 12,827 cases and 12 deaths for Monday.”

KMIZ: Share of breakthrough coronavirus infections increasing as omicron spreads in Missouri. “Missouri is seeing a larger share of fully vaccinated or previously infected people getting the coronavirus amid a surge powered by the more transmissible omicron variant. The share of breakthrough infections in Missouri has hit pandemic highs over the last two weeks. Those cases made up nearly 22% of new infections last week and 46% of new cases the week before, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Nearly 8% of cases so far in January are in people previously infected with the virus.”

NBC Boston: Mass. Launches Digital COVID Vaccination Card System, My Vax Records. “Massachusetts has launched a digital vaccination card system, the Baker administration announced Monday. My Vax Records, as the tool is called, lets people see their vaccination history and pull up a card that’s similar to the paper CDC cards that have been given out when people are vaccinated.”


Fox6: Milwaukee’s free N95 mask distribution begins. ” Milwaukee’s distribution of free N95 masks began at the Northwest and Southside Health Centers on Saturday, Jan. 8. Dozens of cars lined the streets Saturday morning – the first day of the city’s latest effort to encourage citizens to mask up.”

Deseret News: Salt Lake County orders mask mandate. Will it stand?. “Salt Lake County has imposed a mask mandate after Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall urged county leaders Friday to put the ‘lifesaving’ requirement in place to combat the dramatic spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant that’s resulted in record case counts in Utah.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Feds urged to investigate city’s use of COVID-19 relief funds. “Community organizers and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) have called on the feds to investigate the city’s use of COVID-19 relief funds claiming the mayor’s office wrongly allocated money to pay down debt instead of helping the residents it was intended for.”


Washington Post: Meet the Kovids. These people share the same name as the covid-19 pandemic.. “The pandemic has fundamentally changed the lives of the people who share the Sanskrit name of Kovid. And many of the Kovids are tired of the jokes. Several have even bonded over social media, forming a loose network to discuss and complain about their shared experiences of being mocked for a name that means ‘scholar or learned person’ — and is referenced in Vedic literature, including within a Hindu prayer dedicated to Lord Hanuman — yet takes on a whole new meaning in the covid pandemic.”


Daily Beast: Killer Tycoon Robert Durst Dies Months After Life Sentence. “In October, Durst was admitted to LAC+USC Medical Center and placed on a ventilator. He had tested positive for COVID-19, according to his lawyer, despite being fully vaccinated against the virus.”


Los Angeles Daily News: LAUSD suspends athletic competition for a week due to COVID-19 surge. “The Los Angeles Unified School District sent an email to high school administrators and parents late Sunday informing them all athletic competition this week (Jan. 10-14) will be postponed and rescheduled due the COVID-19, specifically referring to the omicron variant.”


BBC: Uganda schools reopen after almost two years of Covid closure. “Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid…. But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.”

NBC Boston: NH District Schools Close Due to COVID-19 Staff Absences. “The Nashua, New Hampshire school district said schools will be closed for the early part of the week because of staff absences. Nashua Superintendent Garth McKinney said in a Friday letter to staff and parents that many of the absences are due to COVID-19. There were nearly 200 absences on Thursday, he said.”

Columbia Daily Herald: ‘Relearn school’: Discipline amid pandemic dominates concerns at Maury County schools. “This school year, at least 40 citations have been issued to students at Columbia Central High School, including seven students arrested and placed in juvenile detention, according to Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, who shared the information with members of the county commission, during Wednesday’s health and environment committee meeting. The situation reflects a national trend as interruptions caused by the pandemic have sparked a rise in students and young people struggling to retain their mental health.”

KNWA: ACHI reports 97% of school districts have high COVID-19 infection rates. “The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement urges sheltering in place for at-risk families, masking in all school districts, virtual for some, as 97% of districts reportedly have high COVID-19 infection rates. A record 226 public districts of the state’s 234 contiguous districts have COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, the ACHI said Monday, Jan. 10.”


WRAL: Dozens of Duke students incorrectly told they had COVID-19. “Dozens of Duke University students were incorrectly told they had COVID-19 Sunday night. Duke spokesperson Michael Schoenfeld said a data processing error incorrectly notified 67 students they had tested positive for COVID-19. The students were notified of the mistake immediately, he said, adding it was the first error in the nearly 1 million free tests administered by the school.”


Washington Post: COVID-19 led to smell problems for many. Seniors are especially vulnerable.. “The reports from coronavirus patients are disconcerting. Only a few hours before, they were enjoying a cup of pungent coffee or the fragrance of flowers in a garden. Then, as if a switch had been flipped, those smells disappeared. Young and old alike are affected – more than 80% to 90% of those diagnosed with the virus, according to some estimates. While most people recover in a few months, 16% take half a year or longer to do so, research has found. According to new estimates, up to 1.6 million Americans have chronic smell problems because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.”

BBC: Covid-19: Common cold may give some protection, study suggests. “Natural defences against a common cold could offer some protection against Covid-19, too, research suggests. The small-scale study, published in Nature Communications, involved 52 individuals who lived with someone who had just caught Covid-19.”


WWLP: Vaccinated women pass COVID-19 antibodies to breastfeeding babies. “Women vaccinated against COVID-19 transfer SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to their breastfed infants, potentially giving their babies passive immunity against the coronavirus, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research.”

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