Saturday CoronaBuzz, January 15, 2022: 36 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.


The Hill: Dan Bongino Temporarily Suspended From YouTube Over COVID Misinfo. “Fox News host and conservative media mogul Dan Bongino will not be ‘owning the libs’ on YouTube for at least one week after being hit with his first strike on the platform.”

New York Times: Scores of doctors and scientists sign a statement condemning personal attacks against Fauci.. “More than 200 leading American doctors and scientists — including four Nobel Prize winners and a former Republican leader — have signed an open letter in support of Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, calling Republican attacks on him ‘inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics.'”

Maine Public Radio: Ellsworth doctor faces license suspension over COVID misinformation allegations . “During a virtual meeting, Maine’s Board of Licensure in Medicine voted unanimously to conduct a further investigation into Dr. Meryl Nass of Ellsworth in response to at least two complaints that she was spreading misinformation about COVID-19. The board also voted to subpoena additional records from Nass and approved suspending her license for 30 days during the investigation, although it also gave the doctor another option.”


Daily Beast: Glenn Beck Says He Has COVID Again and It’s Hit His Lungs—but He’s Taking Ivermectin. “Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck has fallen sick with the coronavirus—again. This time around, the former Fox News host turned conservative media mini-mogul said Wednesday afternoon, the illness has progressed into his lungs.”


Alabama Department of Public Health: Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations are at record high in Alabama, immediate measures necessary. “Hospitalizations of children in Alabama due to COVID-19 are at a record high, and immediate measures need to be taken to reduce COVID-19 in the pediatric population. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), urge parents to minimize their children’s exposure to COVID-19 in schools and public places, wear well-fitting masks in schools, and get vaccinated if they are eligible.”

News4Jax: COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations in Florida hit new record. “Total COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations in Florida reached a new high, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data posted Friday. Friday’s update showed there were 237 total pediatric patients confirmed with COVID-19 in the state. The previous high was 235 reported Wednesday.”


Billboard: Every 2022 Concert & Festival Canceled Due to COVID-19. “As announcements of cancellations and postponements roll in, we’re keeping track of the latest in this updating list. Below, find all the 2022 concerts and festivals that have been canceled or rescheduled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (These are listed in descending order of announcement, so find the latest cancellations at the very top.)”


Detroit Jewish News: Synagogues Face Tough COVID Questions (Again) as Omicron Surges. “Nearly two years ago, when the pandemic hit the United States, synagogues were lauded for rapidly moving their entire slate of programming and worship online, and for finding ways to connect with congregants in a world where few were leaving their homes and many were dying. Since then, congregations’ plans have yo-yoed along with case rates, vaccinations and variants.”


CNN: Walgreens and CVS temporarily close some stores as Covid surges. “Two of the biggest retail pharmacies in the U.S. are temporarily closing some stores and pharmacies on the weekends as the latest surge in Covid-19 causes staff shortages.”

Associated Press: December retail sales slip after a record holiday season. “Americans overlooked shortages, spiking prices and uncertainty over the omicron variant to break spending records during the critical holiday shopping season. But figures released Friday show that after spending robustly early in the holiday season, consumers sharply slowed their purchases from November to December.”

NBC News: Covid testing company with 300 pop-up sites across U.S. faces multiple probes. “The Illinois-based Center for Covid Control was founded in Dec. 2020 by Aleya Siyaj, 29, whose previous experience includes starting an axe-throwing lounge and a donut shop, according to state business records and her LinkedIn page.”

The Verge: Google is now requiring office workers to get weekly molecular COVID-19 tests. “Google will require anyone going to one of its US offices or facilities to have received a negative molecular test for COVID-19, the company informed employees Thursday in a memo obtained by CNBC. Workers going to the office regularly will have to get tested weekly, chief health officer Karen DeSalvo said in the memo, and employees have been asked to report their vaccination status and wear surgical-grade masks indoors.”


BMJ: WHO recommends two new drugs to treat patients with COVID-19. “The drug baricitinib (a type of drug known as a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis) is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical covid-19 in combination with corticosteroids, says a WHO Guideline Development Group of international experts in The BMJ today.”

BBC: ‘High confidence’ Omicron is less severe in UK. “There is now high confidence that Omicron is relatively mild for most adults, says the UK Health Security Agency in its latest risk assessment. This is largely thanks to vaccines providing high protection against serious illness caused by this latest Covid variant that is infecting many.”

Washington Post: German police used a tracing app to scout crime witnesses. Some fear that’s fuel for covid conspiracists.. “Authorities in Germany are under fire for tracking down witnesses to a potential crime by using data from a mobile phone app that was intended to help identify close contacts of people infected with the coronavirus.”


ABC News: Biden administration to launch website for free at-home COVID tests on Wednesday. “The Biden administration will launch a new website on Wednesday that Americans can use to request free at-home rapid COVID tests mailed to their doorsteps, senior White House officials said on Friday.”

CBS News: Coronavirus infections inside U.S. immigration detention centers surge by 520% in 2022. “On Thursday, 1,766 immigrants were being monitored or isolated at ICE detention facilities due to confirmed coronavirus infections, a more than sixfold jump from January 3, when there were 285 active cases, government statistics show.”

Capitol Media Services: Feds might seek $163M refund over Arizona’s anti-mask mandate rules. “Federal officials are ordering Arizona to rescind its policy of giving COVID-19 dollars only to schools without mask mandates or face having to give back $163 million in aid. But a top aide to Gov. Doug Ducey is vowing to fight the move.”

Defense One: DOD Grants First Religious Waivers for COVID Vaccine. “In all, some 18,500 U.S. troops have requested such exemptions. The Air Force received the highest number of requests with 10,766, followed by the Marine Corps with 3,350, the Navy with 2,844, and the Army with 1,746. No other branch has reported an approved request, but have provided data on the number of disapproved accommodations.”

New York Times: The C.D.C. conceded that cloth masks do not protect against the virus as effectively as other masks.. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday clarified its stance on various kinds of masks, acknowledging that the cloth masks frequently worn by Americans do not offer as much protection as surgical masks or respirators.”

Axios: COVID deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket. “COVID deaths are also on the rise, up from about 1,200 per day two weeks ago to an average of over 1,700 per day now. The toll is a reminder that while Omicron is not as deadly as past variants, it’s still a serious threat for vulnerable people.”

NBC News: Amid labor shortage, Army offers largest enlistment bonus ever. “The Army is seeking to blunt the pandemic-fueled labor shortage rocking the country’s economy with its largest bonus ever — $50,000. In a release Wednesday, military recruiting officials said the incentive, for qualified recruits who sign up for certain career paths and agree to active-duty six-year enlistments, is aimed at luring the ‘same talent’ that private companies are competing for.”


State of Connecticut: Governor Lamont Announces Agreement With Disability Rights Groups on Distribution of COVID-19 Rapid Tests and N95 Masks. “Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration, working in cooperation with the Office of Attorney General William Tong, has reached an agreement with Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project regarding the state’s ongoing distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and N95 masks.”

Detroit Free Press: Officials refute report expected to allege undercount in COVID-19 long-term care deaths. “Michigan health officials are disputing a report that they say is expected to allege the state undercounted potentially hundreds or thousands of COVID-19 deaths of residents at long-term care facilities.”


Associated Press: Garbage and recyclables pile up as omicron takes its toll. “The omicron variant is sickening so many sanitation workers around the U.S. that some cities have had to delay or suspend garbage or recycling pickup, angering residents shocked that governments can’t perform this most basic of functions.”


BBC: Covid: Viral photo highlights challenges of vaccinating Amazon. “A photo of an indigenous man carrying his father on his back to take a Covid-19 vaccine in the Brazilian Amazon has gone viral, and became a symbol of the complicated vaccination logistics in one of the world’s most remote areas. The photo taken by a doctor shows 24-year-old Tawy holding Wahu, 67, after both were given a vaccine dose. They had to walk for hours through the forest to reach the vaccination site.”

New York Times: Fugitive Who Faked His Death and Fled U.S. Is Caught in Scotland, Officials Say. “The remembrances poured in for Nicholas Alahverdian, saying that he had succumbed at 32 to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2020…. But his demise was greatly exaggerated, the authorities in two states said this week. Mr. Alahverdian, a convicted sex offender wanted on a rape charge in Utah, was alive and not so well, prosecutors in Utah and the Rhode Island State Police said.”

CNN: Chinese woman stuck in blind date’s house by sudden Covid lockdown. “The 30-year-old woman, identified only by her surname Wang, went to meet her blind date for a home-cooked dinner on January 6 in her hometown of Zhengzhou, a city in central China grappling with a coronavirus outbreak…. Just when Wang was about to go home after the meal, she found out the whole neighborhood had gone into a swift lockdown, she said.”

Vice: This Man Went Looking for a Date Who Could Infect Him With COVID. “As much of the world fights to stem the spread of the virus, one man’s quest to become infected bucks the trend. A masochistic kink perhaps? The suspicion, according to insurance officials and Thai media, is that he planned to make an insurance claim.”

Daily Beast: Unvaxxed Lunch Lady Wants You to See Her COVID Death Spiral. “Michelle Fluegge wants everybody to see the photo of her on a ventilator during her very worst days because it shows what can happen if you fail to get vaccinated. ‘If I can help even one person,’ she told The Daily Beast of the picture, which shows her unconscious on a ventilator, her face pallid, the endotracheal tube down her windpipe held in place by a head strap, two other tubes inserted in her nose.”


KMBC: Kansas board passes measure to ease COVID-19-related substitute teacher shortages. “A Kansas state board is hoping that making it easier to obtain a substitute teaching license will help ease the severe shortage of substitute teachers across the state. The Kansas State Board of Education Wednesday passed a temporary emergency change to the requirements to obtain a Temporary Emergency Authorized License.”


New York Times: Unvaccinated women with Covid are more likely to lose fetuses and infants, Scottish data show.. “Researchers in Scotland reported on Thursday that pregnant women with Covid were not only at greater risk of developing severe disease, but also more likely to lose their fetuses and babies in the womb or shortly after birth, compared with other women who gave birth during the pandemic.”

New York Times: A popular at-home test detects most infectious Omicron cases, a study suggests.. “The Abbott BinaxNOW, a widely used at-home coronavirus test, can detect most people who are infected with the new Omicron variant and are carrying high levels of the virus, according to a new, real-world study of more than 700 people who visited a walk-up testing site in San Francisco.”

New York Times: Halting Progress and Happy Accidents: How mRNA Vaccines Were Made. “The vaccines were possible only because of efforts in three areas. The first began more than 60 years ago with the discovery of mRNA, the genetic molecule that helps cells make proteins. A few decades later, two scientists in Pennsylvania decided to pursue what seemed like a pipe dream: using the molecule to command cells to make tiny pieces of viruses that would strengthen the immune system.”


Global News: ‘Abhorrent’: Fraudsters pay Downtown Eastside residents to get vaccinated in their place. “Health officials in Vancouver say they’re aware of cases of people trying to pay vulnerable people in the city’s Downtown Eastside to get vaccinated for them so they can fraudulently obtain a COVID-19 vaccine passport.”


CNN: Senate Democrats press White House on Covid-19 testing shortage. “The Biden administration is facing intense scrutiny from a small group of Senate Democrats about the administration’s Covid-19 pandemic response, mainly the testing shortage as cases of the Omicron variant have surged across the United States.”

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