Monday CoronaBuzz, April 4, 2022: 51 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.


Engadget: Spotify adds promised COVID-19 content advisory. ” Spotify has finally acted on its promise to add a COVID-19 content advisory label. As CNBC reports (and Engadget can confirm), you’ll now see a tab for a COVID-19 Guide when you visit podcasts and other content discussing the new coronavirus.”

Deutsche Welle: German man got COVID jab 87 times — report. “The man reportedly went to eastern German jab centers and got vaccinated up to three times a day. Authorities believe it was all as part of a scheme to sell vaccination passes to anti-vaxxers.”


New York Times: Ivermectin Does Not Reduce Risk of Covid Hospitalization, Large Study Finds. “The anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, which has surged in popularity as an alternative treatment for Covid-19 despite a lack of strong research to back it up, showed no sign of alleviating the disease, according to results of a large clinical trial published on Wednesday.”


The Guardian: How the pandemic created a new generation of stoners. “The Covid-19 nightmare sparked a number of shake-ups to the social order – a burgeoning anti-work movement, a sharp economic swoon, and tiresome new polarities in the culture war. But as lockdown orders marched on, many weed agnostics dived in to the community with gusto, forming a new cohort of pandemic-era stoners. According to the data analytics firm Headset, legal marijuana sales increased by 120% in 2020, and 61% in 2021, and Fortune reported that Americans bought $18bn worth of cannabis in our first coronavirus year, $7bn more compared with 2019 transactional figures.”

Axios: American teens’ health behaviors suffered a lot during pandemic. “From increased drug and alcohol use to high levels of reported abuse and feelings of mental distress, the pandemic wreaked some major havoc on the health of American teenagers, according to a CDC report released Thursday.”


New York Times: After the Protesters Left, an Illicit Weed Began Growing in Parliament’s Garden. “When anti-vaccination protesters finally cleared out of New Zealand’s Parliament grounds after a three-week occupation, they left behind a scene of destruction and disorder — the charred remains of a children’s playground, camping equipment and human waste, among other items. This week, a man eating lunch in the Parliament garden spotted something else left behind by protesters — cannabis seedlings nestled among the brassicas and marigolds.”


Boston Globe: ‘I felt like I was drowning’: Exhausted and burned out, nurses are leaving their jobs in droves. “During the peaks of the pandemic, nurses witnessed the suffering and death that COVID can bring. They held the hands of dying patients. They worried about becoming sick themselves, or bringing the virus home to their families. And sometimes, instead of gratitude, patients in the throes of illness responded with abuse. At first, nurses said, adrenaline kept them going. But when COVID receded, other sick patients flooded hospitals. There was no time for health care workers to rest. With each successive surge of the virus, more experienced nurses have opted to leave. And the conditions for those who remained have become even worse.”


CNET: Could Hybrid Music Events Be Next Post-Pandemic Trend?. “Robert Meitus co-founder and VP of industry relations at Mandolin told CNET his company began as a way to bring live events to people in lockdown at home. He says now that people are going to see music again this will lead to more hybrid events in the future.”


New York Times: Need a Drink? Get in Line. “New York City’s bars are back and more crowded than ever. Since indoor vaccine mandates were lifted for the city’s bars on March 4, bar and club owners have reported huge lines and a big bump in drink sales.”

Medill Reports Chicago: Local restaurants struggle back to pre-pandemic ‘normalcy’. “Starting a restaurant is a monumental challenge at any time, but COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on dining in Chicago over the past two years have made the path to profitability for new and experienced restauranteurs alike difficult to navigate.”

Business Insider: Meta is no longer requiring COVID-19 booster shots for employees returning to its US offices. “Meta employees returning to US offices are no longer required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot prior to resuming in-person work, a reversal of its previous policy. ”


Axios: Night owl gets the worm. “Research shows roughly half of people are night owls, dictated by genetics, not choice. Not having to go into the office allows them to work — and often sleep — later.”

TIME: Back-to-Office Pressure Is Creating a Crisis for Long COVID Patients. “Millions of people in the U.S. have chronic illnesses or physical disabilities, and advocates have been calling for better workplace accommodations and federal disability policies since well before the pandemic. But two big changes in the workforce—an alarming number of newly disabled adults in the U.S. (many of them likely long-haulers) and millions of open jobs that need to be filled—may finally force companies to become more accommodating.”


The Guardian: No 10 lockdown breaches: Met police expected to issue first fines. “The first fines for lockdown breaches in Downing Street are expected to be issued imminently after Scotland Yard concluded that laws were broken at the heart of government, sources have told the Guardian. Multiple government insiders said the Metropolitan police had made referrals for the first tranche of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) connected with parties and gatherings being investigated by police in No 10 and the Cabinet Office.”

South China Morning Post: Missing coffins? Hong Kong’s Covid-19 deaths leave funeral agents struggling to meet demand for caskets. “Hong Kong Funeral Business Association chairman Ng Yiu-tong said he had heard of coffins allegedly stolen from warehouses earlier this month, when the high number of deaths from the city’s fifth wave of Covid-19 infections resulted in a shortage of caskets…. But he added that he would not be surprised if funeral workers mixed up casket orders by mistake as the industry faced its busiest period since the pandemic began two years ago.”

The Guardian: Profiteering over Covid PPE ‘disgraceful’, says UK government adviser. “A leading UK government adviser has criticised the ‘disgraceful’ profiteering of some companies that sought contracts to provide personal protective equipment and Covid testing during the pandemic.”

The Mainichi: Japan had fewer foreign residents in 2021 amid COVID border controls. “Japan had fewer foreign residents as of the end of 2021, down 4.4 percent from a year before, apparently due to its tighter border controls amid the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Tuesday.”

New York Times: Outbreak at Shanghai Hospital Exposes Covid’s Risks to China’s Seniors. “A coronavirus outbreak is ravaging a hospital in Shanghai for older adults, underscoring the difficulties officials have had in containing infections even as the city imposed a 10-day staggered lockdown.”

The Mainichi: Japan confirms 1st coronavirus case among Cabinet ministers. “The government said Friday that Seiko Noda, minister in charge of gender equality and children’s policies, has been infected with the novel coronavirus, the first confirmed case among incumbents of the Japanese Cabinet.”

Associated Press: Hong Kong urges testing, Shanghai struggles under lockdown. “Hong Kong authorities on Saturday asked the entire population of more than 7.4 million people to voluntarily test themselves for COVID-19 at home for three days in a row starting next week. The announcement by Chief Executive Carrie Lam came as the southern Chinese city is struggling to contain its worst outbreak with authorities sending mixed signals about testing and lockdowns.”

The Guardian: Covid experts call for return of free tests as UK cases hit new high. “Covid has hit an all-time high across the UK, with almost 5 million people – one in 13 of the population – estimated to have the virus, according to the most recent official data, prompting experts to call for the return of free testing.”

Axios: 44 countries have COVID vaccination rates under 20% despite supply increase. “COVID vaccine supply struggles are easing, but in 44 countries — most of them in Africa — less than 20% of the population is fully vaccinated. In 19, the rate is under 10%.”

Business Insider: A robot dog issuing COVID-19 safety instructions is roaming the streets of locked down Shanghai. “A robot dog is being used to bark COVID-19 safety measures in Shanghai, China. With a loudspeaker strapped to its back, the robodog tells residents in the city’s Jiading district to ‘wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and check your temperature,’ amid COVID-19 restrictions, The Times report.”


CDC: CDC Recommends Additional Boosters for Certain Individuals. “Following FDA’s regulatory actionexternal icon today, CDC is updating its recommendations to allow certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago to be eligible for another mRNA booster to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19. Separately and in addition, based on newly published data, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.”

Associated Press: Americans ease up on masks, virus safeguards: AP-NORC poll. “Americans are letting down their guard even as experts warn a new wave of COVID-19 cases is coming. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows fewer people taking protective measures than at any point in AP-NORC polls conducted since early 2021.”

CNET: CDC Lifts COVID-19 Risk Warning for Cruise Travel. “While the change doesn’t mean there is zero risk of transmission on a cruise, the agency said in a statement that ‘travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings.'”

NBC News: U.S. Covid hospitalizations hit new low, falling 32 percent in the last two weeks. “Covid hospitalizations are at their lowest levels since the U.S. began keeping records at the start of the pandemic, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Average hospitalizations fell to 16,760, lower than the previous low of 16,808, set before the delta wave in June.”

New York Times: The head of the C.I.A. tests positive and has mild symptoms.. “William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, a day after meeting with President Biden. The meeting was not considered a close contact for Mr. Biden because the two practiced social distancing and Mr. Burns was wearing an N95 mask, according to a C.I.A. statement. Mr. Biden tested negative on Wednesday when he was screened as part of regular health monitoring, an administration official said.”

New York Times: Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. fall to their lowest point since the summer.. “Fewer than 800 coronavirus deaths are being reported each day in the United States, the lowest daily average since before the Omicron variant took hold late last fall. The last time the rate was this low was in mid-August, according to a New York Times database.”

CNN: Nearly all American women agree the pandemic changed their lives, but their experiences vary drastically. Here’s why.. “According to CNN’s poll, a 54% majority of women in the US said they faced a major disruption to at least one of eight aspects of their everyday life due to the coronavirus — and 94% said they faced at least a minor disruption in one of those areas. About three-quarters of women said they faced at least a minor disruption in their relationship with close friends or family (77%), their plans for the future (74%), or their mental health (72%).”


WHMI: State to report COVID-19 data once per week as cases decline. ” The state plans to begin reporting Michigan’s COVID-19 data once per week as the numbers of cases and deaths decline. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services says its online COVID-19 dashboard will be updated only on Wednesdays.”

State of Missouri: Governor Parson Announces End To Covid-19 Crisis In Missouri. ” Today, during a press conference at the State Capitol, Governor Mike Parson announced an end to the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri and that the state will be shifting to an endemic phase of the pandemic on Friday, April 1, 2022. A whole-of-government COVID-19 emergency response was taken for more than two years, an effort that responded to the needs of all Missourians during the global pandemic and sustained state operations as more was learned about the novel virus. Vaccines, testing resources, and treatments are now readily available for all Missourians, and much of the population now has some immunity to the virus.”

Denver Post: Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations drop to near-record low. “The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 84 people were receiving care statewide for confirmed COVID-19 as of Tuesday. The daily count of people hospitalized for the virus has only been lower twice, on the first two days that Colorado collected that data in late March 2020.”

ABC 4 Utah: Utah changes statewide COVID response, shuts down testing sites. ” Utah will be moving to a ‘steady state’ format in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) announced on Wednesday that changes will be made to ‘bring the COVID-19 response more in line with responses to other infectious diseases.'”


New York Times: International Tourists Flock Back to New York, With One Big Exception. “After two years of sparse crowds in Times Square and other popular attractions, New York City is finally hoping for a robust rebound of visitors this year. But the city will still be missing a main driver of its prepandemic tourism boom: big spenders from China, whose government has yet to allow travel abroad.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago COVID-19 cases up 34% in a week, but city still ‘in good control,’ top doc says. “Case counts have remained relatively flat across most of the state, but the average seven-day positivity rate is at the highest point seen in a month. COVID deaths across the state have continued to plummet. The city is averaging less than one viral death per day.”


CNN: In about half of US counties, less than 10% of children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. “The youngest group eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the US, children ages 5 to 11, is also the least vaccinated one. In about half of US counties, less than 10% of children 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to a CNN analysis of data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

NBC News: As omicron lurks, Native Americans wary of boosters. “Nationally, 72 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives of all ages had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine as of March 28, and 59 percent were fully vaccinated — having received two doses of Moderna’s or Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s. A much smaller share had received booster shots — 44 percent of fully vaccinated Native Americans ages 12 and up, below the booster rates for whites, Asian Americans, and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago bluesman Bob Stroger turned to music to weather the pandemic storm. “Award-winning blues singer, songwriter and bass player Bob Stroger has been performing the blues for as long as he’s lived in Chicago. Having lived and performed through some of the most turbulent, transformative eras Black musicians have endured, the 91-year-old musician says the COVID-19 pandemic ‘was a trip’ unlike anything he’s ever experienced.”

San Diego Union Tribune: For this San Diego healing artist, musical meditation and jam sessions were her salvation during the pandemic. “San Diegan Liza Plummer — known as Lyza E. on stage — is a singer and healing artist who began hosting jam sessions and musical meditation gatherings during the pandemic to help people manage the stresses and anxieties that came with COVID-19.”

Daily Beast: Elite Marine Sniper’s New Enemy Is a Disease We Can’t Escape. “Anybody who knows 5-year-old Rebekah Sullivan would understand the significance of the video her mother received on Monday at the North Carolina ICU where the girl’s father is fighting to regain enough strength for a double transplant to replace his COVID-ravaged lungs. The video showed Rebekah in a pharmacy near her home with a Band-Aid on her right upper arm. A neighbor had just taken her to get a pediatric dose of the COVID vaccine. And she hates getting shots.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Some women extend breastfeeding to get COVID antibodies into their babies. “At just 19 months old, Ashley Bournias’ son, Theodore, is too young to receive any of the COVID vaccines. But Ms. Bournias has found a way to give him some protection against the virus: through antibodies in her breast milk…. Ms. Bournias, of McCandless, is part of a group of women sometimes referred to as long-haul breastfeeders, who are continuing to breastfeed longer than they had planned, in order to protect their toddlers from COVID-19.”


NBC News: BTS’ Jungkook tests positive for Covid days ahead of Grammys. “K-pop star Jungkook tested positive for Covid and is in self-quarantine after having arrived in the U.S. States for BTS’ Grammy performance. In a statement posted Monday on the Korean fan app Weverse, BTS’ management company, BigHit Music, said Jungkook, 24, has no symptoms aside from a ‘mild sore throat’ and that he is in self-quarantine.”

Deadline: Daniel Craig Contracts Covid-19, Cancels ‘Macbeth’ Performances On Broadway. “There will be no Daniel Craig appearances in the latest Broadway staging of Shakepeare’s Macbeth for a while. The Longacre Theater announced that the actor has tested postive for Covid-19 and will be out for a while.”


BuzzFeed News: Teachers In America Were Already Facing Collapse. COVID Only Made It Worse. “Teachers all over the country describe problems that touch every aspect of our culture and society, from technology dependence to stats-obsessed bureaucracy to a post-COVID behavior crisis.”

San Francisco Chronicle: This Bay Area school is reinstating its mask mandate after a COVID-19 spike. “A Bay Area elementary school has restored its mask mandate after reporting a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases. Since March 22, Coleman Elementary School in San Rafael has confirmed 23 total cases of the coronavirus across the school — 17 in students and six in employees — the district said. In response, the school informed families that it would be reinstating an indoor mask mandate through April 15.”


Associated Press: Into the wild: Animals the latest frontier in COVID fight. “Scientists are concerned that the virus could evolve within animal populations – potentially spawning dangerous viral mutants that could jump back to people, spread among us and reignite what for now seems to some people like a waning crisis.”

Stanford Medicine: COVID-19 vaccines reduce hospitalization, death in people with prior infection, study finds. “Two-dose COVID-19 vaccines significantly increase protection against hospitalization and death in people who had the illness before they were immunized.”

New York University: Researchers Outline Bias in Epidemic Research—And Offer New Simulation Tool to Guide Future Work. “A team of researchers unpacks a series of biases in epidemic research, ranging from clinical trials to data collection, and offers a game-theory approach to address them, in a new analysis. The work sheds new light on the pitfalls associated with technology development and deployment in combating global crises like COVID-19, with a look toward future pandemic scenarios.”


NBC News: ‘Biggest fraud in a generation’: The looting of the Covid relief plan known as PPP. “Many who participated in what prosecutors are calling the largest fraud in U.S. history — the theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money intended to help those harmed by the coronavirus pandemic — couldn’t resist purchasing luxury automobiles. Also mansions, private jet flights and swanky vacations. They came into their riches by participating in what experts say is the theft of as much as $80 billion — or about 10 percent — of the $800 billion handed out in a Covid relief plan known as the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.”

Sacramento Bee: She sold fake COVID vaccine cards on Facebook — two to undercover trooper, NY cops say. “Kaiyah S. Heinrich, of Cheektowaga, appeared in court on the charge of one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument on March 28, the office said in a news release provided to McClatchy News. She’s accused of selling the pair of fake cards to the undercover investigator on March 10.”

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