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Posts Tagged ‘ COVID-19

Fourth-Year Medical Students Join the Fight Against COVID-19

As more and more COVID-19 patients pour into hospitals around New York City, fourth-year Einstein medical students are volunteering for a program to help healthcare workers cope with the increasing demand for care.

Launched just one week ago, the program started with four students who were assigned to a special floor at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), where elective surgeries have been canceled to accommodate the influx of adult COVID-19 patients. (Four additional fourth-year medical students started working keen shoes with pediatricians earlier this week—two on the Moses campus and two at Jacobi Medical Center.)

Working as subinterns in tandem with hospital teams, the four CHAM volunteers are taking on 12-hour shifts, supporting pediatricians in the care of adult patients. Currently, it is the only program where Einstein medical students are working on the wards, and it is entirely voluntary.

“Everyone in the medical community is going above and beyond to help these patients,” said one of the fourth-years at CHAM, Corin Kinkhabwala. “This is where Einstein and Montefiore thought we would be most utilized and provide the best assistance. There are a lot of moving pieces. It’s very fluid, and you have to be adaptable.”

Todd Cassese, M.D., assistant dean for clinical sciences at Einstein, said each fourth-year “is caring for three to four patients and reporting back to the resident and attending physicians. The students are also providing advice on other patients on their teams.”

CHAM’s pediatric hospital medicine division chief, Patricia Hametz, M.D., said the fourth-year volunteers “have been truly amazing. They have stepped right up and become fully integrated members of the team. We are extremely grateful for the help as we all learn together how to care for this patient population.”
A Call for Action

When the COVID-19 pandemic started escalating in the Bronx in early March, medical school graduation was less than three months away. By mid-March, Einstein sent an email to gauge interest among the fourth-years in helping care for patients with COVID-19. “The fact that they reached out made me realize how dire the situation was,” Mr. Kinkhabwala said. Dozens of fourth-years volunteered.

Using a random name nike outlet generator, Dr. Cassese, working with the office of student affairs, selected four students: Mr. Kinkhabwala, Keara English, Michael Longo, and Marika Osterbur-Badhey. “We decided to start small and then grow the effort,” Dr. Cassese explained.

Josh Nosanchuk, M.D., Einstein’s senior associate dean for medical education, said the four piloting the program are “displaying their passion and compassion for our community. I couldn’t be more impressed or proud as they beautifully represent the heart and soul of Einstein”

Some of the adult patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms in the emergency departments at Montefiore are being sent to the converted floor at CHAM, where patients are sick enough to be hospitalized but do not require a ventilator. Patients who grow more ill are transferred to a different care team or the intensive-care unit.

Fourth-year volunteer Keara English says things were changing constantly due to need to accommodate the rapid influx of new patients, “but all the physicians—the attendings, residents, and interns—adapted quickly. I am proud to be able to work with them. Everyone is really trying to do their best to help our patients.”

To minimize the number of times healthcare staff go in and out of hospital rooms, a lot of the care is done by checking patient monitors connected to screens in the hallway and communicating with patients by telephone. “We are being paired with pediatric interns,” Ms. English said, “and basically just take the load off of them by checking the patients’ charts, making sure the lab reports come back, writing progress notes and discharge summaries, and communicating with the nursing staff, respiratory therapists, social work staff, and the family.”

Rhonda Acholonu, M.D., Montefiore’s vice chair for education in the department in pediatrics, said she worked alongside some of the fourth-years on overnight shifts at CHAM. “They were incredibly engaged and helpful. They spent time talking to the patients via the phone and gathering outstanding histories. It just goes to show you that the spirit to help is deeply engrained in the Einstein student.”
A Connection to Their Team

The CHAM COVID-19 schedule involves working from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for three days, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following three nights, and then skechers outlet three days off. “In times like these having continuity of teams is critical and can save lives,” Dr. Cassese said. “But we wanted the students to choose their schedules. They discussed it on their own and they decided to stick with their teams, and I think it was a great choice, but it was theirs.”

Mr. Kinkhabwala, who will start a residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina later in June, said, “Some patients are sicker than others. It’s tiring, but I love it. This is what I signed up for. The patients are great. They are so resilient. It helps me get up in the morning.”

Ms. English, who will begin her internship this summer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before starting her radiation oncology residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore next year, said she was motivated to volunteer at CHAM because of what she heard about the need for help from close friends who are interns in emergency medicine and internal medicine in New York City. “I knew that if there was anything I could do, I wanted to try and relieve that burden.”

She also felt a special kinship to the Bronx. “I love our community here,” Ms. English said. “There are a lot of patients here that, on a good day—with no COVID-19—struggle with their health. They deserve our best efforts.”

COVID Cases Keep Falling

Benigno Enriquez, right, elbow-bumps Miami Mayor Francis Suarez as Suarez hands out masks to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, at a mask distribution event, Friday, June 26, 2020, in a COVID-19 hotspot of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars Friday as its daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, a new record that is almost double the previous mark set just two days ago.

The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in the United States has plunged 57% since peaking on Sept. 1. Almost as encouraging as the magnitude of the decline is its breadth: Cases have been declining in every region.

Forecasting COVID’s future is extremely difficult, and it’s certainly possible that cases will rise again in the coming weeks. But the geographic breadth of the decline does offer reason for optimism.

Past COVID increases have generally brooks shoes started in one part of the country — like the South this summer or the New York region in early 2020 — and then gone national. Today, there is no regional surge that seems to have the makings of a nationwide surge.

Yes, there are some local hot spots, as has almost always been the case since the pandemic began. Several of the hot spots are in northern parts of the country, like Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and a few counties near the Canadian border in New Hampshire and Vermont. This pattern has led to some speculation that the onset of cold weather is causing the increases by moving more activity indoors — and that the entire country will soon experience a rise in caseloads.

That does not seem to be the most likely scenario, however. In most colder regions, including both Canada and the densely populated parts of the northern U.S., cases are still falling. The biggest problem for Alaska and the Mountain West is probably not the weather; it’s the vaccine skepticism. Idaho is the nation’s least vaccinated state, and several other Western states are only slightly ahead of it.

The CDC tracks a range of COVID forecasting models. On average, the models predict that new daily cases in the U.S. will fall roughly another 20% over the next three weeks.

The bottom line: There is no reason to expect another COVID surge anytime soon, but surges don’t always announce themselves in advance.

When the delta variant began spreading this summer, many people worried that it was both much more contagious than earlier versions of the virus and much more severe. Only one of those two fears seems to be true.

Delta is clearly more contagious, which is the main reason that every metric of the pandemic — cases, hospitalizations and deaths — soared this summer. But a typical COVID case during the delta wave was about as severe as a typical case during the earlier stages of the pandemic. During the wave in late 2020 and clarks shoes uk early this year, about 1.2% of positive cases led to death; during the delta wave, the share was 1.1%.

Scientific studies trying to answer the severity question more precisely have come to conflicting conclusions. Some have found delta to be more severe than other versions of the virus, and others have found that it is not. Until the research becomes clearer, the best guess may be that delta is modestly more severe, which could explain why hospitalizations and death rates have held steady even as vaccination rates have risen.

“Delta may be a little more serious, but not materially so,” Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said.

This pattern can influence how you think about your day-to-day activities. If you are vaccinated (and boosted, if eligible) and you were comfortable socializing indoors and without a mask last spring, you can probably feel comfortable doing so again, now or soon. Wachter adds: “Some older people or those with medical conditions may want to be sure that everybody else indoors with them is vaccinated before removing their mask.”

Despite all the encouraging news, one shadow still hangs over the U.S.: The pandemic does not need to be nearly as bad it is.

About 1,500 Americans have died of COVID every day over the past week. For older age groups, the virus remains a leading cause of death. And the main reason is that millions of Americans have chosen to remain unvaccinated. Many of them are older and have underlying medical conditions, leaving them vulnerable to severe versions of COVID.

For older people, the effects of vaccination are profound. In late August, near the height of the delta wave, 24 out of every 10,000 unvaccinated Americans 65 and above were hospitalized with COVID symptoms, according hey dude shoes to the CDC. Among fully vaccinated Americans 65 and above, the number was 1.5 per 10,000.

Even so, many Americans are saying no to a shot. Among affluent countries, the U.S. is one of the least vaccinated, trailing Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and others. Less vaccination means more death.

The low vaccination rate in the U.S. is another consequence of the country’s polarized politics and its high levels of socioeconomic inequality. Only 67% of American adults without a four-year college degree have received a shot, compared with 82% of college graduates, according to the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll. And only 58% of self-identified Republicans are vaccinated, compared with 90% of Democrats.

It is a triumph of misinformation: Offered a lifesaving vaccine to counteract a highly contagious virus, many Americans are instead choosing to take their chances.

Colin Powell’s death doesn’t contradict efficacy of coronavirus vaccines, experts say

WASHINGTON — The death of storied general and statesman Colin Powell from complications related to COVID-19 should not lead to any concerns about the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines, according to experts and government officials.

The fact remains that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die than those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Please don’t let the death of an American icon become fodder for anti-vax forces that are putting untold millions in danger,” wrote Department of Health and Human Services adviser Ian Sams on Twitter. “Vaccines work. They prevent bad salomon boots outcomes. They (like all vaccines) are not 100%, especially among older people with underlying/complicating health issues.”

Powell, who served as secretary of state during the George W. Bush administration and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before that, died Monday at age 84.

Crucially, Powell suffered from a blood cancer known as multiple myeloma — precisely the kind of “immunocompromised” condition that experts have said from the start could lead to lower vaccine efficacy. In fact, the vaccines seemed to work especially poorly in patients afflicted with that type of cancer, even after a booster shot. (Powell also suffered from Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition.)

President-elect Bush smiles as he introduces retired Gen. Colin Powell, left, as his nominee to be secretary of state during a ceremony in Crawford, Texas, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2000. Powell served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George Bush, father of the president-elect. (David J. Phillip/AP)
President-elect George W. Bush introduces Colin Powell in 2000 as his nominee to be secretary of state.

Powell’s wife, Alma, had also reportedly contracted the coronavirus but was able to fight off the ensuing COVID-19 illness successfully.

Still, the mere news that a high-profile figure like Powell had died after being fully vaccinated is bound to fuel misinformation about the sperry shoes pandemic. Alex Berenson, a former New York Times journalist widely criticized (and banished from Twitter) for voicing unsound views, used the news to mock the efficacy of vaccines on his Substack channel.

And John Roberts, a correspondent for Fox News — whose most prominent hosts have routinely spread vaccine misinformation — wrote on Twitter that Powell’s death “raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term.” Roberts deleted the tweet.

Medical professionals insist that worries about breakthrough deaths are unfounded and are being exaggerated by some media reports.

“The news reports, in saying that General Powell was vaccinated, should also mention that he had multiple myeloma. Individuals who are older, with chronic medical conditions (especially immunocompromised) are at much greater risk for adverse outcomes,” wrote Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner and a professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, in an email to Yahoo News.

“We should also be clear that the vaccines are very protective, but virtually nothing in medicine is 100%,” Wen wrote. “That doesn’t mean vaccines don’t work, but rather that we have to put the benefit of vaccination into perspective.”

Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) on stage during the Capital Concerts'
Powell at the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C., on May 28.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 190 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Of those people, 1,074 under the age of 65 have died from COVID-19. There have been 6,104 COVID-19 deaths of people 65 or older who had bluetooth headphones been vaccinated. Among the breakthrough coronavirus deaths tracked by the CDC were 951 people who did not show symptoms of COVID-19 and appear to have died from another cause.

“I don’t really have a sense yet if breakthrough deaths are up more recently because of waning vaccine immunity, [especially] given that 3rd mRNA immunizations should bump up immunity again,” tweeted Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine, alluding to the Pfizer booster shots that have recently been authorized for some groups.

More people are set to receive boosters in the coming weeks and months, as federal regulators are expected to approve shots for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The notion of breakthrough infections has been a concern since an outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., during the July 4 holiday weekend. Although the resort town boasted an exceptionally high vaccination rate, a cluster of 1,000 cases emerged. But despite the fear engendered by the outbreak, only seven of the Provincetown cases required hospitalizations, and no deaths were reported.

An Alabama couple who trashed vaccines on their YouTube channel died from COVID-19 within 3 weeks of each other

A screenshot of a Dusty and Tristan Graham traveling in their car.
Dusty and Tristan Graham of the “Alabama Pickers” YouTube channel.
  • An Alabama couple who opposed COVID-19 vaccines on YouTube died from the disease, AL.com reported.
  • In a video, Dusty and Tristan Graham said the vaccine was “technically not” a vaccine.
  • The couple’s channel had 10,000 subscribers before it was removed from YouTube, Social Blade said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An Alabama couple who asics shoes posted videos opposing COVID-19 vaccines on their YouTube channel, “Alabama Pickers,” died from the disease three weeks apart, AL.com reported.

Dusty and Tristan Graham, of Huntsville, Alabama, ran a YouTube page together where they would post videos showing them travel around the state to find vintage items, the report said. They would then sell the items on eBay under the name bama4348.

The couple’s YouTube channel appears to have been taken down, but one of their last videos was reposted to the channel “Vaxx Mann.” The channel belongs to the website sorryantivaxxer.com, a site dedicated to sharing social-media posts from people who publicly opposed the COVID vaccine and subsequently died from the disease.

“I’ve got my own passport. It’s called the Bill of Rights,” Dusty Graham said in the video.

In the video, Dusty Graham said the COVID-19 vaccine was “technically not” a vaccine and called it an “immunity therapy.”

“I don’t know guys. Here’s the deal: It’s been a year. I haven’t had it yet,” Dusty Graham said, before the couple listed a series of other illnesses they’d recovered from. They mentioned that Tristan Graham was a survivor of childhood bone cancer.

The couple’s channel had about 10,600 subscribers before it was removed, Social Blade said.

Tristan Graham died on August 25 in her sleep, AL.com reported. Last week, the couple’s daughter, Windsor, wrote in a since deleted Facebook post that keen shoes her father was being moved to a ventilator.

“I want to thank everybody that reached out to check on my brother and I,” she wrote, as quoted by AL.com. “For now, it’s just waiting and praying his body relaxes.”

Dusty Graham died on Thursday, a GoFundMe page set up to help the couple said.

Dusty Graham started the GoFundMe page from the intensive care unit two days after his wife’s death, AL.com reported. The page has raised about $23,000 to help the couple’s two children cover medical and funeral costs.

FDA experts among group opposing US booster shot plan

The average person doesn’t need a COVID-19 booster yet, an international group of scientists — including two top U.S. regulators — wrote Monday in a scientific journal.

The experts reviewed studies of the vaccines’ performance and concluded the shots are working well despite the extra-contagious delta variant, especially against severe disease.

“Even in populations with fairly high vaccination rates, the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission” at this stage of the pandemic, they concluded.

The opinion piece, published in The Lancet, illustrates the intense scientific debate about who needs booster doses nike sneakers and when, a decision the U.S. and other countries are grappling with.

After revelations of political meddling in the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, President Joe Biden has promised to “follow the science.” But the review raises the question of whether his administration is moving faster than the experts.

The authors include two leading vaccine reviewers at the Food and Drug Administration, Drs. Phil Krause and Marion Gruber, who recently announced they will be stepping down this fall. Among the other 16 authors are leading vaccine researchers in the U.S., Britain, France, South Africa and India, plus with the World Health Organization, which already has urged a moratorium on boosters until poor countries are better vaccinated.

In the U.S., the White House has begun planning for boosters later this month, if both the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree. Advisers to the FDA will weigh evidence about an extra Pfizer shot Friday at a key public meeting.

Georgetown University’s Larry Gostin said the paper “throws gasoline on the fire” in the debate about whether most Americans truly need boosters and whether the White House got ahead of scientists.

“It’s always a fundamental error of process to make a scientific announcement before the public health agencies have acted and that’s exactly what happened here,” said Gostin, a lawyer and public health specialist.

The FDA did not respond to requests for comment Monday morning.

The U.S. already offers an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to people with severely weakened immune systems.

For the general population, the debate is boiling down to whether boosters should be given even though the vaccines are still offering high protection against severe disease — possibly in hopes of blocking milder “breakthrough” infections among the fully vaccinated.

Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said new data showed that as delta surged, the unvaccinated were 4.5 times more likely than the fully vaccinated to get infected, over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die. asics shoes Still, government scientists are also weighing hints that protection is waning among older adults who were vaccinated early last winter.

The writers of Monday’s commentary reported reviewing worldwide studies since delta began surging, mostly of U.S. and European vaccines. The team concluded “none of these studies has provided credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease.”

Because the body builds layers of immunity, gradual drops in antibody levels don’t necessarily mean overall effectiveness is dropping “and reductions in vaccine efficacy against mild disease do not necessarily predict reductions in the (typically higher) efficacy against severe disease,” they wrote.

The more the virus spreads, the more opportunity it has to evolve into strains that could escape current vaccines. The Lancet reviewers suggest there could be bigger gains from creating booster doses that better match circulating variants, much like flu vaccine is regularly updated, than from just giving extra doses of the original vaccine.

“There is an opportunity now to study variant-based boosters before there is widespread need for them,” the scientists wrote.

Demand Surges for Deworming Drug for COVID, Despite No Evidence It Works

For the past week, Dr. Gregory Yu, an emergency physician in San Antonio, has received the same daily requests from his patients, some vaccinated for COVID-19 and others unvaccinated: They ask him for ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms that has repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus.

Yu has refused the ivermectin requests, he said, but he knows some of his colleagues have not. hey dude shoes Prescriptions for ivermectin have seen a sharp rise in recent weeks, jumping to more than 88,000 per week in mid-August from a pre-pandemic baseline average of 3,600 per week, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some pharmacists are even reporting shortages of the drug. Travis Walthall, a pharmacist in Kuna, Idaho, a town of about 20,000 people, said that this summer alone he had filled more than 20 ivermectin prescriptions, up from two or three in a typical year. For the past week, he has not been able to obtain the drug from his suppliers — they were all out.

Walthall was astonished, he said, at how many people were willing to take an unapproved drug for COVID. “I’m like, gosh, this is horrible,” he said.

Though sometimes given to humans in small doses for head lice, scabies and other parasites, ivermectin is more commonly used in animals. Physicians are raising alarms about a growing number of people getting the drug from livestock supply centers, where it can come in highly concentrated paste or liquid forms.

Calls to poison control centers about ivermectin exposures have risen dramatically, jumping fivefold over their baseline in July, according to CDC researchers, who cited data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Mississippi’s health department said earlier this month that 70% of recent calls to the state poison control center had come from people who ingested ivermectin from livestock supply stores.

Dr. Shawn Varney, a toxicologist and medical director for the South Texas Poison Center, said that in 2019 his center received 191 calls about exposure to ivermectin; this year, the center has received 260 calls and is on pace to reach 390 by the end of the year. The vast majority of the recent calls came from people who took a veterinary product in an attempt to treat or prevent COVID.

“Everyone wants some cure for COVID because it’s such a devastating illness,” Varney said. “I plead with people to stop using ivermectin and get the vaccine because it’s the best protection we have at this point. Everything else is risk after risk.”

Varney said people calling the poison control center hey dude after taking ivermectin sometimes reported nausea, muscle pain and diarrhea. He noted that there have been ivermectin overdose deaths in the past, although he did not know of any specifically associated with COVID.

The biggest risk, he added, comes from people taking the livestock product and ingesting a far higher dose than is appropriate for humans — sometimes 10-15 times the amount that a capsule approved for humans might contain.

“People are going to animal feed stores and getting a formulation that’s highly concentrated because it’s for 1,000-pound animals,” Varney said. “They’re opening themselves to great potential harm.”

Ivermectin was introduced as a veterinary drug in the late 1970s, and the discovery of its effectiveness in combating certain parasitic diseases in humans won the 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine.

Although it has not been shown to be effective in treating COVID, people are now clamoring to get the drug, trading tips in Facebook groups and on Reddit. Some physicians have compared the phenomenon to last year’s surge of interest in hydroxychloroquine, although there are more clinical trials evaluating ivermectin.

The Food and Drug Administration weighed in last week. “You are not a horse,” the agency tweeted, with a warning explaining that ivermectin is not FDA-approved for treating or preventing COVID and that taking large doses can cause serious harm.

A recent review of 14 ivermectin studies, with more than 1,600 participants, concluded that none provided evidence of the drug’s ability to prevent COVID, improve patient conditions or reduce mortality. Another 31 studies are still underway to test the drug.

“There is great interest in repurposing well-known inexpensive drugs such as ivermectin that are readily available as an oral tablet,” Maria-Inti Metzendorf and Stephanie Weibel, the authors of the review, said in an email to The New York Times. “Even if these circumstances seem ideal, balenciaga shoes the results from the available clinical studies carried out so far cannot confirm the widely advertised benefits.”

One of the largest trials studying ivermectin for COVID treatment, called the Together Trial, was halted by the data safety monitoring board on Aug. 6 because the drug had been shown to be no better than a placebo at preventing hospitalization or prolonged stay in the emergency room. Dr. Edward Mills, a professor at McMaster University who led the study, which enrolled more than 1,300 patients, said the team would have discontinued it earlier were it not for the level of public interest in ivermectin.

“The data safety person said, ‘This is now futile and you’re offering no benefit to patients involved in the trial,’” Mills said.

Another study of the drug found that ivermectin could be fairly benign unless taken at high doses. Dr. Eduardo López-Medina, a researcher at the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Colombia, led a randomized control trial for the study last spring on the impacts of ivermectin and found that it had no statistically significant effect on reducing the duration of COVID symptoms. But he also found that there was no statistically significant increase in adverse events for the patients receiving ivermectin, although they were taking a fairly high dose of 300 micrograms per kilogram.

“It appears to be a safe medication, but that is not enough to prescribe it openly,” López-Medina said. “People should use it in trials but not necessarily to treat patients. The data is not robust enough to support its use.”

Researchers and physicians are particularly alarmed by people seeking out ivermectin as a form of possible prevention or treatment instead of getting one of the highly effective COVID vaccines. The FDA last week fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for people 16 and older, and an approval of Moderna’s vaccine is expected in the coming weeks.

“The only functional strategy we have for getting control of COVID-19 is vaccination,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a physician in New York and founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “If people are not getting vaccinated because of nonsense they’re reading on the internet, that interferes with our ability to get this pandemic under control.”

The Republican pandemic response is breaking my brain

An elephant.
An elephant. Illustrated | iStock

Nine months after several highly effective coronavirus vaccines started to become available in America, and three to five months after they became available in pharmacies across the country, the pandemic is now as bad as it’s ever been in ecco shoes many states. In Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and South Carolina, daily hospitalizations and deaths are at or near the March 2020 peak, while in Florida the previous records have been far surpassed.

At the same time, conservative elites are doing their level best to spread the virus as much as possible, even as COVID-19 is killing conservatives by the thousands. It’s willful, malign negligence on a mind-boggling scale.

I can barely keep up with the number of minor conservative figures who have died of COVID after refusing to take the vaccine. The radio host Phil Valentine is dead after having mocked the vaccine, and so is Newsmax host Dick Farell. The same is true of Texas Republican official Scott Apley. South Carolina party official Pressley Stutts continued to post anti-vaccine conspiracy theories from his COVID ICU bed until he died. And among the voting base, it’s total carnage.

Yet Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still in a ferocious dispute with his state’s school districts about mask mandates, as his state’s pediatric ICU beds are swamped. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued an (almost certainly unconstitutional) order banning any institution receiving public funds from requiring vaccines. South Dakota recently held the Sturgis motorcycle rally again with the furious support of Gov. Kristi Noem — despite the fact that the state is trailing in vaccination and last year the rally created a pandemic charnel house. Unsurprisingly, cases there are once again shooting through the roof.

The story that might have fully broken my brain for good is the recent plague of conservatives poisoning themselves with veterinary deworming paste. The idea is to get a drug called ivermectin, which has been promoted as yet another coronavirus miracle cure by various fringe quacks. Perhaps the most prominent is the former biology professor Bret Weinstein, who has been publishing anti-vaccine propaganda on a podcast and YouTube in the classic passive-aggressive “just asking questions” fashion.

As Jef Rouner explains at Houston Press, the formula is simple and lucrative: raise fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the vaccines with complicated but false arguments that are hard for a layman to untangle, launder extreme claims by interviewing total lunatics, all while recommending unproven miracle remedies the shadowy nike sneakers Big Pharma conspiracy is supposedly suppressing. Then when you get in trouble for spreading antivaccine lies during a global pandemic, scream that you’re being “censored” to get more attention, and watch the subscription numbers jump. Sure enough, Weinstein got on Fox News and other conservative outlets after YouTube demonetized his channel and deleted some videos. He even got a friendly reception from ex-leftist Matt Taibbi, who wrote two articles about ivermectin treating Weinstein as a credible source and a victim of Big Tech censorship.

In terms of science, the story is virtually identical to what happened with hydroxychloroquine — promising initial evidence that has crumbled on further scrutiny. One big study was retracted when it turned out much of the abstract was plagiarized and the data was faked. A meta-analysis examining 14 studies published late last month found highly equivocal results: “Overall, the reliable evidence available does not support the use [of] ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 outside of well-designed randomized trials.”

To answer Taibbi’s duplicitous leading question, there are two reasons why it is a bad idea to trumpet the possibility of unproven miracle cures during a pandemic. First, even the promising initial studies did not show ivermectin to be anywhere close to as protective as the vaccines, which are among the most-studied treatments in the history of medicine. Second, spreading overheated rumors about miracle drugs before the evidence is in will lead credulous people to take it without knowledge of proper dosage or considering toxic interactions. Sure enough, deworming paste is flying off the shelves, some doctor in Arkansas is giving it to prisoners, and calls to poison control centers are skyrocketing across the South. Facebook groups are full of stories of poisoned people suffering severe diarrhea and expelling “rope worms,” which turn out to be almost certainly shreds of intestinal lining.

But in terms of politics, the horse paste saga is a perfect window in the conservative mindset that is currently the biggest force fueling the pandemic. The core behavior here is muleheaded, selfish spitefulness, adhered to even at great personal risk. “Freedom” for movement conservatives is entirely one-directional: They get to spray virus fog whenever and wherever they want, and they also get to force you or your kids to not wear a mask.

Because that behavior is so monstrous, there is a large incentive to make up comforting lies about how the pandemic is exaggerated or fake, or the vaccines don’t work — much facilitated by the fact that consuming right-wing media nike store for very long tends to turn your brain into horse paste. Some right-wing voices pushing this line actually believe it, as shown by the lamented dead above. But others are just cynical — Abbott recently came down with COVID, but it turns out he had not only been vaccinated but also had already gotten a booster shot, and was getting daily tests, so had a very mild case.

Finally, because the financial engine of the conservative media complex is tricking gullible retired people into buying brain pills and reverse mortgages, conservatives are easy pickings for cynical and/or deluded grifters hawking snake oil remedies when they do contract COVID after coughing into each other’s face at the Cheesecake Factory to own the libs.

Yet another wave of completely pointless death seems to be motivating a lot of people to finally get vaccinated — but thus far the procrastinators, not the ideological, hard core antivaxxers. Even when Donald Trump tried to argue for the vaccine at a rally in Alabama recently, he was booed. It seems the pandemic will keep burning out of control until just about every conservative vaccine refusenik has gotten COVID. Another few months ought to do it.

Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine boosters show signs of taming Delta

By Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Less than a month into a COVID-19 vaccine booster drive, Israel is seeing signs of an impact on the country’s high infection and severe illness rates fuelled by the fast-spreading Delta variant, officials and scientists say.

Delta hit Israel in June, just as the country began to reap the benefits of one of the world’s fastest vaccine roll-outs.

With an open economy and most curbs scrapped, brooks shoes Israel went from single-digit daily infections and zero deaths to around 7,500 daily cases last week, 600 people hospitalized in serious condition and more than 150 people dying in that week alone.

On July 30, it began administering a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to people over 60, the first country to do so. On Thursday it expanded eligibility to 40-year-olds and up whose second dose was given at least 5 months prior, saying the age may drop further.

In the past 10 days, the pandemic is abating among the first age group, more than a million of whom have received a third vaccine dose, according to Israeli health ministry data and scientists interviewed by Reuters.

The rate of disease spread among vaccinated people age 60 and over – known as the reproduction rate – began falling steadily around Aug. 13 and has dipped below 1, indicating that each infected person is transmitting the virus to fewer than one other person. A reproduction rate of less than 1 means an outbreak is subsiding. https://tmsnrt.rs/3grj7kv

Scientists said booster shots are having an impact on infections, but other factors are likely contributing to the decline as well.

“The numbers are still very high but what has changed is that the very high increase in the rate of infections and severe cases has diminished, as has the pace at which the pandemic is spreading,” said Eran Segal, data scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an adviser to the government.

“This is likely due to the third booster shots, an uptake in people taking the first dose and the high number of people infected per week, possibly up to 100,000, who now have natural immunity,” Segal said.

BOOSTER VS LOCKDOWN

After reaching one of the highest per-capita infection rates in the world this month, the question now is whether Israel can battle its way out of a fourth outbreak without imposing another lockdown that would damage its economy.

Evidence has emerged showing that while the vaccine is still highly effective in preventing serious illness, its protection diminishes with time. But there is no consensus among scientists and agencies that a third dose is necessary, and the World Health Organization has said skechers uk more of the world should be vaccinated with a first dose before people receive a third dose.

The United States has announced plans to offer booster doses to all Americans, eight months after their second vaccine dose, citing data showing diminishing protection. Canada, France and Germany have also planned booster campaigns.

About a million of Israel’s 9.3 million population have so far chosen not to vaccinate at all and children under 12 are still not eligible for the shots. On Thursday, health officials said they have identified waning immunity among people under 40, although relatively few have fallen seriously ill.

According to Doron Gazit, a member of the Hebrew University’s COVID-19 expert team which advises government, the rise in cases of severely ill vaccinated people in the 60 and older group has been steadily slowing to a halt in the last 10 days.

“We attribute this to the booster shots and to more cautious behaviour recently,” Gazit said.

More than half of those over 60 have received a third jab, according to the Health ministry.

The rate of new severe cases among unvaccinated patients 70 and older is now seven times that of vaccinated patients, and the gap will continue to grow as long as infections rise, according to Gazit. Among those over 50, that gap is four-fold.

“We are optimistic, but very cautious,”hey dude shoes  Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz told public broadcaster Kan on Sunday. “It gives us more time, slows the spread and we’re moving away from lockdown.”

But even if the boosters are slowing the pandemic’s pace, it is unlikely to fend Delta off entirely.

Dvir Aran, biomedical data scientist at Technion – Israel’s Institute of Technology, said that while cases are retreating, other measures are needed alongside boosters to stop the pandemic. “It will take a long time until enough people get a third dose and until then thousands more people will getting seriously ill.”

Since Delta’s surge, Israel has reimposed indoor mask wearing, limitations on gatherings and ramped up rapid testing.

Its “living with COVID” policy will be tested come September, when schools reopen after summer break and when the Jewish holiday season starts, with families traditionally gathering to celebrate.

3 leading COVID-19 experts say there isn’t clear evidence that healthy, vaccinated people will need booster shots 8 months out

Ohio vaccine
An Ohio resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine in March. 
On Wednesday, US officials recommended a booster shot eight months after a person’s second jab.
  • Three COVID-19 experts said they weren’t sure this was the right strategy to curb the pandemic.
  • Ultimately, they said, we need to vaccinate the unvaccinated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The federal government has recommended COVID-19 booster shots for all.

In a statement on Wednesday, US health officials said all Americans who received an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna may get a boost eight months after their second shot. A booster is not yet recommended for people who received a J&J vaccine, ecco shoes which uses different vaccine technology.

“The current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead,” the officials said, “especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout.”

Experts in the field weren’t particularly surprised at the announcement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and pharmaceutical companies have anticipated that COVID-19 booster doses will eventually be necessary.

But there is some debate about the new plan – including whether it is the right approach to contain the pandemic at this juncture, and who really needs boosters.

John Moore, an immunologist from Weill Cornell Medical College, said he trusted that the Biden administration’s recommendation was “science-driven.” But like others interviewed for this story, he questioned how much boosting people who are already well protected from disease and death – i.e., fully vaccinated people under 60 who aren’t immunocompromised – would affect the pandemic.

“The unvaccinated are the drivers of this pandemic,” he said. “If we didn’t have 100 million unvaccinated people, we wouldn’t be having this kind of conversation because the pandemic would have been squelched in America several months ago.”

Why US officials recommend boosters at 8 months

Rochelle Walensky
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky at a news conference in December. 

In announcing the new recommendations on Wednesday, the CDC shared a few data sets that influenced its decision.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky nike sneakers referenced data from Israel and New York, as well as a preprint from the Mayo Clinic, that showed protection from the vaccines waned slightly over time. One study found that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were 75% effective at preventing infection in nursing homes in the spring, but by summer, with Delta spreading, they were 53% effective. Another study found that the two vaccines protected very well against severe COVID-19 and hospitalization for up to six months.

Pfizer’s research, meanwhile, suggested that its vaccine was highly protective (91.3% efficacy) against symptomatic COVID-19 for six months after the second dose. On Monday, Pfizer submitted data to the FDA recommending boosters six to 12 months after the second dose. The people in its study received boosters eight to nine months out.

Taken together, these findings suggest vaccine effectiveness does wane over time, especially in the face of the Delta variant. But it’s not clear when the optimal time is for a booster shot.

“There’s no question that a third dose does increase antibody response,” Moore said. “The debate has been whether and when it was necessary to do this.”

Walensky said staying ahead of the virus was the biggest motivation driving the eight-month booster recommendation. And vaccines have proved to be our best tool: The US-authorized shots, which were rolled out eight months ago, have protected Americans from symptomatic infection and severe illness and saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

“You don’t want to find yourself behind, playing catch up,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Boosters seem to protect vaccinated people from mild illness

The Hamptons in summer
Southampton, New York. 

Studies have shown that COVID-19 booster doses increase the antibody levels in vaccinated people’s blood. Higher antibody levels in general are associated with greater immune protection.

Dr. Robert Atmar, who’s leading a booster trial at Baylor College of Medicine, said he suspected boosters could even prevent some cases of long COVID-19 by protecting vaccinated people from mild illness.

“That’s always a good thing,” Atmar said. But “it may be a little bit of extrapolation to suggest that a nike store booster is warranted,” he added.

What is surely warranted right now, Atmar said, is curbing the soaring rate of hospitalizations among the 50% of Americans who remain unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Boosters might not do much to address that.

“Will it keep more people out of the hospital? Maybe, but I don’t know that,” he said, adding: “Targeting the unvaccinated would have a greater effect, from a public-health standpoint, if those individuals could be persuaded to accept the vaccine.”

Boosters do not solve the real problem: keeping unvaccinated people out of the hospital

louisiana covid hospital
Clinicians work on intubating a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on August 10. 

Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and coinventor of the rotavirus vaccine, said the goal of these boosters should be the same as any vaccination: to eliminate “the worst things the virus can do.”

Offit, like Moore and Atmar, said that aim would be better achieved by first vaccinating more people who haven’t got their first dose, rather than bolstering protection for those who have.

“The real problem in this country is not that we need to boost the vaccinated – it’s that we need to vaccinate the unvaccinated,” Offit said. “That’s the problem. Until we do that, we’re going to suffer in this country.”

Moore put it even more starkly: “There are 100,000 to 200,000 people walking around America today who will be dead by the end of the year, and mostly self-inflicted, by refusing vaccination,” he said. “That’s the bigger issue.”

Should kids wear masks in school? These states have banned mandates despite experts’ pleas

Lucie Phillips, 6, and her brother David Phillips, 3, join parents and students during a rally at the Utah State School Board Office calling for a mask mandate on Aug. 6. [AP PHOTO/RICK BOWMER]
Lucie Phillips, 6, and her brother David Phillips, 3, join parents and students during a rally at the Utah State School Board Office calling for a mask mandate on Aug. 6.

Children under 12 are still not eligible for vaccines against COVID-19. And just in time for back-to-school season, the highly contagious delta variant is causing pediatric cases of the coronavirus to skyrocket.

The good news is experts agree on how to keep kids and teachers safer at in-person school: Adults and older children should be vaccinated, and everyone should wear masks.

But many schools aren’t requiring them – and many states say they can’t, even if administrators and parents want to.

What’s a parent to do?

Studies from last school year show mask-wearing is an effective prevention strategy, according hey dude to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report updated in July. But when mask use is inconsistent, the CDC found, outbreaks can occur.

That will be even more the case this year with the delta variant on the rise.

Most states have lifted mask mandates in schools but allow local districts to impose them as they see fit. Twelve states have imposed mask mandates in schools, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – a group that has grown this week.

Eight states have banned their school districts from imposing mandates.

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Wearing a mask provides instantaneous protection. It can guard an individual from infection even in environments where not everyone is masked, such as schools without mask mandates.

Should everyone wear masks? Why the CDC’s new mask recommendation applies to vaccinated Americans

“It’s similar to a bicycle helmet,” said Dr. James Versalovic, chief pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital. “We have things that we put on or around our bodies that may restrict our hearing or our vision momentarily, but we do that because these things protect us and they keep us safe.”

More than 90% of COVID cases affecting children now are due to the delta variant, Versalovic said. He worries more children will have to be hospitalized in the coming weeks. Texas, where he works, has a ban on mask mandates via executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.

Children who contract COVID-19 may suffer symptoms of acute infection, but of even greater concern are the consequences of long-haul COVID. It’s estimated that 10% of children who contract COVID will have chronic symptoms that may include cardiac conditions, decreased lung function and behavioral or functional abnormalities.

With cases on the rise, 63% of parents think their balenciaga shoes child’s school should require unvaccinated students and staff to wear a mask, ​​​​a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found. Rural and white parents were more likely to want schools to end COVID-19 safety protocols such as masking, and parents of color and urban parents were more likely to want them in place, another survey by the RAND Corp. found in May.

Passionate, angry parents filled school board meetings across the country this week – to plead for mask mandates or to rail against them.

“I myself have lost faith in the public school system,” one parent told the Michigan State Board of Education on Wednesday, when it met to pass a resolution supporting decisions on mask mandates made by individual schools.

“This is a matter of life and death,” countered Mike Siegel, a parent of two elementary students in Austin, Texas, who is an attorney and a former Democratic congressional candidate.

Some school districts are implementing mask requirements in defiance of their state’s bans.

Schools in Houston, Dallas and Austin, for instance, have implemented a mask mandate for teachers and students, despite an executive order from the governor prohibiting mask requirements in Texas. Several districts are also engaged in a legal battle over the executive order.

Late Friday, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona wrote a letter to Abbott backing the districts that have defied his executive order and adopted “science-based strategies” for reopening schools safely. Federal law, Cardona said, requires schools that received American Rescue Plan stimulus money to develop plans for safe return to instruction.

Similar acts of defiance and legal battles are playing out in other states with bans on mask mandates.

Vaccines can help adults limit COVID outbreaks

As schools reopen, it’s important to remember kids are less to blame for the spread of COVID-19 than adults. Data from school reopenings in 2020 suggests adult-to-adult transmission was a higher risk than infections passed from adults to children. And some evidence suggests nike sneakers COVID spread more easily among teens than elementary-age children.

That science puts the emphasis on vaccines for people who are eligible. Keeping cases down among teachers and parents can help schools stay open.

No vaccines for young kids, yet: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors say it’s ‘risky’

“The fall and winter consequences of any (school) outbreaks will depend crucially on how many adults are vaccinated in the wider community, because schools are a hub connecting many different households,” Bill Hanage, an epidemiology professor at Harvard University, told USA TODAY.

So far, only Hawaii and California have required teachers to be vaccinated. Puerto Rico requires the shot for children 12 and over who are taking in-person classes. 

Roughly a dozen states have banned schools or employers from mandating vaccines. Bills seeking to restrict vaccine mandates have passed one house of the legislature in four other states.

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On Thursday, the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, endorsed vaccine mandates for teachers, with requirements for regular COVID-19 testing for people who want to opt out.

“Guardians of children, all adults and teachers, need to recognize their responsibility to children to get vaccinated,” Versalovic said.

Are COVID vaccine mandates legal? Supreme Court declines request by Indiana University students to block vaccine mandate

Half of all Americans are fully vaccinated, CDC data show, but the percentage is much higher in some states — and much lower in others.

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Is it safe to send kids to school – in masks or without?

The pandemic has made it clear children learn best in classrooms, so public health experts recommend schools do everything they can to hold in-person classes.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is likely to spread more easily in schools when a community has high transmission, the CDC says – and much of the country has returned to those levels.

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Versalovic says parents should keep their child at home if they have had a known COVID-19 exposure or are showing COVID symptoms. He also recommends parents have a conversation with their kids about best practices for limiting viral spread.

Successful mitigation strategies include social distancing and proper hygiene. And, of course, masking.

Parents should be cautious but not anxious about sending their children back to school, said Dr. Chad Perlyn, president of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Specialists in the Miami area. Schooling is important to a child’s mental and emotional development, Perlyn said.

That’s the same reason some parents have cited in protesting school mask mandates.

“We often hear the question, ‘Is it natural for children to wear masks in schools?’ And the obvious answer is no,” Perlyn said. “That said, the protections that masks can afford by limiting the spread of the disease is very meaningful.”

The benefit of masks far outweighs any downsides. For instance, Perlyn said, wearing a mask does not impede breathing.

“Throughout the course of the pandemic there has been much discussion about whether masks cause increased (carbon dioxide) levels and whether that affects children,” Perlyn said. “What we know is that the masks that children and adults would be wearing do not raise CO2 levels to any meaningful point.”

Milana Noueilaty and her son, Kaden, on Monday asked Austin Independent School District in Texas to implement a mask mandate. The district did so this week, defying a ban from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Milana Noueilaty and her son, Kaden, on Monday asked Austin Independent School District in Texas to implement a mask mandate. The district did so this week, defying a ban from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Karalyn Maggino, with her daughter, Madison, 8, after a Clarkstown School Board meeting in West Nyack, New York, was adjourned early Thursday when many attendees refused to wear masks.
Karalyn Maggino, with her daughter, Madison, 8, after a Clarkstown School Board meeting in West Nyack, New York, was adjourned early Thursday when many attendees refused to wear masks.

Wearing a mask has no impact on cognitive function or brain development, he added. What does are the side effects of COVID such as inflammation of the brain or the weeks-long phases of mental fog that have been reported in long-haul COVID cases.

Perlyn encouraged parents to arrange Zoom play dates at the beginning of the school year so their children can interact and meet each other without masks.

He also suggested parents or teachers craft a “smile button” for students, which is a photo of the child’s face they pin on their clothes so others can essentially see through their mask.

“Ideally, a child would be playing and laughing and interacting with other children without a mask. But I will say that I think we will see that in a matter of a few months,” Vasolovic said. “I’m confident that we will reach that time before the end of the school year.”