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Omicron has changed the shape of the pandemic. Will it end it for good?

The world feared the worst when a worrying new coronavirus variant emerged in late November and ripped through South Africa at a pace not seen before in the pandemic.

But two months later, with Omicron dominant across much of the globe, the narrative has shifted for some.
“Levels of concern about Omicron tend to be lower than with previous variants,” Simon Williams, a researcher in public attitudes and behaviors towards Covid-19 at Swansea University, told CNN. For many, “the ‘fear factor of Covid’ is lower,” he said.
Omicron’s reduced severity compared to previous variants, and the perceived likelihood that individuals will eventually be infected, have contributed to that relaxation in people’s mindsets, Williams said. This has even caused some people to actively seek olukai shoes out the illness to “get it over with” — a practice experts have strongly warned against.
But some within the scientific community are cautiously optimistic that Omicron could be the pandemic’s last act — providing huge swathes of the world with “a layer of immunity,” and moving us closer to an endemic stage when Covid-19 is comparable to seasonal illnesses like the cold or flu.
“My own view is that it’s becoming endemic, and it will continue to stay endemic for some time — as has happened with other coronaviruses,” said David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“All viruses try to become endemic, and to me this one looks like it’s succeeding,” he said.
A sign in the German city of Kassel reminds people to wear a mask.
Covid-19 has evolved with great unpredictability, and the variant that superseded Delta could have been more sinister, experts say; but the world ultimately got a dominant strain that is sweeping through populations with ease, without causing the same degree of hospitalizations, severe illnesses and deaths that previous variants have done.
Experts caution that there may be setbacks along the way — just as Omicron’s make-up was unexpected, the next variant could present a more serious public health risk and delay the end of the pandemic.
And many countries, particularly where vaccination coverage is low, could still face overwhelmed hospitals due to the current Omicron wave.
But a political urgency is appearing in much of the West to return societies to a sense of normality — with the transmissibility of Omicron forcing leaders to choose between rolling back public health measures or seeing their workforces and economies risk grinding to a standstill.
And for the first time since the spread of Covid-19 stunned the world in early 2020, some epidemiologists and leaders are willing to entertain the prospect that the virus might be making steps toward endemic status.
The question that scientists and wider society will grapple with throughout 2022 is when Covid-19 will leave its current stage and enter endemicity.
A disease that is endemic has a constant presence in a population but does not affect an alarmingly large number of people or disrupt society, as typically seen in a pandemic.
Experts don’t expect Covid to fully disappear in any of our lifetimes. Instead, it will eventually reach a period similar to several other illnesses, where “most people will be infected as children, possibly multiple times, and as those infections accumulate, they build up an immunity,” according to Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and the author of a book about the early stages of the pandemic.
“That’s the situation we’re heading towards,” he said. “Omicron is another dose of virus. We will all be on average less susceptible to disease having had that dose, or having had the vaccine.”
That’s why Omicron’s reduced severity is so key — it adds an extra layer of immunity, but doesn’t come with the same risk of hospitalization that Covid-19 held for most of last year. Omicron is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospitalization compared to Delta, according to a Scottish study. A separate paper from South Africa put the same figure at 80%.
“Well over half the world has now got some exposure to the virus or the vaccine. The rules of the game have changed from the virus’s point of view,” Woolhouse said.
Masks are required on public transportation in Russia.
And underlining experts’ confidence is history — though comparing the current scenario to previous pandemics is not an exact science, there is evidence from the past that viruses can be expected to evolve into less severe versions and eventually disappear into the arsenal of annual colds and influenzas.
“There are four other coronaviruses that have become endemic,” Heymann said. “The natural history of infections” indicates that Covid-19 will be the fifth, he added.
“People have reinterpreted ‘Russian flu’ in the late 19th century as the emergence of a common cold-type coronavirus,” added Woolhouse, referring to the 1889-90 outbreak that is estimated to have killed around a million people, but which ultimately became a common cold.
“The ‘Spanish Flu’ basically gave the whole world a very nasty dose of an H1N1 influenza virus” in 1918, he said. Now, “we get a wave of that virus pretty much every year.”
Experts generally agree that Omicron moves us closer to that stage with Covid-19. But there is a big caveat that determines how fast we’ll get there — and it depends not on the current strain, but the one that comes next.
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“It is an open question as to whether or not Omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for, because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday.
“I would hope that that’s the case,” Fauci told the Davos Agenda, a virtual event this week held by the World Economic Forum, mirroring the cautious optimism that many epidemiologists are expressing. He added that the world was “fortunate” that Omicron didn’t share more of Delta’s characteristics.
But for all the positive indications, it “doesn’t mean a new variant won’t come up and force us backwards,” Woolhouse said.
“I would not like to call which way the next (variant) would go, he added. “The next variant has to outcompete Omicron, and the main thing it will have to be able to do is evade natural immunity, and to evade vaccine-induced immunity,” he said. “What we can’t say in advance is how bad (it) will be.”
Epidemiologically speaking, Omicron has delivered some cause for optimism — but much depends on how the virus evolves from here.
Pandemics do not move merely with the hoka shoes whims of a virus, however; they are also directed by human behavior and political acts. And as the pandemic’s two-year anniversary in March edges closer, signs are emerging of an arms race towards endemicity.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who presided over one of the West’s most effective vaccination rollouts, told radio station Cadena Ser earlier this month that it’s time “to evaluate the evolution of Covid from pandemic to an endemic illness.” His health minister said she has put that viewpoint to fellow European Union leaders.
Britain’s education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who previously oversaw the UK’s vaccine rollout, added to Sky News that he wanted the UK to “demonstrate to the world how you transition from pandemic to endemic.”
And that move is already well underway in countries such as Denmark, where Covid rules were ditched and then re-introduced last year. Tyra Grove Krause, an official at the Statens Serum Institut (SSI) that deals with infectious diseases in the country, told local network TV2 this month that Omicron could “lift us” out of the pandemic and return Danes to normalcy within two months.
“Those governments that have achieved a high degree of population immunity through the privilege of vaccination or the burden of infection now have a wider range of choices than they did at the start of 2021,” said Thomas Hale, associate professor at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, and the academic lead of its Covid-19 Government Response Tracker.
Many countries are starting to act as if Covid is already endemic. England resisted new restrictions despite record-breaking infection figures in recent weeks, and though hospitalizations and deaths have risen, its health care sector appears to have survived the peak of the Omicron wave without recording the high admissions seen during previous variants.
A volunteer paints hearts on the UK's National Covid-19 Memorial Wall.
Early real-world examples like this could give other nations the confidence to strip back restrictions and, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed this month, “ride out” the Omicron wave. “Many countries have looked to the UK, because they see that the UK has some degree of permissibility” in restrictions, Heymann said.
That approach is quickly becoming more commonplace. Covid-related financial aid is soon set to end in France as restrictions are eased; “We are announcing [to people in France] that the pandemic will perhaps be behind us by mid-February,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday.
Driving this push is the ravaging impact that Omicron is having on essential workforces — a development that has changed the calculus of governments. Faced with dilemma of tackling transmission or keeping their countries running, leaders have swiftly moved to slash isolation periods.
“Clearly taking people out of the workforce — particularly schools and healthcare — is one costly impact,” of Omicron, Hale said. “Of course it is preferable to prevent widespread transmission in the first place, though for many countries now facing Omicron this point is now moot.”
That means that an increasing number of countries are looking to “transfer the risk assessment to their populations,” Heymann said — relaxing rules and encouraging self-testing, personal decisions on mask-wearing, and even individual assessments among infected people of how long they need to isolate.
Many experts still encourage restrictions to reduce transmission, at least while the Omicron wave is with us. But Williams noted that populations are increasingly moving away from that view.
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“The way Omicron has been represented in some media reports, and even indirectly by some politicians — who were a bit too quick to emphasize the ‘we need to learn to live with it’ message — have contributed to this now quite widespread view that Omicron is less worrisome,” he said.
The problem with that approach, many warn, is that some hoka shoes for women parts of the world are less able to take on a relaxed approach.
“By definition a pandemic is not over until it’s over, for everyone, everywhere,” Williams said. “Our attention now should increasingly focus on getting enough vaccines to those in low- and middle-income countries.”
Vaccination coverage is lower in many poorer regions of the world — particularly in eastern Europe, central Asia and large parts of Africa — leaving those places especially susceptible to worrying new variants or more severe waves of hospitalizations.
“A pandemic has various components to it in various countries,” Heymann said. “I think countries will become endemic at different rates.”
And that adds an extra layer of uncertainty to the question of whether Omicron will hasten the end of the pandemic.
“Health systems around the world will have to be cognizant” of the risks of Covid even if it soon starts to act and feel more like a seasonal cold, Woolhouse said.
“The world has changed — there’s a new human pathogen there, and it’s going to continue to cause disease for the foreseeable future,” he concluded. “We were always going to be living with Covid. it was never going to go away — we knew this from February 2020.”

It won’t be a pandemic forever. Here’s what could be next

Even after Covid-19 cases fall from their current record-high levels, it’s unlikely the United States — let alone the world — will be able to completely eliminate the coronavirus that causes them.

But there will come a day when it’s no longer a pandemic, when cases are no longer out of control and hospitals aren’t at great risk of overflowing with patients.
Many experts predict that the spread of coronavirus will eventually look and feel more like that of seasonal influenza.
The United States may be past the peak of Omicron cases around the end of January, some experts say; 2022 may be when the coronavirus becomes “part of our background and it comes goes,” Dr. Ofer Levy told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota this week.
Covid-19 could eventually be seasonal, scientists say
“I think it’s likely that we’ll see this wave come and go and that the spring and summer will look a lot better than right now looks to us,” said Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “There will be fewer cases, and then again, next fall and winter we’ll see a spike of viral illnesses, coronaviruses, hey dude influenza and others, but that it’ll be more like an endemic cycle.
“It will be a better winter, just like this winter, with all of the challenges, is still better than the winter before.”
But this coronavirus shifts and surprises frequently — and there’s no official benchmark for when the pandemic has ended and a new normal has begun.
“There’s not even a measurement to say that something is an epidemic or pandemic. All of this is in the eye of the beholder — and that’s part of the issue,” Dr. Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and acting chair of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, told CNN in November.
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“So, all of this is not based on rules. It’s based typically on what you have to do to control the outbreak,” Monto said. “What is so different here is that our vaccines are much more effective than what we usually see.”
That’s the good news, according to Monto. The bad news comes with the power of the virus to change and evolve.
No one can predict what the future of Covid-19 could look like — and the emergence of coronavirus variants, like Delta and Omicron, has shifted the trajectory.
“With the change in transmission patterns, as the variants have emerged — I call it a parade of variants — we now see much more extensive transmission and much more uniform spread globally. This makes declaring the end of the pandemic more difficult,” Monto said. “Because the whole pattern of spread has changed, and there may still be pockets that really haven’t gone through the kind of waves that the rest of the world has gone through.”

‘Wait and see and hold our breath’

Monto and other public health leaders anticipate that in the future, the world could track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, in ways similar to how the seasonal flu is monitored.
Life after the 1918 flu has lessons for our post-pandemic world
“We have no idea whether we’re going to see that kind of seasonal pattern with SARS-CoV-2, but it does remind us that most of our respiratory viruses start behaving as seasonal events,” Monto said.
“There is the precedent for a very seasonal pattern for some of the coronaviruses that have been infecting people,” he added. “Whether SARS-CoV-2 starts to behave like that, we don’t know, but at least it gives us one scenario that it might start to behave like that.”
As Monto put it, we have to “wait and see and hold our breath” to unlock what an endemic phase of the coronavirus might look like.
As the government talks about vaccine boosters, it's time to cover the endemic reality of Covid
Endemic means a disease has a constant presence in a population but is not affecting an alarmingly large number of people, as typically seen in a pandemic.
Even in early 2020, as the pandemic was just ramping up, officials at the World Health Organization predicted that the novel coronavirus “may become another endemic virus in our communities” and never go away.
“When you think about pandemics, you’re in the pandemic phase, and then you have a deceleration phase, then you have a control phase, then hopefully you’ll have elimination and maybe eradication,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the US Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions at a hearing in November.
“What we hope to get it at is such a low level that even though it isn’t completely eliminated, it doesn’t have a major impact on public health or on the way we run our lives,” Fauci said. “So if we get more people vaccinated globally and more people red wing boots vaccinated now, hopefully within a reasonable period of time, we will get to that point where it might occasionally be up and down in the background, but it won’t dominate us the way it’s doing right now.”
Even as Covid-19 cases surge to new highs, federal health officials have been thinking about how to measure the end of the pandemic and how to continue to track the coronavirus once it becomes endemic.

‘There is still much to be done’

To transition from pandemic to endemic, the nation has to build up immunity to the coronavirus — which means many more people need to get vaccinated, Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at Boston College, told CNN in November.
With some Americans still refusing to get their Covid-19 shots and some refusing to wear masks, the transition could take more time.
Covid-19 vaccinations began a year ago. These numbers show how it's going
About 62% of the total US population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Even fewer have received a booster dose.
“We have to get somewhere well north of 80%, possibly even well north of 90% of the population with immunity, either through having had infection or through having had vaccinations,” said Landrigan, who worked at the CDC for 15 years.
To control the spread of the measles virus in the US population, for instance, “we had to get the immunity rate up above 95%, and even then, we’ve had sporadic outbreaks. These outbreaks typically occur when you have a cluster of people in a particular place who are not immunized and all of a sudden the virus gets introduced because a traveler has come in with the virus — and bang, you’ve got 20 cases of measles in some town,” Landrigan said. “But that’s not an epidemic. It’s an outbreak against a background of almost no cases or scattered endemic cases.”
Flu and Covid-19 cases rising in much of the US
Health officials are familiar with the work needed to improve vaccination rates.
The CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. But during the 2019-20 flu season, only about half of those people — 51.8% — did, according to the CDC. The agency estimates that flu has caused about 12,000 to 52,000 deaths each year between 2010 and 2020.
The coronavirus has killed more than 800,000 people in the United States so far. In the future, the battle to corral the virus every year may look very much like the annual fight against the flu.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about what an endemic phase looks like and hoka shoes for women the data that we’re needing to collect during that phase. Certainly right now, we are collecting data on cases, hospitalizations, deaths,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in the Senate committee hearing in November. “The question is: What are going to be our best metrics moving forward? And probably modeling it on flu.”

A more likely picture of the future

The CDC collaborates with health departments, laboratories, hospitals and health care providers to track diagnosed flu cases, determine what influenza viruses are circulating and measure the impact those viruses are having on hospitalizations and deaths.
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One idea is that when the coronavirus becomes endemic, a similar tracking system could be used to monitor the pathogen.
“We could handle the cases just like we do with seasonal flu, where we’re able to say we know we’re going to see a number of cases in the winter season, and we can have the right staffing, we can have the right supplies ready, and we’re ready to handle it, as opposed to the surges that we’ve been dealing with here,” Dr. Stephen Parodi, national infectious disease leader for Kaiser Permanente, told CNN in November.
“I’m still on phone calls talking about, ‘what’s our ICU bed capacity? What’s our supplies chains that we need to provide care to patients? Do we have enough medication?’ ” Parodi said. “We have a lot more work to still do to get to where we want to be, and I think we’re going to see this transition over year 2022. But for some locales, where there’s less immunity, it’s going to be a longer run.”
Even the flu is unpredictable, and doctors have seen a lot of it over the years.
“We know there are going to be cases,” Monto said. “With the flu, we’ve had experience with flu pandemics before. So we know typically the way they behave. This has been an evolving situation with a totally novel pathogen.”

The Pope reflects on relationships in pandemic times in his traditional Christmas address

Pope Francis waves following his Christmas blessing in St. Peter's Square on December 25, 2021.

Pope Francis has dedicated a large part of his traditional Christmas message on Saturday to reflect on the pandemic and its impact on relationships.

Speaking from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, the Pontiff called the pandemic a “complex crisis” that has tested social relationships and increased tendencies of withdrawal.
“Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tired,” Francis told the people in the square as well as the millions of Catholics watching the address from around the world.
“There is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together,” he added.
The Pope’s traditional “Urbi et Orbi” or “To the City and the World” Christmas hoka shoes for women address was affected by the pandemic for the second year running.
Unlike in 2020, people were able to come to the square to listen to the traditional message this year, but the number of attendees was only about a fifth of what it was before the pandemic, because of the current increase in coronavirus cases in Italy.
The country reported a record-breaking 50,599 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily figure since the pandemic began, according to health ministry data.
Last year, the Pope delivered the address from the Apostolic Palace instead of the balcony, with the public not allowed to attend.
On Christmas Eve, the Pope led a vigil mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with about 2,000 people in attendance, Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told CNN.
The Pope said on Saturday that the pandemic has also affected dialogue, in relation to international conflict, leading people to take “shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer paths” for talks.
“Sisters and brothers, what would our world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous persons who keep families and communities together? In this time of the pandemic, we have come to realize this more and more,” he said.
Pope Francis decries 'shipwreck of civilization' as he visits refugees on Greek island of Lesbos
He urged the world to “open its hearts” to ensure necessary medical care, particularly vaccines, is provided to vulnerable people.
“God-with-us, grant health to the infirm and inspire all men and women of good will to seek the best ways possible to overcome the current health crisis and its effects. Open hearts to ensure that necessary medical care — and vaccines in particular — are provided to those peoples who need them most. Repay those who generously devote themselves to caring for family members, the sick and the most vulnerable in our midst,” he said.
The leader of the Catholic Church added that the world has become so used to hoka shoes immense tragedies that “we hardly even notice them anymore.” He called for an end to conflicts throughout the Middle East and Africa, listing several places — including Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Ethiopia.
The 85-year-old pontiff also used his Christmas message to address violence against women, which he said has increased during the pandemic. In a speech that marked his ninth Christmas as pontiff, Francis also highlighted the plight of refugees and migrants.

Truckers make the world go round. Invisible truths you didn’t know about trucking in America

What’s the journey of all the goods we consume? Trucking is dangerous, difficult and in demand. Here’s the story behind an industry on the cusp of major technological change.

In May 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic in its infancy, a chain of colorful big rigs parked along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC, for nearly three weeks. Horns blared as idling truck drivers protested sinking pay, rising insurance costs and lack of transparency bluetooth headphones from the brokers who set their rates to transport goods. In a Roll Call video, an organizer described what it was about: “All the things that were brought to the stores … [truckers] brought it, and they’re the ones who got screwed in the end.”

The modest-size demonstration went largely unnoticed by the American public. But it represented something much larger that affects us all.

Convoy of trucks
  • A convoy of trucks converged in the nation’s capital at the start of the pandemic to protest low freight rates, as drivers had to keep loads of toilet paper and essential supplies moving.
  • What would happen if all the 3.5 million truck drivers in the US stopped working for just three days? It wouldn’t take long for America to resemble a sci-fi dystopia: Grocery store shelves would go bare, hospitals would run out of medical equipment, computer and vehicle parts would dry up, fuel tanks would go empty. Consider some of the shortages we witnessed through early COVID-19 times, like meat and cleaning supplies, but in an exponential ripple.
  • “The world would come to a stop,” said Ricky Rodriguez, a flatbed truck driver who works 12 to 14 hours a day hauling steel, aluminum and lumber through the Midwest. Paul Marhoefer, aka “Long Haul Paul,” a veteran trucker and host of the eight-part Over the Road podcast, was equally blunt in response: “The biggest effect would be on the psyche of the nation.”
  • Trucks are the linchpin of the economy, responsible for moving 72% of all the goods we consume. They’re a critical link in the supply chain for both goods arriving in ships from abroad and those made in the US. Every product that goes from an American port or factory to your doorstep rides on a truck at some point. Like intrepid pilots of the highway, truckers collectively travel 450 billion miles each year sperry shoes to haul those loads for consumers, carrying 11 billion tons of merchandise, electronics, supplies and produce.
  • “Trucks will continue to be the dominant freight transportation mode for the foreseeable future,” Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, said before a Senate committee in May.
  • Still, many of us don’t think beyond our one-second “Buy Now” click, or how our online shopping builds a demand for freight carried by trucks. We just want our mass-produced items, the bulk of which are made overseas, cheaper and faster, as CNET reporter Ian Sherr spells out in the opening story of our Made in America summer series.
  • So what do we really know about the invisible life behind the wheel? And as manufacturing continues to be outsourced and as vehicles shift to natural gas and electric, will America just keep on truckin’ in the same way?
  • To find out the answers to those questions and more, I spent time talking to truckers, industry experts and executives from companies specializing in self-driving vehicles. With so much hype around new robots on wheels replacing the jobs of millions of truckers, I wanted to understand how these hauling machines have evolved, how they’ll survive seismic shifts in automation, and how some truck drivers are working 80 hours a week and still going broke.
  • Every product you use travels on some type of truck
  • The first thing to know is that there’s not just one kind of truck, nor is there an “average truck driver.” As consumers, we tend to have the most direct contact with the parcel and delivery workers from UPS, FedEx or Amazon who hand us our packages. But they’re just a subsection of the trucking industry.
  • There are trucks that haul combined shipments from different businesses and those that transport specialized or dangerous goods like heavy equipment, trash, gasoline or chemicals. There are local and regional drivers who make short trips to service stores and retail outlets. Then there are port truckers who collect cargo in the colossal shipping containers at the docks, and intermodal workers who move freight between different modes of transport, like rail, ship and plane. Backup of trucks on a highway
Traffic delays are regular frustration for truckers, like those waiting here to enter the Port of Long Beach to pick up loads. Most long-haul truckers get paid by the mile, not hourly.If you’re on a barren highway at nightand you see a halo of headlights, or you’re boxed into the slow lane on the interstate by an 18-wheeler, it’s probably an over-the-road driver. These long-haul truckers spend weeks or months crisscrossing the country over vast distances from production sites to distribution centers. They’re carrying what are called “full truckload” shipments of more than 10,000 pounds on a 53-foot trailer, which will be either a “dry van” or a “reefer” (a trailer with a refrigeration unit).

Those kinds of big rigs are named “semis” because a detachable rear-wheel trailer attaches to the tractor towing it. And they shaped the American economy in a profound way.

During World War I, the semi truck offered an alternative to the congested railroad for the transport of salomon boots military cargo, and their use boomed during the Great Depression, in large part due to food. As families were struggling to feed themselves cheaply, the budding trucking industry allowed farms and businesses to get their goods faster and more directly to market than trains could. Soon, trucking became the dominant mode of freight transport, and with the launching of the interstate highway system in 1956, trucks could carry goods from coast to coast without a hitch.

Today, the rail, aviation and ocean shipping sectors couldn’t survive without trucks acting as the connective band between them. And that’s become more critical with the boom of e-commerce and just-in-time manufacturing, which reduces inventory costs, cuts waste and calls for the production of what customers want in the timeframe they want it. But it also means that any interruption to the country’s lean and fragile supply chain has a burdensome impact on workers, who have to keep producing and delivering without delays.

A trucker in the cab of a truck goes through a checklist.
Trucking routes were a challenge for drivers due to COVID-19 supply-chain bottlenecks as well as restaurant and restroom closures.The pandemic took a heavy toll on truckers, who kept everything rolling: emergency goods, medical components, electronics, food and basic supplies. They risked their safety and health traveling through areas hit hard by the virus. Market disruptions from international lockdowns and clogged ports, combined with consumers panic buying, clobbered the global supply chain and every link in it, as CNET’s Kent German points out in his Made in America story.

That meant drivers were subjected to intense bottlenecks and prolonged hours to pick up and deliver freight. Rodriguez told me it was also stressful dealing with shippers’ quarantine restrictions because he didn’t know if he’d be given access to their facilities.

Ellen Voie, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Women in Trucking Association, said drivers weren’t brooks shoes provided with personal protective equipment when supplies were limited and that many states also closed their rest areas. Voie noted that it was particularly difficult for women — who make up just 10% of all truck drivers — to find a bathroom or a shower. Overall, she noted, women drivers face higher risk and have to be “especially sensitive to being situationally aware to protect themselves.”

Yet one woman trucker I spoke with saw the COVID-era as a beckoning for a fresh career. Nasrin Naderi, an immigrant from Afghanistan, went to trucking school and got her commercial driver’s license, or CDL, in 2020 after she realized she could no longer rely on her previous employment in restaurants or hotels, or with Uber and Lyft.

Meet Moog’s music machines, made in America

Asheville, North Carolina, a  city of about 90,000 in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a cultural hub, packed with dozens of art galleries and a thriving local music scene with venues that attract acts from around the world. So if there’s a pairing of a company and a community that works better than Moog Music and Asheville, I don’t know what it could be.

Asheville has been called one of America’s greatest music cities, and Moog wouldn’t dream of moving anywhere else. “We’ve really taken on a character of the town,” says Mike Adams, president of Moog Music, a 20-year veteran of the storied synthesizer company. “There’s a great music scene here, and there’s a lot of very artistic people. I would say 70% of the people that work here are musicians — it’s a really natural fit.”

Moog’s high-end boutique synthesizers run keen shoes from around $1,200 to $9,000 or more. Founded in New York in 1953 by Robert Moog (pronounced “moag”), its instruments ushered in the era of electronic music, and have been used by everyone from Trent Reznor to Donna Summer, from The Beatles to the Beastie Boys. Today the factory where its 170 employees work looks more like a mad scientist’s music lab than an assembly line. And there’s a good reason: Each synthesizer takes dozens of hours each to build, all right in Asheville.

“Nothing we make has an off-the-shelf component to it,” Adams says. “And that’s part of the beauty.”

Founder Bob Moog moved to Asheville in 1978, and the company has been making synths here since 1994. Its ability to attract the unique mix of musical know-how and the technical skills required to assemble the synths is another reason Moog is staying put. Adams mentions at least two current employees who drove to Asheville, prepared to live out of their vans until they could somehow get hired at the company.

“We obviously have to attract and recruit specific engineering talent,” he says. “But there’s a lot of people [here] that have just always loved what Moog is about and what it stands for.”

MOOG Music factory tour
A door at the back of the store leads right into the main production floor of the manufacturing facility.Playing through the pandemic  

Despite a premium product line and fiercely loyal customers, Moog faces a lot of the same manufacturing challenges as other businesses around the world. “Supply, supply, supply.”

“We just can’t get enough parts to keep up with the production,” Adams says. “We’ve been hurt by the extraordinary expense that it’s taken to bring in material that’s cost us an arm and a leg.”

The supply chain problems stem from the COVID-19 pandemic, nike outlet which hasn’t left the rarified world of hand-assembled synthesizers untouched. While Moog instruments are built in the USA, critical internal components come from China, which leaves this company in the same difficult situation as so many others. Factory shutdowns and slowdowns around the world have left some components in short supply, driving up prices, while international cargo shipping is struggling to catch up on missed 2020 deliveries. It’s a version of the same problem plaguing phone manufacturers and carmakers. It’s the same reason you still can’t buy a PlayStation 5. Even the price of the wood used on the outer shells of retro-looking Moogs has skyrocketed.

Moog One 3-Part Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer
The Moog One 3-Part Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer was introduced in 2018. It costs $8,500.

“Our business is really handcuffed by our suppliers and the ability to get anything from plastic to metal to electronic components to printed circuit boards,” says Adams.”The reasons for that range from anything from raw materials shortages to climate change to COVID to just a huge spike in demand for certain products.”

But there’s something of a pandemic silver lining for a company like Moog, too. Spending more time at home, those with the means to do so took the opportunity to invest in hobbies and creative pursuits that mattered to them. And by not spending money on travel or entertainment, some spent more skechers outlet than they normally would on things like premium music gear.

“People did the cocooning, and they wanted better gear because they’re spending so much more time with it,” says Joe Richardson, Moog’s chief marketing officer. “Our instruments lend themselves very well to folks creating music on their own. There was so little performing going on, so synthesizers make for a great way to discover and go exploring to satisfy that creative need.”

Despite the supply chain and pandemic challenges, the company says it has sold twice as many of its flagship (read: $9,000) Moog One synths as expected so far in 2021.

“It’s a really strong statement that people are willing to invest in quality,” Richardson says, adding, “Nobody buys a Moog because it’s inexpensive.”

The handcrafted look of a Moog, and the unique factory where the instruments are built and tested, are all part of the brand’s mystique. CNET photographer Sarah Tew took a tour of Moog’s Asheville headquarters. Follow along with her to see everything from vintage synths to testing stations to a display case of rare prototypes. And when you’re in Asheville, you can take a mini tour (more extensive tours are suspended due to the pandemic) and browse the company store and a showroom. A separate “Moogseum” nearby is run by the Bob Moog Foundation, named after the company founder, who died in 2005.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Russian COVID cases hit record high as eastern Europe imposes new curbs

Russia reported a record high number of daily COVID-19 cases and some central European countries imposed fresh restrictions on Monday, as a new wave of the pandemic gathered pace.

Authorities around the world have been sounding the alarm as infections surge, with governments in regions where vaccine uptake has been low forced to toughen up restrictions in a bid to stop the virus raging out of control.

Russia on Monday reported 37,930 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, its highest single-day case tally since the start of the pandemic.

U.S. to outline Nov. 8 international travel reopening

The Biden administration plans to asics shoes unveil detailed rules on Monday requiring nearly all foreign air visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Nov. 8, sources told Reuters.

The White House first disclosed on Sept. 20 it would remove restrictions in early November for fully vaccinated air travellers from 33 countries.

South Korea plots course to scrapping COVID curbs

South Korea unveiled a three-phase strategy to get back to normal from the coronavirus with all limits on gatherings and distancing gone by February, after it achieved a goal of vaccinating 70% of its people at the weekend.

The scheme begins next Monday and is due to run until Feb. 20, by when all distancing curbs will be scrapped except for mask-wearing mandates, a government health panel said.

Beijing delays marathon, raises COVID curbs as Olympics near

China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak has forced the capital Beijing to delay its annual marathon and step up other curbs, as the sprawling city and neighbouring Hebei province go into high gear in their preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics Games.

China reported 35 new domestically transmitted cases on Sunday, official data showed on Monday. Beijing accounted for 14 of the 168 cases reported between Oct. 17-24.

The infection numbers are tiny compared to many outbreaks elsewhere in the world, but authorities have adopted a zero tolerance strategy, aggressively tracking potential infections.

EU regulator starts real-time review of Merck pill

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co Inc said the European Union’s drug regulator has initiated a real-time review of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral drug for adults.

Under the procedure, also known as a “rolling review”, the European Medicines Agency would assess data as soon as it becomes available, instead of waiting for a formal application when all required information has been gathered.

While vaccines are the main weapons against COVID-19, Merck’s experimental pill molnupiravir keen shoes could be a game-changer after studies showed it could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for those most at risk of contracting severe illness.

Pandemic overwhelms Papua New Guinea

Concerted international action is needed to support Papua New Guinea as a surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelms the Pacific country’s health system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Monday.

Coronavirus cases in the island nation of 9 million have been surging in recent weeks, with 385 new cases recorded on Thursday, according to latest available government data.

Fewer than 1% of the population have been fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data figures.

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.

Florida’s top doctor refuses mask, is told to leave meeting

MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s top health official was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition, officials have confirmed.

Florida Senate leader Wilton Simpson, a Republican, sent a memo to senators Saturday regarding the incident at the office of Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky, asking visitors at the building to be respectful with social interactions. Polsky, asics shoes who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, had not yet made public her breast cancer diagnosis.

Polsky told The Associated Press about the tense exchange with state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo that was first reported by the news site Florida Politics. She said Ladapo and two aides were offered masks and asked to wear them when they arrived for the Wednesday meeting. She did not tell him she had breast cancer, but said she had a serious condition.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cancer patients are at a higher risk to get severely ill from COVID-19 and may not build the same immunity to vaccines.

Ladapo had asked to meet her in Tallahassee as he seeks confirmation in the Senate after being named to the post by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month.

“It was so shocking to me that he treated me in this manner,” Polsky said. “If he is a surgeon general for the next several years, I am really concerned about a future public health emergency and not being able to rely on him for necessary guidance and proper scientific leadership.”

Ladapo offered to go outside, but the senator said she did not want to sit on the metal picnic tables on a warm day when her office was nice and spacious. She said she asked whether there was a reason why he couldn’t wear a mask, but he wouldn’t answer.

Democrats have opposed the appointment of Ladapo, criticizing him for comments and actions related to the pandemic.

A day into his job, Ladapo signed new rules allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school after being exposed to people who tested positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday at a press conference with DeSantis to oppose vaccine mandates, Ladapo said people were not comfortable with the vaccines because the federal government keen shoes has not been open about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines, saying there was a “concerted effort” to hide stories of people with adverse reactions.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has received the full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meeting high standards required for the vaccine to be considered safe. It has been administered to millions and proven to be effective against hospitalization and death. However, immunity against infection can wane over time.

Authorities in Sweden, Denmark and Norway earlier this month suspended or discouraged the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a very rare side effect associated with the shot.

Ladapo also wrote an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal saying masks have “little or no effect on respiratory virus transmission.”

The CDC still recommends people with weakened immune systems, and those in high-transmission areas to wear masks. Studies have supported their use, with some finding that cloth masks are less effective.

In the memo sent by Simpson, nike outlet the president of the Florida senate, he said that while there’s no mask mandate in the Senate, senators can request social distancing and masking within their offices.

“It shouldn’t take a cancer diagnosis for people to respect each other’s level of comfort with social interactions during a pandemic,” he said. “What occurred in Senator Polsky’s office was unprofessional and will not be tolerated in the Senate.”

The Florida Department of Health’s spokeswoman Weesam Khoury said the agency was not aware of any specific Senate protocol, but said it would ask members ahead of time and make necessary accommodations such as meeting through Zoom or outdoors.

The Department of Health “will be addressing this directly with members of the Senate, rather than letting this play out publicly,” Khoury said in an email.

Miami school says vaccinated students must stay home for 30 days to protect others, citing discredited info

Students wearing a protective mask, queue up outside classrooms on the first day of school, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at St. Lawrence Catholic School in North Miami Beach, Florida, U.S. August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

In April, a Miami private school made national headlines for barring teachers who got a coronavirus vaccine from interacting with students. Last week, the school made another startling declaration, but this time to the parents: If you vaccinate your child, they’ll have to stay home for 30 days after each shot.

The email from Centner Academy hey dude leadership, first reported by WSVN, repeated misleading and false claims that vaccinated people could pass on so-called harmful effects of the shot and have a “potential impact” on unvaccinated students and staff.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has debunked claims that the coronavirus vaccine can “shed or release any of their components” through the air or skin contact. The coronavirus vaccines do not contain a live virus, so their components can’t be transmitted to others.

David Centner, one of the school’s co-founders, repeated the debunked claims in a statement to The Washington Post, saying the policy is a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”

“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” Centner said.

Despite the Food and Drug Administration’s evidence that the coronavirus vaccines are safe and highly effective, vaccine misinformation online has been a top hurdle for the White House and public health experts when persuading people to get the shots. Almost 219 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, which is about 66 percent of the eligible population, according to The Post’s vaccination tracker.

In July, President Joe Biden excoriated social media companies, accusing them of “killing people” by failing to regulate misinformation about the vaccines on their platforms. In August, Facebook released data that showed the most popular piece of content from January through March was a link to an article that cast doubt on hoka shoes the vaccine. Last Wednesday, attorneys generals from 14 states sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, inquiring if the company provided special treatment to those disseminating vaccine falsehoods on the platform.

Unfounded claims about masks and vaccines have trickled down to schools, where students under 12 years old remain at a higher risk of contracting the virus since they are ineligible for the vaccines.

Tensions between parents and school districts have also grown violent at times. In August, a parent at an Austin school ripped a mask off a teacher’s face. A week later, police said the father of a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., high-schooler assaulted another student after she confronted him about trying to bring his daughter onto campus without a mask. He was arrested and charged with child abuse without great bodily harm.

Centner Academy is in Miami’s ritzy Design District, and tuition ranges from about $15,000 to nearly $30,000 per year. The school has become a haven for anti-vaccine parents because it does not require any immunizations for enrollment, citing a parent’s “freedom of choice” and falsely claiming there are “unknown risks associated with vaccinations” that could harm children.

A similar sentiment was shared in an email to parents last week regarding the coronavirus vaccine. School leadership referred to the shots as “experimental,” WSVN reported, and encouraged parents considering getting their child vaccinated to wait several more months until the school year ends.

“We ask that you hold off until the summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” Centner Academy leaders wrote.

The school has a history of spreading inaccurate information about the vaccine and penalizing those who choose to get the shots. In April, Centner Academy employees were told they had to notify Leila and David Centner, the married co-founders of the school, if they received a vaccine. Vaccinated school employees were told they would not be allowed any contact with students “until more information is known” about the vaccines. hey dude shoes School leaders also told those wanting the vaccine to wait until the summer to get the shots.

About a week later, a math and science teacher told students they should not hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds, the New York Times reported, referencing the same falsehoods the school communicated in its email about vaccine components “shedding” onto others. Some parents threatened to pull their children out of the school over the comments.

Leila Centner has also spread anti-vaccine information during a meeting with parents and staff and in a WhatsApp group with community members, according to the Times. In late January, Leila and David Centner invited outspoken anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak at the school.

The co-founders also discouraged teachers from wearing masks, the Times reported. When state health department officials visited for routine dining inspections, teachers were allegedly told in a WhatsApp group to put on masks. The school also allegedly provided parents with mask exemption forms for their children.

In his statement to The Post, David Centner said the school’s policies are made as a “prudent precautionary measure.”

“Our top priorities have always been our students’ well-being and their sense of safety within our educational environment,” he said.

Why Many Black Americans Changed Their Minds About COVID Shots

TUSKEGEE, Ala. — By the time vaccines for the coronavirus were introduced late last year, the pandemic had taken two of Lucenia Williams Dunn’s close friends. Still, Dunn, a former mayor of Tuskegee, contemplated for months whether to be inoculated.

It was a complicated consideration, framed by the government’s botched response to the pandemic,brooks shoes its disproportionate toll on Black communities and an infamous 40-year government experiment for which her hometown is often associated.

“I thought about the vaccine most every day,” said Dunn, 78, who finally walked into a pharmacy this summer and rolled up her sleeve for a shot, convinced after weighing with her family and doctor the possible consequences of remaining unvaccinated.

“What people need to understand is some of the hesitancy is rooted in a horrible history, and for some, it’s truly a process of asking the right questions to get to a place of getting the vaccine.”

In the first months after the vaccine rollout, Black Americans were far less likely than white Americans to be vaccinated. In addition to the difficulty of obtaining shots in their communities, their hesitancy was fueled by a powerful combination of general mistrust of the government and medical institutions, and misinformation over the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

But a wave of pro-vaccine campaigns and a surge of virus hospitalizations and deaths this summer, mostly among the unvaccinated and caused by the highly contagious delta variant, have narrowed the gap, experts say. So, too, have the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of a vaccine and new employer mandates. A steadfast resistance to vaccines in some white communities may also have contributed to the lessening disparity.

While gaps persist in some regions, by late September, according to the most recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a roughly equal share of Black, white and Hispanic adult populations — 70% of Black adults, 71% of white adults and 73% of Hispanic adults — had received at least one vaccine dose. A Pew study in late August revealed similar patterns. Federal data shows a larger racial gap, but that data is missing demographic information for many vaccine recipients.

Since May, when vaccines were widely available to a majority of adults across the country, monthly surveys by Kaiser have shown steady improvement in vaccination rates among Black Americans.

How the racial gap was narrowed — after months of disappointing turnout and limited access — is a testament to decisions made in many states to send familiar faces to knock on doors and dispel myths about the vaccines’ effectiveness, provide internet access to make appointments and offer transportation to vaccine sites.

In North Carolina, which requires vaccine providers to collect race and ethnicity data, hospital systems and community groups conducted door-to-door canvassing and hosted pop-up clinics at a theme park, a bus station clarks shoes uk and churches. Over the summer, the African American share of the vaccinated population began to more closely mirror the African American share of the general population.

In Mississippi, which has one of the country’s worst vaccination rates and began similar endeavors, 38% of people who have started the vaccine process are Black, a share that is roughly equal to the Black share of Mississippi’s population.

And in Alabama, public awareness campaigns and rides to vaccination sites helped transform dismal inoculation rates. A store owner and county commissioner in Panola, a tiny rural town near the Mississippi border, led the effort to vaccinate nearly all of her majority Black community.

Today, about 40% of Black Alabama residents — up from about 28% in late April — have had at least one dose, a feat in a state that has ranked among the lowest in overall vaccination rates and highest in per capita deaths from COVID-19. About 39% of white people in the state have had one dose, up from 31% in late April.

Health officials and community leaders say that those who remain unvaccinated have pointed to concerns about how quickly the vaccines were developed and what their long-term health effects might be, plus disinformation such as whether they contain tracking devices or change people’s DNA. The damage wrought by the government-backed trials in Tuskegee, in which Black families were misled by health care professionals, also continues to play a role in some communities, helping to explain why some African Americans have still held out.

“It’s less about saying, ‘This racial ethnic group is more hesitant, more unwilling to get vaccinated,’ and more about saying, ‘You know, this group of people in this given area or this community doesn’t have the information or access they need to overcome their hesitancy,’ ” said Nelson Dunlap, chief of staff for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

When the U.S. Public Health Service began what it called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” 600 Black men — 399 with syphilis and 201 without the disease — were told they would be treated for so-called bad blood in exchange for free medical exams, meals and burial insurance. In reality, treatment was withheld. Even after penicillin was discovered as an effective treatment, most did not receive the antibiotic.

The experiment began in 1932 and did not stop until 1972, and only after it was exposed in a news article. The surviving men and the heirs of those who had died were later awarded a settlement totaling about $10 million, and the exposure of the study itself eventually led to reforms in medical research. Still, the damage endured.

“Few families escaped the study. Everyone here knows someone who was in the study,” said Omar Neal, 64, a radio show host and former Tuskegee mayor who counts three relatives in the study and who wavered on a vaccine before finally getting one, his mind changed by the rising number of deaths. “And the betrayal — because that is what the study was — is often conjured whenever people are questioning something related to mistrusting medicine or science.”

Rueben C. Warren, director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University, said the study was a real example in the long line of medical exploitation and neglect experienced by Black Americans, eroding trust in the government and health care systems.

“The questions being asked about the vaccine should be understood in the larger context of historic inequities in health care,” Warren said. “The hope, of course, is they finally decide to get the vaccine.”

A national campaign led by the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, a coalition of experts, tackled the hesitation. This summer, a short-form documentary including descendants of the men in the Tuskegee study was added to the campaign.

When Deborah Riley Draper, who created the short-form documentary, interviewed descendants of the Tuskegee study, she was struck by how shrouded it was in myths and misconceptions, such as the false claim that the government had injected the men with syphilis.

“The descendants’ message was clear that African Americans are as much a part of public health as any other group and we need to fight for access and information,” she said.

In Macon County, Alabama, which has a population of about 18,000 and is home to many descendants of the Tuskegee trials, about 45% of Black residents have hey dude shoes received at least one vaccine dose. Community leaders, including those who are part of a task force that meets weekly, attribute the statistic, in part, to local outreach and education campaigns and numerous conversations about the difference between the Tuskegee study and the coronavirus vaccines.

For months, Martin Daniel, 53, and his wife, Trina Daniel, 49, resisted the vaccines, their uncertainty blamed in part on the study. Their nephew Cornelius Daniel, a dentist in Hampton, Georgia, said he grew up hearing about the research from his uncle and saw in his own family how the long-running deception had sown generational distrust of medical institutions.

Cornelius Daniel, 31, said he overcame his own hesitation in the spring because the risks of working in patients’ mouths outweighed his concerns.

His uncle and aunt reconsidered their doubts more slowly, but over the summer, as the delta variant led to a surge in hospitalizations across the South, the Daniels made vaccination appointments for mid-July. Before the date arrived, though, they and their two teenage children tested positive for the coronavirus.

On July 6, the couple, inseparable since meeting as students on the campus of Savannah State University, died about six hours apart. Their children are now being raised by Cornelius Daniel and his wife, Melanie Daniel, 32.

“We truly believe the vaccine would have saved their lives,” Melanie Daniel said.