10 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 25

This thread is posted weekly, and is intended as a place for more-casual discussion of the coronavirus and questions/updates that may not warrant their own dedicated topics. Tell us about what the situation is like where you live!

31 comments

  1. [2]
    JoylessAubergine
    Link
    Absolute shitshow happening in Europe last night/this morning. German financial newspaper Handelsblatt published an article saying that AZ vaccine has only 8% efficiency in over 65s, citing an...

    Absolute shitshow happening in Europe last night/this morning. German financial newspaper Handelsblatt published an article saying that AZ vaccine has only 8% efficiency in over 65s, citing an anonymous German politician. Twitter and reddit went schadenfreude crazy with the news. This morning AZ, the British Government and the German health ministry all deny this claim. It appears the journalist and/or the Politician misread the report which said 8% of study participants were between 56-65 years old. Fuck knows where the editor was. What a disaster.

    16 votes
    1. JoylessAubergine
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The EU has just had a complete meltdown in the past 24 hours culminating in them unilaterally invoking article 16, which would put a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, without even...

      The EU has just had a complete meltdown in the past 24 hours culminating in them unilaterally invoking article 16, which would put a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, without even consulting the Irish Taoiseach! They since retreated from that, calling it a oversight but... wow.

      This clump of threads on /r/europe kind of sums up the past 12 hours.

      6 votes
  2. kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Usual personal update: I got tested five days out from my last exposure, and I am negative. No symptoms either, so I believe that result to be accurate. This was the closest I’ve come so far —...

    Usual personal update:

    I got tested five days out from my last exposure, and I am negative. No symptoms either, so I believe that result to be accurate.

    This was the closest I’ve come so far — being six feet away, for a full hour, from a confirmed infectious person projecting their voice. I consider myself incredibly lucky right now.

    My coworker also seems to be through the worst of it.

    13 votes
  3. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Canadian mogul fined after getting Covid vaccine meant for Indigenous residents Throw 'em in jail. A fine that small is absolutely no deterrent at all to people wealthy enough to charter a private...

    Canadian mogul fined after getting Covid vaccine meant for Indigenous residents

    The former head of a Canadian casino company and his actor wife have been fined after chartering a private plane to a remote community near the Alaska border and receiving coronavirus vaccines meant for vulnerable Indigenous residents.

    According to officials, Rodney and Ekaterina Baker travelled by chartered plane to Beaver Creek, a community of 100 in Canada’s Yukon territory, where a mobile team was administering the Moderna vaccine to residents. Among those slated for the vaccine were elderly members of the White River First Nation.

    The Bakers were both charged under the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act, which carries a maximum fine of C$500 ($392) plus a C$75 surcharge, six months in jail, or both.

    Throw 'em in jail. A fine that small is absolutely no deterrent at all to people wealthy enough to charter a private plane.

    10 votes
  4. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Chicago teachers vote to teach from home, defying district

    Chicago teachers vote to teach from home, defying district

    The Chicago Teachers Union said Sunday that its members voted to defy an order to return to the classroom over concerns about COVID-19, setting up a showdown with district officials who have said that refusing to return when ordered would amount to an illegal strike.

    Chicago Public Schools, which is the nation’s third-largest district, wanted roughly 10,000 kindergarten through eighth grade teachers and other staffers to return to school Monday to get ready to welcome back roughly 70,000 students for part-time in-school classes starting Feb. 1. No return date has been set for high school students.

    Illinois on Monday is scheduled start the next phase of its vaccination plan, which expands eligibility to teachers and people ages 65 and older. The district on Friday said it would begin vaccinating teachers and staff starting in mid-February and that the process would take months.

    9 votes
  5. skybrian
    Link
    Millions of US Vaccine Doses Are M.I.A.—and Feds Aren’t Sure Why [...] [...]

    Millions of US Vaccine Doses Are M.I.A.—and Feds Aren’t Sure Why

    “What we are seeing now is incredible inefficiencies. You have cities canceling vaccination appointments while the data says they still haven’t administered a large portion of the vaccine that’s been shipped to them. That is the biggest problem,” said Dr. Craig Spencer, an emergency doctor at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

    [...]

    In the weeks leading up to the inauguration, officials working with Biden’s coronavirus transition task force assumed that the low vaccination rates were due in part to a lag in states reporting to the CDC. [...]

    Officials say they still believe all of that to be true. But the picture is even more muddled, and more complex, than they thought.

    According to two officials working on the administration’s vaccine effort, some state officials, including in those states reporting vaccine shortages, have determined there might be additional doses in their jurisdiction—outside of their second-dose reserves— that are unaccounted for. But those state officials do not know whether those doses are sitting in warehouses, freezers or in other distribution hubs, or whether they have been used but unreported. In other words, there could be perhaps millions of doses across the country missing in the distribution system, officials said. There could be a number of explanations to explain the discrepancies; some doses could have expired or been contaminated or otherwise destroyed, though those scenarios are rare.

    [...]

    The underlying issue seems even more daunting and perhaps more difficult to remedy, according to those same two Biden officials and two other individuals who worked with the Biden transition. There are massive inefficiencies on the city, county, state, and federal levels. There isn’t just one—or two or three or four—problems with the vaccine distribution process, officials said; there are dozens. And finding solutions to those problems will require a level of communication and coordination between the federal government and states that hasn’t existed since the pandemic hit.

    Some cities lack comprehensive reporting systems to track where vaccines are located, whether there is adequate freezer storage, and whether doses are expiring on the shelf. And some states are having difficulty ensuring each distribution hub has enough vaccine supply for the appointments scheduled, in part because major cities in that state have their own separate distribution plan and tracking processes. Finally, some doses are getting held up as shipping companies are confused about which packages go where.

    9 votes
  6. hungariantoast
    Link
    Judge tosses case against doctor accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccine ... This story, specifically the judge tossing the case, has become a big deal around Houston, for reasons I can only imagine....

    Judge tosses case against doctor accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccine

    Gokal was accused of stealing a vial that contained nine doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine that he claimed would’ve went unused while working a county vaccination site in Humble on Dec. 29.

    ...

    Gokal has said through his attorney, Paul Doyle, that he opened a vial of Moderna’s vaccine at the end of the day and offered the leftover doses to health workers and cops at the site, but they declined or had already been vaccinated, the Chronicle reported.

    The doctor then called a supervisor who had no available patients on hand, prompting Gokal to turn to his cellphone to find contacts to dole out about nine doses off-site to elderly residents or those with pre-existing medical conditions. The final dose was administered to his ill wife, according to the report.

    This story, specifically the judge tossing the case, has become a big deal around Houston, for reasons I can only imagine.

    (Hint: the judge, Franklin Bynum, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.)

    9 votes
  7. [2]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Here in Washington state: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and three other counties will be able to relax some COVID-19 restrictions on businesses starting Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee has announced....

    Here in Washington state: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and three other counties will be able to relax some COVID-19 restrictions on businesses starting Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee has announced.

    I give up.

    They're relaxing the rules for going from "phase 1" of lockdown to "phase 2". Previously you needed to meet 4 criteria, now you only need to meet 3 out of the 4.

    Based on this change, the Seattle area and its suburbs are able to enter Phase 2 starting this Monday.

    Phase 2, among other things, allows indoor dining to resume (at 25% of restaurant capacity) and for indoor gyms to open, again at 25% capacity (exact details on page 5 of this PDF).

    Less than a week ago, we confirmed the first cases of the B.1.1.7 / UK variant in the area. But sure, reopen indoor dining. What's the worst that can happen.

    I suspect this is entirely an economic decision, not a public health one. Nevermind that the past year has shown us rather conclusively that you can't have one without the other.

    I hope lots of people are able to enjoy Valentine's Day dinner at their local restaurant or whatever before another spike in cases inevitably shuts things down again.

    9 votes
    1. FrankGrimes
      Link Parent
      I feel the same way as you. I see NY and CA are both starting to relax restrictions as well, and I don't understand it. We've been down this road before, and it leads to spikes in infections,...

      I feel the same way as you. I see NY and CA are both starting to relax restrictions as well, and I don't understand it. We've been down this road before, and it leads to spikes in infections, followed by deaths. By the time you see the spike coming, it's too late to slow it down - the restrictions just need to stay in place, and the government needs to get on top of providing financial assistance for those who can't work from home.

      9 votes
  8. skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    Everyone should be wearing N95 masks now The CDC has instructions for doing a user seal check on a mask.

    Everyone should be wearing N95 masks now

    If you can find an N95, go for it. These are certified in the United States. Barring that, I’d go for the certified mask used in South Korea, the KF94. Next I’d choose KN95s, but there is a catch: The government reports that KN95s out of China might not meet standards unless the manufacturer holds a “NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Certificate.”

    If you can’t find one of these masks, or if you’re not sure whether they meet the standards, there’s something you can do right now with confidence: Double-mask with a surgical mask and a cloth mask. The surgical mask gives you good, certified filtration, while the cloth mask on top helps improve the fit. Research shows this can achieve greater than 90 percent filtration.

    Many people ask if they need an N95 on their morning runs or while sitting on a park bench. The answer to both is no. Choose masks based on the level of risk for that activity. If you’re out for a jog with no one around or on a walk outside with a friend, a simple two- or three-layer cloth mask is fine. But use a hi-fi mask or double-mask if you head indoors. If you’re an essential worker, a hi-fi mask is critical.

    The CDC has instructions for doing a user seal check on a mask.

    8 votes
  9. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    California lifts virus stay-at-home order and curfew ICU capacity is 0, but they have an Excel spreadsheet they claim shows capacity will be freeing up within a month, so...time to lift...

    California lifts virus stay-at-home order and curfew

    Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted stay-at-home orders across the state Monday in response to improving coronavirus conditions, a surprising move hailed by beleaguered businesses but that prompted caution from local health officials concerned the public may let down its guard.

    Southern California, which accounts for more than half the state population of nearly 40 million, still has an ICU capacity of 0%, according to state data. But Newsom said based on state modeling for the next four weeks, as cases fall ICU capacity is projected to rise to 33%, the highest of any of the state’s regions.

    ICU capacity is 0, but they have an Excel spreadsheet they claim shows capacity will be freeing up within a month, so...time to lift restrictions? Reminds me of the "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet" quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    Only a week ago:

    Air quality regulator temporarily suspends cremation limits for LA County amid 'backlog' from pandemic

    The South Coast Air Quality Management District said in a news release Sunday that permits for crematoriums usually contain limits on the number of human remains that can be cremated each month, based on the potential impact they will have on air quality.

    In my pick for 2021 Dystopian Tweet of the Year, actress Mara Wilson:

    Anyone else having bad asthma here in LA because of crematorium smoke

    Newsom, meanwhile, denies that ending the stay-at-home order has anything to do with efforts to recall him

    "It's just complete utter nonsense," the Democrat said during a news conference Monday when asked whether the Republican-led recall launched last year had a bearing on the state's decision to end the orders, which have been in place since early December. "Let's just dispense with that fundamental foundational nonsense."

    7 votes
  10. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    Bill Gates and Vaccine Production Speculative, but it seems like a fair question?

    Bill Gates and Vaccine Production

    Vaccine production, and in particular vaccine production by Pfizer and Moderna, has languished for want of a few billion dollars, well within the budget of many individual philanthropists. It is an important fact about the world that none of them stepped up and fixed the problem. At most one of them is known to have perhaps made a serious attempt, with that one being Bill Gates.

    So what exactly has he been up to, as a longtime proponent (to his credit) of vaccines and vaccination efforts?

    I want to be clear: This is not me going after Bill Gates and saying he is bad. This is investigating the question of why it seems that no one with power can do anything useful, and investigating the person who appears to have power who people thought might be doing useful things, and who looks like he is in a strong position to do useful things, with a stated priority and even explicit commitment of spending his money to do exactly the most useful things.

    Speculative, but it seems like a fair question?

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      monarda
      Link Parent
      The Gates Foundation is spending 1.75 billion on Covid, which the writer doesn't think is enough. They also seem to not like the way they are spending that money. If I've read the gist of their...

      The Gates Foundation is spending 1.75 billion on Covid, which the writer doesn't think is enough. They also seem to not like the way they are spending that money. If I've read the gist of their problem correctly, they want all money spent on vaccine production, which Gates is not doing. The following sentence seems to back that up:

      Again, it’s all well and good to care about providing care to the third world, much better to do that than to do nothing, but if you focus on the logistics of distribution and on the places that pharma companies do not make money, you are not going to accelerate the production of vaccines.

      Something about the article didn't sit right with me though I can't put my finger on exactly what that is.

      3 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        The author believes in saving as many lives as possible and doesn’t weigh issues of fairness very highly. This seems right to me based on utilitarian reasoning, but a lot of people disagree with...

        The author believes in saving as many lives as possible and doesn’t weigh issues of fairness very highly. This seems right to me based on utilitarian reasoning, but a lot of people disagree with utilitarianism.

        3 votes
  11. skybrian
    Link
    In week after 2nd Pfizer vaccine shot, only 20 of 128,000 Israelis get COVID [...] [...]

    In week after 2nd Pfizer vaccine shot, only 20 of 128,000 Israelis get COVID

    The Maccabi study lacked a control sample, but Cohen said that if general Israeli society is treated as an “imperfect” control group, his calculation indicates that the vaccine is slightly exceeding the 95% effectiveness predicted by Pfizer’s clinical trial.

    “These are exciting results which are confirming the assumption that the Pfizer vaccine is highly efficient,” he said.

    [...]

    Cohen, a Bar Ilan University professor, stressed that his calculations comparing Maccabi’s results to the Pfizer trial are inexact, as various details that were known about Pfizer’s test subjects are lacking for Israeli society as a whole.

    [...]

    Ekka Zohar also noted that she found that none of the 20 vaccinees was hospitalized or suffered from a fever higher than 38.5 degrees. That may be an indicator that the vaccine prevents serious illness even when people are infected, she said, but added that it is impossible to know what trajectory their symptoms would have taken without the vaccine.

    6 votes
  12. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    France bans certain homemade Covid masks for use in public It's a very soft ban (they admit they have no real way to enforce it) but the takeaway, relevant to people outside France as well, is...

    France bans certain homemade Covid masks for use in public

    It's a very soft ban (they admit they have no real way to enforce it) but the takeaway, relevant to people outside France as well, is that homemade cloth masks probably don't provide enough protection against the more-transmissible strains.

    They're recommending FFP2 masks, which is the Euro equivalent of the N95 standard (for consumer purposes, N95, KN95, and FFP2 are all close enough to be pretty much interchangeable - they're US, Chinese and EU standards with more or less the same goal but slightly different details).

    I've personally switched over from using the cloth masks a friend sewed for me last year to N95s whenever I go out (I got these ones from Amazon)

    6 votes
  13. cfabbro
    Link
    Update on the potential vaccine resistance issue speculated on in an article I linked to last week: Pfizer vaccine only slightly less effective against key South African mutations - study

    Update on the potential vaccine resistance issue speculated on in an article I linked to last week:
    Pfizer vaccine only slightly less effective against key South African mutations - study

    Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared to lose only a small bit of effectiveness against an engineered virus with three key mutations from the new coronavirus variant found in South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the U.S. drugmaker.

    The study by Pfizer and scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), which has not yet been peer-reviewed, showed a less than two-fold reduction in antibody titer levels, indicating the vaccine would likely be effective in neutralizing a virus with the so-called E484K and N501Y mutations found in the South African variant.

    The results are more encouraging than another non-peer-reviewed study from scientists at Columbia University earlier on Wednesday, which used a slightly different method and showed antibodies generated by the shots were significantly less effective against the South Africa variant.

    One possible reason for the difference could be that the Pfizer findings are based on an engineered coronavirus, and the Columbia study used a pseudovirus based on the vesicular stomatitis virus, a different type of virus, UTMB’s Shi said. He said he believes that finding in pseudoviruses should be validated using the real virus.

    The study also showed even better results against several key mutations from the highly transmissible UK variant of the virus. Shi said they were also working on an engineered virus with the full set of mutations from that variant as well.

    6 votes
  14. skybrian
    Link
    Biden’s team is still trying to locate upwards of 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states — a mystery that has hampered plans to speed up the national vaccination effort. [...]...

    Biden’s team is still trying to locate upwards of 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states — a mystery that has hampered plans to speed up the national vaccination effort.

    Only a small percentage of those unaccounted for doses — roughly 2 million, two officials said — is due to lags in data reporting, the Biden team believes. That would mean the rest of the crucial supply is boxed away in warehouses, sitting idle in freezers or floating elsewhere in the complex distribution pipeline that runs from the administration to individual states.

    [...]

    [...] once the vaccine shipments are delivered to the states, responsibility for tracking them has been left up to states’ individual public health systems. The administration then only gets an update once the doses are actually administered and an official record is submitted.

    [...]

    Top Biden officials have stressed that the missing doses are spread out across the states, which remain largely responsible for getting them to the health providers charged with vaccinating the tens of millions of people waiting in line for shots.

    But the Covid team has since had to spend hours on the phone with various state officials trying to manually track down the unused doses, a time-consuming task that's sapped resources and has yet to give officials a full picture of where exactly supplies are going.

    They've also sought to persuade health providers to stop holding doses in reserve, a practice borne out of concerns people wouldn't be able to get the second shot of their two-dose regimen — but one that's no longer necessary and has only contributed to the confusion, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

    [...]

    Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker later blamed a Trump administration program that designated pharmacies to distribute vaccines to long-term care facilities for “bringing our numbers way down” because of how slow it has been to get shots in arms.

    The White House has since given states permission to seize unused doses from the pharmacy program and reallocate them elsewhere.

    [...]

    The White House cheered promising data on a new single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Friday. But production obstacles have dampened expectations for its immediate impact, with one federal official likening the anticipated early flow of shots to "a trickle."

    6 votes
  15. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    A Brazilian "funkeiro" (not sure if that has a translation) made a remix of a popular funk (Brazilian funk, which has precisely nothing to do with American or most other "funk") song he made (Bum...

    A Brazilian "funkeiro" (not sure if that has a translation) made a remix of a popular funk (Brazilian funk, which has precisely nothing to do with American or most other "funk") song he made (Bum Bum Tam Tam) (do not click if you're not into commercial pop music like VEVO or T-series) that's called vacina Butantã, named after the Butantã institute, which has a large role in the Coronavac Vaccine which is being rolled out in Brazil and is a PSA for said covid vaccine. It's by no means the most important thing, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

    5 votes
  16. skybrian
    Link
    Sanofi, after R&D setback, lends a hand to vaccine rival Pfizer for coronavirus shot production

    Sanofi, after R&D setback, lends a hand to vaccine rival Pfizer for coronavirus shot production

    After Sanofi's weak trial showing in December forced the company to delay its own vaccine development, the French drugmaker approached Pfizer and BioNTech about helping with mRNA shot production, CEO Paul Hudson said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

    A Sanofi spokesman confirmed the manufacturing partnership, saying Sanofi will provide BioNTech “access to our established infrastructure and expertise to produce over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Europe in 2021.” The first batches will be delivered from Sanofi’s site in Frankfurt, Germany, by August, he said.

    5 votes
  17. skybrian
    Link
    CVS and Walgreens blamed for slow vaccine rollout in nursing homes [...] [...]

    CVS and Walgreens blamed for slow vaccine rollout in nursing homes

    Both CVS and Walgreens appear to be at least a month behind schedule. In mid-December, Alex Azar, formerly the secretary of health and human services in the Trump administration, told CBS News that all nursing home residents could receive their first vaccine dose by Christmas.

    [...]

    • West Virginia, the only state in the country to opt out of the federal government's partnership with CVS and Walgreens, is expected to finish vaccinating people in long-term care facilities — both first and second doses — this week. By contrast, CVS and Walgreens appear to be several weeks away from giving both doses.

    • A number of states, including Michigan and Mississippi, have asked the federal government to allow them to start working with other pharmacies and suppliers to nursing homes in order to speed vaccinations.

    [...]

    For assisted living facilities, CVS says it has completed first doses in just 11 states. Vaccination efforts in other states are behind. In Arizona, the company has completed first doses in 202 assisted living facilities out of the more than 800 that signed up with the pharmacy.

    5 votes
  18. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    The CDC ordered software that was meant to manage the vaccine rollout. Instead, it has been plagued by problems and abandoned by most states. [...] [...] [...] [...]

    The CDC ordered software that was meant to manage the vaccine rollout. Instead, it has been plagued by problems and abandoned by most states.

    Unless you’re in one of the few states using it, you may not have heard of VAMS. But it was supposed to be a one-stop shop where employers, state officials, clinics, and individuals could manage scheduling, inventory, and reporting for covid shots—and free for anyone to use.

    [...]

    Clinic workers in Connecticut, Virginia, and other states say the system is notorious for randomly canceled appointments, unreliable registration, and problems that lock staff out of the dashboard they’re supposed to use to log records. The CDC acknowledges there are multiple flaws it’s working to fix, although it attributes some of the problems to user error.

    [...]

    So early in the pandemic, the CDC outlined the need for a system that could handle a mass vaccination campaign, once shots were approved. It wanted to streamline the whole thing: sign-ups, scheduling, inventory tracking, and immunization reporting.

    In May, it gave the task to consulting company Deloitte, a huge federal contractor, with a $16 million no-bid contract to manage “covid-19 vaccine distribution and administration tracking.” In December, Deloitte snagged another $28 million for the project, again with no competition. The contract specifies that the award could go as high as $32 million, leaving taxpayers with a bill between $44 and $48 million.

    Why was Deloitte awarded the project on a no-bid basis? The contracts claim the company was the only “responsible source” to build the tool.

    [...]

    In reality, many states are choosing to pay other vendors rather than using VAMS for free. Others are doing essentially nothing, leaving the planning up to county health departments. That’s how you get a situation like the one in Florida, where counties are desperately scheduling clinic visits on the website Eventbrite, more commonly used for concerts and conferences.

    [...]

    Several states that have been using VAMS are backing away. Virginia, where many individual vaccination sites had already chosen to adopt alternatives, is moving from VAMS to a commercial system, PrepMod. After participating in a trial of VAMS, California also picked PrepMod but clinics there have blamed that system for delays in their vaccine reporting.

    5 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Ugh. Would probably have had a better result of the CDC started an empty repository on GitHub with the word "please halp" in the readme.

      Why was Deloitte awarded the project on a no-bid basis? The contracts claim the company was the only “responsible source” to build the tool.

      Ugh. Would probably have had a better result of the CDC started an empty repository on GitHub with the word "please halp" in the readme.

      3 votes
    2. skybrian
      Link Parent
      The LA Times had a story on January 8 that Technology Review linked to: California COVID-19 vaccine rollout hit with software system problems [...]

      The LA Times had a story on January 8 that Technology Review linked to:

      California COVID-19 vaccine rollout hit with software system problems

      The online software system, PrepMod, is a vaccine management tool used to coordinate waitlists and inventory as well as send email proof of vaccinations to patients. It is unclear how widespread the problem is, but some providers, ranging from public clinics to nursing home operators, say the system is at times limiting access to the much-needed vaccines. The software is hosted on the state’s CalVax website.

      [...]

      “There are a multitude of issues with this system,” said Wasserman, noting that it took his facility about a week and a half to receive its vaccine allotment. “We should have been able to pick it up the first day. ... We really need to streamline the process so facilities aren’t running in circles to get approved to get their vaccines.”

      The snafus could at least partially explain why the state’s vaccination rollout has been slowed. So far, about 652,120 of more than 2 million doses that were shipped to the state have been administered, according to state public health officials.

      2 votes
  19. skybrian
    Link
    Massachusetts Democratic congressman, vaccinated for Covid-19, tests positive for virus [...]

    Massachusetts Democratic congressman, vaccinated for Covid-19, tests positive for virus

    Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, who has been vaccinated for Covid-19, tested positive for the virus on Friday afternoon and remains asymptomatic, according to his spokeswoman.

    [...]

    The congressman had received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and had tested negative for Covid-19 before attending President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, Tarpey said. But she did not specify when Lynch received each dose of the vaccine.

    Covid-19 vaccines prevent illness, but do not necessarily prevent infection. If someone tests positive and doesn't get sick, the vaccine has worked as intended. If someone tests positive within a few weeks of receiving the second dose, it may be because the vaccine hasn't yet fully kicked in.

    5 votes
  20. skybrian
    Link
    Canada to quarantine travelers, suspend flights south [...] [...]

    Canada to quarantine travelers, suspend flights south

    “Travelers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000,” Trudeau said.

    [...]

    Trudeau also said the government and Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations right away. He said Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat are cancelling air service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting Sunday until April 30.

    [...]

    Trudeau said starting next week, all international passenger flights to Canada must land at four airports: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.

    “We will also, in the coming weeks, be requiring nonessential travelers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the US, and we are working to stand up additional testing requirements for land travel,” Trudeau said.

    4 votes
  21. skybrian
    Link
    A new study shows occupations with the highest Covid death rates [...]

    A new study shows occupations with the highest Covid death rates

    A new study from UCSF’s Institute for Global Health Sciences found that death rates for working-age adults in California were 22% higher than what would have been expected had there been no pandemic. The so-called excess mortality rate was highest among food and agriculture workers (39%), transportation and logistics workers (28%), facilities workers (27%), and manufacturing workers (23%).

    [...]

    Why are those in food and agriculture at such high risk? It comes down to more than just the availability or quality of PPE in the workplace or being able to social distance. Part of the difference also can be explained by socioeconomic factors. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, food production workers are more likely than the average US worker to subsist below the federal poverty level, be uninsured, and live in non-metro area.

    3 votes
  22. cfabbro
    Link
    U.S. handling of American evacuees from Wuhan increased coronavirus risks, watchdog finds

    U.S. handling of American evacuees from Wuhan increased coronavirus risks, watchdog finds

    As the first American evacuees from Wuhan, China, touched down at a California military base a year ago, fleeing the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, they were met by U.S. health officials with no virus prevention plan or infection-control training — and who had not even been told to wear masks, according to a federal investigation.

    Later, those officials were told to remove protective gear when meeting with the evacuees to avoid “bad optics,” and days after those initial encounters, departed California aboard commercial airline flights to other destinations.

    Those are among the findings of two federal reports obtained by The Washington Post, supporting a whistleblower’s account of the chaos as U.S. officials scrambled to greet nearly 200 evacuees from Wuhan at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif., in the early morning of Jan. 29, 2020. The handling and quarantining of those evacuees — the nation’s first up-close confrontation with a virus that has now sickened more than 25 million Americans — and the resulting whistleblower complaint prompted internal reviews by the Health and Human Services Department and an investigation overseen by the Office of Special Counsel.

    The “most troubling finding” is that the government’s handling of the Wuhan evacuees “increased the risk of infection transmission not only to deployed [government] personnel, but also to the American public as a whole,” Special Counsel Henry Kerner wrote in a letter to President Biden on Thursday.

    3 votes
  23. Kuromantis
    Link
    (All articles are in Portuguese unfortunately. Dates given are for state-level schools, which are where I'll go/are paying attention to.) Apparently my state government is being 'ambitious' on the...

    (All articles are in Portuguese unfortunately. Dates given are for state-level schools, which are where I'll go/are paying attention to.)

    Apparently my state government is being 'ambitious' on the back to (in-person btw) school date with it being February 8th.

    Apparently this comes after (I think):

    1: The state government decides that we're gonna go back to the classroom, February 4th

    2: It backtracks, and delays the return 4 days and makes in-person aspect mixed/optional

    3: The state courts make a "preliminary junction" in favor of a decision successfully requested by a syndicate to cut out in-person classes entirely

    And now the state government has undone that decision. However, it's still in the decision of parents to decide if they want to send their children to class and schools are going to function at ⅓, or more specifically, 35% volume, for now. (I'm not sure if this number is a max limit or a specific amount.)

    Most notably for me, the state government is being far more insistent now than it was last year, where it delayed "back to school day" a full month some 3 times, and I'm not sure why. The cynical take is that the municipal elections are over and they have free reign for 2 years.

    3 votes