7 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of June 21

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!


  1. skybrian
    How one medical team is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to hard-to-reach Hispanic communities

    How one medical team is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to hard-to-reach Hispanic communities

    A group of local doctors and nursed formed Unidos Contra COVID, which means United Against COVID, earlier this year to address these disparities. The Hispanic population in Philadelphia is diverse, and “our experiences and makeup is hardly monolithic,” says José Torradas, an emergency room physician and co-medical director of Unidos Contra COVID, who left his job earlier this year to focus on outreach full-time. People in this community aren’t getting the vaccine “for different reasons in different groups.”

    Figuring out those reasons has become crucial to Unidos Contra COVID’s mission. The group has found that for Central American and Mexican communities in parts of Philadelphia, access has been the biggest problem. Meanwhile, in the predominantly Puerto Rican and Dominican communities of northern Philadelphia, Torradas says, vaccine skepticism stems from misinformation and a general distrust of the government.

    At the church event, Unidos Contra COVID came to bring vaccines to people who won’t travel to unfamiliar places to get them, because of language barriers or for fear of deportation. Many of the people gathered around the soccer fields are undocumented, Torradas says, though his group never asks about immigration status.

    These Sunday gatherings represent the few hours each week that these communities come together, he says, often after church. “It’s a sanctuary, a place they feel safe.” For that reason, organizers asked that the church not be named.

    The rest of the week, it’s either work or home for many undocumented people. “Anything outside of that routine represents a risk,” Torradas says. Even though local pharmacies may be close, or federal distribution sites accessible by bus, fears of interacting with government services or law enforcement keep many from getting vaccinated, he says. By law, undocumented immigrants are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

    “There’s lots of desire [here] for the vaccine,” Torradas says. “They just don’t want to get deported.”

    1 vote
  2. skybrian
    Birthdays linked to spread of Covid in areas with high transmission […]

    Birthdays linked to spread of Covid in areas with high transmission

    Households with recent birthdays were more likely to test positive with Covid in areas with high infection rates, according to an analysis of nearly 3m homes in the US.

    The study, which emanates from health insurance claims data collected in the first 45 weeks of 2020 across the country, was designed to assess the potential risk of small gatherings on the spread of Covid-19.

    The analysis showed that in places with low Covid prevalence, there was no evidence of any increased rate of infection in the weeks following birthdays.

    But, in areas where the virus was circulating in the community, households with recent birthdays were roughly 30% more likely to have a Covid diagnosis, compared with households with no birthdays.


    But the effect was even sharper when it was a child with a birthday – with an increase in Covid cases of 15.8 for every 10,000 persons in the two weeks following a child’s birthday, compared with cases in families without a birthday. In households with an adult birthday, the increase was 5.8 additional cases for every 10,000, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

    1 vote
  3. skybrian
    Sydney enters ‘scariest’ phase of pandemic as delta variant spreads, leader says […] […]

    Sydney enters ‘scariest’ phase of pandemic as delta variant spreads, leader says

    The cluster began last week with an airport limousine driver and has grown to 36 cases, including 11 announced Thursday.

    The outbreak is minuscule by global standards, but a big deal in a country that has pursued a strategy of zero transmission. The low tolerance for even single-digit daily cases has left Australians frequently caught in cycles of new restrictions every time a cluster emerges.


    The New South Wales state parliament was shut down Thursday after a lawmaker tested positive for the virus. On Wednesday, passengers had to weigh midflight whether to enter quarantine or return to Sydney after other Australian states snapped their borders shut.

    Officials and scientists are especially troubled by the apparent ease with which the delta variant, first detected in India, passes from person to person.

    Video footage shows the limo driver infecting strangers at a shopping mall and in a cafe through only fleeting contact, which scientists say proves it is possible to catch the virus simply from sharing the same airspace as an infected person.


    New Zealand is on alert, too, after a Sydney man flew to the capital, Wellington, while infectious, and spent a weekend visiting sites such as restaurants and a museum. On Thursday, New Zealand extended a pause on a quarantine-free travel bubble with New South Wales for another 12 days.

    Authorities limited gatherings in the Wellington region to fewer than 100 people on Wednesday, and masks were made compulsory on public transit.

    1 vote