9 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of September 13

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!

6 comments

  1. kfwyre
    Link
    I won't be posting weekly personal updates to these threads like I did last year, for anyone here who followed those. I actually started typing one out recently and found my frustration levels...

    I won't be posting weekly personal updates to these threads like I did last year, for anyone here who followed those. I actually started typing one out recently and found my frustration levels rising, so I stopped and deleted it. One of my goals this year is to better manage my anxiety relative to COVID, and I think some of what I posted last year had an amplifying effect for me.

    That said, I'll occasionally share some on-the-ground stuff, especially when I feel like it's the kind of thing I'm not seeing in news/discussions elsewhere.

    For example, I haven't really seen people talk about how much more disruptive quarantines are for schools this year on account of pushing full in-person learning. I understand why this was a push and am absolutely sympathetic to parents who struggled through last year's morass of confusing schedules and requirements. Unfortunately, nobody really primed them for the fact that this year might look a lot more like the last than they were expecting.

    Last year at my school we had distancing between kids' desks, and students were grouped for the day. This meant that a positive case didn't initiate close contacts on account of distancing. Even in cases where close contacts were identified, it was usually only one or two students because the students didn't change settings throughout the day.

    This year, however, students are not distanced and they mix throughout the day. A single positive case can trigger 10+ quarantines in close contacts, as the student sat next to different students from period to period. Furthermore, because in-person learning and a "return to normal" were pushed so heavily, we're not in a place to offer the same levels of remote learning and instruction that we did last year, as it's assumed that students will be in schools, in person. Parents still have to live with the fact that, at the drop of a hat, their child might have to stay home for a week or two. In fact, this year it is significantly more likely for that to happen. It's also worth noting that it can even happen multiple times, as a student could return to school after a quarantine period only to find out they're a close contact of a new case that day, which starts a new quarantine for them.

    It's created a backwards situation where we are seeing MORE students having to go remote this year while we have LESS in place to help them. We don't have live lessons, online instructional periods, and support staff allocated to quarantined kids like we did last year. It's frustratingly shortsighted and was completely foreseeable, but no one really planned for this. If it sounds like I'm putting this on my school alone, that's honestly not fair to it and its leadership. Nearly all of this comes from the decisions and pressures of people above them at the district, state, and federal levels. From what I've seen, this is quite common -- possibly the norm -- across many districts across the US.

    We started this school year with far higher local case rates than we did last year, and they're continuing to climb. Last year we had a spike over winter. My local case rates currently look like they did last November, and it's only September. The good news is that deaths and hospitalizations are much lower because we have vaccines now, but the bad news is that many of my students remain unvaccinated. I don't have hard data on that, but my best guess is about 50%. As a teacher I don't and can't ask about vaccination status, but given that the protocols for quarantines are slightly different for students with the vaccine and without, we can get small samples each time there's a positive case by keeping an eye on the quarantine responses of the close contacts and inferring from that.

    I'm fully vaccinated, but I've returned to getting tested weekly. Negative so far. Also my heart goes out to parents, especially those of younger kids. This is going to be another very difficult year, unfortunately -- possibly even moreso than last year for some.

    14 votes
  2. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    things here in Washington are going great. A religious group gives tips on avoiding the Covid-19 vaccine disappointing but not surprising how quickly the "law and order" crowd pivots to "here's...

    things here in Washington are going great.


    A religious group gives tips on avoiding the Covid-19 vaccine

    The group One Washington is holding seminars around the state to instruct people on how to apply for that exemption. The organizers are associated with a church in Gig Harbor called Harborview Fellowship. Early on in the pandemic, the church was in the news after it sued Washington state over emergency orders that prevented churches from holding in-person services.

    Mike Jonez, a volunteer chaplain for the Washington State Patrol who co-founded One Washington.

    disappointing but not surprising how quickly the "law and order" crowd pivots to "here's how to skirt your way around the law" as soon as it's laws they don't want to follow.

    "Religion is like a black box," Jonez said. "You just have to have it. You don't need to show it."

    also saying the quiet part out loud - in their mind, "religious exemption" is an ironclad get-out-of-jail-free card. rather than protecting sincerely held religious beliefs, they want to turn it into "but mom, my religion says I don't have to clean my room if I don't want to!"


    'The ferry system is our lifeline': San Juan Island residents scramble as several weekend ferry routes are canceled

    Washington State Ferries (WSF) confirmed the cancellations had to do with a worker shortage from dozens of employees calling out sick.

    This comes after weeks of rumors of WSF employees staging a “sick-out” to protest the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

    The San Juan Islands don’t have a drive-around option if ferries aren’t operating. Paulsen warned the impact is more than just economic.

    “I have a woman who texted me at six this morning, worried about making her last chemotherapy appointment in Seattle. She has no means by which to get there if the ferry system isn't operating according to some kind of schedule,” he said.


    Seattle’s Mayor still refuses to say whether unvaccinated officers will be fired

    as the Oct. 18 deadline looms, Durkan again refused to answer the question directly in an interview with Brandi Kruse on Friday.

    "I really believe that police officers are police officers because they want to serve and keep their communities safe, and that they know in their heart of hearts that getting that vaccination is part of that obligation to keep the community safe."

    not terribly surprising. despite Seattle's liberal reputation, we elected a mayor who's a former US Attorney and is a cop at heart.


    ‘Their Crisis’ Is ‘Our Problem’: Washington Grapples With Idaho Covid Cases

    Surgeries to remove brain tumors have been postponed. Patients are backed up in the emergency room. Nurses are working brutal shifts. But at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., the calls keep coming: Can Idaho send another patient across the border?

    In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little’s office said he was not available for an interview, but he has indicated in recent weeks that he has no plans to restore virus restrictions, even if hospitals entered dangerous territory, saying that he wanted residents “to choose to do the right thing and get vaccinated.” He issued a statement on Friday saying he was exploring legal action to halt a mandate from President Biden that will require millions of people to get vaccinated.


    Far-right groups have been trying to contact a judge after a WA hospital declined to give ivermectin to a man who is, as they put it, is "on a ventilator and dying." That ruling is expected by the far-right groups to come down today

    Update: The man reportedly died last night and now local far-right groups are weighing a response, believing that the hospital not administering ivermectin killed him.

    "Stand by for a call to action sometime this week" Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson said to followers.

    Patriot Prayer is a far-right, Proud Boy adjacent, hate group. A "call to action" from them could easily result in violence against the hospital or its workers.

    11 votes
  3. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    How Fauci and the NIH Got Ahead of the FDA and CDC in Backing Boosters […] […] The Lancet paper is here. The KHN interview with Fauci doesn’t seem to be online. I guess we’ll find out how this...

    How Fauci and the NIH Got Ahead of the FDA and CDC in Backing Boosters

    The support for an extra dose of covid vaccine clearly emerged, at least in part, from an NIH research dynamo, built by Fauci, that for months has been getting intricate real-time data about covid variants and how they respond to vaccine-produced immunity. The FDA and CDC were seeing much of the same data, but as regulatory agencies, they were more cautious. The FDA, in particular, won’t rule on a product until the company making it submits extensive data. And its officials are gimlet-eyed reviewers of such studies.

    […]

    Fauci explained that “practically speaking, the earliest we could do it would be the third week in September. Hence the date of the week of September the 20th was chosen.” The hope was that would give regulators enough time. The FDA’s advisory board meeting Friday is set to be followed next week by a gathering of the CDC’s immunization advisory committee, which offers recommendations for vaccine use that can lead to legal mandates.

    […]

    Monday, an international group of scientists led by Dr. Philip Krause, deputy chief of the FDA’s vaccine regulation office, and including his boss, Dr. Marion Gruber, published an essay in The Lancet that questioned the need for widespread booster shots at this time.

    Krause and Gruber had announced their retirements from the FDA on Aug. 30 — at least partly in response to the booster announcement, according to four scientists who know them. Gruber, who will remain at the agency until later this fall, is listed as a participant in Friday’s meeting.

    The Lancet paper argues that vaccine-based protection against severe covid is still strong, while evidence is lacking that booster shots will be safe and effective. University of Florida biostatistician Ira Longini, a co-author on the Lancet paper, said it would be “immoral” to begin widespread boosters before the rest of the world was better vaccinated. As the disease continues its global spread, he noted, it is likely to develop deadlier and more vaccine-evasive mutants.

    The Lancet paper is here. The KHN interview with Fauci doesn’t seem to be online.

    I guess we’ll find out how this gets resolved on Friday.

    3 votes
  4. skybrian
    Link
    Here's a good Twitter thread about the latest studies from the UK and Israel about vaccines. The upshot seems to be that younger people in good health probably don't need boosters, but they are...

    Here's a good Twitter thread about the latest studies from the UK and Israel about vaccines. The upshot seems to be that younger people in good health probably don't need boosters, but they are useful for older or more vulnerable people.

    But that's with a lot of uncertainty and caveats; see the thread.

    2 votes