Coronavirus Tidbits #224 12/18/22

Announcements:

First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.

News 

Infectious diseases fellowships go unfilled for newly minted doctors:

44% of training programs are unfilled. Why do 2-3 more years training to get lower pay?

Unfolding disaster

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/12/12/1142250941/newest-doctors-shun-infectious-diseases-specialty

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Vaccine effectiveness:

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@JReinerMD  Dec 12
COVID cases are up 53% over the past 14 days. Hospitalizations are up 30% and deaths are up 39%. Protect yourself.

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COVID-19: What we know about new omicron variant BF.7

Since the COVID variant omicron emerged in late 2021, it has rapidly evolved into multiple subvariants. One subvariant, BF.7, has recently been identified as the main variant spreading in Beijing, and is contributing to a wider surge of COVID infections in China.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-covid-omicron-variant-bf7.html?

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Half of US adults say they had COVID-19, but only a fraction were officially diagnosed, new research shows

Half of U.S. adults report being sickened with COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic, with only a fraction saying they received an official medical diagnosis of the respiratory infection, according to a new survey by the COVID States Project, led by Northeastern researchers.

Also, A substantial majority of American adults have not gotten the bivalent booster shot, which protects against the present strain in circulation—the BA.5 omicron variant and only 28% of respondents said they have received their flu shot.

In 2022, just 9.2% said they were treated with leading antiviral medications Paxlovid or Molnupiravir.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-adults-covid-fraction.html?

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Covid, Vaccines, and POTS

a small percentage of  vaccinated against COVID-19 may develop postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS. The investigators also found that those diagnosed with COVID-19 are five times more likely to develop the same cardiac condition after infection than after vaccination, emphasizing the importance of the .

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-covid-infection-vaccination-linked-heart.html?

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Autopsies show COVID-19 virus in brain, elsewhere in body

An analysis of tissue samples from the autopsies of 44 people who died with COVID-19 shows that SAR-CoV-2 virus spread throughout the body—including into the brain—and that it lingered for almost 8 months. The study was published yesterday in Nature.

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tested samples from autopsies that were performed from April 2020 to March 2021. They conducted extensive sampling of the nervous system, including the brain, in 11 of the patients.

The researchers detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein in the hypothalamus and cerebellum of one patient and in the spinal cord and basal ganglia of two other patients. But they found little damage to brain tissue, "despite substantial viral burden."

The investigators also isolated viable SARS-CoV-2 virus from diverse tissues in and outside the respiratory tract, including the brain, heart, lymph nodes, gastrointestinal tract, adrenal gland, and eye. They isolated virus from 25 of 55 specimens tested (45%).

Possible ramifications for 'long COVID'

Senior study author Daniel Chertow, MD, MPH, said in an NIH news release that, prior to the work, "the thinking in the field was that SARS-CoV-2 was predominantly a respiratory virus."

Finding viral presence throughout the body—and sharing those findings with colleagues a year ago—helped scientists explore a relationship between widely infected bodily tissues and "long COVID," or symptoms that persist for weeks and months after infection.

Part of an NIH-funded Paxlovid RECOVER trial that is expected to begin in 2023 includes an extension of the autopsy work highlighted in the Nature study, according to coauthor Stephen Hewitt, MD, PhD, who serves on a steering committee for the RECOVER project. Autopsies in the RECOVER trial include people who both were vaccinated and infected with variants of concern—data that weren't available in yesterday's study.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/autopsies-show-covid-19-virus-brain-elsewhere-body

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Coronavirus May Spread From Corpses, Scientists Report.

While transmission from corpses is not likely to be a major factor in the #COVID19 pandemic, bereaved family members should exercise caution, experts said.

Several studies have found traces of infectious virus in corpses for as long as 17 days after death. Dr. Saitoh and his colleagues went further, showing that dead bodies may carry significant amounts of infectious virus,

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/15/health/covid-dead-bodies.html

[Interesting aside. People who have had Covid can be organ donors:

https://www.organdonor.gov/learn/process/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions

Their bodies are not accepted by anatomy boards (e.g., for med schools).

How does this make sense?]

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Waiting longer for surgery after Covid tied to fewer post-op problems

The timing of surgery after Covid infection can be critical, a new study in JAMA Network Open reports. In their analysis of nearly 4,000 patients, researchers estimated a 1% reduction in risk of postoperative problems for every 10 days after a positive Covid diagnosis. Those problems included deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, stroke, myocardial injury, acute kidney injury, and death within 30 days after surgery.

The cardiovascular outcomes make sense, the authors say: Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, but it also causes vascular inflammation and sweeping changes in clotting that lead to serious damage. The infection ramps up inflammation, raising the risk of death in surgical patients with more inflammatory activation as a result of their operations. “Understanding the potential benefits associated with delaying surgery provides a key step in clinicians’ ability to optimize surgical timing for the increasing population of patients who have been infected with Covid-19,” they write.

https://mailchi.mp/statnews/tk-tncyc6de8v-621884?e=5c09ee46b1

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@MackayIM  Dec 9
"our data indicate an ongoing, sustained inflammatory response following even mild-to-moderate acute COVID-19, which is not found following prevalent coronavirus infection. The drivers of this activation require further investigation, but possibilities include persistence of antigen, autoimmunity driven by antigenic cross-reactivity or a reflection of damage repair"
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Thread on LongCovid from

@WesElyMD   Dec 14
2/ COVID ages our brains    Cognitive decline is part of growing old, but this is scary.   Hot new data w age-matched uninfected control ICU patients show how COVID is associated w Molecular Signatures of an Aging Brain.    Fig 2 go.nature.com/3UHvyKh
3/ Genetics This study included normal controls. Gene expression changes occur during acute COVID19 in hospital that are associated w subsequent LongCOVID. This was especially seen in antibody producing Plasma Cells, which explained symptom clusters.   go.nature.com/3FMcois
4/ The BRAIN…it’s “so much more than its constituent cells. Each neuron connects with thousands of other neurons—and instead of a cacophony of connections, we have a synchronized symphony.   Until it’s NOT a symphony…as in #LongCOVID brain fog   bit.ly/3FSrlQf
5/ Epidemiology & Global Burden of Long COVID
54 studies, 1.2M people reporting
6.2% estimates of LC symptom clusters: body/severe fatigue, lung & cognitive
Duration ~9 mos among hospitalized & 4 mos non-hospitalized
7/ Epidemiology - UK   33k COVID vs 63k controls followed 1.5 yrs
6% of COVID patients had not recovered
Predictors of non-recovery included hospitalization, female, lung dz, older age, depression
Vaccination assoc w reduced symptoms in 7 domains go.nature.com/3RUNZKm
8/ Post Exertional Malaise PEM is real  
My ignorance is being replaced w an appreciation for something now included in WHO guidelines PEM & Post-Exertional Symptom Exacerbation (PESE)   Please read up and consider the ramifications.   bit.ly/3iZAmxK
9/ We’ll need to rethink & retest approaches typical for physical & cognitive rehabilitation from usual ICU illness (#PICS) vs #LongCOVID due to realities of PEM/PESE. Could this profound “fatigue” be due to widespread changes in mitochondrial biology?  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530890/

Monkeypox:

Report describes mpox infections tied to tattoo parlor

Piercing or tattooing appears to be the vehicle that left 21 people infected with mpox virus (MPXV) after visiting the same tattoo parlor in Cadiz, Spain, during 2 weeks in July, according to a report yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

From July 6 to July 19, the parlor served 58 customers, and 21 of them (36%) became infected with the virus. Of the mpox patients, 14 (67%) were female, and 9 (43%) were children. The median patient age was 26.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/mpox/report-describes-mpox-infections-tied-tattoo-parlor

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Other:

Group A strep infections climbing in Europe

At least five countries in Europe are reporting an increase in invasive group A Streptococcus (iGAS) disease and scarlet fever, according to a disease outbreak update today from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said that as of Dec 8, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have been observing an increase in iGAS cases stretching back to the spring in the Netherlands and summer months in the United Kingdom. Many of the cases have been in children under 10 years of age, and some have been fatal, with 13 deaths reported in England within 7 days of diagnosis.

Group A Streptococcus is most known for causing acute pharyngitis, also known as strep throat, but can also cause scarlet fever and other, more serious and life-threatening invasive infections. Transmission occurs through close contact with an infected person and is passed on through coughs, sneezes, or contact with a wound.

In all five countries, the number of iGAS cases reported in recent months has been higher than that observed during the same period in previous years.

Scarlet fever spikes in UK

Only France and the United Kingdom have reported scarlet fever cases, with the latter reporting 4,622 scarlet fever notifications from weeks 37 to 46 of the current season—more than three times the average number reported for the previous 5 years. UK health officials say several outbreaks have occurred in nurseries and schools.

The WHO says the increase could reflect an early group A Strep season coinciding with an increase in the circulation of other respiratory viruses. In response, enhanced surveillance has been implemented in the countries reporting iGAS increases, along with public health messages for the public and clinicians.

The WHO currently assesses the risk for the general population as low, with no observed increases in antibiotic resistance but says it will continue to closely monitor the epidemiologic situation throughout the European region.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/antimicrobial-stewardship/group-strep-infections-climbing-europe

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RSV wave hammers hospitals — but vaccines and treatments are coming

As the respiratory illness helps to fuel a ‘tripledemic’, Pfizer and GSK race to get jabs approved.

Nature  Rachel Fairbank  15 December 2022

In the past few months, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been sending children under the age of 5 to hospital at alarming rates in the United States and Europe. As paediatric units fill beyond capacity, and physicians contend with a ‘tripledemic’ of RSV, influenza and COVID-19, some have been calling for a state of emergency to be declared.

RSV, which inflames the smallest airways of the lungs, is the only one of the three respiratory illnesses for which there are not yet any approved vaccines — but that could soon change. Last week, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had agreed to review its RSV vaccine, to be administered to adults over the age of 60, as a priority. If approved — which might happen as soon as May — it could be the first sanctioned jab for RSV. The same vaccine has also shown positive results against RSV in a clinical trial in pregnant people, and Pfizer has said it will seek approval for this group by the end of the year.

Nature looks back at how vaccines for RSV emerged, and ahead to how they are about to change the public-health landscape.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04434-5

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Camel virus  in Qatar?

[Unclear what is going around--3 players ill so far w viral syndrome, but no deaths]. Experts feel MERS is highly unlikely...but large gatherings like this, or hajj, are a risk for MERS, especially simultaneously "hosting a camel beauty pageant, poses an enhanced risk of transmission and globalisation of MERS-CoV." https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(22)00543-5/fulltext#%20:

@PeterHotez  

So the hearings proposed by the House GOP oversight/judiciary committees: in addition to wasting taxpayer dollars, will have the added downside of potentially curtailing virologic research in America at a time when we need to accelerate this to detect the 4th emerging pandemic
Remember these are the same House Freedom Caucus guys who discouraged Americans from taking Covid vaccines, resulting in the unnecessary deaths of 200,000 unvaccinated Americans. They don’t care about you or your family, and they don’t care if there’s a 4th pandemic.
It’s all about authoritarian control from the far right.
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@EckerleIsabella  (virologist) Dec 13
Unlike SARS-CoV-2, the virus is replicating in humans in the lower respiratory tract, therefore it's not easily transmitted between humans unless there are special conditions that favor transmission (eg health-care related). At-risk of infection are those with close camel contact
Very unlikely that someone who visits a soccer game without close camel contact contracts MERS. So while I am not worried about MERS in this setting, constant spillover gives the virus a chance to adapt. We should keep an eye on MERS but also important to be clear about risks

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Influenza:

con't to rise: Globally, of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu at national flu labs during the latter part of November, 97.9% were influenza A. Of the subtyped influenza A samples, 85.6% were H3N2.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/influenza-general/flu-rises-continue-several-northern-hemisphere-countries

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Antibiotic resistance:

@ABsteward  Dec 15
"Superbugs" Don't Respect Borders! Increase in NDM-1 and NDM-1/OXA-48-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae in Germany coincided with the war in Ukraine and the arrival of refugees and evacuated patients to Germany. #IDtwitter eurosurveillance.org/content/10.280

Diagnostics:

 

The first mass screening system for COVID cases has been developed with a sensitivity of 97%

Washing your hands with hydroalcoholic gel, smelling it and using a QR code to answer a short questionnaire. These very simple actions make up the world's first patented mass screening system for COVID cases.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-mass-screening-covid-cases-sensitivity.html?

Drugs and Vaccines:

Nasal vaccines promise to stop the COVID-19 virus before it gets to the lungs—an immunologist explains how they work

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines have played a large role in preventing deaths and severe infections from COVID-19. But researchers are still in the process of developing alternative approaches to vaccines to improve their effectiveness, including how they're administered. Immunologist and microbiologist Michael W. Russell of the University at Buffalo explains how nasal vaccines work, and where they are in the development pipeline.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-nasal-vaccines-covid-virus-lungsan.html?

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Nasal COVID-19 vaccine approved for use as booster in India

A nasal COVID-19 vaccine based on technology licensed from Washington University in St. Louis has been approved for emergency use in India as a booster for people who have already received two doses of other COVID-19 vaccines. The approval follows the Indian government's emergency use authorization in September of the vaccine as a primary series of two doses, and makes the intranasal vaccine the world's first to receive approval as both a primary vaccine for COVID-19 and a booster.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-nasal-covid-vaccine-booster-india.html?

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Large, real-world study finds COVID-19 vaccination more effective than natural immunity

In one of the first large, real-world studies comparing the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines versus natural immunity in protecting against death, hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits for any cause, including COVID, research-scientists from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center report that people of all age groups benefited significantly more from vaccination than natural immunity acquired from a previous COVID infection. The lower death rate of vaccinated individuals was especially impressive for adults ages 60 years or older.

Significantly, the all-cause death and hospital admission rates for vaccinated individuals were 37 percent lower than the rates for those with natural immunity acquired from previous COVID infection. The rate of ED visits for all causes was 24 percent lower for vaccinated individuals than for the previously infected.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-large-real-world-covid-vaccination-effective.html

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Benefits of Vax estimated:

Findings

From December 2020 through November 2022, we estimate that the COVID-19 vaccination program in the U.S. prevented more than 18.5 million additional hospitalizations and 3.2 million additional deaths. Without vaccination, there would have been nearly 120 million more COVID-19 infections. The vaccination program also saved the U.S. $1.15 trillion (Credible Interval: $1.10 trillion–$1.19 trillion) (data not shown) in medical costs that would otherwise have been incurred.

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2022/two-years-covid-vaccines-prevented-millions-deaths-hospitalizations

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Paxlovid in early Covid:

In the EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for Covid-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial, nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir led to an 89% reduction in hospitalization or death among unvaccinated outpatients with early COVID-19. The clinical impact of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir among vaccinated populations is uncertain.

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M22-2141

 

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Paxlovid Has Been Free So Far. Next Year, Sticker Shock Awaits.

https://khn.org/news/article/paxlovid-covid-sticker-shock-insurance/

"Nearly 9 in 10 people dying from the virus now are 65 or older. Yet federal law restricts Medicare Part D — the prescription drug program that covers nearly 50 million seniors — from covering the covid treatment pills."

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Another nail in the ivermectin coffin:
@boulware_dr  Dec 15
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More serious antibiotic/drug shortages:

@YouAreLobbyLud  Dec 15
My conversation with the local pharmacist today: "So you've got no adult amoxicillin or Augmentin Duo Forte?" "No." "When will it be back in?" "They're saying June 2023." "And what about co-trimoxazole?" "February 2023." No word of a lie, folks, no word of a lie.
And now COVID-19 is running through China, manufacturer of the world and major global supplier of precursor products. Dreading 2023.
(also Tylenol, Tamiflu, and others)

Devices:

@LadyScorcher  
A good friend borrowed a CO2 monitor from their public library this week. This reading was from their child’s concert at the school gym. 3376ppm is about 7% rebreathed air.
@jeffgilchrist:
And many people don't realize that 7.8% rebreathed air at 3376 ppm actually means breathing in 32.5 litres per hour of other people's breath, so pounding back 15 two litre bottles of pop but with everyone else's breath. A calculator is available here:
(Note: Our United Airlines flight had a CO2 level of almost 3000--miraculous we didn't get Covid. Also didn't remove our N-100 Masks for a moment.)
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See also

CAVI | Community Access to Ventilation Information

https://www.cavico2.com/

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Smartphone-connected device uses light to detect malaria – in 10 seconds

"The infrared light can penetrate thru the skin to the bloodstream, and the light that is reflected back is an indicator of what is present in the bloodstream. Malaria infects red cells, causing both structural & chemical changes”

https://newatlas.com/medical/smartphone-spectrometer-detects-malaria-infrared-light/

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Pandemic's two-year global death toll may be close to 15 million

Almost 15 million people likely died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, nearly three times more than previously reported, a new World Health Organization study estimates.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-pandemic-two-year-global-death-toll.html?

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@DFisman  Dec 9
Insurance companies and actuaries are now doing the public health surveillance in western countries. Public health agencies are too busy hiding data and telling people everything is fine.
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@MeetJess  Dec 13
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Long COVID a factor in more than 3,500 American deaths

Long COVID is a collection of symptoms—brain fog, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, stomach pain—that can torment people for months and even years on end.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-covid-factor-american-deaths.html?

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@gilmcgowan  Dec 7
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@JeromeAdamsMD  Dec 13
A study of 40 million people found those infected with COVID-19 before receiving a vaccine were 11x more at risk for developing myocarditis within 28 days of testing positive for the virus. Risk was cut in half if infected after receiving vaccination!
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@FERNnews  Dec 13
Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza were confirmed in 11 states last week; the largest at a turkey farm with 105,000 birds in Iowa. Nationwide losses rose to 53.12 million birds.  @USDA
aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus

Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate.

Mask.

Vax.

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Free Covid tests by mail again available:

The Biden administration plans to reopen its popular program with the U.S. Postal Service to mail free at-home Covid-19 tests to households that request them ahead of a potential winter surge. Ordering will open Tuesday. w/ @adamcancryn: politico.com/news/2022/12/1

can order them here, same as before 4 per household: special.usps.com/testkits

Can also get from health dept, library, and some pharmacies.

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Disturbingly plausible thread on likely wave re auto loans:

@GuyDealership  Dec 16
This morning I discovered something *extremely* alarming happening in the car market, specifically in auto lending. I'm now convinced that there is a massive wave of car repossessions coming in 2023.
Background: Over the past 2 years, many people took out exorbitant loans on cars. Car values were inflated (and frankly, still are to some extent). But many people simply had no choice and bought an overpriced a car. Well...
Some cars have declined in value as much as 30% y/y. And these same people that took out these big loans are now "underwater". Basically, they owe banks more on these cars than they are worth. And the banks are well-aware of this...
9 of our lending partners have started WAIVING "open auto stipulations" for consumers. Wait, wtf does that even mean? Let me explain using a simple, hypothetical scenario:
1) Consumer takes out an auto loan in 2020/2021 on an overvalued car 2) 2022 comes around and that overvalued car is now rapidly declining in value 3) With the car declining in value, consumer now owes more on the car than it is worth
4) Consumer no longer wants the car. Maybe they outgrew it. Or maybe it keeps breaking. So consumer wants to trade it in. 5) But dealer can't trade the car in because the consumer owes WAY too much on it. So dealer asks consumer for lots of money down to cover the difference.
6) But of course, the consumer doesn't have $1,000s to cover the difference between what they owe on the car and what it's worth. And here comes the perfect storm...
7) Dealer can't sell consumer a car, Consumer can't buy a car, And, you guessed it, lender can't finance a car! Everybody loses! Oh no So what happens next?
8) Lender knows that most consumers are stuck in this situation, and does the following: WAIVES THE OPEN AUTO STIPULATION. Meaning, the lender lets the consumer buy the car KNOWING that they already have an open auto loan with another bank! Why the f*ck would they do this?
Surely the lender knows that consumers that take out a 2nd auto loan are MUCH riskier and have a MUCH high risk of default? Right? RIGHT? Yes, but the lender does it because they know that the consumer will default on the other car !!!! Dog eat dog style.
This is NOT normal. But it's the only way lenders can finance cars and dealers can put cars on the road. And the implications of this will be tons of repossessions.

Politics:

Covid:

Two Doctors Known for COVID Misinfo Now Reinstated on Twitter -- Robert Malone and Peter A. McCullough  https://t.co/P2MOH3LcGp

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Morgue data reveal Africa's high #COVID19 death toll --90% were infected w COVID, but only 10% tested positive while alive. medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-m

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Healthcare workers in China are reportedly getting sick with COVID-19 and being asked to keep working amid an abrupt loosening of strict pandemic rules in the country. (Reuters)

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@BNOFeed
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@LawrenceGostin  Dec 16
Senate passes defense bill rescinding COVID-19 vaccine mandate kcra.com/article/defens It's a grave mistake to end vaccine mandates for the military. It's the nation's first job to protect our troops. More die from infectious disease than from bullets.
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Abortion/Reproductive care:

 

States that restrict #abortions have more maternal death rate that was 62% higher than states with easier abortion access. medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-s via @medical_xpress

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A nurse in TX has sued the U.S. Sec of Veterans Affairs and his department over a Biden administration order to provide abortions and abortion counseling to veterans. Stephanie Carter, RN, said her religious beliefs prevent her from providing abortions. https://www.wane.com/news/temple-nurse-sues-dept-of-veteran-affairs-over-abortion-procedures/
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Medication #abortion may be the next focal point in the fight over abortion access. Here's what to know medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-m
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@NoLieWithBTC   Dec 13
New: A Trump judge just issued a ruling limiting birth control access—the first major judicial action attacking birth control after Roe v. Wade was overturned. (@imillhiser) vox.com/policy-and-pol
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Antisemitism:
@TexasTribune  Dec 14
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Climate/Environment
‘Face it head on’: Connecticut makes climate change studies compulsory
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@PeccaryNotPig  
At Camp Ocelot the last three days where protesters have stopped all construction of Gov Ducey’s shipping container wall across the Coronado National Forest day and night, rain, snow or sunshine. Protesters have held this illegal wall at bay for three weeks now.
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#KeystonePipeline ran at heightened pressure before Kansas oil spill, cause stil | 2022/12/14 - The Kansas City Star
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Elon Musk/Twitter:
New: Elon Musk, who pledged to vote Republican in the midterms and pushed GOP candidates, didn’t actually vote thedailybeast.com/elon-musk-didn
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@DonLew87   Dec 13
Twitter reportedly is not paying vendors, auctioning off assets, has not paid rent on HQ or global offices for weeks, refused to pay $192K for a Musk charter flight, is considering not paying severance to thousands laid off, does it sound like Elon Musk is the new Donald Trump?
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@dicktofel  Dec 11
Tony Fauci is a recipient of the Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Science (both from a Republican president); partial list of honors in photo. Elon Musk paid a $20 million fine and signed a consent decree after he was accused in federal court of securities fraud.
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@oliverdarcy  Dec 12
"Twitter’s former head of trust and safety (@yoyoel) has fled his home due to an escalation in threats resulting from Elon Musk’s campaign of criticism against him," @donie reports. cnn.com/2022/12/12/tec
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@MeidasTouch  Dec 12
Twitter has dissolved its Trust & Safety Council in its entirety, per a new internal email. The Council focused on Online Safety and Harassment, Human and Digital Rights, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Child Sexual Exploitation, and Dehumanization on Twitter.
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@Osinttechnical  Dec 14
It appears that all automated flight tracking accounts utilizing open source data from @ADSBexchange have been banned from Twitter, including @RUOligarchJets.
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In a fit of pique and paranoia, Musk banned many prominent journalists from Twitter, incl Aaron Rupar, Ben Collins, Keith Olbermann, Matt Binder, It's going down, @elonjet, and many others. After threats from EU, he has reinstated them.  He falsely claimed they were endangering him, providing "assassination coordinates."
Accounts Musk has reinstated: Andrew Anglin: founder of The Daily Stormer Baked Alaska: white nationalist and insurrectionist Laura Loomer: white nationalist Kanye: Hitler lover Trump: failed coup leader,
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On top of that, NBC News temporarily suspended tech reporter Ben Collins from NBC and MSNBC airwaves, saying his Musk criticism was not editorially appropriate: @maxwelltani reports
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@salgentile  Dec 15
hard to believe there was once a time where they’d send a big yellow book to everyone’s house listing yours and everyone else’s assassination coordinates
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@CT_Bergstrom   Dec 16
Poking my head back in to note that when I left twitter, I put a link to my account on mastodon in my profile. If click on the link, you get an "unsafe link" warning. This is complete and utter bullshit, of course. Elon Musk is blocking all Mastodon-related accounts and links.
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@ThePlumLineGS  Dec 15
Just infuriating: The deal to protect 2 million dreamers and overhaul our asylum system is dead. McConnell told Sinema and Tillis he wouldn't attach it to the omnibus, and other sticking points arose, sources tell me. Here's the ugly, awful inside story:
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GOP/TFG/MTG:
@MarisaKabas  Dec 11
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@margbrennan  Dec 11
Notable: Fiona Hill confirms that Russia asked the Trump administration to swap Viktor Bout & another Russian for Paul Whelan following the 2018 arrest of the US Marine vet. She says the President Trump was not “particularly interested.” Good context.
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@BucksCoBeacon  12/12
Project Veritas Wants Parents to Send Their Kids to School Armed w/ Secret Cameras | It's illegal in #Pennsylvania to record a teacher w/out their knowledge, but given today's political climate I could see right-wing parents in #BucksCounty doing it anyway
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@schwellenbach  Dec 12
"More than 300 individuals on a leaked membership list of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers described themselves as current or former employees of the Department of Homeland Security" - @POGOwatchdog reports pogo.org/investigation/
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@ericareport  Dec 13
Lauren Boebert has a net worth of over $12 million. Her previous work experience was as an Assistant Manager at a McDonald's. Where did she get all this money?
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@Davidcicilline just introduced a bill that would bar Donald Trump from becoming president again via section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This is an such an important piece of legislation. Trump is a threat to democracy & he can’t become president again.  Dec 15
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Supremes:
@Victorshi2020  12/11
Brett Kavanaugh, a sitting Supreme Court Justice, was partying with Matt Gaetz, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka Erik Prince, & more right-wing extremists the other day. How can anyone look at these Republican Supreme Court justices & take them seriously anymore?
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@shershovitz  12/11
The judge I clerked for wouldn’t get in an elevator if it might contain people who wanted to influence his decisions.
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Greed:
Medical device makers stand in the way of giving just anyone information and replacement parts to repair their machines
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@BWestbrookAZ8  12/7
Walmart has paid $1,511,027,880 in wage theft violations since 2000.
(in response to "Surging retail theft could force Walmart to close stores and raise prices, CEO Doug McMillon warns trib.al/WjczGgK")
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NYC public libraries say proposed budget cuts may 'push us over the edge'

New York City's public libraries may have to cut staff, hours, branches and programming as they face potential multi-million-dollar budget cuts in Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to curtail city spending.

https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-public-libraries-say-proposed-budget-cuts-may-push-us-over-the-edge

@Fly_Sistah  

Omnipresence of police in subways with a $10.4 million budget yet crime isn't going down. Police don't solve hardly any crimes. If anyone else was this bad at their job, the whole team would be fired.

Frank James took a mini tour of NYC on the subway after the shooting. NYPD couldn't find him with a $10.4 billion budget & omnipresence & unlimited surveillance. He was at a Chelsea hostel, ate at Dimes, & ate at Katz's Deli hours after firing 33 shots. He called 911 HIMSELF!

$10.4 BILLION on omnipresent cops who don't solve crime or prevent crime. Yet the MTA is spending $1M per month on private security guards — who are posted at subway station turnstiles to deter fare evasion despite 3,500 transit cops.

"Library leaders argue that their institutions provide vital services – free books, Wi-Fi, computer access, online content and educational programs, among others – in 200 neighborhoods across the city, including in underserved communities."

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@RBReich  Dec 15
Kroger projects $4.9 billion in profits in 2022. Now it's purchasing Albertons, the second largest grocery store chain, for $25 billion. Albertsons previously acquired Safeway for $9.2 billion. Why are grocery prices up? Grocery store goliaths are buying the competition.
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Prisons/Police:

There is a simple, outright cure for hepatitis C. But state prisons across the country are failing to save hundreds of people who die each year from the virus and related complications.

1,013 people died of hepatitis C-related complications in state prisons nationwide in the six years after the first cure. They did not have to die. Worst states: Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, N Carolina, Texas, Tenn...

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@davidminpdx  Dec 14
Alabama arrests, prosecutes, convicts, and sentences two women aged 61 and 85 for feeding cats.
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At least 5 arrests have been made of forest defenders, with charges carrying 5-35 years. This is an outrage — Atlanta loves to talk about its history of protest while brutalizing and incarcerating protesters who do the same today. #StopCopCity
As always, contributions to actionnetwork.org/fundraising/co will help us bail these protesters out of jail quickly and with the support they need...And if you're an Atlanta attorney who is willing to represent criminalized protesters, please email me at mherskind AT schr DOT org.
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Justice Dept. moves to end sentencing disparities for crack vs. powder cocaine, a policy that critics said targeted people of color washingtonpost.com/national-secur
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Iran:
UN Member States just voted to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women. Iranian women and activists called on us to do this – and today, we got it done.  Dec 14
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Afghanistan:
“Do congressional leaders, Democrats and Republicans, really plan to stand by while tens of thousands of Afghan allies are loaded on planes and sent back to the Taliban? It seems so.” This by ⁦@trudyrubin

Will Congress really send 80,000 Afghans back to the Taliban?

Failure by Republicans and Democrats to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act this year means that Afghans admitted here after Kabul fell will lose their temporary U.S. parole status next year.

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Ukraine:
@maria_avdv   Dec 15
Kharkiv received body armor for children. I wish this news never existed.
(such a sad thread)
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@Billbrowder  Dec 16
Exclusive: FIFA rebuffs Zelensky's request to share message of peace at World Cup final. This headline says everything you need to know about the odious FIFA leadership. cnn.com/2022/12/16/foo
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Fascinating thread:
Mick Ryan  @WarintheFuture  Dec 15
In 1914-1915, a scandal erupted in England about the shortage of high explosive shells for the western front. There was a lag in industry expanding to satisfy the enormous consumption of munitions in the war. Something similar is occurring now with #Ukraine.
Consequently in 2023, the Ukrainian Army may run out of munitions before it runs out of fight. Based on current usage of ammunition in the war, production of munitions is increasingly lagging battlefield needs.
7/ Despite a ramping up of US production, quantities won’t increase until 2024. And, as a NATO official, quoted in the New York Times describes, 20 of NATO’s 30 members are “tapped out” in regards to supplying ammunition to Ukraine.

Feel good du jour:

@TheBlondeRN  Dec 10
Today was awesome! Ortho surgeon I work w/ frequently does surgery for uninsured patients. We (staff & docs) volunteer our time, & the vendors/reps & hospital wrote off the other costs. The gift of movement with total hip & knee joint replacements.
Yes, I would love for Americans to have universal healthcare. However that is not the reality and we are a long way from people getting the care they need. Today was a good day. I’m thankful to be able to use my skills as an OR nurse in a way to pay it forward. The best team.
This was special, especially after a couple of hard years as a nurse. Do good. Be kind. Help others when you can.
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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

@AuschwitzMuseum  Dec 9
Auschwitz was at the end of a long process. We must remember that it did not start from gas chambers. This hatred gradually developed from ideas, words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanization & escalating violence. It took time. #GenocidePreventionDay
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Nobel Lecture given by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2022 Center for Civil Liberties, delivered by Oleksandra Matviichuk, Oslo, 10 December 2022.

Bits of beauty:

Dawn outside Ceiba, Puerto Rico

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