Coronavirus Tidbits #239 – April 2, 2023


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.

Reminder, Resilience: One Family's Story... is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education.

Available here.





New Maryland abortion provider opening in post-Roe ‘abortion desert’

The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia was forced to close by the abortion ban there, so is setting up housekeeping near Cumberland--halfway between here and Keyser, WV. They are planning to provide more accessible option for patients in northern West Virginia, western Maryland, south central Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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Action items:

Write CBS about giving MTG a huge platform:  To <>

[Note: MTG stalked David Hogg, was a Jan 6 leader, called for Pelosi's execution,  begged for a pardon from TFG and more]

Sample of my quick email:

I'm appalled that you are giving this hateful neo-Nazi such a huge platform and giving her credibility when she should be relegated to the dustbin of history.
She is an election denier, gun promoter at the same time as our children are being slaughtered, antisemitic and racist. She promotes violence.
What are you thinking???
I understand "balanced" reporting, but there is also irresponsible reporting, and airing an interview with a journalist I used to respect is not the way to do it. Show some integrity.
Please do not air this interview w Leslie Stahl.
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Maryland residents:

Please contact your state reps to support bills re HateCrimes and antisemitism, and to provide Holocaust education. For more info and an easy, cut and paste message: Thanks! 


COVID-19: Study Suggests Long-term Damage to Immune System

NIH News Release: "...findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection damages the CD8+ T cell response, an effect akin to that observed in earlier studies showing long-term damage to the immune system after infection with viruses such as hepatitis C or HIV."

As the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths are dropping, many individuals declare the pandemic all but over, comforted by the belief that infections are mild and less dangerous than the seasonal flu. However, the scientific literature these last few weeks has been filled with deeply concerning reports. We are entering a phase of long COVID and chronic disability. In the United Kingdom, 2.0 million people, or 3% of the total population and 4% of adults aged 16 and over, live with symptoms of long COVID. A recent report from the UK Office for National Statistics shows that 2.52 million people are off work due to long-term sickness, up 7.9% over the last year.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is unknown since our case reporting system has become unreliable and substantially undercounts cases....

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@sri_srikrishna   Mar 30
Wastewater Surveillance Could Be Shut Down due to lack of funding. by ⁦
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RT @LisaAMcCorkell

@US_FDA is hosting a virtual public meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Long COVID and we need you to send in your story!!!

1. Register for the event here:

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Masks matter for more than mandates. [Excellent explainer]


The amount of virus we receive can determine the severity of the disease that results. This “infectious dose” is affected by how much virus is in the particles we inhale as well as how long we inhale them. Its impact is modified by our pre-existing immunity. The physical distance between us and the infectious source reduces the risk of us getting a dose. Masks also reduce the size of and even prevent us from getting a dose altogether. Cleaning or refreshing the air we breathe also reduces the infectious dose. We can exert some control over our risk of infection.

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@CatchTheBaby   April 1
Nature: #LongCOVID exercise trials proposed by NIH raise alarm Exercising could cause harm to #pwLC by triggering post-exertional malaise (PEM) —worsening of symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty regulating body temperature and cognitive dysfunction
“In a world where there’s hundreds of things to trial, why are we choosing this one thing that we know has the potential to cause harm to a substantial portion of patients?” asks @LisaAMcCorkell, a co-founder of @patientled for #LongCovid
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@AmeshAA   Mar 27
“Our findings indicate that the gut of infants who go on to develop type 1 diabetes is notably different from healthy babies, and that several microbial biomarkers associated with future disease may be present as early as one year”
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Marburg outbreak in Tanzania

previously in Equatorial Guinea. the CDC urged travelers to both countries to avoid contact with sick people and to watch for symptoms for three weeks after leaving the area. People can be infected and not show symptoms of Marburg for two to 21 days, followed by fever, chills, headache and body aches...Marburg has a 50% mortality and is highly infectious. further reading:


still an incredible, negligent last of testing.


The decision-making process for the launch of trials for COVID-19 repurposed antivirals

"The TDF case study demonstrated that the decision-making system favored conducting randomized trials for drugs with commercial value, like molnupiravir and remdesivir, but not for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)-like generic drugs, which have limited commercial potential."
It's kind of amazing to see a medical trade magazine come right out & say, "Shit, guys. 2 out of 3 drugs are advancing in trials, but the most promising one isn't—& it's 100% because manufacturers would have less opportunity to inhumanly jack up the price" --         @OliveSiffleur

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Study finds evidence of resistance to COVID-19 drugs

Resistance to Paxlovid is already evident among viral SARS-CoV-2 variants currently circulating globally, indicating that this stand-alone drug known as a protease inhibitor could soon become less effective in treating COVID-19 infections.

This conclusion was presented in a study published today online in the journal Science Advances.

This study—conducted by the Midwest Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Center—shows that drug-resistant variants have appeared multiple times independently in different parts of the world, with regional clusters providing evidence for person-to-person transmission. In addition to showing resistance to the protease inhibitor nirmatrelvir, the active component of Paxlovid, the study found that a different set of mutations currently in circulation can transfer resistance to ensitrelvir (Xocova), a protease inhibitor now approved in Japan. This new research shows that simple single amino acid changes in SARS-CoV-2 main protease could severely undermine efficacy of these antiviral drugs.


Epidemiology/Infection control:

COVID during pregnancy might raise obesity risk in children

A study of about 150 babies born to women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy found growth patterns that have been linked to developing obesity and other health problems. A research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported their findings yesterday in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

For their longitudinal cohort study, they examined data on 149 babies who had exposure to COVID-19 during the mother's pregnancy, comparing it with data on 127 babies who weren't exposed during pregnancy. They focused on weight, length, and body mass index (BMI) data from health records at 0, 2, 6, and 12 months. The team adjusted for several factors, including maternal age, ethnicity, and breastfeeding.

Babies born to mothers who had been sick with COVID had lower BMIs at birth, but greater BMIs from birth to 12 months, marked by a steep progressive rise during infancy. In contrast, the unexposed babies typically experienced a decline in BMI in the first 6 months that rebounded to baseline by 12 months.

Researchers said lower birth weight and faster weight gain during the first year of life may be harbingers of cardiometabolic problems later in life and that the findings support the need for close monitoring.

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COVID widened excess death gap between US and European countries

The United States has had substantially higher death rates than similar high-income countries in Europe in all but the oldest age groups, but the gap widened even more during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study revealed today.

Tips, general reading for public:






'Long COVID exercise trials proposed by NIH raise alarm Advocates ask the US biomedical agency to rethink the design of its RECOVER initiative, citing possible harm and funding waste'

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@JessicaValenti   March 29
North Carolina Republicans are introducing a total abortion ban from the point of fertilization.
The bill also wouldn't allow miscarriage treatment for women whose fetuses still have a heartbeat
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Antisemitism, hate crimes:

Maryland residents: Please contact your state reps to support bills re #HateCrimes and #Antisemitism, and to provide #Holocaust education. For more info: Thanks! Easy, cut and paste message.

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Book bans:

@krassenstein   April 1
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Rolling back SNAP benefits puts millions of children at risk of hunger and long-term health consequences

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@nytopinion   Mar 26   Child labor
A 13-year-old who was burned with caustic chemicals while working for Packers Sanitation Services in Nebraska told investigators the accident occurred during a shift that lasted from 11 p.m. to 5 or 7 a.m., a direct violation of multiple federal laws.
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@antifaoperative   March 31
A Minnesota jury has found GOP strategist, donor & founder of Big Tent Republicans, Anton Lazzaro, guilty of sex trafficking children.
Anton Lazzaro, who founded a political action committee called Big Tent Republicans & was a GOP strategist, donor & contributor on Fox News, has been found guilty on all counts, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor & 5 counts of sex trafficking a minor.
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@PortiaMcGonagal   Mar 29
"Supreme Court’s new target: the Americans with Disabilities Act" It's a Civil Rights fire sale sponsored by the GOP and held at SCOTUS. "Everything must go!"
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This is an absolute disaster. This is the legal system engaging in violence against the people's health.
Judge Reed O'Connor STRIKES DOWN a major provision of the Affordable Care Act requiring insurers to cover a vast amount of preventive care cost-free (contraception, cancer screening, PrEP, a ton of pregnancy-related care). The ruling applies nationwide.
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Pretty remarkable that America temporarily constructed a safety net during Covid — including major health care coverage, food benefits, anti poverty funding for families & kids, etc — and then just systematically and slowly demolished it
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A little-known conservative activist group led by VirginiaGinni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, collected nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations to wage a cultural battle against the left, a Washington Post investigation found.
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Insurer Rejects Claims Without Reading Them

Health insurer Cigna, which covers 18 million people in the U.S., has been rejecting claims en masse without even reading them, according to an investigation by ProPublica anThe Capitol Forum.

The company built a system that allows its physician reviewers to reject claims in large batches, according to the outlets, which cited internal documents and interviews with former Cigna officials. It created lists of tests and procedures that are approved for certain conditions, and if a claim didn't match, it was sent to be rejected and signed off on by a medical director.

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@MaryLTrump    Jul 6, 2022
Over 70% of Americans support gun safety legislation, marriage equality, abortion rights, gov't funding for childcare, paid maternity leave, raising the minimum wage, and more This country isn't divided. A radical, armed, anti-democratic minority is attempting a hostile takeover
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@rahnamepting   Mar 27
We have kids being shot and killed in schools and suffering chemical burns in factories and Republicans really want to look us in the face and tell us the actual problem is children's books. 
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just last month Republicans wore AR-15 pins in place of where their American flag pin would normally go.
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@hjarche   March 27
“It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms,” — USA
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@piper4missouri   Mar 27
“More US school-age children die from guns than on-duty US police or global military fatalities.”
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#Trans health care, already under attack, faces new obstacle with end of Covid public health emergency as #telehealth visits are restricted and Medicaid is cut via @statnews

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Judge Thomas Parker, Trump appointee: Tennessee’s new drag ban is a content-based restriction on speech subject to strict scrutiny, and the state has failed to justify it with a compelling interest. Temporary restraining order issued:

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Scientific evidence supports lifesaving health care for transgender youth, researchers say

Since January, lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have proposed or enacted legislation to ban or criminalize gender-affirming medical care for adolescents and young adults. A new policy brief, which includes two researchers with the University of Maryland School of Public Health as co-authors, argues that policies that limit access to gender-affirming care ignore scientific evidence and pose a grave threat to the mental health, well-being and futures of transgender youth.

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Pope Francis just repudiated the Vatican’s 15th century Doctrine of Discovery. Entire nations still use this doctrine as the legal basis for the occupation of stolen indigenous land.  --  @Vanessid

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Twitter, which now routinely elevates COVID misinformation, has suspended the official account for Africa CDC, a public health arm of the African Union. March 30

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Elon Musk, in a Twitter space, asks for engineers outside of Twitter to consider working for free to improve Twitter’s code base as an act of goodwill

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Voter Suppression:

Virginia Gov. Youngkin bars ex-felons from voting for life.

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Wisconsin's reasons for tossing absentee ballots are impressive. (I've been ballot curing).

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@WarOnDumb   Mar 25
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has recommended more than $300m of education spending on non-education things, including $25 million for a whitewater rafting park that has already received more than $50 million of taxpayers’ money.
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Sarah Huckabee: Thursday: I will end Socialism in Arkansas. Friday: Tornado. Saturday: I need Federal Assistance.
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Wording of the Disney agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District: The clause "shall continue for 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, king of England living as of the date of this declaration"
Disney executed an agreement with their predecessors that strips the new board of all its powers except the authority to “maintain the roads and maintain basic infrastructure,”
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Ron DeSantis waited until the media was fully consumed with Trump’s indictment to make a move to repeal Florida’s resign-to-run law, which prevents current public officials from seeking other offices while serving in their current office.
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DeSantis says "Florida will not assist in an extradition request" for Trump even though it's required by Article 4, Section 2 of the US Constitution.
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Hospitals in Mississippi are on the verge of closing as the state's lawmakers continue to reject Medicaid expansion in the midst of a budget surplus. (New York Times)

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Sen Josh Hawley was the only senator who voted against an anti-Asian hate crimes bill--because he wants Homeland Security to investigate the Nashville shooting at a Christian school.

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Missouri House votes to strip state funding from public libraries
Republican Rep. Dirk Deaton of Noel defended the law and the decision to strip public library funding in response to the lawsuit. “It’s been said this is a book ban. This is not that,” Deaton said. “It is protecting innocent children.”
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North Carolina:

@mirandayaver   Mar 29
This North Carolina abortion ban could very well extend to IUDs and Plan B, which some conservatives have (inaccurately) characterized as “abortifacients.” 
see Abortion for more
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Gov. Roy Cooper signs Medicaid Expansion into law 

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Gov Glenn Youngkin bars ex-felons from voting for life.

"Youngkin’s announcement also puts VA in a category all its own: It is the only state where someone who is convicted today over any felony is presumed to be barred from voting for life, with no remedy other than receiving a discretionary act of clemency."

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@NasimiShabnam   March 26
Incredible scenes in Kabul today as Afghanistan's fearless women stood before the Taliban, chanting — “EDUCATION IS OUR RIGHT. WOMEN. JUSTICE. FREEDOM." Their unwavering courage and determination to fight for their freedom is truly heroic
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"I'm not going to stand for transphobia or any hatred of any sort!" @HumzaYousaf, The new Scottish First Minister! Congratulations to Humza Yousaf!
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Today Russia begins to chair the UN Security Council & it's a proof of the bankruptcy of procedures in world institutions.

Feel good du jour:

She survived Auschwitz. Now she’s teaching Gen Z about it — on TikTok.

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Comic relief:

See "Disney" agreement in Florida politics, above. Hilarious

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Bits of beauty:


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