Coronavirus Tidbits #84 9/20/20

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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.

We’re coming up on the anniversary of the birth of my book, Resilience: One Family’s Story…

I began furiously writing it in 2016 because of the divisiveness and hate-mongering, as a warning to wear that would lead…and here we are, with unmistakable parallels to 1930s Germany and the rise of fascism.

In this final push before the election, please do everything you can to help people register, verify their registration, educate others, and find volunteers for poll workers and election judges.

We need a massive turnout if we are to have a prayer of overcoming the voter suppression.



Devastating news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death–

Came in the middle of Erev Rosh Hashanah services…


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CDC scientists didn’t write the virus testing guidance on its website last month, and it was published against their objections

A controversial guideline saying people without Covid-19 symptoms didn’t need to get tested for the virus came from HHS officials and skipped the CDC’s

Yet, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, asserted repeatedly during a hearing on Wednesday that the agency’s scientific integrity has not been compromised by pressure from the White House.

Redfield’s defense also came on the heels of reports that political appointees at HHS had tried to edit or delay publication of COVID-19 articles in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.(Politico)

HHS’s lead spokesperson, Michael Caputo, took a leave of absence,after asserting that government scientists were engaging in “sedition”; Caputo also urged Trump supporters to “buy ammunition” because they could be in danger from Trump opponents. (NPR/New York Times)

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Does Virus Dose or Load Predict How Sick You Get With COVID-19?

— Initial exposure, strength of virus infection both seen as contributors to illness severity

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Valuable perspective


still an incredible, negligent lack of accurate, rapid testing.


The WHO announced a worldwide COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan,

emphasizing “global equity” and saying that so-called vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic. (ABC News)

Trump is refusing to participate, not only hurting other countries with his brazen nationalism, but likely hurting the US if we need help.


Unseen Benefits of Eyeglasses Against COVID-19?

— Small Chinese study suggests “preliminary evidence” of protection, but with many caveats

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How Accurate Are Home Blood Oxygen Monitors?

— The Skeptical Cardiologist examines pulse oximeters labeled not for medical use

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Globally, about one in seven COVID-19 cases are among healthcare workers,

according to a WHO report; the proportion reaches 35% in some countries. (The Hill)

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Hospital-Acquired COVID Rates

More than 7,400 patients likely caught COVID-19 inside U.S. hospitals where they were being treated for other illnesses from mid-May to mid-July, according to an analysis from the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper obtained previously unpublished data from the CDC for their analysis, noting that data from after mid-July were unavailable because the government stopped asking for it ~ ~ ~

Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.


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The court also says counties can receive mail ballots “at locations other than their office addresses including drop boxes,” rejecting an argument from Trump campaign and others that PA law requires mail ballots to only be mailed or delivered to county elections offices.

PA Supreme Court upholds the poll watcher residency requirement in state law: You can only be a poll watcher in your home county, not travel to other counties. Trump campaign and others had sought to allow people to be poll watchers anywhere in the state.

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Former Pence aide Olivia Troye says she will vote for Biden because of Trump’s ‘flat-out disregard for human life’ during pandemic

Olivia Troye, who worked as homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus adviser to Vice President Pence for two years, said that the administration’s response cost lives and that she will vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this fall because of her experience in the Trump White House.

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Days after Michael Caputo accused CDC scientists of “sedition” against President Trump, top HHS communications official said he will take a 60-day medical leave of absence “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.” (Politico)

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Politico‘s Blockbuster Scoops

Washington, D.C.-based Politico had a stellar week of healthcare scoops: uncovering Trump administration attempts to put words in NIAID Director Anthony Fauci’s mouth and meddle with a CDC scientific journal, and revealing ongoing tension between the heads of HHS and FDA. It also got advance access to a congressional report on CMS chief Seema Verma’s consulting contracts, whichPolitico itself had sparked.

Politico obtained emails that showed Paul Alexander, a senior adviser to HHS assistant secretary for public affairs Michael Caputo, weighed in on what Fauci should say during interviews with the press, on topics ranging from school reopenings to convalescent plasma.

Another report showed that CDC officials have increasingly allowed HHS communications aides to review studies being published inMorbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, and in some cases they compromised on wording. Political appointees in HHS complained that reports written by staff scientists would undermine the president’s optimistic messages about the outbreak.

Politico also found that HHS Secretary Alex Azar pressured FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to abandon efforts to regulate lab-developed tests, culminating in late August when HHS said the FDAwon’t require premarket review for such tests. “At some points the dispute was so intense that it boiled over into screaming matches between Azar and Hahn,” the news outlet reported.

Finally, Politico detailed results of a congressional investigation into how Verma spent more than $3.5 million on GOP-connected consultants. That included a “Girl’s Night” for nearly $3,000, almost $1,000 on an op-ed for Fox News, and more than $13,000 on promoting Verma to win awards and participate in high-profile panels. Politico first broke the story in March 2019.

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There is an appalling ignorance about the Holocaust–many denying that it even occurred, or unaware of basic information.

I would like to do more Holocaust education. Please help spread the word about my book, “Resilience: One family’s story…,” availability to speak to book clubs, churches, schools, etc., and the book’s lessons of how kindness helped save some of our family.

We are headed down that same path.

Please do all you can to volunteer and work for change, and VOTE. 

Thank you.

Feel good du jour:

Comic relief:


Bits of beauty:


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