Coronavirus Tidbits #87 9/30/20

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.

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 where 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.

 

News 

https://twitter.com/jennycohn1/status/1308437962846134272?s=20

After news of Trump's tax dodges, only paying $750 in each of 2 years, and nothing in >10 years, a good proposal:

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Despite rising cases in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) moved the state into Phase 3 of reopening, allowing bars and clubs to reopen and overriding more restrictive local regulations. 

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Remember that $300-million HHS advertising campaign to help"defeat despair" about COVID-19? Apparently it was paid for with money Congress appropriated to the CDC. (Politico)

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Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor

Shortly after Congress passed the Cares Act, the Pentagon began directing pandemic-related money to defense contractors.

The payments were made even though U.S. health officials think major funding gaps in pandemic response still remain. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in Senate testimony last week that states desperately need $6 billion to distribute vaccines to Americans early next year. Many U.S. hospitals still face a severe shortage of N95 masks. These are the types of problems that the money was originally intended to address.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/22/covid-funds-pentagon/

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As hospitals look to prevent infections, a chorus of researchers make a case for copper surfaces

https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/24/as-hospitals-look-to-prevent-infections-a-chorus-of-researchers-make-a-case-for-copper-surfaces/

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CDC director overruled on cruise ship ban

when he pushed to extend a "no-sail order" on passenger cruises into next year.

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ACLU win for unaccompanied immigrant minors’ access to reproductive care

The Trump administration’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) issued a new policy today clarifying that ORR and ORR-funded shelters cannot block or interfere with unaccompanied immigrant minors’ access to confidential reproductive health care, including abortion. The change comes after three years of litigation from the American Civil Liberties Union...The Justice Department also agreed to pay $336,710 to the ACLU to cover its legal fees in the case."

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs:

Another Study Finds Vitamin D May Protect against Worst Clinical Outcomes of COVID-19

The results of a study by researchers at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and Boston University Medical Center, suggest that improving vitamin D status in the general population, and in particular in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, could help to reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease and associated deaths. The study, reported in PLOS ONE, found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients who had sufficient vitamin D—i.e., they had blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL—had a significantly lower risk of adverse clinical outcomes, including becoming unconscious, hypoxia, and death, than patients who were vitamin D deficient.

In addition, patients who were vitamin D sufficient had lower blood levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, and higher blood lymphocyte levels.

https://www.genengnews.com/news/vitamin-d-may-protect-against-worst-clinical-outcomes-of-covid-19-study-finds/

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New document reveals scope and structure of Operation Warp Speed and underscores vast military involvement

https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/28/operation-warp-speed-vast-military-involvement/

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Vaccine alliance, Serum agree extra 100 million COVID-19 dose deal for poorer countries

LONDON (Reuters) - The GAVI vaccine alliance said on Tuesday it had agreed a new collaboration with Indian pharmaceutical company Serum Institute that will make an extra 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for low and middle income countries.

The additional doses bring the total COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered by the Serum partnership to up to 200 million doses, GAVI said in a statement. They will be priced at a maximum of $3 per dose.

https://news.yahoo.com/vaccine-alliance-serum-agree-extra-085137578.html?

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A layperson’s guide to how — and when — a Covid-19 vaccine could be authorized 

https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/28/a-laypersons-guide-to-how-and-when-a-covid-19-vaccine-could-be-authorized/?

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Public Trust In Covid-19 Vaccines Is Being Eroded By Politics

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/09/23/public-trust-in-covid-19-vaccines-are-being-eroded-by-politics/#303229191534

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

"North Dakota’s positive test rate has averaged 30% over the past seven days compared with 6% the prior week. The positivity rate has risen to 26% in South Dakota, up from 17% the previous week" -- Maddow

Covid-19 is also surging in Wisconsin and Utah trib.al/vqwpB6c

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https://twitter.com/JohnRossMD/status/1311446364128247808?s=20

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https://twitter.com/Synergy3k/status/1310771113396330496?s=20

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Need to explain the magnitude of the deaths from Trump's failed Covid response?

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COVID-19 twice as common among young teens, adolescents than young children

From May to September, the average weekly incidence of COVID-19 was around twice as high among children aged between 12 and 17 years compared with children aged 5 to 11 years, according to data published in MMWR.

https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20200928/covid19-twice-as-common-among-young-teens-adolescents-than-young-children

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Conversation quickly spreads droplets inside buildings

With implications for the transmission of diseases like COVID-19, researchers have found that ordinary conversation creates a conical 'jet-like' airflow that quickly carries a spray of tiny droplets from a speaker's mouth

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, ENGINEERING SCHOOL

With implications for the transmission of diseases like COVID-19, researchers have found that ordinary conversation creates a conical 'jet-like' airflow that quickly carries a spray of tiny droplets from a speaker's mouth across meters of an interior space.

"Lots of people have written about coughs and sneezes and the kinds of things you worry about with the flu," Stone said. "But those features are associated with visible symptoms, and with this disease we are seeing a lot of spread by people without symptoms."

In an article published Sept. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded that for interior activities, normal conversations can spread exhaled material at least far as, if not beyond, social distancing guidelines recommended by the World Health Authority (1 meter) and U.S. officials (2 meters.) The work examined particle flow in an interior space without good ventilation.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/pues-cqs092820.php

(If you watch the sixteen second video, you may want to ask people to hold their breath when anywhere near you.--JTK)

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Selected readings about the election and after:

Politics:

This bland front page buries the lede--Trump is in debt for >400 million-->$1 billion per Forbes--making him a huge security risk. Who is he beholden to?

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Undocumented immigrants paid $11.7 billion in state and federal taxes in 2014.

Trump paid only $750 the year he became president and only $750 the next year.

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Reminder that Trump’s personal loan officer at Deutsche Bank was SCOTUS Justice Kennedy’s son

Why did Kennedy abruptly retire, paving the way for Kavanaugh?

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Voter Deterrence

Channel 4 News obtained data used by Trump's 2016 campaign on almost 200 million American voters. "It reveals that 3.5 million Black Americans were categorized by Donald Trump's campaign as 'Deterrence' – voters they wanted to stay home on election day."

In total, 3.5 million Black Americans were marked ‘Deterrence’.

In Georgia, despite Black people constituting 32% of the population, they made up 61% of the ‘Deterrence’ category. In North Carolina, Black people are 22% of the population but were 46% of ‘Deterrence’. In Wisconsin, Black people constitute just 5.4% of the population but made up 17% of ‘Deterrence’.

The disproportionate categorising of Black Americans for ‘Deterrence’ is seen across the US. Overall, people of colour labelled as Black, Hispanic, Asian and ‘Other’ groups made up 54% of the ‘Deterrence’ category. In contrast, other categories of voters the campaign wished to attract were overwhelmingly white....

The Trump campaign spent £44 million on Facebook ads alone during 2016, posting almost six million different versions of highly targeted messages that were pumped directly into the feeds of target voters across America, helped by a Facebook employee embedded within the Trump campaign.

But many of the ads were so called ‘dark posts’, which could vanish from recipients’ feeds once a campaign stopped paying for them.

https://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-trump-campaign-strategy-to-deter-millions-of-black-americans-from-voting-in-2016

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Absentee ballots:

Pennsylvania GOP files emergency application to stay the PA supreme court permitting absentee ballots to be counted after election day.

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First, ⁦@SenRonJohnson ⁩ launders Russian disinformation through his committee. Now followed by Lindsey Graham and

Intel chief John Ratcliffe releases Russian disinfo on Hillary Clinton that was rejected by bipartisan Senate panel

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/29/john-ratcliffe-hillary-clinton-russia-423022

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Of the more than 9M voters who requested mail ballots through Monday in FL, PA, NC, ME and IA, 52 percent were Democrats, 28 percent were Republicans, and 20 percent were unaffiliated.

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The Lincoln Project @ProjectLincoln

Donald Trump emailed his entire list that he won the debate. Before the debate.

Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

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