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Profile Information

Name: Kathy Hinsman
Gender: Female
Hometown: Pittsburgh PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Pittsburgh
Member since: Sat Feb 18, 2017, 02:16 PM
Number of posts: 20,078

Journal Archives

NYT: Do we still need to keep wearing masks outdoors?

(link) https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/well/live/covid-masks-outdoors.html

As more people get vaccinated and spring weather and sunshine beckon us outdoors, one question may be nagging at you: Do we still need to wear masks outside? More than a year into pandemic life, many people remain confused about the risk of spending time outdoors around other people. A growing body of research shows that transmission of Covid-19 is far less likely outdoors than inside, and the risk will get even lower as more people get vaccinated and cases continue to decline. But many states have yet to lift strict outdoor mask mandates. In Massachusetts, for instance, outdoor masking is required at all times, even when nobody else is around.

Recently the online magazine Slate stirred controversy when it suggested an end to outdoor mask rules. The article won support from top public health experts and even The New England Journal of Medicine blog but prompted a fierce backlash from readers, who noted that while the risk of outdoor transmission may be low, it’s not zero.

- snip -

Many virus and public health experts say the guidance hasn’t changed — spending time with others outside during the pandemic has always been safer than indoors. But whether a mask is needed outdoors depends on the circumstances, including local public health rules and whether you and the people you’re with are vaccinated. Brief encounters with an unmasked person passing you on the sidewalk or a hiking trail are very low risk, said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and one of the world’s leading experts on viral transmission. Viral particles quickly disperse in outdoor air, and the risk of inhaling aerosolized virus from a jogger or passers-by is negligible, she said. Even if a person coughs or sneezes outside as you walk by, the odds of you getting a large enough dose of virus to become infected remain low, she said.

“I think the guidelines should be based on science and practicality,” said Dr. Marr. “People only have so much bandwidth to think about precautions. I think we should focus on the areas that have highest risk of transmission, and give people a break when the risk is extremely low.”

Dr. Marr uses a simple two-out-of-three rule for deciding when to wear a mask in public spaces or when she doesn’t know everyone’s vaccination status. In these situations, she makes sure she’s meeting two out of three conditions: outdoors, distanced and masked. “If you’re outdoors, you either need to be distanced or masked,” she said. “If you’re not outdoors, you need to be distanced and masked. This is how I’ve been living for the past year. It all comes down to my two-out-of-three rule: outdoors, distanced and masked."

(graphic shown below)

I walk my dog everyday in my yard and neighborhood and never wear a mask. When shopping in stores or patronizing a restaurant, I always have a mask on my face.

Snopes: Did NASA discover a new planet?

In April 2021, NASA discovered an “Earth-sized, habitable planet” located 300 light-years from Earth.

The so-named Kepler-1649c was found while scientists were looking through old observations from the agency’s Kepler mission, an initiative retired in 2018 that was aimed at discovering other terrestrial planets that may contain water. Previously, a computer algorithm misidentified the planet.

Kepler-1649c is 1.06 times larger than Earth, and receives about three-quarters the amount of light, which suggests that the exoplanet may have a similar temperature to our planet. Exoplanets like Kepler-1649c orbit around other stars, whereas all of the planets in our solar system orbit around the Sun.

While Kepler-1649c is outside of our solar system, it orbits within its star’s habitable zone, otherwise known as the “Goldilocks zone.” This means that the area where a rocky planet is orbiting is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface.

- more at link -

(link) https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/did-nasa-discover-a-new-planet/

The Question of U.S. Pharma Patents on Covid Vaccines

(link) https://theintercept.com/2021/04/15/covid-vaccine-patent-ip-poll/

The extremity of Covid-19 vaccine apartheid cannot be overstated. As of mid-February, the United States had acquired enough vaccines for three times its total population, while in 130 countries, not a single vaccine shot had been administered. This is no accident, but the direct and long-predicted result of a vaccine production and access model tied to privatized intellectual property and entrenched medicine monopolies.

The majority of Americans want President Joe Biden to act to end this intolerable vaccine inequality. Sixty percent of U.S. voters said they wanted Biden to endorse a motion at the World Trade Organization that would waive patent barriers and other crucial intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines, according to a new poll from Data for Progress and the Progressive International. This would enable a significant expansion of global production and rollout, while disrupting the extraordinary profiteering of pharmaceutical leviathans in a death-dealing pandemic.

The refusal on the part of major pharmaceutical companies and Western powers to ensure the sharing of vaccine patent and production information has been an immeasurable moral failure, not to mention a most foolish approach to a pandemic in need of a global response. The new poll also makes clear that, for Biden, blocking vaccine sharing is not even a popular position. Seventy-two percent of registered Democrats want the president to remove patent barriers to speed vaccine rollout and reduce costs for less affluent nations.

- more at link -

The question is how much do we have to HAVE before we start sharing with the HAVE-NOTS?

"Why the Second COVID Shot Makes You Miserable"

(link) https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/04/covid-vaccines-why-the-second-shot-makes-you-miserable.html

When the actress Sarah Wynter got her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, she didn’t experience any side effects apart from a little soreness in her arm. Dose two was a different story. About 12 hours after she received it, as she was about to go to bed, “it hit me like a freight train,” she says. “I just started feeling very achy, very tired and heavy.”

She woke up the next morning experiencing what felt like the worst hangover of her life. After some Tylenol and coffee, she felt almost better by late morning and was well enough to host a small birthday party for her 10-year-old twins. Then, at bedtime, it was round two, this time including violent chills. A night’s rest helped, but the following day she still felt under the weather.

Wynter’s experiences may not have been exactly typical, but they weren’t unusual, either: The second dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines really do pack a wallop. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while 30 percent of recipients experienced fatigue and a quarter suffered headaches after the first dose, those figures climbed to 54 percent and 46 percent, respectively, after the second dose. The number experiencing chills or fever climbed from 9 percent to 30 percent.

These unpleasant effects are a result of the way the immune system works. When a pathogen like COVID attacks, it destroys cells and triggers a first-wave response, so-called innate immunity, which results in inflammation and activates a horde of white blood cells. It also triggers a second system, so-called acquired immunity. A small number of white blood cells identify unfamiliar proteins associated with the threat, and over the course of the next ten days or so, these cells multiply so they’ll be ready if it ever returns.

- snip -

People over 55 are less likely to report being steamrolled by either the first or the second dose because their immune systems have faded with time and are less able to mount a vigorous defense. “The adaptive response decreases as you age,” says Matthew Woodruff, an immunologist at Pace University. “That’s why it’s always more difficult to get a good vaccine response in aging populations.” Seasonal flu shots, which provoke a fairly weak innate immune response and so generally don’t kick anyone’s ass, can trigger such a weak response in older patients that they are sometimes made in special elderly-friendly formulations, which include extra adjuvants. If a young person were to take that version, it would more likely flatten them.

-more at link -

Yes we're all different, but it seems that a person's age does make a difference. I felt a little woozy after my second shot, but no temperature and all I needed was a nap. Some people are getting a much harder impact. Still, it beats getting the virus, as we can all agree.

PA Dems advisory concerning May Primary

The first question on your 2021 PA Primary ballot asks whether partisan legislators should be able to terminate a governor's existing emergency declaration, like the one being used now to fight the pandemic.

This amendment would allow partisan politicians to derail nonpartisan emergency response. It could even put Harrisburg gridlock in the way of health experts and first responders.

VOTE NO to keep partisan politics out of Pennsylvania's disaster response.

Just like the first, the second question on your 2021 PA Primary ballot would strip power from the governor, health experts, and emergency responders to put it in the hands of the gridlocked PA legislature.

In this case, the amendment would automatically terminate emergency declarations after just three weeks. Only the legislature would have the power to extend or renew emergencies.

VOTE NO to keep partisan politics out of Pennsylvania's disaster response.

The third question on your 2021 PA Primary ballot asks whether the state constitution should specifically prohibit the denial of equal rights based on race or ethnicity.

This amendment offers additional protection against laws or policies that would deny Communities of Color their legal rights. It codifies the progress many Pennsylvanians have fought for for so long.

VOTE YES to help ensure equal rights under the law for all Pennsylvanians.

These important ballot questions show the value of voting in every single election! Please share this guidance with fellow PA voters and ask them to vote No, No, Yes with you.

Polls are open from 7 AM until 8 PM on Tuesday, May 18th. You can also vote from home by requesting your mail ballot right now.

Pittsburgh Area: AHN, UPMC plan large vaccine clinics for Pittsburgh area

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2021/04/07/vaccine-clinics-pittsburgh-area-johnson-and-johnson-shot-upmc-ahn/stories/202104070109

Allegheny Health Network and UPMC have announced upcoming large-scale vaccination clinics where they will administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The AHN clinic, in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department, plans to vaccinate 13,000 people at their two-day clinic scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The clinic will be at Next Tier Connect at Pittsburgh East, an office building near the AHN Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.

The clinic is open to eligible people in phases 1A and 1B. People interested must pre-register by calling 412-362-8677 or going online to AHN’s website.

- more at link -

Major opportunity to get J&J vaccine in Monroeville today and tomorrow. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY. Bring ID and proof of age or eligibility as 1A or 1B. Masks and social distancing required, no charge for the vaccine of course.

There's a store shooting in Bryan, Texas - 6 people are injured

(link) https://www.wpxi.com/news/trending/several-people-injured-texas-shooting-police-say/PBIFYM3BNZEUZPE3BDCZHZDR34/

BRYAN, Texas — Six people were injured after a gunman opened fire Thursday at a cabinet store in a Bryan, Texas, industrial park, police confirmed.

Bryan Police Lt. Jason James confirmed to CNN that six people had been injured, although he did not say how many people were shot. No other details were immediately released, The Eagle of Bryan-College Station reported.

Bryan police confirmed that the shooting occurred at Kent Moore Cabinets in Bryan, KBTX reported. The store is a custom cabinet manufacturer and is located in the Brazos County Industrial Park, KAGS-TV reported.

James added that no one was in custody, but said employees at the business were being interviewed. James added that witnesses had identified a suspect.

more at link

This is a breaking story, more to come on 6 p.m. news.

Thursday morning joke (found on Reddit)

A frog walks into a bank, and approaches the teller. He sees the teller's name tag is Paddy Black and says, "I'd like to take out a loan, Mrs. Black."

"Certainly," says the teller, "how much would that be for?"

"One million dollars," replies the frog. "Don't worry, it's ok, I know the manager."

The teller is understandably taken aback by this, and asks if the frog has any collateral to cover this.

"As a matter of fact, I do!" says the frog, and he reaches into his pocket and hands over a tiny ceramic elephant.

"What?!" says the teller, "This is garbage! I can't take this!"

"Well, take it up with my father then!" the frog retorts.

"Oh yeah, and who might that be?" The teller is quickly getting more and more annoyed at the frog.

"Why, it's Keith Richards!" The frog is waiting impatiently, tapping his toe on the ground. "Now, can I have that loan or not?"

"Wait right here," the teller says, as she proceeds into the manager's office.

"Sir, there's a frog out there who claims to know you, and wants a million dollar loan. He claims his father is Keith Richards! He even gave me this as collateral," she says, holding up the elephant. "I mean, what even is this?"

The manager takes a look at the elephant and replies, "It's a knick knack, Paddy Black, give the frog a loan. His old man's a rolling stone!"

Daylight Savings Time (2021) begins Sunday, March 14th

Turn your clocks ahead 1 hour on Saturday night, March 13th.

It's hard to believe, but we've made it through another winter.

Activists get behind legislation to open legislative redistricting process in Pennsylvania

Link: https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2021/03/03/redistricting-reform-Pennsylvania-congressional-map-Fair-Districts-PA-legislative-process/stories/202103030162

Activists are launching a campaign to contact Pennsylvania’s 253 lawmakers advocating the passage of a bill that they say would bring more transparency to the process of redrawing legislative and congressional boundaries.

Fair Districts PA, a coalition of groups that support redistricting reform, is calling the effort the “March Toward Transparency.” It’s intended to garner the votes needed to pass Senate Bill 222 and its companion bill in the state House, which would formally outline a process of public input when state legislative and congressional districts are drawn over the next year or two.

- snip -

For years, advocates had fought to take the power over redrawing district lines from the Legislature and give it to an independent commission, but support never materialized and time ran out, leaders say. Now, they want to push through a bill that — at the very least — would shed light on the process.

If passed, the legislation would mandate a series of live-streamed public hearings before and after lawmakers approve their preliminary plans. Then allow citizens to submit their own maps to “be given consideration equal to formal testimony presented at public hearings,” according to a sponsorship memo. It also would require the launch of a website for data, proposed maps and public comment.

“I’ve been advocating for it as a transparency process, and I think that’s a great story,” said House bill sponsor Wendi Thomas, R-Bucks, in remarks to the Fair Districts PA seminar. “I think most legislators want government to be transparent. It’s a very unifying message that everybody can get behind.”

- more at link -

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