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Member since: Sun May 31, 2020, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 422

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In Los Angeles, Breakthrough Infections Are Now 30% Of All New Covid Cases Amid Delta Surge


By Tom Tapp
Deputy Managing Editor
August 19, 2021 6:14pm

"In March 2021, when Americans first began hearing about the Delta variant of Covid-19, breakthrough infections among fully-vaccinated Angelenos accounted for just 2% of that month’s case total. By June, when Delta accounted for 50% of all variants in Los Angeles, breakthrough infections among fully-vaccinated residents had risen to 20% of all identified cases. In late July, county officials reported that the Delta variant had overwhelmed all others, accounting for more than 90% of all positive tests analyzed for variants. As a result, the ratio of breakthrough cases increased to 30%, local health officials announced today.

While L.A. County numbers for the Delta variant have not been reported for August, as of August 19 Delta had risen to 98% of all tests genomically sequenced in California. Parallel growth in breakthrough infections has not been reported yet, but it is likely significant as well, according to Los Angeles Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer today.

While continuing to profess the effectiveness of vaccines, Ferrer noted that the percentages of fully-vaccinated Angelenos being infected and hospitalized have also been rising over the past three months."

Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Sun Aug 22, 2021, 08:41 AM (21 replies)

How different masks protect against Covid-19, and its delta and lambda variants

By Clarisa Diaz
Published August 5, 2021 Last updated on August 19, 2021

"Masks help prevent the spread of infection, both with the original Covid-19 virus, and the delta variant that is taking hold of the US, and other variants like the lambda variant and those that will inevitably arise.

While mask mandates were lifted in some locations of the country months ago, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reversed its masking recommendations even for the vaccinated. Its mask guidelines now recommend that people in areas with high transmission wear masks indoors while in public. That’s because face masks reduce the transmission of the delta, lambda, and other Covid-19 variants as well as they do for the original Covid-19 virus. Mask wearing by vaccinated people reduces the risk of breakthrough infections."


N95 masks offer the best protection against the Covid-19 virus and its delta variant. N95 masks filter 95% of particles in the air as small as 0.3 microns. The CDC says healthcare workers and other workers who work in hazardous conditions should have prioritized access to N95 masks. Only buy and use N95 masks if there’s an abundant supply in your area.

The next best option against Covid-19 is a KN95 mask, also filtering up to 95% of particles in the air as small as 0.3 microns in size. The difference between N95 and KN95 masks is how they are certified. N95 masks follow a US standard whereas KN95 masks follow a Chinese one. The standards are very similar, but the differences mean that N95 masks usually have headband straps, while KN95 masks have ear loops.

When purchasing KN95 masks, look to see if they meet requirements similar to those set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

According to the CDC, these masks are suitable for situations that require prolonged close contact with people who do not live in the same household, or for people who are at increased risk for severe illness.

The downsides to KN95 masks are that they can be uncomfortable, require more effort to breathe, and may not be readily available."

Other mask types are reviewed at link
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Sun Aug 22, 2021, 08:35 AM (43 replies)

9 Lambda variant COVID-19 cases reported in Arkansas

By Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nine cases of the lambda variant of COVID-19 have been reported, state health officials said Friday.

However, state officials said Thursday they were more concerned with the delta variant of the coronavirus.

“We have enough to be concerned about with the delta variant,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters.

José Romero, the state’s secretary of health, agreed with Hutchinson, KATV reported.

“The Lambda variant has been identified here in the state. We are tracking to see if we are seeing more isolations of that particular variant,” Romero said at a news conference. “I don’t think we need to be concerned about it at this time.”

As of Thursday, 118 of the state’s 262 school districts have a mask policy, according to KAIT. Eighty-seven do not have mandates and 57 have taken no formal action, the television station reported.

The most recent lambda case was reported on Aug. 2, according to KARK.

“I suspect there are likely symptoms because the delta variant is so much more infectious than the lambda variant,” Jennifer Dillaha, the state health department’s chief medical officer, told reporters. “People who get the delta variant, their viral lobe, respiratory track is about a thousand times higher than the other variants that have previously circulated.”

Roughly 51% of Americans are currently fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker.
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 10:58 AM (0 replies)

De Blasio hasn't given workers clear rules on return to office

By Julia Marsh and Nolan Hicks

"He’s late again!

Just weeks before the Big Apple’s expected reopening, white-collar municipal workers are still waiting for crucial guidance from the chronically tardy Mayor Bill de Blasio about returning to the office, The Post has learned.

“The mayor needs to step in and give us some real guidance other than, ‘Hey you need to social distance,'” said Ischia Bravo, district manager of Community Board 7 in The Bronx.

“We haven’t heard anything yet and we’re all wondering when,” another white-collar city employee told The Post.

The uncertainty forced the head of the Law Department to advise her staff that they may be coming back full-time in mid-September with no ability to work remotely.

“At this time, in the absence of any official announcement from City Hall, everyone should plan for the likelihood that employees will return to the office on a full-time basis starting September 13,” Georgia Pestana, the city’s Corporation Counsel wrote to her nearly 2,000-person workforce on Wednesday.

“This is a fluid situation, and I appreciate everyone’s continued patience while we await further instructions,” Pestana wrote.

A Law Department staffer, who shared Pestana’s email, told The Post his colleagues are livid, “especially the working parents.”

‘Our kids are going to come back’: de Blasio says NYC public schools won’t be remote

“We don’t think September 13 is a reasonable date for a full return,” he said, adding that it coincides with the first day of public school. De Blasio has said there will be no remote option for students this year."
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 10:47 AM (0 replies)

Gibraltar's Entire Adult Population Has Been Vaccinated... Now The Delta Variant Cases Are Spreading


"Back in March, the nation of Gibraltar boasted about their successful vaccination program.

Gibraltar became the first nation to vaccinate its entire adult population on Friday, just over two months since administering its first vaccination, thanks to the supplies provided by the U.K.

According to Picardo, as of midnight on Tuesday, Gibraltar had administered 48,296 inoculations, including 29,667 first doses and 18,629 second doses.

The announcement from Hancock comes roughly nine weeks after Gibraltar administered its first vaccination. On January 10, the Gibraltar Health Authority announced on its Facebook page that Robert Durrell, a 93-year-old resident was the first to be vaccinated.

OK… great. But now…

Given our successful vaccination programme, the practice until recently has been that a vaccinated close contact of a positive case no longer needed to self-isolate. That person could leave home as long as a mask was worn in all settings, and could even continue to go to work depending on the circumstances of the workplace.

The public is advised that those rules have now changed. The reason for this is because the Delta variant of the virus is more contagious and therefore spreads more quickly. This means that if someone in a household contracts the disease, the likelihood is that other members of that same household will follow.

Household contacts of a positive case are now required to self-isolate whether they have been vaccinated or not. The Contact Tracing Bureau will at first circulate a text message to all known contacts. This will be followed by a telephone call to each of them where the details surrounding the nature of the contact will be discussed, looked at more closely and new instructions issued accordingly.

In addition to this, the Government urges the public to follow the advice that has been given throughout the pandemic. This includes washing hands regularly with soap and water, or where not available, the use of hand sanitisers instead. It remains important to keep your distance from others and to avoid large crowds or gatherings if you are elderly or otherwise vulnerable in any way. It is still a legal requirement to wear a mask in certain settings, like shops and public transport.

It’s as though the people were never vaccinated. And note the time frame – it’s been 4 months since everyone was vaccinated."

related links:

Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 10:12 AM (40 replies)

COVID: Why are infections rising in Israel?

With almost 60% of the country fully vaccinated, Israel has seen a life after COVID-19. But now infections are on the rise. What's going on? Will a third jab help?


Back in March, Israel thought it had seen the back of COVID-19. More than half of the country's 9.3 million population had received two jabs of a SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) vaccine. The number is now close to 60% of the country and rising.


Stripped-back numbers

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per day (on a rolling 7-day average), started to rise around July 16, when daily infections were just 19.29. By August 16, the average was 5,950.43 infections a day.

Between May, June and July, the country was averaging zero deaths per day. That doesn't mean there were no deaths at all, but they didn't occur often enough for an average to be established.

By August 15, Israel was averaging two new confirmed COVID deaths per day. It has jumped up to nearly five in just one day.

Although it is tempting to compare these figures to those of other countries, and there are higher and lower rates of infection and death, let's stay focused on Israel.

Why are infections rising in Israel?

It probably has something to do with the delta variant of the virus.

There's been some reluctance to declare delta as the dominant variant in Israel. Some say it is and some say it isn't.

But in a briefing on August 14, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did say that "the outbreak of the delta strain around the world and in Israel" was "engulfing the world."

That suggests the delta variant is behind many of the infections in Israel.

In addition, the Ministry of Health of Israel has reported "a marked decline in the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing infection (64%) and symptomatic illness (64%) [since June 6]. This decline has been observed simultaneously with the spread of the delta variant in Israel."

A Reuters report at the time suggested that the end of social distancing restrictions in Israel had also played its part.

Israel has approved two COVID-19 vaccines: The Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna. Both are novel mRNA vaccines. Both reported an initial effectiveness of about 95%.

Some experts raise ethical and scientific issues around the third jab theory — for a start, there are countries who can't even get their hands on enough stock for one round of vaccinations. And second, they say the science doesn't back it up — that from what we know so far, a person is not necessarily better protected with a third shot.

But this could change over time. In a year or two, scientists may find that people need a fourth jab. Or perhaps the emergence of new variants will mean people will never be fully vaccinated and the world will just have to live with it.

In any case, as it stands, data suggests that even if there are breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated Israelis, their infections are less severe than among those who have had no jabs at all.

Taking a sample from August 16, 2021:

154.7 severely ill patients in Israel were unvaccinated.

48.4 severely ill patients were partially vaccinated

And 19.8 severely ill patients were fully vaccinated
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 06:41 PM (4 replies)

Uncertainty over quarantine rules sows confusion in runup to start of NYC school year


"Uncertainty over quarantine rules and teaching plans for city public school students exposed to COVID-19 cases is sowing confusion weeks before kids return to class.

In-person public school classes start on Sept. 13, but Mayor de Blasio has not spelled out what criteria officials will use to decide when students must isolate at home after exposure to a coronavirus case in class, or how schools will instruct them during quarantine.

The lack of clarity is ratcheting up stress levels for city parents worried about school disruptions. Educators are uncertain how they’ll continue teaching if rolling quarantines interrupt in-person classes.

“I’m pretty sure at least a couple kids are going to be quarantined. I think it would be better to plan for that now,” said Stacie Johnson, the parent of an elementary-schooler in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “They should not be giving us crazy, last-minute changes. Last year was a pretty stressful year.”

Some lawmakers and advocates have criticized the mayor’s decision to offer no remote option for students this school year. They argue such a system would allow students to keep learning while in temporary quarantine.

“That is really irresponsible and outrageous that it is Aug. 19 — principals who should be taking well-deserved time off are waiting for the mayor to kindly come up with a plan,” said City Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), who has called for the city to offer a virtual option for kids under 12 and immunocompromised students.

De Blasio has stayed steadfast in his refusal to continue full-time remote learning, citing the benefits of in-person classes for all kids and the low COVID-19 transmission last year in city schools. Building a citywide remote school would be a major undertaking of staffing and curriculum needs."
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 06:26 PM (0 replies)

Beloved coach, teacher dies of COVID-19 at 36 despite being vaccinated


HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A popular teacher and coach in Henry County died of COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

Walter Kearse IV, who taught at Luella Middle School, was just 36 years old.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones talked to his wife, Quinyonia Kearse, who still believes everyone should get vaccinated.

Kearse said her husband called her from the hospital to tell her he had COVID-19.

“I said, ‘You’re vaccinated,’” Kearse said. “I know you can still get it but it’s not supposed to make you this sick.”

Walter Kearse died on Aug. 13. His wife said he tested negative for the virus three times before he went back to the doctor and finally tested positive.

While he was in the hospital, he posted a video to social media.

“COVID is real, y’all. Been here since Friday,” Walter Kearse said. “Fully vaccinated. Please man, take care of yourself. This thing is not fun.”

Days later, Kearse got the call that her husband had died.

Even though he was vaccinated, she is still urging people to get their shots.

I want people to get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Sanitize your hands. Stay six feet apart,” Kearse said.

Walter Kearse had some underlying health issues, but those had improved to the point that his doctor was weaning him off medication, his wife said.

She said she’s not sure where he got the virus."
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 06:24 PM (6 replies)

POLITICS Sens. Hickenlooper, Wicker and King test positive for Covid after being fully vaccinated


"Sens. Roger Wicker, Angus King, and John Hickenlooper, who are all vaccinated for the coronavirus, tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday after experiencing symptoms.

Wicker, King and Hickenlooper are the latest in a string of prominent politicians to announce positive coronavirus tests in recent weeks despite being fully vaccinated. Others include Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas.

"Senator Wicker is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, is in good health, and is being treated by his Tupelo-based physician," Phillip Waller, Wicker's communications director, said in a statement. The 70-year-old Wicker "is isolating, and everyone with whom Senator Wicker has come in close contact recently has been notified."

The Senate is in recess this week, and many of the chamber's members are in home states either preparing for 2022 elections or checking in with district offices. Wicker is a Republican from Mississippi, King is an independent from Maine and Hickenlooper is a Democrat from Colorado.


"Despite all my efforts, when I began feeling mildly feverish yesterday, I took a test this morning at my doctor's suggestion, and it came back positive," King, 77, said in a statement. "While I am not feeling great, I'm definitely feeling much better than I would have without the vaccine."

The three positive tests came as the Biden administration ramps up efforts to encourage Americans to seek booster shots starting next month amid a growing pool of data that shows vaccine protections fade over time.

"After experiencing mild symptoms, I tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19," Hickenlooper said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "I'm feeling much better and will continue to isolate at the direction of the Congressional Attending Physician. I'm grateful for the vaccine (and the scientists behind it) for limiting my symptoms and allowing us to continue our work for Colorado."

Three of Washington's top health experts on Wednesday provided further details on how the immune system's protections wane over time.

It's now "very clear" that immunity starts to fall after the initial two doses, and with the dominance of the delta variant, "we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease," according to a statement signed by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and other U.S. health leaders."
Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 06:22 PM (0 replies)

North Texas doctor's group retreats on policy saying vaccination status to be part of care decisions

This would have been a big change in health care, and it was all outlined in a memo obtained by the Watchdog.


"Updated at 8:15 p.m. Aug. 19, 2021: After this story was posted, Dr. Mark Casanova gave interviews to local media and revised his story. He described the memo to the task force as a “homework assignment.” In a reversal, he told NBC-5 that vaccinations should not be among the factors hospitals should consider when making critical care triage decisions.

Original story published Aug. 19, 2021: North Texas doctors have quietly developed a plan that seeks to prepare for the possibility that due to the COVID-19 surge the region will run out of intensive-care beds.

If that happens, for the first time, doctors officially will be allowed to take vaccination status of sick patients into account along with other triage factors to see who gets a bed."

Posted by MisterNiceKitty | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 06:18 PM (0 replies)
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