Saturday, January 23, 2021

In The News (11)

Fauci, unchained The government’s leading infectious-disease expert exults in being able to speak frankly ........... Over the months that followed, Fauci was a regular frustration to Trump, given that same prioritization of accuracy and research over gut feelings and platitudes. Eventually, Trump elevated Scott Atlas from doing Fox News interviews to serving on his coronavirus team, on which Atlas advocated a “do-little” approach more in line with Trump’s preferences. Fauci spoke to the media regularly but was clearly sidelined within the White House. ............. “One of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest,” he said of the government’s approach to the pandemic. “If things go wrong, not point fingers but to correct them and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean, that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president, and he has said that multiple times.” ............  The doctor’s repeated references to there being a new sheriff in town did not go unnoticed.  

The pandemic is showing us which friendships are worth keeping and overall her quieter life has felt restorative. “I detoxed from all the social connecting I was doing,” Carlton said recently. “I’ve gotten to crave that time to myself, and I’m so much more aware of when I need it.” .............   once her family is vaccinated and life begins to speed up again, she wants to continue focusing mostly on her besties rather than stretching to see everyone in her circle. Her pod just might outlive the pandemic. .............. Just as working from home has revealed that commuting to an office five days a week isn’t necessary for every worker, some who once tried to maintain dozens of friendships are realizing they’re more fulfilled while keeping up with just their nearest and dearest.............. We don’t have to catch up with everyone. Some friendships won’t survive this time, and that’s okay. .............. people who are prioritizing fewer pals, and are going deeper with them, are feeling more connected. “The pandemic gave us this collective permission to talk about the hard things going on in our lives without shame” ...............   those with friendships that didn’t make the transition to phone calls, texting or Zoom “are the people who are super-lonely right now.” .......... she doesn’t have room for “inauthentic interactions anymore,” meaning connections that feel more like networking ....... Gujral plans to be more transparent with invitations she can’t accept, telling friends or acquaintances that an event would intrude on family time. ............. some people will never return to pre-pandemic levels of party-hopping and calendar-packing.  

CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant to become dominant in U.S.  So far, no variant is known to cause more severe illness, although more infections would inevitably mean a higher death toll overall ........... Scientists both in and out of government have stressed the need for the public to stick to proven methods of limiting viral spread, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and having good hand hygiene. ...............   the level of pain and suffering in late March, when the new variant is forecast to be dominant, depends on actions taken today to try to drive down infection rates. ............ Scientists say B.1.1.7 has mutations in the “receptor binding domain” of the virus, and this may be enhancing the ability of the virus to bind with cells in the human body. There is evidence it leads to higher viral loads, which in turn could boost the amount of virus that a person is shedding, or prolong the period in which someone can transmit the virus. ........ vaccination, performed rapidly, is critical to crushing the curve of viral infections. Without vaccines, under one CDC scenario, the country could be dealing with even greater levels of infections in May than in January.   

Boris Johnson says British coronavirus variant may be more deadly  among 1,000 men in England age 60 or older who get infected, the original virus would kill 10. The new variant, he said, would kill 13 or 14.  

FEMA would operate up to 100 federally run mass vaccination sites under Biden plan A draft document envisions different models for sites, with the largest capable of handling 6,000 doses a day  ........... The document envisions FEMA, which previously had more of a piecemeal role in pandemic response, fully unleashed. Its mission will be to “provide federal support to existing or new community vaccination centers and mobile clinics across the country.” .............  Biden intends to involve the federal government more directly in the administration of vaccines, instead of leaving the final step of the massive effort to state and local authorities. ............. “FEMA … will mobilize thousands of clinical and nonclinical staff and contractors who will work hand-in-glove with the National Guard and state and local teams to assist, augment, and expedite the distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines,” the FEMA document states. If requested by states and other jurisdictions, the draft notes, “the U.S. Government would develop, equip, provide information management, and staff and operate the site.” ............. A lack of abundant vaccine supply will remain the most pressing problem, probably through March. .................  The largest, called the “Mega Model,” would be able to administer 6,000 doses a day but require a space at least as large as 15,000 square feet. The smallest would extend across just 2,500 square feet and be able to handle 250 doses a day.  

‘Pixie dust’: Why some vaccine sits on shelves while shortages intensify nationwide Confusion over set-asides for nursing homes and reluctance to order vaccine that might go unused mean some doses remain in warehouses. .......... The bottleneck isn’t just in administering the vaccines; some states are not ordering everything they’ve been allotted. ........... The president’s advisers have said they were left no plan by the Trump administration. But what they inherited this week was more like a black box than a bare cupboard — the result of fractured communication among federal, state and local officials and a juggling act between manufacturers making a new product and thousands of providers, from big hospital systems to tiny clinics, struggling to plan around an unknown amount of vaccine. ...............  comes in a minimum order of 975 doses. Once vials are opened, doses must be used within six hours. ............  there is reluctance to set up vaccination sites and mobilize beleaguered medical workers only to perform a meager number of inoculations. 

People without symptoms spread virus in more than half of cases, CDC model finds The finding underscores the importance of following guidelines to wear masks and maintain social distancing ........... Regardless of whether you feel ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay socially distant and get a coronavirus test. ............ The clinical trials for the mRNA vaccines, authorized in December, concluded the vaccinations are highly capable of preventing symptomatic illness. But those trials did not determine whether vaccinated people are able to spread the pathogen. “If they were asymptomatic but equally contagious, then that’s going to have quite an impact on the epidemic,” Menzies warned. That is why it is so important to keep testing people, he said, especially those who were vaccinated and then exposed to the virus.

Yes, people with coronavirus vaccinations should still distance from each other. Here’s why.  experts have repeatedly emphasized that getting vaccinated doesn’t mean an immediate return to pre-pandemic life. ............ “There are many people that think it’s kind of an antidote to it all and that once you’re vaccinated, you won’t have to mask or distance or any of those things,” said Namandje Bumpus, director of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, who has participated in community calls about the vaccines. “Certainly, all of us getting vaccinated moves us toward that more quickly, but it’s not something that we’re going to be able to do as soon as we get vaccinated. We’re going to have to continue to be diligent the way that we have been.” .................  So far, more than 2.2 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated ....... But public health officials say at least 70 percent of the population needs to be inoculated for the country to achieve herd immunity and stop the virus’s spread.............   And with the virus continuing to spread rapidly across much of the country, many forms of in-person socializing carry some level of risk, including gatherings among people who are fully vaccinated...............  It is possible that people who are vaccinated can be exposed to the coronavirus and become unknowing carriers .......... The virus can also sometimes just hang around in a person’s nostrils after they are exposed, Barocas said. Then, all it takes is an ill-timed sneeze to potentially transmit it. ............ “The problem with this virus is that it’s incredibly contagious and it’s very easily transmissible,” Shah said. “We’ve seen cases of very minimal exposures and then people getting infected from there.” ..............  “In the short term, life is going to look much the same until much more of society has had a chance to be vaccinated”

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