Mental models: this virus creates population immunity less quickly than chicken pox, faster than HIV. With an infectiousness resembling measles.
¡Infodemico! Héroes, villanos
=>Infodemic - Stovepipe
=>Infodemic - No man’s land
Last Mile Vaccination!
Introduction: It is striking to see how thoroughly news-consuming people tune out the pandemic until they’re forced to dial back in. One reader who is immunosuppressed and pays to support this newsletter had not heard of long COVID as of a week ago. This person keeps up on all things pandemic.
The COVID tune-out must have happened at the top levels of the pandemic leadership in the U.S. Back in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war, when many kids were forced to learn more about politics for the first time, “Stovepipe” was the term one journalist gave to the practice of presenting to U.S. leadership only intelligence supporting the invasion, and discarding intelligence questioning the justifying evidence.
This point in the pandemic in which the U.S. leadership was caught off guard late in December seems to be led by Stovepipe MD pandemic pundits who present only the best-case scenario that we’re on the cusp of a global level of herd immunity that will last indefinitely. And that no children who matter are or will be affected.
No omicron stimulus payment has been mentioned and while Canada’s leaders, in the face of omicron, extended paid leave another six months, we’ve heard nothing from the U.S. other than people should return to work after five days of infection.
Even if American leaders had acted early – omicron was detected in Asia Nov 14th, announced more widely Nov 24th by South Africa – and ordered extra tests, supplies would still be strained because scaling 70-fold cannot happen instantaneously in the physical realm.
Melting permafrost is supposed to release more contagious pathogens. As one OpEd columnist said, let’s not rely so much on luck from here forward.
Jan 6 US hospitals seeing different kind of COVID surge this time (Associated Press) - "Hospitals across the U.S. are feeling the wrath of the omicron variant and getting thrown into disarray that is different from earlier COVID-19 surges.
This time, they are dealing with serious staff shortages because so many health care workers are getting sick with the fast-spreading variant."
"The pressures are neverthless prompting hospitals to scale back non-emergency surgeries and close wards, while National Guard troops have been sent in in several states to help at medical centers and testing sites."
Dec 24 2021 Grady County doctors release letter to public regarding COVID-19 (KFOR-TV NBC 4 Oklahoma City) -
Dec 19 2021 Scientists didn’t see omicron coming. And no one knows what’s next (San Francisco Chronicle) -
Jan 3 Covid Science: Virus leaves antibodies that may attack healthy tissues (Reuters) - Autoimmunity manifests in such conditions as Chron’s, the very manageable Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, serious Lupus and a myriad of others.
Dec 22 2021 Israeli study urges ‘rethink’ of COVID’s nature, indicates antioxidants may help Ben Gurion University geneticists suggest illness primarily targets the immune system, not the lungs, and say if the hypothesis is true, it may open up a new treatment possibility (Times of Israel) - “‘We expected to see a change in the mitochondria in the lung but not the blood, because after all, COVID-19 is supposed to be a lung disease,’ Prof. Dan Mishmar, the lead researcher and president of the Genetic Society of Israel, told The Times of Israel. ‘But to our surprise, we found the opposite was true.’”
Jan 6 Rare condition tied to COVID in kids being monitored by NYSDOH (WTEN ABC 10 Albany) - Johns Hopkins representatives told the news outlet that of the Multi Inflammatory Syndrom in Children (MIS-C) found "in New York the greatest percentage of kids who developed MIS-C were in the 5-11 age group (43%)"
¡Infodemico! Héroes, villanos
Dec 31 2021 Column: We all need a pandemic-era hero in 2022. We all need my dad (Los Angeles Times) - “Of all the columnas I did this past year, none got more feedback than the one I wrote back in February about how I convinced my Papi to get vaccinated. As I shared then, he once was the king of pandejos — the Mexican Spanish term for covidiots.” “I feared Papi would pass away from COVID-19 due to his pandejismo, and would live on in my memories not as the man who taught me the value of hard work, but as the fool who encapsulated these times we live in.”
Dec 7 2021 COVID misinformation has reached young minds. A Johns Hopkins program seeks to reverse the damage. (Baltimore Sun) - “This intrigues the students, some of whom believe that all scientists somehow work for the government and have an agenda, according to their health teacher, Erin Nutsugah.”
Dec. 3 2021 Opinion | Time to Pull the Plug on Cable News Cable News reaches a tiny fraction of the country, so why does the rest of the media care so much about the stupid things it says? (Politico) -
Nov 18 2021 Latinx Files: Facebook’s Latinx disinformation problem (Los Angeles Times) - “The article highlights how the company, which also owns social platforms Instagram and WhatsApp, repeatedly stonewalled Latino-centric advocacy groups, even after Facebook’s own employees were ringing the alarm internally, according to documents made public by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Among the issues employees flagged were possible voting suppression and the discouraging of Latinxs from filling out the census form.”
Nov 16 2021 What Facebook knew about its Latino-aimed disinformation problem (Los Angeles Times) - “The same sort of themes that were showing up in English were also showing up in Spanish,” González recalled. “But in English, they were either getting flagged or taken down altogether, and in Spanish they were being left up; or if they were getting taken down, it was taking days and days to take them down.”
=>Infodemic - Stovepipe
Dec 25 2021 Immune cells mean omicron won’t swamp hospitals in vaccinated areas In L.A. County, we don’t expect a repeat of last year (Washington Post) - By Michael Daignault and Monica Gandhi "A bout of covid is also known to generate these B cells, and B cells generated as a result of vaccination should be just as long-lasting, according to various studies."
=>Infodemic - No man’s land
Dec 24 2021 We’re Locked Down Again in the Netherlands. Here’s a Warning. (New York Times) - “The warning is about policy failures — the failure to start a booster campaign sooner, to spin up free testing capacity quickly when needed, to persuade more groups of the benefits of vaccines and to ensure there are enough beds in intensive care. Now our hospitals are already full of patients who are infected with the Delta variant, and we probably won’t have enough beds for all of the people who need care if the Omicron wave hits vaccinated people hard too.”
Dec 24 2021 Opinion: We’re adapting to living with covid-19 — less so to accepting uncertainty (Washington Post) - "The pandemic teaches that the Information Age is not especially conducive to good information."
Dec 23 2021 "Serious question since I’m not a dr. If omicron is contagious but not deadly (25,000 cases in Africa with no deaths) why try and control it? Why not let it go and let people get it and develop immunity? Especially for those who won’t get vaccinated? Pls no hate, I’m just curious.” He’s a 51-year-old father and famous professional golfer. (Twitter.com/PhilMickelson)
Dec 21 2021 The lesson from hundreds of you is that vaccinations may not block COVID, but they will keep you alive: Letter from the Editor (Cleveland Plain-Dealer) - "Here are five things we learned from reading more than 430 emails from you about your experiences with breakthrough COVID-19 cases, mainly in Northeast Ohio."
Dec 19 2021 Outgoing NIH director says 'hundreds of thousands would have died' from COVID if US hadn't listened to him (Yahoo!) - The writer of this Yahoo! OpEd is saying former NIH director Collins should have given the signatories of the questioned document called the Great Barrington Declaration more of his time early in the pandemic.
Dec 19 2021 "Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo: 'Have you gotten the booster?' Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL): 'So, uh, I've done, whatever I did. The normal shot. And that at the end of the day is peoples' individual decisions about what they want to do.'" (Twitter.com/TheRecount)
Dec 15 2021 It’s No Longer the ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’ Omicron is doubling so fast that it may soon be the pandemic of the unboosted — with holiday risks even for the boosted. (DonaldGMcneiljr1954.medium.com) - “Two weeks ago, I was flippant about Omicron, calling it a variant ‘with a name like a villain from a Transformers movie.’ Now I’m feeling chastened — and nervous. Just in time for Christmas, data pouring in from South Africa, Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, Washington State and elsewhere shows Omicron cases doubling very rapidly.”
Jan 3 Kelly Ernby, deputy DA and former Assembly candidate, has died of COVID-19 complications (Orange County Register via MSN) - “Orange County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby, who ran for state Assembly in 2020 and had become a leader with the Republican Party of Orange County, has died suddenly, a week after telling friends she was very sick with COVID-19. She was 46 years old.”
Jan 6 49ers’ Raheem Mostert’s 3-year-old son hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms (San Francisco Chronicle) - "Mostert’s wife, Devon, posted a picture on Instagram of their son, Gunnar, being taken to the hospital in an ambulance because he had a 103.5-degree fever and other symptoms." "'I could say a lot, but I’m going to keep this short because my family gets 100% of my time right now,' Mostert wrote. 'Take COVID seriously! It’s not a joke!!'"
Jan 3 What the numbers tell us, or don't tell us, about the omicron surge (NPR) - “DEAN: Yeah, there are a few other things we can pay attention to. One is wastewater surveillance. So basically you can track sewage, test it for viral particles. And that's nice because you remove that dependency on who's deciding to get tested, how many tests are available.”
Jan 5 "This is harm reduction and protection of vulnerable exemplified! #Malaysia has provided “kits” to its lowest monthly income households since early December and include -Two packets #RapidTests -Pulse ox -#Mask -#Thermometer .I hope others learn from this! h/t @camwolfe" (Twitter.com/KrutikaKuppalli)
Dec 27 2021 "Well, there it is. Today, with the 'wrong' (i.e. cold) symptoms and after a string of negative LFTs, I finally took Twitter advice and swabbed my throat as well as my nose (no mean feat with that diddly stick). If you think you might have COVID, consider adding the throat sample" (Twitter.com/JennyRohn)
Dec 24 2021 You can now self-report a positive COVID-19 case to DC’s virus tracking service (WTOP Washington's Top News 103.5 FM) -
Dec 23 2021 “We are one of the largest COVID labs in the country and we are unable to send our samples for sequencing in a timely manner right now. Stop the insanity” (Twitter.com/AlexMeshkin)
Dec 22 2021 El Paso COVID-19 test samples examined for omicron in California lab (KDBC CBS 4 El Paso) - Swabs are sent three states over for genomic sequencing.
Dec 21 2021 Belgian researchers warn against holiday reliance on COVID antigen tests (Reuters) -
Dec 3 2021 DC wants to give away free rapid at-home COVID tests, but there are hurdles (WTOP Washington D.C. Top News) - “Patrick Ashley, with D.C. Health, told council members during a call that the District has been working toward being able to provide rapid at-home tests to the community, but ‘there are challenges with obtaining supplies quickly, especially without the emergency authorities that we used to have to be able to move very rapidly.’”
Mental Wellness for Children
Dec 26 2021 "Y’all really think schools shifting online are the sole factors driving youth mental health decline? Not mass death, the casual selfishness of the adults in their lives, the prolonged stress of pandemic life, the flip-flopping of politicians who wield power over their lives..?" (Twitter.com/ms_simsimma)
Aug 2015 2021 The psychology behind forest fires and how to cope with the stress (Globe and Mail) - "When anything like that is unacknowledged or not managed well, it will manifest itself in behaviours or an inability to concentrate"
Dec 26 2021 "My 6 yo caught COVID last Dec and I was hospitalized 8 days Dec 23-31, missing Xmas with my kids. The 6 yo blamed himself for my illness and required anxiety counselling. Nobody says much about emotional ramifications to children when they bring Covid home from school." (Twitter.com/Sommers_U)
Dec 24 2022 "A drowning person will, in their panic, drag underwater the person trying to save them. In the same way, a denialist, in their panic, will attempt to convince you to remove your mask, because doing so confirms to them their belief the risk is low. Be firm in your conviction." (Twitter.com/JMCrookston)
Sep 2020 The Only People Panicking Are the People in Charge The public can handle disasters better than lying leaders can. (Foreign Policy) -
Dec 20 2021 Las Vegas mom warns of COVID-19 dangers after daughter, 96 local kids contract rare illness (KVVU FOX 5 Las Vegas) - Video report on children with COVID-caused MIS-C.
Dec 18 2021 Editorial: Bay Area health officers must find their COVID backbones again They first spoke with one voice. But as political pressures mounted, they splintered, resulting in a mishmash of rules (East Bay Times) - "The refusal of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa to follow the new state rules is a prime example of the chaos created when the Bay Area health officers splinter. For most of the pandemic, the health officers have been ahead of the state, setting the health standards for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration to emulate."
Dec 17 2021 Children as Young as 5 Now Under New Orleans Vaccine Mandate (US News & World Report) - “The expansion, which takes effect Jan. 3, was announced Thursday by Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Under the city's mandate, entry into restaurants, health clubs, bars and numerous other public venues requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. The requirements already cover children as young as 12.”
Dec 31 2021 Neighborhood Family Practice holds special mass clinic to vaccinate 500 people against COVID-19 (WEWS-TV ABC 5 Cleveland) - "It was scheduled to be closed today to observe New Year's Eve. But understanding how hard it can be for people to make vaccine appointments, workers shifted plans."
Dec 28 2021 In Greece, taxis help with race to deliver booster shots (Local 10 WPLG ABC Miami) - “Georgia Bisti-Bavella, 97, smiles as she receives a booster Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, in Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Dec.”
Dec 24 2021 Community leaders spent Christmas Eve running COVID-19 vaccine, testing sites In Aurora and Commerce City, there were no shortages of COVID-19 vaccines or tests on Christmas Eve, thanks to community organizers. (KUSA NBC 9 Denver) - "kids at the Christ Vision Ministries Church in Aurora were all smiles underneath their masks after receiving their vaccines Friday morning."
Dec 18 2021 Montgomery County holds ‘boosterama’ to increase coronavirus vaccine boosters (WTOP Washington's Top News 103.5 FM) -
Dec 17 2021 COVID shots for kids are scarce — and demand is mixed — in rural Montana (The Missoulian) - "How many people can say, 'Yeah, I'll make two trips to Billings?' That's a lot of miles," Edwards said, acknowledging that she was fortunate to have the means to do so.
H a p p y N e w Y e a r !