Vigilante Contact Tracing
People are demanding ventilation. And they're demanding tracing be done in a timely manner. Also: Malaria vaccine provides light in dark times.
October 7, 2021 Preamble: This is the final back-to-school surge issue. Boredom is a safety hazard in civil engineering circles. Repetition & reinforcement journalism doesn’t sell well. It takes time to arrange so that it points to new horizons.
Readers requested this newsletter remain open to the public. Unfortunately it doesn’t assemble itself, but is built with automated news crawlers directed with hours of human effort and judgement.
Signs in many places show people have COVID on the run. Should we take our eye off the ball? Your perspective is more valuable than you know. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isolating Alternatives (Masking, Quarantining, Ventilating) 😷
🆕 Endemicity Watch
Beyond the Scope
🆕 Serotonin Chaser
Oct. 1 How America Screwed Up the Great School Reopening | Failing to mask fully, provide testing, consider community Covid rates, and support teachers has turned the fall term into a nightmare. (The New Republic) - “The thing that is frustrating me and so many teachers this year,” O’Neal said, “is why are we not taking the mitigation strategies that we at least took last year?”
Oct. 1 From COVID tests and contact tracing to angry parents, school nurses say it's hard to keep up (WBUR) - "Cahill and Hampson say they're seeing more students test positive for COVID than they did last school year. That's the case in many districts. The state says there's also more testing going on than last school year."
Sep. 20 I Got a ‘Mild’ Breakthrough Case. Here’s What I Wish I’d Known. (Kaiser Health News) - “Two rapid antigen tests (taken a day apart) came back negative, but I could tell I was starting to feel sick. After my second negative test, the nurse leveled with me. ‘Don’t hang your hat on this,’ she said of the results. Sure enough, a few days later the results of a PCR test for the coronavirus (this one sent to a lab) confirmed what had become obvious by then.”
Oct. 6 The White House will spend an additional $1 billion on rapid at-home COVID tests (NPR) - “On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Flowflex, another rapid at-home antigen test made by ACON laboratories — a move the agency says will significantly increase the availability of at-home testing. It's the eighth test of this kind to be made available in the U.S. and the most affordable, according to [White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey] Zients, who says his understanding is that the kit will retail for about $10 per test.”
Oct. 5 China's PCR test kit orders spiked months before it raised COVID-19 alarm, says report (Japan Times) - This Bloomberg story ran in Tuesday’s Japan Times.
On balance, there were many reinstatements of contact tracing in school settings, and vaccines are working to keep people from becoming more ill. The clips below show some anomalies. Clips also show remaining roadblocks, such as confusion whether the department of health or the school should perform exposure notification.
Sep. 22 Emmy producers slam Seth Rogen's 'deeply frustrating' jokes about COVID-19 safety during the ceremony (Yahoo! News) - "Good to be here at the Emmy Awards," Rogen began. "Let me start by saying: There's way too many of us in this little room." He added: "What are we doing? They said this was outdoors - it's not! They lied to us!"
Oct. 5 Marc Pilcher, 'Bridgerton' Emmy winner, dies age 53 of Covid-19 (CNN) - “According to the statement, Pilcher was ‘double vaccinated’ and had no underlying health conditions. He took multiple Covid-19 tests and tested negative to make the trip to the US for the Emmy's ceremony and back to the UK. Soon after returning, he became ill and his condition deteriorated over the weekend. He died on Sunday, Curtis Brown said.”
Oct. 5 Student-run contact tracing initiative shut down by McGill administration (McGill Tribune) - “The student-run initiative began as a rumour, circulated on a Facebook group, that students had tested positive in law classrooms. Having not been notified of these cases by McGill’s COVID-19 Case Management Group (CMG) and being frustrated by the lack of concern about the safety of their classrooms, Emma Sitland, 3L explained that the LSA became motivated to start their own initiative.”
Oct, 4 Some Union County parents say they have to use social media to contact trace (WSOC-TV) - The parents told Channel 9's Genevieve Curtis that neither Union County Public Schools nor the county’s health department contacted them when a child was in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID, despite state health leaders threatening legal action.
Oct. 4 Contact tracing scaled back as vaccination rate rises (The Age) - The epidemiologist said on the record it would be “overzealous” to trace secondary transmission. "Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said listing tier-2 sites was part of Victoria’s 'cautious path' at the start of the pandemic but it would be 'overzealous' to continue once vaccine rates increased."
Oct. 4 Alabama isn’t reporting school COVID outbreaks, contact tracing. Here’s why. (AL) - Even in this article about lack of contact tracing, the sources within all think it should be practiced. All that remains is the fog of who should do it, the school or the local health department.
Oct. 4 Confusion surrounds COVID-19 isolation, contact tracing policies as delta variant spreads (The Tufts Daily) - "Notably, close contacts of COVID-19-positive individuals no longer need to quarantine and the university has reduced capacity to house students in isolation."
Oct. 5 Christina School District to compensate nurses for contact tracing work (Newark Post) - "Each full-time nurse employed by the district as of Aug. 1 will receive a $600 stipend for their work prior to Oct. 31. After Oct. 31, nurses will be paid their usual hourly rate for contact tracing work done outside of the normal work day."
Sep. 30 In-person learning requires vigilant COVID-19 contact tracing and testing (News Spectrum 1) - Now in the vaccination era, each exposure in this New York area requires more questions from the tracing team. "And then those close contacts, we have to review to ensure are they vaccinated or unvaccinated.” “Classmates within three feet will be notified, but if they’re vaccinated and masked, they will not have to quarantine, as long as they’re not showing symptoms.”
Oct. 5 Contact tracing coming back to Alberta schools (660 City News) - “Contact tracing had been taking place in schools last semester. However, as part of changes when restrictions were loosened this summer, those measures were scaled back in classrooms. Many had been calling for the province to reinstate contact tracing, as well as other measures, as more students got sick.”
Isolating Alternatives (Masking, Ventilating, Test & Vaccine Passports) 😷
Oct. 4 Dr. Fauci Says This One Thing Is "Key" to Stopping Breakthrough Infections (Yahoo! Life) - He said, when addressing whether or not it was safe for unvaccinated children to attend indoor parties “in an indoor setting, a congregate setting, it just makes sense to wear a mask and to avoid high-risk situations,". He then added: "What we should be doing is look at ventilation in indoor places."
Sep. 21 Echoes Through Time: The Historical Origins of the Droplet Dogma and its Role in the Misidentification of Airborne Respiratory Infection Transmission (SSRN Research Repository) - “The WHO emphatically declared on March 28, 2020 that SARS-CoV-2 was not airborne (except in the case of very specific so-called 'aerosol-generating medical procedures') and that it was 'misinformation' to say otherwise (3).” This entire paper is riveting reading. The story behind the paper appears to also be interesting: it’s authored by 24 scientists of different disciplines from 21 universities in ten countries. Somebody option this for Netflix!
Oct. 5 "Had dinner last night with owner of a business that's struggling to get customers back in person. We discussed aerosol, the fact that some countries post CO2 levels in businesses, what can be done to build confidence by understanding aerosol transmission. It was an 'aha moment'." (Twitter.com/DFisman)
Oct. 4 "My almost 2 year old was upset b/c he wanted to wear a mask to school like his big sister. If my kids can #MaskUp to protect others, there’s really no excuse not to wear one." (Twitter.com/ReadingSwan)
Endemicity Watch 🆕
Brace yourself, reader, for four clips of alliterative torture. We pre-empt this issue’s infodemic section with a check on how well the public and press are grasping, and establishment is communicating, the “elimination” “eradication” and “extinction” thresholds of “endemicity”.
Oct. 4 ACT preparing to change contact tracing process (The Canberra Times) - "The ACT's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman has signalled changes to the contact tracing system as the territory moves towards accepting 'a degree of community transmission'."
Oct 4 New Zealand drops COVID-19 elimination strategy under pressure from Delta (Reuters) - WELLINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - “New Zealand on Monday abandoned its long-standing strategy of eliminating coronavirus amid a persistent Delta outbreak, and will instead look to live with the virus and control its spread as its vaccination rate rises.”
Oct. 4 "Endemic malaria has been one of the largest public health challenges of the last century. 'X is endemic there' is usually why you get vaccines for travel. 'Oh, it’s endemic, we’re over it' - at this level of disease - isn’t reassuring, it’s terrifying." (Twitter.com/GermsAndNumbers)
Oct. 1 "Whether a disease is endemic, epidemic, eliminated, or eradicated does NOT tell us how serious it is, and does NOT tell us how many people get sick or die. We have to CHOOSE that number." (Twitter.com/EpiEllie)
"An infodemic is too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak." - W.H.O.
Sep. 28 NETWORK OF RIGHT-WING HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS IS MAKING MILLIONS OFF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE AND IVERMECTIN, HACKED DATA REVEALS | The data also reveals that 72,000 people paid at least $6.7 million for Covid-19 consultations promoted by America’s Frontline Doctors and vaccine conspiracist Simone Gold. (The Intercept) - The data show that vast sums of money are being extracted from people concerned about or suffering from Covid-19 but resistant to vaccinations or other recommendations of public health authorities.”
Sep. 29 Doctors Are Attacking COVID Vaccines And Promoting Bogus Cures — And Getting Away With It | As around 2,000 mostly unvaccinated Americans die of COVID-19 every day, BuzzFeed News could not find a single example of a doctor who has been disciplined for spreading vaccine disinformation. (Buzzfeed News) - "Take Simone Gold, an emergency room doctor from Beverly Hills who founded America’s Frontline Doctors, a group that has filed lawsuits to block the authorization of COVID vaccines for children and overturn vaccine mandates.” “In a speech in Florida posted online in January, Gold claimed that the ‘so-called’ vaccine ‘actually changes nothing,’ adding: ‘The people who die from COVID-19 are people who are kinda destined to die in this period anyway.’”
Sep. 30 Hacker reveals right-wing health care network made millions off ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine (Alternet) - “Others—having been told how the government doesn't want you to know about ivermectin and COVID-19 because it's so cheap compared to a free vaccine—were referred to online pharmacies ‘that quoted excessive prices of up to $700 for the cheap medication.’”
Oct. 1 California travelers arrested in Hawaii for fake COVID test results (kron4 San Francisco) - “Hawaii authorities arrested two people from California for submitting fake COVID-19 test results to avoid a mandatory traveler quarantine meant to curb the virus’ spread in the islands.”
Oct. 1 Michigan VA nurse charged with stealing and selling COVID-19 vaccination cards (Military Times) - "Last month, Detroit VA Police Services received a tip from a confidential source” that led them to arrest "Bethann Kierczak, 37. She “had access to unissued cards because she was one of the nurses responsible for administering the shot at the VA facility."
Oct. 6 Vaccine discrimination law gets a second legal challenge | A Sidney law firm filed a lawsuit against the state Tuesday alleging House Bill 702 prevents it from providing a “safe and healthful” business environment. (Montana Free Press) - The law passed in August makes it difficult for schools to shorten quarantines for vaccinated students.
Oct. 2 Daily testing for contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and attendance and SARS-CoV-2 transmission in English secondary schools and colleges: an open-label, cluster-randomised trial (The Lancet) - This study could be easily twisted by reading only the summary, which reads: "Daily contact testing should be considered for implementation as a safe alternative to home isolation following school-based exposures." But its expanded introduction is more specific, saying quarantines and isolations can be skipped "provided a daily SARS-CoV-2 test is negative."
Sep. 30 Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States (Springer Link) - The claims of this study are refuted by peer-reviewed studies. It’s co-authored by a university professor and high school student at “Turner Fenton Secondary School, Brampton, ON, Canada.” The former’s university page bio says he’s published 700 papers in his 21-year career (one every eleven days.)
Oct. 4 Effectiveness of mRNA BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine up to 6 months in a large integrated health system in the USA: a retrospective cohort study (The Lancet) - This study is sound but is being misinterpreted by news outlets which don’t count B- and T-cell responses as immunity.
Oct. 4 Study shows Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness declines after six months (The Hill) -
Oct. 1 Heart inflammation rates higher after Moderna COVID-19 vaccine - Canada data (Reuters) -
Deceased: Andrew Swift, 36 Belton Middle School teacher dies after getting COVID-19, friends say (WYFF NBC 4 South Carolina) - “Swift leaves behind his wife Hayley and their two children, Eion, 8, and Sydney, 6." (Oct. 6)
Deceased Alan Brown Sr., age unknown and his grandfather Alan Collins Sr., age unknown. 'People need to get vaccinated': Family copes with two COVID-19 deaths in a week, delivers grim warning (Pittsburgh's Action News 4) - "Brown said she and her husband were not vaccinated when their 9-year-old son returned home from school infected with the virus on Sept. 11." "People need to put their masks on. People need to get vaccinated. People need to do everything they can to protect yourself," Brown said. (Oct. 5)
Deceased: Sha’Niyah “Nienie” McGee, a junior at Berkner High School, and Eroletta Piasczyk — a teacher at Christa McAuliffe Learning Center, the district’s disciplinary alternative school Richardson Berkner HS student, 16, and an RISD teacher die from COVID-19 complications | Although Texas does not directly track COVID-19 deaths among staff or students, the incidence of both is rare. (Dallas Morning News) - (Oct. 4)
Deceased: Theresa Sperry, age 10. 10-year-old girl dies from COVID-19 complications in Virginia (Tampa Bay CBS 10) - “She came home and she said... she was telling me her class job was she was 'class nurse' and it was her job to take the sick kids from her class to the office," the child's father, Jeff said. The couple said they are vaccinated, as are Teresa's older brothers. Her mother said Teresa was ready to get the vaccine. “She was like, 'Yeah I can get my shot.' Like she wanted to get her shot." (Sep. 29)
Deceased: Eva Baisey, age 55 Eva Baisey, first heart transplant recipient in the Washington area, dies at 55 (Washington Post) - "There are no reliable databases on longevity after heart transplants, but in the medical community, 20 years is considered remarkable. Over 30 is almost unheard of. Ms. Baisey’s life puts her in a rarefied echelon." (Sep. 14)
Deceased Primetta Giacopini, age 105 105-year-old Bay Area woman who survived 1918 flu, World War II dies from COVID-19 (ABC 7 Bay Area) - "She lived a life of adventure that spanned two continents. She fell in love with a World War II fighter pilot, barely escaped Europe ahead of Benito Mussolini's fascists, ground steel for the U.S. war effort and advocated for her disabled daughter in a far less enlightened time. She was, her daughter said, someone who didn't make a habit of giving up." (Sep. 20)
Slain: Rebecca Reynolds, age 83; Brian Robinette, age 58; Kelly Sue Robinette, age 57 Maryland man allegedly fatally shot his pharmacist brother for ‘killing people’ with the COVID vaccine, court records show (Baltimore Sun) - A pandemic raised to the exponent of infodemic may or may not have contributed to these acts by Jeffrey Burnham, age 46. (Oct. 6)
Deceased: Jorja Halliday, age 15 MUM'S WARNING Schoolgirl, 15, dies of Covid on day she was due to be vaccinated as heartbroken mum issues warning to ‘blasé’ children (The Sun) - "Jorja Halliday tested positive after having flu-like symptoms which got so bad her heart rate was double its normal pace." (Oct. 6)
Ethan Govan, age 6. Mother wants 6-year-old son who died of COVID-19 to be remembered (WITN NBC North Carolina) - “He loved to have fun. He didn’t let anything stop him or slow him down. He was just all around a very loving and sweet boy,” his mother said. “He loved music, he loved to wrestle, he loved school, he loved superheroes.” (Oct. 4)
Beyond the Scope
Oct. 4 Anti-vaccine villagers in Guatemala hold coronavirus team (ABC News) -
Oct. 5 Lindsey Graham told Republicans they ‘ought to think about’ getting a coronavirus vaccine. They booed him. (Washington Post) - “If you haven’t had the vaccine, you ought to think about getting it because if you’re my age — ” “‘No!’ attendees at a Republican event held Saturday responded as others booed. Graham was speaking at a country club in Summerville, S.C., about 25 miles outside Charleston.”
Oct. 2 Trump: 'I got the Pfizer' (Yahoo! Finance) - "Well, I got the Pfizer and I would have been very happy with any of them," Trump told Yahoo Finance Live in a wide-ranging interview.
Oct. 2 Four COVID-related bills pass in Arkansas public health committee (KATV ABC) -
Oct. 2 More Evidence That Vitamin D Protects Against Severe COVID-19 Disease and Death (Science Tech Daily) -
Oct. 5 IMF cuts global economic forecast as pandemic ‘hobbles’ growth (The Guardian) -
🆕 Serotonin Chaser
1332 Acala (MetMuseum.org) - Associated with healing and protection from disease, "Acala (literally, 'immovable') is a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri. He wields a sword to dispatch ignorance and a noose to snare disbelievers."
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