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🗓️ CDC HICPAC - Infection Control Meeting 🏥 Vaccine restriction vaccine anti-drive demotivates Pfizer 💉 The utility of imposed standards 📋
Postcard to Biden - People's CDC: CDC policies should protect the rights of all people to meet their basic needs without risking Covid infection
- Events, Actions, & Campaigns
- Pandemic field notes & “Living with the virus”
- In the News (virus & adjacent media, science, news, and op-eds)
- This is NOT Fine section (gaslighting & other outrages)
- He(a)rd Scuttlebutt (the pandemic grapevine)
USA Petition: Urge the CDC and HICPAC to fully recognize aerosol transmission and protect health care workers and patients!
By National Nurses United: 1) Fully recognize aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens. 2) Maintain and strengthen respiratory protection and other protections for health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infections. 3) The CDC must maintain an approach in any updated infection control guidance that is clear and explicit on the precautions that are needed in situations where infectious pathogens are present or may be present in health care settings; don’t adopt a crisis standards approach. 4) CDC and HICPAC should engage with stakeholders, including direct care health care workers, their unions, patients, and community members to provide them with the ability to review and provide essential input into guidance updates.
USA Letter Campaign: CDC Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) needs public oversight.
By People’s CDC: There is a dangerous new government policy being proposed which could harm healthcare workers and patients across the country. Instead of strengthening infection control policies in healthcare settings to protect workers and patients from infectious diseases, the CDC is planning future guidance which could lower healthcare infection control standards.
A postcard to Joe Biden from Chloe in Scranton, the People’s CDC External Review of the CDC recommendation #7
I sent postcards but anyone can send this message through the White House Contact Page.
🗞️ In the news
🇺🇸 WBUR - With masks off in hospitals, people with disabilities weigh the risk of care - June 01, 2023 Priyanka Dayal McCluskey Millions of Americans are elderly, immunocompromised or have other disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID, even after vaccination. And now, in Massachusetts, people with disabilities are contending with a new hurdle: the end of the requirement that all patients, visitors and employees wear masks in health care facilities. Mitchell said this policy change unnecessarily exposes patients to COVID and other viruses — and puts her in a difficult position. "I don't really have the choice to avoid health care," she said, "because if I don't get that care in a regular way, then there's very real risk that I don't survive that. There's also a very real risk that if I get COVID, I don't survive that."
🇺🇸 'Covid's back on the board,' and ER doctors like me are bracing for an awful fall. Even if the number of Covid hospital admissions and deaths stay on the lower end of estimates, the impact on our country's hospitals will be significant. Aug. 9, 2023, 2:39 PM EDT By Dr. Esther Choo, MSNBC Columnist First, health system capacity has not returned to normal and, right now, hospitals are already under strain. The staff is stretched to its limits, waiting times are painfully long, and physical spaces are full to bursting. Of course, ER visits and hospitalizations only represent a small fraction of people with Covid. The estimates above translate to many millions of outpatient clinic visits for Covid, which will collide with visits for other respiratory illnesses expected this winter: Australia’s flu season, which is a bellwether for the U.S., has been particularly tough on children this year.Further, due to the end of continuous Medicaid enrollment instituted at the onset of the pandemic, millions of Americans have already lost their Medicaid coverage this year and have less access to their primary care clinics. Add to that, the steady closure of rural hospitals and our underutilization of existing therapies against severe Covid, and you get an acute care system under strain. Again. The quality of care drops when hospitals are under such strain, which means that facilities already at the tipping point of chaos will not be able to deliver the same standard of care if they descend completely into chaos.
🇧🇷 CIDRAP - Study finds 27% rate of long COVID in infected health workers, by Stephanie Soucheray, MA - June 5, 2023 A new case-control study of Brazilian healthcare workers (HCWs) suggests as many as 27% developed long COVID after infection, and multiple infections raised the risk. The findings were published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Estimates of the prevalence of long COVID, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as new, returning, or lasting symptoms persisting 4 or more weeks after initial COVID-19 infection vary, with some studies showing as many as 43% of infected people will have some lingering symptoms 1 month after COVID-19 confirmation. Because HCWs have occupational exposure to COVID-19 and were vulnerable to infections the pre-vaccination era of the pandemic, they may be uniquely primed for developing long COVID.
🇺🇸 Infection Control Today - One Step Forward, 2 Back: CDC's Proposals for Infection Control in Health Care Facilities. Jul 24, 2023, Kevin Kavanagh, MD, Jane Thomason, MSPH, CIH As the White House maintains strict COVID-19 testing protocols for access to President Joseph Biden, protocols which recently detected SARS-CoV-2 in a member of the Israeli delegation, the CDC appears to be on the verge of relaxing infection disease strategies. During the CDC’s June 2023 Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) meeting, concerns were expressed regarding proposed updates to existing infection control guidance for health care facilities which would place patients, health care workers, and nursing home residents at risk.
🏥 Pak TR, Rhee C, Wang R, Klompas M. Discontinuation of Universal Admission Testing for SARS-CoV-2 and Hospital-Onset COVID-19 Infections in England and Scotland. JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 05, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2023.1261 Stopping universal admission testing in the national health systems of 2 countries (England and Scotland) was associated with significant increases in hospital-onset SARS-CoV-2 infections relative to community-onset infections. Potential mechanisms include more unrecognized present-on-admission infections causing transmissions to other patients and health care workers, who in turn infected other patients.
🎼 Boston.com - Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma canceled his scheduled rehearsal and performance at Tanglewood this weekend after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. By Morgan Rousseau, August 12, 2023 Ma also canceled a cello workshop that he was set to host this past Thursday afternoon.
🇺🇸 MedPage Today - Doctors Sue California Over Implicit Bias Training — "Taking some dippy course is not going to change a hardened racist," one plaintiff says. by Cheryl Clark, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today August 3, 2023 The three plaintiffs are represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a law firm that supports conservative or libertarian causes. Khatibi is also a plaintiff in another lawsuit -- one of several -- against the MBC that attempts to block California's disinformation law , which would bar physicians from giving patients they are treating false information about COVID-19 that is "contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care."
🇺🇸 Vox - The hottest new perk in tech is freedom. How small tech companies are using remote work to compete with the big guys. By Rani Molla Jun 20, 2023 It used to be that Big Tech companies like Google, Meta, and Apple led the way when it came to workplace advantages. On top of great pay, they offered freebies like gourmet meals, massages, and on-site laundry. Then, when the pandemic made the office a physical danger, those same companies were among the first to offer the ultimate perk: the ability to work where you wish. But, as their stock prices have suffered, Big Tech has not only dialed back on many on-site perks, they’ve also called workers back to the office. Facing hard times, they’ve retrenched into what they knew before the pandemic, typically asking workers to come into the office three days a week. Google is even factoring office attendance into performance reviews. Smaller tech companies have since picked up the mantle of remote work. They are much more likely than their larger peers to allow people to work fully remotely, with 81 percent of those with fewer than 5,000 employees either allowing remote work or only having remote options, according to new data from Scoop Technologies, a software firm that builds tech to help hybrid teams coordinate and also tracks the office policies at major companies. Meanwhile, just 26 percent of companies with more than 25,000 employees are fully flexible.
This is NOT fine
Wall Street Journal - Pfizer’s Covid Boost Crashes to Earth. With the lift from pandemic vaccine and drug sales over, Pfizer CEO bets on new drug approvals and deals. By Jared S. Hopkins, Aug. 6, 2023
Sales for the products are lower this year because governments have purchased fewer contracts and the U.S. is transitioning to a commercial market. Doctors are also writing fewer Paxlovid prescriptions. “A key driver will be the magnitude of the next Covid wave and whether it drives people to be vaccinated at a higher rate or not,” Risinger said.
People will not be driven to get vaccinated when the CDC ACIP committee has restricted boosters, and has been floating even further restrictions. It’s ass backwards to any vaccine drive I would’ve expected or wanted — the exact opposite. Bivalent booster uptake among seniors in Pennsylvania is less than 50%, even though they’re authorized for a second. But they’re not recommending them for everyone so people mistakenly believe they don’t need it.
"Many people rationalize that if it were really dangerous the government wouldn't let it be advertised. They are wrong in that thinking. It is dangerous and the government does let it be advertised."
- Rick Pollay, Pack of Lies: The Advertising of Tobacco (1992)
He(a)rd Scuttlebutt… pandemic grapevine 🍇🌱
Legal critique on CDC HICPAC:
The DSA had their annual convention, in person, with a mask requirement, but sadly, they did NOT have any remote option whatsoever. A fully accessible and disability justice minded organization would have at least a remote option, if not a fair and fully remote governance conference since we still have a pandemic going on.
The truth about regulations and the utility of imposed standards
Kurt Seifried: “Why do we do security? Security has to be done. You have to build security into your product and your process and your company. How many places actually, like if you literally went up to them and said why are you doing security, would have a sensible answer other than like well because we have to, or PCI compliance, or you know some other form of: Because.”
Josh Bressers: “Actually that's one thing that I talk about a lot is compliance is a reasonable driver of security. There's nothing to be ashamed of to say: I'm only doing this for compliance.”
Kurt Seifried: “As a vendor for example, we have to do security otherwise people won't buy our products.”
Josh Bressers: “That's the whole point right, when I'm writing up security features for products I'm quite clear of like look we're doing this for compliance, there's no other reason. This isn't about good will, this isn't about because it's the right thing to do, blah blah - no, compliance. We're doing it because: compliance. And then people relate to that though too. They're like alright, we have to do this cuz if we don't, people can't buy our product. And that makes sense. Whereas it's like ok, this is hard to do, and I don't want to do it, and it's really just for the good of humanity so.... let's put that down farther on the list, right. Yeah I mean that's what happens.”