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⚠️ Deborah Birx: "So let's just all agree it's not flu. It will never be flu." 📫 Postcard message to Biden: Gather and use the best data! 📊
Right-wing freaks out about the possibility most other people are interested in avoiding sickness.
- 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 Letter Campaign: Wastewater data is valuable infrastructure that must be funded.
By Chloe Humbert: Wastewater data is valuable infrastructure technology. Wastewater monitoring must continue and be expanded for our modern society's scientific public health management. Wastewater monitoring data is important scientific data for a number of applications, including public health monitoring for viruses like SARSCOV2. This needs to be funded and encouraged at all levels of government.
CANADA Petition: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put an unsustainable level of strain on Canada’s public health system
By Justin Singer from Toronto, Ontario: We, the undersigned, concerned citizens and residents of Canada, members of the scientific and public health communities, and advocates for evidence-based public policy, call upon the Government of Canada to: 1. Bring provincial health care systems into compliance with the criteria of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility, as outlined in the Canada Health Act; …
A postcard to Joe Biden from Chloe in Scranton, the People’s CDC External Review of the CDC recommendation #9
I’ve written President Joe Biden recommending the Recommendations from the People’s CDC External Review of the CDC. I sent postcards but one can also send these messages through the White House Contact Page.
🗞️ In the news
⚕️ MedPage Today’s KevinMD.com - Our institutions have given up on the COVID-19 pandemic. We should not. By William Zhu and Gregory Jasani, MD, July 11, 2023 Rather than giving up, we should keep the public health emergency in place until COVID-19 has subsided and when we are prepared for the next pandemic. It makes no sense to end the COVID-19 public emergency since the critical facts of the virus are unchanged. The infections are common and lethal, especially to the medically vulnerable. Additionally, the U.S. is still unprepared for the next pandemic, both not having learned lessons from the current one and not rebuilding degraded health care infrastructure. According to the CDC, the end of the emergency declaration entails a shift of resources away from both disease prevention and tracking. The CDC will no longer report COVID-19 community spread. Additionally, COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines will no longer be free to all and will be subject to conventional insurance coverage rules. Pandemics can either end with the triumph of public health and medicine when infection and death rates plummet to nearly nonexistent or, the far the more common outcome, when society accepts the death and illness from the disease as a new normal. Unfortunately, we are in the latter scenario.
🏴 The Herald - Hundreds of hospital wards closed due to Covid outbreaks. 26th August 2023 "Although people aren't getting as sick, it's still really disrupting a very burdened NHS. "We still need to isolate those patients. "Given the backlog of people we have waiting for treatment and the challenges we have in social care - getting patients back out of hospital - closing all these wards across the country is really problematic."
🇺🇸 The Messenger - New Jersey Nursing Homes Slammed by COVID Surge as COVID Deaths Rise Across the US. The elderly population is especially vulnerable to the spread of the virus - Published 09/01/23 - Hannah Murphy Mask mandates have also started to reemerge at some schools, hospitals and businesses across the U.S. as well. Despite this, neither health experts nor government officials have signaled that widespread mandates will make a return. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that mask requirements are not expected to be needed again, at least not any time soon. Similarly, the Transportation Security Administration recently shot down rumors that they had briefed their managers in preparation of reinstating masking policies; a spokesperson for the administration denied the claims to the Associated Press.
🇺🇸 ABC News - Former Trump health adviser believes current COVID response is falling behind. Dr. Deborah Birx spoke to ABC News’ podcast "START HERE." By ABC News. August 29, 2023, 6:30 PM “I think we wanted to make it like flu, because that was easier. But it's never going to be like flu. It stays with us in between the waves. We have a summer wave. We have a winter wave. It makes people much sicker than flu. Many more people die from it than flu. And by the way, flu does not have this level of long COVID and these long side effects that we see with COVID. So let's just all agree it's not flu. It will never be flu. Following it and surveying for it like we do for flu will never be adequate in this country."
🇺🇸 CDC Advisory Group Under Fire for Proposed Infection Control Guidelines — Nurse union, occupational health experts, patients say weaker guidelines help only employers. by Sophie Putka, Enterprise & Investigative Writer, MedPage Today August 24, 2023. Last Updated August 25, 2023 At the height of the pandemic, the CDC adopted a set of guidelines including "contingency" and "crisis capacity" strategies meant to address staffing shortages, which let healthcare facilities and employers implement varying levels of COVID-19 infection precautions based on self-assessment and staffing needs, including "as a last resort," allowing healthcare personnel with active COVID infections to work anyway. The guidelines recognized the use of face masks, including surgical masks, as acceptable even in these cases. Thomason said this gave hospitals and employers the discretion to provide only the bare minimum of protections. In some instances, she said, nurses caring for COVID-positive patients were told they weren't allowed to access existing N95s.
🇺🇸 Politico - CDC, pharmacies try to speed up Covid vaccine program for the uninsured. The timing gap prompted concerns from public health experts, who fear that it would further complicate the fall vaccination campaign. By ADAM CANCRYN and DAVID LIM 08/21/2023 06:10 PM EDT In response to questions Monday about the agency’s timeline, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Kathleen Conley said only that contract negotiations are still underway and that the CDC can’t say precisely when pharmacies will be able to distribute vaccines to the uninsured until those agreements are finalized. Americans without health coverage will still be able to get the new vaccines for free from community health centers and individual providers as soon as they are rolled out, ensuring immediate access at those locations.
💉 Bivalent COVID Shot Extends Benefit in Youngest Kids — CDC analysis finds 80% protection against emergency, urgent care visits - by Ian Ingram, Managing Editor, MedPage Today August 18, 2023 In children of this age who had completed their primary series, a single dose of either bivalent mRNA shot yielded a vaccine effectiveness of 80% (95% CI 42-96) against ED or urgent care visits compared with no vaccination, reported researchers led by Ruth Link-Gelles, PhD, of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
🇺🇸 PBS Wisconsin - Wisconsin Republicans block meningitis vaccine requirement for students. The Republican-controlled state Senate and Assembly voted to block a Wisconsin Department of Health Services proposal to require seventh grade students in the state be vaccinated against meningitis. Associated Press, By Scott Bauer, AP, June 7, 2023 However, some parents complained at a public hearing that the proposed requirements violated their liberties. Health officials said they were trying to protect students’ health. Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord that can also cause blood infections. It can be deadly or cause lifelong disability.
This is NOT fine
He(a)rd Scuttlebutt… pandemic grapevine 🍇🌱
I want to caution people that using “covid” in the name of your group, community, or the title of stuff you publish, is a good way to get anti-boosted. First, SEO optimization - all the platforms have been nerfing this word from the get-go. Second, it has stigma that you can inadvertently trigger. People don’t want covid obviously nobody does. And people don’t want to think about covid. So for example calling your group covid, when really you’re pushing for public health matters, it’s counter productive from an advertising and PR standpoint - focus on the goal, not the disease. Even “still coviding” or “covid cautious” is putting the focus on the bad thing. And those terms assist in this othering and making people who care about public health seem othered when we’re really not other - we should be everyone. We should want to mainstream being courteously public health minded. And the truth is that this isn’t some niche interest like knitting or car racing video gaming. It’s normal to not want to get sick and to want community supports for safety issues. We should welcome everyone to taking precautions and helping neighbors and speaking up for healthcare workers, and bring public health messages throughout, just like we do other issues we care about.
Donald Trump has been yelling out that the Biden administration is going to “do lockdowns” — and all these people make it clear that by “lockdowns” they are referring to any NPI and also any pharmaceutical intervention other than ivermectin, or possibly just seeing one guy in a mask at the grocery store — this is called lockdown revisionism. Trump is claiming this will be an election campaign tactic. None of this makes any sense since the Biden administration has shown no interest in implementing the pandemic plan he ran on in 2020 and has been pretending everything’s okay while the administration seems to be negotiating with bad faith actors — sometimes within the federal agencies. Trump’s claims appear to have originated from Alex Jones, who is notorious for making shit up.
It is still very risky for people with transplants to get covid. I was listening to a podcast where someone talked about the Kutztown professor with the organ transplant who won his disability case from being told he had to report to teach in person. And the podcaster said this took place back in 2021 when if someone with a transplant got covid it was a really serious thing and it was really dangerous. There’s no Evusheld anymore. It’s not safer now for people with transplants to get covid. I wish people with platforms wouldn’t characterize things this way.
I’ve interacted with healthcare workers that believe (WRONGLY) that covid is not as serious. And I heard of a nurse who was concerned about staffing levels and was told “get over your covid hangup" by management.
Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism thinks that CDC HICPAC is not in compliance with all the rules of working groups. More people need to give this scrutiny. CDC HICPAC sure needs loads and loads of oversight. Don’t forget to write your reps about this. and other matters of import - and do it often.
The pandemic is not over, and our leaders need to say so.
James G. Lertola, LTE in WaPo, March 2023