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🚽 Letter campaign for wastewater data funding 💧 Letter campaigns, #KeepMasksInHealthcare 😷 Circular reasoning is not public health
Pandemic Asks #2, What do you wish the experts would do? Keep Masks in Healthcare.
- 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.
USA Letter Campaign to Senators: Prioritize Telework for Our Future
By Chloe Humbert: Join me in writing to U.S. Senators to oppose the pathetic, irrational, and big money fossil fuel industry serving nonsense bill S. 1565 called "The SHOW UP Act" which would attempt to roll backwards in time to prohibit telework for government employees and try to pretend there aren’t a dozen reasons telework is a great idea, including making jobs accessible to high risk disabled Americans in an ongoing pandemic threat environment.
By People’s CDC: Sample Reasonable Accommodations Request. We recommend you send this request to your hospital leadership, as well as the General Counsel, and your provider. We recommend calling to follow up, being confident and persistent! We are in this together.
Pandemic Asks - What do you wish the experts would do? Reader Suggestions #2 - Keep Masks In Healthcare
This is from reader submissions to the query form, What do you wish the experts would do in regards to the pandemic?
A reader suggestion:
Strongly recommend masks in healthcare settings including an upgrade from surgical masks to respirators because COVID-19 is airborne. Very vulnerable patients should not be catching COVID-19 at hospitals, infusion centers, labs, and doctor's appointments!
Patients need to be, and in fact sometimes are, more knowledgeable about the effectiveness of N95 respirator masks compared to surgical or medical masks. It’s truly difficult to believe that 3 years later, there are doctors who are not wearing N95 masks at work.
This submission is from a doctor who also wants mask requirements in healthcare settings:
Extend the mask mandate in healthcare settings, including a mandate for patients who are able to wear masks. If people risk getting Covid at a healthcare setting, many won't come and they will have other health consequences. The healthcare organization will lose revenue to safer institutions.
The reasons are in line with what you would expect and hope from a doctor. That people get timely care, and are not encouraged to stay away for fear of being sickened worse. And it’s true, many of us have put off healthcare because the risk of covid has seemed far more grave and immediately threatening compared to the reasons one would seek care. It’s not good. And I have no good explanation of why all the doctors are not in agreement with this. It really makes one wonder what they went into medicine for, if not to improve people’s health. But sensible doctors do exist and deserve a shout out for wanting to protect patients.
🗞️ In the news
🇺🇸 Tampa Bay Times - New Florida laws ban COVID mandates, allow health care to be denied. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bills, cementing his stance on pandemic practices. May 11th 2023. With opposition to COVID-19 mandates a key part of his political brand, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a bill that includes issues such as barring businesses and government agencies from requiring people to take COVID-19 tests or wear masks to enter their facilities. DeSantis held a bill-signing event in Destin on the same day that a federal public health emergency for COVID-19 was set to end. But DeSantis pointed to a need to address the potential of future government mandates. “The danger is now, one of the reasons that we are doing this bill is, yes in Florida we are glad that we stood firm,” DeSantis said. “But a lot of the elites and the bureaucrats think that this response is how you should do it again in the future if something like that happens.”
🇺🇸 CNN - Amid a conservative takeover of a Florida liberal arts college, graduation attendees boo a former Trump adviser giving a keynote speech. By Elizabeth Wolfe and Jamiel Lynch, Sat May 20, 2023 The commencement comes just months after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced nearly half of the liberal arts college’s board of trustees with conservative allies as part of a larger effort to suppress educational programs focused on diversity, inclusion and gender exploration and expression. Atlas was a highly controversial member of Trump’s White House’s coronavirus task force until his resignation in December 2020. He repeatedly renounced pandemic lockdown measures and widespread face mask use and resisted CDC guidance. In protest of his speech and the school’s leadership changes, New College students held an alternate commencement ceremony Thursday evening where they heard remarks from Maya Wiley, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. During his remarks Friday, Atlas congratulated students on weathering the difficulties of the pandemic but was met with a swell of boos when he began speaking about his leadership at the time.
🇺🇸 Scientific American: A Valuable Early-warning System for Disease Outbreaks Could Be Shut Down. Uncertain funding means wastewater surveillance programs could close in the future. By Betsy Ladyzhets on March 30, 2023 During the past three years of the pandemic, testing sewage water for the virus that causes COVID has become a valuable tool: it has spotted surging infections and new variants weeks before they showed up in medical clinics, for instance. The technology has also warned of other health threats such as seasonal viruses and increased opioid use. But now its long-term ability to protect public health is in jeopardy. Funding uncertainty from the federal government and uneven commitments from state health departments have raised the specter that wastewater monitoring programs may shut down in the future.
🇺🇸 Forbes: Bay Area Hospital Reinstitutes Face Mask Mandate After Covid-19 Outbreak. By Bruce Y. Lee, Apr 22, 2023 A statement from Kaiser Permanente Northern California described the outbreak: “Recently at our Santa Rosa Hospital, more than a dozen out of our approximately 3,500 staff members and some patients have tested positive for Covid-19.” The statement continued with, “In response, effective immediately, physicians and staff are required to mask in the Santa Rosa Hospital and Emergency Department while providing direct patient care. We are requiring all visitors to mask upon entrance to the hospital and throughout their visit.”
🇺🇸 Ars Technica - Disease detectives gathered at CDC event—a COVID outbreak erupted Some attendees reportedly did not mask, distance, or take other precautions. By Beth Mole - 5/3/2023 "The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone and especially for our public health workforce. … We are thankful you are back with us at the EIS conference," EIS leaders wrote in the preface of this year's conference agenda, celebrating the return of the in-person gathering. But signs of trouble turned up quickly. Several attendees reportedly tested positive during the conference, which spanned Monday, April 24 to Thursday, April 27, and drew about 2,000 participants. Some told The Washington Post that moderators at the conference warned several times about positive cases.
🇺🇸 Government Executive - Anti-Telework Bill Makes Its Way to the Senate - The SHOW UP Act, which narrowly passed the House in February, requires federal agencies to revert to their telework policies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. MAY 16, 2023 by ERICH WAGNER A group of seven Republican senators last week introduced the Senate companion to a piece of House-passed legislation that would require federal agencies to revert to their pre-pandemic telework policies, a sign that the Biden administration’s recent efforts to ameliorate GOP criticism of the workplace flexibility were ineffective. The Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems Act (H.R. 139 and S. 1565) would require agencies to “reinstate and apply the telework policies, practices and levels... in effect on December 31, 2019” within 30 days of the bill’s enactment. If agencies want to expand telework beyond 2019 levels, they would have to submit an Office of Personnel Management-certified plan to Congress first.
This is NOT fine
It's Official: No More COVID Vaccine Mandate for Federal Workers and Contractors. The move comes just days before the end of the public health emergency for COVID, and had been expected. By AMELIA GRUBER, MAY 9, 2023 The vaccine mandate is no longer necessary because the United States is “no longer in the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the order stated, and the healthcare system is better able to respond to future surges in cases than it was when the mandates were issued.
The US government said that the pandemic is no longer “in the acute phase” because we have vaccines. The US federal government now no longer requires federal workers get vaccinated because the pandemic is no longer in the acute phase.
🇺🇸 NBC News: CDC to stop tracking Covid levels in communities. The CDC will end its Covid community-level tracking program, which provided information on how the virus was spreading where you live. By Erika Edwards, April 28, 2023 The CDC said the move away from tracking community level transmission is tied to the May 11 expiration of the national public health emergency.
"Due to changes in policy, our policy is changing" is not scientific and it’s not public health, it’s some kind of illogical circular reasoning and seems to be a case of FOLLOWING THE POLITICS.
He(a)rd Scuttlebutt… pandemic grapevine 🍇🌱
I have heard that hospitals are stopping pre-procedure testing because they don’t like that positive test results cancel lucrative procedures so they lose money. But what kind of a doctor thinks rolling the dice on operating on someone with covid is a good idea? Recovering from surgery is tough enough, who wants to add covid to that?
This is what we need… flyers in the real world.
The Public Health Emergency Declaration was always a Sword of Damocles. Right from the start, the big money right wingers and fossil fuel interests wanted to put a stop to any and all disaster response now and for all time, to trick people into pretending it’s not happening so they keep spending fuel and money. And we continue to be tricked.
“The communities that have, and continue to bear, the brunt of the covid pandemic, are the same communities that we hear of the greatest burdens of polluted air and rising temperatures. These communities are on the front lines of climate change and environmental injustice, which is why the fight for health justice and climate justice must be intertwined.”
U.S. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts speaking at the Covid Memorial Day 2023 Virtual Vigil by Marked By Covid