AuthorTopic: 🦠 Killer Superbugs!  (Read 45362 times)

Offline RE

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Re: 🦠 Killer Superbugs!
« Reply #630 on: September 04, 2020, 07:00:21 PM »
Strengthening the herd. Killing off the diseased and weak. This is good for society.

As long as you are not one of the Dead People.

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🦠 Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first?
« Reply #631 on: September 05, 2020, 12:53:07 AM »
Rich people, obviously.  ::)

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https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-covid-vaccine.html

September 3, 2020
Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first?
by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

When effective COVID-19 vaccines are developed, their supply will inevitably be scarce. The World Health Organization (WHO), global leaders, and vaccine producers are already facing the question of how to appropriately allocate them across countries. And while there is vocal commitment to "fair and equitable" distribution, what exactly does "fair and equitable" look like in practice?

Now, nineteen global health experts from around the world have proposed a new, three-phase plan for vaccine distribution—called the Fair Priority Model—which aims to reduce premature deaths and other irreversible health consequences from COVID-19. Published this week in Science, the paper was led by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, Ph.D., vice provost for Global Initiatives and chair of Medical Ethics and Health Policy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Though little progress has been made to describe a single, global distribution framework for COVID-19 vaccines, two main proposals have emerged: Some experts have argued that health care workers and high-risk populations, such as people over 65, should be immunized first. The WHO, on the other hand, suggests countries receive doses proportional to their populations.

From an ethical perspective, both of these strategies are "seriously flawed," according to Emanuel and his collaborators.

"The idea of distributing vaccines by population appears to be an equitable strategy," Emanuel said. "But the fact is that normally, we distribute things based on how severe there is suffering in a given place, and, in this case, we argue that the primary measure of suffering ought to be the number of premature deaths that a vaccine would prevent."

In their proposal, the authors point to three fundamental values that must be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and giving equal moral concern for all individuals. The Fair Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as economic destruction.

Of all of these dimensions, preventing death—especially premature death—is particularly urgent, the authors argue, which is the focus of Phase 1 of the Fair Priority Model. Premature deaths from COVID-19 are determined in each country by calculating "standard expected years of life lost," a commonly-used global health metric. In Phase 2, the authors propose two metrics that capture overall economic improvement and the extent to which people would be spared from poverty. And in Phase 3, countries with higher transmission rates are initially prioritized, but all countries should eventually receive sufficient vaccines to halt transmission—which is projected to require that 60 to 70 percent of the population be immune.

The WHO plan, by contrast, begins with 3 percent of each country's population receiving vaccines, and continues with population-proportional allocation until every country has vaccinated 20 percent of its citizens. Emanuel and his coauthors argue that, while that plan may be politically tenable, it "mistakenly assumes that equality requires treating differently-situated countries identically, rather than equitably responding to their different needs." In reality, equally populous countries are facing dramatically different levels of death and economic devastation from the pandemic, they say.

The authors also object to a plan that would prioritize countries according to the number of front-line health care workers, the proportion of the population over 65, and the number of people with comorbidities within each country. They say that preferentially immunizing health care workers—who already have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other advanced infectious disease prevention methods—likely would not substantially reduce harm in higher-income countries. Similarly, focusing on vaccinating countries with older populations would not necessarily reduce the spread of the virus or minimize death. Moreover, low- and middle-income countries have fewer older residents and health care workers per capita than higher-income countries.

"What you end up doing is giving a lot of vaccine to rich countries, which doesn't seem like the goal of fair and equitable distribution," Emanuel said. The authors conclude that the Fair Priority Model is the best embodiment of the ethical values of limiting harms, benefiting the disadvantaged, and recognizing equal concern for all people.

"It will be up to political leaders, the WHO, and manufacturers to implement this model," Emanuel said. "Decision-makers are looking for a framework to ensure that everyone throughout the world can be vaccinated, so that we can stop the spread of this virus."
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Offline RE

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🦠 Health officials warn Labor Day weekend could ignite new spike in coronaviru
« Reply #632 on: September 06, 2020, 12:34:39 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/vL-WdBIMeVc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/vL-WdBIMeVc</a>
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Offline RE

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🦠 Marco Polo
« Reply #633 on: September 24, 2020, 04:32:05 AM »
MARCO! POLO!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/7KimBaVETmw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/7KimBaVETmw</a>

Red Light, Green Light, 1-2-3

Would you like the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/zE7PKRjrid4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/zE7PKRjrid4</a>

How about the whole rainbow?



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Offline Eddie

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Re: 🦠 Maro Polo
« Reply #634 on: September 24, 2020, 11:44:33 AM »

Kee-rist! That's a lotta pills. I hope it's the good shit.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 11:46:33 AM by Eddie »
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Offline John of Wallan

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Re: 🦠 Killer Superbugs!
« Reply #635 on: September 24, 2020, 08:42:50 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTss9K0LXJ0

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Re: 🦠 Marco Polo
« Reply #636 on: September 25, 2020, 02:35:57 AM »
MARCO! POLO!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/7KimBaVETmw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/7KimBaVETmw</a>

Red Light, Green Light, 1-2-3

Would you like the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/zE7PKRjrid4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/zE7PKRjrid4</a>

How about the whole rainbow?



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It would take a really good Halloween costume to trickortreat that much candy
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🦠 More contagious strain of the Coronavirus now dominates recent samples
« Reply #637 on: September 25, 2020, 10:49:33 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/vxlxbTCX5Nc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/vxlxbTCX5Nc</a>
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: 🦠 Killer Superbugs!
« Reply #638 on: September 26, 2020, 09:00:21 AM »
Inferring that the virus is more infectious because it has more spikes is looney-tunes.


Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.  <-  It looked like a minor wound but it was enough to kill Mercutio.  Saying the virus is more infectious just because it has more spikes is pulling facts from your ass and is a perversion of good information ecology.  You can quote me on that.

It is an effective way to get eyeballs to look at you.  Not to be confused with good.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 09:14:07 AM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline RE

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🦠 COVID-19: Global Death Count now tops 1M corpses
« Reply #639 on: September 29, 2020, 06:39:12 AM »
Only a month past my Birthday!

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Offline Eddie

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Re: 🦠 COVID-19: Global Death Count now tops 1M corpses
« Reply #640 on: September 29, 2020, 07:16:43 AM »
Only a month past my Birthday!

RE

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/qtxtzdSwDhw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/qtxtzdSwDhw</a>

In Travis County 1895 people in my age group have been diagnosed with COVID....and of those, 90 died......which is nearly 5%. I expect the death rates are dropping, but that's high enough to make you want to stay virus free if you can.

I think both the two earliest vaccines are based on affecting the spike protein, which is a dubious strategy.....

It will be interesting to see how the winter goes....new infections are still reasonably low...no real surge here...some slight increase since schools partially opened.
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Re: 🦠 COVID-19: Global Death Count now tops 1M corpses
« Reply #641 on: September 29, 2020, 01:41:40 PM »
In Travis County 1895 people in my age group have been diagnosed with COVID....and of those, 90 died......which is nearly 5%. I expect the death rates are dropping, but that's high enough to make you want to stay virus free if you can.

I think both the two earliest vaccines are based on affecting the spike protein, which is a dubious strategy.....

It will be interesting to see how the winter goes....new infections are still reasonably low...no real surge here...some slight increase since schools partially opened.

One thing you can be sure of...any uptick in numbers heading into the election will be papered over.

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🦠 Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Oct 14, 2020.
« Reply #642 on: October 17, 2020, 03:22:30 AM »
Slow and steady, our numbers grow.

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https://alaska-native-news.com/alaska-covid-19-case-count-summary-oct-14-2020/51655/

 /State/Alaska COVID-19 Case Count Summary: Oct. 14, 2020

Alaska COVID-19 Case Count Summary: Oct. 14, 2020
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Oct 14, 2020.
 

DHSS today announced four deaths and 144 new people identified with COVID-19 in Alaska. 143 are residents in: Anchorage (89), Fairbanks (11), Eagle River (11), Juneau (5), Nome Census Area (4),  Utqiaġvik (4), Kotzebue (3), Chugiak (2), North Pole (2), Wasilla (2) and one each in Bethel, Bethel Census Area, Bristol Bay/Lake & Peninsula boroughs, Fritz Creek, Homer, Kenai Peninsula South, Northwest Arctic Borough, Palmer, Sitka and Soldotna.

One new nonresident case was identified in Anchorage in the seafood industry.

This brings the total number of Alaska resident cases to 10,171 and the total number of nonresident cases to 1,012.

ALERT LEVELS – The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate over 14 days per 100,000 population, is high at 21.82 per 100,000. Regional alert levels are noted below:

High (>10 cases/100,000)

Northwest Region: 37.76 cases per 100,000
Fairbanks North Star Borough: 34.71 per 100,000 population
Anchorage Municipality: 29.83 cases per 100,000 population
YK-Delta Region: 20.36 cases per 100,000
Other Interior Region: 11.27 per 100,000 population
Intermediate (5-10 cases/100,000)

Kenai Peninsula Borough: 9.79 per 100,000 population
Juneau City and Borough: 9.16 per 100,000 population
Matanuska-Susitna Region: 9.06 per 100,000 population
Southwest Region: 5.93 per 100,000 population
Low (<5 cases/100,000)

Other Southeast Region – Northern: 1.75 per 100,000 population
Other Southeast Region – Southern: 1.79 per 100,000 population
CASES: SEX & AGES – Of the 143 Alaska residents, 80 are male and 63 are female. Nine are under the age of 10; 26 are aged 10-19; 23 are aged 20-29; 22 are aged 30-39; 23 are aged 40-49; 18 are aged 50-59; 14 are aged 60-69; three are aged 70-79 and five are aged 80 or older.



 

CASES: HOSPITALIZATIONS & DEATHS – There have been a total of 338 hospitalizations and 64 deaths, with four new recent deaths reported. Our thoughts are with the individuals’ family and loved ones:

A female Juneau resident in her 60s
A male Anchorage resident in his 80s
A male Anchorage resident in his 70s
A female Anchorage resident in her 20s
Individuals who no longer require isolation (recovered cases) total 5,324.

There are currently 40 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are hospitalized and 16 additional patients who are considered persons under investigation (PUI) for a total of 56 current COVID-related hospitalizations. Seven of these patients are on ventilators.

TESTING – A total of 517,177 tests have been conducted, with 15,673 tests conducted in the previous seven days. The average percentage of daily positive tests for the previous seven days is 4.48%.

Notes: Cases reported to the Section of Epidemiology are increasing. Reports are received electronically, by phone and by fax. Cases are verified, redundancies are eliminated and then cases are entered into the data system that feeds into Alaska’s Coronavirus Response Hub. Because of the number of reports being received, it may take a day or two after receipt to get a report entered and counted. Extra personnel will continue to focus on the effort to process and count reports and minimize the delay from receipt to posting on the Hub. Daily case counts in the near future seem likely to remain at this level or higher.

This report reflects data from 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 13 that posted at noon today on the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub. There is a lag between cases being reported on the DHSS data dashboard and what local communities report. Each case is an individual person even if they are tested mul
Code: [Select]
tiple times. Total tests are a not a count of unique individuals tested and includes both positive and negative results. The current number of hospitalized patients represents more real-time data compared to the cumulative total hospitalizations. To view more data visit: data.coronavirus.alaska.gov.
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Offline RE

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🦠 'We're not going to control the pandemic,'
« Reply #643 on: October 26, 2020, 06:03:56 AM »
Generally speaking. "quitting" is not a good reelection motto.  ::)

RE

'We're not going to control the pandemic,' WH official says; Biden says Trump has quit virus fight


alert special report
'We're not going to control the pandemic,' WH official says; Biden says Trump has quit virus fight

    Associated Press, CNN Oct 25, 2020 Updated 15 hrs ago



The latest headlines and other things you should know today from the 2020 election.
There are 9 days until Election Day. Here's today's latest.

***
Top story
Trump

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows responds to reporters questions outside the West Wing on the North Lawn of the White House, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta
WH chief of staff: 'We're not going to control the pandemic'

With COVID-19 cases surging in the United States, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows acknowledged that the Trump administration can’t stop the spread and is focusing instead on getting a vaccine.

He told CNN’s “State of the Union”: “We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics.”

President Donald Trump largely shuns wearing a mask and has repeatedly insisted at campaign rallies that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” when it comes to the coronavirus. But Meadows on Sunday appeared to contradict that assessment. When pressed why the U.S. won’t get control of the pandemic, he replied: “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

Meadows says the administration is making efforts to contain the virus and predicts “we’re going to defeat it.” Meadows says “our ability to handle this has improved each and every day.” New cases, however, have been on the rise, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University.
A year ago today, in pictures: US Rep. Cummings honored and more moments you may remember

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Trump swings through Maine

President Donald Trump made a brief swing to Maine’s 2nd Congressional District on Sunday to present his case for its single electoral vote.

The president's trek to Maine came after a campaign stop in New Hampshire. At Maine's Treworgy Family Orchards in the town of Levant, Trump was greeted by a crush of mostly unmasked supporters and spent a few minutes autographing campaign hats and pumpkins.

Maine assigns two of its electoral votes by congressional district. The other two are awarded to the candidate with the most votes in the state.

Trump won the state’s northern, rural district and its electoral vote in 2016.

***
Harris to campaign in Texas this week

Sen. Kamala Harris is set to campaign in Texas during the final week of the presidential campaign.

A campaign aide says the Democratic vice presidential nominee will be in the state on Friday. Further details of the trip haven’t been released.

Texas is one of 17 battleground states Joe Biden’s campaign is targeting. The state has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, but Democrats have closed the gap in recent years.

Harris’ trip to Texas will follow recent campaign stops in Georgia, another reliably Republican state that Democrats see potential in flipping this year, and Michigan, where Trump had his narrowest margin of victory in 2016. On Tuesday she plans to campaign in Nevada.

***
Trump says virus is 'going to be over' during N.H. stop

President Donald Trump is asserting that even without a vaccine, “we’re rounding the turn. It’s going to be over.”

Trump made the dubious claim to voters at a packed campaign rally in New Hampshire.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows new COVID-19 cases at a high, with 83,718 reported Saturday, just shy of the 83,757 infections on Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the United States on a single day had been 77,362, on July 16.

Trump says “you know why we have cases so much? Because that’s all we do but test.”

Trump is trying to win a state that he narrowly lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. He is also making a stop in Bangor, Maine. He’s trying to capture the 2nd Congressional District’s one electoral vote.

***
Biden: Trump has waved 'white flag of defeat' in battle against virus

Joe Biden says President Donald Trump’s top adviser has waved “the white flag of defeat” in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden admonished White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after earlier on Sunday he said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” that “we’re not going to control the pandemic” and asserted that getting vaccines and therapeutics was ultimately the answer to dealing with a surge in infections.

The former vice president says in a statement that “this wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis.”

Vice President Mike Pence’s office confirmed late Saturday that he will stay on the campaign trail despite being in close contact with his chief of staff, who earlier on Saturday tested positive for the virus.

***
Biden attends church, spends day in Delaware

With nine days to go until Election Day, Joe Biden is spending a quiet Sunday in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Democratic presidential candidate attended church nearby his home with two of his granddaughters. It’s a Sunday constant for Biden, who makes sure to attend most of the time he’s home.

Sunday evening, Biden will speak at a star-studded virtual get-out-the-vote concert. Jill Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will also speak at the event, and a handful of celebrities — including John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi and Cher — will appear and perform. The concert is part of the campaign’s push to get voters to head to the polls early. Harris is spending Sunday campaigning in Detroit, a key base of Democratic support in pivotal Michigan for the Biden campaign.

Biden has had a relatively thin schedule in the final stretch of the campaign, visiting just three states in the past seven days, including Tennessee for the final presidential debate. This week, he’s slated to deliver his closing message with a speech in Georgia, a traditionally red-leaning state where Democrats feel they have an opening due to President Donald Trump’s struggles in the polls.
The Latest: Pence to be in Minnesota on Monday after all
Govt-and-politics
The Latest: Pence to be in Minnesota on Monday after all

In other election news:
Trump aide: 'We're not going to control the pandemic'
Govt-and-politics
Trump aide: 'We're not going to control the pandemic'

    By JONATHAN LEMIRE, ALEXANDRA JAFFE and AAMER MADHANI Associated Press

Eyes turn to Texas as early voting surge surpasses 2016
Govt-and-politics
Eyes turn to Texas as early voting surge surpasses 2016

    By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press

Trump intensifies fracking assault on Biden in Pennsylvania
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Trump intensifies fracking assault on Biden in Pennsylvania

    By MARC LEVY Associated Press

Health experts question Pence campaigning as essential work
Govt-and-politics
Health experts question Pence campaigning as essential work

    By MARILYNN MARCHIONE AP Chief Medical Writer

GOP asks Supreme Court again to block PA ballot extension
Govt-and-politics
GOP asks Supreme Court again to block PA ballot extension

    By MARC LEVY Associated Press

***
Battle for the Senate

In focus: Mississippi
Analysis: Mississippi US Senate race draws outside attention
Analysis: Mississippi US Senate race draws outside attention

    By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS Associated Press

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The latest national polls

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Election interactives

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Twitter erupts over Sam Elliott TV ad for Joe Biden during World Series
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Twitter erupts over Sam Elliott TV ad for Joe Biden during World Series

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Actor Sam Elliott lent his voice to a Joe Biden campaign video that aired during the World Series Tuesday and became a Twitter magnet. See the ad and responses to it.

Trump posts unedited '60 Minutes' interview before it airs; plus the latest 2020 election news
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Trump posts unedited '60 Minutes' interview before it airs; plus the latest 2020 election news

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Do your own debate prep by getting caught up on the latest election news before President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden take the stage Thursday night.

Who's ahead, Trump or Biden? See the latest polls from battleground states
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Find out how Trump and Biden are faring in the states likely to decide Election 2020 with this rundown of statewide polls in 14 states, updated daily.

Virus spikes have states looking to shore up hospitals; CDC redefines COVID-19 close contact
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Virus spikes have states looking to shore up hospitals; CDC redefines COVID-19 close contact

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Hospitals across the United States are starting to buckle from a resurgence of cases, and the CDC tweaked what counts as close contact for COVID-19. Here's the latest virus news.

McConnell warns White House against COVID relief in private, says Senate would vote on deal in public
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McConnell warns White House against COVID relief in private, says Senate would vote on deal in public

    Oct 20, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republicans that he has warned the White House not to divide the GOP by sealing a pre-election COVID-19 relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — even as he publicly said he'd put any such bill to a vote.

FDA approves first COVID-19 drug: the antiviral remdesivir. Get the latest coronavirus news.
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FDA approves first COVID-19 drug: the antiviral remdesivir. Get the latest coronavirus news.

    Updated Oct 22, 2020

The FDA has approved the first drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine which previously was authorized only for emergency uses. Here's the latest virus news.

Fact-checking claims from the final Trump-Biden debate
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Fact-checking claims from the final Trump-Biden debate

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Donald Trump and Joe Biden sparred Thursday in their final presidential debate. Here's a look at how their statements stack up with the facts.

'Rapid acceleration' of virus cases predicted; US topped 60,000 new cases Tuesday
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'Rapid acceleration' of virus cases predicted; US topped 60,000 new cases Tuesday

    Updated Oct 21, 2020

Hospitalizations in the US also are on the rise, up in 42 states. Get the morning's latest coronavirus updates here.
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Offline RE

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More Dead Alaskans.  :o

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https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2020/10/25/alaskas-second-wave-of-covid-19-is-bringing-surging-daily-case-counts-more-hospitalizations-and-a-new-foe-fatalism/

Alaska is in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus that’s setting new records and shows no sign of slowing.


Case numbers are surging in Anchorage and Fairbanks but also in isolated, medically underserved rural communities including the Yukon River delta village of Chevak where nearly 18% of the population tested positive in the space of just a few days.
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Statewide, there are so many people testing positive that public health workers can’t keep up with the contact tracing that’s a central part of Alaska’s strategy to contain coronavirus.

Alaska statewide case-count records were shattered on Saturday, with 355 new cases reported, then again Sunday with 526 cases. The numbers of people hospitalized in Alaska with COVID-19 hit its highest level at one time so far on Friday, at 59, and 58 were reported hospitalized on Sunday. Hospitalizations are considered a “lagging indicator,” meaning people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 may have tested positive weeks earlier.

Health officials in increasingly urgent messages say the only way to rein in the surging case numbers is for individual Alaskans to take voluntary steps they’ve been pushing for months: Wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings outside the home.

But they’re running up against public pushback amid rising levels of “COVID fatigue” that’s only growing as the pandemic months pass.

“The biggest challenge I feel these days is a sense of, when I talk to the public and community leaders, is fatalism,” the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said during a recent briefing. “That’s harder to combat than getting more testing or supplies.”
‘We know what works with COVID’

Asked if it’s too late to stop the continued spread of the virus in Alaska, the state’s two top health officials both simultaneously shout, “NO!”

“It’s not too late for us to stop this surge in cases,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin. “We know what works with COVID. We’ve demonstrated it in Alaska, we’ve demonstrated it in the United States, and we’ve demonstrated in multiple countries across the globe: mitigation works.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy seems to take a longer view, contending that state officials expected to see case counts going up — and he expects that trend to continue.

[Alaska’s COVID-19 data this week showed no big change in hospitalizations. The data was wrong. Hospitalizations just hit a new record.]

Dunleavy says that despite rising numbers, the state’s hospitals are “holding steady” and that’s one indicator the state’s response is working. Alaska’s death rates from COVID-19 are falling even as cases increase, he said, and the “vast majority of deaths” are in people with underlying health conditions.

The state’s per capita death rate is among the lowest in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A face mask on the ground among fallen leaves next to the sidewalk along Homer Drive in Anchorage on Oct. 8, 2020. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
A face mask on the ground among fallen leaves next to the sidewalk along Homer Drive in Anchorage on Oct. 8, 2020. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

The governor continues to avoid imposing statewide mandates for masking or stay-at-home orders, preferring localized restrictions. Multiple cities — including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Unalaska and Juneau — have instituted mask mandates in some form. Multiple rural villages are currently in lockdown.

Dunleavy held the first COVID-19 news conference in weeks, streamed via Facebook, last Wednesday. He called the virus “very very very infectious” and said the state is “going to see case numbers continue to rise.”

Asked in an interview on Friday about his message compared to those from his top health officials, the governor said he didn’t know if there was necessarily a conflict between saying cases are expected to rise and the assertion Alaskans can slow the spread of the virus.

The governor said he’s trying to strike a balance as the nation approaches a potential vaccine in the coming months.

“We made the assumption that the cases would rise because of its infectious nature, and a lack of a vaccination,” Dunleavy said in the interview.

The state could take more restrictive steps to stop the spread of the illness, he said, but that would involve “extraordinary measures,” in the way of shutdowns enforced by sanctions and arrests.

“Certainly, we could probably shut the virus down,” Dunleavy said Friday. “But then the cost to do that would be, in my opinion, astronomical.”

In a Facebook post Sunday, Dunleavy said, “With yesterday and today’s case counts, it is clear that Alaska has entered an acceleration phase with regard to the virus, though this is not unexpected as Alaskans moved indoors with the changing seasons. The vast majority of the new cases are with individuals younger than age 60, and our hospitalization and mortality rates are still at very low levels per capita...Nothing is going to replace individual action and responsibility, including social distancing, wearing a mask around others, and washing your hands. Together we can slow the widespread community transmission and protect the most vulnerable."
‘Everywhere’

At first, Alaska kept the virus at bay. Then over the summer a spike in cases was tied to major outbreaks in the seafood industry and leveled off before dropping.

Now cases are in full-on acceleration mode as positive test counts hit new records each week, health officials say.

Asked where people are getting the virus, one infectious disease specialist had a one-word answer: “Everywhere.”

Most Alaskans get COVID-19 from someone they work, socialize, or go to school with, according to a state update this week. Many report that they went to social gatherings, community events, church services and other social venues while they were contagious but before they knew they had the virus.

The common denominator these days is as much behavior as it is a physical location, said Anchorage Health Department epidemiologist Janet Johnston.

“The places where people are keeping their distance and wearing a mask, we have less transmission," Johnston said.

With winter approaching, more people are moving indoors where the virus spreads more easily. And cases are moving into older populations after predominating in younger people, a group that over the summer drove up new positive tests but generally stayed healthy enough to not need hospital care.

If Alaska follows national trends, the shift into older age groups could predict a rise in hospitalizations and deaths.
Florist Natasha Price makes a flower arrangement in her garage on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Price said her business Paper Peony is thriving during the pandemic. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Florist Natasha Price makes a flower arrangement in her garage on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Price said her business Paper Peony is thriving during the pandemic. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Natasha Price, an Anchorage florist, said despite the months that have passed amid a global pandemic, she tries to follow public-health guidelines and remains cautious about socializing. She decided to see a therapist for the first time in her life, via telemedicine.

Price hears younger friends talk about going to restaurants. She has “zero interest” in doing that.

“It seems that the numbers are an all-time high in Alaska right now,” she said. “And I find that deeply concerning.
Lift the mandates

Alaskans, like people around the country and the world, are tired of staying home and not seeing friends and family. They’re financially gutted by lost jobs and rent bills coming due. Many have dug in on one side or the other — mask up or stay uncovered, go out or hole up, avoid the virus or get infected and boost herd immunity.

Some people don’t answer their phones when contact tracers finally do call. Others say they don’t want to get tested even if they’ve been exposed because they can’t afford to lose time off work.

Dr. Bruce Chandler, Anchorage Health Department medical officer, heard recently about a symptomatic staff member at a residential care facility who continued to work while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

“One person this week reported having to work several days with customers while infectious because their boss threatened to fire her if she didn’t show up to work,” Chandler said during a briefing.

There’s also strong pushback against any restrictions at all. The governor’s former chief of staff, Tuckerman Babcock, is an administrator of a private Facebook group with more than 7,000 members called OpenAlaska that agitates against mask wearing and pandemic protocols.

“No public health emergency. All mandates should be lifted and the land of the free and home of the brave restored," Babcock posted Friday.

Everybody is tired of coronavirus, it seems. Even the governor.

Dunleavy, who was captured not wearing a mask at a Republican fundraising event earlier this month, said he generally wears one except when he’s eating, drinking or speaking publicly. The governor said he wears a mask in state office buildings, at the store, and when he’s "mixing with the public.”

He said he takes one off when he’s speaking to a group “for long periods of time” even though it increases the risk of the virus.

“But I also think there needs to be a little fairness and understanding in that I probably altered my life 80 to 90%,” Dunleavy said, listing some of the changes including leaving the state by plane just once since February, limited face-to-face meetings and reduced in-state travel.

“I could go on and on and on but the point I’m trying to make is, there are times that you’re going to wear a mask and you should do it as much as possible," he said. "And there are times that you’re not and the times that you’re not, I don’t think should be, you know, considered an attempt at harming people.”
‘It’s real’

Wasilla resident Helen Lindsey pulled on a surgical mask as she and her husband got out of their sedan at Three Bears, a grocery chain that does not require customers wear face coverings.

Inside, maybe half the customers and some cashiers wore them too.

The store where Lindsey works does require face covers. She was asked to hand them out to customers not wearing them. People cursed at her, yelled in her face, and threw the masks back at her.
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Lindsey said she doesn’t like the pandemic restrictions any more than the next person. She had no physical contact with her husband, Mike, for weeks after he broke his leg over the summer and ended up in the hospital and then rehab. They talked by phone, separated by glass.

She feels like her family has buckled down enough. It’s time for other people to start following protocols.

“I’m so sick of it,” she said.

Some people don’t seem to take the virus seriously unless they experience it first-hand, medical providers say. Statistics show that about 20% of Alaskans hospitalized with COVID-19 will die.

Dr. Nicholas Papacostas, who serves as vice president of the Alaska chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said his emergency room colleagues worry they’ll be stretched thin unless Alaskans start taking steps to slow the spread of the virus.

The underlying concern is that hospitals could hit full capacity and then go past it, even with surge plans hospitals already have in place. That could compromise staffing ratios and degrade the level of care.

“It’s heartbreaking to actually lay hands on one of these patients and have the sinking feeling as you care for them in the ER that this person is heading for the ICU and statistically they’re not going to do well, and open their chart a week or even a month later and see they did in fact die,” said Papacostas, who practices emergency medicine in Anchorage.

“It’s real. There’s real suffering happening,” he said. “And I don’t know how to make people understand that.”

Reporter Zaz Hollander reported from the Mat-Su. Morgan Krakow and Annie Berman reported from Anchorage.


Novel coronaravirus
About this Author
Zaz Hollander

Longtime ADN reporter Zaz Hollander is based in the Mat-Su and is currently focused on coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska. She also covers the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments.

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Morgan Krakow

Morgan Krakow is a general assignment reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She is a 2019 graduate of the University of Oregon and spent the past summer as a reporting intern on the general assignment desk of The Washington Post. Contact her at mkrakow@adn.com.

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Annie Berman

Annie Berman covers health care for the Anchorage Daily News. She's a fellow with Report for America, and is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A veteran of AmeriCorps and Vista volunteer programs, she's covered breaking news, crime, culture and politics for Mission Local and KQED in the Bay Area.
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