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Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Really BFD: The First Next-gen Vaccine

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If this vaccine lives up to its potential, it will be a powerful tool to bring down the global pandemic.

Short-Circuited: BC Premier Declares “Circuit Breaker” COVID Lockdown

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Vaccination has had a relatively slow rollout, with just under 700,000 shots administered and just 87,000 B.C. residents fully immunized. Hence, a circuit breaker is now required until April 19 to break the chains of transmission.

Playing the Odds: Should You Send Your Kids Back to School?

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Few decisions are harder than those which involve increasing your chances of changing the odds that an unlikely bad event might happen. The decision is complicated here by the lack of data, because the virus is new and surprising.

COVID Update: Vaccines, Variants, and Endangered Kids

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Real world data remains to be gathered, but this result at least suggests that if we can in fact vaccinate the world fast enough, we still have a chance to clamp down hard on the virus.

Your COVID Forecast: Sunny with a Chance of Asteroid

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An asteroid variant could emerge wherever the case rate remains high, meaning either in the large part of the world that won’t get the vaccine for quite a while longer, or in a highly-vaccinated country that has lowered hospitalizations and deaths, but is still supporting a high rate of new infections.

Jumping the Line: Insidious Effects of Vaccine Favoritism

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Allocating vaccine according to professional, social or economic status only deepens the grievous race and class disparities we’ve already seen in deaths and other pandemic impacts.

The Variants & The Vaccines: What We Know so Far

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If Moderna’s preliminary results are correct, their vaccine will still suppress it, but if it becomes widespread around the world, it becomes a new jumping-off point for further mutations, and one of those might complete the jailbreak.

The New UK COVID Strain is in Snohomish – Here’s What to do

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Almost exactly a year after America's first confirmed case of the "novel Coronavirus" was detected in Snohomish County, two cases of the extra-contagious variant from the UK, dubbed B.1.1.7 (poets, these virologists) have been found in that self-same county, a first for the State of Washington, though hardly for the nation. You Rock, Snohomish County!

Vaccinatin’ Rhythm

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West Virginia currently leads the nation in vaccination rate (7.1% of population with first dose, compared to a national average of 3.4% and Washington's rate of 3.0%), and they're doing it by a conscious policy choice.

The Mutating COVID: What it Means for You

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Taken together, the new variant means that accelerating our herky-jerky vaccine rollout becomes even more important, our use of non-pharmaceutical protections needs to increase for at least the first half of 2021, and we need, together, to accept vaccination as soon as it is offered, and reach out to everyone who is hesitating to be vaccinated and persuade them to join us in the jab queue.

Three Hurdles to Herd Immunity

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What does the path to vaccine-enabled herd immunity look like for the United States? It will look like a track set up for hurdlers. If we clear them all, we can win full normalcy. If we clear most, we might be able to manage a more rickety normalcy.

How Strong? How Long? – Two Essential Vaccine Questions

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To me, one intriguing thing to emerge from these studies so far has to do with durability, our topic for today. Durability depends on two things

New COVID Death Projections: First Comes the Fire

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These are staggering numbers: 90,000 deaths in January alone.

Shots Felt Round the World: What to Make of the 90% Vaccine

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It appears that, of the 94 cases, about 8 were from vaccine recipients, and 86 were from placebo recipients. That’s a great ratio, but still very small numbers. The FDA wants to see the numbers after they’ve looked at 164 confirmed cases.

Why The New England Journal of Medicine’s COVID Leadership Editorial is so Extraordinary

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I found myself cheering the NEJM authors for further pointing out that instead of turning to experts in the field of infectious diseases, public health and policy administration government leaders had relied on “…uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.”

The Hard, and Hard-Earned, Truths About Abortion

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Abortion was legal for much of the nation’s early history. Under English common law, the cornerstone of American jurisprudence, abortions performed prior to “quickening” (the first perceptible fetal movement) were not criminal offenses. Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision of 1973, essentially restored English common law as adopted by our nation’s founders.

Want to end the Pandemic?

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In a a rationally governed world it could be done, thereby opening up the enormous range of coordinated actions available to policy makers ready to look at hard facts before making hard but firm choices.

COVID is Profoundly Changing Health Care

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Whether treating patients on the front lines or facing a dramatic reduction in patient volume, medical practices are struggling to survive.

What It Was Like Being A Volunteer For A Coronavirus Test-Vaccine

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During the month after each shot I recorded information about my reactions and every week walked the two miles to the research office and had copious quantities of blood extracted for research. I experienced three periods of side effects (muscle aches, mild temperature spikes, etc.).

Everything You Need to Know about How a COVID Vaccine will Happen

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Despite this monumental effort, there’s a lot we don’t know yet about these potential vaccines, which means there’s a lot we don’t know about just how much benefit we’ll get from them. Our ignorance can be usefully organized into four categories: efficacy, durability, safety, and scalability.

Your Health Care Providers Compared [UPDATED]

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They say you can’t improve what you don’t measure and along that line, we’re proud to announce that the Alliance’s 14th Community Checkup report is being released today, with results for 1,978 clinics, 327 medical groups, 106 hospitals, and 16 health plans for claims from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

COVID Update: Study Finds Longterm Health Effects; Many More Deaths and No Silver Bullet

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The results were unsettling, to say the least: “Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging revealed cardiac involvement in 78 patients (78%) and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients (60%), which was independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and the time from the original diagnosis.”

Bucking the Crowd: Herd Immunity and the Risks to your Kids

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We know more about herd immunity in these pandemic days, but as the nation struggles with how or whether to reopen its schools, the notion of inducing it by deliberately exposing children to the corona virus is trending on social media.

It’s Back: The Virus That Never Went Away

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Weary people and businesses, who have been leaning forward in anticipation of the restored freedoms of the next phase, are sagging in their saddles, realizing that we’ve been set back.

Masks: Now more than Ever

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Given that lots of people are, at this very moment, eager to be mask-free, how can we persuade them to do an about face about their face and re-mask it?

Our State Was Too Slow In Reacting To COVID-19

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Clearly there was a new disease striking people in China, and there were subtle attempts to suppress this information. Certainly, there was sufficient warning to be vigilant about a repetition of SARS, or worse.

Should The Morrison Hotel Homeless Shelter Be Closed For Good?

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In the Covid-19 era, can the traditional model of large shelters such as the Morrison Hotel survive?

The Coronavirus Pandemic Adds New Twists to ‘The Good Death’

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Everything is being affected in wrenching ways -- telemedicine, volunteers for hospice, family conversations, overwhelmed professional services, palliative care, death-with-dignity options.

The Vaccine Optimist

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There’s never been a human vaccine created in less than about 5 years, according to Bill Gates, yet he’s confident we’ll have one this time in less than two years, and as soon as 9 months! What’s that optimism based on?

Timeline: What We Know so far about the Virus… and it’s Scary

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With each new story, the SARS CoV-2 virus is revealed to be a more enigmatic and dangerous adversary.