COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Tom Brady's dad reveals 'life and death' battle with Covid-19
Tom Brady Sr., the father of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, opened up about his experience battling the virus in an interview with ESPN Radio's "Greeny" show.

"When the (NFL) season started this year, I was in the hospital with Covid for almost three weeks, and my wife was sick with Covid at the same time," Brady told host Mike Greenberg. "We didn't even see the first two games of the year."

The father of the NFL star said he and his wife, Galynn, were both "sick as a dog," although Galynn did not require hospitalization. Brady's parents are both 76 years old, and his mom is a breast cancer survivor.

"For the first two games when I was in the hospital, I didn't even care if they were playing much less missing game," Brady said. "It was a matter of life and death. Just like anybody goes into the hospital, it's serious stuff. And Tommy fought through it, and so now it's just in the rearview mirror."
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Pentagon weighs deploying thousands of troops to help Biden reach vaccination target
The discussions are at an early stage and no decisions have been made yet, the officials cautioned. One official, when pressed for an estimate, said that as many as 10,000 troops could be deployed as part of the effort.

... It's unclear at this point if the plan would involve the use of active-duty troops, National Guardsmen, or some combination. Any plan will require that an approved request be sent from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the Department of Defense, a process that takes time.

... Last week, Biden described the fight against the pandemic as a "wartime effort" and vowed to use the Defense Production Act to direct all federal agencies and private industries to produce everything needed to protect Americans from the virus.

"Our national plan launches a full-scale wartime effort to address the supply shortages by ramping up production and protective equipment, syringes, needles, you name it," Biden said. "And when I say wartime, people kind of look at me like 'wartime?' Well, as I said last night, 400,000 Americans have died. That's more than have died in all of World War II. 400,000. This is a wartime undertaking."
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What to do, and not do, before and after your Covid vaccine shot
It's an all-out sprint to get Americans vaccinated. As you prepare to get your shot, here are 10 actions experts suggest doing -- and avoiding.
  • DO: Get your vaccine when it's your turn.
  • DON'T: Let disinformation on vaccines cloud your judgment.
  • DO: Get vaccinated if you've already had Covid-19.
  • DON'T: Get a shot if you currently have Covid-19 or have been exposed.
  • DO: Get the shot even if you still have Covid-19 symptoms months later.
  • DON'T: Get another type of vaccine within 14 days of the Covid-19 shot.
  • DO: Tell vaccine staff about any allergies or past allergic reactions.
  • DON’T: Drive away before your 15- to 30-minute wait is up.
  • DO: Get your second shot of vaccine within the recommended time frame.
  • DO: Continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing after your shots.
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Police break up 'illegal nightclub' in the basement of a Massachusetts home
After a complaint of loud music in a residential area of Lawrence early Monday, police initially did not find anything but officers saw "a large amount of foot traffic" heading to a home on Springfield Street.

"Upon further investigation, the Officers observed an 'illegal nightclub,' complete with a waitress and full bar," according to a statement posted on the police department's Facebook page.

The building had an estimated 100 people inside along with charcoal hookahs and external propane heaters being used, police said.

CNN affiliate WCVB reported that 20 tables and a bar were set up in the multifamily home's basement, along with a whiteboard listing menu items. Police confiscated nearly 50 bottles of alcohol and liquor, WCVB reported.

"You wouldn't be able to tell looking at it from the outside, that's the whole point," Police Chief Roy Vasque told WCVB. "They basically set up the basement like an elaborate club."

Vasque told WCVB that authorities were concerned about the possibility of Covid-19 infections due to so many people crowding into a small room.

"This could be one of those super spreaders, you know, type of situations that you hear about," Vasque told WCVB. "So absolutely inappropriate, irresponsible and stupid."
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Wealthy couple chartered a plane to the Yukon, took vaccines doses meant for Indigenous elders, authorities said
Located deep in Canada’s Yukon, the remote community of Beaver Creek is home to only about 100 people, most of them members of the White River First Nation.

So when an unfamiliar couple who claimed to work at a local motel showed up at a mobile clinic to receive coronavirus vaccines, it didn’t take long for locals to become suspicious. Authorities soon found that the couple were actually wealthy Vancouver residents who had chartered a private plane to the isolated outpost so that they could get shots intended to protect vulnerable Indigenous elders.

“I can’t believe I’ve ever seen or heard of such a despicable, disgusting sense of entitlement and lack of a moral compass,” Mike Farnworth, the British Columbia solicitor general, said Monday, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Canadian media outlets have identified the couple as casino executive Rodney Baker, 55, and his wife, Ekaterina Baker, a 32-year-old actress whose recent credits include the 2020 films “Fatman” and “Chick Fight.” Each faces fines totaling the equivalent of about $900 for violating quarantine guidelines. Neither could immediately be reached for comment late Monday, and it was not clear whether they have attorneys.

Investor disclosures show that Baker earned more than $10.6 million in 2019 as CEO and president of the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which owns more than 20 casinos across Canada and is the subject of a separate money laundering probe. He resigned Sunday after charges were filed. A spokesman said that Great Canadian “has no tolerance for actions that run counter to the company’s objectives and values.”

The White River First Nation, which wants to see stiffer penalties for the couple, said in a statement to The Washington Post that the relatively small fines would be “essentially meaningless” for such wealthy individuals.

“It’s clear to me that because we are a predominantly Indigenous community, that they assumed we were naive,” Chief Angela Demit said.
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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper-sprayed a maskless man who accused him of disregarding coronavirus measures
On Sunday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was walking outside a craft brewery on the Oregon city’s southwest side when a man walked up to him and shouted, “Thanks for ruining the city!”

Moments later, the Democratic mayor blasted the man in the eyes with pepper spray.

“Oh my God!” the man cried in an audio recording of the encounter published by the Willamette Week. “Wow ... I can’t see. The mayor has just thrown something at me.”

The encounter between Wheeler and the unidentified man was recorded by former Portland mayor Sam Adams, who later told police that the man, who was unmasked, had accosted them on the street with a video camera.

... The incident comes after a turbulent year for Portland’s mayor, who in July, was tear-gassed by federal agents while attending racial justice protests. He was later forced to move out of his condo in September after protesters broke windows and tossed a burning object inside the building. Earlier this month, Wheeler said a woman confronted him at another restaurant and later swatted him on the shoulder.

Over the past year, Wheeler has been highly criticized by protesters over his management of police amid last summer’s protest crackdowns. At one point, some urged him to resign for what they saw was an insufficient response to calls for police reform.

He’s also faced criticism for his early handling of the pandemic in the city. On Monday, the state’s department of health reported 291 new coronavirus cases and three deaths in Multnomah County, the city’s county seat.

... “He accused me of sitting in a restaurant without a mask,” Wheeler said. "I informed him the current covid regulations allow people to take their mask off for the purpose of eating and drinking.”

The man then followed him to his car while recording with his phone, Wheeler said, and refused to back away despite Wheeler’s multiple requests. He was within two feet of the mayor’s face, Wheeler told police.

That’s when the mayor said he gave the man a final warning: “I informed him that I was carrying pepper spray and that I would use it if he did not back off,” Wheeler told police. When the man didn’t comply, Wheeler said, he pepper-sprayed him in the eyes. The man, who appeared surprised, according to Wheeler, finally backed off.

... “Actually,” Adams said in the recording, “I was here, and you were like a foot from him. He asked you to back away, and you didn’t.”

... Before leaving, Wheeler said, he threw the man a bottle of water so he could wash out his eyes.
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Zoom dates? Election nights? Sourdough? Nope. Dogs are the heroes of this pandemic.
The dogs are here and they’re the ones saving us, in so many ways.

... The dogs are saving us.

Most Americans know this. Dogs and humans go way back to the campfire. Ancient man made a deal with the wolves — we’ll give you scraps, you give us protection and companionship, wholesome loyalty, even longevity.

The American Heart Association found, in a review of studies that included 3.8 million people, that “dog ownership was associated with a 24% risk reduction for all-cause mortality as compared to non-ownership.”

... Shelters across the country have been picked clean of dogs and folks now have to apply seven or eight times before they get lucky.

Because dogs are good for us.

... But dogs are providing more than companionship and love during the dark days of the pandemic. They can save us in other ways, too.

Blaze the Labrador retriever has been training in Pennsylvania to detect the presence of coronavirus on humans. The Miami Heat announced last week that the team will begin using coronavirus-sniffing dogs like Blaze to help them monitor spectators as they return to the stadium.

Trials have shown the dogs hitting nearly 100 percent accuracy, and they’re already being used in airports in Finland, the United Arab Emirates and Chile.

The dogs will save us.

And thank you, finally, to First Doggos Major and Champ, the German shepherds who moved into the White House with the Bidens on Sunday. As they bounded on the South Lawn, they were a welcome reminder to America of what normal looks like.

It’s no coincidence our nation’s recent, dark days happened at the same time there were no canines in the White House. President Donald Trump was one of only a handful of presidential oddballs who didn’t have dogs in the White House.

Thank Dog they’re back. And we’re all on the path to normal.
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The first confirmed U.S. case of a variant discovered in Brazil is found in Minnesota.
A case of a more contagious coronavirus variant first found in Brazil has been confirmed in Minnesota, the state’s department of health said in a statement on Monday. It is the first confirmed case of the variant in the United States.

The case was identified in a Minnesota resident who had recently traveled to Brazil, the department said, which could suggest that the variant may not yet be widely circulating.

... The P.1 variant is also thought to be more contagious but it is unclear if it causes more severe illness.
The Minnesota Department of Health identified it through its variant surveillance program, which collects 50 random samples from laboratories in the state each week. Minnesota has one of the lowest daily caseloads relative to its population in the country, following a surge in the fall.
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