COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Europe's oldest person, a 116-year-old French nun, survives Covid-19
A nun living in a retirement home in the French city of Toulon is preparing to celebrate her 117th birthday on Thursday, having survived Covid-19.

Sister Andre, who was born Lucile Randon, is believed to be the oldest person in Europe and second oldest in the world. She showed no coronavirus symptoms but tested positive in mid-January, when she was isolated from her fellow residents.

When asked by CNN affiliate BMF TV if she felt afraid, she said: “No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die ... I’m happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else -- join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother.”
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Facebook and YouTube ban ‘Planet Lockdown’ film filled with coronavirus falsehoods, after it was shared by millions
While thousands of families grieved the loss of loved ones and the United States’ coronavirus death toll surpassed 350,000 in early January and continued to rise, a film parroting false claims about the pandemic began to spread to millions of social media users.

The video, called “Planet Lockdown,” racked up more than 20 million views and engagements, according to the social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, in late December and January. It went largely unnoticed by the social media platforms playing host to the misinformation until the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America published a detailed accounting of the film’s spread on Monday.

The film was full of false claims about the virus, including that the coronavirus vaccine may cause infertility (it does not) and that the shots contain microchips (they do not), as well as baseless claims of mass voter fraud in the presidential election. Facebook and YouTube had already banned users from posting content promoting the false microchip claim and other misinformation related to the pandemic.

Following the Media Matters report, tech giants including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok began scrubbing promotional clips of the film from their platforms for violating rules against misinformation. GoFundMe also removed a fundraising page for postproduction costs associated with the film, which had raised more than $8,000, according to an image of the site captured by the Internet Archive.

... The viral clip from “Planet Lockdown” depicts an interview with Catherine Austin Fitts, who served as assistant secretary of housing and urban development under President George H.W. Bush and has since worked in finance. Fitts, who has no background in medicine or public health, has worked with anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to promote unfounded claims about the pandemic and to oppose lockdown measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus.

... In the video, Fitts spins an elaborate tale about a plot by a “committee that runs the world,” which she calls “Mr. Global,” that aims to enslave people through mind control. She also falsely claims the coronavirus vaccine is “full of these mystery ingredients” and will “modify your DNA and for all we know make you infertile.”

False claims like the ones made in the video may discourage people from getting the vaccine, which has been shown to be very effective and passed strict safety reviews.

The clip was originally released in late December and has since racked up millions of views across various platforms. Even as the companies began moving to take it offline this week, many highly viewed posts remained for days. A single Instagram post with the video made by Kennedy on Dec. 29 garnered more than 900,000 views and remained on the platform until late Tuesday night, when it was removed following an inquiry from The Post.

“We’ve removed this video from Facebook and Instagram for violating our policies,” Facebook spokeswoman Dani Lever told The Post late Tuesday. “Our teams are monitoring for copies and other versions so we can take appropriate action.”

But new versions of the video have continued surfacing. As of early Wednesday, dozens of copies of the video could still be found on Facebook, though the most-viewed versions had been pulled down.
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CDC Says Double-Masking Offers More Protection Against The Coronavirus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research on Wednesday that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. Those findings prompted new guidance on how to improve mask fit at a time of concern over fast-spreading variants of the virus.

For optimal protection, the CDC says to make sure the mask fits snugly against your face and to choose a mask with at least two layers.

... The CDC's guidance on improving mask fit now recommends:
  • Choosing a mask with a nose wire, which prevents air from leaking out along the top
  • Using a mask fitter or brace over a disposable or cloth mask, to prevent air from leaking out. These small, reusable devices cinch a cloth or medical mask to create a tighter fit and improve mask performance, Walensky said.
  • Make sure your mask fits snugly over your nose, mouth and chin: "If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath," the CDC says.
  • Add layers of material – either by using cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric or by wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask.
But double-masking isn't recommended for all masks. Don't combine two disposable masks, the CDC says: "Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit."

And don't layer another mask on top of a KN95, either. That mask should be used alone, the CDC says.
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Millions of Counterfeit N95 Masks Were Bought in 5 States, U.S. Says
Millions of counterfeit masks were bought by hospitals, medical institutions and government agencies in at least five states — and some of them were used by health care workers in Washington State, the federal authorities said on Wednesday in announcing an investigation.

Many of the masks were clever fakes, stamped with the 3M logo and shipped in boxes that read, “Made in the U.S.A.,” even though they were not made in the United States or by 3M, according to federal investigators.

Homeland Security Investigations, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, said the fraudulent masks are dangerous because they may not offer the same level of protection against the coronavirus as legitimate N95 masks manufactured by 3M.

“We don’t know if they meet the standards,” said Brian Weinhaus, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations.

Cassie Sauer, the president and chief executive of the Washington State Hospital Association, said about two million counterfeit N95 masks may have made it into the state. Washington State hospitals bought hundreds of thousands of the fraudulent masks, and the association itself bought 300,000 for its members, she said.

The masks were “really good fakes,” Ms. Sauer said, noting that they included a 3M logo, secure straps, a metal bar across the top and a foam strip across the nose.

“They look, they feel, they fit and they breathe like a 3M mask,” she said. But they were not made by 3M, she said, and officials don’t know enough about them to know how protective they might be.

Many of the counterfeit masks have not been used in Washington, Ms. Sauer said, noting that about 60,000 masks that the hospital association bought are still in a warehouse. But some health care workers did use them before the association received bulletins from 3M and the federal government and began alerting hospitals to the fraud late Friday, she said.

“It is incredibly disheartening — really, really frustrating to discover that we have these masks,” Ms. Sauer said.

“It’s reprehensible, the depravity,” Ms. Sauer added. “We’re horrified.”

June Altaras, senior vice president and chief quality, safety and nursing officer at MultiCare Health System, which includes 10 hospitals in Washington, said some of the workers in its network had used the counterfeit N95 masks.

She said that officials spent last weekend collecting the counterfeits and replacing them with legitimate masks. She said the organization had recommended that staff members who had treated Covid-19 patients be tested for the coronavirus.

“There’s a special place in the afterlife for people who would do this,” Ms. Altaras said, adding that the fraudulent masks had created anxiety and fear among frontline health care workers.
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are variable, but often include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Symptoms begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Most people (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time, but can spread the disease. Some patients continue to experience a range of effects—known as long COVID—for months after recovery and damage to organs has been observed. Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the long term effects of the disease.

Source: Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia