COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
CDC data shows more Americans are missing their second dose of Covid-19 vaccines
The vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna require two doses -- administered three and four weeks apart, respectively -- to be considered fully effective. But data shows about 8% of Americans have missed that important second dose -- up from about 3.4% in March.

It's not an exact count. The CDC is collecting data on vaccinations, but states don't report information immediately and must gather it from mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacies and various other vaccination efforts.

"If a person received the two doses from different reporting entities, those two doses may not have been linked together," a CDC spokesperson said.

"For example, if a person received their first dose at a clinic run by the state, and second dose from a tribal health clinic, they might not be linked and it could look like they missed the second dose."

... Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's Jim Acosta on Sunday he was not surprised some people are missing the second dose, saying it happens frequently with multi-dose vaccines.

"Obviously whenever you have a two-dose vaccine, you're going to see people who for one reason or other -- convenience, forgetting, a number of other things -- just don't show up for the second vaccine," Fauci said.


"I'd like it to be a 0%," he said, "but I'm not surprised that there are some people who do that."

Similarly, the CDC said Americans missing second doses was expected. Groups initially prioritized for vaccination, such as health care workers, were more likely to get vaccinated at their work site, "potentially reducing barriers and increasing adherence to the recommended vaccine schedule," a spokesperson said.

"The reasons behind the delayed or missed second doses, however, require further analysis," the spokesperson said, and officials should work to understand whether this is due to access or vaccine hesitancy.
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/25/health/us-coronavirus-sunday/index.html

Alaska lawmaker blasted airline for ‘mask tyranny.’ Now she’s banned from the only flights to the capital.
Last week, a police officer responded to an Alaska Airlines terminal in Juneau as state Sen. Lora Reinbold clashed with staffers over mask rules. It was a familiar battle for the Republican lawmaker, a vaccine skeptic who has blasted flight attendants as “mask bullies” and accused the airline of “mask tyranny.”

Now, she isn’t welcome on their flights at all. Alaska Airlines this weekend banned Reinbold “for her continued refusal to comply with employee instruction regarding the current mask policy,” the airline said in a statement to The Washington Post.

That’s a serious problem for the lawmaker, because Alaska Airlines operates the only regular flights to the state capital from her home in the Anchorage area, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Reinbold scrambled on Sunday to get to Juneau via an arduous 14-plus-hour car ride, including a jaunt through Canada, to reach a ferry to the capital.


... Reinbold also lashed out at the airline, claiming that her latest fight over mask rules was caused by “uptight employees at the counter” and arguing that Alaska Airlines was wrong to publicly confirm that she had been banned.

“Alaska Airlines sent information, including my name, to the media without my knowledge nor permission. I do believe constitutional rights are at risk under corporate covid policies,” she wrote on Facebook.

The state senator is the latest Republican to push back against corporate and government policies mandating mask use, even as health officials have urged Americans to continue adhering to the rules as more contagious variants have continued fueling the coronavirus pandemic.

Reinbold, who represents Eagle River, a district north of Anchorage, served in the Alaska House from 2013 until 2019, when she won a Senate seat. As the pandemic took hold in Alaska and much of the United States, she emerged as one of the loudest voices in Juneau against restrictions.

As chairwoman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, she used hearings to take direct aim at Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s pandemic rules, regularly calling witnesses to dismiss the effectiveness of masks and other policies. She also refused to wear a face mask in the Capitol, instead donning a clear shield over her mouth.

She’s faced consequences for her stance, even from her Republican colleagues. In February, Dunleavy said his administration would no longer participate in any hearings she chaired, accusing her of using her position to “misrepresent” covid-19 policies.

“I will not continue to subject the public resources of the State of Alaska to the mockery of a charade, disguised as public purpose,” Dunleavy wrote in a letter.

Last month, she was banned from most of the Capitol for refusing to follow mask rules.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/04/26/alaska-lawmaker-blasted-airline-mask-tyranny-now-shes-banned-only-flights-capital/

WV Gov. Justice announces $100 savings bonds for 16-35 year-olds who get COVID vaccines, 162 deaths misreported
After saying Friday that the state had “hit a wall” when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced a plan Monday to encourage the state’s younger residents to get their shots.

The plan calls for $100 savings bonds to be given to anyone in the 16-35 age bracket, using CARES Act funds. This applies to anyone in that age group who has already gotten a shot and anyone who gets one moving forward, Justice said.


Using a whiteboard, the governor went through the math he is using to drive his though process.

Of an eligible population of 1,470,000, 52%(764,400) have been vaccinated so far, Justice said.

There are 380,000 16-25 year-olds in the state, the governor continued and he is hoping that 275,000 will get vaccinated, which would mean more than 70% of the state’s total population have gotten shots.

If that percentage does not improve dramatically, Justice will be reading the names of dead and will have to continue the state’s mask mandate, he warned.
Read the full article: https://www.wboy.com/news/health/coronavirus/watch-live-wv-gov-justice-schedules-covid-19-briefing-for-1-p-m-monday/

Have You Satisfied Your Covid Compliance Officer?
They’re at the Oscars, on film sets, at festivals and office buildings. Meet the new gatekeepers to gathering responsibly.

Part cop, part coach, C.C.O.s have become essential overseers in America’s tentative return to prepandemic life. “We’re at a tipping point,” said Dr. Blythe Adamson, an infectious disease epidemiologist and economist. “People are going out more, they have pandemic fatigue. They’re vaccinated, but people are still getting Covid with these new strains. It makes the compliance officer role extremely important.”

“It’s the difference between a hammer and a scalpel,” said Dr. Adamson, who has been consulting with companies and organizations to help create reopening protocols for live events. “Covid compliance last April was just ‘stay home.’ Now, a year later, we’ve figured out a way to do more things but there are more nuances to how to do them safely. It’s much harder to be the C.C.O. with the scalpel. Things can be really risky if we don’t have all the right layers added up.”


“Everyone I’m talking to is saying, ‘The wave is coming, as soon as we can work out these kinks we’re back,’” said Grace Richardson, an on-set compliance coordinator who is also on the Covid team for NY Pops Up, a performance festival. “Film and TV has paved the way for all of this to happen, L.A. tried it first over the summer, then New York in the fall, I think their production protocols will set the blueprint for every other event.”

... The budget for Covid compliance on sets is high: 25 to 30 percent of the total, according to Dr. Dahl and others. Dr. Dahl said she now makes in a week what she used to make in a day in private practice. She oversees a team of 18, mostly coming from the theater world, but has worked with C.C.O.s with backgrounds as varied as the U.S. Army and insurance.

Of course, what constitutes Covid compliance can change on a weekly, even daily, basis with C.D.C. guidelines ever evolving. “It’s a roller coaster,” said Alexandra Williams, the director of event services for the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. “Things are happening so fast right now.”

Ms. Williams noted the boom of compliance and Covid safety related companies marketing everything from testing to sanitation to industrial thermometers. “Everyone is trying to sell you something that will keep your work space safe, it’s hard to know what to do. How do we know in three months this will be obsolete?” She has been pitched Covid sniffing dogs and six-figure thermal scanners. “There are already so many logistical pawns in producing events and now that is double.” As she spoke to a reporter, she was staring at a registration grid for The Greek Theater’s first large event, an E-gaming conference “It’s not for the faint of heart.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/24/style/covid-compliance-officers-parties-film-sets.html

Surging virus variants push the Philippines over a million total cases.
The Philippines surpassed the one million mark on Monday in the total number of coronavirus cases it has reported, as the country struggles with newer, deadlier forms of the virus.

Average daily case reports in the country are not high by international standards, at about 8 per 100,000 population, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University; the U.S. rate is about 18, and much of Europe is in the 30s and 40s or worse. But the Philippines reported very few cases last year, and did not see a significant surge until recently.

In response, Manila and four other suburbs went into lockdown earlier this month. President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to speak about quarantine measures on Wednesday.

Harry Roque, spokesman for President Duterte, said new variants and not the government’s pandemic policies were to blame for the surge. He noted that the Philippines was far down in the global rankings for the total number of cases.

“This just proves that for the rest of the world, the rise in the number of cases is really a problem because of these new variants,” Mr. Roque said.


Richard Gordon, a senator who is also the head of the Philippine Red Cross, said that the agency was urgently setting up field hospitals, quarantine hospitals and scaling up testing as the government grappled with the situation.

He added that the organization had also converted unused classrooms and buildings into quarantine facilities for people who have contracted Covid-19 but had mild symptoms.

“Urgent extra medical care is a matter of life and death as this pandemic sets alarming new records,” he said. “Our volunteers are working day and night.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/world/surging-virus-variants-push-the-philippines-over-a-million-total-cases.html

Even after being fully vaccinated, many still wrestle with a fear of catching Covid
“I don’t want to be sitting in a movie theater with ‘patient zero’ of a variant that bucks the vaccine.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Kit Breshears has been terrified of catching the coronavirus. Getting vaccinated did not magically change that.

For the past 13 months, Breshears, 44, of Buffalo, Minnesota, has not stepped foot inside a store or restaurant, not even to pick up a takeout meal. Any visits with family and friends have been over Zoom.

When he received his second Covid-19 shot earlier this month, he felt relief, he said — but with the pandemic still ongoing, he has found it impossible to turn off his anxiety.

“My fear is that enough people are not going to get vaccinated, or they’re not going to get vaccinated in a timely fashion, and we end up getting a horrible variant that puts us right back to where we are,” Breshears, a communications director at a local university, said. “I don’t want to be sitting in a movie theater with ‘patient zero’ of a variant that bucks the vaccine.”


With more than 93 million people, or more than a quarter of America, fully vaccinated, two camps have emerged: those making up for lost time in the form of house parties, happy hours and travel, and those who cannot shake the fear that they may still get the coronavirus.

Breshears is far from the only one in the latter category. A survey released last month by the American Psychological Association found that 48 percent of adults who have been vaccinated said they felt “uneasy” about returning to in-person interactions once the pandemic is over.

For the time being, some timidness is a good thing, public health experts say.

“We’re still involved in the disease containment phase of the pandemic,” said Tener Goodwin Veenema, a professor and visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Fully vaccinated individuals should feel confident in the protection they have received, she said, but should still wear their masks in public and avoid big groups of unmasked people.

Nonetheless, for healthy, fully vaccinated people, the fear of catching Covid-19 should not be paralyzing, said Vaile Wright, a clinical psychologist and the senior director of health care innovation at the American Psychological Association.

“With previous pandemics, like SARS and Ebola, we have seen agoraphobia,” she said, referring to the anxiety disorder in which people fear certain situations so much that they may not leave their homes. “At the end of the day, if you’re really, really struggling, then it’s time to seek out some professional help.”

... “No vaccine is 100 percent effective. These vaccines are no exception to that,” said Dr. Adam Ratner, director of pediatric infectious diseases at NYU Langone Health. “For a lot of people, the protection they get may be that it’s protecting them against needing to go to the hospital, or severe disease, or death, even if they do end up getting a Covid infection.”

Among the breakthrough cases, only 7 percent required hospitalization, the CDC said, and 74 people died. The deaths represent less than 0.0001 percent of all fully vaccinated people.

Compared to a flu vaccine, which may only be about 40 percent effective depending on the year, those numbers are encouraging, Ratner said.
Read the full article: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/even-after-being-fully-vaccinated-many-still-wrestle-fear-catching-n1265086

Vaccinated U.S. Travelers Will Be Allowed To Visit Europe Again Starting This Summer
American tourists who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit the European Union this summer, according to officials in Brussels.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, says she expects all 27 EU member states will accept travelers who've received COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. That would include the three vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States — Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech.

"This will enable free movement and travel to the European Union," von der Leyen said Sunday in an interview with the New York Times, which first reported the story.

It is not yet clear when the EU will open up — von der Leyen did not provide a specific timeline, and individual EU member states are permitted to enforce stricter rules than the bloc as a whole. It is also unclear how countries will determine if travelers have been fully vaccinated, but nations and air carriers in Europe have been discussing the use of vaccine passports or vaccine certificates for months.

The International Air Transport Association — a trade association that accounts for 82% of total air traffic — is developing an app that will allow passengers to share tests and vaccination results with governments. The software is designed to help reopen borders without quarantine and revive the global airline industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic.

Even as the EU is sending positive signals to American travelers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning them not to travel to much of Europe, at least not yet. The CDC website warns Americans not to go Greece, Italy, Spain or even the United Kingdom, where more than half of the population has already received a first vaccine dose and outdoor beer gardens have reopened along with non-essential shops.

American tourists are a huge part of the European summer travel market and were sorely missed by businesses last year. For instance, in 2019, more than five million Americans visited Italy alone.

... The U.S. and the U.K. have among the highest vaccination rates of large countries in the world and will be among the prime beneficiaries as travel begins to reopen. While that's good news for affluent travelers from those nations, the reopening will also serve to emphasize how the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/04/26/990818111/vaccinated-u-s-travelers-will-be-allowed-to-visit-europe-again-starting-this-sum

How A U.K. Imam Countered Vaccine Hesitancy And Helped Thousands Get The 'Jab'
Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, the imam at the Al-Abbas mosque, recognized a significant percentage of his congregants were hesitant to get the "jab," as it's called. So in December, he began to fight disinformation during his online Friday sermons — and, despite some misgivings in his congregation, even turned the mosque into a vaccination center.

It was the first of its kind in Britain and paved the way for dozens more.

Hundreds of thousands of U.K. citizens of South Asian descent and Black Britons have changed their minds, according to national surveys. Dr. Parth Patel, a physician and research fellow at University College London, believes local leadership like Mohammed's has played a significant role in convincing more people to take vaccines.

... Hundreds of the mosque's congregants have received doses, and the mosque has delivered more than 15,000 doses to people in the area. A side benefit of the effort is that people in the community have gotten to know the mosque in a way they never would have otherwise.

... Britain's experience over the last few months has provided valuable lessons about fighting disinformation surrounding vaccines: There is perhaps nothing more powerful than seeing the experience of a trusted leader or friend — and public opinion can change very fast.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/26/988165812/how-a-u-k-imam-countered-vaccine-hesitancy-and-helped-thousands-get-the-jab

White House Will Share AstraZeneca Doses with Other Nations

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said on Monday that the United States would begin sharing its supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine with the world after it passed federal safety reviews.

The administration is looking at options to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses during the next few months. Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the United States has already authorized and available in large quantities, and that is available in large quantities, including two two-dose vaccines and one one-dose vaccine, and given AstraZeneca is not authorized for use in the United States, we do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against Covid over the next few months. Before any AstraZeneca doses are shipped from the United States, the F.D.A. will confirm any such doses meet its expectations for product quality. This is being done in the context of the F.D.A.‘s ongoing review of all doses made at the plant where these AstraZeneca doses were produced. Just to be clear, we have right now we have zero doses available of AstraZeneca. We’re talking about what the F.D.A. — the F.D.A. needs to go through a review, right, to ensure the safety, and it’s meeting our own bar and our own guidelines. And we expect there to be approximately 10 million doses that could be released if, when the F.D.A., if or when the F.D.A. gives its concurrence, which could happen in the coming weeks. So this is not immediate. And there is an estimated additional 50 million doses that are in various stages of production. These could be completed in stages across May and June.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000007731414/white-house-astrazeneca.html

Brazil’s health authority rejected importing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
Brazil’s health authority, Anvisa, said late on Monday that it would not recommend importing Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia.

Brazil’s need for vaccines is urgent: it has been battered by one of the world’s worst outbreaks, driven by the highly contagious P.1 virus variant.

But Anvisa said that important safety tests had not been performed on Sputnik V, and that questions remained about the vaccine’s development, safety and manufacturing.


Data about the vaccine’s efficacy were “uncertain,” Gustavo Mendes Lima Santos, Anvisa’s manager of medicine and biological products, said in a lengthy presentation explaining the health authority’s decision. The presentation said that there were “crucial questions” that had gone unanswered, including concerns about potential adverse events, such as clotting.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/world/covid-vaccine-brazil-russia-sputnik.html

Florida Private School Bars Vaccinated Teachers From Student Contact
A private school in the fashionable Design District of Miami sent its faculty and staff a letter last week about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. But unlike institutions that have encouraged and even facilitated vaccination for teachers, the school, Centner Academy, did the opposite: One of its co-founders, Leila Centner, informed employees “with a very heavy heart” that if they chose to get a shot, they would have to stay away from students.

In an example of how misinformation threatens the nation’s effort to vaccinate enough Americans to get the coronavirus under control, Ms. Centner, who has frequently shared anti-vaccine posts on Facebook, claimed in the letter that “reports have surfaced recently of non-vaccinated people being negatively impacted by interacting with people who have been vaccinated.”

“Even among our own population, we have at least three women with menstrual cycles impacted after having spent time with a vaccinated person,” she wrote, repeating a false claim that vaccinated people can somehow pass the vaccine to others and thereby affect their reproductive systems. (They can do neither.)


In the letter, Ms. Centner gave employees three options:
  • Inform the school if they had already been vaccinated, so they could be kept physically distanced from students;
  • Let the school know if they get the vaccine before the end of the school year, “as we cannot allow recently vaccinated people to be near our students until more information is known”;
  • Wait until the school year is over to get vaccinated.
Teachers who get the vaccine over the summer will not be allowed to return, the letter said, until clinical trials on the vaccine are completed, and then only “if a position is still available at that time” — effectively making teachers’ employment contingent on avoiding the vaccine.

Ms. Centner required the faculty and staff to fill out a “confidential” form revealing whether they had received a vaccine — and if so, which one and how many doses — or planned to get vaccinated. The form requires employees to “acknowledge the School will take legal measures needed to protect the students if it is determined that I have not answered these questions accurately.”

... The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and many other authorities have concluded that the coronavirus vaccines now in emergency use in the United States are safe and effective.

... Ms. Centner founded the school with her husband, David Centner, a technology and electronic highway tolling entrepreneur. Each has donated heavily to the Republican Party and the Trump re-election campaign, while giving much smaller sums to local Democrats.

In February, the Centners welcomed a special guest to speak to students: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the prominent antivaccine activist. (Mr. Kennedy was suspended from Instagram a few days later for promoting Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.) This month, the school hosted a Zoom talk with Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a New York pediatrician frequently cited by anti-vaccination activists.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/us/florida-centner-academy-vaccine.html

Tucker Carlson called mask-wearing 'repulsive' and said parents forcing their children to wear masks in public should be reported for 'child abuse'
  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson called the sight of kids wearing masks "repulsive" and a form of "child abuse."
  • He advocated for people to call the police or Child Protective Services if they see children wearing masks on his Monday night show.
  • Carlson called mask-wearers liberal "zealots" and "neurotics" and goaded viewers into mocking them.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson raged against the idea of wearing face masks on Monday night, telling his viewers to openly mock those they see wearing masks outside.

"Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact Child Protective Services. Keep calling until someone arrives," Carlson said.

"What you're looking at is abuse, it's child abuse, and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it."


He also called the sight of a child wearing masks "repulsive," and a form of child abuse, referencing statements made by general practitioner Mary Harrow, who told a Colorado education board on Monday that face masks can "cause low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels" and "create fear, anxiety, and headaches."

The idea that masks can lower oxygen levels has been debunked.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are still encouraged to wear masks in public settings, at events, gatherings, and anywhere that they will be around other people, as a mask is known to slow the spread of COVID-19.

... But the Fox News host appeared to take issue with the concept of mask-wearing in general, calling masks a sign of political obedience, like "Kim Il-Sung pins in Pyongyang."

Carlson also said that liberals who wore masks were "zealots" and "neurotics," saying that mask-wearing was indicative of an "actual mental health condition."

"So the next time you see someone in a mask on the sidewalk or on the bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely but firmly, 'Would you please take off your mask? Science shows there is no reason for you to be wearing it. Your mask is making me uncomfortable," Carlson suggested.


"We should do that and we should keep doing it until wearing a mask outside is roughly as socially accepted as lighting a Marlboro on an elevator," he said.
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/tucker-carlson-parents-forcing-children-wear-masks-reported-child-abuse-2021-4

Trump's advisors are urging him to do a PSA to convince loyalists to get the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Trump's advisors are trying to convince him to make a PSA urging his followers to get vaccinated.
  • Trump has been vaccinated but did not appear in a PSA last month with other former presidents.
  • His close advisors fear vaccine hesitancy among his Republican supporters could hurt his legacy.
CNN reported that two former senior Trump administration officials, who were unnamed, said that Trump's hesitancy to help push vaccine rollout could hurt his legacy.

"Vaccines are widely regarded as one of Trump's greatest accomplishments, and Trump understands that this legacy is at risk because half of his supporters are not taking the vaccine," one of the officials said to CNN.

"It's just not clear yet if he understands that he's the only one who can fix this."

CNN said the officials were attempting to convince Trump to film a vaccine ad, particularly after recent polls showed that around half of Trump's Republican base were unwilling to take the vaccine.

... A second official told CNN that he thought people were still hesitant about the vaccine and that they were unwilling to take it unless they heard from Trump that they should.

"In Trump country, if you want to call it that, there are still significant numbers of people who aren't sure COVID is a real thing, despite folks getting sick, and there are lots of suspicions about the vaccine," he said.

CNN reported that Trump administration officials revealed that they did not want to see his efforts to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine, an undertaking called "Operation Warp Speed," undermined by vaccine hesitancy.

"I see Operation Warp Speed tipping towards failure, and it really concerns me," one of the officials said. "If we don't move half those people into the vaccinated column, we're most likely not going to reach community immunity, and if we don't reach it, then the president's vaccine legacy is dead."

... Trump has himself been vaccinated but did not post any pictures of himself doing so.
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-advisers-urge-covid-vaccine-psa-denial-coronavirus-2021-4

Boris Johnson witnesses say they will swear on oath he said he'd 'let the bodies pile high in their thousands'
  • Boris Johnson's colleagues are prepared to swear on oath he said he'd "let the bodies pile high," rather than lockdown, ITV reported.
  • Johnson has categorically denied making the comments.
  • However, multiple news organisations have spoken to current and former colleagues who say they heard him.
Multiple sources who heard Boris Johnson saying he would rather "let the bodies pile high" than allow a third coronavirus lockdown say they are willing to testify under oath that he made the comments, ITV News reported.

The Daily Mail on Monday reported that Johnson shouted that he would "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" than permit a third lockdown, at a meeting last October.

Johnson has denied making the comments but ITV News, BBC News, The Guardian and Politico have all spoken to multiple sources who say they heard Johnson making the comments in his office.

Robert Peston, ITV's political editor, on Tuesday said: "I was told by two sources is that the prime minister said this at the end of October in his study.

"He was furious because he felt he'd been railroaded into this second lockdown that happened in November. The Daily Mail initially reported he was so furious he'd rather see bodies piling up than a third lockdown.

"He was in his study and was shouting. I've got two ear-witnesses to all this and there's a third ... Both of my witnesses say that if asked under oath they would confirm the reports that ITV has put out and indeed the Mail have put out."

The news raises the prospects of senior current and former aides potentially testifying against the prime minister in the forthcoming inquiry into the UK government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

It comes as Boris Johnson comes under growing pressure on multiple fronts as he attempts to deflect several political scandals which threaten to engulf his premiership.

The British press and his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, have made several serious allegations about his personal conduct in the last year.

Those include questions about whether Johnson improperly sought political donations to pay for a refurbishment of his flat and whether he sought to delay a leak inquiry that implicated a close friend of his fiancee.

Sources told the Guardian that Johnson was increasingly "isolated" and "uncontrollable" in Downing Street as the allegations continue to swirl around him.
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-let-bodies-pile-high-witnesses-swear-on-oath-2021-4

Can You Have Alcohol After the Covid Vaccine?
After a long year and a lot of anticipation, getting the Covid-19 vaccine can be cause for celebration, which for some might mean pouring a drink and toasting to their new immunity. But can alcohol interfere with your immune response?

The short answer is that it depends on how much you drink.

There is no evidence that having a drink or two can render any of the current Covid vaccines less effective. Some studies have even found that over the longer term, small or moderate amounts of alcohol might actually benefit the immune system by reducing inflammation.

Heavy alcohol consumption, on the other hand, particularly over the long term, can suppress the immune system and potentially interfere with your vaccine response, experts say. Since it can take weeks after a Covid shot for the body to generate protective levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus, anything that interferes with the immune response would be cause for concern.


“If you are truly a moderate drinker, then there’s no risk of having a drink around the time of your vaccine,” said Ilhem Messaoudi, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine, who has conducted research on the effects of alcohol on the immune response. “But be very cognizant of what moderate drinking really means. It’s dangerous to drink large amounts of alcohol because the effects on all biological systems, including the immune system, are pretty severe and they occur pretty quickly after you get out of that moderate zone.”

Moderate drinking is generally defined as no more than two drinks a day for men and a maximum of one drink a day for women, whereas heavy drinking is defined as four or more drinks on any day for men and three or more drinks for women. Keep in mind that one “standard” drink is considered five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of beer.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/well/eat/alcohol-covid-vaccine.html

You Don't Have To Suffer To Benefit From COVID Vaccination — But Some Prefer It
If you think vaccination is an ordeal now, consider the 18th-century version. After having pus from a smallpox boil scratched into your arm, you would be subject to three weeks of fever, sweats, chills, bleeding and purging with dangerous medicines, accompanied by hymns, prayers and hell-fire sermons by dour preachers.

That was smallpox vaccination, back then. The process generally worked and was preferred to enduring "natural" smallpox, which killed around a third of those who got it. Patients were often grateful for trial-by-immunization — once it was over, anyway.

"Thus through the Mercy of God, I have been preserved through the Distemper of the Small Pox," wrote one Peter Thatcher in 1764, after undergoing the process in a Boston inoculation hospital. "Many and heinous have been my sins, but I hope they will be washed away."

Today, Americans are once again surprisingly willing, even eager, to suffer a little for the reward of immunity from a virus that has turned the world upside down.

Roughly half of those vaccinated with the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, and in particular women, experience unpleasantness, from hot, sore arms to chills, headache, fever and exhaustion. Sometimes they boast about the symptoms. They often welcome them.

... While the symptoms show your immune system is responding to the vaccine in a way that will protect against disease, evidence from clinical trials showed that people with few or no symptoms were also protected. Don't feel bad if you don't feel bad, the experts say.

... The immune system responses that produce post-vaccination symptoms are thought to be triggered by proteins called toll-like receptors, which reside on certain immune cells. These receptors are less functional in older people, who are also likely to have chronic, low-grade activation of their immune systems that paradoxically mutes the more rapid response to a vaccine.

But other parts of their immune systems are responding more gradually to the vaccine by creating the specific types of cells needed to protect against the coronavirus. These are the so-called memory B cells, which make antibodies to attack the virus, and "killer T cells" that track and destroy virus-infected cells.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/04/27/990992425/you-dont-have-to-suffer-to-benefit-from-covid-vaccination-but-some-prefer-it

Thailand’s prime minister is fined for not wearing a mask.
With Thailand struggling to bring its worst coronavirus outbreak under control, Bangkok made it compulsory for residents to wear masks in public beginning on Monday. One of the first to break the new rule?

The country’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was seen maskless at a government meeting in a photo published on his official Facebook page.

As a first-time offender, he agreed to pay a fine of about $190. Bangkok’s governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, came around with top police officials on Monday to help collect it.


... For Mr. Prayuth, the gaffe is the least of his pandemic problems. His government has struggled to curb transmissions and slow to obtain vaccines. As infections ticked upward earlier this month, he decided to let Thais continue to travel widely during a major holiday.

“Whatever will be will be,” he said then. “The government will have to try to cope with that later.”

Now, his government is scrambling to procure vaccines from a stretched global supply and rushing to set up field hospitals at sports stadiums and other locations as many hospitals report being near capacity. Only 0.3 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.

... Nearly two-thirds of Thailand’s provinces have imposed fines for failing to wear a mask in public. The maximum penalty is about $635.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/world/thailand-prime-minister-mask.html

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