COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
One year ago, Trump cemented his coronavirus legacy by promoting a novel treatment: Injecting disinfectant
“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it,” Trump said. “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too. It sounds interesting.”

Trump went on: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” — perhaps misunderstanding the “injection” that Bryan had been referring to. “Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”

It took very little time for this “can we inject disinfectant or light into a human body” theory to ripple outward. “Trump wants us to inject bleach” became something of a punchline (though technically it’s not exactly what he recommended). That shorthand, more than anything else, came to epitomize Trump’s response to the pandemic.

It’s important to remember why. This wasn’t Trump’s first attempt to downplay the pandemic or to suggest that there was some simple, quick solution to it. As cases mounted in February and early March, he repeatedly indicated that things were under control when they weren’t. It became apparent very early on that Trump was more concerned about the economic than the health impacts of the pandemic, almost certainly with an eye on his reelection bid in November.

... As the bleach news conference was underway, there was another cure-all Trump had just begun transitioning away from. Following the lead of various Fox News guests, Trump in late March began suggesting that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine would be effective at beating covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. For weeks, despite the lack of evidence supporting his position and mounting evidence undercutting it, Trump hyped the drug, prompting the government to stockpile piles of it on the off chance that it might be shown to be effective in trials.

On April 21, the National Institutes of Health released guidelines recommending against the use of the drug in combination with an antibacterial called azithromycin. The same day the Department of Veterans Affairs said a study of the use of the drugs showed no benefits.

Trump was asked at the April 23 “bleach” briefing why he stopped promoting hydroxychloroquine.

“We’ve had a lot of very good results and we had some results that perhaps aren’t so good,” Trump said. “I don’t know. I just read about one, but I also read many times good.”

This pattern of Trump jumping from one cure-all to the next didn’t stop after that. Through the election, he touted different things to suggest that the whole pandemic was no big deal and would soon go away.

... The government was always on the brink of some breakthrough in therapeutics that would mean that covid was cured quickly and easily. Right before the Republican convention, Trump pushed for approval of convalescent plasma as a treatment, another cure-all that apparently wasn’t. After he contracted the virus, he touted the “cure” that he had received: a monoclonal antibody treatment. With early voting underway, Trump assured America that this cure would soon be available broadly and for free. It wasn’t and it wasn’t.

By the time of the election, partisan lines on the pandemic had hardened. Trump supporters were blasΓ© about masks and the pandemic in general, following the president’s lead. Democrats and most independents, by contrast, saw little value in Trump’s medical advice, in the way that the villagers in town might be reticent to assume that the shepherd kid had actually seen a wolf.

... Since he left office, Trump has tried repeatedly to claim full credit for the vaccines. It’s consistent with his history of branding himself: Hammer on the positives over and over while downplaying the negatives. Polling shows that Trump’s endorsement (like the one he offered to the New York Post this week) can shift Republican skepticism on getting vaccinated. But with his voice reduced by leaving office and being banned from social media after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, many Republicans haven’t heard his endorsement. His ability to reshape the narrative to his benefit is hampered.

Friday’s anniversary of the “inject disinfectants” line is a reminder of why. Trump wanted something — anything — to emerge that would quickly resolve the pandemic and let him get back to touting the economy. He seized on any and everything, offering bad advice over and over, none worse than the advice of April 23, 2020. And for many Americans, that — not the administration’s encouragement of vaccine development — will remain a central part of his legacy on the coronavirus pandemic.
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Japan Declares 3rd State Of Emergency, 3 Months Ahead Of Olympics
Japan's central government has declared a third state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with new restrictions imposed in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. Local leaders requested the move as they face a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.

The declaration comes as Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Olympics, slated to begin in July, and just before Japan enters one of its biggest holiday seasons, Golden Week, in late April.

The emergency measures stop short of a full lockdown, but they impose limits on restaurants and other businesses. The strictest rules will apply to places that sell alcohol or offer karaoke – they'll be asked to close entirely, while many other establishments will close at 8 p.m. The new policies, which carry fines but largely rely on voluntary compliance, go into effect on Sunday and will run through at least May 11.

Nationwide, Japan is seeing spikes in new cases and hospitalizations, both of which are soaring toward the record heights that were seen at the start of 2021. Some 5,452 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Health officials attribute much of the new wave of cases to the rapid spread of new coronavirus variants that were first detected in the U.K. and other countries, Kyodo News reports.

... Overall, Japan has reported around 560,000 coronavirus cases and 9,800 COVID-19 deaths, according to the latest government data.
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Some mass vaccination sites in U.S. begin to close as some demand falls.
Some county health departments that a month ago couldn’t keep up with vaccine demand have now started closing some of their mass vaccination sites for lack of customers, and some counties are declining vaccine shipments.

Now that more than half of adults in the United States have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and the country has surpassed 200 million administered doses, demand for shots appears to be slowing in many areas.

White House and health officials are comparing the next phase of the vaccination campaign to a get-out-the-vote effort. Officials in many states are looking past mass vaccination sites and toward having patients get vaccinated by their own doctors, where people are most at ease — a shift that will require the Biden administration to ship vaccine in much smaller quantities.

The seven-day average of vaccinations has declined somewhat in recent days, to 2.95 million a day as of Thursday, from a high point of 3.38 million last week, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Vaccination Numbers Expected to Moderate, White House Says

Jeffery D. Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said that as more Americans get vaccinated, distribution focus would push toward ease of access and the ability for people to get vaccinated in doctors’ offices.
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C.D.C. Panel Recommends Lifting J.&J. Vaccine Pause

A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended restarting Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccinations, saying that the benefits outweighed the minuscule risk of blood clotting.

So the vote is 10 in favor, four opposed, and one abstention. The motion carries. The Janssen Covid vaccine is recommended for persons 18 years of age and older in the U.S. population under the F.D.A.’s emergency use authorization. Thank you all very much. Our preliminary considerations would be supportive of reaffirming the recommendation for use of this vaccine. It’s well recognized that persons in the Black and brown community have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. So the benefit of a vaccine that is effective, far outweighs the risk, and especially in hard-to-reach vulnerable populations.
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Iowa Prison Inmates Sickened by Covid Vaccine Overdoses
Dozens of inmates at an Iowa prison were sickened this week after the prison’s nurses inadvertently administered overdoses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, an error medical experts fear could erode trust among a population already wary of vaccinations.

At least 77 inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison received shots on Tuesday that contained six times the recommended dosage. The Iowa Department of Corrections said that it had temporarily halted administration of the vaccine at the facility and that two nurses had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Cord Overton, a prison spokesman, said that none of the inmates had been hospitalized, but that they were suffering from ailments consistent with people who have had adverse reactions to the vaccine, including body aches and low-grade fever.

While prison inmates in most states have begun to receive vaccinations, the hesitancy rate among both incarcerated people and prison guards is a concern for public health officials. In Pennsylvania, for example, as many as 75 percent of correctional staff and 45 percent of inmates have not yet been inoculated, despite the availability of the vaccine.
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India Faces Record-Breaking Virus Surge

India set a global record for new daily coronavirus infections on Friday, beating the previous record from the day before, while oxygen supplies dwindled.

The situation right now here is really, really worst, critical and out of control. The staff is really cooperative, but due to the overcrowding, all through the main hall of the walk-in casualty, it is difficult to provide equal treatment to all the patients. That’s why there is a highly casualty rate inside, and there’s a very negative environment inside. The situation in India is a devastating reminder of what this virus can do and why we must marshal every tool against it in a comprehensive and integrated approach. This is a scenario that’s playing out around the world and will continue to play out unless we ensure equitable access to the tools needed to save lives. The solution is straightforward. We need countries and companies that control the resources that could save lives to share.
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Republican Sen. Ron Johnson says there's 'no reason to be pushing vaccines on people' in interview with right-wing radio host
  • GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, one of the Senate's biggest science skeptics, promoted false and misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Johnson told a right-wing radio host that he sees "no reason to be pushing vaccines on people."
  • The senator is a close ally of former President Donald Trump, who recently urged him to run for another term.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has long embraced skepticism about science on issues from climate change to COVID-19. On Thursday, the Wisconsin conservative told a right-wing radio host that he sees "no reason to be pushing vaccines on people," Forbes first reported.

Johnson argued that COVID-19 vaccines should be "limited" to those particularly vulnerable to the virus and falsely argued that there's no reason everyone who's able to should get a vaccine. The senator said he's "getting highly suspicious" of the "big push to make sure everybody gets the vaccine."

"If you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?" he said.

Johnson has questioned or outright rejected scientific consensus about COVID-19 mitigation measures and invited a series of panelists to testify before the Senate last year who rejected mask-wearing, social distancing, and quarantining to fight the virus.

Notably, Republican men have expressed the highest rates of skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccines.
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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