COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Joe Rogan's lame medical advice
While it's true that most young Americans will survive a Covid-19 illness, the group is not without risk. Since the pandemic began more than a year ago, 2,374 people under the age of 30 have died because of coronavirus infection, a toll greater than the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Covid-19 doesn't have to kill you to wreck your life. A recent study of "long-haulers" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than 10% of health care workers recovering from relatively mild Covid-19 infections were still experiencing significant symptoms, such as loss of taste or smell, fatigue and breathing problems, eight months later.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to vaccinate young people is that according to a study from the Imperial College London, Americans between 20 and 49 years old were responsible for around 70% of the spread of Covid-19 last year. Studies from Israel have shown that vaccination is highly effective at preventing not just illness, but also asymptomatic spread.

While large numbers of older people are effectively immune from infection, the reservoir for this virus in the United States is young, unvaccinated Americans. Vaccinating the young will drain that reservoir.

Joe Rogan has a loud and influential voice, and the ear of millions of young Americans. As we try to put an end to the pandemic, he can be an important part of the solution. Words matter. I hope the next time Rogan weighs in on science he considers his own more carefully.
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Most U.S. companies will require proof of Covid vaccination from employees, survey finds
  • A broad majority of U.S. employers, 65%, plan to offer employees incentives to get vaccinated and 63% will require proof of vaccination, according to an ASU/Rockefeller Foundation survey.
  • Overall, 44% will require all employees to get vaccinated, 31% will just encourage vaccinations and 14% will require some employees to get vaccinated.
When it comes to consequences for failing to comply with company vaccination policy, 42% of businesses said the employee will not be allowed to return to the physical work environment, and 35% said disciplinary actions are on the table, up to and including possible termination.

... Testing still remains critical to employers with 70% of respondents currently conducting Covid tests that are mostly mandatory.

In terms of employee well-being, the corporate respondents said burnout increased 54% and mental health concerns overall increased 59%. However, morale and productivity also both when up by nearly 50%.

Looking forward, 66% of employers are planning to allow employees to work from home full-time through 2021, and 73% intend to offer flexible work arrangements when the pandemic is over. However, 73% of businesses want employees to work from the office at least 20 hours a week.

... Employees are mainly concerned about their personal health, risk of infection and safety of the workplace, according to the survey. Thirty-eight percent of employees want to return eventually but not immediately and about one quarter said they are reluctant to return at all, according to the businesses that responded to the survey.

“The pandemic has changed the traditional office environment in many ways, possibly forever, yet a majority of employers are indicating they see real value in employees continuing to interact face-to-face,” Nathaniel L. Wade, a co-author of the study who is also affiliated with ASU’s College of Health Solutions. “We really wanted to make sure we’re giving public information to help people make good decisions.”

Most employees, about 51%, would prefer to wait until the government or health agencies allow them to return to work, and about 47% said they would return to in-person work when the entire workforce is vaccinated.

“Employers have been relatively quiet in the pandemic, we’re now entering the next phase where employers are creating their own policies so that employees can go safely and sustainably back to the workplace,” Aspinall said. “People want to get back to normal, but they want to do it in a safe way.”
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100 Million People in the U.S. Are Fully Vaccinated, White House Says

Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said on Friday that 100 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, a number representing nearly 40 percent of adults.

Today, 100 million Americans are fully vaccinated, nearly double the 55 million who were fully vaccinated at the end of March. That’s 100 million, nearly 40 percent of all adult Americans who are now fully vaccinated with protection from Covid-19, two weeks after getting their last shot. That’s 100 million Americans with a sense of relief and peace of mind, knowing that after a long and hard year, they’re protected from the virus. Knowing their decision to get vaccinated protects not just themselves, but also protects their families, their friends and their communities. A hundred million Americans who can follow the new C.D.C. guidance released this week, and enjoy going to the park with their family, dining and socializing with their friends outside and many more outdoor activities without needing to wear a mask.
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Flush With Cash, Americans Are Buying Everything From iPhones To Teslas
From iPads to dresses, Americans flush with cash are stepping up their spending, helping turbo-charge the U.S. economy.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that personal income jumped 21.1% in March — the largest increase on record as the government sent out $1,400 relief payments as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue effort.

Personal spending also jumped by 4.2%. The stimulus checks arrived at a time of rising hope as coronavirus vaccines continue to roll out.

And spending is also increasing from wealthier Americans, even as many continued to squirrel money away towards their savings.

"There was a very quick money burning a hole in their pocket among lower-income groups. But now we're seeing higher-income groups also spending," said Jonathan Silver, CEO of Affinity Solutions, which tracks credit card spending. "People were just saying, 'Hey, we're about to go outside. We see a sort of sense of normalcy, so I need to refresh my wardrobe."

For now, spending continues to be focused on physical objects.

... Throughout the pandemic, consumption has been unusually tilted towards goods — many of which can be delivered — while in-person services such as travel and entertainment have suffered.

But forecasters expect that balance to shift in the months to come, as more people get vaccinated and feel more comfortable getting on airplanes or going to concerts or ballgames.

... Still, not everybody spent all of their additional income last month. Much of the money was socked away, with the data on Friday showing the personal savings rate nearly doubled to 27.6%.

Those savings, along with other cash that Americans have stockpiled during the past year while not eating out or vacationing, could end up financing many more months of robust spending.

That suggests the rapid economic growth the U.S. enjoyed during the first three months of the year will continue, even in the absence of additional relief payments.
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Need A COVID-19 Vaccine? Biden Admin Launches GETVAX Textline And Other Search Tools
The Biden administration launched a website and text line on Friday to help people find COVID-19 vaccines near where they live. A national 1-800 hotline in dozens of languages will also soon be announced, according to a senior official from the Department of Health and Human Services. previously offered general guidance about vaccines, such as explainers on how they work and why they're important. Now, it features a tool that allows people to input their zip code and see which pharmacies and other providers have COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock. ... Also launched Friday were two textlines. If you text your zipcode to GETVAX (for English) or VACUNA (for Spanish) you will get a message back with three possible vaccination sites, with phone numbers to call for an appointment.

The plan is to do outreach about these new tools in different hard-to-reach populations, a senior HHS official wrote in a statement to NPR. "For example, we'll advertise the 1-800 number in rural areas that may have less access to broadband, and target digital ads toward younger people with information on the text message tool."

... is part of the Biden administration's effort to offer more assertive federal leadership over the COVID-19 public health response. In particular, it fulfills a promise President Biden made in remarks on March 11, when he said his administration would launch new tools "to make it easier for you to find the vaccine and where to get the shot, including a new website that will help you first find the place to get vaccinated and the one nearest you."
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COVID 'Doesn't Discriminate By Age': Serious Cases On The Rise In Younger Adults
After spending much of the past year tending to elderly patients, doctors are seeing a clear demographic shift: young and middle-aged adults make up a growing share of the patients in COVID-19 hospital wards.

It's both a sign of the country's success in protecting the elderly through vaccination and an urgent reminder that younger generations will pay a heavy price if the outbreak is allowed to simmer in many communities around the country.

"We're now seeing people in their 30s, 40s and 50s — young people who are really sick," says Dr. Vishnu Chundi, an infectious disease physician and chair of the Chicago Medical Society's COVID-19 task force. "Most of them make it, but some do not. ... I just lost a 32-year-old with two children, so it's heartbreaking."

Nationally, adults under 50 now account for the most hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the country — about 35% of all hospital admissions. Those age 50 to 64 account for the second-highest number of hospitalizations, or about 31%. Meanwhile, hospitalizations among adults over 65 have fallen significantly.

More than 30% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated, but the vast majority are people older than 65 – a group that was prioritized in the initial phase of the vaccine rollout.

... The emergence of more dangerous strains of the virus in the U.S. — the B.1.1.7, as well as other variants first discovered in South Africa and Brazil — has made the vaccination effort all the more urgent. "We are in a whole different ballgame," says Judith Malmgren, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington.

Rising infections among young adults create a "reservoir of disease" that eventually "spills over into the rest of society" — one that has yet to reach herd immunity — and portends a broader surge in cases, she says.

Fortunately, the chance of dying from COVID-19 remains very small for people under the age of 50, but this age group can become seriously ill or suffer from long-term symptoms after the initial infection. People with underlying conditions such as obesity and heart disease are also more likely to become seriously ill.
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The CDC is warning states to remove COVID-19 vaccine-card templates as pro-Trump forums spread tips on how to forge the document
  • The CDC has told states to remove COVID-19 vaccine card templates to prevent forgery.
  • Anti-vaxxer and pro-Trump forums have spread instructions on how to create the cards.
  • The FBI has said forging the cards is illegal and it puts others in harm's way.
Pro-Trump forums, such as, have posted photos and links on how to create a false COVID-19 vaccination card.

NBC News added that other sites, such as 4chan and QAnon and gun forums, have given instructions on how to forge the document as well.

The FBI issued a public statement on March 30 warning people that creating a fake COVID-19 vaccination card is illegal.

"By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19," the bureau said in the statement.

The anti-vaccination movement has made the rollout of the COVID-19 immunization more difficult and potentially threatened to slow an end to the pandemic. Misinformation about the vaccine has been rampant, but social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have vowed to combat it by banning users or removing posts.
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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