COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns tied to lower crime in many cities globally, study finds
Robberies and thefts fell the most -- by 46% -- perhaps as people stayed at home instead of going to work. Homicides fell 14%, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

"Our findings show that the stay-at-home policies were associated with a substantial drop in urban crime," Amy Nivette, of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues around the world wrote.

"On average, the overall reduction in crime levels across all included cities was around 37%."

There were many differences among cities, the researchers found. "The cities represent a large variation of measures relating to stay-at-home restrictions. They range from mostly voluntary recommendations to avoid public space (for example, MalmΓΆ and Stockholm in Sweden) to a complete halt of all but the most essential activities, based on emergency legislation and enforced by substantial penalties for breaching the rules (for example, Lima in Peru)," they wrote.

"As most people stayed at home throughout the day, fewer houses were left unsupervised and residential burglary may have become much more difficult, while commercial buildings likely became less supervised and hence an easier target," they added. Also, fewer bar fights were reported, but the potential for domestic violence rose.

"The smaller decrease in homicide cases may be due to a number of factors. First, in many societies, a substantial proportion of homicides are committed in domestic contexts and are hence not affected by the reduction in the density of daily encounters in cities. Second, a varying proportion of homicide is associated with organized crime, conflicts between gangs or conflicts related to drug trafficking," the team wrote.

... The strictness of lockdown laws did not seem to directly correlate with changes in crime, the researchers found.

"The results show that more severe restrictions on school opening, working from home, public events, private gatherings and internal movement are not significantly related to the size of effects, with one exception: More stringent reductions or closures of public transportation are associated with more negative effect sizes for robbery and vehicle theft only," they wrote.
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A Republican Senate candidate burned a mask, because, um, freedom?
So, let's start by trying to suss out the message that Mandel is trying to send.

Masking -- the necessity of it, generally speaking -- was turned into a political issue by former President Donald Trump as the country battled the coronavirus pandemic over the past 16 months.

On the same day in the spring of 2020 that he announced the CDC guidance on mask-wearing, Trump was asked whether he would be wearing a mask. To which he responded: "I don't think I'm going to be doing it. Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens -- I just don't see it."

Trump spent the following year raising questions about the efficacy of masks despite clear guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that masks do indeed work to slow the spread of Covid-19.

In May 2020 on a trip to a Ford plant in Michigan, Trump said that he wore a mask away from reporters and cameras, but took it off because he "didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."

He also repeatedly mocked Joe Biden for wearing a mask during the teeth of the pandemic.

... Because of Trump's focus on masks, the issue became a political one rather than the public health issue it should have always been. Among Trump backers, wearing a mask became a sign of capitulation to the overbearing federal government while refusing to wear one was a sign that you loved freedom.

This was (and is) America, after all. The government can't tell you what to do! Every individual gets to make their own decisions!

This is (and was) a ridiculous line of thinking when it came to a pandemic. The only way to limit infections -- until the development of the Covid-19 vaccine -- was to stop so many people from getting it. And because many of the people who did become infected were asymptomatic, the best way to slow the spread was for everyone (sick or not) to wear a mask.

Not wearing a mask, then, wasn't just about you and your rights. It literally endangered other people.

... Anyway, the point here is that Mandel sees his path to the GOP nomination as painting himself as the Trumpiest candidate in the crowded field. And because Trumpism isn't about a set of policy prescriptions but rather focused on tone (owning the libs, mostly), the way to demonstrate fealty to the former President is through stunts like, say, burning a mask.

... Which, of course, makes no sense. Mask-wearing quite clearly saved American lives.

But that doesn't matter. Masks are bad because Trump said they were. Which is more than enough justification for Mandel.
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Migrants Are Forgotten in Italy’s Vaccine Drive, Doctors Say
A temporary ID number is supposed to give the undocumented some access to health care, but that’s not how it’s working for coronavirus vaccines.

While the Italian government has said that people have a right to get vaccinated no matter their legal status, in practice, many undocumented migrants and homeless people have been overlooked — a risk not only for them, doctors say, but for the whole country.

The official explanation in many cases is bureaucracy. Most Italian regions require a social security number to book an appointment on their online platforms, but only three of 20 regions in the country accept the temporary numbers given to hundreds of thousands of migrants.

And in a nation where immigration is a hot-button issue, some have also been asking whether Italians should remain the priority, at least until more shots are available.

“The system forgot about these people,” said Marco Mazzetti, a doctor and the president of the Italian Society of Migration Medicine, “but they are the most fragile.”

Italy was the first country in the West to be severely hit by the coronavirus. To date, more than 125,000 people there have died from the virus, and the vaccine rollout started at a sluggish pace, with a shortage of doses and strategic hiccups. It has picked up in recent weeks, with about half a million vaccines distributed every day. On Thursday, Italy broadened eligibility and removed age restrictions. Government officials said that the increase in supply will soon mean that migrants and asylum seekers will get a shot.

But so far, advocates say that little has happened.

Several doctors who work with migrants said they did not believe that the inaction was a result of intentional discrimination, but that it was more a symptom of continued inattention to marginalized people.

Expats living in Italy without a social security number, including diplomats and people working for international organizations, have also had problems booking a shot. But while the Italian postal service — which provides the most-used booking platform to Italian regions — began allowing those groups to sign up this week, it does not yet have a date for when it will let undocumented migrants do so.

Some politicians have also made the issue part of the immigration debate.
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Colleges Say Students Must Get a Covid Vaccine. But No, Not That One.
Vaccine requirements were designed mostly for American students. That is presenting hurdles for international students without access to one of the eight W.H.O.-approved vaccines.

Neither Covaxin nor the Sputnik V vaccine, which is manufactured in Russia, has been approved by the W.H.O. American students, however, have access to the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, three of the eight authorized by the health agency, according to a W.H.O. spokesman.

The disparity could hinder colleges that have made it a major priority to retain international students, who brought in close to $39 billion in tuition dollars in the year before the pandemic, according to one analysis.

“Universities want to enroll international students because they add diversity to the campus community — and they bring money,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education. “It’s why this has been a subject of intense discussion.”
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WHO says Vietnam coronavirus hybrid not considered a new variant ‘at this moment’
The World Health Organization’s top official in Vietnam said that the coronavirus mutation first detected in the Southeast Asian country does not meet the global health body’s definition of a new variant, though it is still very transmissible and dangerous.

Vietnam’s health minister said Saturday that through genetic sequencing, Hanoi had found a highly infectious new variant that combined characteristics of strains previously detected in Britain and India, now characterized by the WHO as the Alpha and Delta variants.

“The new variant is very dangerous,” Nguyen Thanh Long told reporters, adding that it was particularly contagious via air. Viral cultures revealed it replicates extremely quickly, as well.

But the WHO’s representative in Vietnam told Nikkei Asia in an interview published Thursday that “there is no new hybrid variant in Vietnam at this moment based on WHO definition.”

Instead, what Vietnamese officials found was a mutation of the Delta variant, Kidong Park told the magazine, referring to the B.1.617.2 strain.

“As for now, there is no alarming alert from WHO,” he said.
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5 Things We Learned From Anthony Fauci's Emails
For many Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci quickly became the face of trust and reason against the coronavirus pandemic. He was a reliable man of science while the Trump White House often played politics in its decision-making.

Fauci, the 80-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was seemingly everywhere as the pandemic emerged, appearing at White House coronavirus task force briefings and doing interviews with an enormous range of media outlets, answering questions basic and complex as the dangerous new virus wreaked havoc on the U.S. and the world.

Now a fresh window into Fauci's life and work has opened, as thousands of pages of Fauci's work emails from the early months of the pandemic have been released to BuzzFeed and The Washington Post via Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Americans wrote to Fauci with very specific questions about what to do. Fauci offered advice.
  • He pushed back on the suggestion that the Trump White House was muzzling him.
  • Fauci gets a ton of email — and he replies to a surprising amount of it.
  • He was uncomfortable with his sudden celebrity.
  • But he found some upsides in fame too.
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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