health

apnews.com
"Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers that state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases."
Republicans want people to die. If they didn't want to maximize deaths from the pandemic, how would their actions be different? The Republican party sure looks like a death cult from the outside.
STAT
"At the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC said that a close contact was somebody that you’re indoors with unmasked for 15 minutes or more. The equivalent of that with the Delta variant is not 15 minutes, it’s one second."
Grimacing emoji.
Your Local Epidemiologist
Can I (a vaccinated parent) transmit the virus to my (unvaccinated) kids?

Yes. During pre-Delta, vaccines reduced transmission by a lot (85-90%), but they’re not perfect (100%). So, yes you can give the virus to your kids, although it’s much less probable than an unvaccinated person. We do not know how Delta changes the game. Delta is stickier with a higher viral load, so Delta has the potential to transmit from vaccinated to unvaccinated higher than before. But we just don’t know yet.
An epidemiologist looks at the Delta variant's impact on kids who can't get vaccinated yet.
The Atlantic
"As bad as the winter surge was, Springfield’s health-care workers shared a common purpose of serving their community, Steve Edwards, the president and CEO of CoxHealth, told me. But now they’re “putting themselves in harm’s way for people who’ve chosen not to protect themselves,” he said."
Places with high vaccine hesitancy like Missouri are still struggling with covid.
Bloomberg
"Even mild cases of Covid led to loss of volume in certain areas of the brain, specifically those involved in processing smell and taste. But they also found statistically significant brain volume loss in the gray matter — the thin layer on the surface of the brain that contains most of the neurons — in other areas involved with memory formation."
Covid impacts more than just killing people and I hope that starts to factor into people's decision to get a vaccine. We're fortunate to have the ability in the US to keep this from happening to people.
New York Times
"Everyone always focuses on the virus evolving — this is showing that the B cells are doing the same thing," said Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. "And it’s going to be protective against ongoing evolution of the virus, which is really encouraging."
A++ would vaccinate again.
Culture Study
"People have all sorts of reasons for wanting to work remotely. It might make them better workers. It might allow them to maintain their physical and emotional well-being in a way that’s incompatible with full time office work."
We have a unique opportunity to rethink how we do office work. I hope we do.
STAT
"If the global pool of flu viruses has truly shrunk to this degree, it would be a welcome outcome, flu experts say, making the twice-a-year selection of viruses to be included in flu vaccines for the Northern and Southern hemispheres much easier work."
Our work to keep COVID-19 from spreading may have killed some strains of the flu. [via mefi]
Insight
"Now that we have safe, effective vaccines, we can give people immunity without causing dangerous disease. That puts us into a global race against the virus. The more people who see the vaccine before they see SARS-CoV-2, the fewer severe cases, long-term health problems, and deaths. Faster worldwide rollout will save lives. It really is that simple."
A great explanation of why it's the novelty of the coronavirus that makes it deadly and explains some of its seemingly unique properties.
Scientific American
As Scientific American reported last fall, the drop-off in flu numbers was both swift and universal. Since then, cases have stayed remarkably low. “There’s just no flu circulating,” says Greg Poland, who has studied the disease at the Mayo Clinic for decades.
I wonder if masks could help with keeping flu numbers down post-covid.
The Atlantic
"The good news is that this one is different. We now have an unparalleled supply of astonishingly efficacious vaccines being administered at an incredible clip. If we act quickly, this surge could be merely a blip for the United States. But if we move too slowly, more people will become infected by this terrible new variant, which is acutely dangerous to those who are not yet vaccinated."
Excellent snapshot of where we are with covid-19 and some good information about where we're headed, like this:
"Herd immunity is sometimes treated as a binary threshold: We’re all safe once we cross it, and all unsafe before that. In reality, herd immunity isn’t a switch that provides individual protection, just a dynamic that makes it hard for epidemics to sustain themselves in a population over the long term. Even if 75 percent of the country has some level of immunity because of vaccination or past infection, the remaining 25 percent remains just as susceptible, individually, to getting infected."
tl;dr: lots of light at the end of the tunnel but we're still in the tunnel.
The Boston Globe
"But daylight saving time doesn’t just fail to deliver the single most important benefit expected of it. It also generates a slew of harms. In the days following the onset of daylight time each March, there is a measurable increase in suicides, atrial fibrillation, strokes, and heart attacks. Workplace injuries climb. So do fatal car crashes and emergency room visits. There is even evidence that judges hand down harsher sentences."
There's also evidence that several programmers quit the profession every year because calculating date differences while accounting for hour shifts across time zones drives them out. But yeah we're not really getting energy savings through mass interference with our sleep schedules.
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