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Covid-19 Rise, Vaccine Hesitancy Frustrate Doctors in Hospitals Saturated by the Delta Variant

August 12, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Some healthcare workers say the latest surges in Covid-19 are adding to fatigue and burnout. But this time exhaustion is amplified by something new: frustration over the insufficient uptake of vaccines that could have prevented most Covid-19 patients from landing in their care. The Delta variant has pushed up U.S. Covid-19 infections to averages of about 100,000 a day, federal data show, levels last breached before vaccines were available to many Americans. Hospitalizations and deaths have climbed less sharply nationwide, but in some parts of the country where vaccination rates are lower, more people are hospitalized for Covid-19 than ever. (Read Full Article)

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Covid-19 Vaccine Scammers Target Authorities in Dozens of Countries Including Italy and Columbia

August 12, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Criminal organizations and individuals claiming access to Covid-19 vaccines have contacted authorities in dozens of countries hoping they will sign illegitimate contracts for millions of dollars, according to documents and people familiar with the attempts. Countries whose national, regional or tribal governments were approached include the Netherlands, Latvia, France, Israel, the Czech Republic, Austria, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Canada and Spain, according to the people familiar with the matter. (Read Full Article)

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The NYPD Had a Secret Fund for Surveillance Tools

August 12, 2021

(Wired) – New York City police bought a range of surveillance tools—including facial-recognition software, predictive policing software, vans equipped with x-ray machines to detect weapons, and “stingray” cell site simulators—with no public oversight, according to documents released Tuesday. In all, the documents show that the NYPD spent at least $159 million since 2007 through a little-known “Special Expenses Fund” that did not require approval by the city council or other municipal officials. The documents were made public by two civil rights groups, the Legal Aid Society and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), which say the practice amounted to a “surveillance slush fund.” (Read Full Article)

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Hospitals Struggle to Find Nurses, Beds, Even Oxygen as Delta Surges

August 12, 2021

(Medscape) – The state of Mississippi is out of intensive care unit (ICU) beds. The University of Mississippi Medical Center — the state’s largest health system — is converting part of a parking garage into a field hospital to make more room. “Hospitals are full from Memphis to Gulfport, Natchez to Meridian. Everything’s full,” said Alan Jones, MD, the hospital’s COVID-19 response leader, in a Wednesday press briefing. (Read Full Article)

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Ambulances Wait Outside Hospitals as COVID Infections Spread

August 12, 2021

(Medscape) – COVID-19 cases have filled so many Florida hospital beds that ambulance services and fire departments are straining to respond to emergencies. In St Petersburg, some patients wait inside ambulances for up to an hour before hospitals can admit them — a process that usually takes about 15 minutes, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said. While ambulances sit outside emergency rooms, they are essentially off the grid. (Read Full Article)

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Revealed: England’s Pandemic Crisis of Child Abuse, Neglect and Poverty

August 11, 2021

(The Guardian) – A looming crisis of children suffering abuse, neglect and poverty has been exposed, with growing numbers of young people taken into care in some of England’s most deprived communities during the pandemic. A Guardian investigation into the state of children’s services in the last 18 months has revealed a sharp rise in social services referrals during lockdown, plus spiralling costs for mental health support and a bulging backlog in the family courts, with some councils buckling under the weight of the extra work brought by coronavirus. (Read Full Article)

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The Pain Was Unbearable. So Why Did Doctors Turn Her Away?

August 11, 2021

(Wired) – Over the past two decades, the US Department of Justice has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into developing and maintaining state-level prescription drug databases—electronic registries that track scripts for certain controlled substances in real time, giving authorities a set of eyes onto the pharmaceutical market. Every US state, save one, now has one of these prescription drug monitoring programs, or PDMPs. And the last holdout, Missouri, is just about to join the rest. In the past few years, through a series of acquisitions and government contracts, a single company called Appriss has come to dominate the management of these state prescription databases. (Read Full Article)

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CDC Finds Covid-19 Vaccines Don’t Increase Miscarriage Rate

August 11, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – A new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that pregnant women who get vaccinated aren’t at higher risk of miscarriage than during an average pregnancy. The CDC reinforced its previous recommendation that pregnant women get inoculated against Covid-19 Wednesday, adding that women who are breast-feeding or planning to get pregnant should get vaccinated as well. (Read Full Article)

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Myocarditis in Adolescents After COVID-19 Vaccine Typically Mild

August 11, 2021

(Medscape) – Adolescents can develop mild myocarditis as a rare complication after COVID-19 vaccination, as has been reported in adults, an early case series from Boston confirms. The adolescents who developed heart inflammation after vaccination typically had a benign course, with symptoms resolving without treatment, although one patient had persistent borderline low left ventricular (LV) function, report Audrey Dionne, MD, and colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Read Full Article)

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Fresh U.K. Covid-19 Data Boosts Hopes That Delta Variant Can Be Held in Check

August 11, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – The latest surge of Covid-19 cases in the U.K. is giving rise to growing optimism among doctors and scientists that the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus can be held at bay with high levels of vaccination and public caution. Although caseloads are now ticking higher after Prime Minister Boris Johnson dropped almost all public-health restrictions in mid July, hospital admissions have been falling and deaths are a fraction of the level seen in earlier phases of the pandemic, according to the latest official data through early August. (Read Full Article)

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Texas Hospitals Are Near Capacity as Covid-19 Surges Again

August 11, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday asked hospitals to delay elective medical procedures, as rising Covid-19 cases bring hospitals in many parts of the nation’s second-largest state to capacity. In Austin, city and county officials used an emergency alert system over the weekend to text and call residents with the warning that the hospital situation is critical, as the number of available intensive care unit beds in a metro area of more than two million residents dwindled to single digits. In Houston, hospitals are into surge capacity and local officials tracking the city’s wastewater system are finding evidence of higher-than-ever levels of Covid-19. (Read Full Article)

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US Urged to Fast-Track Vaccine Approval for Children Under 12 as Cases Rise

August 10, 2021

(The Guardian) – As Covid cases among children continue to rise in the US due to spread of the Delta variant, experts are urging the federal government to fast-track vaccine approval for those under the age of 12. New data analysis from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicated that children accounted for 15% of new cases reported last week, with a total of almost 94,000 cases. There was a 4% increase in child cases over the past two weeks, the AAP found. (Read Full Article)

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Making Life-or-Death Health Care Decisions

August 10, 2021

(ProPublica) – ProPublica reporter Neil Bedi published a disturbing story recently about a heart pump called the HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, or HVAD. HeartWare is for patients who are suffering from heart failure. Surgeons implant it on patients’ hearts, and it helps pump blood, often until a patient can receive a transplant. But there’s a problem: The device itself comes with serious risks. Risks that the Food and Drug Administration was aware of but most patients did not know about. (Read Full Article)

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U.S. to Ship 8.5 Million Vaccine Doses to Mexico as COVID Cases Surge

August 10, 2021

(Axios) – The United States will send 8.5 million more doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Mexico as the country experiences a third wave of infections, AP reports. Why it matters: The announcement by Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard comes as the Delta variant drives up the number of infections in the country.  (Read Full Article)

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Hospitals Run Low on Nurses as They Get Swamped with COVID

August 10, 2021

(Associated Press) – The rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hotspots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout and lucrative out-of-state temporary gigs. Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana all have more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than any other point in the pandemic, and nursing staff is being stretched thin. (Read Full Article)

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Alabama Just Tossed 65,000 Vaccines. Turns Out It’s Not Easy to Donate Unused Doses

August 10, 2021

(NPR) – The vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines have gone straight from drug companies to affluent countries such as the United States. Worldwide only about 1% have made it to low-income countries. And here’s what’s happening all across the United States: Millions of vaccine doses at risk of spoiling are sitting on freezer shelves, with no easy way to get them to countries desperately waiting for shots.  (Read Full Article)

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Coming Soon for the Unvaccinated: A $50 Monthly Paycheck Deduction from Your Employer

August 10, 2021

(Forbes) – Employers are beginning to tack on a special surcharge of $20 to $50 a month to their unvaccinated workers, according to one of the nation’s largest health benefits consultancies. To date, employers have offered gift cards, a day off from work, cash and other financial incentives to convince their workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19. (Read Full Article)

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Florida Broke COVID-19 Records Several Times During Past Week

August 10, 2021

(Medscape) – Florida reported a record-breaking number of daily COVID-19 cases three times during the past week, according to NBC News. The state is reporting more daily cases than any other state and accounts for 1 in 5 new infections nationwide. On Friday, Florida reported 23,903 daily cases, marking its highest 1-day total so far during the pandemic and the largest single-day increase the state has ever reported. The number surpassed the previous high totals of 21,683 cases on July 31 and 22,783 cases on Thursday. (Read Full Article)

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Remember Beta? New Data Reveal Variant’s Deadly Toll

August 9, 2021

(Nature) – People infected with the Beta coronavirus variant are more likely to need critical care and to die than are people infected with other variants1. The Beta variant, also known as B.1.351, was first identified in late 2020 in South Africa, where it sparked a second COVID-19 wave before spreading globally. Some evidence has suggested that severe cases of COVID-19 were more common during South Africa’s Beta-driven second wave than during its first wave, caused by the ancestral version of SARS-CoV-2.  (Read Full Article)

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Get a Covid-19 Vaccine or Face Prison, Judges Order in Probation Cases

August 9, 2021

(New York Times) – As cases of coronavirus infections rise in Ohio, some judges have attached unusual conditions for those released on probation: Get a Covid-19 vaccine or face being sent to prison. On Aug. 4, Judge Christopher A. Wagner of the Court of Common Pleas in Hamilton County told Brandon Rutherford, who was convicted on drug offenses, that as part of his release on “community control,” or probation, he must receive the vaccination within 60 days. (Read Full Article)

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