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COVID-19 Patients Treated in Busy ICUs at Higher Risk for Death, Study Finds

January 19, 2021

(UPI) – COVID-19 patients treated in hospital intensive care units during periods of increased demand are nearly twice as likely to die from the disease compared to those who receive care during low-demand periods, a study published Tuesday by JAMA Network Open said. Those who receive care in intensive care units operating at 75% to 100% capacity with COVID-19 patients had a 94% higher risk for death compared to those treated for the disease in facilities at less than 25% of capacity, the data showed. 

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U.S. Commission Says China Possibly Committed ‘Genocide’ Against Xinjiang Muslims

January 19, 2021

(Reuters) – China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, a bipartisan commission of the U.S. Congress said in a report on Thursday. The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said new evidence had emerged in the past year that “crimes against humanity – and possibly genocide – are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the United States.

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Orthodox Jewish Docs Wrestle with COVID-19, Bad Press

January 19, 2021

(Medscape) – Although the pandemic has been a disruption for people from all walks of life, it has affected Orthodox Jewish communities in unique ways. Physicians who are part of those communities have been working nonstop to keep members safe while helping them observe their many sacred rituals and traditions. Although the challenges may be specific to their community, the doctors’ methods and successes may provide examples for those helping other groups

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Yemen: This Doctor Saw Covid Hospital Empty After Fake Death Text

January 18, 2021

(BBC) – As war-torn Yemen braces itself for a second wave of Covid-19, one doctor recalls how she battled the pandemic alone after her colleagues fled the hospital, and the dramatic fake news that plagued the assistance when it eventually arrived.

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Egypt Denied an Oxygen Failure Killed Covid Patients. We Found That It Did.

January 18, 2021

(New York Times) – Witnesses, including medical staff and relatives of patients, said in interviews that the oxygen pressure had fallen to precipitously low levels. At least three patients, they said, and possibly a fourth, had died of oxygen deprivation. A close analysis of the video by doctors in Egypt and the United States confirmed that the chaotic scene in the I.C.U. indicated an interruption in the oxygen supply. The fatal oxygen shortage was the end result of a cascade of problems at the hospital, our investigation found.

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WHO: Just 25 Covid Vaccine Doses Administered in Low-Income Countries

January 18, 2021

(The Guardian) – The world is on the edge of a “catastrophic moral failure” in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, with just 25 doses administered across all poor countries compared with 39m in wealthier ones, the head of the World Health Organization has said. It was the sharpest warning so far from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the dangers of vaccine hoarding since inoculations started being administered in 49 mostly high-income countries.

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A Troubling New Pattern Among the Coronavirus Variants

January 18, 2021

(The Atlantic) – For most of 2020, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 jumped from human to human, accumulating mutations at a steady rate of two per month—not especially impressive for a virus. These mutations have largely had little effect.But recently, three distinct versions of the virus seem to have independently converged on some of the same mutations, despite being thousands of miles apart in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. (A mutation is a genetic change; a variant is a virus with a specific set of mutations.) The fact that these mutations have popped up not one, not two, but now three times—that we know of—in variants with unusual behavior suggests that they confer an evolutionary advantage to the virus. All three variants seem to be becoming more common. And all three are potentially more transmissible.

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WHO, China Could Have Acted Faster on Pandemic: Experts

January 18, 2021

(Medical Xpress) – China and the World Health Organization could have acted faster to avert catastrophe during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, a panel of independent experts has concluded. The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said its evaluation of the start of the crisis in China “suggests that there was potential for early signs to have been acted on more rapidly”.

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Norway Adjusts Advice After Vaccine Deaths But Isn’t Alarmed

January 18, 2021

(ABC News) – Norwegian officials have adjusted their advice on who gets the COVID-19 vaccine in light of a small number of deaths in older people, leaving it up to each doctor to consider who should be vaccinated. The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Thursday reported a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, 13 of them fatal. All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.

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