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In Minnesota, death of GOP lawmaker brings back the reality of Covid

As a lab technician for 3M, Ms. Relph tests industrial masks. “The fact that people deny the science behind the masks makes me even more angry,” she says. She recalled that a senatorial colleague of her father had stopped by her family, without a mask, while her father was in the hospital. “At close range he said, ‘I don’t think it’s as bad as they tell us,” Ms. Relph said. “My father was dying. These are people who think they are good, kind, compassionate, and yet they don’t behave that way.

On November 3, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. comfortably won Minnesota, but Republicans held their majority in the state Senate, thanks to force in rural areas.

When Mr. Relph attended the dinner two days later, he seemed to narrowly win re-election in his swing district. But as more ballots were counted, his Democratic opponent slightly ahead, winning by 315 votes. Democrats only needed to return two seats for a majority in the Senate. Although they won Mr. Relph’s district, they lost their own seat and the Republicans retained control.

Ms Relph said could have cost her father’s ambivalent embrace support of her father with the Republican base. He has already co-sponsored a bipartisan bill aimed at targeting economic aid to the Somali community. This has earned him the nickname “Jihadi Jerry” among staunch Trump supporters, his daughter said.

Last week, as the legislature returned for its 2021 session, senators held a moment of silence for Mr. Relph. Mr. Gazelka called him “a great senator, a true friend”.

The majority leader also led his party to block a Democratic proposal to require masks in public spaces on the Capitol, flouting a statewide mask mandate imposed by the governor in indoor environments. . (The legislature is not subject to governor’s orders.) Republicans questioned about the effectiveness of masks. But Mr. Gazelka included wording in a resolution “strongly encouraging” the wearing of masks.

Ms Kent, the Democratic leader, said she recently noticed Mr Gazelka himself still wears a mask in the Capitol, where previously he did not. In addition to Mr. Relph’s death, Mr. Gazelka’s mother-in-law died in December after contracting Covid-19.

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CDC Warns New Virus Variant Could Fuel Huge Spikes in Covid Cases

Federal health officials sounded the alarm on Friday that a rapidly spreading and much more contagious variant of the coronavirus is expected to become the main source of infection in the country by March, potentially fueling a new wave of cases and deaths.

In a study released Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said its forecast indicated that outbreaks caused by the new variant could lead to a booming pandemic this winter. He called for a doubling of preventive measures, including more intensive vaccination efforts across the country.

The variant is not known to be more fatal or to cause more serious illness. But the dreadful warning – covered by limited data on the prevalence of the variant first identified in Britain – landed in a week when the country’s nascent vaccination campaign was hampered by confusion and limited supply. as demand increased among a growing number of eligible people.

Only 76 cases of the variant have been identified in the United States so far, but the actual number is believed to be higher and is expected to increase in the coming weeks, officials said. They pointed out that current mitigation strategies were effective against the new strain, urging Americans to be vigilant by wearing face masks, keeping a distance of six feet or more from other people, washing their hands frequently, reducing interactions with people outside their home, limiting contact and avoiding contact. crowds.

But spikes in cases threaten to cripple already overwhelmed hospitals and nursing homes in many parts of the country. Some are at or near capacity. Others have faced troubling infection rates among their staff, causing shortages and surging patient numbers.

“I want to stress that we are deeply concerned that this strain is more transmissible and may accelerate epidemics in the United States in the weeks to come,” said Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director of infectious diseases at the CDC. “We are sounding the alarm bells and urging people to realize that the pandemic is not over and that it is by no means time to throw in the towel.”

“We know what is working and we know what to do,” he said.

Covid cases and deaths have broken record after record across the country, with a death maximum of 4,400, announced on Tuesday. At least 3,973 new deaths and 238,390 new cases were reported Thursday, and the country is nearing the 400,000 death mark.

One in 860 Americans died from Covid-19 last year, according to new figures released by the CDC But the burden of deaths has not fallen equally across races, ethnicities and geographies, and we fears that vaccines will not reach the hardest-hit communities, where access to health services is limited and mistrust is rampant.

The new variant, called B 1.1.7, was first identified in Britain, where it quickly became the main source of infections, accounting for up to 60% of new cases diagnosed in London and the surrounding area .

It has since been detected in at least 30 countries, including the United States and Canada. In the United States, it represents less than 0.5% of cases, based on the analysis of a limited number of samples.

Other variants circulating in South Africa and Brazil are also believed to be more contagious, but have not yet been identified in the United States. Japanese authorities said this month that they had detected one of the variants in four passengers from Brazil.

The CDC had announced earlier that from January 26, all air passengers arriving in the United States, regardless of their vaccination status, would be required to show proof of a negative result of a test for the coronavirus. or recovery from Covid.

In the new report, scientists at the CDC modeled how quickly the variant could spread in the United States, assuming that about 10-30% of people have pre-existing immunity to the virus, and an additional 1 million people will be vaccinated every week from this month. .

If the variant is around 50% more contagious, as British data suggests, it will become the predominant source of all infections in the United States by March, according to the model. A slow deployment of vaccinations will hasten this destiny.

The variant differs by approximately 20 mutations from previous versions of the virus, of which at least two mutations may contribute to its greater contagiousness. As of Jan. 13, it had been detected in 76 cases from 12 states, but the actual numbers are likely much higher, Dr Butler said. “The CDC expects these numbers to increase in the coming weeks,” he said.

National and local laboratories have pledged to sequence around 6,000 samples per week, a goal the agency expects to achieve in about three weeks.

Agency officials also warned that standard tests for the virus could miss one of the genes altered in the new variant. This shouldn’t be a problem for most lab tests, they said, but some antigen tests can produce “false negatives,” missing infection cases.

“So far we haven’t found any evidence of this, but we are looking at it more closely,” Dr. Butler said.

It is not yet clear what makes the newer variants more contagious. They share at least one mutation, called N501Y, which is believed to be involved. One possibility, the researchers said, is that the mutation could increase the amount of virus in the nose but not in the lungs – potentially explaining why it’s more contagious, but not more deadly.

A greater amount of virus in the nose means that anyone infected would expel more virus when speaking, singing, coughing or even breathing, said Trevor Bedford, evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“It makes the same situations that are spreading now – people living in the same household, those kinds of unventilated indoor contacts – more likely to spread,” he said.

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Some medical students celebrate with selfies on Covid vaccine while others line up

In early January, Nali Gillespie watched her social media feeds fill with selfies about vaccines: photo after photo of her peers at other medical schools across the country standing proudly next to a syringe with their dose of Moderna vaccine or Pfizer Covid-19.

But Ms Gillespie – who is in her third year at Duke University School of Medicine and focuses on research rather than clinical training – knew she couldn’t join them yet.

Because she volunteers at an outpatient clinic once a week, she has less direct exposure to Covid patients and lines up behind her classmates who work in intensive care units and emergency rooms.

“You hear that in some schools the students are already getting their second dose, and then there are some of us who weren’t even scheduled for our first,” Ms. Gillespie said.

When she shows up for her weekly shifts at the clinic, she knows she is still vulnerable to exposure to the coronavirus. “You are more and more aware that an asymptomatic patient can come into the clinic and you see them in a small examination room,” she says. “The risk is very real.”

In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced guidelines setting priorities for who should receive vaccines first when the rollout begins. Although the guidelines were broad, medical students learned they could be included in the first wave of healthcare workers, especially those involved in caring for Covid patients. But the rollout has varied widely across the country’s 155 medical schools, each of which has prioritized based on the availability of vaccine doses in their state.

This has caused stress for some medical students who are continuing their clinical placements. Although some schools prohibit students from treating Covid patients, this rule can be difficult to enforce, especially in asymptomatic cases.

Vaccines against covid19>

Answers to your questions about vaccines

While the exact order of vaccinees can vary by state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.

Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens at most in the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they have only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.

Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially be authorized this month clearly protect people against Covid-19 disease. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. It remains a possibility. We know that people naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without feeling a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensely as the vaccines are rolled out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will have to consider themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection will be no different from any you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them have reported serious health problems. But some of them experienced short-lived discomfort, including aches and pains and flu-like symptoms that usually last for a day. People may need to plan a day off or school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and building a powerful response that will provide long-lasting immunity.

No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the enzymes in the cell for a bit longer, so that the cells can make additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.

At some institutions, like the Duke School of Medicine, students working in intensive care units and emergency departments were placed in the highest priority group, 1A, while everyone else was told that they would be vaccinated in group 1B. At Yale School of Medicine, all medical students, regardless of their patient exposure level, were told they would be vaccinated in reverse alphabetical order (“with the first letter of their last name beginning at the end of the alphabet ”).

“Those in the later stages of the alphabet were happy but a little confused about its arbitrariness,” said Sumun Khetpal, a fourth-year student.

Students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth said for weeks they had not received any communication from the school on when they would receive their vaccines, so some drove for hours through the State looking for private pharmacists who would give them vaccines. And at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the students said they also had to “take matters into their own hands” and go to private pharmacies to inquire about the possibility of getting the vaccine because until last weekend, they weren’t told how to get vaccines from their school.

“The CDC’s guidelines did not have the level of granularity needed for hospitals and schools to make decisions,” said Dr. Alison Whelan, academic director of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “There was quite a lot of variability due to the lack of a national plan.”

Adding to the confusion, vaccines have been allocated to states based on their populations, which do not always reflect their health worker populations, added Dr Janis Orlowski, the association’s chief health officer. There are 21,000 medical students in the country.

For some of them, there is a sense of guilt relief as they get the vaccine knowing that some of their peers still don’t.

“A close friend of mine is a dental student and is regularly in people’s mouths, but she has not received the Covid vaccine,” said Azan Virji, a second year medical student at Harvard who received her first dose late. December. “We have the impression that there is a disparity.”

Still, Mr Virji said he has treated Covid-19 patients on several occasions and felt an increased weight knowing he was now inoculated.

“My parents in Tanzania may not have access to this vaccine until 2022, and now I am one of the first people to have access,” he said. “It’s bittersweet, but essential for me to feel calmer in the hospital.

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Newsom on Covid: ‘There are good things to report’


After what appeared to be a near-lightless holiday season and the start of the New Year, California officials in recent days have pointed to signs that the overwhelming coronavirus outbreak in the state is finally easing – or at least not. not get worse.

“There are good things to report,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video message posted Tuesday evening. “We are starting to see some stabilization in both the ICUs and our positivity rate.”

And he officially announced that a strict home support order affecting the Sacramento area would be lifted, with immediate effect, due to the expected improvement in the capacity of the area’s intensive care unit. This means that some businesses, including hair salons and restaurants with outdoor dining, may be able to reopen.

[Track coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across California.]

It was the first of the four major regions of the state that had been placed under the exit order.

Dr Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, told a virtual press conference on Tuesday that “the biggest signal to me that things are starting to stabilize and potentially improve” is the flattening rate of hospital admissions.

New Covid-19-related hospitalizations increased from around 3,500 per day around Jan.5 to 2,500 and 2,600 in the previous two days, he said.

Still, hospitals in the vast Southern California and Central Valley region, both of which are still on stay-at-home orders, are full.

And according to a New York Times database on Tuesday, officials reported that more than 720 people have died from the virus in California – a daily record.

The state has also fought relentlessly to deploy vaccines, despite what leaders have described for months as a detailed and “fairness-driven” planning process, based on a carefully structured hierarchy of workers and managers. age groups. As of Tuesday, only a quarter of the state’s available doses had been administered.

On Wednesday, however, Mr Newsom announced that the state was opening vaccine eligibility to anyone aged 65 and over, as well as building a new system to alert residents when they were eligible to be vaccinated. . It should start next week.

“There is no higher priority than effectively and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those facing the most serious consequences,” he said in a statement. “For those who are not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccines to the state. “

Some cities and counties are also expected to open mass vaccination centers, such as at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles – although Los Angeles County is set to continue immunizing only healthcare workers at least until the end of the day. end of the month.

The move comes shortly after the federal government ordered states to begin using reserved doses of vaccine for second injections.

[Read the latest story about the shifting federal vaccine rollout guidance.]

Dr David Lubarsky, executive director of UC Davis Health, said on Tuesday that while Governor, Dr Ghaly and others in the state had done their best to navigate a difficult situation, “perfection is there. ‘enemy of good’. The top priority should be getting gunfire – not spending resources to keep people from crossing the line.

“If you are so determined to make sure that Patient A has to come before Patient B before Citizen C, you can’t get people to the door enough,” he said.

He said the state would be better served by allowing healthcare providers a greater share of doses to be administered to patients rather than counties.

Healthcare providers, he said, already have built-in ways to contact regular patients in large groups based on factors such as their age and risk of death. And large healthcare systems, in particular, can quickly create algorithms to factor in things like zip code, which can indicate whether a patient may live in a particularly vulnerable community.

Dr Lubarsky said that as of Tuesday, about 12,000 of the system’s 13,000 staff received at least their first doses of the vaccine by opening the process, and patient vaccinations were due to begin soon.

“We said, ‘If someone skipped the line, shame on them,’ he said. “If they showed us their ID cards and worked in the hospital, it was a bit of an honor system.”

[Read four opinion pieces by experts about how to fix the vaccine rollout.]

As a result, he said, the rate of transmission of Covid-19 among staff has dropped significantly. In recent weeks, an average of 135 employees “were getting Covid and going home.” This week, he says, that number is in the 1920s.

Ultimately, Dr Lubarsky said opening mass vaccination centers and other efforts to expand eligibility were positive steps.

“I think they are 100% moving in the right direction,” he said.

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)

President Trump on Wednesday became the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice.

In a chamber led by President Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, 232 members of Congress voted to accuse the president of inciting a violent insurgency against the US government.

This list included each Democratic representative, as well as 10 members of the president’s own party.

Among the Republicans who voted for impeachment was Representative David Valadao, who narrowly took over the Central Valley siege he lost in 2018 in November.

Although he said on twitter that he believed Ms Pelosi had turned “what should be a full investigation into a hasty political coup,” he had to vote his conscience.

“Its inciting rhetoric was anti-American, odious and absolutely unforgivable,” Mr. Valadao said. “It’s time to put the country above politics.”

Patches – a calico cat believed to have been killed alongside his owner in January 2018 when rainstorms sent debris sliding down the Montecito hills in the aftermath of Thomas’ fire – was recently found alive and reunited with its owner’s partner, the Associated Press reported.

“While we don’t know exactly what she’s been doing with her life for the past three years, we can see that Patches and Norm are thrilled to be reunited,” the shelter who found the feline said in a Facebook post.

Maybe that would have been enough heartwarming cat news for a day. But then I came across this report from the Sonoma Index-Tribune, about a woman from Glen Ellen who also recently tracked down her cat, Mordecai Jones, who was also lost for about three years, after missing during the 2017 forest fires.

I’m not sure if this confluence of pet-related good fortune is meaningful, but I think this week we’ll take what we can get.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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Losing a loved one twice: first in prison, then in Covid

Calls usually came on Sundays.

Hank Warner of Huntington Beach, Calif., Saw a familiar area code appear on his phone, telling him his younger brother was on the other end of the line.

He picked up the hook to hear a woman’s voice, asking if Mr. Warner would accept a collect call from San Quentin State Prison, Calif. Then the brothers would have 15 minutes to talk about their lives and, if it was football season, the San Francisco 49ers.

When the calls stopped coming in June, Mr Warner, 59, wondered what had happened. But his prison calls continued to go to the same dead end voicemail.

“I knew from hearing nothing that something was wrong,” he said.

In July, someone from prison called him back to tell him that his brother, Eric Warner, had been hospitalized. Later that month, another call from San Quentin announced the death of Eric, 57, on July 25, after contracting the coronavirus in the outbreak of infections that swept through the prison last year.

For many who have lost someone to Covid-19, grief has been compounded by constant reminders of a pandemic that is still killing people at an record rate. And for those whose loved ones were infected in correctional facilities, the loss has been further complicated by the dehumanizing bureaucracy of incarceration and the stigma surrounding criminal convictions.

Hank Warner cried with mixed feelings for Eric, who had been incarcerated on a manslaughter conviction.

“I know it’s hard for people to sympathize with people who commit the kinds of crimes my brother committed,” he said. “But I also believe that in all walks of life and in the relationships we have, there is a level of forgiveness that we should all exercise.

Hank and Eric Warner didn’t always get along. The older one had a close bond and the younger one was still in trouble. But they grew closer through regular phone calls while Eric was incarcerated. “I really saw this change in my brother,” Hank said. “He was helping the other prisoners. He was becoming a model.

Adamu Chan, a #StopSanQuentinOutbreak coalition organizer who was released from prison in October, knew Eric Warner and called him “one of the elders of the community.” His loss, said Chan, was difficult to manage.

“When you’re inside and going through these things, I’m not sure you have the space to process,” said Mr. Chan, 44. “Since I got out I think a lot of that sadness has come back to me, and I feel a lot of guilt from the survivor.

Anthony Ehlers, 48, was remorseful over the possibility that he passed the coronavirus on to his best friend and cellmate, James Scott, at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Ill.

Mr Scott, 58, had been hospitalized for weeks before Mr Ehlers learned from a correctional officer that his friend had died on April 20. “I remember I was alone in the cell, and I just got into bed, facing the wall and sobbing,” Mr Ehlers said via a monitored courier.

“You have to hide your grief here,” he added. “It’s not a beautiful place.”

Mr. Chan used poetry and film to commemorate the men who lost their lives around him.

“Prison is so much about separation – being separated from your family and separated from society,” he said. “Art and imagination can be very powerful tools to get out of this place.”

Elisabeth Joyner, 37, who is incarcerated at Arrendale State Prison in Georgia, creates pencil portraits of people who have died so they don’t have to remember the photos.

“Ranting is one of the most dehumanizing aspects of incarceration,” she said. “This is photo error documentation that you will see for the rest of your life. Isn’t it enough that these people have been dehumanized in life? Should I also dehumanize them in death?

The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country. A disproportionate number of them are blacks and Hispanics – two groups that have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

Families at this crossroads of personal loss and structural inequality experience the heartache of losing someone twice: once to incarceration, then again, forever, to the virus.

Inez Blue, 65, of Baltimore, lost his brother Anthony Blue, 63, in May. He had been incarcerated at Roxbury Correctional Facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, for a crime he said he did not commit.

Credit…Blue family photo

“It’s difficult for me because I was the closest to him,” Ms. Blue said. “We mostly talked about what we experienced in our childhood. It looks like we have the raw end of the stick.

Mr. Blue had fought to erase his name. His lawyer, Stanley Reed, said his conviction was on the verge of being overturned early last year.

Ms Blue, ready to take care of her little brother, who struggled with mental illness and was blinded while incarcerated, set up a bedroom in her home and bought a new set of quilts and curtains.

But Mr. Blue fell ill in April and was hospitalized. In video chats, Ms. Blue could tell he was in great pain. She felt guilty for asking him to keep fighting.

He died on May 6.

“I feel like he’s failed so many times,” she said. “He gave up because he felt he was never going to be free.

As overcrowded conditions turned prisons into hotspots for coronaviruses, many establishments were limiting visiting hours. Families have done their best to stay in touch through monitored messaging services, hazy video chats or dropped phone calls.

The last time Kenosha Hines, 43, kissed her father, Carlos Ridley, was at Pickaway Correctional Facility in Orient, Ohio, in a white-walled visitation room that smelled of sandwiches.

Credit…Kenosha Hines

She used to bring her two sons. Mr. Ridley, 69, entertained them with stories, jokes and martial arts lessons.

He had fought to exonerate himself using DNA evidence. But his health suddenly deteriorated in April and, during a video call, Ms Hines noticed him.

“He could barely hold his head up,” she said. “We couldn’t talk for long. The video was so jagged that I could barely hear what he was saying. “

On May 5, a correctional officer called to tell him that his father had been taken to the hospital. That night, she watched him take his last breaths during a video chat. She wondered why he hadn’t been hospitalized earlier.

“It was devastating,” she says. “I can’t even put it into words. He’s been there most of my life, and that’s how it happened?

JoEllen Smith, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said all of Mr. Ridley’s medical needs had “been identified, assessed and addressed promptly.”

She added that “Covid-19 presents unique challenges in a collective environment such as a prison, and the impact – including the loss of eight staff members and over 100 incarcerated adults – has been difficult at times. for staff and the prison population.

Tiffani Fortney, 46, of Prescott, Ariz., Stopped hearing from her father, Scott Cutting, in April.

His repeated calls to Terminal Island federal prison in San Pedro, California, where he was incarcerated, provided very little information. So she opened a Twitter account and composed her first tweet on May 4.

“He is in the hospital dying and no one wants to help us by giving us information about his condition,” she said. wrote, to no one in particular. “He went for a short time for a petty crime and now he’s paying with his life.

Five days later Mr. Cutting, 70, the man who seemed able to befriend anyone, often teases his daughter on daily phone calls, and made it his mission to attending as many of his singing performances as possible, has died of Covid-19. .

The pain of losing him like that was terrible, Ms. Fortney said. Mourning swept through the family, and months after her father’s death, Ms Fortney lost her brother, Scott Cutting Jr., 50, to suicide.

“People look down on families like we’ve done something wrong,” she says. “We don’t stop loving our family members just because they did something they shouldn’t have done. I wish more people could see this.

It can be difficult to track deaths from Covid-19 in correctional facilities. Prisons do not document deaths consistently, and obituaries often tiptoe around any mention of incarceration.

This lack of visibility helps the virus to spread, Mr. Ehlers said. “More men will die here who shouldn’t,” he added. “And the only thing that will make a difference is if people speak out.”

An online memorial called Mourning Our Losses is collecting details of people who died from the virus while in prison. So far, the website has recollections of Eric Warner, Mr. Blue, and around 160 other people.

“There was just no room for the grief of people who had dying loved ones inside,” said Page Dukes, a writer and activist who works on the project. “This heartbreak was very largely disenfranchised because of this idea that people who were in prison somehow deserved to have Covid – and die from Covid – more than others.

Memorials include officers, health care staff and others who worked in correctional facilities – a nod to the fact that overcrowded or unsanitary conditions are also dangerous for employees and can accelerate the spread of the disease. viruses in surrounding communities.

“Crimes and convictions don’t matter to the spread of Covid in this location,” Mr. Ehlers said. “He’s an equal opportunity killer.”

In an effort to honor the humanity of those who have died, the memorials do not mention criminal convictions.

“People who do not have an intimate knowledge of the penal system often forget several things about incarcerated people,” said Ms. Joyner, who draws portraits for the website. “Namely, that we are people, above all.”

Mr Ehlers, who wrote a memorial for Mr Scott, said he knew his tribute could be avoided because the two men had been convicted of murder – “huge and terrible mistakes that affect a lot of people. “. But he was also worried that if he didn’t talk about his grief and his friend, no one else would.

“We are all more than our crimes,” Mr. Ehlers said. “We are fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, cousins ​​and friends. We are also important to people.

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The death of a doctor after an investigation into the Covid vaccine

Ms Neckelmann said she told her husband’s story to educate people about the possible ‘side effects’ of the vaccine, and’ that it’s not good for everyone, and in this case it destroyed a beautiful life, a perfect family and has affected so many people. people in the community. “

Dr. Jerry L. Spivak, an expert in blood disorders at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in Dr. Michael’s care, said that, from Ms. Neckelmann’s description, “I think it is It is medical certainty that the vaccine was related. “

“It’s going to be very rare,” said Dr. Spivak, professor emeritus of medicine. But he added: “It happened and it could happen again.”

Even so, he said, it shouldn’t stop people from getting vaccinated.

The disease that Dr. Michael developed, acute immune thrombocytopenia, occurs when the immune system attacks the patient’s platelets or the cells in the bone marrow that produce the platelets. Covid itself can cause illness in some patients.

A long list of medications, including quinine and some antibiotics, can also cause the disorder in some people. Dr Spivak described the reactions as “idiosyncratic,” meaning that they strike certain individuals for no rhyme or reason, possibly based on unknown genetic traits, and there is no way to predict whether anyone one is sensitive.

“If you vaccinate enough people, things will happen,” he said.

Vaccines stimulate the immune system and, in theory, could, in rare cases, cause it to mistakenly identify some of a patient’s own cells as enemy invaders that should be destroyed.

Dr Spivak said several things made the vaccine the most likely suspect in Dr Michael’s case. The disorder appeared soon after the gunshot and was so severe that it caused his platelet count to “explode” – a pattern like that in some cases caused by drugs like quinine. In addition, Dr. Michael was healthy and young compared to most people who develop chronic forms of the disease from other causes. Finally, most of the patients – 70% – are women. A sudden case in a man, especially a relatively young and healthy case, suggests a recent outbreak.

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Video: ‘We will win the Covid war,’ Cuomo says in his 2021 agenda speech

Today I am called upon to answer what is most of the time a simple question, but for the moment it is anything but: what is the state of our condition? Well, in some ways it’s like the state of the nation, and even the state of the world. We are hurt. We are frustrated. We are in mourning. We are anxious. We are shocked that an unseen enemy can cause such death and destruction, especially in this richest and most powerful nation in the world. And it wasn’t just the virus itself that showed our vulnerabilities, it’s that Covid created the low tide in America, and the ugliness that lurked beneath the surface was exposed and became visible to all. Racial divisions, religious tensions, government incompetence, health care disparities, social injustice and the danger of hateful leadership. In New York, we experience it all. But in other ways, New York State is different because New York is different. What Covid has done to us is different, and the way we have responded to Covid is different. We know what to do. And we will. We will win the Covid War, and we will learn and grow from the experience. The problems don’t just go away. They’re going up. It’s a national crisis, but New York will lead.


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Six months after leaving hospital, Covid survivors still face persistent health issues

Most of the symptoms in the Wuhan report were slightly more common in women, with 81% reporting at least one health problem, compared to 73% of men.

Reports of other respiratory illnesses, such as the 2003 outbreak of SARS, another type of coronavirus, suggest that some Covid survivors may experience sequelae for months or years. Most SARS patients recovered physically, but the researchers found that many had “worrying levels of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic symptoms” a year later.

In a comment accompanying the Lancet study, Italian researchers wrote that 38% of SARS survivors had decreased oxygen flow to their lungs 15 years later, adding that “evidence from previous coronavirus outbreaks suggests that” some degree of lung damage may persist. ”

While people who have been hospitalized for Covid may experience more serious or longer lasting physical problems, a growing body of evidence shows that even people who have never been hospitalized can show residual symptoms. Many of these patients seek care at post-Covid clinics that have sprung up in the United States.

A recent survey by a patient-led research team involved 3,762 participants, mostly women, from 56 countries – most of whom had not been hospitalized. Almost two-thirds said they had experienced symptoms for at least six months, with most saying they suffered from fatigue and their symptoms worsened after physical or mental exertion, according to the report, which has not been evaluated. by peers. More than half of people with symptoms said they had experienced “cognitive dysfunction” involving brain fog or difficulty thinking or concentrating.

Dr Peluso noted that since Wuhan patients were hospitalized in the first half of 2020, most have not been treated with more recently recognized therapies like remdesivir or dexamethasone, so it is not clear whether people currently receiving these treatments would experience the same degree of long-term complications.

Still, he and other doctors said the study’s portrait of the persistent symptoms rings true. Dr. Ferrante said that as part of the post-Covid recovery program, where she treats patients, “pretty much everyone I see reports an impairment in physical or cognitive functions, or both.

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2 Arthritis Drugs Reduce Deaths in Very Ill Covid Patients

“Organizations are encouraged to consider prescribing either tocilizumab or sarilumab in the treatment of patients admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 pneumonia,” says the new directive from British health authorities. Dr Gordon noted that this is the strongest official opinion issued to date on the immune drug pair.

Some experts outside of Britain are being more cautious. Dr Schwartz and Dr Kaplan-Lewis noted that while the data may be enough to persuade the FDA to authorize tocilizumab and sarilumab for emergency use in the United States, the jury is still out on these drugs. And Dr Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, an infectious disease physician at Emory University, pointed out that only about 4% of study volunteers identified as black, which may make the results less applicable to the general population given the increased vulnerability of communities of color to Covid19.

Further studies will be needed to clarify when and in which patients tocilizumab and sarilumab work best, and to understand why their benefits have been evident in some studies, but not in others, Dr Kaplan-Lewis said. It is also difficult to compare the studies that are coming out now with previous trials that were conducted when the virus was much less understood, treatments were delivered with less know-how, and death rates were even higher.

“If patients received better supportive care, their outcomes might be much improved,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease physician at the University of South Carolina who was not involved in the study. “Yes, the therapies are helpful. But it is also about improving the level of care for people.

The new study and others have hinted that the window of opportunity for drugs is narrow – within the first day or two after admission to an intensive care unit, Dr Kaplan-Lewis said. Given too early, the drugs might not make a measurable dent in the immune response; delivered too late, and the damage may have already been done. “Maybe that’s when a person has just slipped into criticism,” she says.

This inflection point is not always easy to define. Patients enter intensive care in different states, and the threshold for critical illness may not be uniform across hospitals. And, like all other immunosuppressive drugs, tocilizumab and sarilumab can increase your risk of infection with other viruses or bacteria.

The data are “encouraging,” said Dr Kuppalli. “But I think we need to understand why this data is different from other studies, before we start implementing this widespread policy.”

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As state legislatures aim to meet amid Covid, drive-in is attempted

DURHAM, NH – The New Hampshire House of Representatives met in a parking lot on Wednesday morning, lashed by an icy wind and drowned out by occasional passing freight trains, in a legislative improvisation worthy of Rube Goldberg.

It was a democracy behind the wheel: three hundred and fifty-seven state officials sat in idling cars, listening to a shared radio frequency. When members expressed a desire to speak, via text, House staff roamed the course in golf carts with microphones attached to long poles, to stick to their car windows.

“If you are having difficulty with the vote, please turn on your hazard lights,” said House Clerk Paul C. Smith, who stood on a platform, under a stream of traffic. “What’s going to happen now,” he said later, “is that the staff will retreat behind me into the tunnel and count the ballots out of the wind.”

State legislatures across the country are looking for ways to operate despite restrictions on indoor gatherings due to the coronavirus. Few solutions could be more elaborate than that of New Hampshire, where the Republican House leadership, by far the nation’s largest state legislature, has resisted Democratic calls to meet virtually for security reasons.

That insistence was unaffected by the death last month of newly elected Republican President Richard Hinch, 71, from the coronavirus. He died a week after taking the oath.

In interviews, Republican officials dismissed complaints from colleagues about the safety of the in-person rally.

“If you didn’t feel ready to take risks with your health, you shouldn’t have run,” said Rep. Melissa Blasek, 32, a music teacher who said she was drawn into politics this spring. when she joined protests against coronavirus restrictions ordered by Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican.

She said she was opposed to being called via Zoom – the option favored by the Democratic caucus – because “a lot can be done that isn’t honest when you’re not in person.”

“I think being distant is the fastest way to be a secret government,” she said. “You don’t know who’s in the background. All you know is the person directly in front of the camera. “

Mr Hinch’s death cast a shadow over Wednesday’s legislative session, which began with a moment of silence in his memory. But some Republicans have openly questioned whether Mr Hinch actually died from the coronavirus, as the state medical examiner concluded.

“He didn’t,” said Rep. John Potucek, 73. “He had Covid germs. I mean, if someone dies and you’re 98 and you have pneumonia and they have Covid germs, they call it Covid, but they died from pneumonia.

He added, “Dick was a big guy, he had heart problems.”

Other Republicans, such as Representative Kurt Wuelper, 73, said Mr. Hinch knowingly accepted the possibility of contracting the virus as part of his political office.

“He took that risk and it killed him,” he said.

He said he and his fellow Republicans were prepared to take the same risk in the service of the government’s intrusion resistance principle.

“It’s something that transcends us,” he says. “It’s not about me or Dick Hinch. It is a question of knowing, do we have inalienable rights? Do we have any freedom?

Many state legislatures already meet virtually or by conference call – including the legislatures of Vermont and Massachusetts and the New Hampshire State Senate.

Twenty-eight states, along with Guam, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have changed legislative rules since the spring to allow remote meetings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Rep. Steven Smith, a member of the Republican House leadership team, said it was not possible for New Hampshire to do the same due to a technical issue: he said he did not There was still no way for the president to verify the identity of each member or to securely record a quorum on a zoom or conference call of 400 people.

“We’re working on solutions to get there, we’re just not there yet,” he said.

The new Speaker of the House, Rep. Sherman Packard, who was elected on Wednesday to replace Mr Hinch, offered a slightly different explanation: He said the technology needed to create a secure voting system would cost the lender $ 300,000. ‘State.

But the Democratic House leader, Representative Renny Cushing, rejects both explanations, describing the obstacle as being political in nature.

An intransigent faction within the Republican Party, galvanized against the governor’s coronavirus restrictions, has grown stronger, he said, and House leaders are eager to welcome them.

“We have asked people to forgo degrees and family reunions, but the Legislature will meet, as a handful of anti-masks tell the Republican majority what to do, and Republicans accept it “, did he declare. “It’s the minority that dictates.”

House leaders have also suggested that a rule change could allow for a remote rally, but that is unlikely: the House on Wednesday voted 187-149 against such a change.

New Hampshire has always had a conservative strain; it is one of five states without sales tax and one of two whose governors serve two years.

This indigenous conservatism was spurred by an experiment called the Free State Project, which recruited libertarian-minded people to step up to the state and run for office. More than 25 current members of the state House of Representatives are Free Staters, who moved to New Hampshire as part of the project, said its founder, Jason Sorens.

They were joined by newcomers like Ms Blasek, who was drawn into politics by her opposition to Governor Sununu’s coronavirus restrictions. She was among a group of 80 Republicans who refused to wear masks during an outdoor legislative session in December.

Their enthusiasm helped Republicans regain control of the House in November, and she said she hoped her faction could pressure Mr. Sununu to lift restrictions.

“The reality is that we have a voting bloc,” she said. “I think he is aware in a lot of ways, with the Republican majority he has more perspective than with the Democratic majority.”

Rep. Laurel Stavis, a Democrat from Grafton, said in hall rallies last fall that unmasked Republicans were “quite intimidating,” taunting and poking fun at Democrats trying to keep their distance.

“I’ve lived in New Hampshire for 25 years and I don’t remember anything like it, it’s just such a wide chasm, in your face it feels like this rift is opening up and people are falling in it “she said. . “It’s like a force of nature or something.

But for Mr Potucek, a Republican, the sight of the vast parking lot on Wednesday was a triumph: his colleagues had managed to gather again in person.

“This is the New Hampshire story that is happening right now,” he said. “Hey, it’s live free or die.”