An Alabama doctor grimly says she is making “a lot of progress” in encouraging people to get vaccinated – as she struggles to keep them alive.
Dr Brytney Cobia, a hospitalist at Birmingham’s Grandview Medical Center, wrote in a recent Facebook post that she is treating many otherwise healthy young people for serious coronavirus infections.
“One of the last things they do before they are intubated is begging me for the vaccine,” she wrote. “I hold their hand and tell them I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”
In her article, Cobia wrote that when the patient dies, she hugs her family members and urges them to be vaccinated. She said they were crying and telling her they thought the pandemic was a “hoax” or “political”, or targeting another age group or another skin color.
“They wish they could go back. But they can’t,” Cobia wrote. “So they thank me and they are going to get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their obituary and say a little prayer that this loss will save more lives.”
Cobia was pregnant when she battled COVID-19 last summer, suffering from a mild fever, sore throat, fatigue, congestion and sneezing. She spent a weekend with other family members – and eight of them eventually tested positive for the virus, including her husband. Most suffered from more severe symptoms than she did, she said.
“The fear I feel for myself and for my unborn baby is bad enough, but the guilt I feel for exposing people who trusted me is what I want to focus on,” had -she wrote in an article on Facebook at the time.
Also in the news:
►Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended that parents follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines calling on all people over 2 to wear masks in school, regardless of their immunization status. Fauci told “CBS This Morning” that the CDC is revising its guidelines calling for only children and unvaccinated adults to wear masks.
►Public health researchers have called the increase in Arkansas cases and hospitalizations a “raging wildfire,” and the state’s senior health official has warned he expects to major epidemics in schools. Only 35% of Arkansans are fully vaccinated.
►Las Vegas employees are now required to wear masks indoors, but the mandate will not be extended to tourists walking the Strip or meeting in casinos, Clark County commissioners have ruled. The new mandate will remain in place at least until August 17.
►Apple has reportedly delayed their return to the office for at least a month until October due to the spread of the delta variant, Bloomberg reported. CEO Tim Cook previously said employees will return to the office three days a week in September.
►A White House official and Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Tested positive for the coronavirus after attending an event together, a White House official confirmed. Both were fully vaccinated.
Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 34.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 609,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 191 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. More than 161.4 million Americans – 48.6% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
What we read: Amid fears over COVID cases in Congress, the White House and public health experts are calling for vaccinations.
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Lambda variant arrives in Texas, may not be as transmissible as Delta
A Houston-area hospital reported its first case of the lambda variant of the coronavirus, but public health experts say the variant is unlikely to settle in the United States in the same way as the delta variant. Dr S. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic biology at Houston Methodist, said the variant does not appear to be as easily transmitted as the delta variant. Lambda first spread to Peru; in the United States, fewer than 700 sequenced cases have been identified. While it has similar mutations to other variants that have raised concerns, it is not spreading globally in a way that should raise the same alarm.
“I know there is a lot of interest in the lambda, but I think people really need to focus on the delta,” Long said. “More importantly, regardless of the variant, our best defense against all of these variants is vaccination. “
– Ryan miller
The United States will maintain the closure of the Mexican and Canadian borders until August 21
The United States will continue to restrict non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada by land and ferry at least until August 21, according to documents that will be published in the Federal Register. Previous border restrictions were due to end on Thursday. Travelers from Canada and Mexico can still enter the United States by air with proof of a negative COVID test or COVID recovery. The borders were first closed to leisure travelers in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The restrictions have since been extended on a monthly basis.
Canada announced Monday that it will reopen its borders to U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated permanent residents on August 9, with plans to allow fully vaccinated travelers from any country on September 7.
– Bailey Schulz and Morgan Hines
Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be less effective against delta variant
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective as those using mRNA technology, according to a new study. The study, published by bioRxiv, indicates that the 13 million people who received the vaccine may need to receive a second dose, ideally the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Although the study has not been peer reviewed or published, the results align with studies of the AstraZeneca vaccine which conclude that one dose of the vaccine is 33% effective against symptomatic Delta variant disease and 60% against the variant after the second dose. . The results contradict studies published by Johnson & Johnson which say that a single dose of their vaccine is effective against the variant.
“The message we wanted to get across was not that people shouldn’t be getting the J. & J. vaccine, but we hope that in the future it will be boosted with another dose of J. & J. or a boost with Pfizer or Moderna, ”Nathaniel Landau, a virologist at the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University who led the study, told The New York Times.
FEMA funeral assistance funds not easy to claim
Americans who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 can request up to $ 9,000 for funeral assistance, but some are struggling to get the money. More than $ 710 million has so far been distributed to 107,000 people. But some applicants said they had difficulty proving to FEMA that their relative had died from COVID if another cause of death, such as an underlying illness like heart disease or diabetes, was on the certificate. of deaths – especially during the first days of the pandemic during testing. was limited. FEMA says it’s streamlining paperwork, but Kalpana Kpoto says she submitted documents three times to the FEMA website after her mother passed away last year. Her documents were eventually approved, but she didn’t see any money.
“I’m still waiting,” Kpoto said, “It’s a process.”
– Desiree Williams
Life expectancy in the United States registers the biggest drop since World War II
The United States has seen the biggest one-year drop in life expectancy since World War II during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hispanic and black populations have seen the biggest declines, data shows government released on Wednesday.
Life expectancy at birth fell from 1.5 years in 2020 to 77.3 – the lowest level since 2003, according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1942 and 1943, during World War II, life expectancy in the United States declined by 2.9 years.
“The numbers are devastating,” said Chantel Martin, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “The declines that we are seeing, particularly among the Hispanic and non-Hispanic black population, are massive.”
Health experts have said the data on life expectancy is further evidence of the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color.
Deaths from COVID-19 contributed about 74% of the decline in life expectancy in the general population of the United States, according to the data. Another 11% of the decline can be attributed to an increase in deaths from accidents or unintentional injuries, including drug overdose deaths. Read more here.
– Grace Hauck
Contribution: The Associated Press