Category : Health & Medicine

(Bloomberg) Pandemic Gets Increasingly Local as U.S. Cases Keep Dropping

U.S. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are receding from recent highs, but discrete outbreaks are still raging in places such as the Texas-Mexico border and parts of Alabama. The pattern provides a preview of how the pandemic may look during the months to come.

The seven-day average of Covid-19 cases fell to 167,240, the lowest since Dec. 2, according to Covid Tracking Project data. For the first time since October, no state had more than 1,000 average daily cases per million residents, the data show.

But even as the U.S. enters its latest downswing and the vaccination push expands, the country is still a long way from herd immunity and there are dangerous hot spots across the country. Among the worst were Pennsylvania’s Forest County, where a prison outbreak has led to soaring cases; an Alabama county in the lower Appalachians; and a swath of border towns near Laredo, Texas.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(Bloomberg Businessweek) An Economist’s Guide to the World in 2050

Who really won the Cold War? Maybe China.

In 1972, Cold War logic pushed President Richard Nixon into an unlikely alliance with Mao Zedong—bringing China back into the mainstream of the world economy. In 1991, the collapse of the Soviet Union encouraged “end of history” hubris that blinded the West to the consequences of China’s rise.

Fast forward to 2020 and China has emerged as a major global power, its single-party rule and state-dominated economy the cause of alarm in foreign capitals—and pride in Beijing. By 2035, Bloomberg Economics forecasts, China will have overtaken the U.S. to become the world’s biggest economy and perhaps also its most powerful political actor.

China’s rise is just one part of a larger shift that’s already under way and looks set to accelerate in the decades ahead.

Bloomberg Economics has used a growth accounting framework—adding up the contributions of labor, capital and productivity—to forecast potential GDP through 2050 for 39 countries, from the U.S. to Ghana. We’ve used that data to map some of the key geographic and political shifts in store for the world economy.

The results suggest that a remarkable period of stability, stretching from the end of World War II through to the early 21st century, is coming to an end. The center of economic gravity is shifting from West to East, from advanced economies to emerging markets, from free markets to state controls and from established democracies to authoritarian and populist rulers. The transition is already upending global politics, economics and markets. This is just the beginning.

Much could happen to throw our projections off track. The Covid crisis is demonstrating how pandemics can reconfigure the global economic map. Wars, natural disasters and financial meltdowns can do the same. So could policy choices on globalization and climate change. Still, absent a crystal ball, forecasts of potential growth provide the most reliable basis for thinking about the long term.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., China, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Church Times) Hospital chaplains at the core of coronavirus care

The coronavirus has swept away any idea that chaplains are optional extras or “genteel outsiders”, the president of the College of Healthcare Chaplains, Dr Simon Harrison, has said.

“In the first wave of the virus, there was a bit of the ‘Perhaps the chaplaincy should stay away for a bit until we get over this,’” Dr Harrison, who is also lead chaplain at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said on Monday. “That has long passed.”

Staff support is significantly more embedded into the infrastructure, to the extent that some trusts have newly recruited dedicated staff chaplains.

The impact of the virus on chaplaincy teams themselves has also heightened the sense of being part of the hospital team. All were now hands-on and very busy, Dr Harrison said.

“There is a lot of fatigue and ongoing anxiety among chaplains, but collegiality is at an all-time high. Staff support feels like the direction of travel for so many more.”

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Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper) Hospitals pick up Covid19 vaccination efforts in SC, but available doses can’t meet demand

Nearly all of South Carolina’s 750 long-term care facilities will be visited by pharmacists by month’s end to offer COVID-19 vaccine shots to residents most vulnerable to dying of the disease, health officials said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, hospitals are stepping up their efforts to vaccinate everyone else eligible in the first phase — which newly includes several thousand parents of medically fragile children — even as appointments for doses continue to exceed statewide supply.

Gov. Henry McMaster has warned repeatedly this week that if hospitals don’t get doses in arms faster, he’ll suspend their money-making elective surgeries so they can focus their efforts on vaccine distribution. As of Tuesday, major hospitals had more than 50,000 doses left on hand to administer.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, State Government

(Church Times) Funeral directors speak of physical and mental exhaustion

Funeral directors in the UK have spoken of the “heartbreak” of watching hundreds of mourners grieve alone, and of their own physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion under an unprecedented workload, as deaths from the coronavirus continue to rise at catastrophic rates.

The Assistant Curate of St Peter’s, Stockton-on-Tees, and St John’s, Elton, in Durham diocese, the Revd Daniel Ackerley, has experienced all sides of the crisis. He has just been through a family bereavement. He is also the principal funeral director at John Duckworth Funeral Directors, in Sunderland.

“The last months have been the toughest and most challenging yet in my ten years as a funeral director,” he said. “Throughout the pandemic, funeral workers have gone about their vital work supporting the bereaved and taking care of those who have died, often with very little recognition.”

He, like many of his colleagues, had undertaken “record numbers of funerals” over the past nine months, all under the strain of meeting strict government limitations.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper front page) To ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations, South Carolina expands who can give the shots

South Carolina is expanding who’s allowed to give COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to get shots into arms faster amid escalating frustrations with the state’s slow rollout.

A pair of major hospitals say they could vaccinate up to 10,000 people a day — three times more than their current capacity — with added help to administer shots as shipments ramp up.

Meanwhile, the state’s public health agency is giving up on contact tracing of those infected after becoming overwhelmed with a sharp rise in COVID cases.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, State Government

An Announcement from Saint John’s, Johns Island about how they are proceeding given the Covid19 situation in South Carolina

A message from Fr. Greg. Please watch.

Posted by St. John's Parish Church on Saturday, January 9, 2021

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

(Bloomberg) USA Covid Hospitalizations on Cusp of First Decline in Months

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients was roughly flat in the U.S. this week, and likely will begin declining for the first time since September.

The numbers are now dropping compared with a week earlier in both the Northeast and Midwest, according to the Covid Tracking Project. In the West, they were up 0.8%, the least since Oct. 1 on a percentage basis. The South has the most alarming momentum, with an increase of 4.2% from seven days earlier.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(AJ) Edmonton church avoids COVID-19 outbreak after presence of infected person at service

The person contacted the church as soon as they found out they had tested positive. They also provided to AHS a complete account of where they had been and who they had been near, after which AHS contacted the church and investigated the person’s potential contacts there—speaking with people, going through the worship service step-by-step and asking questions about the configuration of the chancel and nave and other details pertinent to the service.

As per instructions given to the church by AHS, Key, the church’s musical director and five choristers all self-isolated for 14 days, and then got tested for COVID-19. The person who had tested positive also followed all AHS’s protocols. By Oct. 27, all the tests had come back negative.

“This is wonderful news and is perhaps one of the only times we ALL wanted to FAIL a test (though we are all still required to isolate until November 2nd),” Key wrote in her Facebook update.

AHS had advised the church, Key added, that no one besides these people were considered to have been in close contact with the person who tested positive, so that there was no need for the rest of the congregation to self-isolate.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

(NYT) Tribal Elders Are Dying From the Pandemic, Causing a Cultural Crisis for American Indians

The virus took Grandma Delores first, silencing an 86-year-old voice that rang with Lakota songs and stories. Then it came for Uncle Ralph, a stoic Vietnam veteran. And just after Christmas, two more elders of the Taken Alive family were buried on the frozen North Dakota prairie: Jesse and Cheryl, husband and wife, who died a month apart.

“It takes your breath away,” said Ira Taken Alive, the couple’s oldest son. “The amount of knowledge they held, and connection to our past.”

One by one, those connections are being severed as the coronavirus tears through ranks of Native American elders, inflicting an incalculable toll on bonds of language and tradition that flow from older generations to the young.

“It’s like we’re having a cultural book-burning,” said Jason Salsman, a spokesman for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in eastern Oklahoma, whose grandparents contracted the virus but survived. “We’re losing a historical record, encyclopedias. One day soon, there won’t be anybody to pass this knowledge down.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine

(C of E) Chaplain mobilises churches and community to identify more than 1,000 over 80s for Covid-19 vaccination

The Revd Andy Dovey, Lead for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in south London, reached out to churches and faith groups in the area to raise awareness of the availability of the vaccine.

It came as NHS teams across the country booked appointments for the most vulnerable people in our society, including those over 80 who were already coming in to hospital for outpatient appointments,

“The response has been amazing,” he said.

“I am really grateful to the community of churches that have pulled together to support our congregations in these difficult times.”

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Can the Church of England survive Covid?

In those parishes that have actively sought new ventures and parishioners, the Church of England is prospering. In Rural Ainsty, a country parish in North Yorkshire, the Reverend Richard Battersby says, ‘We have a thriving Sunday morning worship – as many and more as before lockdown. I pray with more parishioners in the morning and evening than ever before.’

Where, previously, he took separate services in four villages, they now worship together online, with Zoom services unifying the different churches. ‘They’d never worshipped together before,’ says Battersby. ‘Faith has been made more intense by the pandemic. People on their laptops can actually contribute to the service. Someone from the Congo recently contributed.’

He’s had to deal, too, with coronavirus funerals. ‘We’ve had to come up with ways that families could mourn in the right way. After the first lockdown, we could have a service for those interring ashes, who couldn’t attend a proper funeral during lockdown.’

In Battersby’s parish, the congregation’s contributions have even gone up. He talks about the Church being ‘shocked into new ways of being’ by the pandemic. ‘Churches that explored an online presence have done pretty well and have seen exponential growth,’ he says. ‘Churches that were struggling before have seen an accelerated demise. The willingness of the church leader to adopt new technology from a theological or sacramental point is crucial.’

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Guardian) London Mayor Khan urges PM Johnson to close places of worship as Covid cases surge

Places of worship in the capital should shut immediately because of the risks of Covid infection, Sadiq Khan has said, amid signs that churches, mosques and synagogues are already closing their doors.

In a letter to the prime minister setting out his reasons for declaring a major incident in London, the mayor urged Boris Johnson to order places of worship to close, among other measures to tackle the crisis.

Under the lockdown restrictions, places of worship in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are permitted to remain open. The Scottish government has ordered them closed.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT front page) A Snaking Line to No Vaccine: Florida’s Big Rollout Sputters

Linda Kleindienst Bruns registered for a coronavirus vaccine in late December, on the first day the health department in Tallahassee, Fla., opened for applications for people her age. Despite being 72, with her immune system suppressed by medication that keeps her breast cancer in remission, she spent days waiting to hear back about an appointment.

“It’s so disorganized,” she said. “I was hoping the system would be set up so there would be some sort of logic to it.”

Phyllis Humphreys, 76, waited with her husband last week in a line of cars in Clermont, west of Orlando, that spilled onto Highway 27. They had scrambled into their car and driven 22 miles after receiving an automated text message saying vaccine doses were available. But by 9:43 a.m., the site had reached capacity and the Humphreys went home with no shots.

“We’re talking about vaccinations,” said Ms. Humphreys, a retired critical care nurse. “We are not talking about putting people in Desert Storm.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, State Government

(NYT front page) The World Stumbles in Frantic Race to Subdue the Ever-Changing Covid19 virus

Britain has one of the most aggressive surveillance regimens, analyzing up to 10 percent of samples that test positive for the virus. But few countries have such robust systems in place. The United States sequences less than 1 percent of its positive samples. And others cannot hope to afford the equipment or build such networks in time for this pandemic.

In Brazil, labs that had redirected their attention from Zika to the coronavirus had discovered a worrisome mutation there as early as this spring. But little is known about the variants circulating in the country, or how quickly they are spreading.

“We just don’t know because no one is either sequencing or sharing the data,” said Dr. Nuno Faria at Imperial College and Oxford University who coordinates genomic sequencing projects with colleagues in Brazil. “Genomic surveillance is expensive.”

As the virus continues to mutate, other significant variants will almost certainly emerge. And those that make the virus hardier, or more contagious, will be more likely to spread, Dr. Read said.

“The faster we can get the vaccines out, the faster we can get on top of these variants,” he said. “There’s no room for complacency here.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(CNBC) Pfizer vaccine appears to neutralize a key mutation of Covid variants found in UK, South Africa

A coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to be effective against a key mutation in the more infectious variants of the virus discovered in the U.K. and South Africa, according to a study conducted by the U.S. pharmaceutical giant.

It comes as countries scramble to contain the variants that are significantly more transmissible, with public health experts anxious about the potential impact on inoculation efforts.

The research, published Thursday on preprint server bioRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed, suggested the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine worked to neutralize the so-called N501Y mutation.

The N501Y mutation has been reported in the more infectious variants. It is altering an amino acid within six key residues in the receptor-binding domain — a key part of the spike protein that the virus uses to gain entry into cells within the body.

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Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, South Africa

(Local Paper) South Carolina confirms nearly 3,600 more coronavirus cases as experts warn against Christmas travel

Nearly 3,600 South Carolinians tested positive for COVID-19, authorities announced Wednesday, worrying the experts who’ve warned against holiday travel and gatherings.

The state has only surpassed 3,000 cases per day a couple times, but authorities have warned that another surge in cases could come two weeks after the holidays.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has urged Palmetto State residents to stay home for Christmas, modify holiday traditions using Zoom or sticking to single-household celebrations. Those who choose to attend gatherings should get tested and avoid traveling with others if possible.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government, Theology

(EF) Spain legalises euthanasia

The Spanish Parliament has approved the first euthanasia law in the country on 17 December.

The rule, promoted by the Social Democrat government party, PSOE, received 198 votes in favour, 138 against and 2 abstentions. Spain becomes the fourth country in Europe and the sixth worldwide to legalise euthanasia, after the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada and New Zealand.

The law was approvedafter several attempts in which the Parliament voted against it. The government coalition of PSOE and leftist party Unidas Podemos, along with the deputies of liberal party Ciudadanos, leftist party Más País, Catalonian parties ERC, CUP and Junts per Catalunya, Basque parties PNV and EH Bildu, and Galician party BNG, all voted in favour.

The conservative parties PP and UPN and far-right Vox voted against it. Vox has announced that they will file an appeal of unconstitutionality against the text.

The law, which has yet to be approved by the Senate, although it is expected to do so, could come into force in the first months of 2021.

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Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Spain, Theology

(Barna) 3 Insights to Help Pastors Care for Their Church This Season

Barna data show that pastors across the U.S. feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to caring for their church members during crisis. In a year that has been marked by uncertainty, distance and trauma, pastors are likely facing even greater pressure to support and guide their people—perhaps while their own mental and emotional well-being are also suffering.

As a difficult year comes to a close and a challenging holiday season continues, let’s examine findings from three recent Barna studies that could help pastors as they think through caring for their congregants—and themselves—during crisis.

Most pastors agree that trauma is an issue the Church should address, but many church leaders have had little to no training in the way of trauma care. Data from Barna’s recent report created in partnership with American Bible Society—Trauma in America—show that the majority of Protestant pastors (73%) indicates they feel “somewhat” equipped to help someone in their congregation who may be dealing with significant trauma. Only one in seven (15%) feels “very” well-equipped, while 12 percent do not feel equipped at all.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(NYT front page) They’re Under 25 and Jobless, And Their Prospects Are Bleak

Young and eager, Harry Rosado never had trouble finding a job.

Fresh out of high school, he was hired as a sales associate in Midtown Manhattan at Journeys and then at Zumiez, two fashion stores popular with young shoppers. He moved on to Uncle Jack’s Meat House in Queens, where he earned up to $300 a week as a busboy.

Then Mr. Rosado, 23, was laid off in March when the steakhouse shut down because of the pandemic. He was called back after the steakhouse reopened, but business was slow. In August, he was out of work again.

New York City has been hit harder by the economic crisis set off by the pandemic than most other major American cities.

But no age group has had it worse than young workers. By September, 19 percent of adults under 25 in the city had lost jobs compared with 14 percent of all workers, according to James Parrott, the director of economic and fiscal policy at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Young Adults

(Bloomberg) Millions of Renters Are Fighting to Stay Housed as Evictions Near

Mari Finkley has already been homeless once during the pandemic. For two weeks in October, she lived out of her Dodge Journey with her dog and 11-year-old godson. The 29-year-old found a new place, and fresh hope. But she’s behind on her rent again.

Finkley was pushed out of her Gainesville, Fla., home by her previous landlord after she stopped driving for Uber and fell behind on the rent. She suffers from severe asthma, and her doctor warned her the job put her at high risk for exposure to Covid-19.

“Are you going to risk potentially dying just to pay a bill?” Finkley says. “But if you don’t pay the bill you’re going to be homeless. You have to literally decide what’s worse.”

Finkley is a member of a burgeoning class of long-term underemployed and unemployed Americans who have slipped into poverty during the pandemic. Many of them are renters teetering on the verge of homelessness, even as large swaths of the U.S. economy have rebounded and coronavirus vaccines raise hopes for a brighter 2021….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance

(NPR Shots blog) Vaccines Are Coming, But The U.S. Still Needs More Testing To Stop The Surge

The nation is at a pivotal moment in the fight against the pandemic. Vaccines are finally starting to roll out, but the virus is spreading faster than ever — and killing thousands of Americans daily. And it will be months before enough people get inoculated to stop it.

That means it’s critical to continue the measures that can limit the toll: mask-wearing, hunkering down, hand-washing and testing and contact tracing.

“Vaccines will not obviate the need for testing any time soon,” says Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown School of Public Health. “It doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. The virus will not be gone.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Local Paper) MUSC’s Mark Scheurer– I’m a doctor; but my decision whether to get vaccinated went beyond science

I got vaccinated because I believe in the science that created it, while acknowledging the limitations that any study or research endeavor bears.

I got vaccinated because I believe it will make it safer for me to come home to my family and not harm them or others in the community.

I got vaccinated because I believe it is a very very small, but necessary step that many of us will take as citizens to help our society stabilize and move forward to the work ahead.

I got vaccinated because, as my father would likely say, I was fortunate enough to have the option.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Bloomberg) Moderna Shot Cleared in U.S., Ready for Delivery Starting Sunday

Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine was cleared by U.S. regulators, the second vaccine to gain emergency authorization this month as a historic mass immunization effort ramps up across the country.

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to grant the authorization Friday for the shot’s use among adults means that two of the six vaccine candidates identified by Operation Warp Speed are now available to the public, a feat accomplished in less than one year. Shots from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson that have also received U.S

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NYT) F.D.A. Panel Endorses Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna moved closer to authorization on Thursday, a significant step that would expand the reach of the nation’s vaccination campaign to rural areas and many more hospitals.

As the nation buckled from uncontrolled spread of the disease, with 3,611 deaths on Wednesday setting yet another horrific record, a panel of independent experts recommended, by a vote of 20 in favor and one abstention, that the Food and Drug Administration authorize the Moderna vaccine for emergency use. The formal decision, expected on Friday, would clear the way for some 5.9 million doses to be shipped around the country starting this weekend.

Moderna would be the second company allowed to begin inoculating the public, giving millions more Americans access to desperately needed vaccine. The first, made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, received authorization last week.

The Moderna vaccine can be distributed more widely because it can be stored at normal freezer temperatures and, unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, does not require ultracold storage. It also comes in much smaller batches, making it easier for hospitals in less populated areas to use quickly.

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Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NPR) ER Doctor Says He Walks Into A ‘War Zone’ Every Day

The pandemic has created multiple crises for health care workers.

Hospitals are stretched thin — in beds, but more so in staffing. In Yuma, Ariz., where Gilman works, about half of the county’s hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. That level is a “nightmare” scenario for staff, as one health researcher recently described it.

Then health workers have to worry about getting sick with COVID-19 themselves. More than 1,400 health care workers have already died, according to one count by The Guardian and Kaiser Health News.

And there’s also mental health strain. Researchers expect many of those working now to be at enhanced risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Physicians are already at higher-than-average risk of suicide, with one analysis putting the number at about 300 to 400 dying by suicide per year in the U.S., or about one per day.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

FT People of the Year: BioNTech’s Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci

For Dr Sahin and Dr Tureci — whose insistence that the technology they have helped develop could herald a medical revolution was once dismissed as “science fiction” — the successful coronavirus vaccine has provided as much vindication as relief.

The couple, who between them have authored hundreds of academic papers, filed hundreds of patents, founded two non-profit organisations and two billion-euro businesses, faced scepticism from much of the medical establishment right up until this year.

The groundwork that led to their breakthrough was laid over several decades, in which the two softly-spoken researchers were forced to move out of the comfort zone of their labs and to become entrepreneurs, educators and evangelists.

After meeting as trainee doctors on a blood cancer ward in south-west Germany in the early 1990s, the couple discovered that they shared similar backgrounds — both sets of parents had migrated from Turkey in search of economic opportunity. They also realised that their core interest was not in purely academic science, but in applied science.

“First and foremost, we are physicians,” says Dr Tureci, who ran the duo’s first company, Ganymed, and is chief medical officer at BioNTech.

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Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Germany, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Turkey

Bishop of Durham on the urgent action needed to tackle poverty in the pandemic

Living standards for low income families have worsened since the summer amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the findings of a new report by the Church of England Child Poverty Action Group. The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, writes about how urgent action is needed to tackle poverty and destitution.

At times like this, when nearly everyone is struggling in some way, it is tempting to turn in on ourselves, as individuals and as a nation. We saw this during the first lockdown when people stock-piled essential supplies and in the recent decision to reduce the UK’s foreign aid budget.

Fortunately, though, the overwhelming response to the pandemic has been to reach out generously to those in need through the spontaneous emergence of local mutual aid schemes across the country, alongside countless everyday acts of kindness and neighbourliness.

The call to ‘remember the poor’ runs through the Bible. The ‘Poverty in the Pandemic’ report that we are publishing today with the Child Poverty Action Group is a modern-day call to remember the poor. Based on a survey of nearly 700 low-income families with children, it offers a stark insight into the experiences of these families, many of whom have seen their lives turned upside down by the pandemic. This year has been a difficult one for many of us, but these challenges are a lot harder when you are short of money.

Sudden loss of earnings, increased living costs, navigating a complex benefits system, falling into debt – these are just some of the challenges facing families during the crisis. Financial worries are adding considerably to the pressures on families, pushing many of them to breaking point….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper front page) Conway Medical gives 1st FDA-authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina

Tucked away in a conference room on the second floor of the Conway Medical Center, Dr. Stephen T. Brady initially joked that he wasn’t going to look as Jennifer VanAernem stuck a needle in his left arm — representing the first FDA-authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doled out in Horry County and across South Carolina on Monday afternoon.

But Dr. Brady didn’t take his eyes off his arm — that needle represented history and, more importantly, hope.

“People have pandemic fatigue, isolation fatigue, plus it is incredibly emotional for families to make the decision not to be together during the holidays,” Dr. Brady said. “The only problem is that you have to realize that not being together for this holiday may mean that you have many more in the future with those relatives to be with.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

(NYT front page) ‘A Shot of Hope’: What the Vaccine Is Like for Frontline Doctors and Nurses

As Dr. Rishi Seth rolled up his left sleeve on Monday to receive one of the United States’ first Covid-19 vaccines, he thought of his patients back in the Special Care Unit.

There was the Uber driver who had walked out of the hospital after being on a ventilator. The dying father who said goodbye to his two college-age daughters on a video chat. The four coronavirus patients Dr. Seth had treated just on Monday morning, checking their oxygen levels and reviewing treatment plans before he stripped off his protective gear and joined a first wave of health care workers to get vaccinated in hospitals across the country.

“That’s why today is so emotional,” said Dr. Seth, an internal-medicine physician with Sanford Health in North Dakota, a state that has been ravaged by the virus. “You’re still fighting a battle, but you’re starting to see the horizon.”

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Posted in Health & Medicine