Category : Health & Medicine

(NYT) Shanghai Seethes in Covid Lockdown, Posing Test to China’s Leadership

Parents have organized petitions, imploring the government not to separate children infected with the coronavirus from their families. Patients have demanded to speak with higher-ups about shoddy conditions at isolation facilities. Residents have confronted officials over containment policies that they see as unfair or inhumane, then shared recordings of those arguments online.

As the coronavirus races through Shanghai, in the city’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began, the authorities have deployed their usual hard-nosed playbook to try and stamp out transmission, no matter the cost. What has been different is the response: an outpouring of public dissatisfaction rarely seen in China since the chaotic early days of the pandemic, in Wuhan.

The crisis in Shanghai is shaping up to be more than just a public health challenge. It is also a political test of the zero tolerance approach at large, on which the Communist Party has staked its legitimacy.

For much of the past two years, the Chinese government has stifled most domestic criticism of its zero tolerance Covid strategy, through a mixture of censorship, arrests and success at keeping caseloads low. But in Shanghai, which has recorded more than 70,000 cases since March 1, that is proving more difficult.

Read it all.

Posted in China, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(NYT) Covid and Diabetes, Colliding in a Public Health Train Wreck

After an insect bite on his back became infected, David Donner, a retired truck driver in rural Alabama, waited six hours in a packed emergency room with his wife, before coronavirus vaccines were widely available. A few days later, they both began experiencing the telltale symptoms of Covid-19.

Debra Donner quickly recovered, but Mr. Donner, 66, landed in the I.C.U. “The virus barely slowed her down, but I ended up surrounded by nurses in hazmat suits,” he said. His halting recovery has left him dependent on a wheelchair. “I walk 20 feet and I’m huffing and puffing like I ran 20 miles.”

The Donners see little mystery in why they fared so differently: Mr. Donner has diabetes, a chronic disease that hobbles the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and inexorably wreaks havoc on circulation, kidney function and other vital organs.

After older people and nursing home residents, perhaps no group has been harder hit by the pandemic than people with diabetes. Recent studies suggest that 30 to 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the United States have occurred among people with diabetes, a sobering figure that has been subsumed by other grim data from a public health disaster that is on track to claim a million American lives sometime this month.

Read it all.

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

(NYT) Trying to Solve a Covid Mystery: Africa’s Low Death Rates

There are no Covid fears here.

The district’s Covid-19 response center has registered just 11 cases since the start of the pandemic, and no deaths. At the regional hospital, the wards are packed — with malaria patients. The door to the Covid isolation ward is bolted shut and overgrown with weeds. People cram together for weddings, soccer matches, concerts, with no masks in sight.

Sierra Leone, a nation of eight million on the coast of Western Africa, feels like a land inexplicably spared as a plague passed overhead. What has happened — or hasn’t happened — here and in much of sub-Saharan Africa is a great mystery of the pandemic.

The low rate of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths in West and Central Africa is the focus of a debate that has divided scientists on the continent and beyond. Have the sick or dead simply not been counted? If Covid has in fact done less damage here, why is that? If it has been just as vicious, how have we missed it?

The answers “are relevant not just to us, but have implications for the greater public good,” said Austin Demby, Sierra Leone’s health minister, in an interview in Freetown, the capital.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine

(Washington Post) Covid vaccinations — including boosters — fall to lowest levels since 2020

With another pandemic surge possibly on the way, vaccination for the coronavirus in the United States has all but ground to a halt, with initial doses and boosters plummeting to the lowest levels since the program began in late December 2020.

On Wednesday, the seven-day average of vaccinations fell to fewer than 182,000 per day, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. That is lower than at any time since the first days of the program.

The daily total has been in free fall for the past six weeks. On Feb. 10, the nation was averaging more than 692,000 shots a day. Booster shots have been more common than first or second doses since October, and the low rates have long caused concern among some experts.

Now, with authorities bracing for a possible increase in covid-19 cases caused by the BA.2 subvariant, 65.4 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated and just 44 percent have received a booster shot. That is substantially less than the totals in many Western European nations — which nevertheless have seen a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks and months.

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

(NYT) ‘A Frightening Repeat’: Ukrainian World War II Survivors Face Conflict Again

Borys Zabarko was six years old when the Nazis invaded what is now Ukraine in 1941 and his hometown, Sharhorod, became a Jewish ghetto. Women, children and old men slept in packed rooms with no bathrooms or water, he said. As typhus epidemics raged, the ground was too cold to dig graves, and bodies were thrown on top of each other. Mr. Zabarko’s father and uncle, who fought with the Soviet army, died in combat.

After the liberation, Mr. Zabarko said he became convinced that nothing like that would ever happen again.

Now 86, he spent a recent night in the freezing train station in Lviv, in the west of Ukraine, standing on a crowded platform, as he tried to get on a train to escape another war.

“It’s a frightening repeat,” he said by phone from Nuremberg, Germany, where he fled with his 17-year-old granddaughter, Ilona, before eventually settling in Stuttgart. “Again, we have this murderous war.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, History, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Russia, Ukraine

(NPR) As a nurse faces prison for a deadly error, her colleagues worry: Could I be next?

Four years ago, inside the most prestigious hospital in Tennessee, nurse RaDonda Vaught withdrew a vial from an electronic medication cabinet, administered the drug to a patient and somehow overlooked signs of a terrible and deadly mistake.

The patient was supposed to get Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient’s breathing and left her brain-dead before the error was discovered.

Vaught, 38, admitted her mistake at a Tennessee Board of Nursing hearing last year, saying she became “complacent” in her job and “distracted” by a trainee while operating the computerized medication cabinet. She did not shirk responsibility for the error, but she said the blame was not hers alone.

“I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me,” Vaught said, starting to cry. “There won’t ever be a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(Economist) Why loafing can be work–Daydreaming, promenading and zoning out pay rich dividends

….time to muse is valuable in virtually every role. To take one example, customer-service representatives can be good sources of ideas on how to improve a company’s products, but they are often rated on how well they adhere to a schedule of fielding calls. Reflection is not part of the routine.

The post-pandemic rethink of work is focused on “when” and “where” questions. Firms are experimenting with four-day workweeks as a way to improve retention and avoid burnout. Asynchronous working is a way for individuals to collaborate at times that suit them. Lots of thought is going into how to make a success of hybrid work.

The “what is work” question gets much less attention. The bias towards familiar forms of activity is deeply entrenched. But if you see a colleague meandering through the park or examining the ceiling for hours, don’t assume that work isn’t being done. What looks like idleness may be the very moment when serendipity strikes.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Washington Post) Ukraine conflict could spark surges of covid, polio, other diseases, say experts

But as more than half a million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, global health officials fear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be the latest reminder of a grim lesson — that war and disease are close companions, and the humanitarian and refugee crises now unfolding in Eastern Europe will lead to long-lasting health consequences, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

As Russia’s military campaign accelerates, Ukraine’s hospitals are running out of critical medical supplies as travel is increasingly choked off by the conflict. The country’s health workers and patients are relocating to makeshift shelters, seeking to escape explosions. Meanwhile, officials at the World Health Organization, United Nations, U.S. State Department and other organizations warn of rising civilian casualties and new pressures on the region’s fragile health-care systems.

“What we’re dealing with now in Ukraine is a double crisis,” said Máire Connolly, a global health professor at the National University of Ireland Galway who has studied the link between conflict and disease. In an interview, Connolly said she was worried not just about threats from the coronavirus pandemic but also those from Ukraine’s polio outbreak, which global experts had sought to quell for months. She also said she fears the potential resurgence of tuberculosis during the current conflict.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine

(Local Paper) South Carolina DHEC eases COVID-19 school guidance as number of new cases declines

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced it would provide new guidance to help schools and child care centers transition from Test to Stay quarantine and isolation.

“Our updated guidance recognizes that COVID-19 is an illness that we now need to treat and manage as endemic, and will help our schools, child care centers, and ultimately all of us make that transition,” Dr. Edward Simmer, director of the state health agency, said. “It also allows us to respond quickly should another surge or impactful new variant arise.”

According to DHEC, the guidance resembles pre-COVID-19 guidance for influenza, allowing schools and child care centers to suspend Test to Stay or quarantine once they have had two consecutive weeks with less than 10 percent of all students and staff having COVID-19.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Education, Health & Medicine

(CT) Birth Behind Bars: Christians Fight ‘Cruel,’ Outdated Prison Policies

Vanessa Franklin lost her mother, her father, and her husband in a 12-month span. But the grief of their deaths paled in comparison to parting with her three teenage daughters in the same year, 2008, when she went to prison for fraud.

“Being separated from them was worse,” said Franklin, who served four years in Oklahoma.

She couldn’t imagine a deeper hurt until a few years later, when her daughter, Ashley Garrison, was sentenced while pregnant. The 20-year-old went into labor the day she checked into prison.

Garrison had a boy and named him William. She held him for an hour before she was forced to relinquish custody to his father’s family.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Prison/Prison Ministry

(Telegraph) Catherine Pepinster–Justin Welby claims he’s ‘not the Pope’ – but he’s acting like one

Just who does Justin Welby think he is? In an interview this week the Archbishop of Canterbury declared “I am not the Pope”. But to some Anglicans, there was a hint of The Boss in the way he dealt with Covid-19 in the early days, when the Church of England locked down, shutting its doors not only on churchgoers but on its own clerics, banning them from their altars. The evidence was that this came from the top, though he now says not.

But back in March 2020, Archbishop Welby and the then Archbishop of York, John Sentamu wrote to all priests that they were bringing in measures to shut down churches. It meant an end to weddings, funerals, baptisms and Sunday services – the first time that churches in this country had entirely closed their doors since the days of King John. Services went digital with vicars live-streaming from their kitchen tables or rectory studies – and it infuriated many Anglicans. They couldn’t understand why the vicar could not celebrate at the church altar, alone, with that service live-streamed. After all, that was what Roman Catholics were doing – although decisions about worship came from local bishops, not directed by Rome.

The familiar altar table, with its candles, its altar cloth, and glimpses of the much-loved nave where countless generations had worshipped down the years – all these were banished and invisible for months at a time when they might have brought comfort to those at home.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NPR) If you’re finding this stage of the pandemic especially confusing, you’re not alone

The omicron surge is declining fast in the U.S. One state after another is lifting their mask mandates.

But more than 175,000 people are still catching the virus, and more than 2,200 people are still dying from COVID-19, every day. And federal officials say it’s too soon to loosen restrictions.

Is your head spinning? Are you feeling anxious?

It’s not surprising, according to psychologists, sociologists and medical anthropologists.

“It’s very confusing,” says Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago. “You wake up in the morning and and you wonder: ‘Maybe we are over it and no one told me.’ Or maybe: ‘It’s terrible and I should not do my shopping in person.’ ”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(NPR Shots Blog) In rural America, patients are waiting for care — sometimes with deadly consequences

It had only been about six months since Katie Ripley finished radiation therapy for Stage 4 breast cancer. But now the 33-year-old was back in the hospital. This time, it wasn’t cancer – she was still in remission – but she’d come down with a nasty respiratory infection.

It wasn’t COVID, but her immune defenses had been weakened by the cancer treatments, and the infection had developed into pneumonia.

By the time Ripley made it to Gritman Medical Center, the local hospital in Moscow, Idaho, on January 6, her condition was deteriorating quickly. The illness had started affecting her liver and kidneys.

Her father, Kai Eiselein, remembers the horror of that night, when he learned she needed specialized ICU care.

“The hospital here didn’t have the facilities for what she needed,” he says. “And no beds were available anywhere.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine

The Bp of Gloucester’s Message for Children’s Mental Health week

Last week I was delighted to visit Cotswold School with Lucy Taylor (Diocesan Director of Communications and Engagement) to discuss our Liedentity work and to make plans for a future visit. It was good to hear of all that the school have put in place regarding mental health and I’m looking forward to making a podcast on the issue next month which will involve some of the students at the school.

Also last week I heard the story from a speaker in another diocese, of a young person with many struggles in her life. Someone rather tentatively invited her to a church youth event where she heard about Jesus Christ for the first time and at the end of it expressed some anger and frustration. This was not because of the event, but because she couldn’t understand why no one had told her of this good news before.

That is a sobering challenge for all of us who are adults. It is not an issue simply to be placed at the feet of youth ministers or Christian teenagers, teachers or parents, but rather I believe it is something God longs for each of us to hear and to respond to with lament, hope, action and prayer.

In LIFE Together in this diocese, local stories have resulted in the shining of a spotlight on ‘Investing in people and programmes which excite young people to explore and grow in faith’.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine, Psychology

A Heartbreaking BBC report from Sierra Leone on the proliferatioin there of Kush – a cheap new illegal drug

The BBC has heard reports of young people killing themselves or harming themselves and others.

Medical staff in the capital Freetown say that 90% of the male admissions to the central psychiatric ward are due to Kush use.

Police are battling to win the war against the drug.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Sierra Leone

(RNS) Streaming online has been a boon for churches, a godsend for isolated

For a small church, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, has a surprising reach.

Most church members live in and around Downingtown, a small town about an hour west of Philadelphia. Some live as far away as Bermuda.

“But that’s one of the beauties that has come out of the pandemic,” Downingtown pastor Ivy Berry said. “We can meet in the sanctuary, but still maintain a worship presence via Zoom and on Facebook Live, so members who may not be able to travel to the sanctuary can still receive the same worship service.”

A report on churches and technology during the pandemic found that by offering online services, churches were able to expand their reach, often connecting with people outside their community or reconnecting with former members who had moved away. Even small congregations that had once struggled to reach outside the walls of the church were able to expand their reach, according to “When Pastors Put on the ‘Tech Hat,” a report from the Tech in Churches research project, led by Heidi Campbell, professor of communication at Texas A&M University.

“With the shift online, churches were shocked to discover the ways that an online service can become a wide-reaching net to whoever is interested in tuning in or watching,” according to researchers. “One pastor described this widening reach and shift as ‘shut-ins being no longer shut out.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(CT) Syntyche D. Dahou–French’s Two Words for ‘Hope’ Helped Me Endure the Pandemic

Unlike English, which uses the word hope broadly, the French language uses two words that derive from the word espérer (to hope): espoir and espérance. Both can first refer to something hoped for. In this sense, the word espoir usually refers to an uncertain object; that is, someone who hopes for something in this way does not have the certainty that it will happen (“I hope the weather will be nice tomorrow”). On the other hand, espérance describes what, rightly or wrongly, is hoped for or expected with certainty. It often refers to a philosophical or eschatological object (“I hope in the goodness of human beings”; “I hope for the return of Jesus Christ”).

When we speak of espoir or espérance, we then have in mind different types of objects hoped for. This difference matters, because both terms also commonly refer to the state of mind that characterizes the hopeful. And this state of mind will be different precisely according to the object hoped for.

Having espoir for an uncertain yet better future in these difficult times may be a good thing, but it is not enough. Such hope can be disappointed and easily fade away when our wishes and expectations (our hopes) do not materialize.

The opposite is true with espérance, which is deeper than our desire and wish for an end to a crisis or a future without pain and suffering. To face the trials of life, we need peace and joy in our hearts that come from expecting certain happiness. This is what espérance is: a profound and stable disposition resulting from faith in the coming of what we expect. In this sense, it is similar in meaning to the English word hopefulness.

Read it all.

Posted in Eschatology, France, Health & Medicine, Theology

(Prospect) Alice Goodman–Clerical life: Curing clergy burnout

The model and justification of most holidays taken by clergy is Jesus’s custom of going to a deserted place to pray. “He did it: you should too.” From the earliest centuries, Christianity had its contemplative side; these stories are its foundation.

Before that, though, there’s the account of the flight of the Prophet Elijah from the vengeance of Jezebel in the 19th chapter of the first book of Kings. This is the model of clergy burnout. An angel gives him a hot cake baked on a stone, and lets him sleep. Then, when he wakes, he is offered another cake, and sleeps again. Only after that does he go up to the mountain of God where the Lord speaks to him, not in the sound of gale or earthquake, but in sheer silence, the echoing silence when the wind and the earthquake have passed. In that silence, God tells Elijah that there will be a new king, and also that there will be a new prophet, because more people have been faithful than Elijah is willing to credit.

That’s a favourite story of mine, as is the one told by the reclusive 19th-century Hasidic sage Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, better known as the Kotzker Rebbe. It concerns the sacred goat whose horns reached up to the heavens. As he walked through the world, the goat heard a poor old man crying. “Why do you weep?” asked the goat. “Because I have lost my snuffbox.” “Cut a bit from one of my horns,” said the goat, “Take what you need to make a new one.” You can guess what happened next. There are more poor folk in the world who have lost their snuff boxes than you can count.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

(Local Paper) While pandemic fatigue mounts, South Carolina experts say the end isn’t in sight yet

Twenty-three long months after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in South Carolina, there’s reason to hope the current surge of the pandemic may be shorter-lived than previous waves.

While omicron continues to ravage the state, an epidemiologist with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control acknowledged this week South Carolina may soon be turning a corner.

“We have begun seeing some incremental decreases in the counts and rates of cases during the surge,” said Brannon Traxler, with DHEC. “While numbers of cases have still been increasing, they’ve been increasing at a lesser rate over the last couple of weeks or so. This is certainly promising.”

Even so, she said, “it may be too early to say that we’ve peaked or are nearing the end of the surge.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

(C of E) How a church bench helped tackle loneliness

Drop-in sessions at a Church of England parish, set up to provide a ‘safe space’ for people feeling anxious or lonely in the wake of the pandemic, have proved so popular that they are being expanded to cater for demand.

‘Ric’s bench’, offering tea, coffee, snacks and a place to chat at St Richard’s parish in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, will be launching a fourth session in response to demand.

Father Chris Brading, Vicar of St Richard’s, said the two-hourly sessions are attracting people of all faiths and none to the church and hall.

Volunteers are coming forward from the church and the wider community, he said. The sessions are about listening, engaging with guests and providing signposting to specialist support if needed.

The ‘Ric’s bench’ title is taken from a bench – actually a pew – preserved from the original ‘tin church’, that was demolished to make way for the current church building in the 1930s.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology

(NYT) Even Low Levels of Soot Can Be Deadly to Older People, Research Finds

Older Americans who regularly breathe even low levels of pollution from smokestacks, automobile exhaust, wildfires and other sources face a greater chance of dying early, according to a major study released Wednesday.

Researchers at the Health Effects Institute, a group that is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency as well as automakers and fossil fuel companies, examined health data from 68.5 million Medicare recipients across the United States. They found that if the federal rules for allowable levels of fine soot had been slightly lower, as many as 143,000 deaths could have been prevented over the course of a decade.

Exposure to fine particulate matter has long been linked to respiratory illness and impaired cognitive development in children. The tiny particles can enter the lungs and bloodstream to affect lung function, exacerbate asthma and trigger heart attacks and other serious illness. Earlier research has found that exposure to particulate matter contributed to about 20,000 deaths a year.

The new study is the first in the United States to document deadly effects of the particulate matter known as PM 2.5 (because its width is 2.5 microns or less) on people who live in rural areas and towns with little industry.

Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Health & Medicine

Your sacrifices have saved lives: London Bishop thanks parishes and public as Covid-19 measures lift

Bishop Sarah, who chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, was speaking as new advice was published by the Church of England ahead of Thursday’s change of national rules.

She said: “When the first measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 were introduced in March 2020, few would have imagined that we would still be making adaptations to the way we live our lives – including our worship – almost two years on.

“It has been a very challenging time.

“People have made huge sacrifices to protect one another – not only those they know and love but strangers they might never meet. We’ve learnt again as society something of what it means to love our neighbour, as Jesus taught.

“And it has certainly not been without cost.

“The loneliness and isolation many have experienced; the impact on people’s mental health; the lost jobs and failed businesses and strained relationships must not be overlooked.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Moms in Middle Age: Rarely Alone, Often Online and Increasingly Lonely

Middle age is a crowded time. It’s also a lonely one. Work and family demands leave little time for nurturing friendships, particularly for women.

Pre-pandemic, conversations about loneliness often centered on men, with talk of a “loneliness epidemic.” But during lockdown, Generation X women, who range in age from 41 to 57 years old, reported the sharpest rise in loneliness, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted in the spring of 2020 by the Roots of Loneliness Project, a research organization. And the increase in social isolation reported by women living with children was also greatest among those from Gen X, according to an unpublished portion of the survey shared with The Wall Street Journal.

For women feeling burned out from holding family life and work together, social media has typically been the most convenient place to vent and seek connection. But going online has surfaced feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, many say.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Women

(Plough) Erika J. Ahern–Divorce Wrecks Children’s Lives Too

Just after Christmas 2021, Honor Jones, a senior editor at the Atlantic, published “How I Demolished My Life: A Home-Improvement Story.” It’s a self-portrait of a mother who, while wrangling with kitchen renovation plans, decides she doesn’t want a new kitchen.

She wants a divorce.

Jones spends the next three thousand perfectly manicured words trying to justify her decision to break up her family. She displays all the self-congratulatory bravado of middle-aged white women who read Henrik Ibsen’s Doll’s House or Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray for a high school literature class and then imagine themselves forever in the role of Brave Protestor of Victorian Oppression.

Jones describes her marriage, which produced three children who are still young, as her cage. Her imperfect suburban home is, to her, an icon of her imprisonment.

She doesn’t like the “chaos” of her house and, even with the help of sensible Luba, her hired cleaning woman, she finds the lived-in quality of a home with children irksome.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(NYT front page) No Shots, No Day Care: Parents of Kids Under 5 Stuck in Grueling Limbo

Twice last year, Margaret Schulte and her husband, Jason Abercrombie, traveled 11 hours round-trip to Louisiana from their home in Tulsa, Okla., in the hopes of vaccinating their children, who were 2 and 4, against the coronavirus.

The only way they could get shots for their children — among the more than 19 million Americans under 5 years old who are not yet eligible for vaccinations — was to take part in a clinical trial. So they signed up, hoping a successful vaccine would mean that by now, or at least sometime very soon, a semblance of prepandemic life would be on the horizon.

It has not worked out that way.

The Pfizer trial that their children participated in did not produce promising results, the company said last month. Nor have vaccines emerged from other corners. Moderna has yet to release results of its pediatric trials.

Now Ms. Schulte and Mr. Abercrombie are among the millions of parents stuck in an excruciating limbo during a surge of Omicron cases, forced to wrestle with day care closures and child care crises as the rest of the world appears eager to move on.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Stress, Travel

A Church Times Article on the BBC Archbishop Welby Interview–Covid19 vaccination should be encouraged but not compulsory

People who choose not to be vaccinated against the coronavirus should be encouraged to change their minds — but not compelled by law to do so, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

In an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Archbishop Welby was asked what attitude people should have towards those who do not have health reasons not to be vaccinated but decline anyway.

He replied: “I think we need to be encouraging rather than condemnatory, because condemning people doesn’t do much good. . . Also, it increases the general sense of anger that comes at a time of insecurity and fear and grief.

“I think we need to be encouraging to people to look after their neighbours. Jesus’s great words “Love your neighbour as yourself”: if you do that, it seems to me you go and get vaccinated, and I’d encourage people — I’m not personally in favour of compulsory vaccination by law, but I am very much in favour of encouraging people, of incentivising people — to get vaccinated. It makes a difference. It’s not decisive, it’s not the whole story, but it’s an important part of the story.”

Read it all (registration).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Today programme interviews Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Listen to it all (starts just past 2:42 minutes in and goes around 5 minutes).

“One way we grieve well is to reach out to others…”

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Yeterday Uganda schools reopened after almost two years of Covid closure

Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid.

“I am really excited because it’s been a long time without seeing our teachers. And we have missed out a lot,” Joel Tumusiime told the BBC.

“I am glad to be back at school,” echoed another, Mercy Angel Kebirungi.

But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.

Some have started work, while others have become pregnant or married early, the country’s national planning authority said.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Uganda

(Guardian) Rowan Williams–The world feels fragile, but we can recover from the blows we’ve suffered

…what science alone does not do is build the motivation for a deeper level of connection. We act effectively not just when we find a language in common to identify problems, but when we recognise that those who share these challenges are profoundly like us, to the extent that we can to some degree feel their frailty as if it were ours – or at least, feel their frailty impacting directly on our own, so that we cannot be secure while they remain at risk.

This is where art comes in. Like the sciences, it makes us shelve our self-oriented habits for a bit. Listening to music, looking at an exhibition, reading a novel, watching a theatre or television drama, we open doors to experiences that are not our own. If science helps us discover that there are things to talk about that are not determined just by the self-interest of the people talking, art opens us up to how the stranger feels, uncovering connections where we had not expected them.

What religion adds to this is a further level of motivation. The very diverse vocabularies of different religious traditions claim not only that the Other is someone we can recognise but that they are someone we must look at with something like reverence. The person before us has a claim on our attention, even our contemplation, and on our active generosity. The religions of south and east Asia question the very idea of a safe and stable self with a territory to protect against others; while for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the claim of the stranger is grounded in the conviction that every human beings is a vehicle of God’s presence and God’s glory – “made in God’s image”.

Being more deeply connected will not take away the fragility of our condition, but it will help us see that it is worth parking the obsessions of tribes and echo chambers so that we can actually learn from and with each other; that it is worth making what local difference can be made, so as to let the dignity of the human person be seen with greater clarity. “Our life and death are with our neighbour,” said one of the saints of early Christian monasticism. That is the humanism we need if we are not to be paralysed by the fragility we cannot escape.

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Ecology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Guardian) Provide social care on par with NHS or education, says Archbishop Justin Welby

The archbishop of Canterbury has called for a new “covenant” on social care between the state and the people, similar to the provision of the NHS and education, which makes “absolute value and dignity” the top priority.

Justin Welby, the leader of the Church of England, said that focusing on managing the cost of social care, a priority in the latest government reforms, is “the wrong way round” because it fails to consider what people who need care want.

“You start with the value of the human being,” Welby said. “Then you say, ‘what is the consequence of that? [in terms of the care system]’. We did that for the health service. We haven’t done that for social care.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Psychology, Theology