Is The Worst Over? Models Predict A Steady Decline In COVID Cases Through March

Link:https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/09/22/1039272244/is-the-worst-over-modelers-predict-a-steady-decline-in-covid-cases-through-march?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr&utm_medium=social

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The most likely scenario, says Lessler, is that children do get vaccinated and no super-spreading variant emerges. In that case, the combo model forecasts that new infections would slowly, but fairly continuously, drop from about 140,000 today now to about 9,000 a day by March.

Deaths from COVID-19 would fall from about 1,500 a day now to fewer than 100 a day by March 2022.

That’s around the level U.S. cases and deaths were in late March 2020 when the pandemic just started to flare up in the U.S. and better than things looked early this summer when many thought the pandemic was waning.

And this scenario projects that there will be no winter surge, though Lessler cautions that there is uncertainty in the models and a “moderate” surge is still theoretically possible.

There’s wide range of uncertainty in the models, he notes, and it’s plausible, though very unlikely, that cases could continue to rise to as many as 232,000 per day before starting to decline.

Author(s): Rob Stein, Carmel Wroth

Publication Date: 22 Sept 2021

Publication Site: NPR

Covid-19: Life expectancy is down but what does this mean?

Link:https://www.bbc.com/news/health-58659717

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Despite the name, these life expectancy figures, known as “period life expectancy”, do not predict an actual lifespan.

Instead, they show the average age a newborn would live to if current death rates continued for their whole life.

And as Covid death rates are unlikely to continue long-term, the new estimates do not mean a boy born in 2020 will have a shorter life than one born in 2019.

But they do provide a snapshot of the effect of the pandemic that can be compared over time and between countries and different populations.

Author(s): Christine Jeavans

Publication Date: 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: BBC

Murder Rose by Almost 30% in 2020. It’s Rising at a Slower Rate in 2021.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/22/upshot/murder-rise-2020.html

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Previously, the largest one-year increase in total number of murders was 1,938 in 1990. The F.B.I. data shows almost 5,000 more murders last year than in 2019, for a total of around 21,500 (still below the particularly violent era of the early 1990s).

The reasons for the rise may never be fully sorted out, but analysts have pointed to many possible contributing factors, including various pandemic stresses; increased distrust between the police and the public after the murder of George Floyd, including a pullback by the police in response to criticism; and increased firearm carrying.

About 77 percent of reported murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest share ever reported, up from 67 percent a decade ago.

The change in murder was widespread — a national phenomenon and not a regional one. Murder rose over 35 percent in cities with populations over 250,000 that reported full data.

Author(s): Jeff Asher

Publication Date: 22 Sept 2021

Publication Site: NY Times

Europe’s Covid-19 Vaccination Success Faces Winter Test

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-covid-19-vaccination-success-faces-winter-test-11632303001?mod=djemwhatsnews

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Europe has pushed ahead of the U.S. in vaccinating its citizens and has experienced a summer of relatively subdued Covid-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths, despite the spread of the Delta variant.

Deaths from Covid-19 in the European Union averaged around 525 over the seven days through Tuesday and around 140 in the U.K. In January, daily deaths peaked at 3,500 in the EU and around 1,200 in the U.K., according to national data compiled by the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project.

Adjusted for population, EU deaths equate to around 1.2 per million a day, and U.K. deaths to 2.1 per million. That compares with 6.1 per million currently in the U.S.

The difference reflects wider vaccine coverage, especially of older and high-risk groups. The 27 countries of the EU have fully vaccinated 61% of the bloc’s 448 million population, compared with 55% in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its EU counterpart. Big EU nations picked up the vaccination pace after a slow start this year. France has fully vaccinated 67% of its population, Germany 63% and Italy 66%. The U.K., which left the EU in 2020, has fully vaccinated 66% of its residents.

Author(s): Jason Douglas in London, Erin Delmore in Berlin and Eric Sylvers in Milan

Publication Date: 22 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Mega trend 10: The democratization of longevity

Link: https://www.clubvita.us/news-and-insights/mega-trend-10-the-democratization-of-longevity

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Illustrated below is the evolution of life expectancy at birth for seven Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: Canada, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Across the seven countries, male life expectancy at birth ranged from 64.8 years to 68.2 years in 1960, and 69.8 years to 81.1 years in 2017, demonstrating an increase in the inequality of life expectancy of almost eight years between these countries over the period. For females, the increase was approximately four years. The inequality in life expectancy is more apparent and unsettling if we consider, for example, developing countries in Africa, averaging a life expectancy of around 63 years in 2019.

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Altogether, I believe greater democratization of longevity is achievable with the adoption of health technologies, while ensuring they are accessible and affordable. I am hopeful but I see several challenges ahead. Such a reality will be reliant on governments, health care professionals, and patients’ acceptance and reliance on what the future of health holds. It will also require global partnerships to build out ecosystems that will facilitate inclusive innovation.

Author(s): Shantel Aris

Publication Date: 22 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Club Vita

Has the Pandemic Finally Peaked in the U.S.?

Link: https://reason.com/2021/09/23/has-the-pandemic-finally-peaked-in-the-u-s/?utm_medium=email

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Will COVID-19 cases and deaths surge again this winter? The combined just-released results of 9 models applied to four different scenarios at COVID-19 Modeling Hub project that diagnosed cases could—using the projections of the more hopeful models—drop to around 9,000 cases per day by March. The scenarios range from the most hopeful, with childhood COVID-19 vaccinations and no new viral variant, to one with no child vaccinations and a new variant.

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University of North Carolina epidemiologist Justin Lessler, who helps run the hub, tells NPR that the most likely scenario is that children do get vaccinated and no super-spreading variant emerges.

The good news is that about 55 percent of all Americans (181 million) are now fully vaccinated (64 percent of those age 12 and up). Given that unreported COVID-19 cases are generally thought to be considerably higher than the 42 million diagnosed cases, that suggests perhaps around 100 million Americans have developed natural immunity to the virus.

Author(s): Ronald Bailey

Publication Date: 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Reason

30 really is the new 20 (for some people – determining who they are will become crucial for pension plans and insurers)

Link: https://www.clubvita.us/news-and-insights/mega-trend-9-30-really-is-the-new-20-for-some-people-determining-who-they-are-will-become-crucial-for-pension-plans-and-insurers

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Moshe Milevsky claims that someone could be up to 20 years younger biologically than their chronological age, and that biological age is a much be a better way of determining a person’s longevity. If this is true, is there a way that organizations that specialize in longevity and/or mortality and that use mathematical calculations in order to determine risk could use biological age instead of chronological age to predict future health and longevity?

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There are two methods used to calculate biological age, coined by Milevsky as the “living” methodology or the “dying” methodology a.k.a. the mortality-adjusted approach.

Both methods begin with the collection of data. A researcher would first gather data from a large group of people at a wide range of ages, collecting biological samples and measurements in order to record various physiological and molecular variables (such as heart rate, blood pressure, mutations of DNA, or the presence of certain proteins in the blood). Researchers may also collect data on variables that they believe will be correlated with enhancement or deterioration of a person’s physiological condition, such as their wealth, occupation or even their appearance or number of Facebook friends!

Author(s): Nikiya Marilla

Publication Date: 16 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Club Vita

Spanish flu v. COVID-19: Comparing the Numbers and Forgetting the Lessons

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/spanish-flu-v-covid-19-comparing

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So, period life expectancy dropped about 12 – 13% in 1918 in the U.S., mainly due to the Spanish flu, because there was an outsized effect from young adults being the main group killed by the disease (also, period life expectancy was relatively short — under 60 years!). That was a drop of about 7 years.

But life expectancy dropped only about 1 year in 2020 due to COVID impacts, and that was a decrease of less than 3% compared to 2019.

So if you want to compare the effect of the Spanish flu vs. COVID-19 on the U.S. population, all of these rates —- percentage change in period life expectancy, age-adjusted death rates, or even crude death rate — are all more reasonable choices than simply number of people who died.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 22 Sept 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Florida death certificate review raises questions about official number of COVID-19 deaths

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We had the opportunity to review death certificates for some of Florida’s recent COVID-19 deaths, and we can tell you definitively that Florida is counting deaths that were not directly caused by COVID-19.

Public health agencies have a goal of tracking the spread of a reportable disease, and for that reason, guidance was issued in March that any person who tested positive for COVID-19 should be counted as a COVID-19 death. However, the death count is now prominently featured in newscasts and used as a talking point to claim that some governments aren’t “doing enough” to stop the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 metrics, including the number of reported deaths, are increasingly cited by governments as a reason to write public health recommendations into law.

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A change in CDC guidance published on March 24, 2020 (COVID-19 Alert No.2) encouraged doctors to include COVID-19 in PART 1 “for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.” This was reinforced on April 5 (COVID-19 2020 Interim Case Definition), when the CDC said any death with COVID-19 on the death certificate is counted as a COVID-19 death, even if it was just presumed and had no confirming laboratory or clinical validation. In other words, the CDC guidance explicitly does not distinguish between deaths from COVID-19 and deaths with COVID-19. 

This is contrary to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which say to count only deaths “resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery from COVID-19 between illness and death. A death due to COVID-19 may not be attributed to another disease (e.g. cancer).” 

Author(s): JENNIFER CABRERA AND LEN CABRERA

Publication Date: 11 November 2020

Publication Site: Rational Ground

U.S. Covid-19 Death Toll Surpasses 1918 Flu Fatalities

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-covid-19-death-toll-surpasses-1918-flu-fatalities-11632176583

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The U.S. on Monday crossed the threshold of 675,000 reported Covid-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks data from state health authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the influenza pandemic killed about that many people in the U.S. a century ago, in 1918 and 1919. Both figures are likely undercounts, epidemiologists and historians say.

There are several differences between the current pandemic and the one that claimed nearly as many lives more than 100 years ago. The U.S. at that time was roughly one-third its current size, so the flu pandemic took a proportionately bigger toll on the population. That pandemic had a devastating effect on young people, including small children and young-to-middle-aged adults, while Covid-19 has hit older people hardest, according to health officials.

Author(s): Jon Kamp and Jennifer Calfas

Publication Date: 20 Sept 2021

Publication Site: WSJ

Study: Logging, landscaping most dangerous jobs in U.S.

Link: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/09/18/logging-most-dangerous-profession/2541631912925/

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Logging and landscaping are the most dangerous jobs in America, a new study finds.

The risk of death for loggers is more than 30 times higher than for all U.S. workers. Tree care workers also encounter hazards at rates far higher than a typical worker.

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For the study, the researchers combed a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration database for deaths from tree felling between 2010 and the first half of 2020.

Over the period, Michael’s team found 314 deaths. The leading cause of fatal accidents was being struck by a tree, most often in the head.

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Years such as 2012, 2017 and 2018 with abnormally high damage from Atlantic storms saw high numbers of landscaping deaths that might be tied to storm damage, while 2014 and 2015 had quiet hurricane seasons and few deaths.

Author(s): HealthDay News

Publication Date: 18 Sept 2021

Publication Site: UPI