Virus surge hits New England despite high vaccination rates

Link:https://www.yahoo.com/news/delta-tearing-states-despite-high-115328590.html

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Excerpt:

Even though parts of New England are seeing record case counts, hospitalizations and deaths that rival pre-vaccine peaks, largely among the unvaccinated, the region hasn’t seen the impact the delta variant wave has wrought on other parts of the country

According to statistics from The Associated Press, the five states with the highest percentage of a fully vaccinated population are all in New England, with Vermont leading, followed by Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. New Hampshire is 10th.

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Case counts in Vermont, which has continually boasted about high vaccination and low hospitalization and death rates, are the highest during the pandemic. Hospitalizations are approaching the pandemic peak from last winter and September was Vermont’s second-deadliest month during the pandemic.

Author(s): Wilson Ring

Publication Date: 3 Oct 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

Trying to Make Sense of COVID’s Mysterious 2-Month Cycle

Link:https://news.yahoo.com/trying-sense-covids-mysterious-2-121821028.html

Excerpt:

The number of new daily cases in the United States has fallen 35% since Sept. 1. Worldwide, cases have also dropped more than 30% since late August. “This is as good as the world has looked in many months,” Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research wrote last week.

The most encouraging news is that the most serious forms of COVID are also declining. The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID has fallen about 25% since Sept. 1. Daily deaths — which typically change direction a few weeks after cases and hospitalizations — have fallen 10% since Sept. 20. It is the first sustained decline in deaths since early summer.

These declines are consistent with a pattern that readers will recognize: COVID’s mysterious two-month cycle. Since the COVID virus began spreading in late 2019, cases have often surged for about two months — sometimes because of a variant, such as delta — and then declined for about two months.

Public health researchers do not understand why. Many popular explanations — such as seasonality or the ebbs and flows of mask wearing and social distancing — are clearly insufficient, if not wrong. The two-month cycle has occurred during different seasons of the year and occurred even when human behavior was not changing in obvious ways.

Author(s): David Leonhardt

Publication Date: 4 Oct 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News (originally at NYT)

Thousands more people than usual are dying … but it’s not from Covid

Link:https://www.yahoo.com/news/analysis-thousands-more-usual-dying-170117640.html

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Excerpt:

While focus remains firmly fixed on Covid-19, a second health crisis is quietly emerging in Britain. Since the beginning of July, there have been thousands of excess deaths that were not caused by coronavirus.

According to health experts, this is highly unusual for the summer. Although excess deaths are expected during the winter months, when cold weather and seasonal infections combine to place pressure on the NHS, summer generally sees a lull.

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Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that during that period there were 2,103 extra death registrations with ischemic heart disease, 1,552 with heart failure, as well as an extra 760 deaths with cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke and aneurysm and 3,915 with other circulatory diseases.

Acute and chronic respiratory infections were also up with 3,416 more mentions on death certificates than expected since the start of July, while there have been 1,234 extra urinary system disease deaths, 324 with cirrhosis and liver disease and 1,905 with diabetes.

Alarmingly, many of these conditions saw the biggest drops in diagnosis in 2020, as the NHS struggled to cope with the pandemic.

Author(s): Sarah Knapton

Publication Date: 24 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

New Jersey set to shed $182 million Unilever assets over Ben & Jerry’s boycott

Link: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/jersey-set-shed-182-million-225836260.html

Excerpt:

A New Jersey state treasury official said on Wednesday it is set to divest $182 million in Unilever Plc stock and bonds held by its pension funds over the restriction of sales by the consumer giant’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

It is the latest action by a U.S. state challenging Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s move in July to end a license for its ice cream to be sold in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Ben & Jerry’s said selling its products there was “inconsistent with its values.”

New Jersey’s Division of Investment had said on Tuesday it made a preliminary determination that maintaining its investment in Unilever would be a breach of a state law barring it from investing in companies boycotting Israel. It gave the company 90 days to request a modification of the order.

Author(s): Ross Kerber

Publication Date: 15 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

California county cuts COVID-19 death toll by 25% after finding some deaths ‘clearly not’ caused by virus

Link: https://news.yahoo.com/california-county-cuts-covid-19-151921394.html

Excerpt:

California county cut its COVID-19 death toll by around 25% after determining that some deaths were not a “direct result” of the virus.

Alameda County revised the total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus to 1,223, down from 1,634.

County officials decided to revise the numbers to align with the California Department of Public Health’s guidance on how to classify deaths. The county previously included deaths of anyone infected with the virus, regardless of whether COVID-19 was a direct or contributing cause of death.

Author(s): Peter Aitken

Publication Date: 6 June 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

Members of teacher pension fund planning lawsuit to force transparency

Link: https://news.yahoo.com/members-teacher-pension-fund-planning-110300430.html?guccounter=1

Excerpt:

About 1,000 current and retired Ohio educators skeptical of the true financial shape of their $90 billion state pension fund are preparing to sue to force greater cooperation with a $75,000 self-funded investigation of its books.

The forensics audit, financed through money raised from members, is being undertaken by pension investment expert Ted Siedle — a former Securities Exchange Commission attorney, financial forensics investigator, and co-author of the book “Who Stole My Pension?”

The public records lawsuit will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to force the State Teachers Retirement System, serving some 500,000 active, inactive, and retired members, to release information that investment firms have claimed is proprietary or a trade secret.

Author(s): Jim Provance, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

Publication Date: 3 May 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

Yahoo Story on Florida COVID Study Misrepresented Key Finding, Study’s Author Says

Link: https://www.nationalreview.com/news/yahoo-story-on-florida-covid-study-misrepresented-key-finding-studys-author-says/

Excerpt:

But Moosa Tatar, the lead author of the study featured by Yahoo, said the story’s framing of his analysis was incorrect, and he does not yet know how many of the excess deaths are attributable to COVID.

“The impact of COVID-19 on mortality is significantly greater than the official COVID-19 data suggest. But we need further research to determine specific reasons for this,” he told National Review. “These deaths may have been directly or indirectly associated with COVID-19.”

Nazaryan went on to imply that Governor Ron DeSantis could be pressuring the state’s medical examiners, who have “some discretion,” to deliberately undercount COVID deaths. “In Florida, the state’s 25 district medical examiners are directly appointed by the governor,” he noted.

Author(s): Tobias Hoonhout

Publication Date: 30 March 2021

Publication Site: National Review

Florida COVID numbers face new scrutiny

Link: https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/florida-covid-numbers-face-new-scrutiny-090058319.html

Excerpt:

The impact of the pandemic in Florida “is significantly greater than the official COVID-19 data suggest,” the researchers wrote. They came to that conclusion by comparing the number of estimated deaths for a six-month period in 2020, from March to September, to the actual number of deaths that occurred, a figure known as “excess deaths” because they exceed the estimate.

There were 400,000 excess deaths across the United States in 2020, a spike closely correlated to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lack of testing early in the pandemic may also have undercounted COVID-19 deaths, explains Daniel Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health who has also studied the coronavirus and excess deaths.

The issue was further complicated because each state has its own death-counting methodology. “Some states classify a death as due to COVID if a positive molecular test was obtained, while other states allow the death to be classified as due to COVID if there is a suspicion that it was caused by COVID (even without a molecular test),” Weinberger wrote in an email to Yahoo News.

Author(s): Alexander Nazaryan

Publication Date: 30 March 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

Did your pipes burst during Texas’ winter storm? Here’s what to expect from insurance

Link: https://news.yahoo.com/did-pipes-burst-during-texas-220107004.html

Excerpt:

Chris Pilcic, a public affairs specialist for State Farm, said to first keep calm. Then, turn your water supply off and let all the remaining water in your pipes drain out

Next step, look over your damage, both to your property and your personal belongings. And then call your insurance agent.

“The average frozen pipe claim we paid in Texas last year was $10,300,” Pilcic said on Wednesday.

What comes out of your pocket will depend on your coverage and deductible.

Author(s): Nichole Manna

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News