Pioneer Days Festival

 Pioneer Days Festival Update

Plans are underway to have the biggest and best 3-day holiday event that Jefferson has ever seen.

A committee was formed some weeks ago as an off-shoot of the Opera House Theatre Players board to formulate plans for the fist-ever Pioneer Days Festival to be held on the long Labor Day 

weekend occurring Sept. 4,5 and 6.  Committee members are Sara Davis, Doug Weir, Jim Blackburn,  Hollis Shadden, and Gary Endsley of Jefferson;  Bob and Lana Shaw, Ann Tyrina of Marshall, and JoeTodaro and Lisa Daye of Shreveport.  Players president Marcia Thomas serves as the committee chair.

According to Ms. Thomas, “everything is shaping up nicely for a very original and quite different event in town where no motorized vehicles will be used in the parade that kicks off at 10 am the morning of Saturday, September 4.  We are still looking for horse-back riders in groups or  as  individuals to participate in the parade and will offer a prize for the one looking most like an early citizen of Jefferson in the 1850s to 1890s when horses and buggies were the transportation. We are taking this back to the early days before the riverboats really became mainstream.  We are, in fact, trying to replicate much of those periods in all the events we have planned which includes a cowboy dance that early Saturday evening where a prize will again be given to the person who  is decked out most closely to the period,  and then a river-front Dutch Oven Cooking demo with cooks that dress the period and offers visitors a chance to sample the good food they have just cooked up!  In addition, there will be entertainment on site as well.  It will be situated in the area of the boat launch on the riverfront. I’d also like to add that the community has been so generous  as to help fund this event by donations to our 501(c)3 community theatre. Response has been excellent and we expect more to come in as well. We are thankful and excited!”.

Ms. Thomas went on to say that there will be plenty of time for visitors to walk around Jefferson and visit the stores and restaurants as well as take the train ride, the boat ride, or pay a visit to the Safari Park. Several times during Sat and Sun the re-creation of a violent confrontation between one of the Marion County’s early Sheriffs and a man who killed another is going to be held in the  exact spot where it occurred, the old wagon yard which is smack in the middle of the town.  The staged confrontation is being put together by Players board member Jim Blackburn, a retired investigator from Collin County.

Highlight of the 3- day event will be a  concert performed by the famous Sons of the Pioneers singing sextet that will serenade the audience with the grand old songs of yesteryear including “Cool, Cool, Waters” and “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” among others.  According to Thomas, the first two-row VIP tickets are sold out but general seating tickets are still available.

The concert will be held in the City-owned Visitor Building near the riverfront.  Tickets may be purchased at The Willow Tree, 903-601-4515 or online at:  

More information on any of the activities is available by calling 903-665-8243.


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The Tuesday count should be more accurate.





The Miami hospital sees uptick in COVID-19 variant first identified in Colombia

B.1.621, a coronavirus variant first detected in Colombia, has been detected in about 10 percent of COVID-19 patients at Miami-based Jackson Health System…Frequent travel between Colombia and Miami may be responsible for the recent uptick…The strain was first identified in Colombia in January. In the U.S., B.1.621 made up about 2.1 percent of sequenced cases as of July 17, according to CDC data cited by The Washington Post. The agency has not labeled it as a variant of concern or a variant of interest…In the U.K., 16 cases of the variant have been reported, FOX reports. There, health officials consider it a “variant under investigation” and have said there’s been no indication of community transmission so far, or that the strain causes more severe illness. 


1. PFIZER-BIONTECH EFFICACY/THIRD DOSE On July 28, medRxiv published preprint data from Pfizer-BioNTech showing the efficacy of its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 declined about 6% every 2 months over a period of 6 months. The data were collected from more than 40,000 clinical trial participants in Europe and the Americas. From 7 days to <2 months post-dose 2, vaccine efficacy was 96.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 93.3-98.1); from 2 months to <4 months, efficacy was 90.1% (95% CI 86.6-92.9); and from 4 months to 6 months, efficacy was 83.7% (95% CI 74.7-89.9). Overall, vaccine efficacy was 91.1% (95% CI 88.8-93.0) for preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and 96.7% (95% CI 80.3-99.9) against severe disease. The companies said the data show the vaccine to be safe and highly efficacious in preventing COVID-19 through 6 months post-second dose in diverse populations but further data are needed to know whether efficacy continues to wane or whether “booster” doses will be necessary, and, if so, the timing of such doses. 

Many experts said the not-yet-peer-reviewed data are reassuring, showing that people who are fully vaccinated likely are adequately protected. However, if the observed decline in efficacy steadily continues over time, it would fall below the internationally accepted threshold of 50% within 18 months of vaccination. This would bolster Pfizer-BioNTech’s claim that an additional shot of its vaccine will be needed to maintain long-term protection. The data also do not address the vaccine’s efficacy against the now widespread Delta variant. On July 28, Pfizer officials presented unpublished data in a quarterly earnings report to investors showing a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could boost neutralizing antibody titers against the Delta variant in a small sample of individuals. The data show a more than 5-fold increase in post-second dose titers among vaccinees aged 18 to 55 and a more than 11-fold increase among those ages 65 to 85. The officials said they plan to seek authorization with the US FDA for a third dose by mid-August and indicated clinical studies of an experimental Delta variant vaccine are awaiting regulatory approval but also are expected to begin in August.

2. Pfizer Data Shows Vaccine Protection Remains Robust Six Months After Vaccination Even as the Company Argues That Boosters Will be Needed (Washington Post) On Wednesday, Pfizer published data showing that its coronavirus shots remained robustly protective six months after vaccination, providing nearly complete protection against severe disease. Pfizer’s paper, which has not yet undergone peer review, said a slight drop in efficacy against any symptomatic cases of COVID-19 from 96% protection in the first two months after vaccination to 84% after four months. Company officials also presented data showing that a third shot could boost disease-fighting antibodies many times higher than the level achieved by the standard two-dose regimen. Outside vaccine experts described the data as encouraging, even if they believe boosters will be necessary at some point for the general population and probably sooner for some groups, such as people with compromised immune systems






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Opinion: Action, not weasel words

By George Smith  — July 31, 2021

Joe Biden inherited a mess; Pandemic, divided America, immigration SNAFU, revenue shortfall, rising national deficit and debt, GOP misinformation campaign…and the list goes on and on.

Biden’s efforts to add calmness, empathy and reason to the national dialogue has been exemplary; his appointment of certain “program czars” have simply not worked.

VP Kanaka Harris was handed the chore of fixing the immigration problems on our southern border and, from research, reading and and analyzing stories, she is doing a lousy job. New problems seem to pop up every day, from accepting immigrants without COVID checks to sending thousands of immigrants by charter plane all over the country.

The program to create an immigration path to the U.S. for Afghan workers (and their families) who aided our troops, according to one in-depth article, is a “disaster”.

We OWE these brave workers; their safety are our responsibility.

I simply cannot see why the administration could not turn the entire process over to military logistics and material transportation officers. These trained officers regularly move huge amounts of people and material all over the world. Give the order to get it done…and back off and let them work their magic.

It is difficult to multi-task, and no job in the world requires more multi-tasking than that of a country’s leader.

Biden needs to “Cowboy up!” and jump-start his game in delegating difficult chores to people who know processes, programs snd protocol … and leave them to do the job. If no progress is made in a certain area within a reasonable timeframe, cut them loose and give somebody else the chance to be a hero.

Action, not weasel words. Results, not excuses.

Do it and do it now.


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(NOTE: This information might not make the local newspapers in a timely fashion; let your friends and family know to be more careful — for the next several weeks. J. Harris, MD)


Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gatherings — Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021

”…Among the 469 cases in Massachusetts residents, 346 (74%) occurred in persons who were fully vaccinated; of these, 301 (87%) were male, with a median age of 42 years. Vaccine products received by persons experiencing breakthrough infections were Pfizer-BioNTech (159; 46%), Moderna (131; 38%), and Janssen (56; 16%); among fully vaccinated persons in the Massachusetts general population, 56% had received Pfizer-BioNTech, 38% had received Moderna, and 7% had received Janssen vaccine products. Among persons with breakthrough infection, 274 (79%) reported signs or symptoms, with the most common being cough, headache, sore throat, myalgia, and fever. Among fully vaccinated symptomatic persons, the median interval from completion of ≥14 days after the final vaccine dose to symptom onset was 86 days (range = 6–178 days). Among persons with breakthrough infection, four (1.2%) were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. Real-time RT-PCR Ct values in specimens from 127 fully vaccinated patients (median = 22.77) were similar to those among 84 patients who were unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated, or whose vaccination status was unknown (median = 21.54) (Figure 2).

”…Event organizers and local health jurisdictions should continually assess the need for additional measures, including limiting capacity at gatherings or event postponement, based on current rates of COVID-19 transmission, population vaccination coverage, and other factors.§§§ On July 27, CDC released recommendations that all persons, including those who are fully vaccinated, should wear masks in indoor public settings in areas where COVID-19 transmission is high or substantial. ..Findings from this investigation suggest that even jurisdictions without substantial or high COVID-19 transmission might consider expanding prevention strategies, including masking in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, given the potential risk of infection during attendance at large public gatherings that include travelers from many areas with differing levels of transmission….”


1. ‘The War has Changed’: Internal CDC Document Urges New Messaging, Warns Delta Infections Likely More Severe (Washington Post) The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.” The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.

2. WHO Doesn’t Recommend Covid Booster Doses Right Now, Citing Lack of Data (CNBC) The World Health Organization doesn’t recommend Covid-19 booster shots …the group’s top vaccine doctor said Wednesday, citing a lack of data on their effectiveness. Dr. Kate O’Brien, the WHO’s director of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said the organization is still researching whether a booster shot is needed to increase protection against highly contagious mutations of the coronavirus.

(J. Harris: This could be another case where the WHO is mistaken? I plan to take a booster as soon as it is offered, despite the fact that ‘I’m barely over 65 and thin as a rail.’ I also avoid crowds and unvaccinated people, especially in crowds.)

‘I Would Go Tomorrow to Get the Third Shot’

“…Look, it is more contagious than early strains. And so think [about] how contagious that was. It’s at least twice as contagious, maybe three or four times as contagious. Six feet from an unvaccinated person is not protection anymore. I would wear masks. It is [as] contagious as chicken pox, which is highly contagious. It’s less contagious than measles, which is highly, highly contagious. It’s hard to quantitate….”


From the Charlie Brown Comic Strip —

Although COVID-19 spreads mostly via the mouth and nose, scientists now conclude that the greatest risk comes from assholes.


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Opinion: Why So Mean?

By George Smith  — July 29, 2021

Why are elected public officials who identify as Republican so darn mean-spirited?

I feel sure they love their families, revere their friends and spoil their dogs and cats. But when it comes to other humans — mainly those different from themselves, the poor, oppressed, scared, those seeking a better life — they turn into a combination of Scrooge and Darth Vader.

“Luke…I am your father. I will kill you now!”

Whatever happen to “compassionate conservatism”? You remember, because I sure do, when the GOP was not all about partisanship and retribution but looked at the ills of the country and, sometimes, worked with Democrats on societal issues that benefited about 30 percent of those citizens in the lower socioeconomic rungs of the Almighty Dollar Ladder.

Today, with only token opposition, the Republican Party is focused on three items: 1. Whatever Donald Trump wants is fine with the rank-and-file; 2. Whatever President Biden is trying to do will be opposed with the vigor of a rabid wolverine; and, 3. Their main job (both parties guilty here) is to get re-elected without primary opposition.

Oh, I guess there is a No. 4: Regardless of how out-of-touch some GOP lawmakers are with common sense and reality, no matter how many lies they perpetuate or how far up Trump’s accommodating posterior they insert their heads, as long as they vote the “right way”, they are part and parcel of the GOP cult.

How could any knowledgeable American not see that the GOP’s  reticent on working to assist in curtailing the COVID pandemic is killing people, a majority of whom are the GOP faithful, the people who would vote for them if they were only alive?

The Republican Party is on the wrong side of history on tax reform

Issues (making the rich richer is not a winning political branding issue); pushing vaccination to slow the pandemic; reverting to policies and laws aimed at re-Jim Crowing the voting rights of minorities; threatening to kill a massive infrastructure bill because of a refusal to acknowledge that “infrastructure” is more than concrete snd steel; and, malignantly ignoring the plight of Americans living in poverty.

History will not treat the era of Donald Trump kindly. The would-be Emperor Trump was not only without clothes and abusing himself for the whole world to see, he actively encouraged his followers to follow his example and  perform sadomasochistic rituals on their fellow countrymen and women.

And because Trump “tells it like it is” and is “not a typical politician”, they bow down to his crazed whims like the cult members they have become.

Most of his faithful are not yet ready to accept their political pied piper is a fraud and grifter and is not a Republican or Christian by any definition. He is a liar, an admitted abuser of women, a self-ordained “Christian” who does not attend church or know the Bible (remember “Two Corinthians”?)

His administration has had more scandals with more aides, staffers and campaign workers charged, convicted and jailed than ANY administration in history, including that of Richard Nixon.

One day, maybe, they will wake up amd see there”savior” for what he is: A fake prophet and narcissist. For those millions of faithful followers of Emperor Trump, that will a rude, crude, devastating awakening.

And, hopefully, they will learn from the experience and vow not to be bamboozled by politicians spouting BS ever again.


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1. C.D.C. Internal Report Calls Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox

2. Why Vaccinated People Are Getting ‘Breakthrough’ Infections

More than 97 percent of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are unvaccinated…if you’re vaccinated, you are protected….You are not going to end up with severe disease, hospitalization or death.”

3. Covid is more mysterious than we often admit.

(J. Harris: Read this short article; it will cheer you up.)

But much of the ebb and flow of a pandemic cannot be explained by changes in human behavior. That was true with influenza a century ago, and it is true with Covid now. An outbreak often fizzles mysteriously, like a forest fire that fails to jump from one patch of trees to another….A more plausible explanation appears to be that Delta spreads very quickly at first and, for some unknown set of reasons, peters out long before a society has reached herd immunity..That’s not guaranteed to happen everywhere, and there probably will be more variants after Delta. Remember: Covid behaves in mysterious ways. But Americans should not assume that Delta is destined to cause months of rising caseloads. Nor should they assume that a sudden decline, if one starts this summer, fits a tidy narrative that attributes the turnaround to rising vaccination and mask wearing.


 Überantibodies From Recovered COVID-19 Patients Could Spur New Therapeutics and Vaccines

“…Knowing which spike protein regions are highly conserved across variants could potentially enable the design of a universal SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The available shots are based on the original spike configuration, and researchers are studying boosters that use variant spikes. This arms race between virus and vaccine could continue indefinitely. But instead of perpetually staying 1 (or more) steps behind the virus, third-generation vaccines could be designed to induce or deliver only the spike epitopes that at least so far have remained stable….The experiments suggested that combining B1-182.1, the most potent of the candidates, with either of 2 other strong neutralizers stopped antibody-resistant mutations from emerging. “Two of the antibodies working together appear to be better at mitigating escapes than just a single antibody alone…

(J. Harris: This complicated article provides the hope that the use of combinations of certain antibodies originally produced naturally by Covid infected patients can be identified, manufactured, tested, and used to treat Covid patients. It can probably be constantly updated to treat the new variants as they appear. 


Here ARE our county vaccination rates 

County: Harrison

Public Health Region: 4/5N

Percentage of Population 12+ Vaccinated with At Least One Dose: 36.28%

Percentage of Population 12+ Fully Vaccinated: 31.44%

Percentage of Population 65+ Vaccinated with At Least One Dose: 63.36%

Percentage of Population 65+ Fully Vaccinated: 57.65%

Our [COUNTY HEALTH] office has worked diligently to educate and vaccinate our community. Our vaccine rate is low and we need to get the message to our community. Our office coordinated numerous Community COVID 19 vaccine clinics January – April 2021. We have the COVID 19 vaccine available now in our office on a walk-in basis. The following COVID 19 Vaccines clinics have been scheduled as well:

07/21/2021 The Crosby Group Employee COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

07/26/2021 DSHS Community COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

07/27/2021 Harrison County Jail – COVID 19 Vaccines

07/28/2021 MISD Back to School Vaccine Clinic

07/29/2021 Wiley College COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

07/31/2021 NRG Back to School Event COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic at City Park

08/03/2021 Wiley College COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

08/04/2021 TSTC COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

08/09/2021 Dirt Cheap – Employee COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

08/11/2021 The Crosby Group Employee COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

08/24/2021 Wiley College COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

08/25/2021 TSTC COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

08/30/2021 Dirt Cheap – Employee COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic

*Highlighted ones are open to the public


 Dawn Dillard: A shot in the heart … or the arm

“On a crash course”: Texas hospitals brace for another COVID-19 surge as delta variant burns through unvaccinated communities

National cases up 439% from June & 5 other COVID-19 trends to know

(CITED BY Gabrielle Masson)

J. Harris: Several quick summaries that are relevant


1.  New US Mask Guidance Prompted by Evidence Vaccinated can Spread Delta (The Guardian) The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection spoke on Wednesday about evidence that vaccinated people can spread the Covid-19 Delta variant to others, after the nation’s top health agency expanded on its new guidance that fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in certain places. Rochelle Walensky said “new science” observed in recent days demonstrated that new variants of the coronavirus were transmissible by people who have been fully vaccinated in some cases.

2. Safety, Tolerability, and Immunogenicity of an Aerosolised Adenovirus Type-5 Vector-based COVID-19 Vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) in adults: preliminary report of an open-label and randomised phase 1 clinical trial (Lancet) Aerosolised Ad5-nCoV is well tolerated, and two doses of aerosolised Ad5-nCoV elicited neutralising antibody responses, similar to one dose of intramuscular injection. An aerosolised booster vaccination at 28 days after first intramuscular injection induced strong IgG and neutralising antibody responses. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of aerosol vaccination should be evaluated in future studies. 

3. ‘There Is A Real Cost’: As Covid Shows, Barring Bedside Visitors From ICU Deprives Patients of the Best Care (STAT) A growing body of evidence supports the theory that bedside visitors offer not only comfort, but true clinical value. As experts on their loved ones, they can provide important details that may be missing from health records, and can clock subtle changes in behavior that may precede adverse medical complications. Visitors can calm agitated patients with a touch of the hand and reassure them with a word. They fluff pillows, fetch ice, clip fingernails, brush hair, and bring in favorite foods that might convince someone to eat for the first time in a long time.


Well, Why Did I Get Vaccinated Then?’ Screams Burning Woman After Realizing She Can Still Catch Fire:


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Covid-19 Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated Health Care Workers (good article to read)


Among 11,453 fully vaccinated health care workers, 1497 (13.1%) underwent RT-PCR testing during the study period. Of the tested workers, 39 breakthrough cases were detected. More than 38 persons were tested for every positive case that was detected, for a test positivity of 2.6%. Thus, this percentage was much lower than the test positivity rate in Israel at the time, since the ratio between positive results and the extensive number of tests that were administered in our study was much smaller than that in the national population.


“…Among 1497 fully vaccinated health care workers for whom RT-PCR data were available, 39 SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections were documented….Of the 39 cases of infection, 27 occurred in workers who were tested solely because of exposure to a person with known SARS-CoV-2 infection. Of all the workers with breakthrough infection, 26 (67%) had mild symptoms at some stage, and none required hospitalization. The remaining 13 workers (33% of all cases) were asymptomatic during the duration of infection;  Neutralizing antibody titers in case patients during the peri-infection period were lower than those in matched uninfected controls …Higher peri-infection neutralizing antibody titers were associated with lower infectivity (higher Ct values). Most breakthrough cases were mild or asymptomatic, although 19% had persistent symptoms (>6 weeks). The B.1.1.7 (alpha) variant was found in 85% of samples tested. A total of 74% of case patients had a high viral load (Ct value, <30) at some point during their infection; however, of these patients, only 17 (59%) had a positive result on concurrent Ag-RDT. No secondary infections were documented.


Among fully vaccinated health care workers, the occurrence of breakthrough infections with SARS-CoV-2 was correlated with neutralizing antibody titers during the peri-infection period. Most breakthrough infections were mild or asymptomatic, although persistent symptoms did occur [19%]….


“The study goal was to identify every breakthrough infection, including asymptomatic infections, that occurred during the study period among the health care workers at the center. …Of the 39 breakthrough case patients, 18 (46%) were nursing staff members, 10 (26%) were administration or maintenance workers, 6 (15%) were allied health professionals, and 5 (13%) were physicians. The average age of the 39 infected workers was 42 years, and the majority were women (64%). …In all 37 case patients for whom data were available regarding the source of infection, the suspected source was an unvaccinated person; in 21 patients (57%), this person was a household member…..At 6 weeks after their diagnosis, 19% reported having “long Covid-19” symptoms, which included a prolonged loss of smell, persistent cough, fatigue, weakness, dyspnea [breathlessness], or myalgia. Nine workers (23%) took a leave of absence from work beyond the 10 days of required quarantine; of these workers, 4 returned to work within 2 weeks. One worker had not yet returned after 6 weeks..These workers included some who had been asymptomatic and thus who had infections that would not have been detected without the rigorous screening that followed any minor known exposure. This factor suggests that at least in some cases, the vaccine protected against symptomatic disease but not against infection. However, no secondary infections were traced back to any of the breakthrough cases, which supports the inference that these workers were less contagious than unvaccinated persons,…”

(J. Harris: This readable article from Israel, discusses breakthrough cases in vaccinated health care workers, mostly with ALPHA VARIANT.  In this study, about 3 % of previously vaccinated healthcare workers were found to be infected. Most of them had no or mild symptoms. 19% of the infected developed Long Covid…….When future  DELTA COVID studies are available,  likely, the Long Covid group will be at least if not more prevalent [than 19%] — and, if 3% of all health care workers who presumably were shielded and cautious were infected with ALPHA, how many civilians and health care workers will be infected with DELTA VARIANT?  DELTA  is considerably more infectious with much higher virus counts and can generate profuse viral shedding from asymptomatic non hospitalized carriers including children and family members. AND SCHOOL DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN. The way out of this pandemic is with VACCINATIONS. I agree with the current CDC recommendation to mask school children for a while. In addition, I plan to mask during the infrequent occasions that I am around crowds of unvaccinated people. Parents of school children are in a bind at present, and parents especially need to be vaccinated. It won’t be long before the vaccines are approved for the under 16 children.)


Last but not least:



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1. US HOSPITALIZATIONS The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations is beginning to rise in most US states, following increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant. Nationally, hospitalization rates remain low overall, nowhere near the previous pandemic peaks. But the increases in hospitalizations are high and rising in parts of the country that have low vaccination rates, including Florida, Nevada, Arkansas, and Missouri. Some Florida hospitals are seeing the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic, and the pace of this surge is accelerating rapidly. One hospital in Missouri said its increase in patients occurred nearly 5 times as fast as last fall’s surge. An estimated 97% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. Patients also are skewing younger, with 69% under the age of 65, according to CDC data as of July 17. Some hospitals are scrambling to find space for intensive care patients, trying to address personnel shortages, and attempting to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment such as ventilators. 

2. According to new projections released last week by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub—a consortium of researchers working with the US CDC to track the pandemic—the current US surge will continue throughout the summer and into the fall. In the most likely of 4 scenarios, there would be around 60,000 new cases and about 850 deaths per day, with 70% of eligible Americans vaccinated. Currently, the US is averaging around 42,000 new cases per day and about 250 deaths per day. Nationwide, 57.5% of eligible people are fully vaccinated. The researchers encouraged state and local leaders to take note of the projections, urging them to reimplement mask mandates and physical distancing requirements that could help lessen the surge’s impact.

‘Now they want the vaccine’: Houston ER docs speak from front line of latest COVID surge

In Harris County (HOUSTON), the number of active coronavirus cases has nearly tripled — from 3,076 to 8,431 — since the beginning of July, as the hypercontagious delta variant spreads rapidly among young, and primarily unvaccinated, Texans.


“Our vulnerability isn’t small, even among those eligible for vaccines. About 34 percent of Americans over the age of 12 and about 44 percent of the entire U.S. population haven’t been vaccinated at all. Some of those may have had Covid, so they have some level of protection, but that is not as good as being fully vaccinated, especially against Delta…Already, we are seeing rises in hospitalizations and deaths, almost entirely among the unvaccinated, and the Delta surge has just begun. Based on what we’ve seen elsewhere, we can expect it to rapidly accelerate and wash over the country fairly quickly…A staggering 40 percent of workers at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities remain unvaccinated. This is terrible, considering that the elderly, even if vaccinated, would be expected to have more breakthrough infections…Almost 90 percent of Americans 65 or older have received a vaccine…Meanwhile, schools will open in the coming weeks, and yet so much remains unclear and confusing about protecting younger children until they can get vaccinated. Even if they seem to be largely spared from severe outcomes of Covid-19, they are not invulnerable. Plus, they can bring the infection home…A sensible school policy would be to mandate masks for all elementary school children, at least until a vaccine becomes available to them, and tie it to local infection and vaccination rates for those 12 and over. Parents who can vaccinate their kids are less at the mercy of everyone else’s choices, making mandates less crucial…”

Gamma Variant Much More Prominent in Illinois

“…According to the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Health, there are six times as many Gamma variant as Delta…The Gamma variant was first identified in Brazil, and it has been shown in numerous studies — just like the other variants — to be less susceptible to either natural or vaccine-induced immunity…does this change anything for me? Not really. COVID still is a terrible disease that can kill you. The vaccines we have are incredibly safe and incredibly effective, even against the variants, and the benefits of getting vaccinated far, far outweigh any possible risks from them. The overwhelming majority of the people [being seen]… in the ICU with COVID are unvaccinated. And now, with COVID vaccines widely and freely available, any and every death from COVID is even more senseless than before. Bottom line: we will never be free — truly free — from this virus unless a great majority of us are fully vaccinated.…;]



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Opinion: Oh-hell-no headline of the day

 Opinion: Oh-hell-no headline of the day:

By George Smith  — July 25, 2021

“GOP eyes plan to kick Cheney, Kinzinger out of the party”

Voicing different ideas to help solve problems is always the best way to work toward the best solution.

Wanting everybody to think the same, walk in lockstep to a regulated beat and mindset is not the workings of a democracy.

The current Republican Party has lost its way, its vision, its push for compassionate conservatism. Following the Trump mantra and model of self-delusion, the party is destroying itself from the inside.

This country needs two (or more) strong parties. But all parties need to have certain elements in order for this nation to remain a world leader: Humility, empathy, the ability to listen to other ideas and to be able to admit when you are wrong.

In the present political climate, few of our elected officials possess these qualities. In 2021, however, the Republican Party is determined to self-destruct in the name of…what, exactly?

They are using pages from the not-so-distant past to suppress votes, hush detractors in their own ranks, using scare tactics in areas of healthcare, gun rights, LGBTQ issues, immigration, education and federal vs. states rights to keep this country divided.

Both parties, without realizing it,  spotlight their fringe players, those on the outer edges of liberalism and conservatism; that hurts both parties with clear-thinking voters.

It’s time to push those publicity-hungry politicians out of both parties and return to the system of conversation, conviviality and compromise.

You know…when real programs and policies to push America and ALL citizens forward was the goal of the executive and legislative branches of government.


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The C.D.C. will recommend that some vaccinated people wear masks indoors again.

Reversing a decision made just two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend on Tuesday that people vaccinated for the coronavirus resume wearing masks indoors in certain areas of the country.

The change follows reports of rising breakthrough infections with the Delta variant of the virus in people who were fully immunized. But the new guidance would mark a sharp turnabout from the agency’s position since May that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most indoor spaces.

Advice about thinking through breakthrough infections.

(J. Harris: Excellent NYT summary article regarding “Breakthrough Covid.” I’d have to advise wearing a mask in a crowd in areas where most of the population is unvaccinated.)



1. Changes in Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, 2020–2021 (CDC MMWR) Influenza viruses and human metapneumovirus circulated at historic lows through May 2021. In April 2021, respiratory syncytial virus activity increased. Common human coronaviruses, parainfluenza viruses, and respiratory adenoviruses have been increasing since January or February 2021. Rhinoviruses and enteroviruses began to increase in June 2020. Clinicians should be aware of increased circulation, sometimes off season, of some respiratory viruses and consider multipathogen testing. In addition to recommended preventive actions, fall influenza vaccination campaigns are important as schools and workplaces resume in-person activities with relaxed COVID-19 mitigation practices.

2. Government Affairs & National Security:

Democrats Want To Hold Social Media Companies Responsible For Health Misinformation (NPR) Democratic senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would hold Facebook, YouTube and other social media companies responsible for the proliferation of falsehoods about vaccines, fake cures and other harmful health-related claims on their sites. Co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the Health Misinformation Act targets a provision in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects platforms from being held liable for what their users post in most cases.

3. VACCINE MANDATES As SARS-CoV-2 vaccines become more widely available, some organizations, schools, and businesses are considering making them mandatory. This week, a US federal judge ruled to uphold a mandatory vaccination policy implemented by Indiana University, which would require SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for students, faculty, and staff before returning to campus this fall. The ruling acknowledges that the university has the authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution to pursue reasonable measures to protect the “public health for its students, faculty, and staff.” The students who filed the original suit are reportedly appealing the judge’s ruling.

On July 22, the American Hospital Association, the country’s largest association of hospitals and health systems, issued a statement in support of mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for healthcare workers. The statement argues that the vaccines have been demonstrated to be both safe and effective, and they play a critical role in protecting the health of both healthcare workers and their patients, many of whom are at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 disease. There have been several notable examples of hospitals firing employees who refused the vaccine, and the issue will certainly receive ongoing attention, especially until the vaccines receive full FDA approval.

New York City and California will require workers to be vaccinated or face testing.


1. The Threat of an Unvaccinated South

“…Unvaccinated individuals are efficient fuel [just] like dry wood for the fire of future outbreaks. Vaccinated individuals are like soaked wood—while it can’t easily catch fire, [but] if it’s surrounded by dry wood, the chances are much higher.” In other words, low vaccination rates in the South make this moment less safe for everyone there, and over time could jeopardize the country’s hope of ever getting the novel coronavirus more under control.

2. Vaccinated America Has Had Enough

”….Experts list many reasons for the vaccine slump, but one big reason stands out: vaccine resistance among conservative, evangelical, and rural Americans. Pro-Trump America has decided that vaccine refusal is a statement of identity and a test of loyalty.

…many in the vaccinated majority must be thinking: Yes, I’m very sorry that so many of the unvaccinated are suffering the consequences of their bad decisions. I’m also very sorry that the responsible rest of us are suffering the consequences of their bad decisions…More than a dozen conservative states have legislated drug testing for people who seek cash welfare. It is bizarre that Florida and other states would put such an onus on the poorest people in society—while allowing other people to impose a much more intimate and immediate harm on everybody else…Compassion should always be the first reaction to vaccine hesitation.[?] Maybe some unvaccinated people have trouble getting time off work to deal with side effects, maybe they are disorganized, maybe they are just irrationally anxious. But there’s no getting around the truth that some considerable number of the unvaccinated are also behaving willfully and spitefully. Yes, they have been deceived and manipulated by garbage TV, toxic Facebook content, and craven or crazy politicians. But these are the same people who keep talking about “personal responsibility.” In the end, the unvaccinated person himself or herself has decided to inflict a preventable and unjustifiable harm upon family, friends, neighbors, community, country, and planet…Will Blue America ever decide it’s had enough of being put medically at risk by people and places whose bills it pays? Check yourself: Have you?”


1. Thousands Of People Protest Coronavirus Lockdowns In Australia (NPR) Thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest lockdown restrictions amid another surge in cases, and police made several arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and plants. The unmasked participants marched from Sydney’s Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district, carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “the truth.”

2. France Passes Law That Makes A Coronavirus Health Pass Required For Dining And Travel (NPR) France’s parliament approved a law early Monday requiring special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel and mandating vaccinations for all health workers. Both measures have prompted protests and political tensions. President Emmanuel Macron and his government say they are needed to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals as infections rebound and to avoid new lockdowns. The law requires all workers in the health care sector to start getting vaccinated by Sept. 15, or risk suspension. It also requires a “health pass” to enter all restaurants, trains, planes and some other public venues. It initially applies to all adults, but will apply to everyone 12 and older starting Sept. 30.

As virus cases rise, another contagion spreads among the vaccinated: anger.

“…As coronavirus cases surge again across the United States, many inoculated people are losing patience with vaccine holdouts who they say are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews mask advisories…The mounting anger is contributing to political support for more coercive measures. Scientists, business leaders and government officials are calling for vaccine mandates — if not by the federal government, then by local jurisdictions, schools, employers and businesses…And frustration is straining relations even within closely knit families…”





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