CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 9/23/2022

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 9/23/2022

SO, WE CAN STOP THIS COUNT FOR NOW, AND, HOPEFULLY, FOREVER.

OUR AREA IN TEXAS IS NOW IN  A “LOW DANGER” AREA. I ANTICIPATE THAT MY MAILOUTS WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY INFREQUENT. I KNOW WE ALL HOPE SO. 

STAY WARY. 

FROM BECKERS:

BEST WAY TO TAKE A PILL AND GET QUICK RESULTS

(J. Harris: What a nice study. I never even thought about this. Quick clearance of the medications might really help when taking medicines that “burn” the stomach lining, like aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — as well as steroids. KEEP RIGHT!)

FROM THE NEJM:

NEW MODERNA VACCINE WORKS WELL AGAINST CURRENT VARIANTS

”The bivalent omicron-containing vaccine mRNA-1273.214 elicited neutralizing antibody responses against omicron that were superior to those with mRNA-1273, without evident safety concerns. ”

FROM MEDICARE:

”…Important: Updated COVID-19 vaccines are now available to provide increased protection against the currently circulating Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants….

If it has been at least 2 months since you completed your COVID-19 primary series or had your last booster, then you are eligible for an updated vaccine. 

Remember: Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you

FINE A VACCINE SITE NEAR YOU

FROM HOPKINS SUGGESTED ARTICLES: 

AS OF 22 SEPT: UNITED STATES

The US CDC is reporting 95.6 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,049,101 deaths. Daily incidence continues to decline, down to 55,332 new cases per day. Daily mortality appears to have plateaued, with an average of 356 deaths per day. 

1. Lancet Commission on COVID-19 response: ‘Massive global failure’

Lancet Commission on COVID-19 response: ‘Massive global failure’ (CIDRAP) A stinging new Lancet Commission report on the international COVID-19 pandemic response calls it “a massive global failure on multiple levels” and spares no one the responsibility—including the public—for millions of preventable deaths and a backslide in progress made toward sustainable development goals in many countries.

(J. Harris: This is a readable summary.)

2. Should Your Flu and COVID Shots Go in Different Arms? (The Atlantic) At a press briefing earlier this month, Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID czar, laid out some pretty lofty expectations for America’s immunity this fall. “Millions” of Americans, he said, would be flocking to pharmacies for the newest version of the COVID vaccine in September and October, at the same appointment where they’d get their yearly flu shot. “It’s actually a good idea,” he told the press. “I really believe this is why God gave us two arms.” That’s how I got immunized last week at my local CVS: COVID shot on the left, flu shot on the right. I spent the next day or so nursing not one but two achy upper arms. Reaching high shelves was hard; putting on deodorant was worse. And it did make me wonder what would have happened if I’d ignored Jha’s teleological advice and gotten both jabs in the same arm.

3. Nation warned to brace for a difficult flu season (The Hill) Health experts are warning the nation to brace for what could be an exceptionally severe flu season this fall and winter, as more people who have not built up immunity over the last few years mix and mingle. There are two big reasons why more people could be vulnerable to the flu this year. The first is that with coronavirus restrictions such as the wearing of masks all but forgotten, people are more likely to come into contact with the flu virus this year than over the last two years. The second reason is that fewer people are likely to be immune from the flu virus this year because fewer people have been getting the flu over the last two years — as the pandemic locked people down and as people worried more about getting COVID-19.

4. Additionally, the WHO last week strongly advised against the use of 2 different antibody therapies—sotrovimab as well as casirivimab-imdevimab—to treat patients with COVID-19 because they have limited clinical activity against currently circulating viral variants. The US FDA previously pulled or limited the use of the drugs, and some experts criticized the WHO for waiting to make the updated recommendation. The WHO expanded its conditional recommendation for the antiviral remdesivir to cover patients with severe COVID-19 and those with non-severe infections but who are at high risk of hospitalization….

Only a handful of COVID-19 therapeutics remain useful against currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains. While researchers quickly developed 4 effective treatments for hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the year between January 2020 and February 2021, no new therapies for hospitalized patients have been authorized since February 2021, raising concerns about whether treatment advancements have stalled

4. There’s a Shortage of Moderna Covid Boosters in the US (Bloomberg) Some pharmacies are reporting shortages of Moderna Inc.’s new bivalent booster shot for Covid-19 as one factory used in producing the vaccine remains offline following a safety inspection. The US government supply of Moderna’s shot is currently limited, causing appointments for the product to vary across the country, a Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. pharmacy spokesperson said in an emailed statement. Meanwhile, CVS Health Corp. says some of its drugstores have used all of the updated shots they received from the government, and the company is trying to get more doses. Moderna has been coping without one of its vaccine-manufacturing facilities.

FROM YOUR EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

State of Affairs (Sept 19): COVID19, MPX, Polio, and… Flu

1. SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate, and there are a few Omicron variants, like BA.2.3 and BJ.1, on the horizon with potentially concerning combinations of mutations. But evidence thus far is extremely limited. Most eyes are on BA.2.75.2, which is a second generation subvariant and has three additional spike protein mutations. Two preprints have shown substantial immune escape, even compared to BA.5. This means it has the potential to cause future waves. The number of BA.2.75.2 cases is still very small across the globe, but counts are doubling every week. If this growth rate continues, BA.2.75.2 may be one that causes the much anticipated winter wave.

2. Flu: Finally, flu. The flu season in Australia wrapped up, and it wasn’t pretty. This is notable because, historically, Southern hemisphere patterns predict what is to come in the Northern hemisphere….U.S. flu activity remains low, as is typical this time of year, but flu season is just around the corner. Given the Southern hemisphere’s warnings, we predict that this activity will change. However, right now, the only predictable thing about viral behavior is that it is unpredictable.

3. The “common” viruses for our kids may be back

(J. Harris: Check this out if you are around kids or grandkids or school kids.)

FROM THE CONVERSATION:

Polio vaccination rates in some areas of the US hover dangerously close to the threshold required for herd immunity – here’s why that matters

”…even today, there are communities in the U.S. that have lower-than-necessary polio vaccination rates. Because many people have not been vaccinated, there is now a real possibility of a resurgence of polio in the U.S….on Sept. 9, 2022, New York declared a state of emergency due to ongoing poliovirus transmission. As of that date, using wastewater surveillance, officials had identified 57 samples of poliovirus in wastewater from four New York counties…As a result of the continued poliovirus detection in wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the U.S. now meets the World Health Organization’s criteria for “a country with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.”….There are two key types of polio vaccine in use around the world today. The inactivated poliovirus vaccine is given as a shot, and the oral attenuated (or weakened) poliovirus vaccine is administered as oral drops, sometimes on a sugar cube…

Since 2000, the U.S. has exclusively used the inactivated poliovirus vaccine, which cannot cause disease since it does not contain live virus. But in countries where the poliovirus continues to circulate, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, the oral attenuated poliovirus vaccine is still used…..In extremely rare cases, the weakened live vaccine used in other countries can mutate back into its virulent form and lead to paralysis. This is how the adult in New York is believed to have come into contact with the virus….For poliovirus, researchers estimate that between five and seven individuals would be infected for each case if those people were susceptible. Based upon these calculations, experts determined that at least 80% of a community or population should be vaccinated against poliovirus to prevent its spread…]]

UT Southwestern opens first academic medical center campus for southern Dallas County

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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Do Companies Actually Read Customer Surveys?

Chapter 2

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Do Companies Actually Read Customer Surveys?

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By Ron Munden

When I receive an online survey form I often think – Will anyone actually read this form or will a computer just scan the responses and store them in a database?  Will my responses just be a dot in the composite data collection?

Earlier this week I posted an article titled, “Is Peters RAM in Longview Texas Where RVs Go To Die?” It was an article about my nightmare experiences with my new Thor Sequence RV.

On the day I posted my article I  received a Customer Satisfaction Survey Form request from Thor Motor Coach.

Since it was mailed a few days prior to my publishing my article, I cannot credit my powerful, compelling writing with me receiving the survey from Thor.  But I am very happy that the Thor Customer Satisfaction sent me the survey.

Of course I was very interested in completing the survey.  If you read my last article on this subject,  it will not be a surprise to you that Thor Motor Coach did not receive high marks on the survey form.  I think my 2000 character description of the current status will clearly identify to Thor why they received very low scores.  They now know I have very serious issues with their product.

So now this is the question – will a human ever review my survey?  Will the Customer Satisfaction Team ever reach out to me?

To be fair I must let you know this is my first time dealing directly with the Thor Motor Coach  company.  My dealings have been with the RV dealership and the RAM Service Center.  So Thor begins with a clear sheet of paper.

After completing the survey I received an email from the Thor Customer Satisfaction Team.  It said: 

Thank you for participating in the Thor Motor Coach customer satisfaction survey process. Our goal is to continue to provide superior products and services. The feedback you provided will assist us in meeting this goal.

Your response will be reviewed by our dealer and product support teams. If we identify that we have not met your expectations, we will take the necessary steps to follow-up to achieve an amicable outcome.

Sincerely,

Customer Satisfaction Team

Now the question is – Is this Thor goal part of its marketing campaign or part of the company’s mission?

Time will tell and so will I.

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Peters RAM

A Horror Story

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Is Peters RAM in Longview Texas Where RVs Go To Die?

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By Ron Munden

The Quick Version

On July 21, 2022 I bought an RV.  I have had numerous small problems with the RV which were addressed by the RV dealer.  The cab air conditioning stopped cooling in August. The RV Dealer said it was under RAM warranty and I needed to take it to a RAM dealer. On September 1, 2022 I took it to Peters RAM to do the warranty repairs.  As of September 20, 2022 they still have the vehicle and there are no signs of progress.  I have never been able to use the unit and next week I make my first payment of many.

A Longer Version

On July 21, 2022 I became the proud owner of a new Thor Sequence RV which is built on a RAM ProMaster frame.

I have had a series of problems.  I drove the RV to Missouri where I purchased it and the dealer fixed the house problems.

On the drive up to Missouri the A/C in the cab stopped cooling.  When I reported this to the RV dealer, I was told that this was under the RAM warranty and I should take it to a RAM dealer for repairs.  The lack of A/C has made the vehicle unusable.  I just hate driving around on a 100 degree day without A/C.

The RAM dealer in Marshall said they were not certified for RAM Pro Master work and referred me to Peters RAM in Longview Texas.

I called Peters for an appointment and was told I could not make an appointment for A/C repairs. They said I would need to drive it over and they would “work it in”  but they could not guarantee one-day repairs so I would need to drop it off and they would call me when it was ready.

I arranged for someone to pick me up in Longview and drive me back to Marshall.  On September 1, 2022 I drove the 30 miles to Peters Service Center.  

Prior to taking the RV over I had experienced difficulty starting the vehicle if I turned it off and then needed to restart it within a few minutes.  I had no problem if I waited a half day to restart it.

When I got  to Peters I stopped the RV beside the Service Center and turned it off.  I had the windows down driving over because of the lack of A/C. I realized I needed to raise the window.  The vehicle would not start again.

I went into the Service Center and met a very friendly Peters’ employee.  He was helpful and checked my RV in.  I detailed the problems that I was having – the A/C cooling and the RV not starting a second time.

We walked outside and he verified the problems.  The vehicle still would not start and jumping the battery did not work.

My ride arrived, I waved goodbye to my RV.  Sadly this was the last time I saw my young RV.

Today it is September 20, 2022.  Peters has never called me.  Some of my calls to them have been returned.  Everytime the story is the same – they have not found the problem but they are still looking.  They have no estimate when I might get my RV back.

Based on my conversations it appears that Peters Service Center has no clue what is wrong and they are getting NO HELP from the RAM factory.

Surely there is someone at the RAM factory that can help the Peters Service Center identify and repair these problems.

Next week I will write the check for my first RV payment.  I have not been able to use the RV a single day in the two months I have had it.  I had hoped that my RV and I could share the signing of that first check together but I fear we will be apart.  I will be at home and my RV will be at the Peters Service Center or the Peters Graveyard.

Come-on RAM – you can do better!

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Marshall Depot Board Accepts Original Painting of the Depot From Local Artist

September 16, 2022

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Marshall Depot Board Accepts Original Painting of the Depot From Local Artist

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At their recent monthly board meeting, the volunteer Board of Directors for the Marshall Depot Inc. (MDI) gratefully accepted a beautiful original painting of the historic Marshall Depot painted by local artist, Jack Cargill. 

The Board will hang Mr. Cargill’s original acrylic painting of the Depot in the Marshall Depot Gift Shop, next to the Texas & Pacific Railway Museum, which is located on the second floor of the historic building.

Christina Anderson, president of the MDI Board, shared: “On behalf of the Marshall Depot Board, I want to say how much we appreciate the generosity of Jack Cargill in presenting to us and donating his lovely painting of Marshall’s beautiful, historic Depot. We’re delighted to receive this gift and will proudly display it.”

Jack Cargill shared: “I have always thought the Depot is a beautiful building, and the view of it from the Viaduct, with those old railroad cars in the foreground, is particularly scenic. One day I took a sketchbook and drew it from the Viaduct. Later I decided it warranted a painting, so I took a photograph, on which my acrylic painting is based.”

Mr. Cargill added: “I also love traveling by train, and I have been through that Depot on journeys to and from Chicago and California. Beautiful old buildings should be preserved; they are the ongoing history of our city — the Depot, the Ginocchio, the old Courthouse, and many others.”

A number of original paintings by Jack Cargill are currently or have been displayed in locations in downtown Marshall and in our East Texas region including at Joe Pine’s Coffee Shop, Texas Tea Room, Marshall Public Library, Warehouse 308, and the Longview Arboretum.

Ms. Anderson added: “There are many wonderful reasons to visit the Marshall Depot, Jack Cargill’s painting just adds another one. As you know, we have an outstanding Texas & Pacific Railway Museum at the Depot and we’re incredibly blessed, as a community, to be one of only 525 cities nationwide to have an Amtrak stop. This provides our community members a valuable transportation option for traveling on the Texas Eagle route and connecting to Amtrak’s vast National Network.”

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle provides long-distance daily service through Marshall between San Antonio and Chicago.  Amtrak ticket agent hours every day at the Marshall Depot are: 7:00am-11am and 4:30pm-8:30pm. 

The Texas Eagle train (heading west to Dallas/Fort Worth then south to San Antonio) has the scheduled departure time from Marshall each morning at 7:50am and the Texas Eagle train (heading north to Chicago) has the scheduled departure time from Marshall every evening at 7:31pm.

Ms. Anderson added that the hard-working volunteer Board of Directors is in the process of making a number of upgrades and improvements to the operation, safety, and aesthetics of the Marshall Depot and has great plans going forward.  “We look forward to sharing more information about these plans and ongoing improvements in the coming weeks and months.”

She also shared that upcoming community events will include a Halloween at the Depot celebration and the Depot’s participation in Marshall’s popular Wonderland of Lights Festival. 

Ms. Anderson also shared that Board Vice President Donald Hocutt and Treasurer Cathy Wright are working with the Depot Board and Depot Gift Shop manager, Abby Herman, on expanding and enhancing the inventory in the Marshall Depot Gift Shop. 

She noted: “Board members and Ms. Herman are in the process of taking the steps to make the Marshall Depot Gift Shop a shopping destination for our community not only for the upcoming Christmas season but all year round.”

Marshall Depot Museum and Gift Shop hours are:  Wednesday through Friday 10:00am-3:00pm; Saturday, 11:00am-3:00pm. Closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  

Ms. Anderson also noted that the Marshall Depot is one of the few Amtrak stops on the Texas Eagle route that is not operated by the city it serves. A volunteer Board of Directors operates the Depot as a working Amtrak station, history museum, and gift shop.

Marshall Depot Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit established in 1990 to assist the City with the restoration, operation, and maintenance of the Depot. The volunteer board raises funds, through tax-deductible donations from individuals as well grants from foundations and governmental entities such as the City of Marshall and Harrison County, to maintain the funding needed each year for the operation of the Depot, including insurance, utilities, security, safety, maintenance, and ongoing preservation of the Marshall Depot and T&P Railway Museum. 

She reminded the community that the 2022 Annual Marshall Depot Fundraising campaign is still underway. The Board would appreciate community members making a tax-deductible donation by sending a check to Marshall Depot Inc, at the following address:  800 North Washington Avenue, Suite 1, Marshall, Texas 75670.

Ms. Anderson concluded: “We, on the board, are very grateful for the strong support of our City, County, and community members and for recognizing the valuable transportation asset that the Marshall Depot is and the many other benefits it provides related to economic development, tourism, education, quality of life, as well as documenting and continuing Marshall’s rich and fascinating railroad history.” 

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 9/17/2022

HELLO, 

Below are cited multiple new articles that validate the effectiveness of some of the vaccines against the newer Omicron variants. Even Norwegians and Tomatoes should be convinced to continue taking the vaccines, especially if they have a bit of age on them. Covid is waning in our part of East Texas.

FROM HOPKINS:

1. ”US RESPONSE As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third fall in the US, the White House has signaled it plans to slowly restructure its response efforts, including the phaseout of the White House COVID-19 Response Team mid-2023. With dwindling federal funds, responsibility for vaccinations and therapeutics is shifting to private industry and consumers within the next 6 months. Any remaining funds are largely being used for vaccination campaigns promoting this fall’s updated boosters and the purchase of at-home, rapid tests for the Strategic National Stockpile and Test-to-Treat locations. Officials are tentatively hopeful that the national public health emergency declaration for the pandemic may be allowed to expire in early 2023. While part of this transition can be attributed to fewer COVID-19 cases, deaths, and related hospitalizations, as well as the widespread availability of vaccinations and therapeutics, most response activities need to wind down due to a lack of new funding from the US Congress. Experts and officials emphasize that the pandemic is far from over, with COVID-19 on track to remain the third leading cause of death in the nation….”

2. Additionally, recent research conducted by economists from Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimates that the labor force shrunk by about 500,000 people due to COVID-19 illness. Millions of people left the workforce for various reasons, including lack of childcare, fear of COVID, and retirement. But this research examines the direct impact of COVID-19 illness, estimating that workers with week-long COVID-19-related work absences are 7 percentage points less likely to be in the labor force one year later compared to otherwise-similar workers who do not miss a week of work for health reasons. In August, the total size of the labor force reached 164.7 million people, exceeding prepandemic levels for the first time. However, workforce recovery is experiencing slow-growth compared to prepandemic numbers, and economic recovery will depend on an expanded workforce in the long term.

3. BRAIN FOG When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, brain fog was not included in the list of possible symptoms. However, many COVID-19 patients report experiencing the condition, both during acute infection and lasting 3 or more months after recovery. Brain fog symptoms appear to be independent of initial disease severity. According to one review of multiple studies, about 22% of individuals report cognitive impairment 12 or more weeks following their initial diagnosis. Brain fog is often described as a disorder of executive function, the set of abilities that includes holding attention, remembering and recalling information, and blocking out distractions. Cognitive tasks that once seemed simple become excruciatingly difficult, and in some cases, impossible. Some people have had to leave their jobs due to an inability to perform their tasks, and many have faced frustration in obtaining medical care, often being dismissed as having anxiety or depression. Complicating the matter is that few clinicians are aware that many viral infections, not only COVID-19, can lead to brain fog and there are few reliable diagnostic tools. 

Other neurological complications have been reported following COVID-19 infection, including stroke, delirium, and encephalitis. A recent study published in the journal Brain showed that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had elevated levels of sera markers of brain injury, neurofilament light (NfL) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). However, no specific pathogenic mechanism was determined responsible. Researchers continue to investigate what leads to brain fog—with possible causes including neuro-inflammation, autoimmune responses, or microclots that inhibit blood flow, and therefore oxygen supply—and are hopeful treatments can be developed.

4. In South Korea, experts are concerned over simultaneous outbreaks of COVID-19 and influenza during the colder fall and winter months, calling for the development of better diagnostic tests, including one that could detect flu and COVID-19 at the same time, and for healthcare services to offer individuals both vaccines during the same visit. …”

5. The Future of Hospitals’: Flexible Space for the Next Pandemic (The New York Times) The early waves of the pandemic came crashing into hospitals, revealing intensive care units without enough beds, hallways and waiting rooms that forced the healthy and sick to commingle, and ventilation systems that became conduits for airborne pathogens. Given that hindsight, many hospitals are remodeling with a philosophy of flexible design, the idea that spaces should be adaptable for different purposes at different times. When the next pandemic comes, they’ll be able to better meet the moment. 

6. UNITED STATES

The US CDC is reporting 95.2 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,046,195 deaths. Daily incidence continues to decline, down to 60,558 new cases per day. This is the lowest average since May 1 and a 54% decrease from the most recent peak on July 16. Daily mortality continues to decline as well, down to 350 deaths per day. This is the lowest average since July 9 and a decrease of 30% from the most recent high on August 12. The CDC reported a slight increase in both daily incidence and mortality on September 12, but this is likely due to delayed reporting over the US Labor Day holiday weekend.*

7. LONG COVID IN EUROPE An estimated 17 million people across the WHO’s Europe region experienced post-acute sequelae or long-term symptoms of COVID-19, also known as long COVID, during the pandemic’s first 2 years, according to a modeling study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) for WHO/Europe. The region comprises 53 Member States across Europe and Central Asia that are home to nearly 900 million people. The report highlights the ongoing public health challenges posed by the condition, which is characterized by cognitive and mental health problems, fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms experienced 12 weeks or more following a COVID-19 diagnosis. 

The report, published September 13, found the number of new long COVID cases identified between 2020 and 2021 rose threefold, driven by the rapid increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases from late 2020 through 2021; women are twice as likely than men to suffer from the condition; and the risk of long COVID increases dramatically among people with severe infections who need hospitalization. WHO officials and the report authors said that although most people fully recover from COVID-19, the findings underline the need for additional analysis and investment to determine the long-term effects of the disease, including implications for the workforce and the need for rehabilitative and support services.

FROM YOUR EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

STILL MORE THAN 400 COVID DEATHS PER DAY IN THE USA

”…We are losing ~400 Americans a day. In the last 7 days, we have lost 2,299 people. During August 2022 alone, we lost 15,284 Americans to COVID-19.

This means COVID-19 remains the third leading cause of death in our repertoire of threats. And it’s largely preventable. In the U.S., death rates are not back to pre-pandemic times; excess deaths are still 10% above “expected.” This is changing our average life expectancy. In fact, the U.S. experienced the sharpest two-year decline in life expectancy in nearly 100 years….

It’s abundantly clear the majority of deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated (20% of Americans are still without even one dose)…In addition, there is a clear dose response with vaccines: the more vaccine doses one has, the more that person is protected from death. According to the CDC, vaccinated people with one booster had 3 times the risk of dying compared to people vaccinated with two boosters. Unvaccinated people had 14 times the risk of dying compared to those with two boosters.

Interestingly, the under- or un-vaccinated are more and more likely to have been infected. So, models are no longer comparing vaccinated people to immune naïve; rather, they are comparing vaccinated (or hybrid immunity) to those with more and more infection-induced immunity. This indirectly highlights a positive effect of vaccines against death compared to infection.

(J. Harris: A quick, easy, and important read. I had no idea that more people in FL are more unwise than many in NY.)

FROM THE LA TIMES:

Coronavirus Today: How universal healthcare could save lives

”…The United States accounts for a little more than 4% of the world’s population, but it’s responsible for about 16% of the world’s COVID-19 deaths…”

(J. Harris: Worth the quick read)

FROM THE NEJM:

Effectiveness and Durability of the BNT162b2 Vaccine against Omicron Sublineages in South Africa

”TO THE EDITOR:

Data are limited regarding the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech) against the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages of the B.1.1.529 (omicron) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that drove the recent fifth wave of infection in South Africa.1 We previously reported a vaccine effectiveness of 70% after two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine against severe disease during the fourth wave of omicron infection driven by the BA.1 sublineage in South Africa.1,2….. after either two doses or three doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine, we found rapid waning of vaccine effectiveness against the current sublineages of the omicron variant with respect to protection against hospitalization. Our data indicate that boosting maintains vaccine effectiveness against severe disease caused by the current omicron sublineages, although the evidence of rapid waning of durability indicates the need for regular boosting as early as 4 months after the last dose or the need for vaccines to incorporate variants of concern to maintain protection.

(J. Harris: So keep getting your Covid Boosters when the CDC says to do so — like right now. A later study is said to show “A booster dose of mRNA-1273 after the initial two-dose vaccination resulted in neutralization titers against the BA.2.75 variant that were similar to those against BA.1 and BA.2 and higher than those against BA.5 (letter).”

FROM JAMA:

COVID-19-Associated Hospitalizations Among Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Adults 18 Years or Older in 13 US States, January 2021 to April 2022

”Findings  In this cross-sectional study of US adults hospitalized with COVID-19 during January 2022 to April 2022 (during Omicron variant predominance), COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates were 10.5 times higher in unvaccinated persons and 2.5 times higher in vaccinated persons with no booster dose, respectively, compared with those who had received a booster dose. Compared with unvaccinated hospitalized persons, vaccinated hospitalized persons were more likely to be older and have more underlying medical conditions.

Meaning  The study results suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are strongly associated with prevention of serious COVID-19 illness.

FROM NATURE :

Association between BNT162b2 vaccination and reported incidence of post-COVID-19 symptoms: cross-sectional study 2020-21, Israel

”…we compared vaccinated individuals with those unvaccinated and those uninfected, in terms of post-acute self-reported symptoms. Of the 951 infected, 637(67%) were vaccinated. In the study population, the most prevalent symptoms were: fatigue (22%), headache (20%), weakness of limbs (13%), and persistent muscle pain (10%). After adjusting for age, time from beginning of symptoms to responding to the survey, and baseline symptoms, those who received two vaccine doses were less likely than unvaccinated individuals to report any of these symptoms (fatigue, headache, weakness of limbs, persistent muscle pain) by 62%, 50%, 62%, and 66% respectively, (Risk ratios 0.38, 0.50, 0.38, 0.34, p < 0.04 in the listed sequence). Compared to the 2447 included individuals who never reported SARS-CoV-2 infection, double-vaccinated participants were no more likely to report any of the mentioned symptoms. Vaccination with 2+ doses of BNT162b2 was associated with a reduced risk of reporting most of the common post-acute COVID-19 symptoms. Our results suggest that BNT162b2 vaccination may have a protective effect against longer term COVID-19 symptoms.

FROM THEN ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE (? REPEAT)

Effectiveness of a Fourth Dose of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Against Omicron Variant Among Elderly People in Singapore

”Discussion: Our study found that 4 doses of BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 reduced the risk for symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, and severe COVID-19 illness versus 3 doses among persons 80 years of age or older, corroborating studies in a younger cohort in Israel (4, 5). In Singapore, the risk reductions in hospitalization and severe disease were helpful in managing the case surge from BA.5, avoiding the need to tighten control measures as was done for the Omicron BA.1/BA.2 wave in January through April 2022. Consistent with findings of sustained protection against severe disease from Israel (6), we found no waning of this protection after 60 days.”

FROM BECKERS:

2022 the most financially difficult year for hospitals, health systems since start of pandemic

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

How about a blonde joke?

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75688

Unintended Consequences

I would Have Never Thought

September 13, 2022

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Unintended Consequences

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By Ron Munden – September 13, 2022

Last month I misplaced my driver’s license.  So I rode to the DMV office to get a replacement copy. My license does not expire until 2026. The last time I did this was about 10 years ago and it took me 15 minutes.

That was before our Governor and our State Legislators passed a set of voter suppression laws – sometimes called election integrity laws.

When I arrived at the DMV office two other elderly people were in line.  Both wanted to renew their driver’s license.  Both were told they had to have their birth certificate with them in order to renew.  Neither had the document and both walked out shaking their heads.

I thought I was OK since I only wanted to get a copy of my current license and I had a photocopy of that document on my phone.  I filled out a form and waited.  Soon I was called to a desk.  I explained I just needed a copy of my current license and showed the lady the photo of the license on my phone.

The response was, “you can’t get a copy unless you have your birth certificate with you.”

I explained that I had no idea where my birth certificate was and had not seen it for 70 years.  I was told I MUST have a copy of my birth certificate or I could not get a copy of my current driver’s license.  I was told to go to the county courthouse and apply for a birth certificate.

So Senior Citizen #3 left the DMV shaking his head.

I drove to the courthouse and met with two very nice ladies.  I told them I needed a copy of my birthday certificate.   I filled out a form and they asked to see my driver’s license.

I explained that I misplaced my drivers license and I need a copy of my birth certificate in order to  get a copy of my driver’s license.  We all laughed.

Luckly, the “License to Carry Handgun” card opens all doors in Texas.  Being a gun-carrying Texan, I produced my card and $23 later I had my very own birth certificate.

So it was back to the DMV office with my birthday certificate.  I proudly showed them my birth certificate.  They were impressed.  They wanted to take a picture of it.  I was so excited I took a selfie of me and my birth certificate.

My birth certificate and a few dollars more got a piece of paper that said  I had applied for a replacement driver’s license.  

This entire effort only took 2 ½ hours and tied up three people not including yours truly.

The next morning I walked into my office, opened the top of my copy machine and there was my missing driver’s license.  Sure I had wasted 2 ½ hour but I was happy with the experience.  I got to see our state tax dollars at work thanks to our lawmakers in Austin.

I admire our Legislators’ attempt at making it difficult to vote in hopes that it will keep their entire party in office even if the citizens don’t want them there.  Unfortunately,  I think their approach was poorly thought out.

If these people were serious about security, which they were not, requiring a birth certificate is the least secure document they could have selected.

A birth certificate was designed using 1850 technology.  It is the easiest document to counterfeit of all documents known to man.  A 9th grade computer nerd can produce 1000’s a day working in his bedroom.  I am sure there are underground operations producing counterfeit birth certificates on demand for the real bad guys.  Most likely at a cost less than the $23 it costs to get a real birth certificate.

A birth certificate is a nuisance document.  It makes life difficult for honest people, particularly old people, but is not a roadblock for any dishonest person.

In the 1980s I worked on Department of Defense projects that required a Top Secret SBI clearance.  As part of the application process I have to provide numerous documents and fill out a stack of forms a ¼ inch high.  One thing they did not require is a birth certificate.  Most likely because it is a useless document when it comes to security.

So thank you Mr. Legislators for making life difficult for us old people and increasing the workload for state and county employees. When I go to bed at night, I feel much better knowing you are in bed sleeping and not out here passing more stupid laws.

Note: 

While I am less than impressed with the Texas Legislature, I am very impressed with the ladies I dealt with at both the DMV office and the Harrison County Courthouse.  They could not have been any more professional and courteous. 

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EastTexasExposed.com 

P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

9/11 – Twenty-One Years Later

Things They Are A Changin

September 11, 2022

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9/11 – Twenty-One Years Later

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By Ron Munden – September 11, 2022

It’s 9/11 – twenty-one years after the worst foreign terrorist attack in this nation’s history. 

It is a sad day.  Not because of what happened on 9/11/2001 but where the nation stands on 9/11/2022.

9/11/2001 was a sad day but that was short-lived. This nation quickly united and pulled together to get through those difficult days.  For a short time we set political affiliations aside and we were one nation.  That was inspiring and generated a sense of pride.

It is now twenty-one years later and this nation has moved a long way – unfortunately in the wrong direction.

Today I fear we are living through the final days of a nation with the greatest democracy that this world has ever known – the USA.

If you are thinking that these are the words of an irrational fear-monger, let me remind you that recent surveys show more than ⅔ of the people in the country share my concern .

In 2001 UNITED we stood.  Twenty-one years later – DIVIDED we’ll fall.

The Queen is dead and soon American democracy will follow in her footsteps – unless the American people wake up and snatch democracy from the authoritarian jaws of death. The time is short!

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75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 9/7/2022

FROM THE MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER:

LOCAL VACCINE INFORMATION from JENNIFER HANCOCK, RN, BSN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MARSHALL-HARRISON COUNTY HEALTH DISTRICT:

”The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommends the for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.

Please call our office at 903-938-8338 to be placed on a list to get the Pfizer COVID 19 booster, we have placed an order and are awaiting shipment (we did pre book weeks ago). You can also go to https://www.vaccines.gov/ to find vaccines in our area.

More information about the new booster can be found at; https://www.cdc.gov/…/2022/s0901-covid-19-booster.html

(J. Harris: Call 903 938-8338 and press 9 when the recording starts and you can schedule a Pfizer vaccine.)

YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST: 

ONE SHOT PER YEAR? (CLICK)

(J. Harris: Short readable, important, informative, understandable.)

FROM BECKERS:

Travel nurses aren’t returning to their old jobs

FROM HOPKINS:

1. ”For Some Patients, Long Covid Symptoms Mask Something Else (Wired) Long Covid is common—estimates of its prevalence vary widely, but even the most conservative studies imply that millions of people are dealing with long-lasting symptoms of their infections. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, on the other hand, is rare. But with dozens of possible symptoms, long Covid can be easily confused with countless other conditions, including cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Add the fact that Covid can make preexisting conditions worse, and determining whether or not someone has long Covid becomes a daunting task….”

2. ”How the Pandemic Shortened Life Expectancy in Indigenous Communities (New York Times) In 2020 and 2021, as the coronavirus swept across the United States, life expectancy for Native Americans and Alaska Natives fell by 6 1/2 years — a decline that left the researchers aghast. The comparable figure for all Americans was about 3 years, itself a terrible milestone not seen in nearly a century. What could have left Native Americans and Alaska Natives so vulnerable to the pandemic? There is no simple diagnosis, nor is there an easy fix, experts say. The suffering is inextricably bound to a long history of poverty, inadequate access to health care, poor infrastructure and crowded housing…”

(J. Harris: Genetic studies will be helpful.)

AND LASTLY:

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75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 9/2/2022

There is too much information in this mailout, but some really good stuff hit the desk today. Texas is no longer compiling or providing detailed Covid information for daily release. Take your time and just read a couple of articles a day over the long holiday. Have a nice Holiday, perhaps our last bad Covid holiday? 

FROM YOUR EPIDEMIOLOGIST

1. ” Cliff notes” ON FALL COVID BOOSTERS

2. Considerations for your fall booster

(J. Harris: Fabulous article, readable. Discussed mix and match and the timing for vaccinations in persons who have had Covid infection.)

THE BEST CDC WEBSITE FOR COVID IN THE FUTURE:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

(J. Harris: The CDC has done a great job of streamlining its website and eliminating non-pertinent information.)

ROM: THE WASHINGTON POST: 

1. AN INTERESTING OPINION PIECE

Opinion The world might be done with covid, but I’m still keeping my distance

2. ANOTHER VIEW:

Opinion I’m a doctor. Here’s why my kids won’t wear masks this school year.

FDA Authorizes Updated Moderna and Pfizer Booster Shots

(J. Harris: Good basic up-to-date Booster information.)

Philanthropist donates $172 million to speed up drug development for the next pandemic

”…Geoffrey Cumming, who made a global fortune in oil and gas, as well as solar power investments and management, is putting up what is purportedly the largest ever gift to medical research in Australia to create the Cumming Global Center for Pandemic Therapeutics. Stunned by the economic and political impact of COVID-19, he “wanted to do something to protect the world in the next pandemic,” says James Angus, a former dean of medicine at the University of Melbourne and a friend of Cumming…”

FROM NEJM:

1. (LETTER) Risk of BA.5 Infection among Persons Exposed to Previous SARS-CoV-2 Variants

”…Overall, we found that breakthrough infections with the BA.5 subvariant were less likely among persons with a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection history in a highly vaccinated population, especially for previous BA.1 or BA.2 infection, than among uninfected persons…”

(J. Harris: From Portugal study of highly vaccinated population. Suggests to me that the new vaccine should be helpful.)

2. Covid-19 Vaccines — Immunity, Variants, Boosters

(J. Harris: The ultimate update at this time. Complex.)

FROM THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION:

What doctors wish patients knew about the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

(J. Harris: An alternative to genetically engineered vaccines)

FROM HOPKINS 

1. “…UNITED STATES

The US CDC is reporting 94.3 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,040,314 deaths. Average daily incidence continues to decline, down from the most recent high of 129,363 new cases per day on July 21 to 88,286 on August 30—the lowest average since May 12. Average daily mortality continues to decline, down to 383 on August 30 from a recent high of 486 on August 12….

Both new hospital admissions and current hospitalizations continue to decline, down 2.9% and 6.3%, respectively, over the past week. Both trends peaked around the last week of July, similar to trends in daily incidence.”

FROM PRECISION VACCINATIONS:

1. Japan Approves and Purchases Antibody Combo for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19

”…United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca plc announced today that Evusheld, a long-acting antibody combination, has been approved in Japan for both prevention and treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection….

The decision by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) marks the first global marketing approval for Evusheld (tixagevimab and cilgavimab) as a treatment for COVID-19.

2. COVID-19 Pill Vaccine Candidate Posts Positive Phase 2 Study Results

(J. Harris: (An ORAL Covid Vaccine in trials which seems to work even better in previously infected or vaccinated folks.)

AND LAST BUT  NOT LEASED WITH AN EXTRA FOR THE HOLIDAY: 

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75688

St Giles Cathedral – 26 July 2022 – Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Editor note:

More from Tom  

By Tom Allin

We stopped and explored the St. Giles Cathedral during our Royal Mile walk. The Cathedral stands out in my mind for two reasons: 1) the purpose of the Thistle Chapel and 2) the carvings within the Chapel.

History says a church has stood on this spot since 854 but the Cathedral building mostly dates from the 15th – 19th century.  A primary reason for very little of the first churches remains being available to view is invading English armies torched these churches twice in the 1400s.  St. Giles was built as a Catholic church but today is considered the primary church of the Church of Scotland and the “Mother Church of Presbyterianism”.

The Reformation reformer John Knox (1514 – 1572) preached his sermons from St. Giles.  Knox led the Scottish change from Catholicism to Protestantism.  The Scottish Parliament in 1560 decreed Scotland was a Protestant country.  Knox also played a role in the dethroning and eventual beheading of Mary Queen of Scots.  In today’s world Knox would be called misogynistic but in his time he held the common (male) thought that women were not capable of being leaders, etc.

Use the links below to read Tom’s complete story

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY WITH PICTURES

ANDROID USERS CHICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY

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