The Marshall Barber Shop

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The Marshall Barber Shop 

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By Ron Munden 

Up until recently when I heard the words “barber shop” my thoughts raced back to Cotton’s Barber Shop.  Cotton’s was a large barber shop just off the Square in Marshall Texas.  My grandfather took me to get my first haircut in that shop.  I got my last haircut before I left for college in the same shop as well as all the haircuts through the yearsI lived in Marshall.

While at Austin College I went to a 3-chair barber shop just off campus.  This was the “in place” for all the jocks.  I went there every two weeks and paid $1.25 to keep my half-inch “do” just at the  right length.

Somewhere along the way I gave up going to barber shops and began going to the beauty salon. I forgot about the barber shop experience.

Fast forward to 2020 and COVID.  I decided to give up getting a haircut for a few months and wait to COVID to be behind us.  I waited and waited.  My hair got longer and longer.

In January 2022 I decided I could wait no longer.  I needed to get a haircut.

By a stroke of luck, I saw a post on facebook about Laura’s barber shop.  With a little research I found the official name for Laura’s shop was Marshall Barber Shop.  I found the phone number and scheduled an appointment.

At the first appointment Laura told me she was not a hair stylist, she was a barber.

She is right.  She is a barber.  When you walk into her shop you know that you are in a barber shop.  For the first time in years I saw a real barbers chair.  It had been over 50 years since I had sat in one but it was a good fit.  At that first appointment I realized this was not the hair stylist experience.  Little things like having your neck shaved with a straight razor.  It was like being back at Mr. Cotton’s place.  I like being back in a barber shop.

Of course what makes Marshall Barber Shop really special is Laura Dunham.

She is an accomplished barber but more importantly she is the nicest person that anyone could hope to meet.  She enjoys serving people. She does not limit her work to her shop.  If one of her clients can’t come to her, she will go to them.  

She is upbeat and kind.  I have never heard her say a negative word about anyone.  That is a rarity in Marshall, the US or the World these days.  After a haircut at Laura’s you feel good. 

I’m glad I found Laura and Marshall Barber Shop.  It’s a great place to get your haircut.  If this sounds interesting to you, you should pick up the phone and give Laura a call and book an appointment.

Remember it’s Marshall Barber Shop – 903-926-4014.

Footnote:

In late October my wife, Deloris, had Deep Brain Stimulation surgeries.  They completely shaved her head for the procedures. 

The two surgeries are behind her and her hair is growing back in.  She got her first haircut at Laura’s last week.  I like Deloris with short hair and I hope she will keep it that way.   So if she keeps it short.  Maybe Marshall Barber Shop will have two Munden customers.

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Art Smart – December 2022

Art Smart’s Articles for December 2022

Art Smart is a regular contributor to EastTexasExposed.com and iExposed.us.  Each month we submit a blog article that contains a link to some of Mr. Smart’s articles contributed during that month.

Caddo Lake in the Winter

By Art Smart

Caddo Lake, located in Northeast Texas and adjacent to the Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge, is a stunning destination in any season, but it is particularly beautiful in the winter. With its cypress trees, Spanish moss, and calm, still waters, Caddo Lake has a serene, almost otherworldly quality in the colder months.

As you take a leisurely walk or drive around the lake, you’ll notice that the trees are adorned with hoarfrost, giving them a magical, almost fairy-tale like appearance. The air is crisp and refreshing, and the silence is broken only by the occasional birdcall or the crunch of leaves underfoot.

But Caddo Lake isn’t just a place for peaceful contemplation. It’s also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. The Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge, which spans over 7,000 acres, is home to over 300 species of birds, including egrets, herons, and woodpeckers. It’s also home to beavers, otters, and even the occasional alligator.

Click here to read the complete story

The Don CeSar – A must visit

By Art Smart

The Don CeSar, also known as the “Pink Palace,” is an iconic resort located on the beautiful St. Pete Beach in Florida. This luxurious property is a perfect choice for a romantic getaway, offering stunning oceanfront views, a secluded beach, and a variety of amenities and activities to choose from.

One of the highlights of the Don CeSar is its award-winning spa, which offers a wide range of treatments and services to help you relax and rejuvenate. Whether you’re in the mood for a massage, a manicure, or a facial, the spa has something for everyone.

The Don CeSar is also home to some of the best dining in the area. The Maritana Grille, the resort’s signature restaurant, serves gourmet cuisine inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. The hotel also has a variety of other dining options, including a poolside bar and a casual café.

Click here to read the complete story

Sea Ranch Chapel

By Art Smart

The Sea Ranch Chapel is a breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful place located along Highway 1 in Sonoma County, California. Nestled between San Francisco and Mendocino, this isolated chapel is the perfect place to stop and take a moment to reflect and meditate during a long drive.

As soon as you approach the chapel, you’ll be struck by its stunning exterior architecture. The building is constructed from cedar shingles and glass, which creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The chapel is surrounded by beautiful, lush green trees, which provide a sense of privacy and seclusion.

Click here to read the complete story

The Ginocchio

By Art Smart

The Ginocchio Building in Marshall, Texas was a longstanding fixture in the downtown area, with its distinctive red brick exterior and ornate architectural details. For years, it had been a source of pride for the community, with many locals reminiscing about the times they had spent there as children. However, over the years, the building had fallen into disrepair and was in desperate need of a renovation.

Enter Allan Loudermilk, a local businessman with a passion for restoring this historic building. When he first laid eyes on the Ginocchio Building, he knew he had to take on the challenge of bringing it back to its former glory.

With the support of the community, Allen set to work on the renovation, determined to do whatever it took to restore the building to its former splendor. He spent countless hours researching the building’s history and carefully planning out every detail of the renovation.

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Ferndale — The Victorian Village

By Art Smart

On December 20, 2022, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Ferndale in Humboldt County in California. This was very sad news. I have visited Ferndale many times and have fond memories of its unmatched architecture.

Ferndale, known as the “Victorian Village,” is a small town with a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. It was founded in 1852 by New Englanders who were drawn to the area by the abundance of natural resources and the possibility of a new life on the West Coast. These settlers established dairy farms and raised livestock, which became the mainstay of Ferndale’s economy for many years.

As the town grew and prospered, a number of Victorian-era buildings were constructed, giving Ferndale its unique character and charm. Today, these beautifully preserved buildings serve as a testament to the town’s history and are a popular attraction for visitors.

One of the most iconic buildings in Ferndale is the Ferndale Museum, a Victorian-era building that was once a livery stable. The museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Ferndale’s history, from its early days as a dairy farming community to its present-day status as a popular tourist destination.

Click here to read the complete story

For more articles and photographs visit oud websites:

EastTexasExposed.com

iExposed.us

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/14/2022

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/14/2022

FROM THE MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER:

FROM HOPKINS SUGGESTIONS:

1. EPI UPDATE The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 643 million cumulative cases and 6.62 million deaths worldwide as of December 8. Global weekly incidence remained relatively stable last week, decreasing 1.3% compared to an increase of 16.8% the previous week. A total of 3.04 million cases were confirmed the week of November 28. Weekly incidence fell over the previous week in Africa (-64%)*, South-East Asia (-27%), Western Pacific (-10%), and the Eastern Mediterranean (-4%). The Americas (+14%) and Europe (+4.5%) regions experienced increasing weekly incidence. Global weekly mortality decreased from the previous week, down 17%.

*The WHO dashboard notes that data from the Africa region are incomplete.

UNITED STATES

The US CDC is reporting 98.8 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1.08 million deaths. Incidence for the week ending November 30 remained relatively stable over the previous week, falling to 303,101 cases from 306,856 cases for the week ending November 23. Weekly mortality fell significantly for the week ending November 30, with 1,780 reported deaths compared to 2,634 deaths the week ending November 23. The decline could be a result of delayed reporting due to the US Thanksgiving holiday.

2. MASK USE The US CDC is once again encouraging people to wear masks to help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, as hospitalizations rise due to the so-called “tripledemic” of COVID-19, RSV, and flu. The nation appears to be at the start of another COVID-19 wave, with hospitalizations reaching a 3-month high last week. Hospitals are already feeling strain from earlier-than-normal increases in RSV and flu cases and hospitalizations. The US is experiencing the highest levels of hospitalization from flu that it has seen in a decade this early in the season. Experts warn that holiday gatherings present a prime opportunity for respiratory viruses to spread and urge people to take precautions, including mask use, physical distancing, testing, and increased air ventilation. While it is unlikely that widespread mask mandates will return, masking in crowded areas can lower the risk of infection and help decrease the burden on overwhelmed hospitals. 

One more reason to don a mask during the colder months could be to help keep your nose warm. A study published this week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that exposure to cold temperatures hinder immune responses in the upper respiratory tract by killing nearly half of the virus and bacteria-fighting cells in the nostrils, allowing viruses or bacteria to evade this initial immune response. 

3. Authorities are urging indoor masking in major cities as the ‘tripledemic’ rages (NPR) Public health officials are revisiting the topic of indoor masking, as three highly contagious respiratory viruses take hold during the holiday season. Over the past few weeks, a surge in cases of COVID, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus — known as RSV — has been sickening millions of Americans, overwhelming emergency rooms and even causing a cold medicine shortage. The triple threat has been called a “tripledemic” by some health experts. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted this past week that the simultaneous combination of viruses has been straining healthcare systems across the country.

4. Wrangling Over the International Pandemic Pact Has Begun (Think Global Health) Health officials met this week in Geneva to discuss a rough draft of a pandemic treaty, an international plan to avoid another disaster on the scale of COVID-19. This is the first of many drafts to come, in a process that began with a decision made in December 2021 by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 194 member states to develop something like a treaty—perhaps an accord, agreement, or other ‘instrument’—to govern the global pandemic response. The project is spearheaded by the WHO and is slated for completion in May 2024.

FROM THE ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE;

Nirmatrelvir Plus Ritonavir for Early COVID-19 in a Large U.S. Health System

”…In the EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for Covid-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial, nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir led to an 89% reduction in hospitalization or death among unvaccinated outpatients with early COVID-19. The clinical impact of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir among vaccinated populations is uncertain….The overall risk for hospitalization or death was already low (1%) after an outpatient diagnosis of COVID-19, but nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduced this risk further.

”(During the study period, 12 541 (28.1%) patients were prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir, and 32 010 (71.9%) were not. Patients prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir were more likely to be older, have more comorbidities, and be vaccinated. The composite outcome of hospitalization or death occurred in 69 (0.55%) patients who were prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir and 310 (0.97%) who were not (adjusted risk ratio, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.42 to 0.75]). Recipients of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir had lower risk for hospitalization (adjusted risk ratio, 0.60 [CI, 0.44 to 0.81]) and death (adjusted risk ratio, 0.29 [CI, 0.12 to 0.71]).”

FROM BECKERS:

1. Variants: Based on projections for the week ending Dec. 10, the CDC estimates that BQ.1.1 accounts for 36.8 percent of cases and BQ.1 accounts for 31.1 percent of cases nationally. All other lineages are decreasing in proportion this week compared to last week.

2. As of Dec. 7, a total of 1,080,472 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the United States.

 3. About 64 percent of sites across the country are reporting moderate to high virus levels in wastewater. Of these sites, 38 percent are reporting some of the highest levels for those sites since Dec. 1, 2021.

4. About 27 percent of sites are seeing a decrease in virus levels and about 65 percent are reporting an increase.

FROM A READER WHO HAS LITERALLY TRAVELED THE WORLD:

Newsletter: You’re done with masks? That’s too bad, because COVID isn’t done with us

FROM YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

Will trust in science survive the pandemic?

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/8/2022

AREA COUNTS ARE UP AGAIN:(FROM THE NYT)

FROM THE CDE: DO I NEED ANOTHER BOOSTER:

DO I NEED A BOOSTER CLIC

Then Click the green tab asking “FIND OUT WHEN TO GET A BOOSTER.”

Then you can call your doctor, your pharmacist, or the health department:

MARSHALL/HARRISON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

903 938 8338

I just called them and plan to get my 5th Covid vaccination tomorrow from 8-11 or 1-4. They are doing something else today (Thursday). Wear your mask in the building). 

FROM THE NEJM:

Efficacy of Antiviral Agents against Omicron Subvariants BQ.1.1 and XBB

”…Our data suggest that the omicron sublineages BQ.1.1 and XBB have immune-evasion capabilities that are greater than those of earlier omicron variants, including BA.5 and BA.2. The continued evolution of omicron variants reinforces the need for new therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for Covid-19.”

FROM YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

Fall bivalent boosters: Science update round 3

”…We have lab data for fall boosters. We have real world data. And what’s coming in looks good—not perfect, but good. We have lots of reason to believe they will work even better against severe disease, especially among those over 50 years old. Go get your fall booster. We are at the beginning of a wave.”

From last week:” ..There’s a lot we can do: mask, test before seeing loved ones, get that airflow moving, stay home when you’re sick. The least you can do for a healthy season is get a flu and fall COVID-19 booster. If you haven’t gotten one yet, it’s never too late…”

FROM THE NYT:

Reversing ‘zero Covid’

FROM HOPKINS SUGGESTIONS:

1. Models predict massive waves of disease and death if China lifts ‘zero COVID’ policy (Science) Surprised and stung by protests against draconian “zero-COVID” policies, Chinese authorities are gingerly moving to ease the burden of lockdowns, quarantines, and constant testing. But 3 years into the pandemic, China shows no sign of planning a major course change. Mathematical models suggest why: The country is still ill-prepared for living with SARS-CoV-2. Easing restrictions today would likely trigger a massive wave of infections, overwhelm health care facilities, and bring a high death toll.

2. For the uninsured, Covid care has entered a new stage of crisis (New York Times) Difficulty getting care for Covid-19 has become an increasingly common problem for poor, uninsured Americans. After paying about $25 billion to health care providers over the course of the pandemic to reimburse them for vaccinating, testing and treating people without insurance, the federal government is running low on funds for Covid care for the nearly 30 million Americans who are uninsured. The Biden administration is asking Congress to replenish its coffers, but its pleas to lawmakers this year have so far been unsuccessful.

3. A liver drug reduces SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells (Nature) A widely used drug called UDCA reduces SARS-CoV-2 infection in human organoid structures, animals and human organs maintained outside the body. Individuals using UDCA for liver conditions are less likely to develop severe COVID-19 than are people who did not use it. UDCA treatment could help to protect people with suppressed immune systems and offer protection against vaccine-resistant variants. However, this study is not a clinical trial, and our findings must be validated and confirmed in large groups of individuals who are studied over time.

4. Science & Technology

U.S. FDA accepts priority review the Biologics License Applications for Pfizer’s respiratory syncytial virus vaccine (RSV) candidate for the prevention of RSV disease in older adults (Pfizer) Pfizer Inc. announced today that the U.S. FDA accepted a Biologics License Application (BLA) for priority review of its RSV vaccine candidate for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in individuals 60 years of age and older. Priority Review designation by the FDA reduces the standard BLA review period by four months. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date for a decision by the FDA on the vaccine candidate application is in May 2023. 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED: 

DO NOT READ THIS JOKE:

Steve lived all his life in the Florida Keys and is on his deathbed and knows the end is near. His nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons are with him. He asks for two witnesses to be present, and a camcorder be in place to record his last wishes, and when all is ready, he begins to speak:

“My son, Doug, I want you to take the Ocean Reef houses”

“My daughter Kelly, you take the apartments between mile markers 100 and Tavernier.”

“My son, Kevin, I want you to take the offices over in the Marathon Government Center.”

“Cathy, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the bay side on Blackwater Sound.”

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings, and as Steve slips away, the nurse says, “Your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property.”

The wife replies, “No. He was a hardworking dreamer who had a paper route.”

Remember, next time you hate your life, it’s all about perspective. For, instance, I have a friend who reads 2-3 books a week, works out twice a day, and has people who want to have sex with him all the time, yet complains about how much he hates prison.

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!

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Ode to a Fallen Leaf

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Ode to a Fallen Leaf 

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By Ron Munden 

As winter approaches, trees drop their leaves.  Several years ago I read an article in a nature publication that explained why it is important for leaves to fall from the trees and cover the ground.  They make a compelling argument that people should allow leaves to remain on the ground throughout  the winter to ensure a healthy lawn in the Spring.

Each Fall when our yard workers come and begin the celebration known as “Leaf Blowing” I think back to that article.

This Sunday morning the workers gathered to begin the blowing of the leaves.  This happens every two weeks for a two or three month period.  This week it was a hard fought battle between the trees and our workforce.  As quickly as the workers could clear the leaves from a patch of ground the trees deposited another layer into that space.  By Monday it was difficult to find any area that was still free of leaves.

Why do we do this?  As stated above everything I read  says that Mother Nature wants the leaves on the ground for the entire winter, not two weeks.  Every two weeks I ask myself why I spend $80 to have something done that I think is bad for the environment.  My only justification is that I am doing my small part to redistribute wealth in this society.

That is the justification I give but it’s not the real reason.  The truth is we practice this celebration of “leaf blowing” because the Jones down the road do the same thing and we just can’t let the Jones outdo us. 

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/6/2022

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/6/2022

Hello,

FROM THE MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER:

New COVID-19 cases in county low as state cases spike

FROM THE LANCET:

Why hybrid immunity is so triggering

”…If one must make any political arguments with hybrid immunity, it should be that people who had no access to vaccines yet must urgently get them…”

(J. Harris: And, you don’t want to flirt with Long Covid.)

FROM BECKERS:

Flu activity, state by state

FROM HOPKINS SUGGESTIONS:

1. US PANDEMIC MORTALITY On average, more than 300 people in the US die each day from COVID-19. While the death toll is significantly lower than during the peak of the Delta wave, the number is 2 to 3 times higher than the average number of deaths from flu. Increasingly, COVID-19 is becoming a disease of the elderly. In summer 2021, about 58% of COVID-19 deaths occurred among adults aged 65 or older. Today, that proportion is 9 of 10 COVID-related deaths, according to US CDC data. This upward trend is expected to continue, and despite the nation’s pursuit of normalcy, is set to cause significant disruptions to the health system.

Mortality trends have shifted throughout the pandemic. A study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (US), found that the proportion of younger people who died from COVID-19 in 2021 surpassed that of 2020, with the median age of COVID-related deaths falling from 78 years old in 2020 to 69 years old in 2021. Researchers calculated years of life lost (YLL) and compared timeframes in 2020 and 2021. Using this calculation, the team was able to assess premature deaths based on the number of years an individual would have lived. In 2021, there were about 21% fewer deaths compared to 2020. However, YLL per COVID-19 death increased by 36%. Better understanding age shifts in COVID-19 mortality can help inform prevention and treatment approaches, public policy, and community measures to minimize the impacts of this increasingly preventable disease. 

2. LONG COVID Nearly a third of people in the US with COVID-19 will develop long-term symptoms, according to a recent report from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Health experts are warning that this collection of post-acute symptoms, commonly known as long COVID, could be the next public health crisis—so far impacting as many as 23 million people, a number expected to grow as COVID-19 continues to circulate. In addition to increased medical expenses, individuals and families dealing with long COVID could face a reduced quality of life, reduced income, higher household debt, and lower retirement savings, further widening existing inequalities and costing the US economy US$3.7 trillion, according to one estimate. A Swiss study published in Nature Communications examined the prevalence of post-COVID conditions among children, with the findings suggesting that risk factors for lingering symptoms included older age, lower socioeconomic status, and having an existing chronic health condition, particularly asthma. 

With little known about the underlying causes of lasting symptoms and a lack of a clear definition, healthcare professionals are stuck between wanting more evidence for effective therapies and trying to treat vulnerable and suffering patients. Some people with long COVID are turning to expensive and untested therapies, from vitamin supplements to stem cell treatments. The US NIH created the RECOVER Initiative to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID-19 and recently announced a clinical trial to investigate the antiviral Paxlovid for treatment of long COVID, with results expected in 2024. But many experts argue a more agile research model is needed to more quickly address the growing problem.

3. FUTURE OF VACCINES Global efforts are underway to prepare vaccine research, development, and production facilities for the next pandemic. This week, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) launched its 100 Days Mission, a US$3.5 billion plan to invest in vaccine research and development and achieve equitable access to vaccines for emerging viruses with pandemic potential, with the goal of producing a safe and effective vaccine within 100 days. This effort, if successful, would significantly shorten the time it took scientists to develop shots for COVID-19, a record 326 days. In Africa, Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, the Biovac Institute, and a variety of partners are working to bring mRNA vaccines—for COVID-19 and other diseases—to the continent and adapt them for the setting, such as doing away with the need for deep freezing and making them more stable at room or refrigerated temperatures. Those involved in the effort hope more African national governments will prioritize vaccine development and manufacturing, ultimately allowing them to own the intellectual property on domestically produced vaccines that can help protect their own populations.

4. SARS-CoV-2 Serology and Self-Reported Infection Among Adults — National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (CDC MMWR) During August 2021–May 2022, 41.6% of a c.onvenience sample of adults had both anti-spike antibodies (indicating previous infection or vaccination) and anti-nucleocapsid antibodies (indicating previous infection only); 43.7% of these persons were possibly asymptomatically infected. Prevalence of serologic patterns consistent with vaccination without infection was lower among adults who were younger, Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black or African American adults, and persons with less education.

5. As Officials Ease Covid Restrictions, China Faces New Pandemic Risks (NYT) As one country after another succumbed to outbreaks this year, China kept the coronavirus at bay, buying valuable time to prepare for the inevitable: a variant of the virus so shifty and contagious that China, too, would struggle to contain it. But rather than laying the groundwork for that scenario, China stepped up its commitment to “zero Covid,” deploying snap lockdowns and contact tracing. Now, the costs of that approach are piling up, putting China in a bind from which there appears to be no easy escape, scientists said in interviews.

6. Pfizer and BioNTech Submit Application to U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization of Omicron BA.4/BA.5-Adapted Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine in Children Under 5 Years (Pfizer) Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced that the companies have submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) of their Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent COVID-19 vaccine as the third 3-µg dose in the three-dose primary series for children 6 months through 4 years of age. With the high level of respiratory illnesses currently circulating among children under 5 years of age, updated COVID-19 vaccines may help prevent severe illness and hospitalization.

7. Severe COVID could cause markers of old age in the brain (Nature) Severe COVID-19 is linked to changes in the brain that mirror those seen in old age, according to an analysis of dozens of post-mortem brain samples. The analysis revealed brain changes in gene activity that were more extensive in people who had severe SARS-CoV-2 infections than in uninfected people who had been in an intensive care unit (ICU) or had been put on ventilators to assist their breathing — treatments used in many people with serious COVID-19. The study, published on 5 December in Nature Aging, joins a bevy of publications cataloguing the effects of COVID-19 on the brain.

FROM BECKERS:

1. FDA revokes Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 drug’s authorization

2. With 95% efficacy, drug could eradicate rare sleeping sickness, researchers say

(J. Harris: For guys  THOSE who hunt in Africa)

3. Long COVID may cost US economy $3.7 trillion

”…Long Covid will be around long after the pandemic subsides, impacting our communities, our health-care system, our economy and the well-being of future generations,” a November HHS report said. “We can reduce the severity and breadth of that impact, however, if we act collectively and urgently.”

(J. Harris: Read this short article.)

4. Paxlovid safe for pregnant COVID-19 patients, study finds

NEW NIH COVID TREATMENT GUIDELINES

What’s New in the Guidelines on the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines website.

FROM YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

State of Affairs: December 6, 2022

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/1/2022

US, Texas, and East Texas Covid Case Counts are going up again. Here we go again, but we have some immunity, Vaccines available, Flu shots, Masks, and soap. We are also more likely to use more informed and better judgment. 

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 1 DEC, 2022

FROM YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

COVID-19 in China and global concern

(J. Harris: Great read regarding China and what likely will happen!)

FROM THE ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE:

1. Medical Masks Versus N95 Respirators for Preventing COVID-19 Among Health Care Workers (Hopkins summary)

Study on masks vs N95 respirators for health workers spurs concerns (CIDRAP) A study today in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that medical masks may offer similar effectiveness as N95 respirators in protecting healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to COVID-19 patients in certain settings, but experts caution against that interpretation of the results. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends continuous wear of either medical masks or N95s when caring for COVID-19 patients, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises using N95s.

2. Outpatient Treatment of Confirmed COVID-19

”…Some antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies may improve outcomes for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19. However, the generalizability of the findings to the currently dominant Omicron variant is limited….”

3. Major Update 2: Antibody Response and Risk for Reinfection After SARS-CoV-2 Infection—Final Update of a Living, Rapid Review

”…Evidence for a sustained antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is considerable for both Delta and Omicron variants. Prior infection protected against reinfection with both variants, but, for Omicron, protection was weaker and waned rapidly. This information may have limited clinical applicability as new variants emerge…”

4. Temporal Improvements in COVID-19 Outcomes for Hospitalized Adults: A Post Hoc Observational Study of Remdesivir Group Participants in the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (94 hospitals in 10 countries (86% U.S. participants)

FROM HOPKINS SELECTIONS

1. ‘Zombie virus’ resurrected after being frozen for 48,500 years (Independent) Thawing of frozen landscapes has the potentional to unleash infectious “zombie viruses” that have been locked underground for thousands of years, according to new research. One quarter of the Northern hemisphere has permanently frozen ground beneath it, and is facing irreversible thawing due to the climate crisis. This decomposing landscape releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, adding more heat to the planet. The new study, led by microbiologist Jean-Marie Alempic from the French National Centre for Scientific Research, looked at samples collected from permafrost in the Russian province of Siberia. From these, scientists were able to awaken 13 new viruses which they labelled “zombie viruses” – including one which remained infectious after more than 48,500 years in deep permafrost. The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, noted that there has been limited research into “live” viruses found in permafrost.

2 CDC Awards over $3 billion to bolster public health workforce, infrastructure (The Hill) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it will award over $3 billion to strengthen the public health workforce and infrastructure of state, local and territorial health departments. The funding is the first-of-its kind, while all U.S. citizens live in a jurisdiction that will receive funds under the new grant. The announcement comes as the United States faces a growing shortage of healthcare workers. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that by 2033, the country will have a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians, including both primary care physicians and specialists.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED: HOME GROWN GROANERS: 

1. What did one ocean say to the other ocean?

Nothing, it just waved.

2.Did you hear about the fire at the circus?

It was in tents!

3. When does a joke become a ‘dad’ joke?

When it becomes apparent.

NO JOKE: WHY NOT USE PARTS OF GOOD SHEPHERD MARSHALL HOSPITAL 

FOR LONG COVID REHABILITATION???

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 10/23/2022

HELLO,

EAST TEXAS  area remains Covid quiet. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all of the Norwegians that I know. 

MILTON THE TOMATO decided to head on back to the equator ‘where the weather is cooler.”

FROM BECKERS: GREAT, CONCISE, QUICK COVID SUMMARY IN US:

‘Escape variants’ account for 16% of US COVID-19 cases: 10 updates

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST:

QUESTION: I have had all of the vaccines and boosters — a total of five jabs to date. I’ve had many coronavirus tests, but none positive. Is it possible that I have had asymptomatic covid and didn’t know I had it? — Lynn, Tallahassee, Fla.

ANSWER:” While there is growing research surrounding people who have never contracted the coronavirus, researchers know a majority of Americans have been infected. So if someone has never tested positive for the coronavirus and has never experienced symptoms, there could be two reasons: One, they are among the lucky few who have managed to dodge the virus, or, two, the time when they took the test did not coincide with a peak infection in their body. The latter is especially true if a person has symptoms of a coronavirus infection but tests negative.

…Two tests can detect a coronavirus infection: a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and an at-home rapid test. The home test is not as reliable because it can only detect specific proteins from the virus, while PCR tests can identify lower levels of the virus. Neither test can detect a past infection.

…A serology test is the only way to identify if a person’s body has produced antibodies in response to SARS-CoV-2, thus identifying a previous infection.

…But even serology tests are not a guarantee as “antibody levels can decline over time, so a negative [antibody] test is not definitive proof of never having had COVID,” Daniel R. Kuritzkes, chief of the infectious-diseases department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told The Washington Post in an email. “A positive test is definite evidence of past infection; a negative test is less reliable over time…Kuritzkes adds there is not much reason clinically to order the test because antibody levels decay at different rates in different people….” 

FROM YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST:

ACIP meeting: Updated info on COVID-19, vaccine safety for kids and pregnancy

(J. Harris: Up to date information about Vaccination for youngsters.)

FROM HOPKINS SELECTIONS:

1. UNITED STATES

The US CDC is reporting 96.8 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1.06 million deaths. Daily incidence continues to decline, down to 37,052 new cases per day, the lowest average since mid-April. Average daily mortality also continues to decline, down to 323 deaths per day on October 18.**

2 “ SCRABBLE VARIANTS OR SUBVARIANT SOUP” (CDC)

IMMUNE EVASIVE OMICRON SUBVARIANTS While past surges in COVID-19 cases have been driven largely by single SARS-CoV-2 variants, experts are eyeing a collection of Omicron subvariants that could drive an anticipated wave of infections this fall and winter. In the US, BA.4.6 appeared to be gaining momentum, although BF.7, BQ.1, and BQ.1.1 are showing recent potential growth advantage. The same sublineages are also showing evidence of growth advantage over BA.5 in the United Kingdom. Additional variants, including the recombinant variant XBB, are fueling increases in cases in Southeast Asia and Europe. The US has yet to see a large surge due to these subvariants, with the number of new cases continuing to drop. But public health experts warn data on new cases is unreliable—many are turning to wastewater surveillance to help predict where and when surges may occur—and most expect the downward trend to reverse over the next few weeks. The collection of variants, sometimes referred to as “scrabble variants” or “subvariant soup,” accounts for nearly 1 in 3 new infections reported in the US last week. Globally, detecting these variants and developing accurate assessments of the risk they pose to public health is challenging, as many countries have rolled back their surveillance efforts…

…While available vaccines remain effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, there are concerns the emerging subvariants will be more immune evasive than previous variants, particularly due to mutations in the receptor binding domain that would prevent antibodies from docking and attacking the virus. AstraZeneca’s EvuSheld, the only monoclonal antibody authorized to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, is ineffective against BA.4.6. Other monoclonal antibodies in development already demonstrate vulnerabilities to newly emerging Omicron subvariants. With this new information, the Biden administration is searching for other potential candidates for use among immunocompromised persons…”

FROM THE ATLANTIC:

America Created Its Own Booster Problems

“…And with daily COVID vaccination rates only a notch above their all-time nadir and barriers to inoculation rising, the nation might be bogged down in its booster doldrums for a good while yet—leaving Americans potentially vulnerable to yet another catastrophic surge… The country’s booster problem is the culmination of months of such confusion. It is also an exacerbation of the inequities that plagued the country’s initial immunization efforts. Booster uptake may present its own issues, but those only piled on the problems that vaccination efforts had encountered in all the months before….this messy discourse warped into confusion, consternation, and apathy. “When the scientists don’t agree, what are the rest of us supposed to do?”…Nor have the logistics of booster recommendations been easy to follow. In the past few months, the FDA and the CDC have issued roughly half a dozen shifts in guidance—over not only who should boost, but also when they should boost, how many boosts to get, and whether booster brands should be mixed….The erratic narrative on vaccines writ large also hasn’t done the U.S. booster campaign any favors. When the shots were fresh out of the gate, Americans were set up to believe that they could take an initial course of doses and be done—with COVID vaccines, maybe even with the pandemic itself. But as more data emerged, it became evident that the shots’ protective powers had been oversold. Vaccines operate best in gradations, blunting and truncating the worst symptoms of disease; they never completely obliterate risk. “We failed to communicate that,”….Even if the message on boosters had been clearer from the get-go, that wouldn’t have ensured that people got them. Vaccination rates have tended to track with risk perception,..One fact about boosting hasn’t changed. Asking people to get an additional shot means … asking people to get an additional shot, and that’s become harder than ever. As shot uptake has dropped off, vaccination sites have closed, while community outreach has pulled back….Issues with access, at least, have straightforward (though still difficult-to-implement) solutions. “We need to make the process easier, and more convenient,” Fishman, of UPenn, told me. Reviving and more evenly distributing community vaccination efforts could help. Stand-alone sites could take walk-in appointments; teams of volunteers could bring vials and syringes directly to the places where people live and work. Paid sick leave, subsidized transportation, or even financial incentives for vaccinations could make a big difference too. Perhaps most crucial, additional federal funding to keep vaccines free for everyone would mean shots stay within reach of some of society’s most at-risk members….Clearer policies have a role to play too. Many workplaces, for instance, issued strict requirements for initial doses last year. But booster mandates have been sparser. With eligibility ever-changing, and the possibility of annual shots on the table, that’s logistically understandable, but it sends an implicit message, Lewis told me: “One inference people are making is If boosting was really that important, the government or my boss would be issuing a mandate…”

(J. Harris: Vaccines, masks, hand washing, distance, and go0d sense have clearly worked in controlled environments like smaller universities, the military, and well-managed companies. Personally, I’m about  ”talked out” on the vaccine question. Even some people with good sense won’t take the vaccines. Ok. You probably won’t die this late in the pandemic. But God help you if you wind up with a severe case of Long Covid. Tough luck, Dude. I’ll worry about folks who haven’t had a chance to take the vaccines and myself and my family. In the next few years, the magnitude of and devastation caused by Long Covid will be apparent and will swamp medical resources. )

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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Old Habits Do Die Hard

Looking Back

1972

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Old Habits Do Die Hard 

******************

By Ron Munden 

Each morning I start the day with a bowl of cereal, a cup of green tea and a morning write.  I jot down notes about the previous day and a quick plan of the day.  Today, my notes included the design for a new computerized indexing system. Tomorrow it will be something different.

As I was writing today I realized some things just don’t change. 

In 1972 the Navy sent me to a time management class in San Francisco.  The instructor showed us his note keeping system.  He promised the class if we used this system consistently, we would save lots of time and be better managers.  When I returned to the Shipyard the following Monday, I started using his system.  

I used government supplied “green books”.  These were 8 inch by 11 inch hard-bound books about ¾ an inch thick.  I recorded my first note in 1972 and continued using the system until my retirement from DoD on December 31, 1998.

During those 26 years, I recorded my thoughts, daily observations and most importantly a note that recorded the date, time , subject and summary of every meeting I had during the day. I filed every completed notebook in xerox boxes used to hold the reams of paper used by our xerox machines.  When I changed jobs at DoD, all these boxes moved with me to my new office. 

In 1998 when I retired from DoD, one of my last acts was to have all of the 20+ cases of greenbooks loaded into a dumpster.  I did keep  the last three years for future reference.

The instructor was right.  The system had saved me hours of time, allowed me to answer questions that I was asked about meetings that I had held 3+ years earlier and helped me plan future projects.  I do think the system made me a better manager.

When I moved to the private sector I continued using a modified version of the system used at DoD. 

Today, I sat in the kitchen using another slightly modified version of the system used in  1972.  I have been out of the business world for 20 year but I still function the same way.  Old habits do die hard.

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 10/17/2022

WE STILL HAVE COVID IN THE AREA:

THERE SEEMS TO BE A CLUSTER OF CASES OF COVID IN  CASS COUNTY. 

FROM HOPKINS,  THE WASHINGTON POST,  AND NATURE COMMUNICATIONS ( three versions in increasing detail):

1. ‘We are in trouble’: Study raises alarm about impacts of long covid (Washington Post) A new long-covid study based on the experiences of nearly 100,000 participants provides powerful evidence that many people do not fully recover months after being infected with the coronavirus. The Scottish study found that between six and 18 months after infection, 1 in 20 people had not recovered and 42 percent reported partial recovery. There were some reassuring aspects to the results: People with asymptomatic infections are unlikely to suffer long-term effects, and vaccination appears to offer some protection from long covid

2.  Outcomes among confirmed cases and a matched comparison group in the Long-COVID in Scotland study

”…Large study provides powerful evidence of long covid’s lasting impact…”

”The Scottish study found that between six and 18 months after infection, 1 in 20 people had not recovered and 42 percent reported partial recovery. There were some reassuring aspects to the results: People with asymptomatic infections are unlikely to suffer long-term effects, and vaccination appears to offer some protection from long covid…“It’s one more well-conducted, population-level study showing that we should be extremely concerned about the current numbers of acute infections,” …We are in trouble….Crucially, this study also identified a sub-cohort of 11 percent who deteriorated over time. This is something seen often in patient groups but has not been discussed enough in the public conversation.”

FROM NEJM LETTER TO EDITOR/STUDY 

Protective Effect of Previous SARS-CoV-2 Infection against Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants

(J. Harris: There is some Covid protection from subvariantants if you have had a prior infection with that strain or a similar strain — which makes sense. Vaccinations make more sense to me.)

FROM HOPKINS SELECTIONS:

1. EMERGING SUBVARIANTS The SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to evolve, with multiple emerging sublineages of the Omicron variant of concern (VOC) poised to play a dominant role in the next surge. As noted above, several sublineages are increasing in prevalence in the US as the current dominant strain, BA.5, begins to wane. At this point, it is unclear if the next principal variant would be capable of evading immunity conferred by vaccination, including Omicron-specific booster doses, or prior infection with other variants, but researchers are already working to identify key mutations and project their impact. In contrast to previous surges, the forecasted fall/winter surge may not be driven by a single variant, as was the case with the Delta and Omicron surges in 2021 and earlier in 2022. In fact, WHO officials recently indicated that they are currently monitoring more than 300 Omicron sublineages.

Several of these sublineages are particularly concerning, including BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 that evolved from BA.5 and BA.2.275 and XBB that evolved from BA.2. The BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 sublineages are currently circulating in Europe, which could forecast a fall/winter surge in other Northern Hemisphere countries. All 4 of these sublineages exhibit resistance to existing treatments and vaccines, and the XBB sublineage, in particular, threatens to render existing vaccines ineffective. In addition to the risk of global spread of a vaccine-resistant vaccine, the decline in testing volume worldwide and barriers to including at-home test results in SARS-CoV-2 reporting systems could make surveillance problematic. And the general absence of COVID-19 protective measures (eg, physical distancing, mask use) could facilitate community transmission. Additionally, governments seem to be unwilling to commit additional funding to COVID-19 responses, including research on future vaccines and therapeutics, as evidenced in the US government’s struggle to secure funding for Project COVID Shield, the follow-on to Operation Warp Speed to develop advanced SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The world is simply in a much different place than it was in 2020 and 2021, which elevates the threat from these emerging sublineages.

As opposed to more radical antigenic “shifts”—like those observed with the emergence of the Delta variant or the original Omicron variant—the new sublineages of the Omicron variant are exhibiting more subtle antigenic “drift.” This is similar to the evolution observed in annual seasonal influenza epidemics, although on a much shorter timeline. New sublineages appear to be acquiring many of the same mutations, in various combinations, which signals that they may be converging on a common set of traits. Despite the recent pattern, however, it is still possible that the virus could take a more substantial shift, which could result in the emergence of a new major variant with much different characteristics.

2. Rising COVID levels in Europe especially affect seniors (CIDRAP) COVID activity continued to rise in many European countries last week, up 14% compared to the previous week in people ages 65 and older, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Friday in a regular update. In the United States, COVID indicators continue to fall, with the BA.5 Omicron variant still dominant, but newer subvariants are slowly making more of a mark.  

FROM NYT:

GOOD NYT ARTICLE ON FLU SHOTS AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION

FROM BECKERS:

Paxlovid can interact with heart medications, study suggests

FOR AREA VETERAN from the VA

Dear Veteran,

It’s That Time of Year Again!

The single best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get the Influenza Vaccination each year.� Good health habits also reduce getting the flu like avoiding people who are sick, covering your cough, and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like flu.

The Overton Brooks Medical Center influenza vaccination opportunity schedule is below.� Quadrivalent Flu shots are free to all enrolled Veterans in these ways:

  • During a regular scheduled appointment or any Primary Care as a Flu Walk-In Visit.
  • Shreveport Campus Front Circle Drive Thru Flu Clinic on October 8, or October 15, 2022 from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
  • To find a community pharmacy to receive a flu vaccine, use the VA Facility Community Partner using your zip code: http://www.va.gov/find-locations/
  • Longview, Monroe, and Texarkana Community Based Clinics, Walk-In Flu Clinics are Wednesdays, October 5th thru December 28th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. with no appointment necessary, except November 23rd.
  • To find a community pharmacy to receive a flu vaccine, use the VA Facility Community Partner using your zip code: http://www.va.gov/find-locations/�Please make sure the Community Partner is aware you are receiving this through the Community Partnership with VA.
  • Moderna Vaccines (1st dose, 2nd dose and Bivalent Booster) are available at main campus in Shreveport Drive Thru Flu Clinic.
  • Both vaccinations can be received at the same time, per CDC guidance.
  • There will be a 15 minute wait after the vaccination.

FROM YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMOLOGIST

Fall boosters, myocarditis, and benefits/risks for young people

Subscribe to Center for Health Security E-Newsletters, Updates, and Alerts

SIGN UP FOR HOPKINS FREE COVID SUBSCRIPTION (click it). 

HARRIS: A great way to keep up with Covid since things have “cooled off” a bit it by subscribing  the free subscription for all of the Hopkins publications. They are free and increasingly readable and useful. They generally have 1-3 short mailouts weekely. Their mail out today, Oct. 13, is wonderful. You can also subscribe. to the past issues. They run a few days behind some of our mailouts, but their information is still timely and trustworthy. I’d subscribe to all of thier offerings. They are free. They are trustworthy and have provided fabulous information.  Alas, they don’t have any jokes. Likely, I will still continue to wart you occasionally.  Good Luck. 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio :

Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a “gift.”

All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

 When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile

God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

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