(J. Harris: by John P. Moore. The issue of JAMA has several articles and videos that will answer many questions about vaccines and mutations in an understandable manner. Dr. Moore is English, but works at Cornell and seems to have good sense.)
1. Some States Drop CDC Guidelines And Vaccinate People By Age Group (NPR) A number of states are breaking with federal guidelines and starting to vaccinate people by age group, drawing criticism from essential workers and people with underlying conditions who are getting bumped back in line.
This cohort study found that the use of surgical face masks among children was not associated with changes in respiratory function, including among children aged 24 months or younger. These findings may help promote the use of surgical masks among children, especially in view of the reopening of schools. Every precautionary measure against the diffusion of COVID-19 should be implemented. Furthermore, we think that children should be educated in the use of face masks by parents and school personnel. This may be associated with increased compliance with mask usage, especially among younger children. We do not know how long the present emergency will last, but we must prepare in case new lethal viruses should appear, possibly associated with increased adverse clinical outcomes among children…However, constant supervision of adults would be needed…”
(J. Harris: Wearing a face mask is safe for young children, but they should be supervised and not put to bed while wearing a mask. In school or Covid likely environments, masks can safely be worn by infants and children. Learning correct mask usage while young should have a lifetime value.)
MESSAGE FROM DR. BLAIR BLACKBURN TO ETBU FAMILY:
ETBU Family, Given Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement yesterday of a new Executive Order (GA-34), please read this entire Presidential Order regarding East Texas Baptist University’s Mask Mandate and Stay Healthy Operational Plan for the duration of the Spring 2021 semester.
While I appreciate Governor Abbott’s optimism for having “the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” we still have over 800 currently infected people with COVID-19 in our own Harrison County. More than 200 people in our area are hospitalized with 77 individuals in ICU. Only 38 COVID ICU beds are presently available in our area G of East Texas. Texas remains in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, with eligibility limited to people 65 years of age and older and those 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. In Harrison County (Marshall), only 3,079 people have been partially vaccinated. That’s a mere 4.62% of the estimated population. Some 2,295 people have been fully vaccinated, which is only 3.45% of the estimated population in our community. By next Wednesday, about 7 million shots will have been administered in Texas and projections by the Governor’s Office foresee that over half of senior adults in Texas will have received a vaccine shot, yet we are not seeing those numbers among our senior citizens in Marshall or Harrison County. We are hopeful that Governor Abbott’s forecast holds true that “by the end of March, every senior who wants a vaccine should be able to get one.”
President Joe Biden committed yesterday that with the bolstered vaccine supply coming with the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the market, he will direct all states to prioritize the vaccination of all K-12 school teachers. Furthermore, President Biden stated Tuesday that “We’re on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.” Unfortunately, we do know that college-age students will be down the list among adults who will receive vaccinations, but we can hope that rollouts and supply will enable college students to get vaccinated this summer. ETBU has championed our will to be open and operational as a university, while other colleges and schools have remained virtual and have severely limited or canceled campus life activities. Not so with East Texas Baptist University! We committed to never give in to this pandemic and we never will, as ETBU has kept you in class with your professors, maintained our campus life and residential life opportunities, while doing what it takes to keep you as safe and healthy as possible through mask compliance, social distancing protocols, and on-campus health services.
COVID-19 has not disappeared, and as Governor Abbott challenged, we cannot “abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year.” ETBU has worked too hard and come too far to give up or give in to what has made us so successful as a campus community with limited infections. Because of your diligent efforts to wear masks, social distance, and wash hands as weapons of defense, today, ETBU only has 4 COVID infections with less than 10 in isolation. We are winning this fight and God has granted us the wisdom to know how to operate and how to conclude this semester with continued success against coronavirus. Thus, ETBU will maintain the campus mask mandate, social distancing, and 50% room/venue capacity limit with strict compliance for the remaining 8 weeks of the Spring 2021 semester. As a NCAA institution and a member of the American Southwest Conference, ETBU is required to maintain mask protocols and 50% or less capacity attendance at all sporting events.
With the current COVID trends, rollout of vaccines, and the march to herd immunity, ETBU plans to be fully open and operational in the 2021-22 academic year in a full face-to-face modality. These COVID models give us confidence that by the Fall 2021 semester, we will return to normalcy with continued traditional instruction in classrooms, 100% capacity for on-campus activities, and in-room campus residence visitation. Of course, we will continue to make every effort to follow godly wisdom, seek counsel of our health care consultants, abide by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas Department of State Health Services guidance, and make data-driven decisions. Keep praying, stay healthy, and carry on!
(Message from Dr. Blair Blackburn received 3/3/2021 and forwarded with his permission.)
In critically ill patients with Covid-19 receiving organ support in ICUs, treatment with the interleukin-6 receptor antagonists tocilizumab and sarilumab improved outcomes, including survival.
In this randomized clinical trial that included 476 patients, the duration of symptoms was not significantly different for patients who received a 5-day course of ivermectin compared with placebo (median time to resolution of symptoms, 10 vs 12 days; hazard ratio for resolution of symptoms, 1.07).
Meaning The findings do not support the use of ivermectin for treatment of mild COVID-19, although larger trials may be needed to understand effects on other clinically relevant outcomes.
(J. Harris: My Norweigan housekeeper did not like my two mask hat. Two mediocre masks are better than one. However, one really good N95 is adequate — but hard to find.)
Abbott’s order makes Texas the largest state in the country without a mask mandate. It allows businesses, including restaurants, bars, retail stores and sports venues, to operate at 100% capacity. The move goes against the guidance of most medical experts, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(J. Harris: I have not and will not consider a disease pandemic a political matter, and I am disgusted with and afraid of Gov. Abbott’s premature edict. This epidemic is a public health matter, and if some idiot is left free to make an unwise choice, he may sicken his fellow citizens — like poor ole “Typhoid Mary” once did.)
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