Russia Detects First Case of H5N8 Avian Flu in Humans | Newsmax.com

In televised remarks, the head of Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said scientists at the Vektor laboratory had isolated the strain’s genetic material from seven workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia, where an outbreak was recorded among the birds in December.

The workers did not suffer any serious health consequences, she added. They are believed to have caught the virus from poultry on the farm.

Source: Russia Detects First Case of H5N8 Avian Flu in Humans | Newsmax.com

Rush Limbaugh took jab at Biden in final Facebook post

Conservative talk radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday after a year-long battle with cancer, took a dig at President Biden in his final Facebook post two weeks before his death.

“Biden canceled ‘a major foreign policy speech,’ folks, over two inches of snow. I kid you not,” Limbaugh wrote late on Feb. 2.

He added a link to a story on his website titled, “Biden Sees His Shadow, Cancels Major Speech.”

A day earlier, the president pulled the plug on a trip to the State Department, where he had been scheduled to deliver his first major foreign policy speech as commander-in-chief, citing the couple of inches of snow that fell in DC that weekend.

Source: Rush Limbaugh took jab at Biden in final Facebook post

Low-income Californians to receive new COVID stimulus checks – Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced Wednesday that they have agreed to provide low-income Californians a $600 state stimulus payment to help them weather financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, part of a $9.6-billion economic recovery package that also includes $2.1 billion in grants for small businesses.

The “Golden State stimulus” payments provided under the state proposal, which will be expedited for legislative approval next week, are in addition to the $600-per-person stimulus checks already approved by Congress and would be on top of direct payments of up to $1,400 per person that have been proposed by House Democrats.

Source: Low-income Californians to receive new COVID stimulus checks – Los Angeles Times

Doctors push back against new Pa. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine policy | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Pushback among doctors and pharmacists is mounting to a state Department of Health pivot in vaccine strategy that aims to boost the number of COVID-19 inoculations by favoring bigger hospitals over smaller physician practices and clinics.

Within hours of the Health Department’s announcement Friday that it will shrink the number of providers administering COVID-19 vaccines by eliminating the smallest ones, three physician groups lodged their objections — calling the new policy a “misguided allocation change” and a “woeful mistake.”

“We urge acting secretary Alison Beam and Gov. Tom Wolf to immediately rescind the order to avoid further problems in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” their statement said. It was signed by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.

Source: Doctors push back against new Pa. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine policy | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh permanently closes Camp Soles in Somerset County; tentative sales agreement in works | TribLIVE.com

Source: YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh permanently closes Camp Soles in Somerset County; sale in works | TribLIVE.com

The 263-acre camp was a destination for kids, families and school groups for generations.

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh was unable to sustain the camp because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Carolyn Grady, chief development officer.

“Camp T. Frank Soles operated over the summer with pandemic restrictions but was never able to regain the level of program participation that would make it financially viable,” she said in a statement. “We made the difficult decision to end programs at Camp Soles in October and listed the building for sale.

Allegheny County Health Department Shuts Down Shadyside Boston Market – CBS Pittsburgh

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department ordered the Boston Market in Shadyside to close after it was deemed an imminent health hazard.

An inspector found standing water at the front cook line, employees were walking on cardboard to pass through areas and the restaurant was cited for sanitation and pest issues.

The health department’s website will be updated when the closure is removed.

Source: Allegheny County Health Department Shuts Down Boston Market – CBS Pittsburgh

Despite vaccine, Redstone Highlands reports covid spike at Greensburg facility | TribLIVE.com

About 1,000 employees and staff members at Redstone Highlands’ three skilled nursing facilities have their first and, in some cases, second doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

With the facilities on their way to being protected, president and CEO John Dickson said it was a shock to learn the virus made its way back in. An outbreak of covid-19 was reported in the Greensburg center, where 15 residents and three staff members tested positive during the past week. One resident died.

“This has been surprising to us,” Dickson said.

Source: Despite vaccine, Redstone Highlands reports covid spike at Greensburg facility | TribLIVE.com

PFAS exposure linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

People who had elevated blood levels of a toxic chemical called perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) had an increased risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 than those who did not have elevated levels, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. PFBA is part of a class of man-made chemicals known as perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs), which have previously been shown to suppress immune function.

The study, published December 31, 2020 in PLOS ONE, was led by Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health.

PFASs have water- and grease-resistant properties and are used in a wide variety of products, including nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foams. PFBA, more than other PFASs, is known to accumulate in the lungs, according to the study.

Source: PFAS exposure linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Chicago Public Schools reaches tentative agreement with teachers union, mayor says – CNN

(CNN)Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says city officials have reached a tentative agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union, paving the way for some Chicago Public Schools students to return to in-person learning over the next several weeks.

The plan still needs to be ratified by the CTU’s house of delegates, officials acknowledged in a news conference Sunday. The union, prior to the news conference, said it did “not yet have an agreement” with city officials, indicating it would continue discussions with its rank-and-file members throughout Sunday.

“We are here to announce the very good news that our children will be returning to in-person learning this week,” Lightfoot said in a news conference Sunday.”

This agreement was about making sure everyone in our school communities just aren’t safe, but also that they feel safe,” Lightfoot said, “And feel that their lived experiences and fears and frustrations have been heard.”

Officials for the city and the nation’s third largest school district have been at odds with the teachers union over Covid-19 reopening plans. Mayor Lightfoot and CPS officials, including CEO Janice Jackson, have said in-person learning is safe with Covid-19 mitigation strategies. But the CTU had maintained teachers and students remained at risk if they return to the classroom too soon.

Source: Chicago Public Schools reaches tentative agreement with teachers union, mayor says – CNN

Vaccine passports: Path back to normality or problem in the making?

LONDON – Governments and developers around the world are exploring the potential use of “vaccine passports” as a way of reopening the economy by identifying those protected against the coronavirus.

Those developing the technologies however, say such tools come with consequences such as potentially excluding whole groups from social participation, and are urging lawmakers to think seriously about how they are used.

The travel and entertainment industries, which have struggled to operate at a profit while imposing social distancing regulations, are particularly interested in a way of swiftly checking who has protection.

Among those developing passports are biometrics company iProov and cyber security firm Mvine which have built a vaccine pass now being tested within Britain’s National Health Service after receiving UK government funding.

Source: Vaccine passports: Path back to normality or problem in the making?

China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use | Reuters

Sinovac Biotech said on Saturday that its unit’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use by the general public by China’s medical products regulator.

Source: China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use | Reuters

Supreme Court lifts California worship bans prompted by coronavirus – POLITICO

The ruling issued just before 11 p.m. ET Friday produced four separate statements by the justices.

However, a majority of the court was only willing to lift the ban California has applied on all indoor worship in Tier 1 counties — those most challenged by Covid-19. The other restrictions remain undisturbed, for now.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Friday night ruling: new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose conservative Catholic views drew suspicion from many liberals in advance of her confirmation last year, declined to grant the churches the most sweeping relief favored by her most conservative colleagues.

Source: Supreme Court lifts California worship bans prompted by coronavirus – POLITICO

Does wearing two masks provide more protection? | Covid19 | latrobebulletinnews.com

(AP) — Does wearing two masks provide more protection?

It depends, but it’s possible that doubling up could help in some situations.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a cloth mask made with two or more layers, and ensuring it covers your nose and mouth. The agency says it should fit snugly so there aren’t any gaps at the sides of your face.

Wearing just one mask should be enough for most situations, as long as it fits well and isn’t loose, said Dr. David Hamer, an infectious disease expert at Boston University.“

Starting out with a good mask to begin with is going to be key,” Hamer said.

Some people might want extra protection if they’re at risk for severe illness if infected or will be in situations where they expect to be around others for extended periods, such as on a plane.

One option in scenarios when you want extra protection is to wear a cloth mask as well as a regular surgical mask, said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

Gandhi said that combination — with either mask on top — could help achieve a similar effect as the N95 mask. She recommended the added protection for people who will be indoors in areas where transmission rates are high — which could reflect the circulation of more contagious variants.

Another option Gandhi and a colleague recommend for situations where you want “maximum” protection: A two-layer cloth mask that has a filter material in between.

With single cloth masks for everyday use, Gandhi noted it’s important that they’re made of tightly woven material and have at least two layers, which creates “an obstacle course” that makes it harder for virus-carrying particles to break through.

Source: Does wearing two masks provide more protection? | Covid19 | latrobebulletinnews.com

Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s Disease

Tony Bennett has Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia. Alzheimer’s is characterized by a progressive memory loss that robs its sufferers of many of the gifts that we all take for granted — speech, understanding, treasured memories, recognition of loved ones — and leaves them utterly dependent on caregivers. Bennett, first diagnosed in 2016, has so far been spared the disorientation that can prompt patients to wander from home, as well as the episodes of terror, rage or depression that can accompany Alzheimer’s frightening detachment from reality; and, indeed, he might never develop these symptoms. But there was little doubt that the disease had progressed. Even his increasingly rare moments of clarity and awareness reveal the depths of his debility. At one point, as Susan and I stood chatting, he looked up suddenly from the book in his lap and, flashing that familiar smile, asked me in his soft, sueded whisper, “How’s the weather outside?” Had I not known that he and Susan had just returned from walking their dog in the park, I might not have suspected that anything was amiss.

Such short-term memory loss is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s stealthy onset, but long-term memories also progressively vanish — which lent an extra poignancy to the fact that the picture book that so gripped his attention was Tony Bennett Onstage and in the Studio (2018), a lavishly illustrated volume that featured photos from every stage of his life, from babyhood onward. He stared into its pages not with the air of warm reminiscence but like a man struggling to recall why these images seemed familiar. Although he can still recognize family members, he is, according to Susan, not always sure where he is or what is happening around him. Mundane objects as familiar as a fork or a set of house keys can be utterly mysterious to him.

Source: Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s Disease

Fort Bliss soldiers poisoned after drinking substance they thought was booze

Eleven soldiers at a military base in Texas have been hospitalized after drinking a poisonous substance they thought was alcohol, Army officials said.

The soldiers drank the unknown substance after a 10-day field exercise at Fort Bliss’s McGregor Range Complex ended on Thursday, Fort Bliss officials said in a statement.

Officials said the soldiers thought they were drinking booze, which is banned at the base.

They then began experiencing symptoms between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. that same day.

All were taken to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and two soldiers were admitted to the intensive care unit because that are seriously ill, officials said.

Toxicology results showed the soldiers — who are assigned the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command — were suffering from ethylene glycol poisoning.

Source: Fort Bliss soldiers poisoned after drinking substance they thought was booze

What You Need to Know About Vitamin D | Newsmax.com

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, and recent research has suggested it may also help guard against severe COVID-19.

But how much is enough, and how hard is it to get the right amount of vitamin D?

“We know that a large percentage of the population has suboptimal levels of vitamin D. In fact, as many as half of the U.S. population may be deficient in vitamin D,” said Kristin Gustashaw, clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “This can possibly lead to symptoms including fatigue, tiredness, hair loss, delayed wound healing, decreased immune health, muscle pain, and more, with no other known causes.

“Part of the difficulty of maintaining vitamin D levels is because there are not a large variety of foods that contain much vitamin D,” Gustashaw added in a medical center news release.

The vitamin is accessible to people through some foods, supplements, and even sunshine.

Food sources include egg yolks, milk, cheese, beef or calf liver, and certain fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Other foods are fortified with vitamin D, including certain cereals, breads, soy milk, and orange juice.

Read Newsmax: What You Need to Know About Vitamin D | Newsmax.comSource: What You Need to Know About Vitamin D | Newsmax.com

Westmoreland creates website for vaccine info | TribLIVE.com

The new website has a list of vaccine providers, how to contact them and a link to the state health department’s interactive map of vaccine providers.

Information on how to register for the covid vaccine and a quiz to determine when a person is eligible to get one can be found at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/2934/29523/Vaccine-Info.

Residents need to contact the vaccine provider to schedule an appointment. Supplies of the vaccine are limited, the county said.

The web page also has information on the state’s four phases of distribution. Information on the authorized vaccines and potential side effects can be found.

Source: Westmoreland creates website for vaccine info | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland County sees lowest number of new reported covid cases since October | TribLIVE.com

There were 52 new covid-19 cases reported in Westmoreland County on Tuesday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

That number represents the lowest amount of new reported cases this month and the least since Oct. 11, when 52 cases were also reported.

Tuesday’s figures bring the seven-day covid case count to 776, which is the lowest the seven-day case count has been since Nov. 11 when it was 670.

Source: Westmoreland County sees lowest number of new reported covid cases since October | TribLIVE.com