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How Some Parents Changed Their Politics in the Pandemic
They waved signs that read “Defeat the mandates” and “No vaccines.” They chanted “Protect our kids” and “Our kids, our choice.”
Almost everyone in the crowd of more than three dozen was a parent. And as they protested on a recent Friday in the Bay Area suburb of Orinda, Calif., they had the same refrain: They were there for their children.
Most had never been to a political rally before. But after seeing their children isolated and despondent early in the coronavirus pandemic, they despaired, they said. On Facebook, they found other worried parents who sympathized with them. They shared notes and online articles — many of them misleading — about the reopening of schools and the efficacy of vaccines and masks. Soon, those issues crowded out other concerns.
“I wish I’d woken up to this cause sooner,” said one protester, Lisa Longnecker, 54, who has a 17-year-old son. “But I can’t think of a single more important issue. It’s going to decide how I vote.”
Ms. Longnecker and her fellow objectors are part of a potentially destabilizing new movement: parents who joined the anti-vaccine and anti-mask cause during the pandemic, narrowing their political beliefs to a single-minded obsession over those issues. Their thinking hardened even as COVID-19 restrictions and mandates were eased and lifted, cementing in some cases into a skepticism of all vaccines.
Flies, Roaches Probably Don’t Spread COVID
You may not have even considered the possibility, but new research finds that flies and roaches are not likely to spread COVID-19.
According to study co-author Gabriel Hamer, an AgriLife Research entomologist in Texas A&M’s department of entomology, insects are known to transmit a variety of infectious diseases to people, so determining their potential contribution to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was given priority in the early stages of the pandemic.
“We were sampling insects in homes with recent human COVID-19 cases, some of which also had dogs and cats actively infected with SARS-CoV-2,” Hamer explained in a university news release. “We suspected these were high-risk environments where insects may be able to become contaminated with the virus if they were contacting the infected humans, animals or contaminated surfaces. Instead, we did not detect evidence of the virus in the sampled insects from these homes.”
Having Kids Around Might Shield You From Severe COVID: Study
Folks with young kids at home may be less likely than others to develop severe COVID-19, a new study suggests.
Children bring home colds from day care and school and give them to their parents, and it’s thought those lower-level infections may ultimately defend Mom and Dad from the worst of COVID. Both common colds and COVID-19 are coronaviruses, so the theory goes that getting one might offer some protection from the other, researchers said.
“One hypothesis that people batted around was maybe people that had a lot of common colds in the past few years may have some built-up immunity to cope with COVID-19, and then either not get an infection at all or get only a mild infection and not a severe one,” said lead researcher Dr. Matthew Solomon, a cardiologist in the research division at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland.
“This idea of the kind of built-up immunity really resonated with a lot of people. And we thought, well, maybe we can look in our database and see if we can identify a signal of that,” Solomon said.
This study can’t prove that having a common cold protects you from severe COVID-19, only that it may confer some immunity. But the research team said the concept merits further exploration.
Three Months After COVID, Individuals Are More Prone to Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease
In a recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers warn that three months after recovering from a COVID-19 infection, hospitalized patients are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Scientists hypothesize that because the SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers pathways that could result in inflammation, being infected can affect different organs of the body. In their study, lead authors Emma Rezel-Potts, Martin Gulliford, and colleagues of King’s College London, United Kingdom, investigated whether a group of former COVID-19 patients developed diabetes or cardiovascular disease in the following year after being infected compared to those who had never contracted COVID-19.
They gained access to the medical records of more than 428,000 COVID-19 patients and even people who had not tested positive before. The researchers’ investigation revealed that COVID-19 patients had 81% more diagnoses of diabetes merely four weeks after they got infected with the virus. Their risk of developing diabetes also shot up by 27% for up to 12 weeks after infection.
The researchers also found a link between COVID-19 and cardiovascular diseases. A prior infection exposed people to a six-fold greater risk of suffering from arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats and pulmonary embolism or blood clots forming in the lungs.
More Monkeypox Cases Found in Kids as School Return Looms
Three more monkeypox cases have been confirmed in children as the back-to-school season looms.
Most, but not all, monkeypox cases have been concentrated in the gay community, among men who have sex with men. However it spreads primarily through close, physical contact with an infected person, meaning anybody can catch it.
Biden Feeling Well, Isolating After Rebound Case of COVID
U.S. President Joe Biden is feeling well and continuing his isolation measures after again testing positive for COVID-19, his physician said in a memo released by the White House on Sunday.
Biden tested positive for COVID again on Saturday in what the White House doctor described as a “rebound” case seen in a small percentage of patients who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid.
“Given his rebound positivity which we reported yesterday, we continued daily monitoring. This morning, unsurprisingly, his SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing remained positive,” the physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in the memo on Sunday.
Biden tested positive for COVID for the first time on July 21 and previously described his experience with the coronavirus as mild, saying he was able to continue working while in isolation and attributed his relative ease with the disease to vaccines and other treatments.
Tweets Show Americans Eating Healthier in Pandemic
Whether it’s fact or brag, tweets suggest people ate healthier during COVID lockdowns and restaurant closures, a new study finds.
Tweets about healthy foods rose 20% between May 2020 and January 2021, while those about fast food and alcohol dropped 9% and 11%, respectively, researchers found.
The switch from fast food to salad or an apple was just one of the dietary changes that people claimed to make during the pandemic’s first year.
Although lockdowns and restaurant closures significantly altered how people got food and alcohol, the analysis suggests that some Americans deliberately embraced healthier eating habits.
New York Governor Hochul Declares State Emergency Over Monkeypox
The governor of the State of New York Kathy Hochul late on Friday declared an emergency in the state over the continued spread of monkeypox.
“I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our ongoing efforts to confront the monkeypox outbreak,” Hochul tweeted.
She added that more than one in four monkeypox cases in the United States are in New York, also having a disproportionate impact on at-risk groups.
As of July 29, New York state had a total of 1,383 confirmed orthopoxvirus/monkeypox cases, according to New York Department of Health’s website.
Monkeypox Can Survive for Weeks in Water and on Refrigerated Food
The monkeypox virus can remain stable for days and even weeks on refrigerated food and in water, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate.
The report describes monkeypox as “very stable” in the environment and says it can live “for days to weeks in water, soil, and on refrigerated food.” It adds that the virus can live for months to years inside of scabs.
The report does not say how long the virus can survive on surfaces, but the CDC said investigators found the live virus 15 days after a patient’s home was left unoccupied, according to one study.
Spain Reports 2nd Death From Monkeypox
Spain reported Saturday a second death in as many days from monkeypox. These are believed to be the first confirmed fatalities from the disease in Europe since its recent spread beyond Africa.
The ministry based in Madrid said both fatalities were young men. It reported its first death on Friday, the same day that Brazil also reported its first death from monkeypox.
The global monkeypox outbreak has seen more than 22,000 cases in nearly 80 countries since May. There have been 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than in the West.
In the U.S. and Europe, the vast majority of monkeypox infections have happened in men who have sex with men, though health officials have stressed that anyone can catch the virus.
The deaths outside Africa come one week after the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.