“Covid’s strange moment: Joy over vaccines coincides with new levels of deaths and hospitalizations in U.S.” – STATnews
“GO NAKAMURA/GETTY IMAGES
by Andrew Joseph
“The vaccines — the elixirs that will help drag this pandemic to a close — had finally arrived. There they were on Monday, being readied for health care workers in New York, Colorado, Ohio, Texas, and beyond, each rolled-up sleeve marking an initial step in curbing Covid-19.
“And yet, even as the images of trucks, planes and unpacked boxes offered a triumphant respite for a public desperate for hope, the bad news kept knocking. The country crossed 300,000 official deaths from the coronavirus on Monday. It hit a record number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized — more than 110,000, according to the Covid Tracking Project. For the week that ended Monday, the average daily toll included more than 2,300 deaths and more than 210,000 infections, according to STAT’s Covid-19 Tracker.
“It would have been a jarring split screen, if not for the fact that so much of the suffering from Covid-19 has seen people dying or mourning alone. While doctors and nurses administered vaccines in front of cameras as governors kept watch, the 1,300 people who died from the virus Monday largely did so isolated in hospital rooms.”
Here’s how to self-isolate, what quarantine guidance means for your household, and which symptoms signal you need emergency care.
by Kristen Kendrick/NPR
“As the cooler weather takes hold, a viral pandemic is blanketing the U.S. with infection rates like we’ve never seen.
“As of early December, there are more than 200,000 new U.S. cases reported and more than 1,800 deaths from COVID-19 on average every day. And although we know this illness is dangerous, the hospitalization rate is about 243 hospital stays per 100,000 infections, which means masses of people are having to manage less severe cases at home, too.
“Patients are facing time alone with a notoriously unpredictable virus — and that can feel scary, confusing and overwhelming. Those are all sentiments I’ve heard a lot in my own practice as a family doctor lately.
“If you’ve gotten a positive test result, here’s advice from doctors about how to handle a mild to moderate, or even asymptomatic, case on your own — and when you need to seek emergency help.”
Continue reading this article at WITF, click here.
Consider, too, tuning in to this FREE interactive Q&A Webinar:
When: Dec 21, 2020 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: My family tested positive for COVID-19!
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“The coronavirus at 1: A year into the pandemic, what scientists know about how it spreads, infects, and sickens” – STATnews
MIKE REDDY FOR STAT
by Andrew Joseph
“The coronavirus behind the pandemic presents some vexing dualities.
“It’s dangerous enough that it dispatches patients to hospitals in droves and has killed more than 1.6 million people, but mild enough that most people shrug it off. It blocks one arm of the immune system from responding as it takes hold, but lures other parts into dangerous hyperdrive. It homes in on cells high up in the airway — think the nose and throat — but also burrows deeper into the lungs, maximizing infectiousness without ceding how sick it can make people.
“’It’s sort of right in that sweet spot,’ said Kristian Andersen, an infectious disease expert at Scripps Research Institute.
“A year into the pandemic, STAT is outlining a portrait of SARS-CoV-2 based on what scientists learned as the virus raced around the world, crippling some economies, societies, and health systems in its wake.
“How the virus cracks open cells and wards off the body’s first-line attack. How it can spread before people start feeling sick. How it’s changed since the dawn of the pandemic, and what, if anything, that means. How the omnivorousness of the disease it causes, called Covid-19, reaches not just the lungs but into the heart, brain, gut, and beyond.
“How this virus has caused the damage it has, unlike other respiratory viruses that also prey on our impulses to get together — to pack into crowds, to laugh, to sing — and use them as stepping stones in their mission to infect cells and make copies of themselves.”
“Nurse Lucia Perolari poses for a portrait at her hospital Humanitas Gavazzeni in Bergamo, northern Italy, on Friday, March 27, 2020, in the file photo at right, and on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.” – (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
by Luca Bruno, Antonio Calanni and Domenico Stinellis
“Eight months later, they allow themselves a faint, forced smile. The tired terror in their eyes has faded. They look chic in makeup or a jaunty handkerchief tucked into a jacket pocket.
“But for the doctors and nurses who have been on the front lines of Italy’s coronavirus battle since the start, the passage of time has taken a toll. They have seen so much suffering and death and have suffered themselves: From fear of infection, isolation from their families, anger at COVID-19 skeptics and the overwhelming sense of being powerless before a vicious virus.
“The Associated Press went back to photograph the 16 health care workers whose portraits, taken on the single deadliest day of Italy’s first wave of infection, came to epitomize the sacrifice of the world’s medical personnel during the pandemic.”
“Drive-by burials and FaceTime farewells: Grief in the Covid era will weigh on the American psyche for years to come” – STATnews
MARIA FABRIZIO FOR STAT
by Todd S. Purdum
“The rituals of grief and mourning are as old as time: the swift Jewish burial and seven days of sitting shiva to honor the dead; the Muslim washing and three-sheeted shrouding of a body; the solemn Mass of Christian Burial with Holy Communion and the promise of an afterlife. All these — and other rites of faith and community across the globe — have been brutally curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with effects on the mental and physical health of those left behind that have yet to be grasped.
It’s become commonplace to measure the virus’ death toll in terms of the casualties of war: In the United States alone, the fatalities already amount to five Vietnams, more than 40 Iraqs and Afghanistans and upward of 90 9/11s. Americans could mark all those past losses together, with hugs and handholding, collective tears and tender mercies, candlelight vigils and choruses of ‘God Bless America.’ By contrast, in bedside farewells via FaceTime, drive-by burials as under-attended as Jay Gatsby’s, and digital funerals on Zoom, we’ve been forced to mourn the victims of the novel coronavirus in a numbing new way: more or less alone.
“’If circumstances are such that you have to grieve alone … you can’t get the support that you may really need,’” … Continue reading this article at STATnews, click here.
“A close friend – let’s call him John – recently called, asking for advice. He woke up with severe muscle aches and fatigue. Understandably worried that it could be COVID-19, he asked whether he should go to work, run to get a test or stay home. Because he didn’t have other symptoms, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, he was unsure what to do. Of course, this could be any other respiratory infection, such as the flu or the common cold, but what if it is COVID-19? What is the risk of him transmitting the virus to others?
“To understand when people with COVID-19 are most likely to be infectious, our team conducted a study which was recently published in The Lancet Microbe.
“We investigated three things: viral load (how the amount of the virus in the body changes throughout infection), viral shedding (the length of time someone sheds viral genetic material, which does not necessarily mean a person is infectious), and isolation of the live virus (a better indicator of a person’s infectiousness, as the live virus is isolated and tested to see if it can replicate in the laboratory).
“We found that viral load reached its peak … ” – To continue reading this article at The Conversation, click here.
“Long-Term Care Workers, Grieving and Under Siege, Brace for COVID’s Next Round” – Kaiser Health News
“Registered nurse Stefania Silvestri, certified nursing assistant Edwina Gobewoe and recreational therapist Kim Sangrey are three nursing home workers who struggle with grief over the suffering from COVID-19 they’ve witnessed. (Stefania Silvestri, Fil Eden, Kim Sangrey)”
by Judith Graham
“In the middle of the night, Stefania Silvestri lies in bed remembering her elderly patients’ cries.
“’Please don’t leave me.’
‘I need my family.’
“Months of caring for older adults in a Rhode Island nursing home ravaged by COVID-19 have taken a steep toll on Silvestri, 37, a registered nurse.
“She can’t sleep, as she replays memories of residents who became ill and died. She’s gained 45 pounds. ‘I have anxiety. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed,’ she said.
“Now, as the coronavirus surges around the country, Silvestri and hundreds of thousands of workers in nursing homes and assisted living centers are watching cases rise in long-term care facilities with a sense of dread.
“Many of these workers struggle with grief over the suffering they’ve witnessed, both at work and in their communities. Some, like Silvestri, have been infected with the coronavirus and recovered physically — but not emotionally.”
Click here to read this article at Kaiser Health News.
“Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care” – Kaiser Health Network
by Judith Graham
“A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
“And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country.
“Workers are already emotionally drained and exhausted after staffing the front lines — and putting themselves at significant risk — since March, when the pandemic took hold. And residents are suffering deeply from losing people they once saw daily, the disruption of routines and being cut off from friends and family.
“In response, nursing homes and assisted living centers are holding memorials for people who’ve died, having chaplains and social workers help residents and staff, and bringing in hospice providers to offer grief counseling, among other strategies.”
Click here to continue reading this article in its entirety at Kaiser Health Network.
“‘A Slow Killer’: Nursing Home Residents Wither in Isolation Forced by the Virus” – The New York Times
“Nursing homes set restrictions to lower risks, but COVID-19 has continued spreading in some homes, and residents are now grappling with consequences from isolation.”
“Colleen Mallory and Deanna Williams greet their 89-year-old mother, Peggy Walsh, through the window of Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.” Credit…Grant Hindsley for The New York Times
by Jack Healy, Danielle Ivory and
“KIRKLAND, Wash. — After months of near-isolation inside his senior care facility, Charlie no longer recognizes his wife of almost 50 years. In another nursing home, Susan’s toenails grew so long that she could not squeeze into her shoes. Ida lost 37 pounds and stopped speaking. Minnie cried and asked God to just take her.
“They are among thousands of older people stricken by another epidemic ravaging America’s nursing homes — an outbreak of loneliness, depression and atrophy fueled by the very lockdowns that were imposed to protect them from the coronavirus.
“’A slow killer,’ said Esther Sarachene, who said she watched her 82-year-old mother, Ida Pasik, wither and fall mute during the months she was confined to her nursing home room in Maryland. ‘She didn’t know who I was.’
“Covid-19 continues to scythe through the halls of long-term care facilities despite an array of safety measures and bans on visitors, put in place months ago to slow the devastation.”
“Click here to read this article at The New York Times in its entirety.
“Loneliness doubled among older adults in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll shows.” – Futurity
(Credit: Getty Images)
by Kara Gavin
“Staying close to home and avoiding crowded places can help older adults reduce their risk of COVID-19. But the new national poll suggests it comes with a cost, especially for those with health challenges.
“According to the findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, in June of this year, 56% of people over the age of 50 said they sometimes or often felt isolated from others—more than double the 27% who felt that way in a similar poll in 2018.
“Nearly half of those polled in June of this year also said they felt more isolated than they had just before the pandemic arrived in the United States, and a third said they felt they had less companionship than before.
“Social contacts suffered too, with 46% of older adults reporting in June that they infrequently interacted with friends, neighbors, or family outside their household—doing so once a week or less—compared with 28% who said this in 2018.”
Continue reading this article at Futurity.com.