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Conservative Media Watchers Likelier to Believe COVID Conspiracies. And More New Science – TheTyee.ca

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Compiled by veteran medical journalist Brian Owens, this roundup of some of the newest science on the COVID-19 pandemic, straight from the scientific journals, is presented by Hakai Magazine in partnership with The Tyee.

Focusing on symptoms not good enough for testing

Yet another study has shown that people can test positive for COVID-19, and be spreading the virus, well before symptoms appear. The study, carried out at a nursing home in Washington state, found that 23 days after the first resident tested positive almost two-thirds of the residents were infected, and more than half of them had no symptoms at the time of testing. This is the 11th study to identify asymptomatic transmission through proactive testing.

The New England Journal of Medicine, April 24, 2020

Conservative media and social media linked to COVID-19 misinformation

People who relied on conservative media and social media in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to receive misinformation about it. People who watched Fox News, or used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as their primary sources of information were also more likely to believe conspiracy theories, including: that the virus was created by either the Chinese or American governments, that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exaggerated the danger posed by the virus to damage President Donald Trump, or that taking vitamin C can protect against COVID-19. People who relied on mainstream broadcast and print news had higher levels of correct information.

Misinformation Review, April 20, 2020

Nursing homes were prepared, but COVID-19 reveals gaps

A survey of nursing homes in Michigan shows that they were better prepared for this pandemic than the last one — the spread of H1N1 in 2009. Nearly all of the homes that answered the survey had a pandemic plan in place, compared with just over half of those that answered the same survey in 2007. Most of the nursing homes had stockpiled supplies, but many were still concerned about running out. However, policies aimed at helping older people “age in place” at home, rather than moving to a nursing home long-term, have left gaps in the pandemic response to help older adults. In the future, facilities should move more quickly to perform more rapid tests of all residents, to limit visitors and to require the use of face masks.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 15, 2020

Antibody test protocol released

Blood tests that can identify people that have already been exposed to COVID-19, by detecting antibodies to the virus, are expected to be an important tool in the recovery from the pandemic, as previous infection may confer some immunity. A team of researchers has now published the scientific protocols for how to conduct such a test. This test could be quickly put into clinical use, but scientists and politicians must still determine how the results could — or should — inform plans to relax lockdown rules.

Current Protocols in Microbiology, April 17, 2020

The most promising strategies for COVID-19, ranked

A review of the thousands of scientific studies aimed at fighting COVID-19 has ranked the most promising strategies. First come vaccines, probably aimed at the receptor-binding domain of the virus’s spike protein. But because vaccines can take years to develop, other approaches are needed in the meantime. The second most effective is to treat the disease using broad-spectrum antivirals, such as hydroxycytidine and remdesivir. The third treatment method is convalescent plasma — administering blood from recovered patients, or engineered antibodies, to give short-term immunity. Finally, gene therapy that uses another virus to deliver antibodies or other treatments could be a fast and effective approach, particularly for future outbreaks.

Frontiers in Microbiology, April 24, 2020

The effect of lockdown on children’s mental health

Children in China who experienced prolonged lockdowns reported higher levels of depression and anxiety. The results suggest that serious infectious diseases may affect the mental health of children in the same way that other traumatic experiences do. The researchers will continue to followup with the children to determine how long the effects will last.

JAMA Pediatrics, April 24, 2020

Coronavirus detected in the air, but infection risk unknown

A study in two hospitals and some public areas in Wuhan, China, has detected the presence of genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 in the air, but it did not assess whether it could cause infections. Researchers found hotspots in the patient toilets in the hospitals, and in areas used by staff to remove protective equipment. Outside the hospitals they detected elevated levels of viral RNA in heavily trafficked areas. The researchers say that careful sanitation, good ventilation and avoiding crowds can help reduce the risk of infection.

Nature, April 27, 2020

Chaos theory identifies best control strategies

A group of mathematicians from Brazil has used chaos theory to examine the spread of COVID-19 in nine different countries to identify which strategies are most effective in containing it. They found that the two best methods were to keep a high level of physical distancing, and to conduct lots of tests to identify and isolate infected people before they start showing symptoms — essentially the strategy followed by South Korea.

Chaos, April 28, 2020

Another example of effective testing, tracing and isolating

In Shenzen, China, health officials used a strategy of extensive contact tracing, testing and pre-emptive isolation of people who could have been infected with COVID-19, as well as their close contacts. The strategy reduced the time it took to identify and isolate infected people by two days. Symptomatic people were isolated and treated in hospital before their test results were known, and those without symptoms were quarantined at dedicated facilities. Close contacts who tested negative were quarantined at home or in a dedicated facility and monitored for 14 days. These aggressive measures helped keep the local reproduction rate of the virus below one, the threshold required for the outbreak to decline.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, April 27, 2020  [Tyee]

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Katai Leaves Galaxy After Wife’s Racial Social Media Posts… – Mount Royal Soccer

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You would hope that the Katai’s weren’t looking forward to an extended stay on America’s west coast.

If they were it’s all been scuppered by some strongly-worded Instagram posts from the player’s wife, Tea in which she called for people to kill protestors, which she referred to as ‘disgusting cattle’.

Now the former Alaves and Red Star Belgrade midfielder and his club have parted ways.

In what looks to all the world like a firing, LA Galaxy has called the move ‘a mutual decision’ between themselves and their player, who joined the club from Chicago Fire only in December last year.

The Galaxy released a statement condemning Tea’s since-deleted comments on Wednesday saying…

“Earlier today, the LA Galaxy were made aware of a series of racist and violent social media posts by Tea Katai, the wife of LA Galaxy midfielder Aleksandar Katai.

“The LA Galaxy stands firmly against racism of any kind, including that which suggests violence or seeks to demean the efforts of those in pursuit of racial equality.”

The player for his part had come out strongly following the comments, distancing himself from his spouse’s posts, although accepting full responsibility.

“These views are not ones that I share and are not tolerated in my family.

“Racism, particularly toward the black community, is not only prevalent in the United States and Europe, but across the globe. I strongly condemn white supremacy, racism and violence towards people of color. Black lives matter. This is a mistake from my family and I take full responsibility.

“I will ensure that my family and I take the necessary actions to learn, understand, listen and support the black community.

“I understand that it will take time to earn back the support of the people of Los Angeles. I am committed to putting in the necessary work to learn from these mistakes and be a better ally and advocate for equality going forward. I am sorry for the pain these posts have caused the LA Galaxy family and all allies in the fight against racism.”

It was not enough to save his LA Galaxy career with the club yesterday producing a terse and final statement confirming Katai’s departure…

“The LA Galaxy have mutually agreed to part with midfielder Aleksander Katai.”

Aleksander Katai with his wife Tea, author of the unacceptable Instagram posts in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

While Tea Katai’s comments are totally and unequivocally unacceptable, you wonder if the player himself has been treated fairly by the club. He did clearly distance himself from the comments, explaining they were not representative of his own views, and in fact verbally came out in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Is it right that a player’s future at a football club can be determined in this way by comments, no matter how disgusting, made by another family member, which in the days of social media he had very little, if any, control over?

Katai has ‘accepted full responsibility’, but it must be acknowledged that was part of a carefully worded statement providing apology and certainly designed to prolong his short LA career.

Or is it correct that the former Chicago Fire player is ‘found guilty by association’ and was rightly dismissed?

What do Impact fans think? Would you have expected Montreal Impact to fire a player under the same circumstances?

Poll

Are the LA Galaxy right in dispensing with the services for Aleksander Katai due to his wife’s unacceptable Instagram posts?

  • 28%

    Yes 100%. He has to go…

    (2 votes)

  • 14%

    Not sure. It’s a grey area. I’m on the fence and think getting rid of the player is too harsh a punishment.

    (1 vote)

  • 57%

    100% No. Katai should not be held accountable for the social media interactions of his wife or any other family member.

    (4 votes)



7 votes total

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GOLDSTEIN: Media deliberately distorted what Trump said about George Floyd – Toronto Sun

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Contrary to a globally reported blunder by the media on Friday, President Donald Trump did not say a positive report on U.S. job numbers was “good news for George Floyd.”

Here’s what Trump said:

“Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender, or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen.

“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.’ It’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our Constitution requires and it’s what our country is all about.”

Clearly, Trump’s reference to Floyd was in the context of Americans agreeing everyone must be treated equally by police, not optimistic U.S. job numbers.

Despite their obvious blunder about what Trump said, which quickly went global and erupted on social media, few media organizations have corrected it.

Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, reacting to the inaccurate media reports, said what Trump said was “despicable.”

[embedded content]

Some are now arguing it was outrageous for Trump to invoke Floyd’s name  — he died in police custody, with the four fired police officers involved now facing a slew of major criminal charges — in any context.

But that deliberately ignores the point, which is that the media got the story wrong.

In another controversy involving Trump, a widely-circulated medical study published in the Lancet claiming patients with COVID-19 were more likely to die or suffer serious side effects from taking hydroxychloroquine has been retracted.

Based on this research, Trump was widely attacked for recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine and saying he was taking it himself to ward off COVID-19.

Trump should not be freelancing medical advice and it was dangerous for him to do so.

But as James Heathers, a research scientist at Boston’s Northeastern University, writing in the Guardian, observed, the retraction of the research paper is also alarming and potentially dangerous.

As Heathers wrote:

“The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. Recently, they published an article on Covid patients receiving hydroxychloroquine with a dire conclusion: the drug increases heartbeat irregularities and decreases hospital survival rates. This result was treated as authoritative, and major drug trials were immediately halted — because why treat anyone with an unsafe drug?

“Now, that Lancet study has been retracted, withdrawn from the literature entirely, at the request of three of its authors who ‘can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.’

“Given the seriousness of the topic and the consequences of the paper, this is one of the most consequential retractions in modern history.

“How did a paper of such consequence get discarded like a used tissue by some of its authors only days after publication? If the authors don’t trust it now, how did it get published in the first place?”

Heathers says the root problem is with the peer review process which, “at its worst … is merely window dressing that gives the unwarranted appearance of authority, a cursory process which confers no real value, enforces orthodoxy, and overlooks both obvious analytical problems and outright fraud entirely.”

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Saskatoon police officer put on paid leave over 'harmful and offensive' social media posts – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Article content continued

“I want to assure the public that we take these complaints seriously. We have acted swiftly to address the issue and a thorough investigation will occur.”

The Saskatoon Police Association, the union that represents police officers in the city, said it will not be commenting at this time since the investigation is active.

The board of directors of Saskatoon Pride, in a Facebook post, said Cooper personally contacted the organization to inform it about the posts.

The organization said the posts are not just hurtful to the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, but to the entire community, and “are not worthy of someone charged with upholding the law and protecting the community.”

“It is a sad day for Saskatoon that, in the midst of outrage over the racist and criminal acts committed by police against the BIPOC community across the continent and during a month meant to celebrate diversity, inclusion and Pride, there is a member of the Saskatoon police force who would feel that they were entitled to express such bigoted views, while claiming to uphold the law and serve the public,” Saskatoon Pride’s board wrote.

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