Monday, October 26, 2020
Blaine County COVID Cases Spike but COVID Leads to Use for Stale Beer
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Aspen has erected clever reminders to distance around town. Others ask for six feet so skiers can continue to shred and so that bicyclists can continue to roll.
   
Monday, September 28, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

COVID GRAPHS BY PAUL RIES

What has happened, Blaine County?

Two weeks ago, on Sept. 14, you had recorded just 614 cases of the coronavirus since that first one in mid-March.

 
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Blaine County had its worst day on Saturday since April 17, with 11 new cases of coronavirus reported, says Paul Reis. “Our curve is starting to, once again, go straight up,” he added.
 

Now, in just under two weeks, you’ve gained 50 cases for a total of 664 cases.

Did we let down our guard during the Labor Day Weekend, as the health experts predicted we would? Or, can we attribute the huge increase to local kids gone off to college?

No new cases were reported on Sunday. But only a few public health departments make reports on Sunday.

Blaine County’s increase mirrors what’s going on across the country. It comes as the United States records 55,000 new cases in a single day—the biggest jump in a single-day period in more than a month.

 
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Blaine County’s seven-day average is the worst it has been since mid-April.
 

The United States has now recorded more than 7 million cases and more than 204,000 deaths, with new cases on the rise in 33 states.

And on Saturday Idaho saw its eleventh consecutive days with an increase in coronavirus cases. The seven-day moving average is now 426.9 cases per day—nearly double the 231.9 cases per day it was less than two weeks ago.

Saturday also marked the fifth time in six days that Idaho added 400 or more in a single day. The state now has logged 40,501 cases of COVID-19.

One of those seeing a surge is Eastern Idaho. Teton School District has had 11 students and staff test positive since school began, forcing 77 students and staff in Driggs’ two first-grade classes and one kindergarten class in quarantine.

More than 400 Idaho students at nine Idaho colleges have tested positive since colleges reopened. And similar experiences at other colleges have prompted some college campuses to hire student influencers to try to influence other students to distance, according to the New York Times.

BYU-Idaho accounted for 73 of 172 new cases in Eastern Idaho last week, prompting school officials to tell students they may close the campus if the spike continues. The school has also ended visiting hours at its dorms and stopped intramural sports.

Boise State University’s student have also been a primary source of new infections in Boise with 85 in one week. Sixty of those were students living off campus, according to The Idaho Statesman. Seventy-seven BSU cases reported previous two weeks.

Worse, hospitalizations are double what they were in the early days of the pandemic with ICU patients 2.5 times the earlier number.

And health authorities predict it will get worse with cooler temperatures forcing us indoors and the flu coming on.

UNITE TO FIGHT

The United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson has urged world leaders to unite against a common enemy rather than waging 193 separate campaigns.

And he has proposed a network of zoonotic research labs to identify dangerous pathogens before they leap from animals to humans. He’s also committed $636 million to help world’s poorest countries obtain a vaccine, should one become available. And his country is boosting its funding to the World Health Organization by 30 percent or to the tune of $432 million.

THREE MONTHS IMMUNITY PROPOSED

The Centers for Disease Control is now saying that those who have recovered from COVID-19 are safe from getting the virus again for at least three months. That means people who have tested positive for the virus do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months, as long as they do not develop symptoms again.

Some experts believe antibodies last even longer, says BestLife. A 2007 study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases indicated that antibodies from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) lasted two years. And SARS is similar to COVID-19.

COVID NASAL SPRAY

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco have created an antiviral nasal spray that they say can help ward off the coronavirus. AeroNabs could serve as a stopgap until vaccines provide a more permanent solution. And it could serve as a more permanent line of defense for those who don’t respond to or want a vaccine.

The inhalable protection was inspired by nanobodies—antibody-like immune proteins that naturally occur in llamas and camels. The inhalant is in clinical testing. If successful, the scientists hope to make an inexpensive, over-the-counter medication, according to a press release from UCSF.

ANOTHER REASON TO GET THAT FLU SHOT

Up to date on your vaccines? It appears that people who have had a variety of vaccinations for pneumonia, influenza, hepatitis and other issues appear to have a lower risk of getting COVID.

At least, that’s what Dr. Andrew Badley, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Apparently, the vaccines offer immune training to your body, teaching your immune system to create an effective response to fight off infections. It’s like a muscle, Badley said. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will be when you need it.

COVID PROVIDES A GOOD EXCUSE FOR STALE BEER

Who says stale beer is good for nothing?! A wastewater treatment plant in Adelaide, Australia, has converted beer left unsold during lockdown into renewable energy to power its water treatment process. The plant mixes organic industrial waste with sewage sludge to produce biogas, which is then turned into electricity. The beer boosted its energy generation to new levels, according to CNN.

NIX ON THE NECK FLEECESS

Another test has been done to determine which masks are least effective. Researchers at Duke University found that the professionally fitted N95 mask health care workers use was most effective followed by three-layer surgical masks and the cotton masks people have been making at home.

Least effective? Neck fleeces and breathable neck gaiters. In fact, fleece masks might do more harm than good because the material broke down larger droplets into smaller particles more easily carried away with air, reported CNN.

Masks are designed to reduce the amount of virus that you get, thereby helping you to have mild or no symptoms if you do get infected.

HARMLESS VACCINES?

A review of 58 changes made to labels on vaccines made between 1996 and 2015 has shown very few dangers in vaccines, according to Israeli-based researchers. Twelve changes cautioned about the risk of fainting after vaccination. The others were made to recommend that pregnant women or immunocompromised people not get vaccines made using live viruses.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


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