Archive for September 11th, 2020

Trump’s Health Department Changed CDC Reports on COVID-19 to Fit President’s Message: Report – The Daily Beast

September 11th, 2020

Communications aides appointed by President Donald Trump have been reviewing reports from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and changing them to better align with the Commander in Chief’s sunny message that the United States is beating the coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports. Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign officer and now the appointed assistant secretary for public affairs of the Department of Health and Human Services, and his deputies have repeatedly requested pre-publication access to the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports and reportedly altered them in several cases since April to lessen the seeming severity of COVID-19.

CDC scientists have fought Caputo and company but in recent weeks have allowed them increasing sway over the reports, according to Politico. Caputo and his aides have also attempted to delay and even halt the release of other reports entirely. Dr. Paul Alexander, an adviser to Caputo, wrote in an August 8 email, “CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration.” Trump has asserted multiple times that the new coronavirus will “disappear” and that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic despite nearly 200,000 American deaths from the virus and the highest number of cases in the world.

Read it at Politico


Online Misinformation Leading To Decrease In Coronavirus Vaccine Confidence | NBC News NOW – NBC News

September 11th, 2020

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Online Misinformation Leading To Decrease In Coronavirus Vaccine Confidence | NBC News NOW – YouTube


Canada reports 702 new coronavirus cases, the country’s highest increase since June 6 – Global News

September 11th, 2020

Canada added 702 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday — its highest daily increase in over three months.

Friday’s data bring Canada’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 135,529. Four new deaths were also reported on Friday but another four were omitted through data revisions, leaving the country’s death toll at 9,163.

A total of 119,671 patients have also recovered from the virus, while over 7.1 million tests have been administered across the country.

Read more: Poverty in Canada was bad pre-coronavirus. Experts worry what will come next

Friday’s increase in infections continues to follow an upward trend of new cases in recent weeks. The last date daily COVID-19 cases topped the 700-figure was June 6, which saw 733 new cases of the virus.

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At a press conference Friday, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, was asked at what point she would recommend provinces roll back reopening measures.

“I do think we need to monitor not just the numbers everyday but the speed of acceleration, the reproduction number, etc., or those indicators we’ve been talking about,” said Tam.

2:02Coronavirus: Should kids heading back to school get tested for COVID-19?

Coronavirus: Should kids heading back to school get tested for COVID-19?

Tam also spoke on what trends health officials were looking for as students began heading back to school amid the pandemic, emphasizing focus on how local health situations developed over the school year.

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Quebec reported the highest number of new infections on Friday, with 219 new cases of the virus. A total of 64,463 people have been diagnosed with the virus in the province.

Health authorities also added another three deaths, with one occurring between Sept. 4 and Sept. 9, another occurring before Sept. 4 and the third occurring on an unknown date. Quebec’s death toll now stands at 5,744, however, after two deaths previously linked to the virus were omitted.

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3:55Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor explains what officials will watch for during back-to-school period

Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor explains what officials will watch for during back-to-school period

Ontario added 213 new cases on Friday, raising its total infections to 44,068. A total of 2,813 people have since died from the virus in the province, with a death removed from Ontario’s total due to a data correction.

British Columbia added 132 new cases on Friday, raising its total number of lab-confirmed infections to 6,859. Another 103 cases in the province are considered “epidemiologically linked,” which refers to patients who developed symptoms and are close contacts with confirmed cases but were never tested.

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B.C.’s death toll stands at 213, while 5,273 patients have since recovered.

Alberta added another 111 cases of the virus on Friday, raising its total confirmed cases to 15,415.

Health authorities in Alberta reported one new death on Friday, but also determined a death previously linked to the coronavirus was unrelated to the disease following an autopsy. The provincial death toll stands at 253.

Saskatchewan added 13 new cases of the virus on Friday. The province’s total confirmed cases was only raised to 1,688 though, after a false positive was removed. To date, the province has seen 24 fatalities from COVID-19.

Read more: Only 1.4% of kids, teenagers diagnosed with coronavirus in Canada hospitalized

Manitoba added 15 new cases on Friday. The total number of cases now sits at 1,393, some of which are considered probable. The province reported zero deaths, with its fatalities standing at 16.

Global cases of the coronavirus have since surpassed 28.3 million, according to a running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Over 912,000 people have since succumbed to the virus worldwide, with the U.S., India and Brazil leading in both cases and deaths.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Health Experts Urge Public to Roll Up Their Sleeves, as ‘Twindemic’ Looms – NBC Connecticut

September 11th, 2020

Healther Camilleri isn’t wasting anytime protecting
herself this flu season.

“Already got it. Today. Left arm.  I just took the band-aid off,” the Farmington woman said on Friday. “I figured I might as well get it before they run out.”

Drug stores and doctors offices are already offering the
shot but not everyone is putting it on their to do list just yet.

“Usually I’ve never gotten it in September we usually end
up getting it around the October timeframe,” said Jigna Desai of Cheshire.

“Will we need a second flu shot is my question,” asked
Melanie Schneider of Plainville.

“It’s not too soon,” said physician assistant for ProHealth Physicians, Jennifer Clark-Connor. “However I would recommend people do wait until at least October if you can.”

Clark-Connor pointed out that the flu season can last
until May but your protection from it may not.

“That’s when you’re going to get the most bang for your buck, the first six months, however the CDC does say that it can last for upwards of a year,” she said.

The CDC could issue a re-vaccination order in the spring.

Although the flu shot does not prevent COVID-19, which is caused by a different virus, health experts say it’s more important than ever before to get vaccinated for the flu to rule out a case of the coronavirus.

“If we can prevent influenza and headaches, sore throat, fever, cough, that’s one less episode that you have to get tested for COVID,” said Dr. Albert Ko, chair of Infections Diseases for the Yale School of Medicine.

Ko helped lead Connecticut’s early response to the

“What we don’t want to happen is to have an epidemic of COVID on top of what we normally see with influenza,” he explained.

As fall approaches, scientists are watching for the
possibility of a “twindemic” of influenza and coronavirus. 

“I think we’re all afraid of a second wave,” said Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief medical officer at Yale New Haven Health.

A second wave of COVID-19 colliding with cold and flu season could be catastrophic.

It’s enough to convince Melanie Schneider, who doesn’t
always get her flu shot, to roll up her sleeve this year.

“I want to be able to rule out other issues, so that if I
do become positive for Covid I know that that’s what it is,” she said.  “I’m pretty even-keeled but this is
definitely worrying.”

However, that health emergency doesn’t have to become our

“I think that we are actually going to be in a
better place this year as far as the protection against influenza because
everybody is wearing masks,” said Clark-Connor.

That along with continued social distancing and good hand hygiene could be key to keeping the COVID curve flat and the flu from reaching pandemic proportions.

“If we’re able to collectively continue to do the good work that we’ve all been doing, I think we’ll be able to dodge a second wave. Our fate is in the hands of the public,” said Balcezak.

“If you do get the flu it will help to minimize how it affects you and hopefully keep you out of the hospital to preserve our healthcare resources for those who unfortunately will end up with COVID,” added Clark-Connor.

While the flu shot is already in some doctors offices and drug stores Dr. Thomas Balcezak believes a COVID vaccine isn’t far behind.

“I think we’re going to see a vaccine soon, I’d say before or around the first of the year,” said Balcezak.

He pointed out that there are more than 100 COVID vaccines in development and nearly 40 that have reached human trials. 

Will the public be willing get the vaccine?

“I would love to see one, but I don’t want it to be
rushed,” said Camilleri.

Developers working against the clock to get the virus under control are also fighting the public’s vaccine-hesitancy.  In a Gallup Poll, a third of Americans said they won’t take the COVID vaccine when it’s approved.

“We need to make sure that these trials are conducted carefully, that the vaccines are safe, and then we need to convince the public to get the vaccine when it’s available so that we can stomp out this virus,” said Balcezak.


‘Glee’ actor Naya Rivera called for help as she drowned in California lake, autopsy finds – NBC News

September 11th, 2020

LOS ANGELES — An autopsy report released Friday says “Glee” actor Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for help as she accidentally drowned while boating with her 4-year-old son on a California lake.

Actress Naya Rivera in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Oct. 7, 2017.Greg Doherty / Getty Images file

Once his mother had helped him back on to the boat, the boy “noticed the decedent put her arm up in the air and yelled ‘help,’” the report from the Ventura County Medical Examiner says. “The decedent then disappeared in to the water.”

Authorities had previously said that Rivera had drowned accidentally after putting the boy, Josey Hollis Dorsey, back on the boat at Lake Piru northwest of Los Angeles on July 8, but had not mentioned her shouting for help.

Rivera “knew how to swim well,” the report said.

The man who rented her the pontoon boat said she declined a life vest, but he put one aboard anyway.

It revealed that the 33-year-old Rivera had previous problems with vertigo, had a recent sinus infection, and had a small amount of prescribed amphetamines in her system, but did not identify physical conditions or drugs as factors in her death.

Toxicology tests also showed she had small, therapeutic amounts of the anti-anxiety drug diazepam and the appetite suppressant phentermine in her system.

Josey, Rivera’s son with her former husband, actor Ryan Dorsey, was found sleeping and alone on the drifting boat later that afternoon.

July 13, 202002:11

Five days later, her body was found floating in an area of the lake that is about 30 feet deep. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said she was most likely trapped in thick vegetation underwater for several days before floating to the top.

Josey was immediately reunited with his father and other relatives.

The day before her death, Rivera tweeted a photo of the two of them that read, “just the two of us.” In her memoir, she called him “my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him.”

Rivera’s death was the third of a major cast member of “Glee,” the Fox TV musical comedy that Rivera starred in from 2009 to 2015, playing a singing and dancing lesbian cheerleader.

Rivera’s body was found seven years to the day after co-star Cory Monteith died at 31 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin.

Another co-star, Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.


Oakland County residents urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites amid confirmed EEE cases – WDIV ClickOnDetroit

September 11th, 2020

DETROIT – The Oakland County Health Division and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are reminding residents to take precautions from mosquito bites as cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been confirmed in two horses in Holly and Ortonville.

To date, no human cases have been identified.

MDHHS also recommends out of an abundance of caution that officials consider postponing, rescheduling or cancelling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly activities that involve children. This would include events such as late evening sports practices or games.

Read more: Michigan health department encourages officials to reschedule outdoor activities as EEE cases increase

“These animal cases show that EEE is present in Oakland County,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Residents in all of our communities need to take simple steps to reduce the risk of serious disease from mosquito bites such as limiting exposure at outdoor activities and wearing mosquito repellent.”

Follow these prevention tips:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and will contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient. Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings. Do not prop open doors.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water around your home:
  • Turn over any type of container that can collect water. Once a week, empty out items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpots, and trash containers.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.
  • Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated, such as retention ponds or drainage ditches, with a mosquito larvicide. Mosquito larvicide is easy to use and can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as EEE are seasonal and flare in warm summer months and continue into the fall.  The public is urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites until the first hard frost of the year.

“EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States,” said Dr. Russell Faust, medical director for the Health Division. “It has a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection.”

People can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their physician’s office.

More information about Mosquito-Borne Disease, such as EEE, can be found on the Health Division’s website at or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or

Nurse on Call is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.


Google Lens UI redesign inspired by Pixel Camera app rolling out [Gallery] – 9to5Google

September 11th, 2020

Washington has its first two cases of West Nile virus this year – Seattle Times

September 11th, 2020

Washington state has its first two cases of West Nile virus this year: a man in his 50s from Yakima County who was hospitalized, and a man in his 60s from Benton County who hasn’t been hospitalized.

West Nile virus is usually spread via bites from mosquitoes that were infected when feeding on birds that carry the virus. There’s no evidence West Nile virus spreads through direct contact among humans or animals.

West Nile virus can be serious or even fatal, although most people who get it don’t get sick, according to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). About one in five people infected will get a fever or other symptoms that go away without medical treatment; about one in 150 develop severe symptoms, according to DOH.

Symptoms of West Nile virus can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma.

“Spending time outdoors can help with social distancing to prevent COVID-19, but it can also put you at risk for mosquito-borne disease,” epidemiologist Hanna Oltean said in a DOH news release. “People throughout Washington should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.”

How to avoid mosquito bites

No vaccine exists for West Nile virus, so the best protection is to avoid mosquitoes.

● Make sure windows and doors are “bug tight,” including repairing or replacing damaged screens.

● Stay indoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

● Wear long sleeves, long pants and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas such as wetlands or woods.

● Use mosquito repellent when necessary. Read the label and carefully follow the instructions, taking special care when using on or around children.

● Avoid having standing water around your home; that’s where mosquitoes breed. Change water in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools and animals’ bowls or troughs at least twice a week. Make sure gutters drain properly. Fix leaky faucets and sprinklers.

Source: Washington State Department of Health

West Nile virus first appeared in the United States in 1999, in New York City. It has spread through the country since then, with the first related illnesses in Washington state being reported in 2006. Five people in Washington were diagnosed last year, three in 2018, 13 in 2017, nine in 2016 and 24 in 2015, according to the DOH. The virus was detected most heavily in Washington in 2009, when 38 people tested positive.

The virus has been detected this year in mosquitoes in Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties. Washington state has limited resources to monitor dead birds and mosquitoes for West Nile virus, but it is tracking known West Nile virus activity at That site also contains more information about the virus and how to avoid it.


Drive-thru flu shot clinics latest weapon in COVID-19 battle –

September 11th, 2020

“It’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine, make sure you prevent the disease that you can prevent right now, and that’s influenza.”

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — The latest in drive-up health care has now become the latest weapon in the battle against COVID-19 and its potential ally: the seasonal flu.

On Friday, drivers lined up at the HealthPartners Park Nicollet St. Louis Park Clinic for a literal shot at the clinic’s flu shot clinic. HealthPartners is offering several options for the community to get a shot, from drive-up clinics to in-clinic appointments. Those interested can learn more here.

“We’re really trying to encourage people to get their flu shots this year. We think it’s going to be really important, not that it isn’t every year, but particularly this year with COVID going on, we want to have people be protected from influenza,” said Dr. Shannon Neale, Family Medicine Physician at HealthPartners.

The latest flu shot outreach comes as health experts warn that a flu-coronavirus combination could prove challenging for both our vulnerable populations and our health care system.

“If we do have influenza, a severe influenza year on top of COVID, it could really stress the health care systems and really increase the number of people who are severely ill and dying,” said Jennifer Heath, a supervisor with the vaccine preventable disease section of the Minnesota Department of Health.

Heath noted there is hope – the Southern Hemisphere has seen a milder flu season – but she cautions that the United States has not always followed global trends when it comes to COVID-19. She also noted that it’s not yet clear how a double diagnosis could threaten a person’s health.

“There’s a few studies out there. So we do know that it is possible, those studies have documented severe disease or hospitalization,” she said.

But what is clear, she notes, is that continuing all the preventative actions – handwashing, social distancing, wearing masks and staying home if you’re sick – and now, the flu vaccine, could prove critical in the months ahead.

“It’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine, make sure you prevent the disease that you can prevent right now, and that’s influenza,” she said.

To learn more about the upcoming HealthFair 11 and UCare drive-thru Flu Fighter Clinic on Sept. 25-27 at the state fairgrounds, just click here.


‘There was no fighting this fire,’ California survivor says – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

September 11th, 2020

Brian Melley and Terence Chea, The Associated Press
Published Friday, September 11, 2020 7:24PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 11, 2020 11:17PM EDT

BERRY CREEK, Calif. – John Sykes built his life around his cabin in the dense woods of Northern California. He raised his two children there, expanded it and improved it over time and made it resilient to all kinds of disaster except fire.

So when the winds started howling Tuesday and the skies became so dark from smoke that he had to turn on his lights at midday, he didn’t hesitate to leave it all behind in an instant before any evacuation order.

With the disaster two years ago in nearby Paradise, in which 85 people perished in the deadliest and most destructive fire in modern state history, still fresh on his mind, Sykes got his wife and a friend into his car and left with only a change of clothes each.

“All I could do is look in the rear view mirror and see orange sky and a mushroom cloud and that told me it was hot and to keep going,” Sykes said Friday. “It was a terrifying feeling.”

Berry Creek was largely destroyed in what has become the deadliest fire of 2020, a year that has already shattered California records for the most area burned – more land than the state of Connecticut – and recorded the largest fire of all time in the state. Five of the top 10 biggest blazes in state history are still burning and fire season often gets worse in the fall.

At least nine people were killed and 19 were unaccounted for.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office initially said 10 bodies were found but reduced it on Friday because it was determined that bones found in a burned storage shed were actually a realistic-looking human skeleton model made of resin that an anthroplogy student used for study, Sheriff Kory Honea said.

The sheriff also announced that the victims included Josiah Williams, 16, of Berry Creek, who apparently died while trying to flee the flames in a vehicle.

“He was alone, terrified and ran for his life,” his mother, Jessica Williams, told CBS13 Sacramento. “”My son was a good, smart, caring young boy that died alone and it kills me thinking about what he was going through.”

The body of Millicent Catarancuic, 77, of Berry Creek was found by a car on Wednesday, and two other people who may have been associated with her were found in the same area, the sheriff said, although he didn’t release their names.

“We have information that those subjects were aware of the fire but chose not to immediately evacuate,” he said.

More victims could be found when search-and-rescue teams join sheriff’s detectives in searching the devastated area but it was too dangerous to immediately begin work in some places, the sheriff said.

“Right now, the areas that we need to search are too hot,” he said.

Neighbouring Oregon and Washington also have been besieged and air pollution is a major problem across the West. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday “dozens of people” are missing from the large wildfires that have burned across the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom toured the fire-ravaged region Friday and strongly asserted that climate change was evident and pledged to redouble efforts to “decarbonize” the economy.

“The debate is over around climate change. Just come to the state of California, observe it with your own eyes,” he said, citing the hottest August in state history, 14,000 dry lightning strikes in three days, record-breaking temperatures, drought and millions of dead trees.

The immediate good news, he said, was the weather was beginning to co-operate, with winds settling down and the possibility of modest rain.

Bill Connelly, a Butte County supervisor, said about 90% of the homes had burned but most of the 6,000 people in that area got out.

“It’s just as devastating as Paradise,” he said, referring to the town 10 miles (16 kilometres) away that had 26,000 residents when it was destroyed. “It would be worse than Paradise if there were that many people living there.”

About 20 people were hospitalized with burns; others broke limbs in the panic to flee, Connelly said. Fire officials have estimated that more than 2,000 homes and other buildings were destroyed.

Under heavy smoke, the search continued Friday for 16 people missing in the rugged mountains 125 miles (200 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco.

Berry Creek, which began as a stage coach stop during the California Gold Rush, was among the hardest hit communities.

A bar, laundromat and two stores are gone. All that remained of a gas station were a pair of pumps and a sign listing prices. The school and volunteer fire station – with the engine still inside – were destroyed.

“There was no fighting this fire,” Sykes said. “Those who tried to fight it are probably not here.”

Most homes were reduced to smouldering piles of ash, twisted metal and blackened appliances, but others escaped unscathed. Chimneys poked from the rubble and burned out cars and pickup trucks dotted the landscape. Scorched utility poles and fallen wires lined the roads.

Sykes, who became emotional several times describing his ordeal, said he has located all but two friends. Some dunked into ponds, others jumped into Lake Oroville, a massive reservoir, as hot debris rained down on them, he said.

Sykes, a former logger and construction worker, had never evacuated his home during a fire before but said he was too old at 68 to stay put. Plus, he had to look after his wife Janet, the “love of my life,” and a close friend who has been ill and lived with them since her husband died six months ago.

He didn’t want them to be trapped on the road leading out of town the way people had perished in Paradise.

When they were 5 miles (8 kilometres) miles down the road heading to safety, a friend called to say that the home he left behind on Wood Smoke Way was burning.

Melley reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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