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Flu shot seen as critical to public health in the North Bay during coronavirus pandemic – Santa Rosa Press Democrat

September 15th, 2020

Clinicians across the North Coast have already begun administering the latest influenza vaccine to patients in what health experts say is shaping up to be a critical period for immunization.

A bad flu season could add strain on hospitals and clinics already taxed by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding urgency to annual public health campaigns reminding people to get their flu shots ― and coaxing the reluctant or skeptical into getting vaccinated.

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said the county is drawing up plans for drive-thru flu shot clinics to increase the likelihood that more people will get vaccinated. In March and April, some local residents contracted both COVID-19 and the influenza, compounding their illnesses, according to Mase.

“We are strongly encouraging everybody to get the flu vaccine,” Mase said.

The flu vaccine is widely known to be safe and effective by health experts in dampening what can be devastating impacts of influenza, especially for the elderly and the young.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness totally different from a common cold, and though it can result in mild illness, the flu can also cause nearly severe body aches and fever, among other symptoms like cough, sore throat and congestion.

Between 24,000 and 62,000 people died from influenza between October and April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data is presented as a range because health surveillance systems do not capture all cases of the flu, and so the illness is thought to be far more prevalent than testing and hospitalization reports suggests. The CDC estimates between 39 million and 56 million people in the nation contracted influenza during that same time period between last fall and spring.

“The vaccine this year is going to be very important because when you layer flu and coronavirus pandemic ― that could take it to a surge,” said Dr. Gary Green, medical director of infection control at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital.

Influenza and COVID-19 are caused by totally different viruses, but the illnesses both commonly come on suddenly with fever and chills.

And for those who get Influenza, it has “a tremendous inflammatory effect on the body” which can make it difficult for that person to fight off COVID-19, according to Green.

Green cited research from Brazil, which is just emerging from its flu season, suggesting people who had received the influenza vaccine had higher chances of survival if they contracted COVID-19.

This year, the flu vaccine contains four strains, two for influenza A and two for influenza B. Green said that prior years had contained just two or three strains, and this year’s vaccine should provide added protections.

There also is a stronger dosage often given to people age 65 and older or to those with added vulnerabilities.

The influenza typically hits the East Coast first around September and then makes its way to the West Coast.

Green called late September or early October “the sweet spot” for getting vaccinated, though he has already been giving high dosage flu vaccines to elderly patients.

“We know protection for flu vaccine will wane over months,” Green said, adding that the Food and Drug Administration, which approves vaccines, has not provided data on how long the vaccine gives protection to the body. “The FDA has never asked, ’Will the antibodies last for six months?’ ”

While some people who get flu shots may still contract influenza, being vaccinated means the illness is likely to be far less severe, said Kathleen Sarmento, director of nursing at Santa Rosa Community Health.

Sarmento said patients often claim they got the flu after getting immunized ― and health providers are constantly trying to dispel that notion, which is unfounded.

As with face masks worn amid the pandemic, the flu shot is a critical public health safeguard that helps prevent the individual from getting sick or from spreading illness to others, she said.

“Keeping yourself healthy may help keep others healthy,“ Sarmento said. ”Get in here, get your flu shot. It will be so worth it to do this.“

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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‘AGT’ magician Max Major called out for major fail: ‘Dude is a fraud’ – Yahoo Entertainment

September 15th, 2020

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="When mentalist/magician Max Major performed on the America’s Got Talent semifinals Tuesday night, judges Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara thought his chatty act, which involved asking the cast and audience to pick random numbers, was confusing. But viewers at home were even more confused, when it sounded like a member of the show’s virtual audience chose the number 13, but Max claimed that she’d said “14.”” data-reactid=”26″>When mentalist/magician Max Major performed on the America’s Got Talent semifinals Tuesday night, judges Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara thought his chatty act, which involved asking the cast and audience to pick random numbers, was confusing. But viewers at home were even more confused, when it sounded like a member of the show’s virtual audience chose the number 13, but Max claimed that she’d said “14.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Later, in what was supposed to be his big reveal, Max played back a video that he’d filmed before going on the air, in which he’d predicted all of the numbers (including 14) and had plastered those digits across a Universal CityWalk billboard. But… watch Max’s entire semifinals routine below, and listen closely around the 3:08 mark. If that girl in pink really chose 13 — a number that actually ended up being a later part of Max’s act, via a supposedly random roulette-wheel spin — and not 14, it would have ruined his whole illusion:” data-reactid=”27″>Later, in what was supposed to be his big reveal, Max played back a video that he’d filmed before going on the air, in which he’d predicted all of the numbers (including 14) and had plastered those digits across a Universal CityWalk billboard. But… watch Max’s entire semifinals routine below, and listen closely around the 3:08 mark. If that girl in pink really chose 13 — a number that actually ended up being a later part of Max’s act, via a supposedly random roulette-wheel spin — and not 14, it would have ruined his whole illusion:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="AGT fans on Twitter were quick to point out this discrepancy, even if the judges (including Heidi Klum, who’d been recruited as Max’s onstage assistant) oddly said nothing and played along. "Hey I’m pretty sure the audience member said 13, not 14 during Max Major’s performance; I call a cheat, I’m disappointed,” tweeted one irate viewer. "Did anyone else clearly hear the little girl say 13 and not 14 during Max Major #agt performance? Because I swear she did which means he didn’t actually succeed in his act,” observed another.” data-reactid=”33″>AGT fans on Twitter were quick to point out this discrepancy, even if the judges (including Heidi Klum, who’d been recruited as Max’s onstage assistant) oddly said nothing and played along. “Hey I’m pretty sure the audience member said 13, not 14 during Max Major’s performance; I call a cheat, I’m disappointed,” tweeted one irate viewer. “Did anyone else clearly hear the little girl say 13 and not 14 during Max Major #agt performance? Because I swear she did which means he didn’t actually succeed in his act,” observed another.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This was not the first time that Max had been called out on social media for a possibly bogus act. An entire Reddit thread exists about his quarterfinals routine, in which one member of that week’s virtual audience claimed that they were coached in advance to draw the same picture of a sun. Of course, Max’s whole shtick, which he has always been transparent about, involves the power of subliminal persuasion, so that sun routine fell into more of a gray area. But if Max misheard “13” as “14” — or even worse, pretended to mishear, for the sake of salvaging his performance — that would be a bigger problem.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”40″>This was not the first time that Max had been called out on social media for a possibly bogus act. An entire Reddit thread exists about his quarterfinals routine, in which one member of that week’s virtual audience claimed that they were coached in advance to draw the same picture of a sun. Of course, Max’s whole shtick, which he has always been transparent about, involves the power of subliminal persuasion, so that sun routine fell into more of a gray area. But if Max misheard “13” as “14” — or even worse, pretended to mishear, for the sake of salvaging his performance — that would be a bigger problem. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Controversy aside, I don’t think Max had much of a chance of advancing to next week’s finals anyway, with such a slow and anticlimactic act. If magician were to go through, I’d root for this week’s Brett Loudermilk, who successfully pulled off a bizarre and wholly original stunt that involved an endoscopic camera and the upchucking of a swallowed plastic toy. Now, that was a big reveal that no one predicted! But the judges (especially germaphobe Howie) and audience seemed so grossed out by the hygienic risks and that close-up video tour of Brett’s fleshy esophagus that I don’t think he will make it either.” data-reactid=”41″>Controversy aside, I don’t think Max had much of a chance of advancing to next week’s finals anyway, with such a slow and anticlimactic act. If magician were to go through, I’d root for this week’s Brett Loudermilk, who successfully pulled off a bizarre and wholly original stunt that involved an endoscopic camera and the upchucking of a swallowed plastic toy. Now, that was a big reveal that no one predicted! But the judges (especially germaphobe Howie) and audience seemed so grossed out by the hygienic risks and that close-up video tour of Brett’s fleshy esophagus that I don’t think he will make it either.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Instead, Wednesday’s results show will probably look more like America’s Got Singers, with this week’s Cristina Rae, Celina, Kanadi Dodds, and Daneliya Tuleshova (along with dynamic dance troupe W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew) likely making the cut and joining last week’s singing contestants Broken Roots, Archie Williams, and Roberta Battaglia for Season 15’s final showdown. See you then.” data-reactid=”43″>Instead, Wednesday’s results show will probably look more like America’s Got Singers, with this week’s Cristina Rae, Celina, Kanadi Dodds, and Daneliya Tuleshova (along with dynamic dance troupe W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew) likely making the cut and joining last week’s singing contestants Broken Roots, Archie Williams, and Roberta Battaglia for Season 15’s final showdown. See you then.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more on Yahoo Entertainment:” data-reactid=”46″>Read more on Yahoo Entertainment:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Follow Lyndsey on&nbsp;Facebook,&nbsp;Twitter,&nbsp;Instagram,&nbsp;Amazon, and&nbsp;Spotify.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”54″>Follow Lyndsey on FacebookTwitterInstagramAmazon, and Spotify. 

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The next Nintendo Switch Online games include Donkey Kong Country 2 – The Verge

September 15th, 2020

Maine wedding ‘superspreader’ event is now linked to seven deaths. None of those people attended. – The Washington Post

September 15th, 2020

The cluster of coronavirus infections that originated from the Big Moose Inn outside Millinocket on Aug. 7 continues to grow in Maine, state health officials said, after guests flouted social distancing and mask guidelines. Now people who have no association with the party have died, including six residents of the Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said in a news briefing Tuesday.

State officials issued an “imminent health hazard” citation last month to the venue, whose operators acknowledged in a statement that they “did make an error in the interpretation” of the rules governing capacity but that employees wear masks and have increased cleaning.

The Millinocket wedding is not the only rule-defying celebration linked to a growing number of cases, as contact tracers and public health officials across the country continue to track down infections that stem from summer “superspreader” gatherings, including a motorcycle rally in South Dakota and a choir practice in Washington.

The exposure among non-attendees can multiply exponentially, especially if attendees live or work in communities where social distancing and mask-wearing are not enforced, said Michael Small, a professor at the University of Western Australia who has studied superspreader events.

“These superspreaders can be bad without bound,” Small told The Washington Post.

Earlier this year, a leadership conference for the biotech company Biogen in Boston made headlines when infections were initially tracked among the attendees who fanned out across several states. Months later, researchers sequenced genetic errors of the virus, linking the outbreak with infections among Boston’s homeless population.

The outbreak among company executives that led to infections among homeless people is a reminder of how interconnected social networks can be, causing further spread of the virus, Thomas Tsai, an assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The Post.

“You can’t just think of these individuals or even clusters alone. They’re sort of clusters of clusters,” Tsai said.

Even where communities may not seem as interwoven, such as in a sparsely populated Maine town, the coronavirus can strike.

“It’s a real cautionary tale that even in a relatively rural area in Maine that there was still fuel for a fire to erupt,” Tsai said.

Between 10 and 20 percent of infected people are responsible for 80 percent of the coronavirus’s spread, Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a news briefing Thursday.

Maine health officials have continued to track several outbreaks and are investigating if some clusters are related to each other, Shah said.

“The virus favors gatherings,” Shah said. “It does not distinguish between happy events, like a wedding celebration, or a sad farewell, like funerals. It is everywhere.”

Shah said the spread of the virus beyond those who attended the wedding, killing people unrelated to the gathering, is an indication of “how virulent the disease can be and how far-reaching the effects can be.”

Though Shah noted the state’s low hospitalization rates, he said the spread of the virus in the state was disturbingly ubiquitous. He said residents should not assume the virus has not reached their community, as it’s already probably there.

“I’m concerned about where we are,” Shah said. “Maine CDC is concerned about where we are, and I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern.”

The state agency confirmed to The Post that the pastor who officiated the wedding, Todd Bell, preaches at the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, which has had 10 cases traced to it. Bell has criticized coronavirus restrictions, local media reported. He could not be reached for comment.

“What he is basically saying to the state of Maine is rules don’t apply to us,” Bangor resident Kathy Day said of Bell.

The Millinocket native told The Post she does not believe anyone who attended the wedding intended to cause the havoc wrought since the celebration. But, Day said, the infections were preventable. As someone who studied to be a contact tracer, Day said she wished a map could exist to represent the spread of the virus from that one event in her state.

“I think it would be an extremely interesting image for people to be able to understand that when you spread it to one person, unless that person isolates, it has the potential to do something exactly like what happened in this outbreak,” Day said. “It just keeps going and going.”

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Suspected cases of potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus reported in Midwest – WGN TV Chicago

September 15th, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE/WOOD) — Residents of Indiana and Michigan are facing another disease outbreak that may force them inside their homes.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites following reports of a probable human case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

In Michigan, a woman told WOOD that a test run by the Mayo Clinic already found her husband had EEE. If it is confirmed, it will be Michigan’s first human case of EEE in 2020.

The EEE virus — more commonly found in horses — can cause serious illness and has a fatality rate of around 33 percent or higher in humans.

“Eastern equine encephalitis virus disease is rare in humans but can cause permanent complications and even death,” Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box said in a press release.

Symptoms of EEE virus include chills, fever, body aches and joint pain. Some people develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system and causing encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

In Michigan, Tina Wescott said her husband, Jeff Wescott, was suffering from intense headaches, which later progressed into speech difficulties.

“He went from being this healthy adult one week and in a 10-day span … he couldn’t even walk unassisted. He was so weak. It really completely wiped him out. He’s lucky to be alive,” Tina Wescott said.

She wants the community to know just how serious the virus can be.

“It’s really bad. I didn’t think he was going to make it. I really didn’t think he was going to make it that first night. I saw things I never want to see again. It was horrifying … just struggling to breathe,” Wescott said.

The family is encouraged by the progress but knows there are a lot of challenges ahead.

The rare mosquito-borne illness has already infected and killed 22 horses in Michigan this year. EEE is nearly always deadly for horses, but they can be vaccinated. There is no vaccine for humans.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is conducting nighttime aerial sprays to kill mosquitoes over the 10 counties where animal cases have been confirmed,

People who are younger than 15 and older than 50 are at the greatest risk of severe disease if infected with EEE virus, according to Indiana health officials. People who think they may have EEE virus should visit a healthcare provider.

Health officials are reminding people to wear insect repellent with DEET, wear long pants and sleeves when outdoors and stay inside at peak mosquito hours when possible. You should also clear any standing water on your property where mosquitoes may spawn and make sure your window screens are in good condition to keep them out of your home.

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Apple Watch SE: If you’ve been holding out on buying a smartwatch, now could be the time – CNET

September 15th, 2020

Spotify criticizes new Apple services bundle on antitrust grounds – Reuters India

September 15th, 2020

Sony denies cutting PlayStation 5 production targets – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

September 15th, 2020

Canada reports 792 new coronavirus infections as global cases near 30 million – Global News

September 15th, 2020
Canada saw 792 new novel coronavirus infections on Tuesday, pushing the country’s total case count to 138,695. 

Provincial health authorities also said nine new deaths associated with COVID-19 had occurred.

The new deaths bring Canada’s total death toll to 9,188.

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Read more: Security officer on Parliament Hill tests positive for coronavirus

Ontario reported 251 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, and health officials in the province said more people had died.

Since the pandemic began, 40,091 have recovered after contracting COVID-19, and the province has administered 3,369,802 tests for the virus. 

In Quebec, 292 new infections were detected, bringing the province’s total to 65,554.

Health officials also reported five new deaths.

2:22Coronavirus: COVID-19 case numbers, speed of acceleration should both be monitored, Tam says

Coronavirus: COVID-19 case numbers, speed of acceleration should both be monitored, Tam says

So far, 57,428 have recovered after falling ill, and 1,932,847 tests have been conducted in Quebec.

In New Brunswick, no new cases of COVID-19 were detected, and health authorities said the province’s death toll remained at two.

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A total of 67,067 tests for the respiratory illness have been conducted in New Brunswick and 189 cases are considered to be resolved. 

Read more: Quebec reports 377 coronavirus cases at 223 schools

Nova Scotia did not report any new cases or deaths associated with the `novel coronavirus on Wednesday either.

The province has seen 1,086 cases of the virus and 65 deaths. However, 1,020 cases are considered resolved. 

Health officials in Nova Scotia have administered 85,175 tests.

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2:48Coronavirus: Dr. Tam stresses quarantine period is 14 days as Bloc MPs, leader in isolation after staffer tests positive

Coronavirus: Dr. Tam stresses quarantine period is 14 days as Bloc MPs, leader in isolation after staffer tests positive

Newfoundland and Labrador did not report any new novel coroanvirus infections, and the province said no new deaths had occurred.

More than 260 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province and 35,791 tests have been administered.

Read more: Almost 1/4 of Canadians believe coronavirus warnings from officials are overblown: poll

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Prince Edward Island reported two new cases of the virus on Wednesday, including one involving a child under the age of 10.

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To date, PEI has seen 57 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In Saskatchewan 10 new infections were reported, bringing the province’s total case load to 1,741. 

However, health authorities said no new deaths had occurred.

Over 1,600 cases of the respiratory illness are considered resolved in Saskatchewan, and provincial health officials have tested 161,933 for the virus. 

1:13Coronavirus: Dr. Tam calls case-count increase as schools reopen ‘concerning’

Coronavirus: Dr. Tam calls case-count increase as schools reopen ‘concerning’

Seventeen new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Manitoba, but health authorities said the death toll remained at 16.

Since the pandemic began, 1,181 people have recovered from the virus and 157,440 tests have been administered in Manitoba. 

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Read more: Coronavirus took their lives. Here’s how their families will remember them

Further west in Alberta, 124 new COVID-19 infections were reported, but health officials said the province’s death toll remained at 254.

To date, 14,212 people have recovered after contracting the virus, and 1,143,818 tests have been administered. 

British Columbia health officials said 97 new infections were reported on Wednesday, but no new deaths have occurred.

One of the new cases is considered “epidemiologically linked,” meaning it has not been confirmed by laboratory tests.

2:12Coronavirus: Parents worried over differing protocols in Quebec schools

Coronavirus: Parents worried over differing protocols in Quebec schools

The province has now seen a total of 7,268 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, and 219 deaths.

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Health officials have conducted 441,279 tests for COVID-19 in British Columbia and 5,548 people have recovered after falling ill.

Read more: Health minister continues defence of China’s handling of coronavirus case data

No new cases in the territories

None of Canada’s territories reported any new cases or deaths associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday.

In the Northwest Territories all five of the confirmed cases are considered to be resolved.

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The territory has conducted 4,335 tests for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

2:12Coronavirus: School closures should be a ‘last resort,’ WHO official says

Coronavirus: School closures should be a ‘last resort,’ WHO official says

Similarly, in the Yukon, all 15 people infected with the virus have recovered.

Thus far, 2,983 people have been tested in the territory.

Nunavut has not yet confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus.

Read more: Canada’s schools need better air ventilation. Amid coronavirus, it could save lives

World death toll inches towards 1 million

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Prepare Yourself For Possible PS5 Shortages – IGN Daily Fix – IGN

September 15th, 2020