• August 4, 2021

Exclusive: Democrats closing in on a historic budget deal

 Exclusive: Democrats closing in on a historic budget deal



CDC advisers to consider additional coronavirus dose for immunocompromised patients

The prospect of booster shots emerged last week as the maker of a two-dose coronavirus vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech, announced it would seek regulatory approval for a third inoculation amid rising global concern about the highly transmissible delta variant.

The advisory panel next week plans to focus on the 2 to 4 percent of U.S. adults who have suppressed immunity, a population that includes organ transplant recipients, people on cancer treatments and people living with rheumatologic conditions, HIV and leukemia.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which makes vaccine recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is scheduled at a July 22 meeting to discuss the clinical considerations involved with giving additional doses to immunocompromised patients.


American Academy of Pediatrics:

AAP Statement on the Termination of Dr. Michelle Fiscus

“Pediatricians are working every day in our practices to encourage families, adolescents and children ages 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Delta variant is more transmissible than other variants, leading to more infections and more hospitalizations and deaths among unvaccinated people. The vaccine is the best way to prevent this suffering and bring an end to the pandemic that has infected more than four million children and disrupted so many lives.  

“American Academy of Pediatrics Board of Directors member Dr. Michelle Fiscus was terminated as the State Medical Director of Vaccine-Preventable and Infectious Diseases at the Tennessee Department of Health, apparently because she was encouraging eligible adolescents to get vaccinated. Pediatrician public health officials are medical experts who are trusted by the communities they serve. Dr. Fiscus’s termination is the most recent example of a concerning trend of politicizing public health expertise.  

“We are also concerned by reports that Tennessee has stopped all communications about any routine childhood vaccines, including those for measles and other vaccine-preventable illnesses, at a time when children and adolescents overall still lag behind on these important vaccines due to the pandemic. Actions like this only increase the likelihood that we’ll see other outbreaks of these diseases even as we continue to fight COVID-19. 

“The American Academy of Pediatrics will continue to promote the vaccine and support pediatricians like Dr. Fiscus who are doing the vital work that’s needed to get us out of this pandemic.” 


The Economist:

In-person voting really did accelerate covid-19’s spread in America

Cases in November rose faster in counties with lots of in-person voting than in similar parts of the same states

Data from earlier in 2020 are inconclusive. In Wisconsin 450,000 people voted in person in a primary election in April. Two studies later that month did not detect any unusual increase in covid-19 cases; a third, released in May, found a large effect.

The general election in November offered richer data. So far, 20 states have published the number of ballots in each county cast by each method. Overall, places where a high share of votes were cast in person on election day—distinct from both postal ballots and votes submitted in person before the election—also had high covid-19 rates. However, this pattern could arise for reasons besides polling queues.



It started in Texas where, in February 2007, then-Gov. Rick Perry (R) issued an executive order that all girls in the state should receive Gardasil starting in February 2008 unless their parents opted out. Opposition began immediately from groups like the conservative Texas Eagle Forum, the national organization of which was then still run by Phyllis Schlafly, who personally inveighed against it. Focus on the Family referred to HPV in an interview with the Dallas Morning News as “a purely sexually transmitted disease,” said that the mandate was “taking away parental rights” and then offered angry Texans this gem: “Does the public health industry truly believe that all children and adolescents are sexually active? This is not something kids are going to contract sitting in the classroom.”



Red State, Blue State, Twin Outbreak: Behind Wyoming and Colorado’s Anomalous Covid Spikes

The challenge, said Kim Deti, a spokesperson with the Wyoming health department, isn’t just the politicization of the covid vaccines, which has turned many against them, though that is a factor. It’s also that many people have resumed activities and believe the pandemic is behind them.

“We’ve had relatively low levels of covid-19 illnesses in most areas of the state for a while now, which affects threat perception,” Deti said. “There are many people working very hard and trying everything they can. Wyoming’s coverage rate is not for lack of effort.”

In San Miguel County, Colorado, people were fired up about getting shots from the outset. “Interest has been very, very impassioned since vaccines became widely available,” said county spokesperson Lindsey Mills.

San Miguel County hit President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal of getting at least one dose into 70% of adult residents weeks before July 4, the deadline the nation as a whole missed. Yet the county was experiencing a surge in covid cases similar to that of its Wyoming counterpart. More than 460 days after Colorado declared covid a disaster emergency, San Miguel County recorded its first covid death on June 14.

The reason? It turns out not everyone was as enthusiastic about the vaccines as San Miguel County’s high rates indicated. Numbers provided by the local health department show that on the county’s east side, home to the affluent ski resort community of Telluride, about 80% of eligible residents opted in. On the west side, what residents call the West End, only about half did. That left the county vulnerable to continued spread.

EJ Dionne/WaPo:

Biden must embrace his own logic on voting rights

Business as usual makes little sense in the face of such a fundamental challenge to the basic rules and understandings that allow a political system to function.

But business as usual is exactly what Democrats are called upon to engage in since they won the 2020 election.

If Democrats don’t govern and deliver, they will lose power — and deserve to. The party’s politicians seem to understand this.

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