Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Variant COVID Viruses Identified in Idaho, Bali Uses Push-Ups to Fight COVID
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Vaccination supplies await a new arm at St. Luke’s Wood River.
   
Thursday, February 18, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY ANNE JEFFERY

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

Variant COVID-19 viruses have been found in wastewater of Boise, Eagle and Garden City.

 
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Idaho reported 408 new cases of COVID Wednesday for a total of 168,353. Eleven more Idahoans have died of COVID for a total of 1,817. Blaine County had another single-digit day on Wednesday with six new cases for a total of 2,130.
 

Health officials announced Wednesday that one variant originated in the United Kingdom; the other, in California. It’s believed the variant viruses are more contagious than the original novel coronavirus.

Idaho hopes to be able to sequence samples in its Idaho Bureau of Laboratories by the end of the month. So far, it’s had to send samples out of state, which has potentially delayed detection of the variants.

The Centers for Disease Control has warned that these and other new variants could spur a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. But officials say transmission can be reduced by wearing masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated.

The U.K variant cases are doubling every 10 days in the United States and could become the predominant strain by March.

To date, 196,332 Idahoans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 71,679 have received both. A fifth—4,522--of Blaine County’s estimated 23,000 residents have received at least one dose; 1,110 have received both.

PRESCRIPTION FROM THE CHAIRLIFT

A Tampa Bay doctor riding the chairlift at Sun Valley Resort recommends that those who are fearful of fever, chills, muscle aches or headaches following the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine do this: Take two ibuprofen and two Tylenol as soon as the needle is out of your arm.

The two drugs are metabolized differently and they both address different side effects that can affect some recipients. Being proactive should ward off any ill effects, he said.

VACCINE SHIPMENTS DELAYED

Yes, we may be having a downright balmy week compared with the rest of the nation. But severe weather elsewhere is causing shipment delays of the vaccine to Idaho.

Moderna did not ship its planned allotment to Idaho this week out of Memphis where Tennesseans actually experienced a frost quake. And Pfizer shipped minimal vaccine. Some vaccine appointments are having to be rescheduled or cancelled, as a result.

Meanwhile, some people around the nation went to great lengths to get their vaccine. One 90-year-old in Seattle told The Seattle Times that she walked six miles round trip through snowdrifts in the street to get a jab in the arm.

SEARCHING FOR PETROGLYPHS? WEAR YOUR MASK

The Bureau of Land Management is implementing a mask requirement for employees and visitors not only in BLM facilities but also outdoors on public lands where physical distancing is not feasible. That includes narrow or busy trails and overlooks.

“Ensuring people use masks when physical distancing is not an option and washing hands is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Mike Nedd, BLM deputy director of operations, in the Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press.

OUTDOOR WALKS BANNED TO SQUELCH COVID

The University of California at Berkeley this week banned outdoor exercise, even for those who are  masked. “The risk is real,” officials told the New York Times.

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has banned outdoor walks, instead encouraging students to get exercise by “accessing food and participating in twice-weekly COVID testing.”

But many experts say prohibiting outdoor activity is unlikely to reduce the spread of the virus, nor is urging people always to wear a mask outdoors. Scientists have not documented any instances of outdoor transmission except among people who were in close conversation—say, in a beer garden.

COVID DOESN’T STOP A BIRTHDAY OF PROPORTIONS

The world’s second oldest person has survived COVID-19 at age 116. Sister Andre tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-January in Toulon on South France. She turns 117 this week.

Eighty-one of the 88 residents in the nursing home she shares tested positive at the same time Sister Andre did. Ten have died.

HAVE VENTILATOR, WILL TRAVEL

TIME Magazine recently noted that many of the wealthy who visit Jackson, Wyo., have been bringing their own ventilator. Teton County, where the top 1 percent make 150 times that of the other 99 percent, had a big surge of COVID cases following the holidays.

BACK TO THE COURT

The Idaho State Board of Education has expanded the capacity of crowds for high school sporting events. The new plan allows spectators to fill up to 40 percent of a gym’s capacity or up to four fans per student participating in the event—whichever is larger.

Masks and social distancing are required.

MASKLESS? YOU’LL BUILD MUSCLE IN BALI

Police in Bali are punishing those caught without face masks in public by having them do 50 push-ups. Wear masks incorrectly and it’ll get you 15.

Police told Euronews that tourists tend not to respect mask laws.

WHO NEEDS A COVID TEST WHEN YOU HAVE A SMART WATCH?!

Researchers at Mount Sinai have found that smart watches such as Apple Watch can detect subtle changes in a wearer’s heartbeat, signaling that person has the coronavirus up to seven days before they feel sick. The watch measures the variation in time between each heartbeat as a measure of how well a person’s immune system is working, according to CBS News.

A separate study from Stanford found that different activity trackers, such as Garmin, Fitbit, Apple models, also can identify extremely elevated heart rates that are indicative of symptom onset. That team created an alarm system to alert wearers of significant sustained changes.

And Australia’s Central Queensland University has shown that a Whoop sleep-tracking device can help predict infections based on changes in users’ respiratory rates during sleep.


 

 

 

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Idaho Wants Proof You Live or Work Here if You Want a Vaccine

Idaho to Ramp Up Vaccines as Second Variant Case Reported

Zoom into Your Pandemic Garden
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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