Sunday, April 18, 2021
Blaine County Remains at Moderate Risk Barely, Wildlife Experts Decry Mask Litter
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Face masks may work for humans but not for coyotes and other wildlife.
   
Friday, March 26, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

Blaine County managed to stay in the moderate risk level for COVID-19 this past week, even though its average new case rate is trending upwards again.

The county averaged 11.8 new cases per hypothetical 100,000 residents between March 14 and 20, up from 6.8 the week before.

 
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Idaho reported 343 new cases of COVID on Thursday for a total of 178,887 cases. Two more Idahoans have died of the virus bringing the death toll to 1,954. One Blaine County resident tested positive on Thursday, bringing the county’s count to 2,235.
 

It’s test positivity also climbed to 4.45 percent, up from 1.95 the week before.

Six people between the ages of 40 and 49 tested positive during the week; five between 30 and 39, and ; three between 18 and 29. Two people between 60 and 69 tested positive and one person each in the 50- to 59-, 14- to 17- and 0-4-year age groups tested positive.

There were no new cases among those 70 and older or those between the ages of 5 and 13.

WANT A VACCINE WITH THAT MOVIE?

Wood River Valley residents have rolled up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccines in all the places you might have imagined—a hospital OB-GYN clinic, gym, pharmacies, even a school setting, thanks to a mobile clinic that met the teachers where they were at.

But across the nation Americans are getting vaccinated in some unusual places, according to Politico Magazine. That includes movie theaters, a school bus, the parking lots of baseball and football stadiums, Disneyland Resort’s parking lots, the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, a Methodist church in Peaks Island, Maine, and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

MASK MADNESS

Those light blue masks you saw strewn along the trail to Alice Lake last summer? They can take a toll on  wildlife.

Alan Kolok, director of the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Idaho in Moscow, told KMVT that the plastic fibers don’t degrade.

The plastic can block the digestive system of fish and animals that eat them, killing them. They can also lead to larger bacterial and fungal colonies, which can cause disease by infecting water used for cows and other agricultural animals.

And—yikes—129 billion masks are being made every month—or, 15 masks per person worldwide.

Cloth masks are an eco-friendly solution. So is properly throwing disposable masks away in the trash.

INFECTIONS RARE

There have been fewer than a hundred reported cases of those who have been vaccinated contracting COVID in Idaho, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen. That’s less than 1 percent of the quarter million Idahoans who have been fully vaccinated.

Jeppesen said it was always expected that a few people would contract COVID after getting vaccinated.

“We must emphasize it is a very small number,” he said.

Those who do get infected tend to have mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization, according to a study of nearly 30,000 individuals by University of California-Los Angeles and University of California-San Diego.

 THE COMMON COLD VERSUS COVID

Scottish researchers say that the common rhinovirus has been shown to lock out the novel coronavirus if the two are released at nearly the same time. The rhinovirus blocks the ability of the coronavirus to make copies of itself, according to the team at the Centre for Virus Research in Glasgow

It’s believed that a large rhinovirus outbreak may have delayed the 2009 swine flu pandemic in parts of Europe, according to BBC. Problem is, it doesn’t last. The coronavirus can cause an infection once the cold has passed.

TWO-FOR-ONE SHOT

Moderna is working on a shot that would provide a booster shot for the coronavirus and target the flu, as well. Researchers hope they might bring the flu vaccine efficacy up from the current range of 30 to 60 percent to 90 percent in the new shot.

FREE VACCINES

Idaho’s Public Health Administrator Elke Tulloch-Shaw reminds Idahoans that the COVID-19 vaccines are free, despite a few reports that some providers around the state may be charging for them.

Providers may charge a patient’s insurance for an administration fee, but the patient should not be charged. Those who do not have insurance can request reimbursement through the HRSA provider relief fund.

VARIANT TESTING

Idaho’s State Laboratory is asking clinical laboratories from around the state to send at least five samples a week as the state tries to ramp up testing for variants.

So far, Idaho has done less testing for variants than surrounding states, in part because it had to send samples out of state until recently. So far, the state has confirmed 43 cases of variants out of 433 sequenced.

The UK variant leads the way with 26, followed by 15 cases of the California variant and two cases of the South Africa variant.

ENLISTING SEA QUIRT IN THE BATTLE AGAINST COVID

Scientists at the University of California-San Francisco’s Quantitative Bioscience Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York have determined that plitidepsin, or Aplidin, is 27.5-fold more potent against COVID than remdesivir.

The compound was originally discovered in a Mediterannean sea squirt—a brightly colored marine animal with primitive vertebrate. It was first approved by the Australian Regulatory agency for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

It has shown a 100-fold reduction in viral replication of COVID-19 in the lungs and has demonstrated an ability to reduce lung inflammation, according to a report put out by University of California-San Francisco.

NO SCREAMING ALLOWED

Headed to Disneyland when it reopens in April? Keep your mouth shut if you’re riding the Matterhorn roller coaster or any other thrillers. Park attendees will be asked to refrain from screaming no matter how exciting the ride to mitigate the opportunities for the coronavirus to spread.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


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