Tuesday, July 27, 2021
 
 
Even Allen and Company Can’t Escape Pandemic
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Children participating in St. Thomas Playhouse’s Company B Summer Theater Camp last week wore face masks except when on stage per Centers for Disease Control guidelines. And some even wore face masks on stage.
   
Monday, July 12, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Allen & Company’s so-called “summer camp for billionaires” was back in Sun Valley this week, after having been cancelled last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the virus continued to affect how things were run.

Those attending the week-long conference, which included Roger Goodell, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Anderson Cooper, had to follow stringent vaccination and testing guidelines, according to Vanity Fair. That included supplying their vaccination cards to the Mayo Clinic and getting tested for COVID-19 via nurses provided by the famed clinic prior to arrival and again upon arrival.

Events were held outside—at the Sun Valley Pavilion and around tables outside the Sun Valley Inn--with vine-covered fences erected to try to prevent those on the Sun Valley Mall from seeing in. As a result, security provided by scowling men with stern looks on their faces appeared to be higher than ever.

Most noticeably, children were not permitted this year since so many of them are not eligible for vaccinations yet.

Thus, there were no pirate ships on the River Run lawn and youngsters learning to fly fish under the watchful eye of security. It meant local teenagers did not get the babysitting jobs they might have counted on for college money. And the Ketchum Arts Festival felt the absence of the youngsters and their parents, who often leave the festival with their arms full of pottery, T-shirts and other items to take home.

BLAINE COUNTY SWITCHES RISK LEVEL PLAN

Blaine County has switched its COVID Dashboard and Risk Level plan to match the rest of the counties in the South Central Public Health District. The change was made so county officials can more easily compare rates of disease between counties with different vaccination levels, said Stephanie Carlson, outreach and education specialist for the county.

Blaine County had been following a more stringent dashboard using Harvard Global Health Metrics.

Blaine County has seen a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases recently—its daily seven-day moving average of cases per hypothetical 100,000 residents climbing from zero to 4.3 before dropping to 3.1. But the county remains at minimal risk level for the spread of COVID.

DON’T GO TO HAILEY FOR A COVID TEST

Those who need a COVID test are reminded that it is being done via appointment through myChart or by calling 208-381-9500. The actual tests are being conducted at the drive-through pod next to the hospital, NOT St. Luke’s Hailey Clinic.

VACCINATING MINKS

Oregon, the Beaver State, is now requiring its ranchers to vaccinate mink with the COVID-19 vaccine. The idea: to stop it from mutating and being passed on to humans.

Oregon has nearly a half-million mink, making it the fourth largest pelt-producing state behind Wisconsin, Utah and Idaho, according to the Fur Commission USA.

JABBING OUT THE VIRUS

California’s Marin County in the San Francisco area has virtually extinguished the virus with only three new confirmed cases per day in recent weeks. More than 90 percent of those aged 12 and older have received at least one shot.

The City of San Francisco has announced it’s requiring its 35,000 employees, including firefighters and police,  to be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the vaccines have received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration

COMPARING INFECTIONS AGAINST VACCINATION RATES

The New York Times recently published a story that shows the daily average of new COVID cases per 100,000 residents juxtaposed against a county’s vaccination rate.

There were 5.6 cases among those with 30 percent or fewer vaccinated; 4.3 for those between 30 and 35 percent; 3.2 percent for those between 35 and 40 percent and 2.8 among those 40 to 45 percent.

There were 2.7 cases among those 45 to 50 percent vaccinated, 2.4 among those 50 to 60 percent vaccinated and 2.1 among those with more than 60 percent vaccinated.

Missouri, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates among the states, has seen hospitals run out of personal protective equipment and ventilators in the face of the Delta variant. The state has had to transfer some patients to neighboring Kansas, and the chief of the Springfield Fire Department has described the crisis as a mass casualty event.

The Washington Post reports that each of the 100-plus people who died of COVID-19 in Maryland last month was not vaccinated. Those who remain unvaccinated made up 93 percent of the 6,707 new coronavirus hospitalizations the state saw.

Similar stories are taking place around the nation, including in Wisconsin were 95 percent of those who have died of COVID-19 since March were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Just 1 percent of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases there since Jan. 1 have been among those who were fully vaccinated.

YEARS WORTH OF IMMUNITY?

Health officials now believe that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may offer immunity for years.

IDAHO’S NURSING HOMES MAKE HEADLINES

Fewer than half of Idaho’s nursing home workers—only 47.5 percent—have been vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s the 15th lowest staff vaccination rate among states and territories, according to The Post Register.

About 38 percent of Idaho’s 2,100 COVID-19 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities. More than 82 percent of residents are vaccinated.

PREPARING FOR THE NEXT PANDEMIC

Dr. David Pate, who serves on the governor’s Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Ted Epperly are publishing a book with 117 recommendations of how future pandemics like COVID can be better handled. The book is being published by John’s Hopkins University, the leading public health university in the United States, according to KTVB.

Health officials had to go clear back to the Spanish Influenza of 1918 for help dealing with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic Epperly noted.

Suggestions include stockpiling enough protective equipment, as well as finding better ways to pull together and follow public health guidance.

“Instead of us acting like an intelligent species of animals on this planet, we acted like total idiots,” said Epperly.

The book, tentatively titled “Preparing for the Next Pandemic,” is expected to be available in the summer of 2022.

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