The Dose - 04-9-2022
A few articles of interest.
Hong Kong is still working on getting their current wave of COVID infections under control.
Hong Kong is calling for a 3-day voluntary mass Covid-19 testing exercise. Here’s what you need to know South China Morning Post April 8, 2022
Hong Kong is launching a three-day voluntary mass Covid-19 testing exercise from Friday to better assess the pandemic situation in the city.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the voluntary at-home rapid antigen test (RAT) scheme would provide a snapshot of how many Hongkongers were infected, while also identifying asymptomatic cases and cutting off transmission chains.
When should I test myself and how do I report a positive result?
The government has sent anti-epidemic packs – containing 20 rapid tests, 20 KN95 masks and two boxes of proprietary traditional Chinese medicine – to nearly 3 million households.
Authorities have urged residents to test themselves daily from April 8 to 10 using the kits delivered to their homes and to report any infections within 24 hours.
If you have the following symptoms, please call an ambulance and get to hospital:
Persistent fever of 38.5 degrees Celsius [101.3 degrees Fahrenheit] or higher for more than two days, despite taking fever-reducing medicine
Body temperature of 35 degrees Celsius [95 degrees Fahrenheit] or below
Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
Loss of speech or mobility
Inability to wake up or stay conscious
Pain in chest or abdomen
Dizziness or confusion
Weakness or unsteadiness
Persistent inability to eat or drink
Diarrhoea or vomiting for more than two days
Decreased or no movement of fetus for pregnant women at 24 weeks or more
Who qualifies for home isolation?
Home isolation for mild or asymptomatic cases living in suitable residences would continue, Tsui said. Those who chose to isolate at home would be supported with service packs and could visit designated clinics for medical consultations.
Vaccines have been shown to be effective in preventing people from becoming seriously ill or dying from the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, the case fatality rate for people who had received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine was 0.12 per cent, compared to 2.06 per cent for those who had only received one dose or were unvaccinated.
For patients aged 80 or above, the figure was 3.04 per cent versus 12.39 per cent respectively.
According to the World Health Organization, the case fatality rate is the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases.
Based on the vaccination data of hospitalised Covid-19 patients in the city as of March 8, researchers from the University of Hong Kong found that vaccine effectiveness in preventing deaths among elderly people aged 60 or older was more than 98 per cent for those with three doses of either the BioNTech or Sinovac jabs.
Similar data on prevention of severe conditions were also noted among people who had received three doses, no matter their choice of vaccine.
Shanghai Covid infection rate is still increasing.
Shanghai widens COVID testing as other Chinese cities impose curbs Reuters April 8, 2022
Shanghai on Friday announced a record 21,000 new cases and a third consecutive day of COVID testing as a lockdown of its 26 million people showed no sign of easing and other Chinese cities tightened curbs - even in places with no recent infections.
Beijing authorities intervened in Shanghai after its failure to isolate COVID by locking the city down in stages, and insists that the country stick to its zero-tolerance policy to prevent its medical system from breaking down.
Authorities across China, which have mostly managed to keep COVID at bay for the last two years, are stepping up coronavirus control measures, including movement restrictions, mass testing and new quarantine centres.
Shanghai's outbreak has surpassed 130,000 cases in total, far exceeding the approximately 50,000 symptomatic cases recorded in the original outbreak in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019, although Chinese authorities did not start reporting asymptomatic cases until after Wuhan's peak.
Late on Thursday, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on its Weibo account that action taken in Shanghai had to be "thunderous" to cut off the chain of transmission.
In theory, he said, if multiple rounds of PCR testing were conducted in mega-cities with populations as large as 27 million within 2-3 days, they could reach zero cases "on the community level" within 10 days to two weeks.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) is a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 in which different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. MIS can affect children (MIS-C) and adults (MIS-A).
Based on what we know now, the best way to prevent MIS-C or MIS-A is to take actions to protect yourself from getting COVID-19, including COVID-19 vaccination for people 12 and older.
MIS-C and MIS-A Signs and Symptoms
Children and adults with MIS experience:
Ongoing fever PLUS more than one of the following:
Dizziness or lightheadedness (signs of low blood pressure)
When to seek Emergency Care
If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
Confusion or unusual behavior
Severe abdominal pain
Inability to wake or stay awake
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please call a medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Thoughts on controlling the messaging. An interesting read about narrative control - investigative reporting or confirming evidence is not really ever considered in the article.
How Ukraine biolab conspiracy theory went viral Asia Times April 4, 2022
On February 24, as Russian forces began their invasion, stories of US-funded biolabs and bioweapon research in Ukraine began to spread on social media.
The false claims spread from right-wing circles but became more widespread, and were soon picked up by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. It wasn’t long until the Russian government, which had spread tales of Ukrainian biolabs in the past, adopted the narrative as a belated justification for the invasion.
We studied how the biolabs narrative was amplified on Twitter, and made an unsettling (if not entirely surprising) discovery. Most of those responsible for sending the story viral were trying to debunk it, but only ended up giving it more oxygen.
One place to start understanding what’s going on is with the American scholar Kate Starbird’s idea of “participatory disinformation.”
This process often starts with highly visible users (like politicians, celebrities, or opinion leaders) disseminating news to their online audiences.
However, for the biolabs conspiracy theory, the narrative began on alt-tech platform Gab and gained traction on Twitter due to the efforts of a fringe QAnon account. But as discussion was building on Twitter the theory was picked up by Chinese and Russian foreign affairs ministries, culminating in a segment on the Fox News program Tucker Carlson Tonight.
This is how a conspiracy theory becomes “news.” The audiences filter the news through their own world views, which are already influenced by the media they regularly interact with. The audiences build, change and promote these interpretations in their own social networks.
Where old-fashioned conspiratorial thinking relied on complex theories to justify its claims, for new conspiracists an idea can be true simply because it’s getting a lot of attention.
The spread of new conspiracism has intensified with the erosion of trust in traditional institutions over recent decades.
Time and again we have witnessed conspiracy theories spread on social media, contributing to political polarisation and undermining democratic authority.
It’s time we rethink our media ecosystem and how we regulate it, before trust in democratic institutions and principles decline further.
Addressing this is a Herculean task and it’s not enough for countries to individually legislate and regulate platforms. It needs to be a global effort. Financial sanctions are no longer enough – there needs to be systemic change that disincentivizes platforms profiting from mis- and disinformation.
States Weigh Shielding Doctors' COVID Misinformation, Unproven Remedies Stateline April 6, 2022
Those actions soon caught the attention of the powerful chair of the Tennessee House Government Operations Committee, Republican state Rep. John Ragan, who determined that the board had overstepped its bounds. In a series of letters in the fall, Ragan ordered the board to remove the warning from its website and threatened to terminate the board.
Lawmakers in other states also have tried to protect doctors, nurses and pharmacists who departed from mainstream medical findings about COVID-19 treatment. Both the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend against taking the anti-parasite drug ivermectin, for example.
Legislators in half the states have introduced bills that would prevent regulatory bodies from punishing medical providers who promote COVID-19 misinformation or unproven treatments, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards. So far, only North Dakota has approved legislation—its law protects providers who prescribe or dispense ivermectin—but bills are still alive in many states.
Originally, Tviet’s bill was much broader, requiring hospitals to honor any patient’s prescription for the off-label use of any medicine for any purpose and pharmacists to dispense such medicines when presented with a prescription. The bill, opposed by the North Dakota Board of Medicine and some professional medical organizations, was amended to pertain only to protecting providers prescribing or dispensing ivermectin.
Tim Blasl, president of the North Dakota Hospital Association, said he was pleased that the original bill was pruned back, but, he added, “I don’t think this is the end of the discussion regarding this issue.”
Ragan, the Tennessee state representative, said his insistence that the Board of Medical Examiners remove its warning to doctors on its website did not reflect his views about what physicians were or were not saying about COVID-19 vaccines. While he said that he respected board members, most of whom are medical doctors, he added, “Just because they sit on that board doesn’t mean their medical opinion should have more sway than others.”
But, Ragan, a former Air Force pilot, stressed that he was not making a medical judgment himself. “My medical knowledge is limited to battlefield first aid,” he said.
Instead, he insisted that the board had overstepped its authority when it issued the warning. If the board intended to discipline doctors for spreading false information about the COVID-19 vaccines, Ragan said, it had to first adopt a rule and bring it before the legislature for approval. The board had not done that, he said.
The Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature made that explicit in a bill it passed at the end of October that the governor signed. It specifically states that no health-related board can discipline medical providers for COVID-19 treatments without first adopting a rule, one that would have to be approved by the legislature.
At a Senate committee hearing in February, Blake and an attorney for the Tennessee Health Department said they had no intention of pursuing such a rule.