Mask-wearing cuts Covid incidence by 53%, says global study

Globally, Covid cases exceeded 250 million this month. The virus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, with thousands dying each day. Now a systematic review and meta analysis of non-pharmaceutical interventions has found for the first time that mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing are all effective measures at curbing cases – with mask wearing the most effective.  —Guardian

The battle against airborne COVID has shifted. Why your mask is the last layer of defence

There has been a paradigm shift in the thinking behind mask use, to the current emphasis on protecting oneself as opposed to the initial consideration of keeping others safe from what we might be exhaling, said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “The game has changed,” he said. “We’re not masking to protect others from our own droplets now, we’re masking to protect ourselves from…

Axios journalism style delivers traditional news content in scannable format

In addition to the fact that it’s good news that a federal judge is responding rationally to science, logic, and our basic human obligation to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, I’m also interested in the way Axios labels each paragraph of this news story and supplies details with bullet points. It’s an interesting blend of journalism and writing scannable text for busy online readers. Copying and…

Election ‘distracted’ Trump team from pandemic response, Birx tells Congress

More than 130,000 American lives could have been saved with swifter action and better coordinated public health messages after the virus’ first wave, Birx told lawmakers. “I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining, the getting friends and family to understand the risk of gathering in private homes, and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30-percent…

Missouri governor vows criminal prosecution of reporter who found flaw in state website • Missouri Independent

I’m shocked… shocked that a reporter published a newsworthy story about a rookie cyber-blunder made by a powerful government agency. A reporter viewed the HTML code (a one-click process on many web browsers) and noticed that the social security numbers of school teachers and administrators were embedded in web pages served up by Missouri’s department of education. The reporter contacted the agency, and held the story until the problem was…

‘Babylon 5’ Reboot in Development at The CW From Original Series Creator J. Michael Straczynski

The Variety story breaking this news doesn’t cite a source, and gives no further news beyond what I’ve quoted here. The rest of the article is padded with details about the 1990s franchise. B5 was ground-breaking in many ways, including telling season-long arcs within a coherent, over-arching series-long story, at a time when most TV was purely episodic. The series also pioneered the use of 3D computer graphics instead of…

How to lie with charts, by the @NYTimes

I tend to defend journalism when showboaters & slogan-quoters attack “the media” in general, but I’m eager to read legitimate critiques of individual news stories. Here’s one that seems to manipulate data out of context to support a fearmongering narrative. (Don’t do this!) 1. Data not normalized2. Not the appropriate visualization3. No differentiation between data and projections4. Not the whole story5. No contextualization of risk And NOT a @nytimes staffer;…

Brett Favre Urges Ban On Youth Tackle Football, Pleads For No Hitting ‘Til 14

Concussions in sports often a topic my students pick for their researched term papers. Most seem to put their trust in mandating better training for coaches, funding for better equipment, education to make sure players are wearing their equipment properly, or better treatment for players who end up disabled. The idea of fundamentally changing the sport to make it safer (at least for kids) rarely comes up, so here’s a…

Unvaccinated dad records days of regret in hospital — and makes heartbreaking request for daughter’s wedding in case he dies

Between difficult breaths of supplemental oxygen, Travis Campbell is fighting to relay a message about his battle with Covid-19 in a Virginia hospital. He really regrets not getting vaccinated. And while he hopes he’s turned a corner, for a very scary stretch, he thought he needed to make arrangements to die. —CNN

The YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot

While rational minds worry about the impact of biased cable TV channels, and as the Delta mutation spreads globally, a mysterious marketing agency is offering to pay social media influencers to post anti-vax disinformation. Mirko normally ignores offers from brands asking him to advertise their products to his more than 1.5 million subscribers. But the sponsorship offer he received in May this year was unlike any other. An influencer marketing…

NYC sent non-police teams to respond to mental health calls for a month. Data shows that more people got help and fewer were hospitalized.

Remember that meme that shows two cops smirking while the text describes a (not-pictured) man having a mental breakdown? The idea is that a man having a difficult public mental health episode requires the attention of law enforcement officers (who are trained to use violence). Here’s what really happened when NYC tested out deploying trained mental health experts instead of cops to assist people in mental distress. If the 911…

‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’: Alabama doctor tells unvaccinated, dying COVID patients

Donald Trump is vaccinated. Mitch McConnell is vaccinated. Fox personalities Hannity and Doocy and FOX owner Rupert Murdock are all vaccinated. “They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were…

Vaccine hesitancy morphs into hostility, as opposition to shots hardens

What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether. The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump, on a par with assertions…

Take a moment to appreciate these good COVID-19 statistics

May 1, my state had the third-highest per-capita C-19 infection rate. A little over a month later, Pennsylvania now has the fifth-lowest rate. I am privileged that I have access to good healthcare and that my income hasn’t been affected by the lockdown, and that my school has taken the initiative to require this fall’s students to show evidence of vaccination (or to apply for accommodations). The pandemic is not…

FBI launches flurry of arrests over attacks on journalists during Capitol riot

Imagine that. Nearly six months after the U.S. Capitol riot, the Justice Department has begun arresting a new category of alleged criminals — those who attacked reporters or damaged their equipment as journalists documented the violence perpetrated by supporters of President Donald Trump. The first such charge came last week, when 43-year-old Shane Jason Woods of Illinois was charged with engaging in violence on the Capitol grounds Jan. 6, as…

Seton Hill discontinues mask requirement for vaccinated individuals

The pandemic is not over. It’s a blessing to live in a country with the resources to acquire and distribute vaccines, and a privilege to work for an employer that respects science and cares for the public good. The email arrived while I was at home relaxing with the family. Seton Hill is no longer requiring masks for vaccinated adults, and students will be asked to show proof of vaccination…

Veteran’s microphone cut off when he discusses Black people’s role in establishing Memorial Day

Who is this nobody Memorial Day keynote speaker who dared to make white patriots feel discomfort by bringing up facts that trigger their racism?  It’s not history unless it affirms my world view, right? Where does the lying America-hating fake news media come up with these stories? There so bias!! A ceremony organizer turned off a microphone when a retired Army lieutenant colonel began sharing a story about freed Black…