July 26th, 2021 3-5PM ET
Monday on The Robert Scott Bell Show:
07/21/2021: Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives. Visit the FDA website for a list of authorized COVID-19 diagnostic methods. For a summary of the performance of FDA-authorized molecular methods with an FDA reference panel, visit this page. In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season. Laboratories and testing sites should validate and verify their selected assay within their facility before beginning clinical testing.
CDC urges labs to use COVID tests that can differentiate from flu The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged labs this week to stock clinics with kits that can test for both the coronavirus and the flu as the “influenza season” draws near. The CDC said Wednesday it will withdrawal its request for the “Emergency Use Authorization” of real-time diagnostic testing kits, which were used starting in February 2020 to detect signs of the coronavirus, by the end of the year. “CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives,” the agency said. The U.S. has reported more than 34.4 million cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in 2020 and more than 610,000 deaths. But while cases of COVID-19 soared nationwide, hospitalizations and deaths caused by influenza dropped. According to data released by the CDC earlier this month, influenza mortality rates were significantly lower throughout 2020 than previous years. There were 646 deaths relating to the flu among adults reported in 2020, whereas in 2019 the CDC estimated that between 24,000 and 62,000 people died from influenza-related illnesses. The CDC urged laboratories to “save both time and resources” by introducing kits that can determine and distinguish a positive test for the coronavirus and flu.
Fauci says US headed in ‘wrong direction’ on coronavirus The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday. “We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, describing himself as “very frustrated.” He said recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is “under active consideration” by the government’s leading public health officials. Also, booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said. Fauci, who also serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he has taken part in conversations about altering the mask guidelines. He noted that some local jurisdictions where infection rates are surging, such as Los Angeles County, are already calling on individuals to wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. Fauci said those local rules are compatible with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks in public. More than 163 million people, or 49% of the total U.S. population, are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. Of those eligible for the vaccine, aged 12 and over, the figure rises to 57%. “This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Says We Must Create ‘Reward-Punishment’ System for Vaccines While appearing on on ABC’s “This Week,” former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that there needs to be a “reward-punishment system” to force people to get vaccinated. Emanuel said that people should not be able to participate in activities within society unless they take the rushed out jabs. “There’s a lot of things we can do without calling it a mandate. Just make it almost impossible for people to live their lives without being protected and protect us,” panelist Margaret Hoover said. “I agree. I’m the son of a pediatrician…The fact is no child can show up at school without showing their immunizations, smallpox and measles. You have to make this familiar to people. Second is, I would close the space. If you want to participate in activities, you have to show you are vaccinated. So it becomes a reward-punishment system. You make your own calculation. The fact is there’s data this week that 30% of health care workers are not vaccinated,” Emanuel responded. “They have got to lead by example.”
Sparked by pandemic fallout, homeschooling surges across US Although the pandemic disrupted family life across the U.S. since taking hold in spring 2020, some parents are grateful for one consequence: They’re now opting to homeschool their children, even as schools plan to resume in-person classes. The specific reasons vary widely. Some families who spoke with The Associated Press have children with special educational needs; others seek a faith-based curriculum or say their local schools are flawed. The common denominator: They tried homeschooling on what they thought was a temporary basis and found it beneficial to their children. “That’s one of the silver linings of the pandemic – I don’t think we would have chosen to homeschool otherwise,” said Danielle King of Randolph, Vermont, whose 7-year-old daughter Zoë thrived with the flexible, one-on-one instruction. Her curriculum has included literature, anatomy, even archaeology, enlivened by outdoor excursions to search for fossils. The surge has been confirmed by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported in March that the rate of households homeschooling their children rose to 11% by September 2020, more than doubling from 5.4% just six months earlier. Black households saw the largest jump; their homeschooling rate rose from 3.3% in the spring of 2020 to 16.1% in the fall. The parents in one of those households, Arlena and Robert Brown of Austin, Texas, had three children in elementary school when the pandemic took hold. After experimenting with virtual learning, the couple opted to try homeschooling with a Catholic-oriented curriculum provided by Seton Home Study School, which serves about 16,000 students nationwide.
How Science Lost the Public’s Trust ‘Science” has become a political catchword. “I believe in science,” Joe Biden tweeted six days before he was elected president. “ Donald Trump doesn’t. It’s that simple, folks.” But what does it mean to believe in science? The British science writer Matt Ridley draws a pointed distinction between “science as a philosophy” and “science as an institution.” The former grows out of the Enlightenment, which Mr. Ridley defines as “the primacy of rational and objective reasoning.” The latter, like all human institutions, is erratic, prone to falling well short of its stated principles. Mr. Ridley says the Covid pandemic has “thrown into sharp relief the disconnect between science as a philosophy and science as an institution.” Mr. Ridley, 63, describes himself as a “science critic, which is a profession that doesn’t really exist.” He likens his vocation to that of an art critic and dismisses most other science writers as “cheerleaders.” That somewhat lofty attitude seems fitting for a hereditary English peer. As the fifth Viscount Ridley, he’s a member of Britain’s House of Lords, and he Zooms with me from his ancestral seat in Northumberland, just south of Scotland, in between sessions of Parliament (which he also attends by Zoom). At Oxford nearly 40 years ago, Mr. Ridley studied the mating patterns of pheasants. His fieldwork involved much crouching in long country grass to figure out why these “jolly interesting” birds are polygamous—unlike most other avians. With the Canadian molecular biologist Alina Chan, he’s finishing a book called “Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19,” to be published in November.
Vaccinated America Has Had Enough In the United States, this pandemic could’ve been over by now, and certainly would’ve been by Labor Day. If the pace of vaccination through the summer had been anything like the pace in April and May, the country would be nearing herd immunity. With most adults immunized, new and more infectious coronavirus variants would have nowhere to spread. Life could return nearly to normal. Experts list many reasons for the vaccine slump, but one big reason stands out: vaccine resistance among conservative, evangelical, and rural Americans. Pro-Trump America has decided that vaccine refusal is a statement of identity and a test of loyalty. In April, people in counties that Joe Biden won in 2020 were two points more likely to be fully vaccinated than people in counties that Donald Trump won: 22.8 percent were fully vaccinated in Biden counties; 20.6 percent were fully vaccinated in Trump counties. By early July, the vaccination gap had widened to almost 12 points: 46.7 percent were fully vaccinated in Biden counties, 35 percent in Trump counties. When pollsters ask about vaccine intentions, they record a 30-point gap: 88 percent of Democrats, but only 54 percent of Republicans, want to be vaccinated as soon as possible. All told, Trump support predicts a state’s vaccine refusal better than average income or education level.
Doctors, nurses and other health groups call for mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for health workers Medical groups representing millions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers on Monday called for mandatory vaccinations of all U.S. health personnel against the coronavirus, framing the move as a moral imperative as new infections mount sharply. “We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against covid-19,” the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and 55 other groups wrote in a joint statement shared with The Washington Post. “The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it.” The statement — issued by many groups urging a mandate for the first time — represents an increasingly tough stance by the medical and public health establishment amid the sluggish pace of national vaccinations. It comes as new cases rip through the nation, driven by the hyper-transmissible delta variant. Confirmed coronavirus infections have nearly quadrupled in July, from about 13,000 cases per day at the start of the month to more than 50,000 now, according to The Post’s tracking. Hospital leaders in states such as Alabama, Florida and Missouri have implored holdouts to get vaccinated, citing data that the shots prevent hospitalizations and even death. But many workers in the health field remain unvaccinated, despite having priority access to coronavirus vaccines, which first became available in December. More than 38 percent of nursing workers were not fully vaccinated as of July 11, despite caring for patients at elevated risk of the coronavirus, according to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and analyzed by LeadingAge, which represents nonprofit nursing homes and other providers of elder care.
AAPS Survey Says Majority of Physicians Decline COVID Jab, Citing “Significant Adverse Reaction” The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons – AAPS – is a non-.partisan professional association of physicians in all types of practices and specialties across the country and has been around since 1943. They are rarely cited by the establishment, however, as their mission is to preserve medical freedom, not take it away. Unlike organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is funded by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and other notably corrupt pharmaceutical companies, the AAPS is completely funded by membership dues and contributions. So, according to the AAPS, they “answer to and advocate for our physician members and not big corporate donors or government funding sources.” Last month, the AAPS conducted a survey among physicians which returned some rather controversial findings. According to the internet survey, nearly 60 percent of physicians said they were not “fully vaccinated” against COVID. The AAPS points out that this contrasts with the claim by the American Medical Association that 96 percent of practicing physicians are fully vaccinated. The survey sample for the AAPS was 700 physicians while the AMA’s survey sample was only 300. The AAPS makes sure to note that neither survey “represents a random sample of all American physicians, but the AAPS survey shows that physician support for the mass injection campaign is far from unanimous.” “It is wrong to call a person who declines a shot an ‘anti-vaxxer,’” stated AAPS executive director Jane Orient, M.D. “Virtually no physicians are ‘anti-antibiotics’ or ‘anti-surgery,’ whereas all are opposed to treatments that they think are unnecessary, more likely to harm than to benefit an individual patient, or inadequately tested.”
Prescriptions for Fruits and Vegetables a Blossoming Program Chef Michel Nischan has won the prestigious James Beard Award four times, written cookbooks, and launched a restaurant with the late actor Paul Newman. But the motto on his website reveals what he’s really about: “Changing the world through food.” As co-founder and chairman of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit founded in 2007 to solve not just food insecurity but nutritioninsecurity, he wants people to have not just enough food, but the right foods. And that means foods that will preserve health and delay or prevent a diagnosis of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other chronic ailments. When grocery money is scarce, experts know, produce is often replaced by cheaper, highly processed, unhealthy choices. The solution, say Nischan and others, is to make fruits and vegetables affordable and accessible to people with food insecurity through produce prescription programs. His organization funds the National Produce Prescription Collaborative and partners with organizations to offer the programs. Across the country, other coalitions and programs have formed at the state and local levels to do the same. The premise is simple: A health care provider or a health insurance plan provides a ”prescription” for produce. Patients redeem it at a local farmer’s market, grocery store, or a community-based sponsoring organization.