Covers COVID-19 is a daily Poynter briefing of history ideas about coronavirus and other current topics for journalists, written by senior faculty Al Tompkins. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.
Politico says it has been found that somewhere around 3,000 people got COVID-19 infections while in the hospital in January. It is different than getting infected into the hospital. These cases are people who came uninfected and got the virus there. The implications are deep. Police report:
The record rise demonstrates the virulence of the Omicron variant, and how even hospitals where infection control is paramount provided little refuge.
During the Covid-19 increase in January a year ago, hospitals reported that about 2,000 patients each week had received Covid on average during their stay, compared to about 3,000 this year.
The total number of people who contract Covid-19 while in hospital is still unclear because these figures only count patients who have been in hospital for at least 14 consecutive days and do not take into account people who test positive for to have left. Government figures are probably a fraction of the total.
Politico quotes an expert who said hospitals need to reconsider their infection control protocols, balance the pressure to allow visitors to enter and reconsider the requirements for staff to be vaccinated and constantly tested. And remember, it was only a few months ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed health workers who tested positive for COVID-19 to return without testing or isolating themselves if they no longer showed symptoms of being sick.
Politico puts the number of COVID-19 infections transmitted in hospitals in perspective by looking at what it means for one hospital.
For example, in North Carolina, 1.6 percent of patients were infected with Covid-19 in a hospital last December, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Health. That percentage rose to 2.2 percent in January. On average, 25 patients got infections in the hospital every day in December, compared to 96 in January on average, the spokesman said.
At the weekend a curious and provocative phrase began to trend it’s worth exploring. “Red COVID” refers to the fact that COVID-19 deaths are significantly higher in states that Republicans won in 2020.
It did not start like that when the first significant eruptions were in homes to major airports like Los Angeles and New York City, and the first cases arrived with international travelers. But as the virus spread, areas that were more liberal and democratically aligned became more likely to accept vaccines.
That’s what David Leonhardt of the New York Times says many of the areas that supported Donald Trump also had such widespread infections that the immune response that accompanies COVID-19 recovery has also had the effect of narrowing the gap between the deaths of Biden and the Trump counties.
But Leonhardt makes this point:
Do not make the mistake of confusing a hole that no longer grows as fast as it did with a hole that shrinks. The gap between red and blue America – in the form of cumulative Covid deaths – is still growing. The red line in the second chart is higher than the blue line, which is a sign that more Republicans than Democrats or independents have died unnecessarily from Covid in recent weeks.
Have you seen the COVID-19 case count South Korea and Hong Kong? South Korea is particularly surprising, as Koreans have so far had pretty good time limiting the virus. There are new cases and the number of deaths is rising. South Korea is extension of curfew for companies. March 9 is election day there and the government allocates one special time window for infected people to vote.
Hospitals in Hong Kong are flooded by COVID-19 cases. The Guardian reported over the weekend:
The government announced plans to have construction crews from the mainland China building insulation units with 10,000 beds after congestion in hospitals forced patients to wait outdoors in the winter cold.
New cases are starting to fall in Denmark after a sharp increase.
Denmark was one of the first major countries to remove all COVID-19 restrictions (beginning of this month) and subsequently the increase began. Denmark had reason to believe that it was time to remove the restrictions. After all, 81% of Danes are fully vaccinated, including 95% of those over the age of 65, and 62% have received a booster dose. Most of the cases involved in this new increase were BA.2, the omicron subvariant, which put epidemiologists on alert that more problems may be ahead of us all.
Gallup polls provided some revealing insights into how we see ourselves. You can bet everyone – from churches to politicians and probably newsrooms – is leaning over this data to understand Americans by 2022. The data shows: “With one in 10 millennials and one in five Gen Z members identifying themselves as LGBT, the proportion of LGBT Americans should exceed 10% in the near future. “
The data brings generational divisions into sharp focus. Younger people are far more likely to identify with LGBTQ than their older siblings, parents or grandparents.
Here is one of the most revealing charts from the Gallup poll. Look at how quickly the numbers changed from just five years ago. In 2017, 10.5% of Gen Z’s identified themselves as LGBTQ. That number doubled last year when Gen Zs became full-fledged adults. Gallup explains what this means for the future:
Now a much larger portion of Gen Z, but still not all of it, have grown up. The sharp rise in LGBT identification among this generation since 2017 indicates that the younger Gen Z members (those who have turned 18 since 2017) are more likely than the older members of the generation to identify as LGBT.
If this trend within Gen Z continues, the proportion of American adults in the generation who say they are LGBT will grow even higher when all members of the generation reach adulthood.
Gallup says the sharp rise comes at a time when “Americans are increasingly accepting gays, lesbians and transgender peopleand LGBT individuals enjoy increasing legal protection against discrimination. “
In previous decades, people would not have the knowledge to question their identity as they can and do today. People went with what they were assigned at birth, or what was expected of them. Now that is not the case.
“It’s not something that people would necessarily have thought about decades ago, but now it’s a bit like a legitimate question that people would have,” he said. “50 or 60 years ago… a majority of people thought it was wrong to be gay or lesbian, [but] now the Americans have a very opposite view or think it’s all right. “
Also of some interest, the Gallup poll showed that the majority of people who identify as LGBT say they are bisexual. Gallup explains:
More than half of LGBT Americans, 57%, state that they are bisexual. This percentage corresponds to 4.0% of all American adults. Meanwhile, 21% of LGBT Americans say they are gay, 14% lesbians, 10% transgender and 4% something else. Each of these accounts for less than 2% of American adults.
The lawyer adds some other new data that strengthen the Gallup poll:
It’s a good year for LGBTQ + representation on television – in fact a record year, according to GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report.
The report found that 11.9 percent of the regular comic book characters scheduled to appear on scripted primetime TV this season are LGBTQ + – a 2.8 percentage point increase from last year and a record high in the report’s history, now in its 17th edition.
Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research and Analysis, told The Advocate:
“However, we still see that LGBTQ inclusion is often found in clusters from a concentrated number of creatives and networks who have given priority to telling our stories. Only three cable networks account for close to half of all cable LGBTQ inclusion, and 8.5 percent of LGBTQ ratings across all tracked platforms appear on shows linked to just four manufacturers. As the LGBTQ community continues to grow rapidly and buzz like heavy users of social platforms – and as there is more competition for audience attention and money than ever before – it’s clear that investing in telling nuanced, diverse LGBTQ stories and Proactive marketing of these programs can only benefit the bottom line and positive perception of the network. ”
There are some other resources you can turn to for research on this topic. The UCLA School of Law mapped LGBT estimates, including insight into the economic power of this population. Would you have guessed that Washington, DC, has the highest percentage of the LGBT population? Also note the significant percentage of LGBT people who have children in some states.
I know you need some good news today, so there is this. US Department of Agriculture ended its ban on Mexican avocadoswhich means that while prices are still high due to the disruption of shipping, you should find that the supplies are manageable. It reports CNET:
Avocado prices rose even before the USDA ban: In the week before, one Ministry of Agriculture report on avocado prices showed that the average price of a Hass avocado was $ 1.24 compared to 78 cents at the same time last year. They were also scarcer – with the green fruit for sale in only 5,505 locations between 4 and 11 February 2022 compared to 20,000 stores in 2021.
Avocado consumption is well up in the United States. Annual avocado consumption in the United States quadrupled between 2000 and 2020 to about 8.5 pounds per. person.
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