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COVID-19

Facebook to address COVID-19 misinformation

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Facebook announced this morning that they are initiating an effort to correct a lot of the misinformation being spread about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“The move by Facebook is just the most recent step in an aggressive and coordinated response by it and other tech companies to promote facts and guidance from reputable sources,” reports NBC News.

As the virus has spread across the nation, it has infected the conversation on Facebook, and the predictable has happened. People are repeating rumors they’ve heard about the virus, those affected and how to cure it. Much of the information from the timelines has been unsubstantiated.

It is to the point that people are believing that guy’s uncle who knows a person from the neighborhood of the scientist who read about a study done in Sweden in the ’40s that foretold of the pandemic in 2020, and how it was all a multi-decade plan to bring down the only person who can stop the one world order being planned by teenage Nazi survivors.

“We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed,” wrote Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, on Facebook’s corporate website. “These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO including ones we’ve removed from our platform for leading to imminent physical harm.”

People share the misinformation for a lot of reasons including the desire to be THE person who told everyone first. As a nation, our ability to tell a fact from a lie is is more challenged than ever. The endless attacks on the media by political leaders of all persuasions has people believing information based on their political party instead of being able to spot a lie when it walks in the door.

The news that Facebook is going to address the misinformation being spread about COVID-19 by sending people to information sources such as the World Health Organization was met with mixed responses.

“WHO are the ones that withheld information about the virus in the first place” responded Daniel McAllister when the story was first put up. He went on to declare “… they [WHO] are the source. They have been consistently publishing contradicting information throughout this whole ordeal. I’ll still reference WHO, but wouldn’t bet my paycheck on the accuracy.”

When challenged to explain why WHO misled the world and if it had a nefarious reason for doing so, McAllister replied, ” I don’t know. I do know they except a lot of money from nations around the world, including the US. Money has tendency to alter one’s opinions. Bottom line is, if they proclaim to have the most prestigious scientists, this wasn’t an ‘Oops’. Or they just need to admit they don’t have a clue.”

“The [WHO] … they have made mistakes mostly because lack of transparency also they actually said it’s up [to] the countries to do what they think is right for their citizens,” wrote Jon Pullen in defense of the WHO and in support of Facebook’s new policy. “The other country’s [sic] were advised same exact way from the world health organization … many have done well.”

Whether Facebook can tamp down the rumor mill about COVID-19 remains to be seen.

Read Facebook’s full statement.

COVID-19

Mississippi adds another 970 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

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With 970 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Mississippi Thursday, the state’s seven day average continues to creep upward toward 800. The Magnolia State is among the majority of U.S. states with rising case counts. Nationally, 81,457 cases were reported Wednesday, with the seven-day average rising 41% in the last two weeks. Deaths rose by 9% over the same period, with 1,016 deaths reported Wednesday.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,566, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 970 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 118,587. The seven-day average of new cases is 787, higher by 270 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Thursday that eight additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,310. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

The deaths MSDH reported Thursday occurred between Oct. 23 and Oct. 27 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Benton 1
Chickasaw 1
George 1
Hinds 1
Itawamba 1
Marion 1
Newton 1
Panola 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They dropped again through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations began rising since then. They have leveled off this week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, is 666, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 577 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 89 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 62 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 101,385 through Sunday, Oct. 25. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 85.5% of the cumulative 118,587 cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 29.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Oct. 8, was 1,452, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,396, or about 89.1% of the 1,566 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 29. The county has an estimated 114 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Oct. 17 (the latest testing results reported by MSDH), is 949,085 or about 31.9% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Without an updated number of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average), however, the rate was 13.8% Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 6.3%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 134 Thursday. About 39.8%, or 1,317, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 26 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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COVID-19

Kroger to offer rapid COVID-19 antibody tests

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(photo source: Kroger)

Kroger announced Wednesday that it will soon offer rapid COVID-19 antibody tests for $25 in its pharmacies.

Antibody tests detect whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past. They do not detect active infections. The test will be taken by a small sample of blood from the finger and results will be ready within 15 minutes.

At this time, the tests are offered in California and Michigan, but Kroger expects to have the tests in all of their pharmacies by the end of November.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger Heath has remained committed to helping people live healthier lives by offering in-clinic and at-home COVID-19 testing solutions supported by our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained and experienced health care providers,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health in a statement. “Making rapid antibody testing available across our family of pharmacies will not only provide an affordable and convenient testing solution for individuals who want to understand if they have previously been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, but also help clinicians understand the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and potential public health strategies for fighting the disease.”

Research is still underway to determine how long antibodies are present following infection and if the presence of antibodies provides protective immunity. Regardless of the testing result, all patients should continue to practice FDA-recommended safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.

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COVID-19

Mississippi reports 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

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So far in October, more than half of all U.S. states have reported record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. Missouri is the only state that is reporting a significant drop in new cases. With increased cases come increased hospitalizations. Wisconsin, for example, has set up a field hospital at the state fairgrounds. Deaths, which are a lagging indicator, have also increased in the past couple of weeks, but not as quickly as new cases.

In Mississippi, the number of new reported cases hit 1,000 Wednesday, driving the seven-day average up to nearly 800 per day.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported one new COVID-19 case Wednesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,561, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 117,617. The seven-day average of new cases is 785, higher by 286 cases — more than a third higher— from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Wednesday that 19 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,302. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 19 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 13 occurred between Oct. 15 and Oct. 27 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Adams 1
Attala 1
Benton 2
Bolivar 1
Chickasaw 1
Desoto 1
Harrison 1
Jefferson Davis 1
Lamar 1
Tippah 1
Yalobusha 2

Six COVID-19 related deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Aug. 19 and Oct. 20 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Bolivar 1
Humphreys 1
Jackson 1
Lamar 1
Washington 1
Wilkinson 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They dropped again through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations began rising since then. The have leveled off again this week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, is 666, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 577 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 89 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 62 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 101,385 through Sunday, Oct. 25. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 86.9% of the cumulative 117,617 cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Oct. 7, was 1,443, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,387, or about 88.9% of the 1,561 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 28. The county has an estimated 118 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Oct. 17 (the latest testing results reported by MSDH), is 949,085 or about 31.9% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Without an updated number of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average), however, the rate was 16.6% Thursday, Oct. 22, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 6.2%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 132 Wednesday. About 39.8%, or 1,315, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 26 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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