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‘Nothing in this world is 100%’

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Everyone wants vaccines to be perfect – and the COVID-19 ones nearly are. Only a tiny fraction of those who are vaccinated end up seriously ill from an infection.

But still, some fully vaccinated people will get sick, some will pass on the virus, and a very small number will die despite their shots.

“The efficacy of the vaccines in preventing hospitalizations and death is unbelievable,” said Carlos del Rio, an epidemiologist and distinguished professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “It’s not 100%. But nothing in this world is 100%.”

At a time when the infection rate has doubled, many remain unvaccinated and the delta variant is vastly more contagious than the original, it’s important to recognize vaccines aren’t flawless, he and others said.

“I understand it’s kind of a tough pill to swallow for many people,” said Anthony Santella, a public health expert at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

Several recent high-profile cases have brought public attention to the fact that people who are vaccinated can still catch the virus.

Last Thursday’s Yankees-Red Sox game was postponed because six Yankees – most, but not all, of whom were vaccinated – tested positive for the virus. At a homeless shelter in Northern California, a number of vaccinated residents tested positive during an ongoing outbreak. And six vaccinated members of the Texas Legislature, who had fled the state to prevent a vote on changes in the state’s election laws, have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.

The fourth wave of COVID-19 cases is here. Will we escape the UK’s fate? It’s too soon to know.

The common thread for all those infections was that they were caught by routine testing, not because people fell seriously ill, noted Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Of the more than 159 million fully vaccinated Americans as of July 12, a reported 5,492 have been hospitalized, and 791 have died related to symptomatic COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In May, the CDC stopped tracking all so-called breakthrough infections, focusing only on state and local health department reports of hospitalizations and deaths, so there’s no way to know how many infections there have been or whether they are increasing because of the delta variant.

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner, called that decision “inexplicable.”

Without that data, she said, it’s impossible to know how many people are getting infected after vaccination, whether certain people, perhaps senior citizens, are more vulnerable to breakthrough infections, and how easy it is for people who have been vaccinated and then infected to pass on the infection to others.

“We just don’t know the answers to these questions, and that is really preventing clinicians from giving good guidance to our patients,” she said.

Breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are growing probably because more virus is circulating, not because vaccines don’t work against the delta variant, which now accounts for more than half the infections in the United States, experts say.

Vaccines remain effective against severe disease from the delta variant, said Ellebedy, who studies the body’s response to vaccination.

But the variant is vastly more contagious than the original virus, so the unvaccinated are particularly vulnerable.

“If you’re vaccinated, you should not worry about the delta variant,” del Rio said. “If you’re not vaccinated, you are really in trouble because it’s likely that you will get infected.”

Range of protection

Even healthy people respond differently to vaccination, so it is normal to see variation in protection among the vaccinated, Ellebedy said.

For 95 people out of 100, vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will provide effective protection.

The problem is, it’s essentially impossible to figure out ahead of time who is most vulnerable. Certain factors like age, obesity and lung disease increase the risk of serious disease if someone is infected. So does the load of virus they inhale and what medications they’re taking, he said.

Some people will test positive for the virus despite vaccination, but the immune protection they received will keep virtually all those people from getting seriously ill.

People who are fully vaccinated can get COVID, but experts say they’re unlikely to get severely ill.

Vaccination also makes people less likely to shed large amounts of virus, Ellebedy said, meaning they are less likely than an unvaccinated infected person to get someone else sick. Anything that decreases the amount of virus replicating itself in the respiratory tract will decrease the probability of passing on that virus, he said. “Transmission will decrease like everything else.”

And though the data remains thin, vaccination also likely protects against long-haul COVID-19, in which people have symptoms weeks or months after they clear their initial infection, said David Holtgrave, dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

“Long-haul symptoms in persons who are fully vaccinated may be theoretically possible but are likely rare given the overall effectiveness of the vaccines (after being fully vaccinated); however, we could use more data to know that for certain,” he said via email. “That is why we need this more robust national surveillance system.”

A previous coronavirus infection provides some protection against the delta variant, but someone who got COVID-19 months ago might not have enough of an immune response left, del Rio said.

“My advice if you have been infected, is you should trust your natural immunity for about three months. But after three months, you should get vaccinated,” he said.

People who were infected and then vaccinated are probably well-protected. Ellebedy said.

Context also matters, Ellebedy and others said. Someone who is vaccinated and who lives in a community with a high vaccination rate and a low infection rate probably can get away without a mask.

Ellebedy lives in Missouri, where infections have recently doubled and just 40% of the public is vaccinated. So he masks up in public, indoor places.

More: Why are fully vaccinated people testing positive for COVID? Should I start wearing a mask again?

While the CDC said mask-wearing isn’t mandatory except in medical and transportation settings, numerous experts told USA TODAY it’s a good idea to wear a mask in indoor settings with people who are possibly unvaccinated.

Wearing a mask on top of being vaccinated is the safest way to avoid getting infected or passing on the virus to someone whose weakened immune system prevented them from getting full protection from the vaccine.

“Everyone should closely look at the environment where they are,” Ellebedy said. “Delta unfortunately has brought these doubts back again.”

In the United States, infections have more than doubled since the week of June 22. Total cases have risen in all 50 states since last week, and deaths also are beginning to climb, although the infection rates remain 90% below what they were at the peak in January.

That puts vaccinated people at risk because there’s simply more virus out there, said Dr. George Rutherford, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

“The more people who are running around infectious, the more you, as someone who’s been vaccinated, are likely to come into contact with it,” he said

A man places flags at the National World War I Museum and Memorial Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. The 1,665 flags represent the area residents who died in the coronavirus pandemic and the display was part of a national memorial to lives lost to COVID-19.

A man places flags at the National World War I Museum and Memorial Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. The 1,665 flags represent the area residents who died in the coronavirus pandemic and the display was part of a national memorial to lives lost to COVID-19.

Unvaccinated are getting sick

At Staten Island University Hospital in New York, there are 15 COVID-19 patients, 13 of whom are unvaccinated, said Dr. Theodore Strange, the hospital’s chairman of medicine.

One of the vaccinated patients, a 93-year-old man with many other health problems, received his shots at the beginning of the year but may have had a weaker response because of his age and health, Strange said. The remaining vaccinated patient was hospitalized for something else and didn’t know they had COVID-19 until a coronavirus test came back positive.

Strange said his COVID-19 patients are about 10 years younger now than they were a year ago, with an average age of 55-60. Some are even younger, he said, rattling off ages: “29, 38, 42, 50.”

Vaccinations deserve the credit, he said, because about 70% of people on Staten Island over 65 are vaccinated, compared with 38% of those 40 and younger.

He’s disappointed more people haven’t been willing to be vaccinated, despite the risk of infection and of “being the bullet in the gun,” potentially bringing the virus home to older, more vulnerable relatives.

He related a conversation he had last week with a patient who didn’t want to be vaccinated. Strange had recently prescribed the man a medication with many more potential side effects than the vaccines.

“The pill I gave him was clearly more much poisonous than any vaccine,” Strange said, but the man didn’t want to take something he perceived as coming from the government.

Strange has been trying an individual approach to persuade people to get the shots, including visiting a local bowling alley, churches, park benches, “whatever it takes.”

But still, he said, the curve of coronavirus infections is very similar to the one followed by the 1918 flu, a pandemic that lasted three years.

“If we’re not going to avail ourselves of current technology and science,” he said, “then shame on us.”

Contributing: Mike Stucka

Contact Elizabeth Weise at eweise@usatoday.com and Karen Weintraub at kweintraub@usatoday.com.

Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID after vaccine: Serious illness is rare with breakthrough cases



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US Navy officer ‘bribed by cash and prostitutes’

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A ship in the US Navy 7th fleet, from which dozens of officers were bribed

A US Navy Commander has pleaded guilty to receiving $250,000 in cash and prostitution services from a foreign defence contractor in exchange for state secrets.

Information Commander Stephen Shedd provided to the firm helped it defraud the navy of $35m (£26.1m).

The plea is the latest in the ‘Fat Leonard’ case, considered one of the worst corruption scandals faced by the navy.

Dozens of officials have been ensnared.

Shedd is one of nine members of the Japan-based 7th US fleet indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2017 for their role in the scandal, and the third officer to plead guilty.

According to the Justice Department, Shedd and the other officers received “sex parties with prostitutes and luxurious dinner and travel” in exchange for military secrets and “substantial influence” for the Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) company, a Singapore-based firm founded by a Malaysian national, Leonard Glenn Francis.

The scandal became widely known as the “Fat Leonard” scheme due to Francis’s then-corpulent figure. He was arrested in California after being lured there by US officials in 2013. He has since pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges and has remained in prison or home detention.

According to prosecutors, information Shedd and others provided helped GDMA to win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by $35m for services such as providing tugboats, security and waste removal to ships at port.

As part of a plea deal, Shedd admitted that he and the other defendants gave Francis schedules of naval movements and other information, and lobbied on behalf of GDMA to other naval officials.

The defendant knew these efforts would result in the service paying GDMA’s claims, the Justice Department said.

A total of 34 naval officials, defence contractors and GDMA employees, including Francis, have been charged with crimes related to the scheme. Of these, 28 have pleaded guilty, including two other 7th fleet officers.

Shedd is scheduled to be sentenced on 21 July in a California federal court, while the trial of the remaining six 7th fleet officers is due to begin on 28 February.

“Fat Leonard” himself is expected to testify in the February trial of the officers.



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Jimmy Kimmel Hits Donald Trump Jr. With The 2024 Campaign Ad Of His Nightmares

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Reuters

Porn star Stormy Daniels testifies ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti ‘lied to me’

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Adult film actress Stormy Daniels told jurors at her former lawyer Michael Avenatti’s criminal fraud trial on Thursday that he “stole from me and lied to me” by diverting proceeds from a book she wrote. Testifying as a prosecution witness, Daniels said in Manhattan federal court that Avenatti – whom she had retained to help her escape a non-disclosure agreement with then-U.S. President Donald Trump – told her he would “never take a penny” from the 2018 memoir, titled “Full Disclosure.” But Avenatti embezzled nearly $300,000 of proceeds intended for Daniels, prosecutors have said, in part by forging her signature on instructions to the publisher about where to send the funds.



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Fox News’ Tomi Lahren told officers at a policing conference that prominent police killings could have been avoided if people ‘would just comply’

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Tomi Lahren in Pasadena, California.Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP

  • Tomi Lahren was among several who spoke at a police training conference in Atlantic City in October.

  • Lahren described Black Lives Matter as “thugs, felons, and criminals” and as a “terrorist organization.”

  • She went on to say police shootings could be avoided if people “would just comply with police.”

Fox News personality Tomi Lahren told police officers that significant numbers of police brutality cases could have been avoided “if people would just comply with police, would follow orders, and not resist arrest.”

The Washington Post reported that Lahren, a political commentator for the Fox Nation shows “Final Thoughts” and “No Interruption,” made the comments in October at the Street Cop Training Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

More than 1,000 police officers from departments across New Jersey and other states attended the conference, The Post reported. During her speech, Lahren described Black Lives Matter as “thugs, felons, and criminals” and a “terrorist organization.”

“If I’m wrong, please point it out,” Lahren said, according to a sound clip of her remarks shared by The Post. “But all these major headline incidents that we’ve had in this country involving law enforcement in the last, at least, five years could have all been prevented if people would just comply with police, would follow orders, and not resist arrest.”

The audience can be heard applauding and cheering in the clip.

Her comments were consistent with previous statements she has made on her shows and social media.

The Post’s investigation found Lahren’s sentiments were typical of those made in commercial police training settings, even as calls for reform grow. The outlet spoke with 18 trainers and experts in addition to watching or attending conferences in New Jersey and Idaho, many of whom balked at police reform.

Several blamed the media for overplaying the public’s desire for reform and dismissed reformers as a small cohort, The Post found. The outlet also said many portrayed violence as an inherent part of policing.

“The curriculum is that you are a good person and reveling in violence and being an expert in violence is not morally wrong,” Michael Sierra-Arévalo, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who attended the Street Cop Conference, told The Post. “In fact, it’s your moral duty because you’re a paladin. You are this kind of warrior.”

Calls for police reform grew during the racial justice protests in the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Congress engaged in bipartisan talks about a potential police reform bill last summer, but they fell apart without reaching a deal.

Sources told NBC News that President Joe Biden plans to sign executive orders on police reform as early as this month.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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Family who died in freezing cold by US-Canada border identified

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Police used snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to navigate the deep snow

Canadian authorities believe the deaths of four Indian nationals found steps away from the Canada-US border are connected to a human smuggling scheme.

Jagdish Patel, 39, Vaishailben Patel, 37, and their children Vihangi, 11, and Dharkmik, 3, died from exposure due to the frigid cold near Manitoba, Canada.

Temperatures dropped to -35C (-31F) on the night the Patel family attempted to cross into the US on foot.

The family was found in a field north of the border on 19 January.

Their identities were announced by Canada’s High Commission of India and later confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, RCMP superintendent Rob Hill said the Patel family first arrived in Canada on 12 January, on a flight from Toronto. From there, they made their way west to Manitoba, before travelling to Emerson – a border town – on or around 18 January. Their bodies were found the next night.

No vehicle was found near the Canada-US border in Emerson, suggesting that someone drove the Patel family to a drop-off point before they began their journey on foot.

“This is an extended period of time for a family who is unfamiliar with Canada to be travelling across the country”, Mr Hill said. It is believed that someone may have facilitated the family’s travel.

The RCMP would not comment on whether the Patels’ case was connected to a group of seven other Indian nationals also found by border agents on the evening of 19 January. Steve Shand, a 47-year-old Florida resident, has been charged with human smuggling after authorities found him driving a 15-person van along the border, on the same night the Patels were found. Mr Shand had two Indian nationals as passengers in his car, and cases of food and water in his boot.

The deaths of the Patel family have rocked the Indian community in Manitoba.

“There’s a common sense of feeling guilty, like something has gone wrong,” Ramandeep Grewal, president of the India Association of Manitoba, told the BBC.

Questions remain as to why the Patel family set out on foot in the dark, in Canada’s punishing winter weather.

Mr Grewal said he heard rumours the family walked for 11 hours. “You don’t expose yourself to that degree of cold for minutes, let alone hours,” he said.

Such questions have consumed Indian communities in Winnipeg, said Hemant Shah, an Indian ex-pat, who organised a virtual prayer for the Patel family this week.

“There are lots of Patel families here, lots of Indo-Canadians,” he said. “Everybody’s talking, making their own theories.”

While perilous border crossings have become typical to the United States’ southern border, this type of journey is less common from the north.

“I’ve never seen this in Canada,” Mr Shah said. “This is unheard of.”

The RCMP has launched an “extensive” investigation into how the Patels made their way to Canada, co-ordinating with the US and India. It is so far unknown if the Patels had family in Canada or the US.

A special team led by a senior Indian consular officer was dispatched to Manitoba to help Canadian authorities with the investigation. The Consulate General of India in Toronto has been in touch with relatives to provide support.

Last week, a US Homeland Security official said they were also investigating the Patel case, alongside a “larger human smuggling operation of which [Steve] Shand is suspected of playing a part”.

There had been three other recent incidents of human smuggling in December and January in the same location where Mr Shand was apprehended, according to court documents.

The India Association’s Mr Grewal said he hopes other families contemplating a similar journey may now reconsider.

“If there’s anybody else who’s in the same boat, who’s trying to cross… Don’t go, don’t listen to people who are telling you they can help.”



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Gallup's Mohamed Younis- Foreign Policy Interventionism A 'Low Desire' For Americans

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Gallup's Mohamed Younis- Foreign Policy Interventionism A 'Low Desire' For Americans



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Palestinian children play in the snow-covered West Bank city of Ramallah

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Palestinian children play in the snow-covered West Bank city of Ramallah



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U.S. Capitol Riot Made 1 Chilling Thing ‘Impossible To Deny’

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University of California professor Barbara Walter, an expert on civil conflicts, said the U.S. Capitol riot had “made it impossible to deny and ignore that there really was this cancer growing” of anti-democratic sentiment in America.

Walter, after CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan showed her footage of Donald Trump supporters repeating the former president’s 2020 election lies and claiming democracy in the United States was dead, said her response to such rhetoric only 10 years ago “would have been shock and disbelief.”

“I would have thought, ‘Well she’s an outlier and she’s not representative of anything larger than a fringe movement maybe,’” Walter said. “But of course, that’s not the case anymore.”

Experts on civil wars had been talking about the warning signs in the U.S. “but nobody wanted to believe it,” she said.

“Citizens do believe what they are hearing and if they hear it long enough and consistently enough and if that’s all they hear, they absolutely don’t think it’s a lie, they think it’s the truth,” she continued, referencing falsehoods spouted by Trump, right-wing politicians and conservative media, before slamming cynical leaders for “feeding them lies consistently.”

“They’re priming their supporters to believe that democracy isn’t worth defending because they don’t want democracy anymore,” she added.

Watch the video here:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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