fears

dentist

Chicago dentist fears another rush for PPE as COVID resurges

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Lauren Zalay and her colleagues at University Associates in Dentistry in Chicago’s Loop use a lot of personal protective equipment each week.



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“We probably go through 900 gloves a week, 20 to 30 gowns a day and hundreds of masks a week,” she said.

Early on in the pandemic while they were shut down, Zalay says they donated all their supplies to hospitals. When they reopened after two months, they found themselves without their own equipment and nowhere to get it.

“We were shut down for two months. We came back in mid-May and we could not get PPE. We could not get masks, we could not get gowns,” Zalay said.

“What we could get our hands on was very very expensive. Not only are we wearing regular PPE, but way more now during a pandemic.”



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Dentist PPE

Dentist Lauren Zalay with some of her PPE supplies. Photo credit WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding

Zalay said what she found was a lot price-gouging for small businesses who need PPE.

“Items that we used to pay $1 for was now $6, so costs have gone up by 600%,” she said. “Our costs have gone up, and we’re seeing less patients.”

Since then, she’s found an Elk Grove Village-based company that sells wholesale to small businesses.

“Our usual dental suppliers are out of stock or the units are unusually high. The gowns we couldn’t get in June — now it’s the gloves we can’t get in November. The field hospitals should be getting what they need, but that causes problems for smaller operations like us, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, those kinds of businesses.”



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PPE

PPE stockpile Photo credit WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding

A company called MRI would make all the difference.

“So I stumbled upon a company that started out as a philanthropy in March. They donated many, many masks in the city when we didn’t have PPE and then they evolved to be able to get the PPE to Chicago and sell it at an extremely low price to help other people,” she said.

“It allows people to buy PPE at the lowest price they can get it without being price-gouged for their offices, and it’s helped us so much. I’m so grateful for them.”

Zalay says she now wants to spread the word.

“I helped an ophthalmologist, a helped a plastic surgeon, I’ve helped some companies who have home care, nurses who go into homes and need PPE.”



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PPE

Dr. Zalay looks at X-rays while wearing her PPE. Photo credit WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding

Her supplies are ample now, but Zalay worries about what might happen in the future. Many businesses are stocking up for 6 months or more.

“We have a stock room full of PPE but we never know what’s going to happen into next year,” she said.

She recently teamed up with the philanthropist behind MRI, the PPE supplier.

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fitness

‘It’s not just fitness – everything suffers’: Community heroes reveal fears over lockdown ban on Children

As the seconds ticked by towards sporting wipeout on Wednesday, amateur boxing coach Knox White winced through agonising pain during a flare-up of his degenerative multiple sclerosis.

The wheelchair-bound 46 year-old was struck down twice within a few hours that evening, but nothing was stopping him from taking his final sessions for the youngsters at Hayling Island Community Centre.

“I didn’t need reminding why we all need to be here,” says the former Navy boxer of his packed classes with local youngsters. “After the first week back from lockdown, one of the mums came up to me and said, ‘Knox, I’m so glad we’re back as my son really needs this. I’ve been so worried because one of his friends has taken his life and another one’s attempted to’. I just thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, this is how serious it all is’.”

After a week in which the great and good of elite sport rallied behind The Daily Telegraph’s ‘Keep Kids Active in Lockdown’ campaign, it is thousands of lesser-known heroes carrying the heaviest burden over the weeks ahead.

Tennis coach Stephen Perez is another left worrying about his deprived youngsters. He describes how some of the 10 and 11-year-olds he works with under an LTA initiative in Chatham, Kent, are still rusty from bad diet and lack of exercise during the first lockdown.

“The awful thing is that we know exactly what’s coming,” says Perez, who also runs programmes providing healthy food to his community. “In our community there’s people really struggling with poverty and poor diet. We had some kids coming back with real weight issues to the point where they were struggling to just take part in exercise.

“If you’ve got a fairly contented life, it’s hard to put into perspective how big of a deal these classes are for those in a chaotic setting. For many, they haven’t really got a lot else to look forward to. It’s not just their fitness that suffers – it’s their behaviour, their routine, everything.”

Downing Street has so far resisted pressure to ease restrictions on children’s sport during lockdown, but ‘Keep Kids Active in Lockdown’ struck a chord in sport like few other newspaper campaigns had done before.

It is memories of formative experiences under grass-roots coaches like Perez and White that prompted many of the 130 star names to this week sign up to The Telegraph’s call on Government to offer children a reprieve.

The campaign was launched at 5pm on Monday, with epidemiologists, public health experts and cross-party MPs all warning of a mental and physical health time-bomb as activity levels plunge among under-18s.

Ambiguity and confusion for teachers over the risk of Covid infection inside and outdoors at schools had already led to many schools scaling back contact sports or abandoning them altogether during PE classes.

However, despite scientists insisting outdoor infection risk is significantly lower than in the classrooms, Boris Johnson was unflinching in his determination to make no exceptions to his blanket

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health

Huge crowds gather at rallies, raising coronavirus fears

People look on as RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav leaves in a helicopter during an election campaign rally at Masaurhi on October 21, 2020 in Patna
Large crowds have been seen in political rallies in BIhar

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked people not to be complacent during the festive season, urging them to continue wearing masks and follow social distancing.

But the message doesn’t seem to have reached the northern state of Bihar where large crowds have massed at political rallies ahead of state elections, scheduled to begin on 28 October.

All parties, including Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have ramped up campaigning ahead of the elections.

Footage from some of the rallies shows people jostling to get a glimpse of politicians, and hardly anybody appears to be wearing masks.

Virologists and doctors called the large gatherings “callous” and said that such complacency could have devastating consequences, enabling the virus to spread much faster.

India has recorded more than seven million cases so far, but its daily case count has been steadily dropping in recent weeks even as testing has remained consistent. Although some have said this suggests that the worst of the pandemic is over, others have cautioned against celebrating too soon.

The Election Commission has also warned politicians against flouting Covid-19 safety rules. But it seems to have had little impact as crowds continue to gather at rallies.

Virologist Dr Shahid Jameel says political parties need to be more responsible and they need to educate their cadre.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses an election campaign rally ahead of Bihar Assembly election on October 22, 2020 in Hasanpur, India.
Social distancing has not been enforced in Bihar’s election rallies

“We see thousands of people in these rallies and hardly anyone with a mask. It is the responsibility of every political party to ask its followers to follow safety rules.

“That is the only way we know to prevent infection [from spreading],” he told the BBC.

The first phase of polling will be held on 28 October, and the other two phases will follow on 3 and 7 November. Results will be announced on 10 November.

The BJP-led coalition is seeking to be voted back into power – it’s facing opposition from an alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress party, and also from other regional parties.

The stakes are high for all political parties. Their initial campaigns were virtual but now they have moved offline.

Mr Modi is addressing three rallies on Friday and Congress party’s Rahul Gandhi is also holding campaign events.

A senior journalist in the state told the BBC that nobody “was really talking about coronavirus as a campaign issue”.

“It seems like the virus has disappeared from the state. People have become complacent and politicians are not doing enough to warn people,” he said.

The state government

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health

South Korean deaths spark flu vaccine safety fears

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean officials refused to suspend the country’s seasonal flu inoculation programme on Thursday, despite growing calls to do so following the deaths of at least 13 people who were vaccinated in recent days.

FILE PHOTO: A man gets an influenza vaccine at a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Health authorities said they have found no direct links between the deaths, which include a 17-year-old boy, and the vaccines being given under a programme to inoculate some 19 million teenagers and senior citizens for free.

“The number of deaths has increased, but our team sees low possibility that the deaths resulted from the shots,” Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), told parliament.

South Korea ordered 20% more flu vaccines this year to ward off what it calls a “twindemic” of people with flu developing potential COVID-19 complications, and overburdening hospitals over the winter.

“I understand and regret that people are concerned about the vaccine,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said on Thursday, while confirming the free programme would go ahead.

“We’re looking into the causes but will again thoroughly examine the entire process in which various government agencies are involved, from production to distribution,” he added.

The country’s free vaccine programme uses doses manufactured by local drug makers GC Pharma, SK Bioscience and Ilyang Pharmaceutical Co 007570.KS, along with France’s Sanofi SASY.PA and Britain’s Glaxosmithkline GSK.L. The vaccines are distributed by local companies LG Chem Ltd 051910.KS and Boryung Biopharma Co. Ltd., a unit of Boryung Pharm Co. Ltd. 003850.KS.

GC Pharma, LG Chem, SK Bioscience and Boryung declined to comment. Ilyang Pharmaceutical, Sanofi and GSK did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

It was not immediately clear if any of the South Korean-manufactured vaccines were exported, or whether those supplied by Sanofi and GSK were also being used in other countries.

Kim Chong-in, leader of the main opposition People Power party, said the programme should be halted until the exact causes of the deaths had been verified.

Health authorities said on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation into six deaths found no direct connection to the vaccines. No toxic substances were found in the vaccines, and at least five of the six people investigated had underlying conditions, officials said.

EARLIER SUSPENSION

The free programme has proved controversial from its launch last month. Its start was suspended for three weeks after it was discovered that some 5 million doses, which need to be refrigerated, had been exposed to room temperature while being transported to a medical facility.

Officials said 8.3 million people had been inoculated since the programme resumed on Oct. 13, with around 350 cases of adverse reactions reported.

The government is also offering a paid vaccine programme which, combined with the free programme, aims to inoculate about 30 million of the country’s 52-million population. Under the paid programme, the purchaser can select the vaccine provider from a larger pool that includes the

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health

Five South Koreans die after getting flu shots, sparking vaccine fears

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – Five people have died after getting flu shots in South Korea in the past week, authorities said, raising concerns over the vaccine’s safety just as the seasonal inoculation programme is expanded to head off potential COVID-19 complications.

Authorities said there was no reason to believe the deaths were linked to the vaccine but an investigation, including post mortems, was underway.

“It makes it hard for us to put out a categorical statement,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing on Wednesday about the deaths, which include a 17-year-old boy and a man in his 70s.

Coming just weeks after the rollout of the national vaccine programme was suspended over safety worries, the deaths have dominated headlines in South Korea.

Officials last month announced plans to procure 20% more flu vaccines for the winter than the previous year to inoculate 30 million people in a bid to prevent the health system being overloaded by patients with flu and COVID-19 exposure.

However, the start of a free jab programme for around 19 million eligible people was suspended for three weeks after it was discovered that some 5 million doses, which need to be refrigerated, had been exposed to room temperature while being transported to a medical facility.

Boosting public trust in vaccines has become a major global challenge this year, as some countries rush to approve experimental COVID-19 vaccines before full safety and efficacy studies have been completed.

South Korea’s flu vaccines are supplied by different drugmakers, including LG Chem Ltd <051910.KS> and Boryung Biopharma Co. Ltd., a unit of Boryung Pharm Co. Ltd. <003850.KS>. A Boryung official told Reuters the company was aware of the reported deaths, but had no immediate comment. LG Chem said the company would follow government advice.

A 17-year-old boy who died on Friday was the first death noted by officials to follow receipt of the vaccine. The boy died two days after receiving the flu shot in Incheon, near the capital Seoul.

A man in his 70s, who had Parkinson’s disease and arrhythmia, was the most recent case. He died in Daegu on Wednesday, a day after receiving the flu vaccine. Daegu officials said the man had received vaccines since 2015 with no prior adverse reactions.

Officials said 8.3 million people have been inoculated with the free flu vaccine since it resumed on Oct. 13, with around 350 cases of adverse reactions reported. The highest number of deaths linked to the seasonal flu vaccination was six in 2005, according to Yonhap news agency.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, trust in vaccines was a growing challenge for public health bodies. The World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 global health threats for last year.

In South Korea, a poll earlier this month found that 62% of 2,548 respondents in Gyeonggi province, near Seoul, would not get vaccinated against COVID-19, even if a vaccine is approved, until all safety questions are fully answered.

(Reporting

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