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 Updates for This Week

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  • Hurricane season starts THIS Monday, June 1st, Just received a short time ago from Florida's CFO Jimmy Petronis that a 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins today, Friday, May 29th through Thursday, June 4th. There is also a wealth of information to help you prepare for a hurricane and its aftermath, as well as financial information to help you deal with its financial
     
  • The Daily Sun is looking for World War II veterans living here in The Villages. Do you know of any? If so, please provide Steve Straehleyy with their name(s) and contact information. You can also contribute toward memorial bricks for them at the Veterans' Memorial Park at The Villages.
     
  • Ralph Helwig thanks everyone for their support of the Golf Cart Driveway Concert on Saturday, May 23rd, to benefit the Lazarus Free Medical Clinic, its dental clinic, and the Wildwood Food Pantry. It was a big success. He sent some pictures and reported on how much was raised, as well.
  • Lucy Mills would love to hear from friends. Also, her home on Tatum Terrace will be going up for sale soon.
     
  • Just for the fun of it, watch and listen to former NASA engineer Mark Rober narrate how he built a squirrel-proof bird feeder that progressed into a squirrel obstacle course. Smiles guaranteed.

Ladies Book Club

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Per the Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection, and as of Friday, May 29th, the state now has 54,497 cases testing positive for COVID-19, with 9,982 requiring hospitalization and 2,413 deaths. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:

    • Sumter County: 253 cases (up by 1 case), holding at 17 deaths — age range 17 — 97
    • Lake County: 291 cases (up by 25 cases), holding at 15 deaths — age range 1 — 86
    • Marion County: 233 cases (up by 10 cases), 6 deaths (up by 1) — age range 0 — 96
  • The state issued a statement and Governor DeSantis made an announcement on Sunday, May 24th, rebutting Rebekah Jones' (click on link) account of why she was removed from her job of managing the state's COVID-19 statistics. CBS Miami reported that according to the state, she was fired for violating Health Department policy by making public remarks about the information over the previous week and a half, and has "a history of 'insubordination'". (The article presents the state's position as well as Jones' issues.) In an interview on CNN and with The Associated Press, Jones provided some details about her issues concerning the data.

  • How the state has been reporting cases and deaths has been under scrutiny by the Tampa Bay Times, as well as CNN Politics. Since March 17th, coroner death reports have started being 10% higher than the state's, so coroners are now holding their data by 9 days. Dr. Stephen Nelson, the chairman of the state Medical Examiners Commission, said the change in policy came after the state health department intervened.

  • Sadly, at least 1,738,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the U.S., at least 101,000 people have died from it, and 104,917 new cases have been reported to the WHO. These stats were updated 5/29/2020. You can compare how the U.S. compares to other areas of the world on the World Health Organization's website. The most current information reported to them is presented in easy-to-understand graphs. By moving the cursor over each graph, you can see the number of cases on any given date.

  • NBC News and Yahoo News reported on May 27th that the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be more common than suspected. New estimates by two different studies suggest that "silent" COVID-19 is much more prevalent than previously thought. The first study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that 42% of cases from a group of people in Wuhan, China, were asymptomatic. The second study from Australian researchers and published in Thorax, found that 81% of cases on a cruise to Antarctica were asymptomatic. Of those on the cruise, 57% tested positive, but just 19% of those patients had symptoms. Many people wonder why they have to wear a mask and practice social distancing when they are feeling well? Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reminds us that simply exhaling or talking can send out viral particles.

  • Dr. Kimberly Prather studies aerosols (particles so tiny they float freely through the air, traveling feet or even miles) and runs a large, government-funded research center at the University of California San Diego. On May 27th, she wrote an article for the journal Science where she said there is mounting evidence that aerosol (airborne) transmissions help explain how the virus spreads like wildfire. Aerosols can be created from just talking or singing as well as coughing or sneezing, and can accumulate and remain infectious in indoor air for hours, perhaps circulating through air conditioning, easily inhaled deeply into the lungs. She tells people to imagine how far they can smell cigarette smoke or a barbecue. That’s how far aerosols can travel between you and another person. So why are we balking at wearing a mask in public again?

  • Some critically ill patients with COVID-19 show signs of an immune system in overdrive, called a cytokine storm, which may be as destructive as the virus itself. May 24th, SciTechDaily announced a new clinical trial at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that will test a COVID-19 treatment that targets that overactive immune response that some patients experience. Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Bert Vogelstein's team had already been exploring ways to ease the hyperinflammatory immune response in cancer patients treated with immunotherapy. They are  hoping that treating the virus with an alpha blocker might break a cycle of hyperinflammation before it ramps up. The trial involves treating people who are at high risk early in the course of the disease, when they know they’re infected but before they have severe symptoms. If the trial suggests alpha blockers are safe and effective, the team hopes to run a second trial with patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but are not yet hospitalized. If treating the virus with alpha blockers works and appears to be safe and effective, it would be a secondary form of prevention, mitigating symptoms before they become severe, rather than stopping infection in the first place.

  • The latest District Weekly Bulletin (updated 5/28/2020) announced that the fitness clubs and arts & crafts facilities will open, and The Enrichment Academy (TEA) Courses will resume THIS Monday, June 1st. Since most of the recreation facilities are now open, this update will be the last COVID-19 District Action Plan issued. Check The Villages Recreation & Park News after this week. Also, the District Administrative Offices at 984 Old Mill Run continue by appointment only, and you must wear a mask for your appointment.

  • Some tips for flying during the pandemic have been added.

  • Lois Travinsky continues to accept donations of nonperishable food for the Wildwood Food Pantry to help the rapidly growing number of families that are being affected by COVID-19 and will need food to help tide them over.
     
  • Anne Russell's friend, Cathy Nocera, is selling some of her mother's furniture and other items in preparation for moving her into independent living. Check them out. Her mother's house in Duval is also for sale.
  • Jeanne Fiore passed Thursday evening, May 14th. I've added a picture of Jeanne, updated the information per her obituary, provided a link to her obituary, and corrected The Villages Cornerstone Hospice address to the Cornerstone Hospice Foundation address.
     
  • Nancy King announced that there wouldn't be a Landscape Garden Club meeting in May. The next meeting will be September 21st. However, she is listing what annuals, palms, herbs & vegetables you can plant in June. She's also providing information about love bugs and tells us how we can protect our vehicles and get the dead bodies off them.
     
    Need to consult Master Gardener at one of the Plant Clinics, it will be conducted online using Zoom. Links are provided.
     
  • Summaries of coronavirus information from last week:
    • WebMD provides cautions and advice on How to Do Memorial Day Safely, a video on Social Distancing, and what to do when Others Aren't Social Distancing.

    • A new study appearing in Wednesday's issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases provides the first evidence that sunlight may inactivate COVID-19 on surfaces.

    • As always, the latest stats for Florida and the tri-county areas have been updated.

    • Rebekah Jones, the scientist who invented and was in charge of Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard that provides the statistics for the state says she was fired because she refused to "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen."On Wednesday, CNN Health reported that at least four states combined data from two different test results. Diagnostic PCR tests (uses saliva or nose swabs) check for current infection, while antibody tests (rely on blood samples) check for past infection. Combining the two into one result could provide an inaccurate picture of where and when the virus spread and trick the states into thinking they've done more testing than what they've actually done. 

    • A new study by Columbia University epidemiologists found that if social distancing had been in place just 7 days earlier, the U.S. could have prevented 36,000 deaths through early May. If governors and mayors had known that, they said they would have shut down earlier.

    • The CDC quietly tweaked the wording on its "How COVID-19 Spreads" website, which Fox's Sean Hannity promoted as a "breaking" report, adding to the confusion concerning COVID-19 information.

    • Dr. Joseph Fair, a staple on NBC News programs and stations during this pandemic, contracted the virus himself in spite of precautions. He was taken off the critical list yesterday and shared the details and what it was like on a video interview.
       

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