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January 17, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.



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Post-COVID lungs worse than the worst smokers' lungs, surgeon says (CBS)

A Texas trauma surgeon says it's rare that X-rays from any of her COVID-19 patients come back without dense scarring. Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall tweeted, "Post-COVID lungs look worse than any type of terrible smoker's lung we've ever seen. And they collapse. And they clot off. And the shortness of breath lingers on... & on...Everyone's just so worried about the mortality thing and that's terrible and it's awful," she told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. "But man, for all the survivors and the people who have tested positive this is — it's going to be a problem."

Federal COVID-19 reserve is now empty, prompting angry reponses (The Hill)

… A new report says that while the Trump administration announced it was releasing a stockpile of COVID-19 vaccine initially held for second shots to accelerate lagging vaccination efforts nationwide, no such reserve existed. 

Trump tries to claw back billions from COVID-19 distributor (Ars Technica) With mere days left in office, President Donald Trump has proposed $27.4 billion in brutal budget cuts—including clawing back 5.1 billion from global public health amid a raging pandemic. 

Adequate Levels of Vitamin D Reduces Complications, Death Among COVID-19 Patients (Boston University School of Medicine)

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were vitamin D sufficient, with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL (a measure of vitamin D status), had a significant decreased risk for adverse clinical outcomes including becoming unconscious, hypoxia (body starved for oxygen) and death. In addition, they had lower blood levels of an inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein) and higher blood levels of lymphocytes (a type of immune cell to help fight infection).  “This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from COVID-19,” explained corresponding author Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD…

240 Israelis found with COVID after vaccination, underscoring need for vigilance (Times of Israel)

Pfizer’s shot only begins having an effect 8-10 days after first injection, and only reaches full potential after the second dose

Brazil researchers report disappointing 50.4% efficacy for China's CoronaVac vaccine (Reuters)

A coronavirus vaccine developed by China's Sinovac showed "general efficacy" of 50.4% in a late-stage trial in Brazil, researchers said on Tuesday, barely enough for regulatory approval and far short of earlier indications.

South Africa COVID strain: what you need to know (CNBC)

Questions are now being raised over whether the coronavirus vaccines developed at breakneck speed in the last year, the Western frontrunners being those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca will be effective against significant mutations of the virus, such as the one identified in South Africa.


Look, up in the sky - it's a flying Cadillac! GM unveils futuristic vehicle (Reuters)

General Motors Co on Tuesday presented a futuristic flying Cadillac - a self-driving vehicle which takes off and lands vertically and carries the passenger above the streets and through the air.

Amazon Is Booting Parler Off Of Its Web Hosting Service (Buzzfeed)

Amazon's suspension of Parler's account means that unless it can find another host, once the ban takes effect on Sunday Parler will go offline.

Google Play suspends Parler for failure to moderate posts that incite violence  (CBS)

Parler, a social media site that prides itself on allowing unrestricted freedom of speech, has been suspended from Google Play for failing to moderate content that incites violence… There have been dozens of posts on the app that encourage users to partake in actions similar to those of Trump supporters rioting at the Capitol on Wednesday. One post that was published on Thursday includes a banner for a "million militia march" to be held on January 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated. The time for peaceful protests has past they're stealing this election," the post reads. "...#CallToArms take back our country." 

PayPal and Shopify remove Trump-related accounts, citing policies against supporting violence (CNet)

Official MAGA merchandise is no longer for sale through Shopify from Trump-associated stores, and an account that supported Trump supporters who traveled to DC is deactivated.

 Facebook bans Trump from posting for remainder of his term in office (CNN)

Facebook will ban President Donald Trump's account from posting for at least the remainder of his term in office and perhaps "indefinitely," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post on Thursday. "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Zuckerberg wrote in the post. "Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."

Twitter permanently bans Trump (CBS)

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," the company said in a statement.

EXCLUSIVE-Parler CEO says social media app, favored by Trump supporters, may not return  Reuters)

Social media platform Parler, which has gone dark after being cut off by major service providers that accused the app of failing to police violent content, may never get back online, said its CEO John Matze.



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