No one knows for sure yet whether the FDA made the right call in pausing the usage of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, but the agency is already facing criticism for poor risk assessment and shortsightedness. Some state officials are worried the decision will increase vaccine hesitancy, regardless of which shot people are set to receive. "There's nothing we can do to restore confidence," one GOP state official told CBS News.
Nearly 7 million doses of the single-shot vaccine have been administered in the United States, and there are six reported cases of recipients developing a rare and severe type of blood clot. Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room physician and professor at Brown University, tweeted on Tuesday that a connection is "plausible," but even if it turns out to be real, she added, the risk is still far lower than the risk of developing a blood clot from a COVID-19 infection, which may be as high as 20 percent.
Blood clots are also a side effect of other medications, including birth control pills, reports Business Insider, writing that "as many as one in every 100 women taking birth control over a period of 10 years can experience a clot," as compared to less than one in a million, though they're typically a different type of clot.
As Ranney put it, "science and medicine ... is full of weighing risks vs. benefits." She acknowledged there may be legitimate concerns about whether certain groups of people — perhaps younger women — should receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But, overall, she argues the shot's benefits are too great to give up right now. Tim O'Donnell
7. What is also true is that it is difficult for most of us to accurately judge risk of Omission (risk of avoiding vaccines) versus risk of commission (risk of getting vaccines).
We over estimate the latter, to our own - and our community’s - peril.
The National Republican Congressional Committee did not share internal polling data that showed former President Donald Trump has weak numbers in key battleground districts at a retreat for House Republicans in April, two people familiar with the presentation told The Washington Post. The NRCC staffers reportedly held back the information even when a member of Congress asked them directly about Trump's support.
The Post later obtained the full polling results and reports that Trump's unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones, and nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of him than those who had a strongly favorable one. In those same districts, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were both more popular than Trump, the Post notes.
It reportedly wasn't the first time this has happened — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told colleagues that Republican campaign officials had also glossed over poor Trump polling during a retreat for ranking committee chairs in March, per the Post.
Cheney, you may have heard in recent weeks, is determined to move the GOP away from Trump and she'd likely point to the polling as a reason why, but she's faced a lot of criticism from her colleagues, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who think the party is doomed without the former president leading the charge, and there's no indication their minds will change anytime soon. Read more about Cheney's efforts at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated its public COVID-19 guidance to explicitly state that the coronavirus can be transmitted via aerosols — smaller respiratory particles that can float — inhaled at a distance greater than six feet from an infected person, particularly while indoors, bringing ventilation practices to the forefront. The new language marks a change from the federal health agency's previous stance that transmission of the virus typically occurs through "close contact, not airborne transmission."
Infectious disease experts have warned that the CDC and the World Health Organization (which has also updated its guidance) were overlooking evidence of airborne transmission during the pandemic, The New York Times notes, and some have stressed the need for the CDC to strengthen its recommendations for preventing exposure to aerosolized virus, especially in indoor workplaces like meatpacking plants.
Good ventilation should be one of the primary things to focus on, Dr. David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington School of Public Health and the head of the Occupation and Safety Health Administration during the Obama administration, told the Times. Dr. Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech, explained that "if you're in a poorly ventilated environment, virus is going to build up in the air, and everyone who's in that room is going to be exposed."
Sociologist Zeynep Tufecki, who has long been pushing for such a change, called it "one of the most crucial scientific advancements of the pandemic" that should provide a lot of clarity going forward. Read her Twitter thread on the issue here and learn more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell
The WHO just updated its page on how COVID-19 transmits. Those few sentences on aerosols represent one of the most crucial scientific advances of the pandemic. My NYT piece on the century-long history of the error, the year of delay—and what it means now. https://t.co/B9y2Mf6LC7pic.twitter.com/3b5K650nB4
India recorded 4,187 new COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the government said Saturday, marking the first time the country, which is in the midst of a record-breaking surge of infections, has tallied 4,000 fatalities in a day. India's death toll, which has been questioned by health experts, officially sits at 238,270, the third highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.
India also added 401,078 cases on Saturday, a slight drop from the previous day, but the country's peak is not expected until the end of May. While cases appear to be stabilizing in large cities like Mumbai and New Delhi, the coronavirus is spreading in rural areas and southern states, several of which have ordered lockdowns. Oxygen and critical care bed shortages remain a major concern. Read more at Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse. Tim O'Donnell
More than 200 people were injured Friday night after a protest over the threat of evictions of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers had gathered at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism (known as the Temple Mount in that faith), for the final Friday of Ramadan, and many remained for the protest, which reportedly erupted when Israeli police in riot gear deployed. The police reportedly fired rubber bullets at the crowd, while video footage shows the demonstrators throwing chairs, rocks, and shoes at the officers.
The United States and other foreign governments called for calm and expressed concern about the potential evictions, but Israelis and Palestinians are bracing for more unrest in the coming days. Worshippers will return to Al-Aqsa on Saturday for the most sacred night of Ramadan, while Sunday night marks Jerusalem Day, when Israel celebrates its annexation of east Jerusalem. And on Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions. Read more at Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell
Conservative TV host Greg Kelly, who once complained that the impeachment of Donald Trump was racist against "white folk," was put on the defensive over his choice of pants on Thursday after posting a photo with said former president.
"Those are BUGLE BOY jeans I'm wearing," the Newsmax host had tweeted, drawing attention to his multi-pocketed khakis.
"Honestly one of the most f--ked up pairs of pants I've ever seen," one horrified onlooker wrote, while another observed, "It looks like a pair of cargo pants mated with some jodhpurs and its offspring got all of the worst jeans … er, um genes."
Kelly followed up by insisting that the pants were very expensive — "the truth is, they're BALMAIN (the most prestigious brand in PANTS)" — which just goes to show, you really can't buy good taste.
Everyone busting my CRACKERS over the “pants”—(partially my fault because I called attention to them with the Bugle Boy comment). The truth is, they’re BALMAIN (the most prestigious brand in PANTS)—my shoes are by Ferragamo. Basically, I’m a Sharp Dressed Man. Thank you ! pic.twitter.com/sDgtoGy9Ol
"Let's find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is," Musk says in the clip. "I'm a wild card, so there's no telling what I might do." (The Atlanticclaims Musk's "eccentricity is good fodder for sketch comedy," which is clearly … debatable).
While some SNL members have made their disdain clear, Pete Davidson said no one discussed the controversy when they took Musk out to dinner pre-show, as is tradition. "I just don't understand why this is the dude everyone's so freaked out about," Davidson said. "I was like, 'What did he do? He's just like a really wealthy businessman that makes, like, nerd s---.' I don't know. He's really nice. I'm excited."
Remember that time when everyone (and The Daily Mail) was so mad about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry trying to trademark "Sussex Royal," and in doing so, cruelly placing Queen Elizabeth "in an invidious position, given her long-held conviction of refusing to allow working members of the family to profit from their positions"?
Well, People reports that the British monarch has since started selling Sandringham-branded beer, brewed from plants grown on her Norfolk estate, as well as a Royal Collection Trust gin, which retails for $41 a bottle and will "help preserve the Queen's extensive art collection."
Writes Celebitchy, "HOW GAUCHE! How tacky! I assume all of the royal reporters are up in arms about how dreadful it is that the Queen is monetizing the Crown in such a disgusting and cheesy way."