219 new COVID-19 cases confirmed

According to the state health department’s coronavirus dashboard, 219 individuals from 34 counties have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the new statewide positive total to 141,484.

These results were from a pool of 4,458 tests for a daily positive rate of 5.14 percent.

133 of those positives were PCR tests, and 86 were antigen tests.

2,575,724 total tests have been administered for the novel coronavirus. 519,498 unique individuals have been tested.

184 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Since yesterday 759 individuals have been confirmed as recovered, bringing the recovered total to 136,592. This leaves 3,212 active confirmed cases.

 

 

https://online-tvchannel.org/

Massachusetts state employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate in effect

Sunday is the deadline for thousands of Massachusetts state workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk being suspended or fired.

The vaccine mandate applies to about 44,000 employees and contractors working within the state’s executive branch, regardless of whether they work in-person or remote.
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Some workers are eligible for medical or religious exemptions, but the deadline to request those exemptions has passed. There’s no option to get tested instead.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s office will start contacting non-compliant workers Monday.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is encouraged by the response by Executive Department employees completing the vaccination verification process ahead of the Oct. 17 deadline and will continue to work with employees to address questions and requests for exemptions,” the governor’s office said in a statement.” To date, over 40,000 Executive Department employees have submitted the attestation form or applied for an exemption, and the Administration is continuing to gather information from employees.

A federal judge on Friday denied another request to put on Baker’s deadline for state employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The request for an injunction was filed by the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union and four members. U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman denied the request.

MassDOT warned its managers that failure to meet the vaccination requirement will result in a five-day unpaid suspension. Those who remain unvaccinated will be terminated.

 

 

 

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Some were so shaken by the resulting personal attacks, they retreated back to the safety of academic journals and lectures.

We’ve seen and heard more from scientists in the last 20 months of this pandemic than on any other issue in living memory.

Shaun Hendy, Michael Baker, Rod Jackson and columnist Siouxsie Wiles are now household names. Many others who wouldn’t consider themselves natural communicators have stepped out of the lab to talk to the public, directly via Twitter and Facebook, or through media outlets like Stuff.

The result of this largely voluntary work is that we’ve had the opportunity to be incredibly well-informed about the scientific aspects of Covid-19, even if we might disagree about what we should do in response to the evidence these experts present.

Unfortunately, a good number of the scientists fulfilling what they see as their duty to inform the public, have faced horrible abuse and harassment in response. This is not a New Zealand thing, it has happened all over the world.
1m 4s

More Americans Are Getting Covid Vaccine Boosters Than First Shots

Veuer’s Elizabeth Keatinge tells us just how many more Americans are getting the Covid-19 booster shot than first doses.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: ‘Pandemic’ levels of abuse aimed at scientists, public health experts around the world
* YouTube bans false vaccine claims in misinformation crackdown
* During Covid, spare a thought for our leaders’ mental health
* Covid-19: Ideal scientific policy doesn’t exist and if it did, you might not like it

The network of Science Media Centres in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Germany, Taiwan and the UK partnered with the journal Nature to survey scientists who have fronted to the media on Covid-19.

Of the 321 survey respondents, more than two-thirds reported negative experiences as a result of media appearances or social media comments, 22 per cent had received threats of physical or sexual violence, 15 per cent had received death threats, and six scientists had been physically attacked.

I fear this sort of abuse is only going to escalate as we enter this new phase of dealing with the delta variant, where lockdown fatigue grows and the government faces increasingly difficult decisions based on the scenarios experts present.

I know many of these scientists personally. A lot of them shrug off the abuse. But the cumulative effect of being exposed to belittling comments and deeply personal insults will eventually get to even the most thick-skinned scientist.

We’ve leaned heavily on a small group of experts during the pandemic. They are exhausted. Abuse could have a chilling effect, seeing some of them opting out of engaging with the public, rejecting media interviews and dialling back their social media presence.

I was the founding director of the New Zealand Science Media Centre. Over nearly 10 years with the SMC, I worked with many scientists who put their heads above the parapet on issues such as genetic modification, climate change and animal testing.

Some were so shaken by the resulting personal attacks, they retreated back to the safety of academic journals and lectures.
Stuff Logo
covid illustration with pfizer vaccine bottle
How do mRNA vaccines work?
Read more
The Whole Truth Covid-19 vaccination logo
Learn more

We don’t want a repeat of that, but we can help avoid it by calling out abuse of scientists when we hear it from family and friends.

We can report an abusive post to Facebook or Twitter or if it is a threat against a scientist’s personal safety, inform the police.

It’s not about stifling debate, it’s about ensuring scientists feel safe enough to inform the debate. And our scientific institutions could step up with more proactive and public support of their academics.

We aren’t out of this crisis yet and we need our experts more than ever.

 

 

https://online-tvchannel.org/

Covid-19: Don’t let our scientists be silence

We’ve seen and heard more from scientists in the last 20 months of this pandemic than on any other issue in living memory.

Shaun Hendy, Michael Baker, Rod Jackson and columnist Siouxsie Wiles are now household names. Many others who wouldn’t consider themselves natural communicators have stepped out of the lab to talk to the public, directly via Twitter and Facebook, or through media outlets like Stuff.

The result of this largely voluntary work is that we’ve had the opportunity to be incredibly well-informed about the scientific aspects of Covid-19, even if we might disagree about what we should do in response to the evidence these experts present.

Unfortunately, a good number of the scientists fulfilling what they see as their duty to inform the public, have faced horrible abuse and harassment in response. This is not a New Zealand thing, it has happened all over the world.
1m 4s

More Americans Are Getting Covid Vaccine Boosters Than First Shots

Veuer’s Elizabeth Keatinge tells us just how many more Americans are getting the Covid-19 booster shot than first doses.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: ‘Pandemic’ levels of abuse aimed at scientists, public health experts around the world
* YouTube bans false vaccine claims in misinformation crackdown
* During Covid, spare a thought for our leaders’ mental health
* Covid-19: Ideal scientific policy doesn’t exist and if it did, you might not like it

The network of Science Media Centres in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Germany, Taiwan and the UK partnered with the journal Nature to survey scientists who have fronted to the media on Covid-19.

Of the 321 survey respondents, more than two-thirds reported negative experiences as a result of media appearances or social media comments, 22 per cent had received threats of physical or sexual violence, 15 per cent had received death threats, and six scientists had been physically attacked.

I fear this sort of abuse is only going to escalate as we enter this new phase of dealing with the delta variant, where lockdown fatigue grows and the government faces increasingly difficult decisions based on the scenarios experts present.

I know many of these scientists personally. A lot of them shrug off the abuse. But the cumulative effect of being exposed to belittling comments and deeply personal insults will eventually get to even the most thick-skinned scientist.

We’ve leaned heavily on a small group of experts during the pandemic. They are exhausted. Abuse could have a chilling effect, seeing some of them opting out of engaging with the public, rejecting media interviews and dialling back their social media presence.

I was the founding director of the New Zealand Science Media Centre. Over nearly 10 years with the SMC, I worked with many scientists who put their heads above the parapet on issues such as genetic modification, climate change and animal testing.

Some were so shaken by the resulting personal attacks, they retreated back to the safety of academic journals and lectures.
Stuff Logo
covid illustration with pfizer vaccine bottle
How do mRNA vaccines work?
Read more
The Whole Truth Covid-19 vaccination logo
Learn more

We don’t want a repeat of that, but we can help avoid it by calling out abuse of scientists when we hear it from family and friends.

We can report an abusive post to Facebook or Twitter or if it is a threat against a scientist’s personal safety, inform the police.

It’s not about stifling debate, it’s about ensuring scientists feel safe enough to inform the debate. And our scientific institutions could step up with more proactive and public support of their academics.

We aren’t out of this crisis yet and we need our experts more than ever.

 

 

https://online-tvchannel.org/

COVID-19: CECC extends level 2 alert until Nov. 1

A nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended for two weeks until Nov. 1, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that agencies are still discussing whether to allow foreign spouses and children of foreigners in Taiwan with a residence permit to enter the nation.

“In principle we agree to relaxing the entry regulations for the group, but relevant agencies are still reviewing and discussing the matter,” said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.

The center on Sept. 13 eased border restrictions for foreign dependents of Taiwanese nationals. They can apply for visas at representative offices overseas and, if granted, enter the nation.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), introduces updated COVID-19 control measures at the CECC’s daily news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the CECC

“The local COVID-19 situation is increasingly under control, with only three locally transmitted infections reported this month, all of which are considered earlier infections,” Chen said. “However, as we are still working hard to administer more COVID-19 vaccines, we have decided to keep the level 2 alert in place from tomorrow to Nov. 1.”

Regarding requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, Chen said that there are no plans for shortened quarantines.

“Several countries have achieved a high COVID-19 vaccination coverage, but are still facing local outbreaks, so getting vaccinated is not the only weapon we need for fighting the [COVID-19] pandemic,” he said. “We need multiple layers of protection.”

“We need to achieve the first step — at least a certain percentage of vaccination coverage — before we can start considering reopening national borders,” he added.

Asked whether the CECC is considering introducing vaccine passports that would exempt travelers who tested negative for COVID-19 from quarantine requirements, Chen said that the CECC’s main concern is the vaccination rate, rather than Taiwan’s COVID-19 situation.

“The fewer local COVID-19 cases we have, the weaker our general immunity against COVID-19 is, and our vaccination coverage is at this point lower than that of several other countries, so Taiwan has a relatively weak immunity,” Chen said.

Taiwan welcomes international exchanges in business, trade, sports, diplomacy, humanitarian aid and other official global events, and it might also allow visitors to enter for such purposes under “vaccine travel bubble” arrangements, Chen said.

However, private or tourist visits would continue to be postponed until the local vaccination coverage increases to about the same level as in many other countries, Chen said, adding that other countries only began vaccine passport projects once they had reached high vaccination rates.

As of Saturday, Taiwan’s first-dose vaccination coverage had reached 62.11 percent, while 22.01 percent of the population are double-vaccinated, he said.

Meanwhile, the CECC modified mask wearing rules so that people would be allowed to take off their mask when “exercising outdoors” or “taking individual or group photographs indoors or outdoors.”

The rule only applies to those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and in situations where people can keep a safe distance from other people or groups, the center added.

The relaxation follows eased mask wearing rules for people working in the agriculture, forestry, fishing or animal husbandry sectors, as well as for people visiting mountainous areas, forests or the beach.

“These are the circumstances in which people are not required to wear a mask, but they should still bring a mask with them, and wear the mask when they cannot practice social distancing with strangers,” Chen said.

When people need to eat or drink while outside, they can also remove their mask, under the condition that they practice social distancing or there are physical barriers set up to separate people, he said.

The CECC reported no new local infections or deaths yesterday, but there was one imported case — a traveler arriving from Indonesia.

 

 

 

https://online-tvchannel.org/

A runner’s reunion: Fellow runners meet again after crossing finish line together

High school sophomore Blake Cerveny and senior Brandon Schutt — both from different schools — met again after fate brought them together at a district cross country meet in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I just really appreciate what he did and I’m going to remember that,” Cerveny said.

It happened Thursday, nearing the end of a 3.1-mile race, and with the finish line in sight, Cerveny fell to the ground for the fourth and final time.

“It’s like, I just, my legs gave out on me. My hands hit,” Cerveny said.

He wasn’t down for long, without hesitation, Schutt scooped up Cerveny helping his fellow runner.

“Everybody wants to go out fast. Everybody hopes they’re going to make state,” Schutt said.

Schutt’s cross country head coach Rachel Carraher says she’s not surprised Schutt lent a helping hand.

“Brandon is an excellent person. He is really kind and a great leader on the team,” Carraher said.

Just three weeks ago, Schutt was in Blakes’ shoes, unable to finish his heat.

“I felt awful about not finishing. I felt like I was letting my teammates down and I was letting myself down — so ultimately I just made the call,” Schutt said.

He made sure Cerveny finished his.

“That’s what cross country is. It doesn’t matter who you’re going against or the people you’re around,” Cerveny said.

Because of what Brandon did, Blake said if he ever sees a runner in need he won’t hesitate.

 

 

https://online-tvchannel.org/

Antibody tests can’t give answers you want about COVID-19 immunity

Talk of the need for coronavirus booster shots has prompted many Americans to seek antibody tests.

In most cases, however, getting an antibody test to determine immunity is a fool’s errand, infectious-disease doctors agree. The tests for antibodies, also known as serology tests, do not provide the answers that most people are seeking.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration advise against using antibody tests to determine one’s level of immunity against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. So does the Infectious Disease Society of America, which represents infectious-disease specialists.

While some states, including Maryland and South Carolina, are conducting targeted antibody testing for specific purposes, no state is promoting the tests’ use for residents to determine whether they have sufficient immunity or need a booster shot.

The tests might indicate the presence or even the level of coronavirus-fighting antibodies in the bloodstream, but scientists don’t yet know what number of antibodies provide protection from COVID-19. Antibodies are protein molecules the immune system produces to neutralize viruses or bacteria that have entered the body.

Antibody levels do help health-care providers establish whether a patient has immunity against other, more familiar infectious diseases, such as measles and hepatitis A and B. But doctors say our relatively short experience with COVID-19 hasn’t yet provided the same information.

“Because our journey is so young, we don’t yet know what value means immunity,” said Mary Hopkins, associate program director of the Infectious Disease Fellowship Program at Tufts Medical Center.

Testing for coronavirus antibodies has some benefits — especially for determining whether someone with COVID-like symptoms had an earlier, undetected COVID-19 infection — but not for the reasons many are seeking the tests.

“Doctors are ordering antibody tests for people who are worried about waning immunity, but I see that as problematic,” said Alan Wells, medical director of clinical labs at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “For a normal person, knowing your level eight months later (after their initial vaccine dosages) is of relatively little value.”

In general, the more antibodies, the better, Wells said. But even with a low level of antibodies months after exposure or receiving a vaccine, the body can mount a stout defense against the virus by generating new antibodies in response to a fresh infection. “There is more to your immune response than antibody levels,” Wells said.

Wells said his hospital, like others, has had a big increase in requests for antibody tests in recent weeks, although he recommends to his colleagues that they use them judiciously.

Another problem with coronavirus antibody tests, doctors say, is that they are not standardized, so values associated with antibody tests in one version might not be the same as another.

Some states perform antibody testing on a targeted basis. In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control conducts sample antibody testing for vaccinated people to correlate antibody levels with episodes of reinfections or breakthrough cases, said Derrek Asberry, a spokesperson for the department.

Maryland has done antibody testing on more than 500 nursing home residents and determined that 50% of them showed declining antibodies over time. On the basis of those tests, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered boosters for all older Marylanders living in congregate housing.

Hopkins said large-scale antibody testing eventually should help to determine what antibody levels would provide coronavirus immunity.

“It would be wonderful and important if you could test every month 5,000 patients 60 years and older and find out who gets reinfections or infections for the first time and see if there is a correlation,” she said. “If you found infections and could say those people had antibodies below 200, that would be helpful.”

Some antibody tests are able to assign a numerical value to an individual’s antibody levels, although the numbers are not uniform from one manufacturer’s test to another. The level above which a person can be considered to have sufficient immunity is unknown.

In Kentucky, the state Senate passed a resolution in September that would have enabled residents to substitute an antibody test for proof of vaccination. The resolution proposed that an individual with antibodies at a level above the 20th percentile of the immunized population should be recognized as having protection equal to that of a fully immunized individual. The measure died when the state House didn’t take it up before the special session ended in September.

Doctors interviewed for this story said that without knowing what level of antibodies provides immunity or the parameters — especially the timing — of testing vaccinated people, such a measure may not provide the assurance its sponsors suggested. But Wells added that the idea is not without merit, because higher levels of antibodies do correlate with fewer hospitalizations and deaths.

Thomas Denny, chief operating officer at Duke University School of Medicine’s Human Vaccine Institute, however, said the resolution’s demise was probably a positive development.

“Given how few labs can do this test and the issues of test validation, it’s good that this bill died,” he wrote in an email. “Also, I would need to go review data in the literature but not sure their stated criteria makes sense.”

Antibody testing can determine whether someone has been exposed to coronavirus or has received any of the vaccines used against the virus. Some tests detect antibodies created in either case. Others only detect antibodies that are generated by exposure.

Those tests are different from the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests most often used to determine whether someone has the virus. A PCR test detects genetic material present in the coronavirus.

From early in the pandemic, public health agencies and other medical organizations used PCR tests or antigen tests, which detect certain proteins in the virus and are cheaper and faster though less reliable than PCR tests, as the main tool for diagnosing people with the virus.

Health-care workers didn’t generally use antibody tests because, as Elitza Theel, an expert in serologic testing at the Mayo Clinic, an academic research center, said, “It takes a good one or two weeks after infection to get a detectable level of antibodies.

“You don’t want to rely on an antibody test because you will miss people who are acutely affected.”

Hopkins said that antibody tests are useful for patients suspected of having long COVID-19, the lingering severe symptoms that affect some people months after their first exposure to the virus. PCR tests only detect the virus in its initial phase, in the first two weeks or so.

If someone with COVID-19 doesn’t get a PCR test in that time, the best way to determine exposure later is with an antibody test, even months after contact with the virus, Hopkins said. “When I see a patient in my clinic who’s short of breath or has mysterious aches, I give them an antibody test to see if it’s long COVID.”

Doctors say antibody testing also can be useful in determining whether individuals, especially nursing home residents, developed antibodies after they were vaccinated. If not, they could be considered good candidates for infusion with monoclonal antibodies to mimic antibodies produced by the immune system.

Antibody testing also benefits immunocompromised patients, such as those undergoing cancer treatment, Denny said. “We can test those individuals and show their levels are much lower than the general population and give them a boost and test them again and see if their numbers go up,” he said.

Still, doctors say, healthy people should be reassured that the human immune system remembers what to do in the face of a new risk.

Even as the initial antibodies decline after a coronavirus infection or vaccine, the memory cells store information about the original attack, react to a renewed threat and begin to stimulate the body to resume its defense, including by generating a whole new army of antibodies.

People “shouldn’t freak out” if they learn their coronavirus antibodies have declined over time, Theel said.

 

 

 

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Hispanic Heritage Month: A celebration of heritage and culture

Hearst Television celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing stories about the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. We’re speaking with community leaders, activists and elders to talk about their heritage rooted in Latin American countries.

You can watch all of our conversations with these Hispanic and Latino American community leaders below.
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Boston, Massachusetts

In 2014, Berklee College of Music formally launched Berklee Latino to elevate the education, awareness and appreciation of Latin music and its cultural impact on the world. Internationally renowned musicians travel from all over the world to Boston to perform with a carefully curated group of musicians from the school. It’s part of the college’s Latino program, led by four-time Grammy winner Oscar Stagnaro.

“When I moved to Boston — this is funny — the first gig, I was playing country western music,” Stagnaro said.

Read more about the Berklee Latino program’s story here.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

There’s no shortage of ethnic food options in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but Edgar Alvarez says that wasn’t the case when he first came here. Alvarez brought something to Pittsburgh that he said was missing: authentic Mexican food. Now he has the best tacos in the city — but his journey is about more than just food. When Alvarez cooks tacos, he’s pouring his heart and soul into every meal.

“You have to put a lot of love in what you are doing,” he said. “If you don’t do your stuff with love, it’s not going to work.”

Read more of Alvarez’s story here.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hispanic Heritage comes in many forms. Activist Dolores Huerta says it goes back generations in New Mexico. She spent more than 50 years organizing peaceful demonstrations in the U.S. Huerta advocated for farmworkers, immigrants and women in the United States. The outcomes were not always peaceful.

“I was badly battered. I had my ribs broken, pulverized my spleen, and I almost died for doing a peaceful protest,” Huerta said.

Read more of Dolores Huerta’s story here.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Laura Morillo, a Winston-Salem, North Carolina, resident who fled communist Cuba as a teenager and worked tirelessly and persistently to bring her mother and two sisters to the United States as a young woman, is sharing her family’s story of immigration.

“When I was at the airport, and I was leaving, a lady there said, ‘Don’t cry. You’re leaving because you want to. You’re leaving your mom because you want to do it,’” Morillo said.

Read more of Laura Morillo’s story here.
Kansas City, Missouri

One Kansas City community leader mobilized Latinos to vote and run for office. Paul Rojas was also the first Latino elected to state office in Missouri. His last name, Rojas, is proudly displayed around his home on Kansas City’s westside. But his first name was given to him in school.

“My real name is Raul. I guess the nuns took the little foot off the R and made it Paul, a P, but that was not uncommon,” Rojas said.

 

 

 

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Covid-19: Maharashtra reports 1,715 new cases, 29 deaths

MUMBAI: Maharashtra reported 1,715 new coronavirus positive cases on Sunday, taking the state’s infection tally to 65,91,697, while 29 deaths pushed the toll to 1,39,789, the health department said.
A total of 2,680 patients recuperated during the day, which took the recovery count to 64,19,678, it said.
The state’s recovery rate is 97.39 per cent and the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent.
With 1,10,465 tests being conducted on Sunday, the overall test figure of the state rose to 6,10,20,463.
There are 28,631 active cases in Maharashtra at present.
Mumbai did not report any death due to the virus during the day, but recorded 366 new cases.
There were 706 new cases and three deaths in Mumbai division, including one in Raigad district and two in Vasai-Virar, the department said.
Nashik division reported 285 new coronavirus cases, including 202 in Ahmednagar district alone.
Pune division had 528 fresh cases, Kolhapur division 116 cases, Aurangabad division 25 cases and Latur division 44 cases, it said.
Akola division reported five cases, but Akola and Amravati districts as well as the two cities did not report a single case on Sunday. The division did not report any death.
Nagpur division witnessed six new cases, but not a single death.
The coronavirus figures of Maharashtra are as follows: Positive 65,91,697, death toll 1,39,789, recoveries 64,19,678, active cases 28,631, total tests 6,10,20,463. PTI MR NP NP

 

 

 

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Flu and COVID-19 shots available at upcoming Sioux Falls clinics

A Sanford Health vaccine clinic in central Sioux Falls offered not only COVID-19 vaccines but also shots for the flu on Saturday. And if you missed the event, there will be additional clinics on Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 at the Sanford Imagenetics building at 1321 W. 22nd St. in Sioux Falls.

“We’re offering these now on Saturdays,” said Terri Carlson, executive director with Sanford Health’s primary care, women’s health, psychiatry and psychology departments. “Right now we’re scheduled through the middle of November, but we can extend that as we need to.”
COVID-19 booster shots likely coming for all three vaccines in KELOLAND

Michael Barth of Sioux Falls received both a flu shot and a COVID booster shot at the clinic on Saturday morning.

“It’s one of those things where I can do my part for everybody else by getting my booster,” Barth said. “I also have two kids who are too little to get the vaccine, and so I would hate to be, have anything happen to them.”

Saturday’s clinic was Sanford’s third in as many weeks. Carlson and others who work in health care stress just how important the COVID vaccines are.

“This vaccine has been proven as safe and effective and quite frankly is the only way we’re going to get beyond this pandemic,” Carlson said.

“We want to do our part to make sure everybody is safe, and so getting the booster and getting all of our vaccines is one way we can do that,” Barth said.

 

 

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