Table of Contents
UPDATES as of 4/29/21:
==As the month closes, Colorado is in its Fourth Wave. It differs from past ones as it is hitting younger people, because the elderly are now 80 percent vaccinated. The last weeks of April saw a rapid rise in children being infected, especially middle/and high school age=11 to 17. After reaching a plateau in March, there was a steady rise in cases and hospitalizations in April, with the last week showing nearly double numbers of people going to the hospital — around 600 cases total — which the state hasn’t seen in a few months. However, the number of deaths has remained low. It’s currently estimated that the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, is responsible for at least half of Colorado’s current cases. COVID case rates are much lower in counties where the vaccination rates are the highest.
==Many universities are requiring students to be vaccinated before returning to classes, which includes CU and CSU.
==President Biden Administration has completed the promised 200 million vaccines administered within his first 100 days in office.
==The new focus is on: (1) people who are not sure they want to get a vaccine, (2) those who are not returning for their second dose, and (3) those in outlying areas who have difficulty in getting to the vaccine sites. Part of the solution is opening up sites for “walk-ins,” and travelling to small towns and setting up in vans or outside stores.
==As of 4/18 half of the US has had one shot (130 million) in four months! In Colorado, it is at 43.2 percent as of the end of April.
==free ride to vaccine center: While the Town of Lyons has been offering Z-tickets to low-income people to get free rides in taxi-like vehicles for more than a year, Kaiser has now joined with VIA Mobility and are offering free rides to those who cannot drive. You just need to register with them.
==The state of Colorado’s three mass vaccines sites now allow for “walk up” vaccines. The closest one to Lyons is the Ranch in Loveland (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.).
==Estes Park just had another mass vaccination day at the convention center. Contact town hall to get more information on future ones. == Call 211 and ask for assistance in arranging a ride.
==Dr. Moma Clinic (Colorado) was shut down in El Paso County mainly for not properly keeping their vaccines cold enough and monitored.
==JOHNSON & JOHNSON vaccine use has been reinstated 4/24/21.
==GLOBAL: INDIA has gone from 200,000 new cases a day for more than a week, to 300,000+ cases a day for about five days, and then to 345,000 on Sunday. A total of 18.4 million; making it the #2 highest. === # 1 is the US is at 32.3 million == #3 is Brazil has 14.5 million cases. ===The #4 spot is France with 5.6 million. == total of 150 million worldwide; 3.15 million deaths. (as of 4/29/21)
==CDC NEW RECOMMENDATIONS ON MASK WEARING: 4/27/21 – The new recommendations say fully vaccinated individuals can engage in the following activities without wearing masks:
Walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of their household. Attending small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends
Attending small outdoor gatherings with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people
Dining at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households.
Fully vaccinated people can also attend “a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event,” as long as they remain masked, according to a CDC infographic of the new guidelines.
4/22/21: CDC says vaccines are safe for pregnant women. They have the same risks for illnesses as they would if they got no vaccine.
==President Biden announced a paid leave tax credit, which was funded by the Covid-19 relief package President Biden signed into law last month. It will offset costs up to $511 per day for up to 80 hours, or 10 work days. It will be offered between April 1 and Sept. 30. Companies with fewer than 500 employees would qualify for the tax credit.
Governor changes his sole authority of COVID mandates
The Dial 3.0 framework issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will expire on April 15, and counties across Colorado can issue their own guidance, moving to one less restrictive level. The governor retains control of (1) large crowd activities, and (2) schools; child care and nursing centers; state government facilities; health care and personal service settings; and jails and prisons until approximately May 2. Some counties have declared that they will drop all mandates, including mask wearing, and leave it up to the residents and businesses to decide what is best for them.
Gov. Polis admitted that Colorado is going into its Fourth Wave, but believes that it will not be as bad as previous ones, and that it will be the last one. He urges people to wear masks, socially distance and get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The number of cases plateaued and has seen slow increases in numbers across the state.
EFFECTIVE APRIL 16th
Boulder County will be providing a similar framework to the state’s dial for 30 days, from April 16 to May 16, with some limited modifications. The Dial 3.0 framework issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will expire on April 15, and counties across Colorado can issue their own guidance, moving to one less restrictive level.
On Monday, April 12, the Boulder County Board of Health approved Public Health Order 2021-04 to allow a dial framework in the county, aligning with other counties in the metro area.
If current case incidences do not exceed 300 cases per 100,000 residents and positivity rates do not exceed 7.5% before April 16, Boulder County will move to Level Blue and remain on this less protective level for 30 days. Boulder County will not move levels during this 30-day phase, starting on April 16.
If metrics exceed the current numbers before April 16, the County will continue operating in Level Yellow.
Level Clear, May 16 – August 16 (90 days)
On May 16, if new hospital admissions remain low, Boulder County will enter Level Clear for 90 days, which will be an observation period under the Public Health Order. To remain at Level Clear, new hospital admissions for COVID-19 must stay below an average of 2 per day per 100,000 residents for seven consecutive days as observed over a 14-day period. Hospitalization rates for Boulder County and across the metro region may be viewed here.
Under Level Clear, local capacity restrictions and mitigation are no longer required, but may be encouraged. Masks may still be required under state or local order, and if the state continues any orders, those state restrictions will apply in Boulder County.
If new hospital admissions exceed an average of 2 hospital admissions per 100,000 people for seven consecutive days over a 14-day period, Boulder County will move back levels and apply level restrictions according to the hospital admissions rate.
Level Blue allows restaurants and gyms at 100 percent capacity, with six feet distancing. Schools in person. Bars 25 percent capacity or 75 people whichever is fewer. Personal services 50 percent, or 50 people. Offices 75 percent. (See our MARCH COVID article for a detailed chart.)
For more detailed information, go to the COVID families page.
EFFECTIVE APRIL 16th
Larimer County will align its new restrictions under Level Blue on the state’s dial, according to county health department. It will issue a 30-day order putting its residents under the following restrictions:
- All restaurants, whether certified through the Level Up program or not, can operate at 100% capacity with 6-foot spacing.
- All bars that do not serve food can operate at 25% capacity with a maximum of 75 people. Last call is extended to 2 a.m.
- Indoor seated events can operate at 50% capacity with a maximum of 225 people and indoor unseated events can also operate at 50% capacity with a maximum of 175 people.
- There are no capacity restrictions on outdoor events, but events with more than 500 people must submit plans to the county board of health for approval.
- All gyms can operate at 100% capacity with 6-foot spacing.
- Schools are held in person.
- Offices, retail stores and manufacturing businesses can operate at an increased 75% capacity.
The County will wait to remove most COVID-19 restrictions until 65 percent of its eligible adults. Today it is at the 35 percent rate. Larimer County Department of Health & Environment has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the county in recent weeks, with a 5.8 percent positivity rate.
People getting COVID who are vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective; but remember that they claim 95 percent effectiveness. There have been a small number of vaccinated people (5,800) who are getting covid-19 in recent weeks, but those infections are typically mild, or symptom-free. A low number of these have been hospitalized, and 74 have died. These are called “break through cases,” and the 5,800 cases are 0.008 percent of 66 million vaccinated. A little over 40 percent of those infections were from people 60 years of age or older, with 29 percent of them asymptomatic.
In addition to protecting yourself by wearing a mask, you (1) prevent spreading it to others, if you catch it, and (2) you protect those who cannot get the vaccine for various health reasons, including school children.
What Restrictions CDC has Lifted
HOUSEHOLD GATHERINGS – 3/18/21:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, allowing people to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax some precautions, such as approving people who are fully vaccinated (for two weeks) to visit, unmasked, with people from another household who are not yet vaccinated, as long as those people are at low risk of serious illness from the virus. However, people should continue to wear masks when they’re in public, and avoid crowds.
The new guidance also allows fully vaccinated individuals to forgo testing and quarantining following a known COVID-19 exposure, as long as they are not experiencing covid symptoms.
TRAVEL – 4/2/21 – It’s OK now to travel if fully vaccinated, but CDC still not giving full ok to getting on a plane.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its domestic travel guidance for fully vaccinated people, but only lifting certain testing and self-quarantine requirements. It still recommends precautions – wear a mask and avoid crowds. They also continue to discourage nonessential travel.
The CDC is not lifting travel restrictions barring the entry of most non-U.S. citizens from places including China, Brazil, South Africa and parts of Europe. It still requires airline passengers entering the U.S. to get a test within three days of their departure and show proof of a negative result before boarding.
World Health Organization 2021 (WHO)
More than one hundred economies have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on 24 February 2021.
COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII). Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
Background Info: The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO’s broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being. The WHO relies on contributions from member states (both assessed and voluntary) and private donors for funding. Its total approved budget for 2020–2021 is over $7.2 billion, of which the majority comes from voluntary contributions from member states. Contributions are assessed by a formula that includes GDP per capita. Among the largest contributors were Germany (which contributed 12.18% of the budget), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (11.65%), and the United States (7.85%).
CORONA HOT SPOT: India now has twice as many cases as it did in its peak in September 2020. It has 200,000 average new cases each day. It currently has 14.1 million cases. 7.1 percent have had at least their first dose of the vaccines.
The US still remains the highest at 31.4 million cases. Brazil is second, and rapidly rising, with 13.7 million (it also has a new variant). France has 5.1 million.
Almost all of Europe went on a Lockdown for approximately a month, and are now slowly come out of it. The United Kingdom was on a strict lockdown with all restaurants, pubs and more being completely shut down. It succeeded in dropping the cases 60 percent since February. As of today, 32.3 million have received at least their first dose of the vaccine.
Medical and Scientific News
—3/21/21· Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first machine learning-based Coronavirus Disease 2019 non-diagnostic screening device that identifies certain biomarkers that are indicative of some types of conditions, such as hypercoagulation (a condition causes blood to clot more easily).
—3/23/21 – Phase 1. Pfizer has begun a U.S.-based clinical trial examining the safety and tolerability of an oral antiviral therapeutic against the virus causing COVID-19 disease, the company announced Tuesday.
—3/21/21 TESTING ON CHILDREN has begun.
—3/30/21 AIR PURIFIER PROBLEMS: One of the most popular types of air purifiers on the market right now are ion-generating systems, including “bipolar ionization” devices that electrically charge particles so they settle out of the air faster, and are generally marketed to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, the study finds that the air purifier marketplace shows inadequate test standards, confusing terminology, and a lack of peer-reviewed studies on its effectiveness and safety, including side effects of “additive” air cleaning methods like ionizing devices.
—4/1/21 SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT. Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday that trials suggest their vaccine is effective against a coronavirus variant that first emerged in South Africa, which some experts worry might evade existing vaccines. It lasts 6 months, according to data. The companies said the vaccine was shown to be 100% effective in preventing Covid-19 cases in trials in South Africa, where a more contagious variant exists.
—4/1/21 NEW AT HOME TEST APPROVED. FDA Authorizes Two Affordable, Over-The-Counter rapid coronavirus at-home tests. The public can soon get the tests without a prescription at chain pharmacies and grocers and test themselves. The tests are made by Abbott’s BinaxNOW and Quidel Quickvue. Antigen tests will help schools, and workplaces conduct serial screening.
—4/13/21 JOHNSON & JOHNSON vaccine temporarily taken off the market. There were six cases (out of 6.8 million given) that showed rare blood clots. The CDC wants to review the reports before putting them back in the markets. They say that “this should boost people’s confidence because of the intense oversight.” The J&J vaccine is known to help people feel much less sick and not need to be hospitalized than if they caught it without the vaccine.
J&J – if you received this vaccine, you should watch out for these symptoms within the first three weeks of getting the vaccine; and if you have them call your doctor or see a hospital:
- Severe headache
- Stomach pain
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
J&J has a temporary slump in production due to bad production in a subsidiary factory. This reduces the US stock by 80 percent this week.
—EARLY DETECTION: Researchers in Golden Co are working on something that will detect coronavirus before people become symptomatic or contagious. It is part of a nationwide study. A sticker monitors various levels. The goal is to help service members who are in crowded environments.
March 15 to April 15 NEWS
—1 million vaccines in 100 days in office, was done in 68 days. Within the week, President Biden declared that his new goal is to do two million vaccines by the end of his first 100 days in office.
—Every week, the Administration is breaking records on the number of vaccines distributed. By early March, the United States had started administering more than 2 million shots per day. Now in April, they are doing 3 million a day. A record of 3.49 million given in one day on March 27, was broken April 3. The UNITED STATES gave 4 million.
—-3/24/21 AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ENROLLMENT EXTENDED: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is extending the Affordable Care Act special enrollment period by three months to August 15.
—3/30/21 PPE EXTENDED: into law today, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31, 2021, and then providing an additional 30-day period for the SBA to process applications that are still pending
—3/24/21- India is seeing a substantial number of coronavirus variants, even one called a “double variant.” Officials have discovered a new variant of the COVID-19 virus with two mutations. But it is unclear whether these are contributing to a new surge in cases there.
—All variants can now be found in the US.
—3/22/21 DOOR DASH LAUNCHES ON DEMAND DELIVERY OF COVID PCR TEST: New partnerships make same-day delivery of FDA Authorized COVID-19 test collection kits widely available to consumers across the United States DoorDash , the nation’s leading on-demand local logistics platform, announced today that it will begin facilitating same-day delivery of COVID-19 PCR test collection kits across the U.S through partnerships with Vault Health and Everlywell , two leading …
—-3/20/21 – OLYMPICS RULES: 2021 Olympics will not allow foreigners to attend the games. They have sold millions of tickets to Japanese residents, so the seats will have spectators.
—UNEMPLOYMENT: As of 4/15/21 = 576,000 US unemployment claims filed; a new low. 16.9 million are collecting benefits.
—FREE IN HOUSE TESTING: If your job involves contact with the public, you can get free in-house testing kits from the State of Colorado. They were sent out to all the schools, when the schools were preparing to re-open. Those who may qualify: store clerk, delivery drivers, tradeworkers, postal employees.
—COVID SURVIVORS, whether they were treated at the hospital or handled it at home, 34 percent of them are suffering long-term effects. #1 anxiety, followed by mood disorders, or neurological or psychological conditions; within SIX months. (per Lancet Psychiatry study 4/8/21)