January 28, 2023

California ski resorts have received more than 300 inches of snow so far this season

Global Warming Piling Up Big Time in the Sierras

Janu-buried! California ski resorts have received more than 300 inches of snow so far this season

A series of atmospheric-river storms so far this year have left state ski resorts flush. Mammoth Mountain has received 40 to 54 inches from the latest storm and has already surpassed last year’s season-snowfall total of 310 inches at the Main Lodge and 419 inches at the summit.

A series of atmospheric-river storms so far this year have left state ski resorts flush.

Mammoth Mountain has received 40 to 54 inches from the latest storm and has already surpassed last year’s season-snowfall total of 310 inches at the Main Lodge and 419 inches at the summit.

Farther north, at Palisades Tahoe, the resort has received more than 8½ feet of snow since Jan. 1, and more is on the way.

Buckle up.

Mammoth Mountain

A statue of Mammoth Mountain founder Dave McCoy is buried under snow.
Cars parked in the town of Mammoth Lakes are completely covered by snow.
A person uses a shovel on a parked car that is completely covered in snow.

Palisades Tahoe

A line of cars covered in heaps of snow. The backdrop is gray and misty.
A measuring stick topped with the symbol of an eagle is buried in snow at 24".
A man in winter coat and boots uses a snow machine next to hotel units. Snow is heaped up to either side of him.

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Emails Show Facebook Suppressed ‘Often True’ Information on Coronavirus Vaccines

Users, groups, and pages were being kicked off the largest social network in the world, not for posting “misinformation” — but because people at Facebook determined that their tone was too “sensational.”

Emails Show Facebook Suppressed ‘Often True’ Information on Coronavirus Vaccines

In yet another revelation about the level of collusion between Big Tech and the White House, documents show Facebook not only attempted to suppress “incorrect” content related to coronavirus vaccines, but also took steps to curb the spread of “often-true content” on the subject.

In yet another revelation about the level of collusion between Big Tech and the White House, documents show Facebook not only attempted to suppress “incorrect” content related to coronavirus vaccines, but also took steps to curb the spread of “often-true content” on the subject.

The information came to light through a series of documents obtained by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, as part of a lawsuit that accuses the Biden administration of violating Americans’ First Amendment rights by colluding with Big Tech to suppress speech.

One email, sent by a Facebook staff member to the White House on March 21, 2021, discussed “levers for tackling vaccine hesitancy content” with a senior advisor on Biden’s COVID-19 response team and the White House’s director of digital strategy.

In the email, the Facebook staffer, whose identity was redacted, acknowledged that in addition to removing misinformation, the company has been focused on reducing the spread of content that discourages vaccines, but does not contain actionable information. The staffer went on to state that this content, though “often-true,” can be framed in a sensational or alarmist manner.

“We’ll remove these groups, pages, and accounts when they are disproportionately promoting this sensationalized content,” said the Facebook staffer.

In other words, users, groups, and pages were being kicked off the largest social network in the world, not for posting “misinformation” — but because people at Facebook determined that their tone was too “sensational.”

This is just the latest revelation to come out of the multi-state lawsuit against the Biden Administration, filed by the states of Missouri and Louisiana. Previously, the lawsuit revealed that the administration pressured tech companies to suppress some of the most popular critics of their policies, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and OutKick host Tomi Lahren.

The case is State of Missouri and State of Louisiana v. Joseph R. Biden, No. 3:22-cv-01213 in District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

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Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 possibly more likely to infect the vaccinated: officials

Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 now accounts for 73% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases in NYC

Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 possibly more likely to infect the vaccinated: officials

New York City health officials are warning residents that the infectious omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 may be more likely to infect people who have already been vaccinated or infected with COVID-19. “Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 now accounts for 73% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases in NYC,” the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tweeted on Friday.

New York City health officials are warning residents that the infectious omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 may be more likely to infect people who have already been vaccinated or infected with COVID-19. 

“Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 now accounts for 73% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases in NYC,” the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tweeted on Friday. ” XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible form of COVID-19 that we know of to date and may be more likely to infect people who have been vaccinated or already had COVID-19.” 

The department added that getting vaccinated against the virus, including receiving an updated booster shot, remains the best way to protect against hospitalization and death, including from new variants.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, XBB.1.5 accounts for 43% of cases in the U.S.

In the first week of January, the subvariant accounted for about 30% of cases. 

XBB.1.5, an offshoot of XBB, was first detected in October.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this week that it may lead to an increased number of cases based on genetic characteristics and early growth rate estimates.

Scientists have cautioned that the virus will surely keep evolving. 

“Our concern is how transmissible it is,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said. 

“The more this virus circulates, the more chances it will have to change,” she noted.

Van Kerkhove said there is no data yet to prove that XBB.1.5 causes more severe disease, but that the agency is working on a new risk assessment of the variant that it expects to release soon.

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We are overcounting covid deaths and hospitalizations. That’s a problem

But are these Americans dying from covid or with covid?

By Leana S. WenContributing columnist to the WashingtonPost

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is experiencing around 400 covid deaths every day. At that rate, there would be nearly 150,000 deaths a year.

But are these Americans dying from covid or with covid?

Understanding this distinction is crucial to putting the continuing toll of the coronavirus into perspective. Determining how likely an infection will result in hospitalization or death helps people weigh their own risk. It also enables health officials to assess when vaccine effectiveness wanes and future rounds of boosters are needed.

Two infectious-disease experts I spoke with believe that the number of deaths attributed to covid is far greater than the actual number of people dying from covid. Robin Dretler, an attending physician at Emory Decatur Hospital and the former president of Georgia’s chapter of Infectious Diseases Society of America, estimates that at his hospital, 90 percent of patients diagnosed with covid are actually in the hospital for some other illness.

“Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for covid, many are incidentally positive,” he said. A gunshot victim or someone who had a heart attack, for example, could test positive for the virus, but the infection has no bearing on why they sought medical care.

Dretler also sees patients with multiple concurrent infections. “People who have very low white blood cell counts from chemotherapy might be admitted because of bacterial pneumonia or foot gangrene. They may also have covid, but covid is not the main reason why they’re so sick.”

If these patient die, covid might get added to their death certificate along with the other diagnoses. But the coronavirus was not the primary contributor to their death and often played no role at all.

Dretler is quick to add that the imprecise reporting is not because of bad intent. There is no truth to the conspiracy theory that hospitals are trying to exaggerate coronavirus numbers for some nefarious purpose. But, he said, “inadvertently overstating risk can make the anxious more anxious and the skeptical more skeptical.”

Another infectious-disease physician, Shira Doron, has been researching how to more accurately attribute severe illness due to covid. After evaluating medical records of covid patients, she and her colleagues found that use of the steroid dexamethasone, a standard treatment for covid patients with low oxygen levels, was a good proxy measure for hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. If someone who tested positive didn’t receive dexamethasone during their inpatient stay, they were probably in the hospital for a different cause.

Doron’s work was instrumental to Massachusetts changing its hospitalization reporting a year ago to include both total hospitalizations with covid and those that received dexamethasone. In recent months, only about 30 percent of total hospitalizations with covid were primarily attributed to the virus.

This tracks with Doron’s experience at her hospital, Tufts Medical Center, where she also serves as hospital epidemiologist. Earlier in the pandemic, a large proportion of covid-positive hospitalizations were due to covid. But as more people developed some immunity through vaccination or infection, fewer patients were hospitalized because of it. During some days, she said, the proportion of those hospitalized because of covid were as low as 10 percent of the total number reported.

Determining the true number of hospitalizations from covid has immediate, practical purposes. “It allows for better forecasting of hospital capacity,” Doron told me. “If our hospital beds are full and we attribute it to covid, we might think that we’ll get the beds back when the wave of infections is over. But if people are sick from other causes, the beds could stay full.”

Doron acknowledges that there is a gray zone in the data in which covid might not be the primary cause of death but could have contributed to it. For instance, covid infection could push someone with chronic kidney disease into kidney failure. She and her colleagues are collecting data on this as well.

Both Dretler and Doron have faced criticism from people who say they are minimizing covid. That is not at all their aim. They have taken care of covid patients throughout the pandemic and have seen the evolution of the disease. Earlier on, covid pneumonia often killed otherwise healthy people. Today, most patients in their hospitals carrying the coronavirus are there for another reason. They want the public to see what they’re seeing, because, as Doron says, “overcounting covid deaths undermines people’s sense of security and the efficacy of vaccines.”

To be clear, if the covid death count turns out to be 30 percent of what’s currently reported, that’s still unacceptably high. But that knowledge could help people better gauge the risks of traveling, indoor dining and activities they have yet to resume.

Most importantly, knowing who exactly is dying from covid can help us identify who is truly vulnerable. These are the patients we need to protect through better vaccines and treatments.

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