Two lawmakers test positive for coronavirus, one after receiving both doses of vaccine

Politics - The Washington Post

Two members of Congress from Massachusetts have tested positive for the coronavirus, one after receiving both doses of the vaccine, a reminder that people can still be vulnerable to infection after being vaccinated, particularly in the two weeks after receiving the second dose.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) tested positive for the virus on Friday afternoon after a staff member in his Boston office tested positive earlier in the week, his spokeswoman Molly Rose Tarpey said.

Lynch received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before the inauguration of President Biden on Jan. 20, but his office declined to specify the date it was administered. Lynch had tested negative for the virus before attending the inaugural ceremonies, Tarpey said.

“While Mr. Lynch remains asymptomatic and feels fine, he will self-quarantine and will vote by proxy in Congress during the coming week,” she said.

Tarpey added that Lynch “has followed CDC guidelines and continues to do so since he received the vaccine.”

Another Democrat from Massachusetts, Rep. Lori Trahan, announced Thursday that she had tested positive for the virus and was asymptomatic. Trahan, whose staff members have been working remotely, also said she planned to vote by proxy next week.

“I encourage everyone to continue taking this virus seriously and to follow the science and data-driven guidance to wear a mask, maintain a safe social distance from others, avoid large gatherings and stay home whenever possible,” Trahan said.

Trahan received her first shot of one of the vaccines last week, spokeswoman Francis Grubar told The Washington Post.

Occasional cases of people testing positive after receiving one or both doses are not unexpected, medical experts say. Clinical trial data published by Pfizer show that the vaccine is about 52 percent effective at preventing illness after the first shot, compared to 95 percent effectiveness seven days after the second dose.

A small number of patients can still become mildly sick even after they are fully vaccinated. But only one of the roughly 20,000 people who received both doses in the clinical trial developed severe covid-19, suggesting the vaccine is powerful protection against the most dangerous cases of the disease.

Members of Congress began getting vaccinated as early as Dec. 18, but Lynch at the time said he was “waiting for the vaccine to be first offered to health care personnel, first responders and vulnerable seniors” in his district, the Boston Herald reported. It is unclear when Lynch ultimately received his first dose of the vaccine; he would have received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine about three to four weeks after the first.

Public health experts have emphasized that it usually takes one week after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to reach 95 percent efficacy and two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine to reach 94 percent efficacy.

“There’s no vaccine that I know that protects you the same day you get it,” Onyema Ogbuagu, the principal investigator for Pfizer’s vaccine trial at Yale University, told The Post’s Allyson Chiu. “On a population level, 95% efficacy still translates to 5/100, or 50/1,000, or 500/10,000 vaccinated persons still being vulnerable to symptomatic disease and maybe even more having asymptomatic carriage.”

At least 23.2 million people in the United States have received one or both doses of the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that vaccinated people continue to wear masks, socially distance, avoid poorly ventilated spaces and wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We also don’t yet know whether getting a covid-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes covid-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself,” CDC guidelines state. “While experts learn more about the protection that covid-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.”

Mask-wearing in particular has become politicized, including in the hallways of Congress. After the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol, several Democrats said they feared they had been exposed to the virus after sheltering with Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks. In the following, at least three lawmakers tested positive for the virus.

On Friday, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) accused Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of berating her in the hallways after she told Greene to put on a mask. The incident, coupled with other hostile rhetoric and Greene’s refusal to abide by rules and protocols put in place because of the pandemic, prompted Bush to decide to move her office away from Greene’s for safety reasons, the Missouri lawmaker said.

Cartoon – The Customer is Often Wrong

My son's kindergarten is doing remote learning. It's the worst. | cartoon

Cartoon – I’m DONE wearing a MASK

Editorial cartoon for June 19, 2020 | West Central Tribune

Cartoon – Constitutional Rights vs. Civility

Saturday cartoon

First Sign of Civilization

11 Margaret Mead Quotes that Show Change Starts with You

Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
“We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.”
– Ira Byock.

Importance of Honesty and Ethics in our Communities

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was just a few feet from the finish line, but became confused with the signage and stopped, thinking he had completed the race. A Spanish runner, Ivan Fernandez, was right behind him and, realizing what was happening, started shouting at the Kenyan to continue running. Mutai didn’t know Spanish and didn’t understand.
Realizing what was taking place, Fernandez pushed Mutai to victory.
A journalist asked Ivan, “Why did you do that?” Ivan replied,
“My dream is that someday we can have a kind of community life where we push and help each other to win.”
The journalist insisted “But why did you let the Kenyan win?” Ivan replied, “I didn’t let him win, he was going to win. The race was his.” The journalist insisted, and again asked, “But you could have won!”
Ivan looked at him and replied,
“But what would be the merit of my victory?
What would be the honor in that medal?
What would my Mother think of that?”
Values are passed on from generation to generation.
This election year, what values are we teaching our children?
Let us not teach our kids the wrong ways and means to WIN.
Instead, let us pass on the beauty and humanity of a helping hand.
Because honesty and ethics are WINNING!

First Sign of Civilization in a Culture

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.

But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.

A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”

We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

– Ira Byock.