Looking back on a ‘decade’ of a year, pandemic w/in a pandemic, EU countries headed to lock-down and more

 Looking back on the “decade” that was last year – We’ve learned that the United State has some deep fault lines — they were there before the pandemic, but this virus uncovered them in unprecedented ways.

Racism, sexism, ageism, ableism — they’ve been on full, ugly, divisive display this year. We’ve also learned that, like Mr. Rogers’ mom said, we can look for and find the helpers. The nonprofit world has been hit hard over the last year. Donations dropped dramatically — but those helpers are still doing everything they can to meet the needs of the people they serve…Like many of you, I’ve ridden the roller coaster of emotions that comes with traumatic disruption of one’s life: grief, fear, anger, resignation. But there has also been joy, gratitude, hope and love. There are absolutely things I hope continue once the tsunami of this pandemic recedes. Home church, remote work, the ability to comment on legislative hearings via Zoom and cat filters for lawyers. Sometimes, a total reset can be a gift (after it stops being awful). (Deseret News)

Pandemic within a pandemic – The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health has likely not been fully realized yet, but studies are already showing concerning trends, including increases of anxiety, depression and substance abuse in the state and nationwide, local mental health experts said in a virtual news conference hosted by the University of Utah’s Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “A year ago today, we began to go into a circumstance that we’ve never had before in our lifetimes,” Dr. Mark Rapaport, CEO of the Huntsman Mental Institute, said Thursday. “All of a sudden it was a sense of helplessness. All of a sudden there was a change in agency — a change in our belief that somehow we controlled our lives and controlled our fates. We began a journey that has allowed us to unfortunately experience loneliness and experience a sense of helplessness in ways that we never imagined we would do in our lifetime.” (Deseret News)

Paris headed to lockdown – “If we have to lock down, we will do it,” Jérôme Salomon, director of France’s public health agency said on Sunday. “The situation is complex, tense and is worsening in the Paris region.” The AP notes that the French government has been relying on curfews for the past few months to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, but Salomon said that a nationwide 6 p.m. curfew was “not enough.” According to Salomon, there are currently more ICU patients in France — around 6,300 — than the number of ICU beds that the country had before the pandemic. (The Hill, AP)

Germany declares ‘third wave’ – “We have clear signs: The third wave in Germany has already begun,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, told reporters during a news conference Friday. It comes at a time when the country has started to gradually relax lockdown restrictions, amid a government-led effort to speed up its vaccination rollout to as many adults as possible. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously warned the country could be caught in a third wave of infections if restrictive public health measures were lifted too quickly. (CNBC)

Italy facing Easter lockdown – Italy is facing another lockdown, as the government attempts to contain a recent surge of coronavirus cases, marred by the presence of new variants. Half of Italy’s 20 regions, which include the cities Rome, Milan and Venice, will be entering new coronavirus restrictions from Monday, March 15. The measures will be effective through April 6, according to a decree passed by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet on Friday. In regions demarcated as “red zones” people will be unable to leave their houses except for work or health reasons, with all non-essential shops closed. In “orange zones,” people will also be banned from leaving their town and their region — except for work or health reasons — and bars and restaurants will only be able to do delivery and take-away service. (CNN)

Vaccines facing trouble against South-African variant – A peer-reviewed study is showing concerning results of vaccine efficacy against the South African variant. The good news is that having two doses is much better than one dose alone of either Pfizer or Moderna. Overall, it looks like: people really need 2 doses for maximal protection, vaccines looks generally good against B117 & B1429 (CA variant), P1 is moderately poorer, B1351 looks worrisome. B1351 results look akin to unrelated coronaviruses. Info from Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, epidemiologist and health economist and senior fellow for the Federation of American Scientists.