Weekly summary: And, good stuff for your weekend

There’s a lot of fast-moving data coming out! So, I thought I’d provide a weekly summary of some of the main highlights on COVID from the week. And, include some fun-non-COVID stuff at the end like what I’m reading, watching, listening to, loving, favorite quotes, etc. Maybe some of those fun things will get you ready for the weekend!

Quick note about comments and subscriptions: I only read comments through Substack. So if you email me, comment on FB/Ista/Twitter, or DM me on socials, I do not read those. You can become a paid subscriber here to interact with me and this amazingly kind crew on Substack. =) Or you can sign up for the free version sent directly to your inbox.

COVID highlights

  1. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are trending down. But, the country continues to remain red/orange. We are not out of the woods, friends! Go here to see your county.

  1. The big news this week was all about boosters. Here’s a good summary from the FDA. I also wrote about boosters a few days ago here on Substack if you want a more in-depth discussion.

  2. Here’s a good article about our immune systems for us non-immunologists. =) It helps explain antibodies, B cells, vaccines, and why waning immunity only according to antibody tests do not show the full picture of our complex (and awesome) immune systems.

  3. Global vaccine distribution continues to be a topic of concern and inequities. “2% of the population in LICs had received at least one vaccine dose, compared to 30% in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), 54% in upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), and nearly two-thirds (65%) in high-income countries (HICs). In 6 LICs (25%), fewer than 1% had received at least one vaccine dose. By contrast, in 6 HICs (8%), more than 80% of the population had”.”

  1. America ranks #1 for excess deaths among high-income countries. The number of excess deaths are deaths that are HIGHER than expected - regardless of cause. These are largely deaths that could have been avoided in “normal” times.

    Its daily toll of excess deaths is greater than in all other high-income countries combined.”

    “The Economist’s excess-deaths model, which estimates the difference between the actual and the expected number of deaths recorded in a given period, suggests that America is suffering 2,800 pandemic deaths per day, with a plausible range of 900 to 3,300, compared with 1,000 (150 to 3,000) in all other high-income countries, as defined by the World Bank. Adjusting for population, the death rate is now about eight times higher in America than in the rest of the rich world.”

Weekend reads and listens

I’m currently reading (on my bed-swing with the gorgeous NC weather like in the picture above):

  • Anne of the Island (see the quote below) - This is the perfect time of year to read Anne again - especially if I’m in the bed swing with coffee and a blanket if it’s early in the morning. Thank you, North Carolina, for this beautiful weather!

  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by Jon Mark Comer- Uhm, whoa y’all. This book is so good.

  • Deep Work by Cal Newport - I read this book every year before the beginning of the academic school year. I think I’m on my 5th read-through so far - you can definitely tell this book is loved with coffee stains, water marks, and dog-eared pages.

  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport - This summer, I did a major digital detox from social media and have kept LOTS of those parameters. In fact, I just haven’t been on FB or the Insta since June. And, let me tell you - it’s awesome. =) If you need some time away from “the socials”, go for it.

Some of my favorite podcasts from the week:

  • ShinyEpi People - This is a really fun podcast of epidemiologists, led by the awesome Dr. Lisa Bodnar, talking about real-life stuff with lots of laughter, science, and friendship. I highly recommend this podcast for those of you in public health and especially for you MPH/MSPH/PhD students in epidemiology.

  • Holy Post Podcast - For those of you in the evangelicalish spaces, you have probably heard of this podcast. It’s led by the creator of Veggie Tales and is super-refreshing in talking about hard subjects these days. If you’ve been hurt by church over the pandemic or disenfranchised with evangelicals, give this a listen.

Quote of the week (This is my favorite quote!)

“I’m so glad I live in a world with Octobers.” - Anne of Green Gables

I shared this quote last weekend and many of you said you were Anne-with-an-E fans too. This tickled me pink to hear that many of you are Anne fans! This is my all-time favorite book series which I read over and over and over growing up. (Just ask my mom - I read the entire Anne of Green Gables series multiple times. And, I still cry any time I watch the show (the original one) and hear the music when Matthew takes Anne home for the first time. Or the time when she teaches in Anne of the Island. And chuckle when she gets into trouble with Diana - a lot.) I sure do love Anne Shirley and have revisited those books this month. Did you read the Avonlea and Emily series too? I still have them all in my daughter’s room.

Good things to watch

  • Did you see this sweet video of a little boy going on stage to the Pope? My goodness, it makes me happy! Watch all the way through for what the Pope says about children. Clap Clap Clap.

  • What do I do with myself now that Ted Lasso is over? Any other Roy Kent fans? Believe! That series was such a breath of fresh air and laughter. If you haven’t watched it and you need to laugh (and then sometimes cry), this is a great series to start.

A final word

I have found myself slowing down a lot more lately. The adrenaline of 2020-early 2021 has worn off and I find myself (like many of you) languishing, questioning, starting fresh, working through what happened (and what was lost) in 2020. Are you weary? Quieting, slowing, nourishing, stopping. To me, it’s been a season of getting rid of distractions, loud voices, and things that just don’t matter anymore. And, things that I just don’t want to be a part of anymore to become who I really am. Friends, it’s freeing to get rid of all of that - it’s also a process.

Kindof like a garden.

One of the first things we did when we moved was plan a garden. A massive garden. I needed to cultivate and turn over old soil and plant anew. I have a post dedicated just to that coming up in the next few weeks because it mimics what a lot of you have and are experiencing during the pandemic - and, mimics my own experience. For now, let me share with you my first plantings. The soil has been cultivated, turned over, amended, nourished. And, finally new life is sprouting. I hope you have some time this weekend for the slowing down of new life. I’m also thinking of those of you who have had a rough church experience in 2020. Friends, my goodness do I understand that and wrote about some of that experience here! There’s new life and sometimes that means we have to completely turn over the soil of what once was to plan anew. I hope you can do that in small ways this weekend.

In the picture, do you see the cute birdhouse in the background? My paternal grandmother made that and I always think of her when I’m in the garden now. She is also the one who passed down a love for cardinals.

Have a great weekend, web-peeps! Take care of yourself and one another.