* Another reason to protect kids: Hospitals were already being overrun by RSV and parainfluenza…
The timing of Delta’s pediatric spike couldn’t have been worse. Many hospitals have for months been cracking under pressure from an unseasonal surge of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza—two other airway pathogens that can cause serious illnesses in the very young. Both viruses, typically fixtures of the chilly late-autumn and winter months, had all but evaporated during their typical November-to-February heyday, likely suppressed by pandemic-caliber masking and distancing. When those precautions began to slip, “boom, RSV hit us like a boulder,” Sharon Stoolman, a pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Nebraska, told me.
The usual influx of pediatric traumas and the unresolved strain on hospitals from the pandemic’s relentless 18-month slog add to the stress. Several health workers told me they were terrified that they’d be unable to provide adequate care to all the sick children coming their way. “My hospital is full today—I don’t have a bed,” Melissa J. Sacco, a pediatric critical-care physician at UVA Children’s Hospital, in Virginia, told me last week. “And I’m just thinking, Please, nobody get run over by a lawn mower.”
Wear a mask and get your shots.
* Press release…
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is launching a new immunization portal, Vax Verify, that will allow Illinois residents 18 years and older to check their COVID-19 vaccination record. Vax Verify can be accessed at https://idphportal.illinois.gov.
“As more businesses, events, organizations, and others require proof of vaccination, Illinois residents will be able to confirm using Vax Verify that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “With the current surge in cases, more people are making the decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine and this new tool will aid residents in confirming their vaccination where needed.”
Illinois State Fair concert goers with tickets for the grandstand track area (also known as Standing Room Only) are required to provide a print or digital copy of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours. Ticket holders can register in Vax Verify to check their immunization record for documentation of COVID-19 vaccination.
More and more companies, such as United, Google, Netflix, Morgan Stanley, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ascension Health, and Lyft, are instituting vaccine requirements for at least some of their employees.
The verification system follows best practices to protect confidential health information. In order to download proof of vaccination, residents will go through a brief, one-time identity verification process to gain access to their immunization history. The State of Illinois utilizes Experian® as its identity verification service provider. Individuals who have placed a freeze on their credit will need to unfreeze their credit with Experian® and wait 24 hours before completing the registration process. After completing registrations, individuals can re-freeze their credit by contacting Experian®.
After the verification process, individuals can see their own record in the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I-CARE).
Immunization records are kept confidential and only the individual can access their vaccination history. Parents should talk with their child’s provider to confirm their vaccination status. Some individuals with very common names will need to take additional steps to securely prove their identities.
* Center Square…
“A digitized system based on proof of immunization will amplify the lack of access,” the EFF said in a blog post. “Resources, especially tax dollars, should be focused on giving people more information about and access to vaccinations, rather than creating a digital fence against those who haven’t been vaccinated yet – and subjecting people who have been vaccinated to new privacy risks.
That post was written last December, when vaccine access and supply were both very limited and the Electronic Frontier Foundation was mainly concerned about equity.
* Press release…
The Illinois State Fair along with Governor JB Pritzker, announced that eleven healthcare workers from around the state will serve as the Grand Marshals for the 2021 Twilight Parade.
“Since early last year, our brave healthcare heroes have kept Illinois communities safe as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of residents in every corner of the state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Their ceaseless dedication to providing the best possible care for their neighbors saved lives. I look forward to honoring their sacrifices during this year’s Twilight Parade and I urge all Illinois residents to show their appreciation by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“We are proud to have our frontline healthcare workers and spiritual leaders take center stage to kick off the 2021 Illinois State Fair,” said Jerry Costello II, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director. “It is their hard work and dedication that have seen us through this past year and half, and now allows us to welcome folks back to the Illinois State Fair.”
The Grand Marshals represent all regions of the state and are as follows:
Carson Andrew, PA- Oregon, IL
Stephanie Soliz BSN, RN- Hampton, IL
Pastor T. Ray McJunkins- Springfield, IL
Latisha Stennis, A BH NP- East St. Louis, IL
Woody Thorne- Makanda, IL
Dr. Brent Reifsteck- Tolono, IL
Dr. Dan Garganera- Lockport, IL
Dr. Daryl Wilson- Naperville, IL
Gaudalupe Rodriguez- Park City, IL
Dr. Lisa Green- Chicago, IL
Dr. Mahesh Patel- Evanston, IL
This year’s Twilight Parade will turn east on Illinois Avenue and will end past the fire station at Gate 3. Admission to the fairgrounds is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors (60 and older) and kids 12 and under are free on Preview Day (Thursday). All carnival rides, including those in Adventure Village, will be open by Noon and all rides will be $2. Participants and attendees of the Twilight Parade are encouraged to wear masks.
The parade kicks off Thursday afternoon at 5:30.
* Other developments…
* COVID-19 update: 17,068 more shots, 3,933 new cases, 9 more deaths, 5.1% case positivity rate, 1,558 hospitalized, 49,200 tests
* UI sets aside Illini Union Hotel as quarantine spot; reservations canceled
* ‘What is happening to me?’ The teenagers trying to make sense of long Covid: More than 100,000 Britons under 25 have endured months of debilitating symptoms, while doctors struggle to help and others fail to take them seriously. Four young people describe what it’s like
* Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards worry college officials, as delta variant forces schools to require proof of shots
* Republicans risk becoming face of delta surge as key GOP governors oppose anti-covid measures
* CDC urges COVID vaccines during pregnancy as delta surges