At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly everyone has experienced the panic and uncertainty that come with having mild COVID-like symptoms – such as a cough and sore throat – only to test negative day after day. With cold and flu season just around the corner, that state of frustrating uncertainty is likely to strike most of us again.
Both COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that have similar symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between the two viral infections without a lab test. Testing is the only way to know which virus is causing your symptoms. In fact, labs are working to create one test that can detect both COVID-19 and the flu.
As a nursing professor with experience in public health promotion, I am often asked about the differences between the flu and COVID-19. This year I am fielding many questions about the timing of getting the new COVID-19 booster and the flu shot and whether they can be given together.
Parsing the symptoms
Symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu can range from mild – or no noticeable symptoms at all – to severe. While flu infection does not typically affect one’s ability to taste or smell, loss of taste or smell has been a common symptom associated with COVID-19 infection. Both infections can cause fevers, chills, body aches and fatigue. More severe symptoms of either infection include difficulty breathing and subsequent infections like pneumonia.
During the 2021-2022 flu season, the term “flurona” made its way into the COVID-19 vernacular. Flurona refers to a simultaneous infection with both the flu and COVID-19. While only a few cases of co-infections have been reported, it would not be surprising to see more of them this coming flu season. Vaccination for both the flu and COVID-19 is your best protection against both.
Timing the shots
With the newly formulated COVID-19 booster shot now available and flu season just around the corner, a natural question is whether there is an optimal timing for the two shots.
The answer to that question is to get both as soon as possible. It is important to consider that it takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop antibodies from both the COVID-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine.
As long as you have completed your primary COVID-19 vaccine series and it has been at least eight weeks since your last COVID-19 booster, now is the time to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – and the most recent omicron subvariants. The original COVID-19 vaccines and booster series have dramatically reduced the number of COVID-19 infection and death rates, as well as cases of severe COVID-19 that lead to hospitalization.
While everyone 6 months of age and older are recommended to receive both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, certain populations have a higher risk for severe infection, such as pregnant women, and should be extra vigilant about getting vaccinated.
Further, among those vaccinated against COVID-19, symptoms during an infection tend to be milder. However, due in part to the quickly evolving nature of the virus, it’s become clear that immune protection from COVID-19 vaccination or infection does not last forever. While studies show that the primary COVID-19 series maintains efficacy against severe disease and death six months after vaccination, protection against infection decreases by between 20% to 30% by six months after vaccination.
Timing is also important with the flu vaccine. Flu cases typically begin to rise in October and peak between December and February, but can last through May. Ideally, people should get vaccinated before flu begins to spread, making September or early October the ideal flu vaccination time.
A difficult flu season ahead
Due to lockdowns, reduced travel, school closures and mask mandates in the first and second years of the pandemic, both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 flu seasons were estimated to have fewer hospitalizations and deaths from the flu compared to many of the pre-pandemic years.
In the fall of 2021, experts became concerned about the potential for a COVID-19 and flu “twindemic,” especially as COVID-19 restrictions were lifting and masks were coming off. Fortunately, the worst didn’t bear out – flu numbers in the 2021-2022 season did not return to pre-pandemic levels. However, the possibility of a “twindemic” is not out of the picture for the coming flu season.
Flu seasons are inherently difficult to predict. With most people traveling again, schools open, mask mandates lifted and workers headed back to the office, people are undoubtedly going to be exposed to germs that they have been more protected from for the last two and a half years.
To further compound this, flu vaccine rates have been lower during the pandemic, suggesting that Americans may be out of the habit of getting their annual flu shot.
Pairing the shots
Many are also wondering whether they can or should get both the updated COVID-19 booster and the flu shot at the same time. The good news is, yes, it is safe for both adults and children 12 years of age and up who are eligible for the updated COVID-19 booster to get these vaccines simultaneously.
A recent study found that common vaccine side effects such as pain at the injection site occurred at slightly higher rates when someone received the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, as opposed to receiving only a COVID-19 booster. However, those reactions, including fatigue and headache, were mild and resolved within a day or two.
You don’t need to make two separate vaccine visits as long as you are due for your next COVID-19 shot. However, I don’t recommend waiting to get your flu shot if you are not yet due for a COVID-19 booster. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests everyone receive their flu vaccine by the end of October. But if you miss that deadline, it is absolutely better to get vaccinated later in the season than not at all.
Community matters too
Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines isn’t just about your own health, it’s about family and community health too. Communities with higher vaccination rates have fewer opportunities to spread the virus.
Keep in mind that many people cannot be vaccinated because they have weakened immune systems or are undergoing treatments. They depend on those around them for protection. While one person may experience mild symptoms if they contract the flu or COVID-19, they could spread the virus to others who could become severely ill. Because it’s impossible to predict how people will react if they get sick, getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines is the best prevention strategy.
Libby Richards has received funding from the National Institutes of Health. She is is affiliated with the American Public Health Association.disease control pandemic covid-19 vaccine testing antibodies spread deaths
Fauci And The CIA: A New Explanation Emerges
Fauci And The CIA: A New Explanation Emerges
Authored by Jeffrey A. Tucker via Brownstone Institute,
Jeremy Farrar’s book from August 2021…
Jeremy Farrar’s book from August 2021 is relatively more candid than most accounts of the initial decision to lock down in the US and UK. “It’s hard to come off nocturnal calls about the possibility of a lab leak and go back to bed,” he wrote of the clandestine phone calls he was getting from January 27-31, 2020. They had already alerted the FBI and MI5.
“I’d never had trouble sleeping before, something that comes from spending a career working as a doctor in critical care and medicine. But the situation with this new virus and the dark question marks over its origins felt emotionally overwhelming. None of us knew what was going to happen but things had already escalated into an international emergency. On top of that, just a few of us – Eddie [Holmes], Kristian [Anderson], Tony [Fauci] and I – were now privy to sensitive information that, if proved to be true, might set off a whole series of events that would be far bigger than any of us. It felt as if a storm was gathering, of forces beyond anything I had experienced and over which none of us had any control.”
At that point in the trajectory of events, intelligence services on both sides of the Atlantic had been put on notice. Anthony Fauci also received confirmation that money from the National Institutes of Health had been channeled to the offending lab in Wuhan, which meant that his career was on the line. Working at a furious pace, the famed “Proximal Origin” paper was produced in record time. It concluded that there was no lab leak.
In a remarkable series of revelations this week, we’ve learned that the CIA was involved in trying to make payments to those authors (thank you whistleblower), plus it appears that Fauci made visits to the CIA’s headquarters, most likely around the same time.
Suddenly we get some possible clarity in what has otherwise been a very blurry picture. The anomaly that has heretofore cried out for explanation is how it is that Fauci changed his mind so dramatically and precisely on the merit of lockdowns for the virus. One day he was counseling calm because this was flu-like, and the next day he was drumming up awareness of the coming lockdown. That day was February 27, 2020, the same day that the New York Times joined with alarmist propaganda from its lead virus reporter Donald G. McNeil.
On February 26, Fauci was writing: “Do not let the fear of the unknown… distort your evaluation of the risk of the pandemic to you relative to the risks that you face every day… do not yield to unreasonable fear.”
The next day, February 27, Fauci wrote actress Morgan Fairchild – likely the most high-profile influencer he knew from the firmament – that “be prepared to mitigate an outbreak in this country by measures that include social distancing, teleworking, temporary closure of schools, etc.”
To be sure, twenty-plus days had passed between the time Fauci alerted intelligence and when he decided to become the voice for lockdowns. We don’t know the exact date of the meetings with the CIA. But generally until now, most of February 2020 has been a blur in terms of the timeline. Something was going on but we hadn’t known just what.
Let’s distinguish between a proximate and distal cause of the lockdowns.
The proximate cause is the fear of a lab leak and an aping of the Wuhan strategy of keeping everyone in their homes to stop the spread. They might have believed this would work, based on the legend of how SARS-1 was controlled. The CIA had dealings with Wuhan and so did Fauci. They both had an interest in denying the lab leak and stopping the spread. The WHO gave them cover.
The distal reasons are more complicated. What stands out here is the possibility of a quid pro quo. The CIA pays scientists to say there was no lab leak and otherwise instructs its kept media sources (New York Times) to call the lab leak a conspiracy theory of the far right. Every measure would be deployed to keep Fauci off the hot seat for his funding of the Wuhan lab. But this cooperation would need to come at a price. Fauci would need to participate in a real-life version of the germ games (Event 201 and Crimson Contagion).
It would be the biggest role of Fauci’s long career. He would need to throw out his principles and medical knowledge of, for example, natural immunity and standard epidemiology concerning the spread of viruses and mitigation strategies. The old pandemic playbook would need to be shredded in favor of lockdown theory as invented in 2005 and then tried in Wuhan. The WHO could be relied upon to say that this strategy worked.
Fauci would need to be on TV daily to somehow persuade Americans to give up their precious rights and liberties. This would need to go on for a long time, maybe all the way to the election, however implausible this sounds. He would need to push the vaccine for which he had already made a deal with Moderna in late January.
Above all else, he would need to convince Trump to go along. That was the hardest part. They considered Trump’s weaknesses. He was a germaphobe so that’s good. He hated Chinese imports so it was merely a matter of describing the virus this way. But he also has a well-known weakness for deferring to highly competent and articulate professional women. That’s where the highly reliable Deborah Birx comes in: Fauci would be her wingman to convince Trump to green-light the lockdowns.
What does the CIA get out of this? The vast intelligence community would have to be put in charge of the pandemic response as the rule maker, the lead agency. Its outposts such as CISA would handle labor-related issues and use its contacts in social media to curate the public mind. This would allow the intelligence community finally to crack down on information flows that had begun 20 years earlier that they had heretofore failed to manage.
The CIA would hobble and hamstring the US president, whom they hated. And importantly, there was his China problem. He had wrecked relations through his tariff wars. So far as they were concerned, this was treason because he did it all on his own. This man was completely out of control. He needed to be put in his place. To convince the president to destroy the US economy with his own hand would be the ultimate coup de grace for the CIA.
A lockdown would restart trade with China. It did in fact achieve that.
How would Fauci and the CIA convince Trump to lock down and restart trade with China? By exploiting these weaknesses and others too: his vulnerability to flattery, his desire for presidential aggrandizement, and his longing for Xi-like powers over all to turn off and then turn on a whole country. Then they would push Trump to buy the much-needed personal protective equipment from China.
They finally got their way: somewhere between March 10 or possibly as late as March 14, Trump gave the go ahead. The press conference of March 16, especially those magical 70 seconds in which Fauci read the words mandating lockdowns because Birx turned out to be too squeamish, was the great turning point. A few days later, Trump was on the phone with Xi asking for equipment.
In addition, such a lockdown would greatly please the digital tech industry, which would experience a huge boost in demand, plus large corporations like Amazon and WalMart, which would stay open as their competitors were closed. Finally, it would be a massive subsidy to pharma and especially the mRNA platform technology itself, which would enjoy the credit for ending the pandemic.
If this whole scenario is true, it means that all along Fauci was merely playing a role, a front man for much deeper interests and priorities in the CIA-led intelligence community. This broad outline makes sense of why Fauci changed his mind on lockdowns, including the timing of the change. There are still many more details to know, but these new fragments of new information take our understanding in a new and more coherent direction.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.
North Korea Enshrines “Permanent” Nuclear Power Status In Constitution
North Korea Enshrines "Permanent" Nuclear Power Status In Constitution
On Thursday North Korean state media quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying…
On Thursday North Korean state media quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying more advanced atomic weapons are needed to counter the threat from the United States.
This signals the death knell for Washington's long stated policy goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, given that the remarks came as Kim enshrined the DPRK's status as a permanent nuclear power in its constitution.
North Korea's "nuclear force-building policy has been made permanent as the basic law of the state, which no one is allowed to flout," Kim told the State People's Assembly, according to state-run KCNA.
Starting last year he declared the north as an "irreversible" nuclear weapons state, and has in the last couple months ramped up ballistic missile tests in response to intermittent, ongoing joint US military drills with the south. This has already been a record year in terms of the number of Pyongyang's missile tests.
The north's rubber-stamp parliament, which met Tuesday and Wednesday, has approved the nuclear update to the constitution. Kim described that this was necessary as the United States has "maximized its nuclear war threats to our Republic by resuming the large-scale nuclear war joint drills with clear aggressive nature and putting the deployment of its strategic nuclear assets near the Korean peninsula on a permanent basis."
In July, the nuclear-armed USS Kentucky Navy ballistic missile submarine made a port call in South Korea, which marked a first in decades. It has stayed there since, enraging Pyongyang.
Kim in his Thursday address also blasted growing defense cooperation between Washington, Seoul and Tokyo as the "worst actual threat," saying that as a result "it is very important for the DPRK to accelerate the modernization of nuclear weapons in order to hold the definite edge of strategic deterrence."
A similar message was delivered in New York on Tuesday by Kim Song, North Korea's representative at the UN, who said in an address to the UN General Assembly that the region is close to the "brink of a nuclear war".
NEW: North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N. issued a stark warning that the Korean Peninsula has reached a “hair-trigger situation with imminent danger of nuclear war breakout,” delivering a speech at the 78th U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. https://t.co/Rwtxf37wkW— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) September 27, 2023
"Owing to the reckless and continued hysteria of nuclear showdown on the part of the US and its following forces, the year 2023 has been recorded as an extremely dangerous year that the military security situation in and around the Korean peninsula was driven closer to the brink of a nuclear war," he said.
"Due to [Seoul’s] sycophantic and humiliating policy of depending on outside forces, the Korean peninsula is in a hair-trigger situation with imminent danger of nuclear war," the ambassador continued. He further blasted the US for attempting to erect an "Asian NATO" that will bring a "new Cold War structure to northeast Asia."
Our Society Is Melting Down Even Faster Than Most People Thought That It Would
Our Society Is Melting Down Even Faster Than Most People Thought That It Would
Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream…
It can be difficult to believe that the wild scenes that we are witnessing on the streets of America are actually real. Earlier this week, I wrote an article entitled “What Life Is Really Like In America’s Hellish Inner Cities”. I wrote that article before the widespread looting that just erupted in Philadelphia. Just when I think that conditions in our core urban areas have reached a low point, they seem to find a way to get even worse. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of this crisis. As economic conditions continue to deteriorate, countless numbers of people will become very desperate. And when countless numbers of people become very desperate, our society will descend into a permanent state of chaos.
On Tuesday night, dozens of young people went on a rampage in the city of Philadelphia.
It is being reported that “stores in several areas of Philadelphia” were hit…
Dozens of people faced criminal charges Wednesday after a night of social media-fueled mayhem in which groups of thieves, apparently working together, smashed their way into stores in several areas of Philadelphia, stuffing plastic bags with merchandise and fleeing, authorities said.
A total of 52 arrests have been made so far, police said Wednesday.
Burglary, theft and other counts have been filed so far against at least 30 people, all but three of them adults, according to Jane Roh, spokesperson for the Philadelphia district attorney’s office.
The largest group consisted of approximately 100 young people, and there was violence when the police finally confronted that group outside of a Lululemon store…
Police in the city said that a large group of around 100 juveniles kept moving from store to store and looting them.
Videos shared on social media show officers attempting to grab thieves, some of whom are wearing Halloween masks, as they run riot through a Lululemon store.
One officer manages to hit one of the looters with a punch after tackling them to the ground.
Many on social media seem to be quite entertained by videos of the looting, but the truth is that this footage should break all of our hearts.
Everything in Center City Philadelphia is free with promo code: “the Big Guy 2024.”— Charles R Downs (@TheCharlesDowns) September 27, 2023
"Everybody keep yo phone out!"— Andy Ngô ????️???? (@MrAndyNgo) September 27, 2023
Seeking another George Floyd moment, #BLM protesters tell one another to start recording after Philadelphia Police arrived to make arrests at the downtown mass looting. Video uploaded by @OSiiNT:pic.twitter.com/oEyKU3Mhwk
Our society is literally coming apart at the seams all around us.
I had warned my readers that total retail theft would exceed 100 billion dollars this year, but now it is being reported that total retail theft already broke that threshold in 2022…
Last year, total losses tied to theft amounted to $112.1 billion, according to data from the 2023 National Retail Security Survey. That is up from $93.9 billion in losses in 2021 and $90.8 billion in 2020.
Retailers within metros including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland as well as Houston, New York and Seattle were hit the hardest last year.
So if last year’s number was 112 billion, what will the final number be for 2023?
Major retail chains all over America are shutting down stores due to rampant theft.
Target Corp. will shutter nine stores across four states on Oct. 21 because of theft and threats to safety, the company announced Tuesday, the latest — and loudest —example of a retailer exiting urban locations because of crime.
Target said it made the “difficult decision” to close the stores — which include locations in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Seattle, Portland and the San Francisco Bay area — after the Minneapolis-based company determined that theft-preventive measures had proved ineffective. The company said it had tried adding more security, including third-party guards, and using deterrents such as locking up merchandise.
“We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests and contributing to unsustainable business performance,” the company said.
But nine stores is just a drop in the bucket compared to what other retailers are doing.
For example, it is being reported that Rite Aid will close approximately 500 stores…
One of the largest U.S. drugstores chains Rite Aid is set to close around 500 stores nationwide as it negotiates a plan to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the firm, which is the third largest in the country, is looking to close branches and either sell or let creditors take over their remaining operations.
And CVS is in the process of closing a total of 900 stores by 2024…
Drugstore chain CVS is set to close hundreds of stores across the US as it undergoes a major reform to adjust to the needs of modern online shoppers.
The retail giant is coming to the end of a policy launched in 2021 which will see 300 stores closed each year – meaning 900 will have shuttered by 2024.
In the announcement, which has hit headlines again recently amid rampant shoplifting at the store, bosses they said that they were undergoing a new ‘retail footprint strategy.’
Drugstores used to be all over the place in our core urban areas.
But now our inner cities are littered with scores of boarded up establishments with “space available” signs on them.
This is what the future of America looks like, and it isn’t good.
Once upon a time, we could be proud of the shiny new cities that we had built from coast to coast.
Those cities were safe and they were clean.
But now our major cities have degenerated into crime-ridden hellholes that are absolutely filthy. In New York City, the millions of rats that live there are constantly making headlines…
This is the moment a group of horrified New Yorkers is forced to hop over scores of vermin scurrying across their path from bins outside a pizzeria.
Footage shows a few rats brazenly scurry across the pavement before scores of them emerge from an overflowing bin.
Taryn Brady, 29, who was with a group of friends when she filmed the rat encounter, said she was left in ‘fear and disgust’ after she and her friends had to hop over the rodents running towards them.
This is our country now.
I know that I keep saying that, but it is such an important point.
We don’t have the same nation that previous generations passed down to us.
Over the past 50 to 60 years, we have literally ruined America.
From the White House all the way down to the kids that are looting retailers in our major cities, we have become a laughingstock to the rest of the world.
And if we don’t find a way to turn things around, our story is going to have an absolutely tragic ending.
* * *
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