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Supporting survivors of domestic violence during COVID-19 – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER



By Brittany Bevis, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Program

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a significant increase in the incidence of domestic violence in King County. Social distancing and other efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 over the past year have escalated survivors’ risk of violence through more time at home, increased household stress, and compromised access to advocacy and direct support systems.

Public Health Seattle-King County has been tracking incidents of domestic violence since October 2019. The Economic, Social, and General Health Impact Dashboard, which shows changes in key community health indicators, points to significant changes in domestic violence (DV) trends that highlight the impact of the pandemic.

DV-related homicides in King County nearly doubled in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported 258 calls from King County residents in March 2021 alone, the highest number of calls since the county began tracking calls.

The negative effects of DV-induced trauma are far-reaching. In addition to physical injuries and deaths, survivors are at greater risk of chronic mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

DV during the COVID-19 pandemic

DV abusers seek to build power and control in an intimate relationship by displaying patterns of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and using psychological tactics such as manipulation, intimidation, blame, coercion, and isolation.

COVID-19 has affected survivors in a number of ways. Less or no contact with friends and family can at the same time increase the power and control of an abusive partner while reducing a survivor’s options for support and security.

Safety planning or brainstorming plans to reduce the risk of future damage or get out of a computer situation was more difficult during the pandemic.

“Survivors’ options for security planning are badly affected as some perpetrators have either lost their jobs or are now working from home,” said Doris O’Neal, director of gender-based violence at YWCA. “The window of time that survivors once used when their perpetrator was away was essentially removed during the pandemic.”

Many DV agencies also report that the type of violence survivors have experienced has changed over the past year, with more high-risk abuse behaviors and cases of guns, including firearms, at play.

Who is affected by DV

DV is having a greater impact in communities hardest hit by trauma, structural racism, and other health inequalities, including COVID-19. Barriers to accessing services increase the risk for undocumented people, people with disabilities, children, members of BIPOC communities who feel unsafe about how to use law enforcement, and LGBTQ people, especially members of the trans community, to have difficulty accessing them to have gender equitable accommodation. Surveys by the National Center for Transgender Equality have shown that in IT care facilities, BIPOC and trans people are consistently denied culturally competent equal treatment services.

Caring for DV survivors during COVID-19

Computing advocates and direct service providers have worked to meet the needs of survivors during COVID-19.

A particularly significant change was the move from a system of filing protection orders that was only available in person to one that allowed survivors to seek legal aid virtually.

“When most court hearings were suspended in the first few months of the pandemic, attorneys and other scheme participants worked with Governor Inslee’s office to ensure survivors had access to safeguards while complying with the pandemic’s safety restrictions,” said Sandra Shanahan, program manager for The King County’s Regional Firearms Enforcement Department for Domestic Violence.

During this year’s legislature, policy makers passed House Bill 1320 directing Washington courts to permanently incorporate these changes into all types of civil defense orders. The streamlining of the protection order process will be a step towards reform and modernization of a system that has created significant security access barriers for survivors.

Everyone has a role to play in breaking the cycles of domestic violence in our communities.

Assisting DV survivors without judgment can reduce feelings of isolation and help them take steps toward safety.

Here are 3 ways to help:

  • Believe survivors. Actively listening and responding without rushing into details, honor the power it takes to share a deeply personal and painful experience like DV.
  • Stay in touch even if a survivor makes decisions that you disagree with. People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons, and it is important to support them in any case.
  • If you know someone in a crisis who has access to a firearm, speak to them about safe storage and the ability to apply for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. The likelihood of a DV situation becoming fatal is much higher in the presence of a firearm.

For more information, see the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Friends and Family Guide.

IT resources

  • YWCA: 877-757-8297 (call / text line)

Originally published June 2, 2021


Wimbledon welcomes back the crowds after COVID-19 shutdown



LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – It may rain, umbrellas are as much a part of the English summer as striped jackets and strawberries and cream, but the return of Wimbledon will put a spring in the way for tennis fans whatever the weather.

The pristine grass pitches in south-west London went untrodden last year when one of the sports calendar’s highlights was canceled for the first time in three quarters of a century, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It may not be a “normal service” just yet, the emphasis is still more on social distancing than socializing, but the game will at least resume with eager viewers in the thousands attending next week.

“When Wimbledon was canceled last year, it was a blow in the gut for our sport. A terrible time,” commented three-time Wimbledon winner and ESPN analyst John McEnroe. “So it’s amazing to have it back.”

The tournament is a government approved “pilot event” with a capacity of at least 50% increasing to a full 15,000 spectators for the men’s and women’s singles finals on Center Court.

Ticket holders must still provide proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test, or proof of full recovery from the virus and wear face masks when moving around the premises but not while seated.

The organizers warned that some distancing was required, especially when managing queues.

The most famous queue of them all – for returns and daytime tickets – has left the park and, like so much last year, has gone virtual, with sales on a mobile app and initially only to UK residents.

‘Henman Hill’, the grassy hill outside Court One where many fans usually gather to watch games on the big screen, will be open but details on the numbers allowed are still sketchy.

Players are limited to a maximum entourage of three, and even the biggest names must stay in approved hotels rather than renting private homes in the upscale neighborhoods as usual. Those who normally live in London also have to check into these so-called Wimbledon Bubble Hotels.

The reaction of the top players is full of excitement to go out again in the only Grand Slam tournament that did not take place last year.

“It’s going to be an incredible event … It’s our Augusta National, how green it is, how much this tournament has,” commented the hard-hitting American John Isner. “Everyone will be happy to come back.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, a 2019 women’s semi-finalist, agreed that she was sorely missed.

“I think the whole Wimbledon experience is magical because we know the rules are pretty strict and this year they are getting even stricter with all the protocols we have to follow,” she said.

“But you’re only in white, you’re at such a beautiful venue, a historic venue, so the whole atmosphere that the fans make and walking on the square, that’s the whole experience I would say.”

Additional coverage by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Heart Inflammation In Young Adults After COVID-19 Vaccine Is Rare, CDC Says : NPR



A teenager enters a pop-up vaccine site for COVID-19 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens in New York City earlier this month. Scott Heins / Getty Images Hide caption

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Scott Heins / Getty Images

A teenager enters a pop-up vaccine site for COVID-19 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens in New York City earlier this month.

Scott Heins / Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 323 cases of heart inflammation have been confirmed in people who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have mainly been observed in adolescents and young adults between 12 and 39 years of age – mostly after the second dose of vaccine. Symptoms include chest pain or pressure, and abnormal EKG and blood test results.

The CDC says most people who have experienced this side effect have recovered from their symptoms and are fine. Of the 323 cases, 295 were discharged from the hospital, nine remained in the hospital until last week, and 14 were not hospitalized at all. Results data were missing in five cases. No deaths have been associated with this side effect.

The CDC says that after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some cases of heart inflammation have been reported to the vaccine adverse event reporting system, albeit not as many as for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Pfizer's Teenage COVID Vaccine and Myocarditis: What You Need To Know

The number of cases has not increased much since last week when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a White House briefing that the agency knew of “over 300” cases.

Officials say the side effect is extremely rare

The CDC says the results do not change the basic recommendation that all people 12 and older should receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, if a person develops myocarditis after the first dose, a second dose should be postponed until the condition has completely resolved and the heart has returned to normal.

“The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect and only an extremely small number of people will experience it after vaccination,” said a statement. “What is important is that most cases are mild for the young people who do this, and those affected often recover on their own or with minimal treatment. Additionally, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common when you get COVID-19, and what are the risks? to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more serious. ”

A representative from the Food and Drug Administration who attended the meeting, Dr. Doran Fink said the agency will add a warning to vaccine datasheets reflecting the risk of this rare complication.

Naturally occurring heart infections are rare, but do occur from time to time in teenagers and young adults. The rate seen after these vaccines is slightly higher than what would be expected for this age, which is cause for concern.

The data will be presented at a meeting of expert advisors convened by the CDC, which will be held practically on Wednesday and will be open to the public.

Teens receive vaccination cards after receiving an initial dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic at YMCA Weingart East Los Angeles in Los Angeles last month. Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Teens receive vaccination cards after receiving an initial dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic at YMCA Weingart East Los Angeles in Los Angeles last month.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Officials are also testing booster shots

The group also deals with the issue of booster doses. A CDC report submitted to the panel of experts said the agency would recommend a booster dose only if there is evidence that people who have received the vaccines become infected in significant numbers. The agency wouldn’t rely on a decrease in antibodies alone.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes recommendations for the use and planning of all approved and approved vaccines in the United States. It was not planned to vote on recommendations regarding the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines on Wednesday.

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St. Louis Pandemic Doctor: COVID-19 Now Almost ‘Universally Preventable’ With Vaccines



For more than 14 months, Dr. Alex Garza, as the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, a group of senior leaders from the area’s hospitals, is the face of the area’s COVID-19 response.

The task force has suspended its weekly livestream conferences as coronavirus cases and hospital stays in the region’s hospitals have remained relatively flat.

Sarah Fentem, of St. Louis Public Radio, interviewed Garza about his job, the ongoing challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, and how health workers have dealt with last year’s psychological toll.

Sarah Fentem: One of the most interesting aspects of the briefings for me was seeing doctors and health care professionals show a lot of emotion and show the human side of health care that I don’t think many patients see. How are the workers now? Are they still taking a psychological toll?

Alex Garza: I would be surprised if they weren’t still wearing it. I think, as you know, and as many people know, I am also in the military and one of the things that has long ends after conflict is the post-conflict problems with PTSD and the psychological distress that goes on for a long time. And that’s really not much different. There are physical manifestations that will last for a long time.

From a social perspective, too, I think we have to go back and look at what has just happened in the past year and a half. How did we react as a society? What worked, what didn’t work, why didn’t some things work the way we wanted them to? And ask these serious questions.

Many of the topics are not necessarily scientific and medical topics. I think they’re more cultural and social than anything to do with “How do we make vaccines”. or ‘What are the protective things we have to do?’ The scientific knowledge has already occurred with the fact that it is above all the cultural and social things that pose the questions to be answered.

Fentem: The obvious follow-up question is: What questions do we have to ask ourselves culturally? You are probably thinking about vaccines, right?

Garza: During the pandemic, there have always been challenges with the counter-narrative, be it “this is none other than the flu” or “these classes of drugs will work,” although it has been scientifically proven that they don’t work. The whole theme of wearing masks, which sparked a whole new political and social dynamic, although science had undoubtedly proven its effectiveness. And the same with vaccines.

Fentem: Do you think doctors and the entire healthcare industry underestimated that in the beginning?

Garza: I think we have, I really do. Fortunately, we don’t have much experience with rampant pandemics and how they will be interpreted and how they will affect societies and countries.

The advent of social media and things like that presented a much greater challenge in protecting communities and encouraging people to do the right things to protect and prevent its spread. I think that was underestimated.

Fentem: Let’s talk about what’s going on in the hospitals right now. Who do you see coming to the hospitals and is the number of cases manageable at the moment?

The last time we somehow broke this, about 97% of the people who were hospitalized were unvaccinated. And it’s a younger cohort of patients too, which comes with the narrative of vaccinations. I think it is very frustrating and somewhat disappointing for health care workers to still care for patients with this disease, which by and large is preventable almost everywhere.

Fentem: The last question is related to that. We look at the hesitation of vaccines, and I hear a lot about the variants ahead. Is it possible that these two factors together take us back to last year? Is that something you are worried about?

Garza: I’m worried about that. I think it is possible that the number of younger patients will increase, but probably not at the level we saw in the fall and winter. The challenge is that when you look at what is driving the pandemic, there are a few things. One is the virus, how communicable is the virus? Of course, if you throw in a new virus that is more communicable and causes more disease, it leads to more cases and hospitalizations. The second is: What kind of mitigation strategies do I have? Virtually all of the mitigation strategies are now gone.

This is why you are seeing such a large increase in cases in places that are unvaccinated and have no public containment strategies. And you throw in those variations … it’s just science and math, there’s no magic. You introduce a highly virulent virus into a naive population, it will spread unless you take steps to prevent it from spreading.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: Petit_Smudge

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