UW Medicine postponing some non-urgent procedures amid rising COVID cases

UW Medicine and other hospitals are starting to postpone non-urgent procedures to free up more space as coronavirus cases surge in Washington state.

SEATTLE — UW Medicine in Seattle is delaying some non-urgent procedures to free up more space in its hospitals for coronavirus patients. 

Hospital staff are identifying non-urgent surgeries that would require hospitalization and postponing them “unless it would cause medical harm to the patient,” said Susan Gregg, spokesperson for UW Medicine on Saturday. 

“We are implementing this process to increase our bed capacity and available personnel based on the current increase of COVID-19 cases in our region and increased hospitalizations,” Gregg said via email. 

UW Medicine isn’t the only hospital choosing to postpone certain procedures. 

During a briefing with state and local health officials earlier this week, Chief Operating Officer at Swedish First Hill, Dr. Elizabeth Wako, said her hospital is reducing elective surgeries to make room for more COVID-19 patients.

The latest data from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported 141,260 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, including 2,619 deaths as of Saturday. There are currently 9,765 hospitalizations, according to the DOH. 

In King County, there are 2,930 hospitalizations, in Snohomish County there are 1,041 hospitalizations, and in Pierce County there are 1,192 hospitalizations, according to DOH data that was last updated Saturday afternoon.

Hospitals in western Washington are preparing for what could be a surge in COVID-19 cases following the Thanksgiving holiday if people choose to ignore state and local warnings to not gather with people outside their household. 

A new national survey by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found nearly two in five people report they will likely attend a gathering with more than 10 people for Thanksgiving.

“If you gather with 15 people for Thanksgiving dinner, there will be an 18% chance that one of the individuals will be infected with COVID,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy during a briefing this week.

Deputy Secretary of Health Lacy Fehrenbach added, “There’s risk for further transmission. Those guests who become infected may go on to do other things the following week. They may go to a religious service. Another might work in a nursing home. A child who attended could go to school leading to outbreaks in these locations.”

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Georgia coronavirus infections still rising, but more slowly

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia is nearing 8,000 deaths from COVID-19 as infections from the novel coronavirus continue to rise.

The broadest measure of COVID-19 cases, which includes rapid antigen tests as well as the more precise genetic tests, shows the number of confirmed and probable cases was 8.5% higher in the week that ended Friday compared with the week before, according to a report issued Monday by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

In one good sign, though, the number of cases and hospitalizations rose more slowly last week than the week before.

The 7-day rolling average of new cases detected through only genetic tests in Georgia was nearly 1,600 on Monday, 38% higher than at the recent low on Oct. 8. More than 1,400 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday, up 12% from the recent low in October.

Nearly 363,000 people in Georgia have been confirmed to have the illness as of Monday, and 7,999 confirmed deaths have been recorded. The average number of deaths recorded has been falling in recent weeks, but deaths typically come only after new cases are detected and people are hospitalized. While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife are among those in quarantine after being exposed to the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state issued guidance saying those who have tested positive for the virus. The agencies say anyone who is sick or in quarantine should inform poll workers when they arrive at a polling place. Such people are supposed to wear a mask, stay 6 feet (2 meters) from others and clean hands before and after voting.

The share of positive tests rose to 7.3% on Monday in Georgia. Experts say that if more than 5% of tests are coming back positive, it suggests that too few tests are being done and many infections may be going undetected. The increasing positivity rate could also be affected by a decline in recent days in genetic tests for the virus, considered the most accurate.


State Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said Oct. 7 that the state was planning to include positive rapid antigen tests in its daily report, but Georgia has not yet done so.

The state’s report on Monday listed 52 high transmission counties, where the positivity rate has been above 10% in the last two weeks and the number of new cases was above 100 per 100,000 residents during that time. High transmission counties include those that are home to Athens, Carrollton, Dalton, Rome, Valdosta and Warner Robins, as well as the south suburban Atlanta counties of Clayton and Henry.

New cases and hospitalizations in Georgia remain at less than half their July peaks, when the state was ranked worst in the nation. Because the respiratory illness is now spreading so rapidly in other regions, Georgia ranks only 40th among

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Utah sent every phone in the state an emergency alert warning about rapidly rising Covid-19 cases

“State of Utah: COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. Record cases. Almost every county is a high transmission area. Hospitals are nearly overwhelmed,” read the alert. “By public health order, masks are required in high transmission areas. Social gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer.”

“Be careful!” it warned, alongside a link containing more information about the ever-worsening coronavirus surge.

The messages were sent beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday and remained active for 15 minutes.

Typically used for severe weather and AMBER Alerts, state and local officials are increasingly deploying these Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to warn of Covid-19 spikes as well. Through late September, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), local officials had sent the public than 400 such alerts.

Typically they are targeted to a city; New Yorkers have gotten a few. But Utah’s appears to be the first time a WEA was sent to an entire state. Officials explained in a news statement that the “dire situation” there drove them to try the stark approach.

“Despite the ongoing pandemic, there are a number of people who are not aware of the dire situation we find ourselves in,” state officials said. “As a result, the emergency alert was an effort to “make sure nearly everyone is aware of the serious nature of the pandemic.”

The alert came as the state hit a grim milestone, as Utah hits record highs in several Covid-19 measures, including number of new cases, 7-day case average, and test positivity percentage, the state data dashboard shows.

In a press conference on Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called the state’s situation “one of the worst outbreaks in the country.”

The state reported a record 2,281 new Covid-19 cases Friday, according to state data. Previously, its record high was 1,989 cases on October 22. Furthermore, its 7-day case average now sits at a record of 1,621.7 cases, and its percentage of positive tests is at a record 18.17% as of Friday. All of these barometers are steadily climbing.

Meanwhile, 72.5% of Utah’s ICU beds are occupied, along with 54% of its traditional beds, according to the state dashboard, meaning that hospitals are quickly running out of space for new patients.

All this comes as the US hits a record of 9 million Covid-19 cases, a number that experts are warning will continue to surge.

CNN’s Jenn Selva contributed to this report.

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US opioid deaths rising amid coronavirus lockdowns, state health officials say

Opioid deaths are spiking in places across the U.S. as states remain locked down during the ongoing battle against the coronavirus, state and county health officials reported this month.

While national data isn’t available for most of 2020, several individual states are reporting an increase in opioid overdose deaths amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Health officials and experts have cited increased isolation and job loss due to statewide shutdowns as possible factors for the surge in drug-related deaths.

“The pandemic has really increased risk factors for substance abuse disorder,” Rebecca Shultz, director of community health at the Onondaga County Health Department, told Syracuse.com.

Opioid deaths in Onondaga County, N.Y., jumped to 86 in the first six months of 2020, according to the county health department. This number was nearly double the reported 44 fatalities in the first half of 2019, the outlet reported, citing the county medical examiner’s office.

Oregon saw a 70% increase in opioid overdose deaths in April and May 2020 compared to the same time last year, the Oregon Health Authority said.

While the department called the rise an “alarming spike,” it also said it was “premature to say how much of the spike in overdose deaths is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“However, the realization that we will be dealing with COVID-19 for some time, and other stressors related to jobs, school, and social isolation, may increase feelings of anxiety and depression, and that can lead to a harmful level of alcohol or other drug use,” said Tom Jeanne, deputy state health officer and deputy state epidemiologist.

NJ GOVERNOR WHO IS AGGRESSIVELY PUSHING FOR LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA STEPS UP EFFORTS TO BATTLE OPIOID ADDICTION

In Maine, which saw 258 overdose deaths from January through June, there was a 27% increase over the second half of 2019. Officials cited increased isolation as a partial factor for the rise.

“It is clear from the data that the increase in deaths from the opioid epidemic can be partially attributed to the increased isolation of living through the pandemic,” Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a report on the state’s drug deaths for the second quarter.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told FOX40 Sacramento that “in some of our counties, there are more deaths from overdoses than there are from COVID-19.”

TUCKER SLAMS CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWNS AS ANOTHER BLOW TO ‘THE WRONG PEOPLE’ IN RURAL AMERICA

Becerra said that in San Diego there was a 50% increase in overdose deaths in July and August compared to the months leading to the pandemic. He said “the effects of these plagues are exacerbating” due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, preliminary overdose death counts were up in Connecticut more than 19% through the end of July, compared with the same period last year. They were up 9% in Washington through the end of August, 28% in Colorado, and 30% in Kentucky during that same time.

After a one-year drop in 2018, U.S. opioid overdose deaths increased again in

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Coronavirus-Related Hospitalizations Keep Rising – WSJ.com

The number of people hospitalized in the U.S. with Covid-19 climbed to 44,212 Tuesday, the highest number of patients since Aug. 15, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

The increasing number of patients poses a challenge for some hospitals struggling with staffing shortages and increased capacity. Rising hospitalizations in places such as Idaho, Utah, Montana and El Paso, Texas, and other indicators of the virus’s spread have prompted officials to implement stricter restrictions in recent days.

More than 1,000 people were hospitalized in New Jersey on Tuesday, the highest number since early July. Officials in Newark this week imposed new restrictions on bars and restaurants, as well as other businesses, as the testing positivity rate there climbs.

Hard-hit Wisconsin set another record Tuesday with 1,385 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, 339 of whom were being treated in intensive-care units, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Officials there opened a field hospital earlier this month to accommodate the growing number of patients.

Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator of the virus’ spread, epidemiologists say.

In Montana, the soaring numbers of Covid-19 cases have pushed the state’s largest hospitals to capacity as officials there grapple with uneven enforcement of the state’s mask mandate, said Jim Murphy, administrator of the state’s Communicable Disease and Laboratory Services Division.

“We have a limited number of tools to try to control the spread of this,” Mr. Murphy said. “Some were more aggressive than others and we do think that has made an impact.”

The state in mid-July required masks indoors at businesses, government offices and large outdoor activities without social distancing. The state last week went to court to enforce the July directives at five businesses where investigations found repeated violations, said Raph Graybill, chief legal council for the Montana governor.

Counties with younger populations have not seen the same rise in hospitalizations as those with older residents, who are at greater risk from the new virus, Mr. Murphy said. In Yellowstone County, home to Billings, Mont., the median age of Covid-19 cases in early October was nearly a decade older than Gallatin County, home to Montana State University, he said.

The Billings Clinic’s flagship hospital, located in Yellowstone County, is transferring patients to smaller, rural hospitals to create more room as Covid-19 hospitalizations increase.

Across Montana, 350 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 Tuesday, Covid Tracking Project data show. The seven-day average for hospitalizations is up more than 120% since the start of the month.

Hospitals are better positioned now to manage surges than earlier in the pandemic, said health-care workers and executives.

Utah’s latest Covid-19 surge is its largest in the pandemic, but doctors have the advantage of experience gained in prior waves as hospitalizations again climb, said Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease doctor with Intermountain Healthcare, the state’s largest hospital system.

Doctors employ new strategies to delay or avoid placing some critically ill patients on ventilators, he said. Some drugs to treat Covid-19 drugs are also now available, which was not the case

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COVID rising in southwest Va.; health system issues warning

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Southwest Virginia is seeing a sustained, troubling increase in cases of COVID-19 driven partly by small family gatherings, the governor and top health officials said Wednesday, as one area health system issued a stark warning that its resources were being stretched thin.

“To be quite frank, today our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic,” said Jamie Swift, the chief infection prevention officer for Ballad Health, which serves southwest Virginia, as well as adjacent parts of Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference in Richmond that Virginia overall is among just a handful of U.S. states not reporting large increases in COVID-19 cases. But the seven-day testing percent positivity rate in the region’s westernmost localities is about twice the rate of the rest of the state’s 5.1 % and has been increasing for 15 days, Northam said.

“I strongly urge everyone in the southwest — look at these numbers and step up your precautions,” Northam said.


The governor said there were no immediate plans to introduce new regional restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus, but he said such a move was a possibility if the numbers keep trending up.

Northam and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Daniel Carey said gatherings of extended family members not living in the same household were contributing to the spread. Virginia has so far reported nearly 177,000 cases of COVID-19 and just over 3,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to health department data.

Dr. Karen Shelton, the director of a health department district that includes much of southwest Virginia, wrote in an email that other factors contributing to what she called a “surge” in cases included: outbreaks at churches, inconsistent mask wearing, in-person schooling, social gatherings of friends and coworkers, and relatively fewer people telecommuting due to less broadband access.

Shelton also said a surge in cases in neighboring Tennessee was contributing.

“Tennessee has fewer regulations and has had events, social gatherings, and sports. Friday night football has continued with fans gathering closely in stands without masks,” she wrote.

Swift, Ballad’s infection prevention officer, said at a news conference that it was “past time” for the area to change its behaviors.

The health system said it had seen a 43% increase in the cases across its region over the past week, 88.5% of its ICU beds were full, and it had 181 team members in quarantine or isolation.

“At this rate, we’re only going to be able to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Ballad’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton.

Dane Poe, the administrator of Lee County, located in the furthest southwest tip of Virginia, said the county has been lucky so far to not have more than a few dozen cases requiring hospitalization. The county’s only hospital closed in 2013.

Still, having to be prepared for the additional hospital trips has further strained the six already-strapped volunteer agencies in the country that provide ambulance services,

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Developments in the Field of Regenerative Medicine & Rising Demand for Minimally Invasive Surgeries

DUBLIN, Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The “Global Sports Medicine Market by Product (Body Reconstruction, Body Support & Recovery), Application (Knee Injuries, Shoulder Injuries, Foot & Ankle Injuries), End User (Hospitals, Physiotherapy Centers & Clinics) and Region – Analysis & Forecast to 2025” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global sports medicine market is projected to reach USD 7.2 billion by 2025 from USD 5.5 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.7%.

This report studies the sports medicine market based on product, application, region and end user. The report also studies factors (such as drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges) affecting market growth. It analyzes the opportunities and challenges in the market and provides details of the competitive landscape for market leaders.

Furthermore, the report analyzes micromarkets with respect to their individual growth trends and forecasts the revenue of the market segments with respect to four main regions and respective countries.

“The Body Support & Recovery Products segment is expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period.”

On the basis of product, the global sports medicine market has been segmented into body reconstruction products, body support & recovery products, and accessories. The body reconstruction products segment is further divided into fracture and ligament repair products, arthroscopy devices, implants, prosthetics, and orthobiologics.

Similarly, body support & recovery products include braces & support, physiotherapy equipment, and compression clothing. The body reconstruction products segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Braces & supports are required before and after procedures involving reconstruction. The demand for these devices is growing due to their requirement in the treatment of the majority of the sports injuries.

“The knee injuries segment is expected to hold the largest share during the forecast period.”

On the basis of application, the sports medicine market is segmented into knee injuries, shoulder injuries, foot & ankle injuries, elbow & wrist injuries, back & spine injuries, hip & groin injuries, and other injuries. The knee injuries segment is expected to account for the largest share of this market. The large share of this segment can be attributed to knee injuries being the most common sports injury accounting for approximately 40% of all injuries.

“The Hospitals segment is expected to account for the largest share during the forecast period.”

Based on end user segment, the market is segmented into Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery centers and Physiotherapy Centers and Clinics. The hospitals segment accounted for the largest share of the sports medicine market. The large share of this segment can be attributed to factors like Complex diagnostic and therapeutic procedures being carried out in hospitals.

“The North American sports medicine market is expected to hold the largest market during the forecast period.”

Geographically, the sports medicine market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), and the Rest of the World. The North American market is expected to hold the largest share while Asia Pacific is to account for the highest

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Coronavirus live updates: COVID-19 positivity rates rising in 37 US states, analysis shows

The number of new cases of COVID-19 recorded across the United States has increased substantially, as has the number of new deaths from the disease, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Monday night.

The memo, which is circulated among the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on a COVID-19 response, said 40 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new infections, while nine jurisdictions are at a plateau and seven others are in a downward trend.

There were 488,498 new cases confirmed during the period of Oct. 19-25, a 26% increase from the previous week. There were also 5,615 fatalities from COVID-19 recorded during the same period, a 15.1% increase compared with the week prior, according to the memo.

The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased from 5.6% to 6.1% in week-to-week comparisons. Meanwhile, 22% of hospitals across the country have intensive care units that are more than 80% occupied. That figure is up from the summertime peak, when 17-18% of U.S. hospitals had 80% of ICU beds full, the memo said.

Arizona reported 848 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 21, its highest count since Aug. 26, according to the memo.

In the U.S. territory of Guam, which continues to be classified as a “red zone” for COVID-19 infections, an average of 89.7% of inpatient beds and 80.2% of ICU beds were occupied in the week ending Oct. 20, the memo said.

North Dakota saw a record high of 1,036 new cases on Oct. 20, surpassing the 1,000 mark of daily incident cases for the first time, according to the memo.

New Jersey reported 852 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 22, its highest since late July, the memo said.

Oklahoma reached a record 956 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 22. The previous record was set just two days earlier, according to the memo.

Utah reported an all-time high of 314 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 21, as several hospitals in the state reached capacity, the memo said.

ABC News’ Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus deaths are rising again in the US, as feared

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great.”

With Election Day just over a week away, average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

Health experts had warned that it was only a matter of time before deaths turned upward, given the record-breaking surge in cases engulfing the country. Deaths are a lagging indicator — that is, it generally takes a few weeks for people to sicken and die from the coronavirus.

Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota expert on infectious diseases who warned over the summer of a fall surge, said what’s happening now is a confluence of three factors: “pandemic fatigue” among people who are weary of hunkering down and are venturing out more; “pandemic anger” among those are don’t believe the scourge is a real threat; and cold weather, which is forcing more Americans indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

“When you put those three together, we shouldn’t be surprised what we’re seeing,” Osterholm said.


The virus is blamed for more than 8.6 million confirmed infections and over 225,000 deaths in the U.S., the highest such totals anywhere in the world.

Deaths are still well below the U.S. peak of over 2,200 per day in late April. But experts are warning of a grim fall and winter, with a widely cited model from the University of Washington projecting about 386,000 dead by Feb. 1. A vaccine is unlikely to become widely available until mid-2021.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases hit a record high on Sunday of 68,767, according to Johns Hopkins, eclipsing the previous mark of 67,293, set in mid-July. The U.S. recorded more than 80,000 new cases on both Friday and Saturday — the highest marks ever — though testing has expanded dramatically over the course of the outbreak, making direct comparisons problematic.

The true number of infections is thought to be far higher because many Americans have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

Fears about the virus’s toll on the economy — and fading hopes that Washington will be able to deliver more relief anytime soon — sent stocks into a slump in afternoon trading on Wall Street. The S&P 500 was 2.3% lower and on track for its worst day in more than a month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 800 points, or almost 3%.

In the Texas border city of El Paso, authorities instructed people to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10-p.m.-to-5-a.m. curfew because of a

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Illinois Health Official Breaks Down Crying While Giving Update on State’s Rising COVID-19 Deaths

Gov. JB Pritzker/Twitter

The Illinois Director of the Department of Public Health broke down in tears during Friday afternoon’s press briefing on the coronavirus in the state.

While updating the public on the state’s rising numbers of COVID-19 deaths, Dr. Ngozi Ezike took a moment to herself, turning away from the podium as she was unable to hold back her tears.

“Since yesterday we have lost an additional 31 lives, for a total of 9,418 deaths. These are people who started with us in 2020 and who won’t be with us at the Thanksgiving table,” she said. “Today, we are reporting 3,874 new cases, for a total of 364,033 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.”

“Excuse me, please,” Ezike said as she paused to compose herself before someone brought over a box of tissues. “I’m sorry.”

Gov. JB Pritzker/Twitter Dr. Ezike

RELATED: U.S. Breaks Record for Most COVID Cases in a Single Day with More Than 75,000 New Infections

As of Saturday, an additional 286 people have died, bringing the total to 9,704, according to a New York Times database.

During her speech, Ezike told Illinois residents that she understands “the mental, social and the emotional toll that this pandemic continues to have on people.”

“Not just because I’m asking people, it’s because I’m feeling it and living it myself. I don’t get to live in some COVID-free bubble, exempt from all the pain and tragedy of this pandemic. So I understand how pandemic fatigue is striking everyone. It’s real,” she said.

“The way we work, the way we live, the way we play has changed, and the harsh reality is that the sacrifices we’ve made, that we continue to make do not have a future expiration date,” Ezike added. “And I know that that’s difficult.”

Illinois has been experiencing a rising number of COVID-19 cases, reporting an average of 4,131 cases per day, an 81 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. As of Saturday, there have been at least 370,134 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

“My message to you is to stay strong,” Ezike said. “I have never run a marathon but I have the utmost regard for those who have been able to train and plan and finish a marathon. But this is a difficult race when you can’t actually see the endpoint and I’m sorry that that’s the message I have for you. Nevertheless, I’m asking you to fight the fatigue. Fight the urge to give up on social distancing.”

Ezike added that residents need to continue wearing a mask, maybe reconsider attending large gatherings and continue to opt for virtual hang-outs.

RELATED: ‘Long Hauler’ COVID Patients Still Have Symptoms Months Later — and Most Are Women and the Elderly

“This is what we will have to do to bring the spread down in our community… Let’s please work together. I know many of you are healthy and don’t have a concern in the world of dying from

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