Coronavirus updates: Fauci expects 'drastic' restrictions in some areas; daily cases reached another record
90 year old nursing home resident chooses assisted suicide over another lockdown
TORONTO -- When 90-year-old Nancy Russell died last month, she was surrounded by friends and family. They clustered around her bed, singing a song she had chosen to send her off, as a doctor helped her through a medically-assisted death. It was the exact opposite of the lonely months of lockdown Russell had suffered through in the retirement home where Russell had lived for several years -- that was the whole point.
Across Canada, long-term care homes and retirement homes are seeing rising cases of COVID-19 and deaths, leading to more restrictions for the residents. But these lockdowns are taking another toll among those who don’t get COVID-19. Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled, family visits curtailed or eliminated. Sometimes they are in isolation in their small rooms for days.
Russell is described by her family as exceptionally social.
Her family says she chose a medically-assisted death (MAID) after she declined so sharply during lockdown that she didn’t want to go through more isolation this winter.
Her daughter said, “Being mobile was everything to my mom.”
“My mother was extremely curious, and she was very interested in every person she met and every idea that she came across so she was constantly reading, going to different shows and talks. [She] was frequently talking about people she met and their life stories.”
But the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions in March ended her daily walks, library visits and all the activities in her Toronto retirement home. Her daughter says they had plastic dividers in the dining rooms and supervised visits in the garden. “She, almost overnight, went from a very active lifestyle to a very limited life, early there was a two week confinement just to her room.”
“In that two weeks, all of us were phoning and she learned Zoom and got up to speed, but she felt extremely restricted, naturally, as did everybody.” Tory said that her mother didn’t blame the care home in any way, and that she “fully understood why that rule had to be in place.”
Care homes were hit hard during the first wave of the pandemic -- a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that as of May 25, 80% of the deaths in the country had been people in long-term care facilities and retirement homes. More than 70 percent of those who have died of COVID-19 in Canada are those over the age of 80.
The first doctor she applied to said no. According to Health Canada, in Canada, you do not need to have a fatal or terminal condition to apply for MAID, but you must have a serious condition, be in an advanced stage of irreversible decline, be experiencing mental of physical suffering that cannot be relieved and be at the point where “your natural death has become reasonably foreseeable.
She applied a second time. This time, doctors approved her. Russell would not have to go through another lockdown in her care home.
Nancy Russel, as healthy as a 90 year old could be and she chose to die rather than go through another lockdown at her nursing home, and the isolation which comes with it.
In Vermont, the Governor instructs schools to interrogate children about Thanksgiving gatherings. Just before Thanksgiving, the Governor of Vermont hopped on Twitter– which is apparently the only platform now for making important announcements.
He started by shaming and guilt tripping anyone who dared to celebrate Thanksgiving with family.
“Unfortunately, we know some will still get together and schools have asked for help. @VTEducation will direct schools to ask students or parents if they were part of multi-family gatherings and if the answer is yes, they’ll need to go remote for 14 days or 7 days and a test.”
So the Vermont Department of Education instructed schools to interrogate children about what they did over Thanksgiving weekend, so that they can inform on their families.
LA Mayor Bans Unnecessary Walking as Part of New COVID-19 Restrictions
December 03, 20202:06 PM ET
Los Angeles Mayor issued a new emergency order that bans unnecessary “travel on foot” as he warns the city is nearing a “devastating tipping point” in their fight against COVID-19.
He wrote in the order - “Our city is now close to a devastating tipping point, beyond which the number of hospitalized patients would start to overwhelm our hospital system, in turn risking needless suffering and death.
“These unfortunate facts about the spread of COVID-19 in our city mean that we must resume some of the more restrictive measures we instituted in the Spring.” The order prohibits “all travel, including, without limitation, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit,” with limited exceptions. Individuals who work in the healthcare and news industry are allowed to travel, along with individuals going to grocery stores, gas stations and other locations deemed essential.
The mayor also ordered all residents living in the city “to remain in their homes,” forcing businesses that require in-person attendance to shut down.
Gatherings that include individuals from more than one household are prohibited.
However, the order has exceptions for “outdoor faith-based services” and for those “participating in an in-person outdoor protest while wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing, and observing the Los Angeles County Protocol for Public Demonstrations.”
Ohio County Closes Schools, Leaves Casino Open
Virginia Allen / @Virginia_Allen5 / December 04, 2020
The blackjack tables remain open in Toledo, Ohio, but some middle schools and all high schools are required to close.
An order issued by Ohio’s Lucas County Regional Board of Health on Nov. 25 mandated that “education for Grades 7-12 (or 9 to 12 depending on school configuration) will be virtual from December 4th until January 11th” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order exempts elementary schools, without explaining why.
Due to anticipated issues with students in grades K-6 (unless the school configuration is grades K-8 who can follow K-6 orders), schools may remain open, but may only open those facilities required to provide in- person education for students in those grades.
Liquor stores remaining open and the Hollywood Casino Toledo still operating, some Ohioans are crying foul over the Lucas County Regional Board of Health’s order. Toledo is the county seat of Lucas County.
“If you’re interested in playing a couple of hands of blackjack, just wear a mask, observe social distancing protocols, and good luck! If, however, you’re interested in preparing 11th graders for the SAT (or life after high school), your only option is remote learning,”
Brian Fox an attorney, who is representing the Ohio Christian Education Network, requested in a Nov. 30 letter that the Board of Health reconsider the resolution before the order takes effect Dec. 4.
Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio faith-based public policy organization, oversees the Ohio Christian Education Network, a coalition of private religious schools.
The religious schools within the coalition offer “students’ purpose, faith, and abiding hope,” but are unable to do so effectively when they’re not in the classroom, the attorney said.
Fox noted that leading health experts do not see in-person education as a significant contributor to the spread of COVID-19:
Comprehensive studies from UNICEF,
the European Centers for Disease Control, and
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded in-person instruction is not an accelerant to transmission.
On November 19, 2020, CDC Director Robert [Redfield] stated, “[t]he truth is, for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school” and that it is “counterproductive … from a public health point of view, just in containing the epidemic, if there was an emotional response, to say, ‘Let’s close the schools.'”
[On Nov. 29, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, during an interview now widely reported upon by the national media, stressed: “Close the bars and keep the schools open … .
In response to the letter from the Ohio Christian Education Network’s attorney, the Lucas County Board of Health held an emergency hearing on. The board moved to amend the order to add the word “emergency” to its language to make it clear both legally and to the public that the order is being implemented under emergency circumstances. The board did not announce any plans to change the order to allow schools in Lucas County to remain open.
SAN FRANCISCO BANS SMOKING INSIDE APARTMENTS UNLESS IT'S WEED
FRIDAY, DEC 04, 2020 - 21:00
San Francisco city officials have banned all tobacco smoking inside apartments, due to concerns about secondhand smoke, but cannabis smoke will be permitted under the new guidelines.
The proposal was originally drafted to include a ban on smoking cannabis as well, but the cannabis ban was later removed from the law after pushback from activists who pointed out that the only place, they are legally permitted to smoke is in the privacy of their own homes,
If this law passed with the cannabis provision, it would have effectively made the substance illegal in the state all over again.
“Unlike tobacco smokers who could still leave their apartments to step out to the curb or smoke in other permitted outdoor smoking areas, cannabis users would have no such legal alternatives,”
The Board of Supervisors for San Francisco voted 10-1 to approve the ordinance for the ban on smoking tobacco products inside of apartments. There are now 63 cities in the state of California with a ban on smoking inside apartments.
Under the new law, the city’s Department of Public Health will first help violators to quit smoking, but repeat offenders could be fined up to $1,000 a day.