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Will we have to wear masks for the rest of our lives because of COVID-19?

No. The key turning point really is when an approved and proven effective Covid vaccine begins to truly circulate in the United States (predictions are during either the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2021; many are leaning towards 1st quarter). Even though certainly the entire country won’t be vaccinated (naturally), just having it out there in some of the population (some of the ‘herd’, if you will) will be critical in cutting down the spread and the ‘effectiveness’, so to speak, of the virus. (That is; people who do get Covid — if that is possible after vaccination, as it technically is with the ‘flu shot’ — won’t get it half as badly as they would have with no vaccination).Once a vaccine is circulating widely in this country (being administered and recommended regularly by people’s regular physicians, probably even at your local Walgreens eventually, etc ~ we have a particular large public high school near where I live which is already being set up as a designated ‘Covid vaccination center’), that is going to be the real ‘game-changer’ time, or at least the beginning of it.Therefore, even if you hate vaccines and don’t plan to get one, and you don’t ever get the flu vaccine or anything like that, you should still — if you ever want true ‘normalcy’ to return — rejoice on the day that one (or more) is approved for use in this country and begins to be administered widely, beyond just test subjects.It will likely eventually be rather like the flu (though it is not an influenza; it’s something different). But, a bad flu season for example (‘17–18), was something like this described in the link below (bearing in mind, once again, many people — certainly not all — were vaccinated): What You Should Know for the 2017-2018 Influenza SeasonAnd you will of course recall that you didn’t have to wear a surgical or any other type of mask or face covering into all stores or publicly accessible places, and bars and restaurants and theaters were not closed, and gatherings and events and weddings and funerals and so on were not canceled en masse, or limited in attendance, and schools were not closed. Perhaps at the peak of a very bad flu season a few were, but only for a few days or a week at most, if there was a severe outbreak in the school. And life basically proceeded on as normal, during both the ‘17-’18 season and in the even worse flu seasons as well (2009-’10 for instance; which was considered a pandemic level year: 2009 H1N1 Pandemic).From that link, “From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.“Since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the (H1N1)pdm09 flu virus has circulated seasonally in the U.S. causing significant illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.“Additionally, CDC estimated that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.** Globally, 80 percent of (H1N1)pdm09 virus-related deaths were estimated to have occurred in people younger than 65 years of age…”Largely ‘normalcy’ is able to continue during a ‘bad flu season’ only because some/many people in the country are vaccinated against influenza(s).So no, eventually these masks will be discarded by many/most people in this country, or they will perhaps be kept by some as a grim piece of memorabilia from this rancid year. People in 1918–’19 wore masks here, they had to in some areas for slightly longer periods of time. But eventually it ‘went away’ (and that happened, in that case, even without a vaccine at the time), and one day the ‘roaring 20’s’ came about. Nothing lasts forever. And that pandemic btw killed an estimated 50 million people globally, and approximately 675,000 in the United States.From the first link above,“The 2017-2018 influenza season was a high severity season with high levels of outpatient clinic and emergency department visits for influenza-like illness (ILI), high influenza-related hospitalization rates, and elevated and geographically widespread influenza activity for an extended period. In 2017, CDC began using new methodology to classify seasonal severity and applied the methodology to the 2003-2004 through 2016-2017 seasons. The 2017-18 season was the first season to be classified as a high severity across all age groups.When did the 2017-2018 flu season peak?{During the 2017-2018 season, influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity began to increase in November, reaching an extended period of high activity during January and February nationally, and remained elevated through the end of March. ILI peaked at 7.5%, the highest percentage since the 2009 flu pandemic, which peaked at 7.7%. Influenza-like illness (ILI) was at or above the national baseline for 19 weeks, making the 2017-2018 season one of the longest in recent years.For more information, see the MMWR: 2017-18 Influenza Activity Update or visit FluView Interactive.How many people died from flu during the 2017-2018 season?“While flu deaths in children are reported to CDC, flu deaths in adults are not nationally notifiable. In order to monitor influenza related deaths in all age groups, CDC tracks pneumonia and influenza (P&I)-attributed deaths through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Reporting System. This system tracks the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death. This system provides an overall indication of whether flu-associated deaths are elevated, but does not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu.{During the 2017-2018 season, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was at or above the epidemic threshold for 16 consecutive weeks. During the past five seasons, the average number of weeks this indicator was above threshold was 11 (range of 7 to 15 weeks). Nationally, mortality attributed to P&I exceeded 10.0% for four consecutive weeks, peaking at 10.8% during the week ending January 20, 2018.“As it does for the numbers of flu cases, doctor’s visits and hospitalizations, CDC also estimates deaths in the United States using mathematical modeling. CDC estimates that from 2010-2011 to 2013-2014, influenza-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of 12,000 (during 2011-2012) to a high of 56,000 (during 2012-2013). Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death on their death certificate included respiratory or circulatory causes. For more information, see Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States and CDC’s Disease Burden of Influenza page…“How many children died from flu during the 2017-2018 season?“As of April 19, 2019, a total of 186 pediatric deaths had been reported to CDC during the 2017-2018 season. This number exceeds the previously highest number of flu-associated deaths in children reported during a regular flu season (171 during the 2012-2013 season). Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season. For the most recent data and more information visit FluView: Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality.“Since flu-associated deaths in children became a nationally notifiable condition in 2004, the total number of flu-associated deaths among children during one season has ranged from 37 (during the 2011-2012 season) to 186 (during the 2017-18 season, as of April 19, 2019); this excludes the 2009 pandemic, when 358 pediatric deaths from April 15, 2009 through October 2, 2010 were reported to CDC.How many people were hospitalized from flu during the 2017-2018 season?“From October 1, 2017 through April 28, 2018, 30,453 laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations were reported through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET), which covers approximately 9% of the U.S. population. People 65 years and older accounted for approximately 58% of reported influenza-associated hospitalizations. Overall hospitalization rates (all ages) during 2017-2018 were the highest ever recorded in this surveillance system, breaking the previously recorded high recorded during 2014-2015; a high severity H3N2-predominant season when CDC estimates that hospitalizations captured through FluSurv-NET translated into a total of 710,000 flu hospitalizations that seasons. (For more information on these estimates, see CDC’s Disease Burden of Influenza page.)…”“The overall vaccine effectiveness (VE) of the 2017-2018 flu vaccine against both influenza A and B viruses is estimated to be 40%. This means the flu vaccine reduced a person’s overall risk of having to seek medical care at a doctor’s office for flu illness by 40%. Protection by virus type and subtype was: 25% against A(H3N2), 65% against A(H1N1) and 49% against influenza B viruses. These VE estimates were presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 20, 2018.“While flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, flu vaccination is the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications and prevents millions of flu illnesses and related doctors’ visits and tens of thousands of hospitalizations. For example, during the 2016–2017 influenza season, CDC estimates that flu vaccine prevented an estimated 5.3 million illnesses, 2.6 million medical visits, and 85,000 hospitalizations associated with influenza”.

What are the best ways to lose weight?

Hurray! Finally, I am able to lose 29 lbs of weight in just 7 days. (WITHOUT DOING ANY HEAVY EXERCISE & HEAVY FASTING). Hey Friends, How are you? Are you ready to lose weight? Just Checkout my own 2 step easy formulae which works like charm for me & my friends as well. (More Than 50 people). Base Upon My Experience, I can assure you that you won’t disappoint if you seriously follow my 2 step formulae. ( I know Free Advice Doesn't Have Much Value. But, This formula is only for those friends who are really serious about weight loss. It's Your Choice What You Want To Do) I Hope It Helps You. Thank You Very Much.It's been a long time coming, but the wait is finally over: the NCAA women's basketball tournament returns on Sunday.The first round tips off with 32 games spread across two days. Defending champion Baylor will be in action on Sunday, as does No. 1 overall seed Stanford. The first round will be held in venues across San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, Texas.The entire tournament will be broadcast on ESPN networks. Check out the full first round schedule below.Matchup: Iowa (5) vs. Central Michigan (12)Region: River WalkTime: Noon ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Virginia Tech (7) vs. Marquette (10)Region: River WalkTime: Noon ETTV channel: ESPNUMatchup: Oklahoma State (8) vs. Wake Forest (9)Region: AlamoTime: 1 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: Kentucky (4) vs. Idaho State (13)Region: River WalkTime: 2 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Tennessee (3) vs. Middle Tennessee (14)Region: River WalkTime: 2 p.m. ETTV channel: ABCMatchup: Michigan (6) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (11)Region: River WalkTime: 3 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: North Carolina State (1) vs. North Carolina A&T (16)Region: MercadoTime: 4 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Baylor (2) vs. Jackson State (15)Region: River WalkTime: 4 p.m. ETTV channel: ABCMatchup: Georgia Tech (5) vs. Stephen F. Austin (12)Region: HemisFairTime: 4:30 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNUMatchup: Syracuse (8) vs. South Dakota State (9)Region: River WalkTime: 5:30 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: South Carolina (1) Mercer (16)Region: HemisFairTime: 6 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Oregon State (8) vs. Florida State (9)Region: HemisFairTime: 7:30 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: UConn (1) vs. High Point (16)Region: River WalkTime: 8 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: West Virginia (4) vs. Lehigh (13)Region: HemisFairTime: 8 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNUMatchup: South Florida (8) vs. Washington State (9)Region: MercadoTime: 9:30 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: Stanford (1) vs. Utah Valley (16)Region: AlamoTime: 10 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMonday, March 22Matchup: Alabama (7) vs. North Carolina (7)Region: HemisFairTime: Noon ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Georgia (3) vs. Drexel (14)Region: AlamoTime: Noon ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: Rutgers (6) vs. BYU (11)Region: MercadoTime: Noon ETTV channel: ESPNUMatchup: Arkansas (4) vs. Wright State (13)Region: AlamoTime: 2 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Arizona (3) vs. Stony Brook (14)Region: MercadoTime: 2 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: Indiana (4) vs. VCU (13)Region: MercadoTime: 2 p.m.TV channel: ESPNUMatchup: Maryland (2) vs. Mount St. Mary's (15)Region: HemisFairTime: 4 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Gonzaga (5) vs. Belmont (12)Region: MercadoTime: 4 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: Northwestern (7) vs. UCF (10)Region: AlamoTime: 4 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNUMatchup: Iowa State (7) vs. Michigan State (6)Region: MercadoTime: 6 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Texas A&M vs. Troy (15)Region: MercadoTime: 6 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: Missouri State (5) vs. UC Davis (12)Region: AlamoTime: 7:30 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNUMatchup: Louisville (2) vs. Marist (15)Region: AlamoTime: 8 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Texas (6) vs. Bradley (11)Region: HemisFairTime: 8 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2Matchup: UCLA (3) vs. Wyoming (14)Region: HemisFairTime: 10 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNMatchup: Oregon (6) vs. South Dakota (11)Region: AlamoTime: 10 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPN2More March Madness coverage:South Carolina basketball: NCAA tournament 1st round preview | Charlotte ObserverNo result found, try new keyword!South Carolina women’s basketball is set to start its bid for the second national championship in program history Sunday, when the No. 1 seed Gamecocks take on No. 16 seed Mercer in the first round of ...How to Watch Alabama Basketball vs Maryland in the Second Round of the 2021 NCAA TournamentThe Alabama men's basketball team will see a familiar face on Monday when it faces Maryland in the second round of the 2021 NCAA tournament.Galin Smith, who was a member of the Crimson Tide program from 2017-2020, transferred to the Terrapins last offseason. He is averaging 14.1 minutes, 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds on the year.He is shooting a very efficient 54.2 percent from the floor.No. 10 seed Maryland knocked out No. 7 seed UConn on Saturday night 63-54 behind 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting and five rebounds from guard Eric Ayala.The Terrapins, who were on the bubble entering The Big Dance, finished the regular season 17-13 and in eighth place in the Big Ten. Ayala is the their leading scorer at 14.9 points each time out.Maryland forward Darryl Morrsell was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year and the league's All-Defensive Team.Per KenPom, the Terrapins are 29th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency and 49th in adjusted offensive efficiency. It has a 5-10 record against Quad 1 teams this season.Last time out, Alabama: The Crimson Tide survived a scare from Rick Pitino and Iona, 68-55. Senior wing Herb Jones did it all with 20 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Guard Jahvon Quinerly added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.Last time out, Maryland: The Terrapins outmatched UConn, 63-54. Maryland shot 50 percent from beyond-the-arc (9-of-18) and held the Huskies to just 32.3 percent from the floor (21-of-65).The series: The fifth meeting. Maryland owns the all-time record 3-1. Alabama's only victory came on Nov. 17, 2011 inside the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is the first time ever that both schools will meet in the NCAA tournament.More on the last meeting: Maryland defeated Alabama 58-57 in the quarterfinals of the NIT back on March 26, 2013. Terrapins big man Alex Len poured in 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Guard Levi Randolph led the Crimson Tide with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists.A woman exercising on a stationary bike. Exercise is an important component of weight loss, most experts agree. CC BY-SAImagine that you are running a company, but you cannot get to your goal because all of your good workers keep quitting.For 30 years, your response to this problem has been to criticize the workers and say they are stupid and weak for quitting. As a result, you never reach your goal. You don’t change your formula or alter your plan, just keep blaming and shaming the workers for quitting.If you did this, your failure rate would remain unchanged over time, of course, and you would never reach your goal.In the same way, hundreds of thousands of people fall short of their dieting and weight loss goals every year, and the incidence of obesity continues to rise. The fitness industry’s answer to this has been to continue on as planned and blame the soaring failure rates on the people themselves, creating a culture of overt and subtle fat-shaming.Now, imagine that you do some research at your company, and you find out that folks keep quitting because the carpet smells like garbage, the office is way too hot and the desks are in disrepair. If you hope to eventually get to your goal, you would almost certainly address the factors that are leading to attrition of our workers, right?The same thing goes for weight loss in 2018. Science has shown us why “workers” are quitting. They quit because their ability to perform exercise is limited, they don’t sleep enough and they don’t eat for change. Just as your company needed to stop ridiculing the workers for quitting and instead change the carpet, furnace and desks, the fitness world should resist the urge to fat-shame and instead focus on exercise capacity, sleeping and recovery.I have studied weight loss and obesity for many years. The issue of overweight and obesity grows more pressing each year, as 84 million people are now considered pre-diabetic. While they are in a pre-diabetic condition, they can still avoid the debilitating consequences of the disease. But once they become diabetic, health problems cascade as a result of this serious disease. The same is true for heart disease, arthritis and many other obesity-related conditions.Story continuesExercisePeople must exercise enough not only to burn calories for weight loss but to keep weight off. Simply put, if a person can walk for only five minutes today, he or she cannot expect to be successful on a program that calls for four days of exercise beyond that amount each time, tomorrow. Thus, the initial goal of any intended weight loss transformation should be to first increase one’s exercise capacity to a critical point, called the catching point.Once this capacity is reached, food preferences will change, metabolic rates will increase and patients will have a real chance to follow an exercise regimen that results in a significant amount of calories burned.An “in-shape” person is much more likely to be successful with a new diet and exercise program than a sedentary, overweight person. As a result, step one must be to increase this capacity and to get there.The other two tenets of recovery are equally critical: sleep and diet.SleepThousands of articles and many books have been written on sleep as it relates to brain function, brain waves, thinking, memory, mood, etc. The role of sleep in physical metabolic change, though, is missing from most diet attempts.Simply put, sleep is the time that the body changes. Structurally, our bodies are making molecules during sleep that follows exercise which will do useful things for us such as strengthen our muscles, lower blood pressure, neutralize inflammation and increase our metabolism.Sleeping enough will also make us eat less. Functional MRI scans of the brain show that people are far more interested in eating when they are sleep-deprived. Moreover, sleep-deprived people are more driven toward unhealthy foods when given the option. They also have increased levels of gherlin, the hormone that makes us feel hungry, and decreased levels of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full. And, in multiple studies people have been shown to actually eat more food and actually gain more weight when sleep-deprived, and population-based studies have shown increased BMIs in people with fewer sleep hours.Eating for changeOften, people err when they try to lose weight by restricting calories at the beginning of their efforts. Restricting calories leads to a host of responses from the body that induce food-seeking behavior and cause people to “quit” their diets. A recent study of a large group of people suggests that people should not count calories at all but instead pay attention to the quality of the food they eat, refraining from sugar and processed foods and instead eating lots of fruits and vegetables.We can’t make changes in our body’s structure without the appropriate nutrients on board. If, while we are sleeping, our bodies set out to make the changes we want and there are no nutrients with which to do so, there will be no transformation. The specific nutrients necessary for recovery and optimization of our microbiome have been well-described during recent years and should be added to our intake (vs. restriction) until a critical point of clean eating is reached.In summary, the three things missing from most diet attempts are the appropriate exercise capacity, the right amount of sleep and a plan to eat for recovery and change. Implementing these elements to most plans will allow folks to stay engaged long enough for healthy habits to “catch.”This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.David Prologo is the founder of The Catching Point Transformation.Is It Normal to Lose Weight as You Age?Weight loss is something many adults strive for. Most of us have looked in the mirror at some point and figured we could stand to lose a few pounds. Your doctor may have instructed you to lose weight for your health. But as we age, some of us might find that we’re losing weight without meaning to.Unintentional weight loss is a common issue in older adults. While there can be medical factors involved, there’s often no explanation for the pounds that simply slip away. About 25% of patients who are older adults experience unexplained weight loss of some kind.Weight Loss as You Age: What’s Normal and What’s Not?Normal weight loss. As you get older, you start to lose lean body mass like muscle and bone density. As early as age 30, our lean body mass starts to drop by a little over half a pound each year. You might not notice a change when you step on the scale, because the lean weight you lost is often replaced by fat.Men vs. women. Weight loss can be different for men and women. Men tend to gain weight until age 55, and then slowly start to lose it in the years that follow. This could be because men produce less testosterone after this age. Women, on the other hand, usually stop gaining weight once they hit age 65.Abnormal Weight Loss. After the age of 65, it’s typically normal to lose 0.2 to 0.4 pounds of body weight every year. Unintentional weight loss can be dangerous if you lose 5% or more of your body weight every 6-12 months.What Causes Weight Loss as You Age?Reasons for weight loss. Many factors can contribute to your clothes fitting a little looser as you get older. Most of these are social, psychological, and medical reasons, including:Cancer‌Stomach or intestinal disease‌Depression‌Dementia‌Diabetes or other endocrine disorders‌Heart problems‌Alcoholism‌Kidney diseaseSide effects of medication (can include loss of appetite)‌Financial issues‌Problems with finding nutritious food or feeding oneself‌Not getting enough food (malnutrition)‌Late-life paranoia‌Dental issuesIf none of these apply to you, you aren't alone. The cause of unintentional weight loss is still unknown for up to 28% of patients.Continued Health Concerns About Weight LossProblems and concerns. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for good health and independence as you age. Unintentional weight loss is a big risk factor in older adults for multiple reasons.Unintentionally losing too much weight as you get older can cause:Decreased quality of life‌Increased risk of death (mortality) and disease (morbidity)‌A decline in physical activities that promote health‌Increased risk of health-related accidents like bone fractures‌Greater risk for admission to a hospital or other institutionHow to Maintain a Healthy Weight as You AgeDiet. It’s so important to eat a nutritious diet as you get older. A healthy diet can prevent a host of health problems. A proper nutrient intake can even keep you looking younger as the years pass.Some people find that their appetite decreases a lot as they age. It could be that you’re on a low-sodium diet and that just doesn’t appeal to you. Maybe you simply don’t want to eat three large meals per day.Eating tips. Try the following tips to increase your caloric intake every day and make your mealtimes more enjoyable:Eat smaller meals and more snacks during the day, instead of large meals.‌Keep high-calorie, ready-to-eat snacks in the kitchen like nuts, cheese, and fruit cups.‌Eat full-fat dairy instead of non-fat when you have the option.‌Include high-fat foods like avocado and peanut butter in your diet.‌Top savory dishes with cheese.‌Eat socially when possible. This can make for a more enjoyable experience that you look forward to.‌If you smoke, avoid doing so before mealtimes as it can decrease your appetite.‌Consider ordering from a meal delivery service. You can often customize meals to your dietary needs, and there’s little to no cooking involved.‌Keep frozen and canned fruits and veggies available. They’re easy to prepare and pack a punch nutritionally.‌Stay active as much as possible. This can increase your appetite.Prevention is key as you get older, and maintaining a healthy diet can help you avoid lots of health problems.Getting Help for Weight LossGo to the doctor. If you notice that you’re rapidly losing weight, the best thing to do is to find out if there’s an underlying cause. That means going to the doctor and getting an exam.Your doctor will perform a complete examination, and will probably do some screening tests. They’ll take blood and urine samples and analyze them to figure out if there’s a medical reason you’re losing weight. Your doctor may also perform an assessment to rule out psychological conditions like dementia and depression, which can affect your food intake.They’ll also ask you questions about your nutrition. Usually, this involves you or a caretaker filling out a questionnaire about what you eat daily. It’s important to be honest when answering these questions. Even if you’re eating enough calories every day, they might be able to identify other areas in your diet that need improvement.‌American Family Physician: “Unintentional Weight Loss in Older Adults.”‌CMAJ: “An approach to the management of unintentional weight loss in elderly people.”‌Geriatrics & Aging: “An Approach to the Nonpharmacologic and Pharmacologic Management of Unintentional Weight Loss Among Older Adults.”Mayo Clinic: “Healthy aging: Beyond 50.”NHS: “Keeping your weight up in later life.”© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.03Towie’s Fran Parman poses in her bra as she shows off her incredible 2st weight loss after cutting out gluten and sugarTOWIE's Fran Parman posed in her bra as she showed off her weight loss on Instagram.The beauty was praised for her stunning post after revealing she'd shed two stone in under seven months.Towie’s Fran Parman posed in her bra as she showed off her 2st weight loss after cutting out ‘gluten and sugar’Towie’s Fran Parman posed in her bra as she showed off her 2st weight loss after cutting out ‘gluten and sugar’The 30-year-old Towie star sat perched on her windowsill in her latest photo and revealed her slimmer frame in the snap.She captioned her pic: "The harder I fall, the higher I shall rise 🤍"Fran later told her fans on her Instagram Story that she had cut "gluten and sugar" from her diet and achieved her results through a healthy eating and exercise routine over the course of seven months.The celeb said she had seen other health benefits of her new lifestyle too, and the symptoms of her polycystic ovary syndrome had improved.Fran revealed she has polycystic ovary syndrome and said her diet has helped her symptomsFran revealed she has polycystic ovary syndrome and said her diet has helped her symptoms Towie's Fran Parman shows off incredible weight loss in dress that got her trolledShe shared: "This is the first time in over a year my cycle has gone back to normal."I've fasted, cut out gluten and sugar, that's what helped. I'm so excited I'm going back to normal finally. I hope this helps you girls too."Fran's followers hailed her an inspiration after seeing her efforts as they congratulated her beneath her latest post.One said: "Beautiful inside and out. Don’t let anyone tell you any different 😍💋💋"Fran returned to Towie in SeptemberFran returned to Towie in SeptemberAnother said: "Absolutely gawjusss ! Inspirational you are ! Love that your a real girl ! 👏🔥😍"On International Women's Day, Fran also told how online abuse she had received before she lost weight spurred her on to be more resilient and positive.She said: "The amount of abuse I got on this day was not ok. No one knew my story, everyone judged and was quick to bring me down just over a dress. I was so sad on this day but I look back and thank you for the trolling.Fran has since lost two stoneFran has since lost two stone Credit: InstagramExclusiveHELP! Sir Paul McCartney looks stuck on the sand as he hits the beach with wife NancySO SHE DOES SMILE! Victoria Beckham shares 'evidence I do smile' after sons poke fun at her'CRAZED WITH GRIEF' Paul Gascoigne saved my life after I lost my kind son, says sister AnnaMASKED ’ZINGER Nicole Scherzinger wows in a PVC two-piece & matching nails on Masked SingerSWEET KID Katie Price’s son Harvey begs for carrot cake in sweet video shared by Carl WoodsFINAL COUNTDOWN Pregnant Helen Flanagan predicts she'll go into labour today in selfie"The mean words I bought to light and the amount of women that have come forward and messaged me is honestly so beautiful to see the support we have for each other."It doesn’t matter what size you are and thank you for all the women that made me believe I was beautiful this size regardless of the trolls. Yes I’ve lost weight, but thats because who I feel, more comfortable as a person."It shouldn’t matter what size you are it’s who the person is that matters."“When some people are found to be not really responsive to the vaccines, which is expected with all vaccines, there was an initiative to approach these people and give them a third shot of the Sinopharm vaccine, which has shown, within the context of the study, to boost their immunity,” he said.Anyone with low levels of antibodies after a test could ask their doctor to contact health authorities and an appointment would be made for them to have another dose, he said, though generally it is the officials that approach the person.He likened the need for a third shot as similar to a flu booster shot and said those requiring it was a “very small number.” The need for a third shot was originally mentioned on March 10 by the spokeswoman for the health sector, Farida al-Hosani, to the National newspaper.According to doctors spoken to be the Wall Street Journal, there were cases of people with little or no antibody response after two doses of SinopharmThe revelations could raise doubts about the effectiveness of the Sinopharm vaccine, which is being widely used around the world as countries scramble to locate vaccines. Many of the more effective, Western-made vaccines have been snapped up by wealthier nations.The Sinopharm vaccine has a self-reported efficacy rate of 79 percent — which global health experts say is more than adequate — but its data has not been publicly released. In addition to the UAE, the vaccine has been purchased by countries such as Egypt, Cambodia, Senegal and Peru.The UAE has distinguished itself with an aggressive vaccination program that initially used Sinopharm, which also conducted Phase 3 trials in the country, and then was later expanded to include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik VAccording to announcements Saturday, nearly 73 percent of the elderly population has received at least one vaccine dose. That number drops to 56 percent for all eligible adults.The government also announced that as of Sunday, everyone in the country was now eligible for a vaccine, after restricting injections to those with special needs for the past six weeks.After Israel, UAE has the highest national vaccination rate in the region with more than 7 million doses given to a population of just 9 million. The vaccine is free to all citizens and residents.The number of new daily cases quadrupled to nearly 4,000 in January and only now has dropped down to about 2,000 new cases a day.What you need to know about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in East TexasMar. 18—So you live in the Kilgore area and want to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Now what?COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed throughout the state, but it's not always clear who can get one, where to go if you're eligible and if they will even be available.Gregg County's two major hospitals received and administered the city's first vaccines on Dec. 17, and many particulars about the vaccine's distribution have changed since.Who is eligible?Which Texas residents may get a COVID-19 vaccine is a bit of a moving target. The state has divided residents into different groups, called "tiers," to which at different periods access to the vaccine will be given.On March 11, people in Phase 1A and 1B were eligible, but the state had also added school and child care workers and expanded to Phase 1C on Monday.Phase 1A: Frontline health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities.Phase 1B: People 65 and older or people 16 and older with a health condition that increases rise of severe COVID-19 illness. The conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Down syndrome, heart conditions like heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies, obesity, pregnancy, Sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes.School and child care workers: A federal directive issued March 2 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded eligibility to receive the vaccine to school and child care workers across the country.Phase 1C: This past week the state announced that Texans ages 50 to 64 will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Monday. The state said in a statement that preventing residents in this age bracket from getting the disease will "dramatically" reduce deaths.Where might vaccines be available?When looking for a spot to get the COVID-19 vaccine near Kilgore, Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne said the hub at the Longview Fairgrounds is the best — and most likely — game in town.Appointments can be scheduled as they are available, but Browne had tips for people who don't yet have an appointment at the hub."I think the best thing is to try to go up there to the hub and ask to be put on standby to see if they have any extras because that's what happened this past weekend," Browne said Thursday. "They had extra doses, and they were able to vaccinate a lot more people."Gregg County Vaccine HubThe hub at the Longview Exhibit Building is a partnership between Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center, the city of Longview and Gregg County. It has administered by far the largest number of vaccines in Longview beginning Jan. 30 and has a revolving availability for those who wish to be vaccinated.How to register: The hub is scheduling appointments for residents in one of the three tiers of eligibility. To find an appointment, go to. Appointments appear to be added on Friday mornings for upcoming shot clinics, which are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays.Smith County Vaccine HubsThere are two vaccine hub options in Smith County.The Northeast Texas Public Health District offers drive-thru vaccine clinics at the Harvey Convention Center (or inside the convention center if it's raining). Vaccine appointment sign-ups for the NET Health clinic are online at . Appointments are posted as vaccines become available.UT Health East Texas also offers vaccine appointments at its UT Health North Campus in Tyler, 11937 U.S. 271 in Tyler.Those who need help navigating online sign-up or who are without access to internet can call 903-747-4VAC (4822) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.A number of locally-owned pharmacies along with chains that have Longview-area businesses have received doses of the vaccine. Finding one that has them in stock; however, can be a challenge.Browne cautions area residents that vaccines at pharmacies could be hard to come by because they are not getting as many doses as the hub in Longview."That's hit and miss," he said. "They're usually getting very few vaccines."The state each week releases the vaccine allocations on its website. This week, the hub in Longview is scheduled to get 3,510 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. No other locations in the county are scheduled to receive any new doses this week.Here are the ones we've seen that have received them and how to go about checking availability.:Brookshires: Various Brookshire's Grocery pharmacies, including in Kilgore, have received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. On Tuesday, the company's website had a disabled link to a vaccine waiting list that said, "Not currently accepting new entries." More information is on its website.CVS Health: CVS recently added Kilgore, Longview, Tyler and Jacksonville locations, among those in East Texas, to its list of outlets that have the vaccine available. To check availability, and see other East Texas locations offering the vaccine, visit the CVS website.Louis Morgan: Louis Morgan Drug Nos. 1 and 4 have received some doses of the vaccine in the state's distribution. On Tuesday, neither location had any available, according to their websites. Louis Morgan No. 4 has a page on its website listing more information about vaccine updates. There is not currently a waiting list.Walgreens: Similar to CVS, appointments are disappearing quickly at Texas Walgreens locations. Visit the retailer's website to search for available appointments.Walmart: Some of the retailer's Kilgore, Longview, Henderson and other East Texas locations have pharmacies that offer the COVID vaccine. With limited supply, though, Walmart's vaccination locator may not show locations if they're out of doses. Visit Walmart's website to see which locations have the vaccine in stock and to sign up for an appointment.Sam's Club: Sam's Club, also owned by Walmart, offers the COVID-19 vaccine at certain locations. To register, make an account at Sam's Club's website and check your vaccine eligibility. You do not need to be a Sam's Club member to get the vaccine here.Kroger: Limited quantities of COVID-19 vaccine are available at Kroger locations. To look at availability and eligibility, use the Kroger assessment tool on its website.Browne also addressed concerns some people might have about possible side effects from the vaccines.Browne, who had his second shot in January, said people largely have tolerated the vaccines very well."There have been a few people, and very few, people who have gotten fever and aches that has lasted about a day," he said. "That's as severe as I've heard."Browne said after his second shot his arm was sore for about six hours."I took my Tylenol, and it wasn't that bad of a follow up — it just hurt. It was over with after that."Experts say it's a tight race between coronavirus variants and vaccines in the US as air travel hits records and spring break crowds growIt's a "neck and neck" race between the two, one expert says."This is crunch time," Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN on Saturday. "This is going to be our most difficult period right now in terms of seeing who wins out."With less than a quarter of all Americans having received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine -- and only about 13% fully vaccinated -- doubling down on safety measures now is what could help curb another surge, experts have repeatedly stressed."If we can hang on another month, another six weeks, that's going to make a huge difference," Hotez added.Instead, air travel is hitting pandemic-era records, with TSA screening more than 1.4 million people at airports Friday -- the biggest day for air travel more than a year. Spring break crowds are swelling, with Miami Beach officials declaring a state of emergency Saturday in response to crowds the mayor says have been "more than we can handle." And at least a dozen governors -- and multiple local leaders -- have eased restrictions this month, while several have done away with mask mandates completely.Michigan cases and hospitalizations climbing"Our progress with Covid-19 is fragile," Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive for the state of Michigan, said in a news conference Friday. "While we're making great progress with our vaccination efforts and many people are doing the right thing by wearing masks and not gathering in large groups, what we are seeing now is very concerning data that shows that we are going in the wrong direction."Case rates have been increasing for the past month, Khaldun said, and increased 77% since mid-February.The state's percent of Covid-19 tests that are positive have also jumped 177% since mid-February, Khaldun said. And hospitalization rates have also been climbing for the past two weeks, Khaldun added.Michigan has also reported the country's second-highest number of cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, after Florida, according to CDC data."It's immensely concerning," Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician in the state, told CNN Saturday. "We know in the past, cases went up, then hospitalizations, then deaths followed."Davidson told CNN he's even more worried now that variants are circulating, and hopes the state can make enough headway to protect residents."It remains to be seen," Davidson said. "We just would rather not wait and find out. We'd rather get people to mask up, keep distancing and get those numbers down."'A growing threat in our country'There are several dangerous variants that have experts concerned. But front and center is the B.1.1.7 variant, that was first spotted in the UK and has been rapidly spreading across the US.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated it will become the dominant variant of the virus in the US by the end of this month or early April.The B.1.1.7 variant "likely accounts now for about 20 to 30% of the infections in this country and that number is growing," Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a White House briefing Friday.It's more contagious and could cause more severe disease, Fauci added. Recent research also suggests the variant may also be associated with a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.The good news: vaccines appear to protect well against the variant, Fauci said, and treatments like monoclonal antibodies also appear to work against it."The way we can counter 1.1.7, which is a growing threat in our country, is to do two things: to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible with a vaccine that we know works against this variant. And finally, to implement the public health measures that we talk about all the time," Fauci said."Masking, physical distancing, and avoiding congregate settings, particularly indoors," he added.More than 43 million Americans fully vaccinatedSo far, more than 79 million Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data, and more than 43 million are fully vaccinated. The growing numbers are encouraging, but experts say the country still has a long way to go to reach the levels needed to suppress spread of the virus -- and must address the vaccine hesitancy as well as political divisions that stand in the way.In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson said Friday that while he encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and thinks it's the right thing to do, he knows there will be a "certain amount of people" who are not going to take the vaccine, "and they have every right to do that.""We got to do a better job of making sure everybody understands the importance of the vaccine, and yet maintain the respect of people that don't want to take a vaccine, and it is going to be a challenge to see how many people we can get done, but we're going to do everything we can," the governor said.A recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS, showed that while 92% of Democrats say they have gotten a dose of the vaccine or plan to get one, that falls to 50% among Republicans. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp said earlier this month officials across the state are working with local organizations, like local churches and civic clubs, to tackle vaccine hesitancy -- including among White Republicans.To get more shots into arms faster, many state leaders have also extended eligibility guidelines, with some already setting a date for when all requirements will be lifted.CNN's Pete Muntean, Carma Hassan, Mirna Alsharif and Alec Snyder contributed to this report.Grace Cary/Getty ImagesGetting extra vitamin D may lower the risk of coronavirus infection, according to a new study.Black people were less likely to have COVID-19 if they had more of the nutrient, researchers found.Research on vitamin D is mixed, but it could be one tool in helping people vulnerable to the virus.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.There's new evidence that getting more than the recommended amount of vitamin D may protect you from contracting COVID-19, particularly if you're Black.Higher levels of vitamin D were associated with increasingly lower risk of coronavirus infection in Black people, according to a study published March 19 in JAMA Open Network.Researchers from the University of Chicago looked at data from 4,314 people who were tested for COVID-19 between March and early April 2020, checking their vitamin D levels based on the past year's worth of medical records.They found that Black people who had the recommended levels of vitamin D (or slightly above) were more than twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as peers with higher-than-recommend levels of the nutrient. And those below recommended vitamin D levels were even more likely to get sick.For white people, however, there was no apparent link between vitamin D levels and coronavirus infection rates.This study was an expansion of a previous study from the same research team which found that people with vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely to get COVID-19.The researchers wanted to see if increasing vitamin D beyond what is typically considered to be "enough" for optimal health could potentially protect against coronavirus."This supports arguments for designing clinical trials that can test whether or not vitamin D may be a viable intervention to lower the risk of the disease, especially in persons of color," Dr. David Meltzer, lead author of the study and chief of hospital medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, said in a press release.COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black and brown people, and vitamin D might be one solutionPeople of color may be disproportionately at risk of vitamin D deficiency, which could in part explain why they have been hardest-hit by the virus. The human body naturally produces vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight. People with darker skin take longer to produce the nutrient because they have more melanin, which blocks UV rays from the sun.However, there is also strong evidence that systemic racism - from poor access to healthcare to fewer socioeconomic resources - is a driving factor behind the high rates of COVID-19 among people of color, and a supplement is not a silver bullet to outweigh that.Evidence on vitamin D and coronavirus outcomes has been mixedA growing body of research has studied whether vitamin D may help prevent COVID-19 or related complications, but evidence so far is mixed.There's good data showing a link between higher vitamin D and lower risk of severe COVID-19. A small study published in October 2020 found that coronavirus patients who were given a highly potent form of vitamin D were significantly less likely to need intensive care, and none of them died.Experts have advocated for supplementing vitamin D as a precaution, particularly for vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions as well as people of color. They advise that every adult get 4,000 IUs of vitamin D per day, 10 times the current dose recommended by health officials.Several studies, though, have found no evidence that vitamin D can cause better outcomes. There are many factors in the research that could explain these disparities in the results, such as how much vitamin D is taken and at what stage of exposure to coronavirus (before infection, shortly after, or late in the illness).We do know that vitamin D plays an important role in immune system health, and can be protective against other respiratory viruses. More research could help medical experts better understand whether vitamin D can help COVID-19 patients or prevent infection in the first place, and how much is ideal."So far, the data has been relatively inconclusive. Based on these results, we think that earlier studies may have given doses that were too low to have much of an effect on the immune system, even if they were sufficient for bone health. It may be that different levels of vitamin D are adequate for different functions," Meltzer said in the press release.Read the original article on InsiderVitamin D linked to reduced coronavirus risk in Black people, study suggestsBest LifeThis State Has the Worst Heart Health in America, According to DataWhile the pandemic has been the most pressing health issue over the last year, that doesn't mean other serious health conditions and diseases are any less of a threat to our well-being. Heart disease, for example, is still the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, recent data from the CDC and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) estimate about 15,334,000 Americans suffer from coronary heart disease, the most common—yet preventable—form of the condition.With poor heart health being such a serious problem in the U.S., we wanted to see where exactly the condition runs most rampant. To do this, we used the CDC and NIH data on the number of residents in each state who have coronary heart disease and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate cases of coronary heart disease per capita (or, per 100,000 residents in each state). We included both figures below, but ranked the states based on the per capita rate in each state. Read on to discover the state with the worst heart health in America, and for a way to measure your risk, check out If You Can't Do This in 90 Seconds, Your Heart Is in Danger, Study Says. 50 Utah Residents with heart disease: 89,000Heart disease per capita: 2,776.08 49 Alaska Residents with heart disease: 22,000Heart disease per capita: 3,007.33 48 Colorado Residents with heart disease: 180,000Heart disease per capita: 3,125.69 47 California Residents with heart disease: 1,423,000Heart disease per capita: 3,601.42And for one of the ways you can tell if your ticker is in trouble, check out If You Have This Issue With Your Eyes, Your Heart Disease Risk Is High. 46 Connecticut Residents with heart disease: 131,000Heart disease per capita: 3,674.32 45 Maryland Residents with heart disease: 234,000Heart disease per capita: 3,870.53 44 Hawaii Residents with heart disease: 55,000Heart disease per capita: 3,884.53 43 Minnesota Residents with heart disease: 232,000Heart disease per capita: 4,113.74 42 New Mexico Residents with heart disease: 88,000Heart disease per capita: 4,196.81 41 Wisconsin Residents with heart disease: 245,000Heart disease per capita: 4,207.86 40 Texas Residents with heart disease: 1,237,000Heart disease per capita: 4,266.12And for what you can do to prevent becoming one of these statistics, check out This Is the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Heart Health Right Now. 39 Washington Residents with heart disease: 327,000Heart disease per capita: 4,294.22 38 Nebraska Residents with heart disease: 84,000Heart disease per capita: 4,342.41 37 Virginia Residents with heart disease: 372,000Heart disease per capita: 4,358.26 36 Illinois Residents with heart disease: 558,000Heart disease per capita: 4,403.47 35 North Dakota Residents with heart disease: 34,000Heart disease per capita: 4,461.58 34 New Hampshire Residents with heart disease: 61,000Heart disease per capita: 4,486.25 33 Wyoming Residents with heart disease: 26,000Heart disease per capita: 4,492.37 32 Kansas Residents with heart disease: 134,000Heart disease per capita: 4,599.57 31 Idaho Residents with heart disease: 83,000Heart disease per capita: 4,644.49 30 New York Residents with heart disease: 913,000Heart disease per capita: 4,693.23And for more rankings and health facts sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter. 29 New Jersey Residents with heart disease: 420,000Heart disease per capita: 4,728.56 28 Iowa Residents with heart disease: 150,000Heart disease per capita: 4,754.25 27 Oregon Residents with heart disease: 203,000Heart disease per capita: 4,813.01 26 Rhode Island Residents with heart disease: 51,000Heart disease per capita: 4,814.22 25 Massachusetts Residents with heart disease: 332,000Heart disease per capita: 4,816.83 24 Georgia Residents with heart disease: 515,000Heart disease per capita: 4,850.52 23 Arizona Residents with heart disease: 356,000Heart disease per capita: 4,890.97 22 South Dakota Residents with heart disease: 45,000Heart disease per capita: 5,086.71 21 Pennsylvania Residents with heart disease: 667,000Heart disease per capita: 5,210.13 20 North Carolina Residents with heart disease: 548,000Heart disease per capita: 5,224.98 19 Montana Residents with heart disease: 56,000Heart disease per capita: 5,239.63 18 Michigan Residents with heart disease: 528,000Heart disease per capita: 5,286.95 17 Louisiana Residents with heart disease: 253,000Heart disease per capita: 5,442.27 16 Delaware Residents with heart disease: 53,000Heart disease per capita: 5,442.80 15 Vermont Residents with heart disease: 34,000Heart disease per capita: 5,448.81 14 Indiana Residents with heart disease: 370,000Heart disease per capita: 5,495.96 13 Nevada Residents with heart disease: 170,000Heart disease per capita: 5,519.20 12 Florida Residents with heart disease: 1,202,000Heart disease per capita: 5,596.49 11 Missouri Residents with heart disease: 352,000Heart disease per capita: 5,735.30 10 Ohio Residents with heart disease: 677,000Heart disease per capita: 5,791.72 9 South Carolina Residents with heart disease: 299,000Heart disease per capita: 5,807.28 8 Tennessee Residents with heart disease: 407,000Heart disease per capita: 5,959.73 7 Mississippi Residents with heart disease: 181,000Heart disease per capita: 6,081.68 6 Oklahoma Residents with heart disease: 244,000Heart disease per capita: 6,166.33 5 Alabama Residents with heart disease: 316,000Heart disease per capita: 6,444.79 4 Maine Residents with heart disease: 87,000Heart disease per capita: 6,472.19 3 Kentucky Residents with heart disease: 307,000Heart disease per capita: 6,871.59 2 Arkansas Residents with heart disease: 209,000Heart disease per capita: 6,925.57 1 West Virginia Residents with heart disease: 168,000Heart disease per capita: 9,374.23And for more on where in the U.S. there's a different kind of risk, check out This Is the Most Dangerous Small Town in America, According to Data.Supplements may protect those with low vitamin D levels from severe COVID-19Patients with low vitamin D levels who are hospitalized for COVID-19 may have a lower risk of dying or requiring mechanical ventilation if they receive vitamin D supplementation of at least 1,000 units weekly, according to a study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting."Given how common vitamin D deficiency is in the world and the United States, we believe that this research is highly relevant right now," said co-author Sweta Chekuri, M.D., of Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.Research has shown that vitamin D supplementation can prevent inflammation in other respiratory diseases, but there have been limited studies examining the role of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19. The purpose of the study was to determine whether being supplemented with vitamin D before being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 resulted in less severe COVID-19 disease in patients with a low vitamin D level.The researchers studied 124 adult patients with low vitamin D that was measured up to 90 days before their admission for COVID-19. They compared the patients who were supplemented with at least 1,000 units of vitamin D weekly to those who had not received vitamin D supplements in terms of whether they were mechanically ventilated or died during admission.They found that patients who were supplemented were less likely to be mechanically ventilated or to die following admission, though the finding wasn't statistically significant (37.5 percent of patients who were not supplemented vs. 33.3 percent of those who were) They also found that more than half of those who should have been supplemented were not."Though we weren't able to show a definitive link to severe COVID-19, it is clear that patients with low vitamin D should receive supplementation not only for bone health, but also for stronger protection against severe COVID-19," said co-author Corinne Levitus, D.O., of Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "We hope this research will encourage clinicians to discuss adding this supplement with their patients who have low vitamin D, as this may reduce the odds of people developing severe COVID-19."A study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism last fall found over 80 percent of 200 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain had vitamin D deficiency.Citation: Supplements may protect those with low vitamin D levels from severe COVID-19 (2021, March 20) retrieved 21 March 2021 from supplementsThis document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.The Didier family of Rocklin, California, just outside Sacramento, likes Christmas movies. The day after Christmas last year, Chris Didier and two of his three children sat down to watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" one more time.When the movie ended, Zach, 17, a track star, straight-A student and self-taught musician with his sights set on Stanford, headed to his bedroom.As Chris recalls, his son said: "I had a good time. Love you, Dad. Good night."At noon the next day, when Zach didn't answer a knock on his door, Chris entered his bedroom. Zach was slumped over the computer keyboard at his desk, where he had filled out his college applications just weeks before.Zachary Didier celebrates his 17th birthday (Laura Didier)"You never imagine there would be danger," Chris said, his voice cracking. "You would think your child's safe when they're at home. You would think they would be safe when they're in their room."Chris and Zach's mother, Laura, say their son — who would have turned 18 this week — bought what he thought was a prescription pain pill from someone he met on Snapchat. They don't know why Zach bought it — perhaps for soreness from his workouts, perhaps to help him sleep.The pill was counterfeit, and it contained a lethal amount of the powerful opioid fentanyl.The Drug Enforcement Administration made a huge bust this month in Mexico, seizing 600,000 counterfeit pharmaceutical pills. They're made to look like real prescription drugs of various types, and they would have been sold as anything from Adderall to Percocet to Xanax, but they actually included fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The DEA worries that traffickers who are trying to fool casual drug users into buying "prescription" drugs are going to wind up killing them.Mexican officers found a Ford Ranger with containers of fentanyl pills (Drug Enforcement Administration)Ray Donovan, the DEA's special agent in charge in New York, showed NBC News a batch of phony oxycodone pills that look exactly like the real things.Traffickers use fentanyl, Donovan said, because "it's cheap, it's synthetic, it's easy to make and it's so lucrative."Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can kill an adult, according to the DEA, and there is no quality control. Donovan estimated that 1 in 4 of the pills seized by the DEA has enough fentanyl to pose the risk of death.Seized fentanyl pills made to look like prescription medicine (NBC News)Some of the pills are pressed in pill machines in the U.S., but most are made in Mexico. Donovan said it's an attempt by traffickers to expand their market."When we first saw fentanyl come into the U.S., we saw the hard-core street users utilizing heroin mixed with fentanyl," he said. "With the pills, they're trying to draw in young adults, high schoolers — you know, people on the weekend that never used drugs or don't have an addiction problem."Donovan said the chance that any so-called prescription drug purchased via social media might contain fentanyl is "very high." Fentanyl-related deaths in the U.S. hit 36,000 in 2019, the most recent year for which figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are available, but it isn't known what proportion is related to counterfeit pills. The CDC says preliminary numbers indicate that deaths from synthetic opioids have accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic.In January, federal authorities in Sacramento issued a multi-count indictment accusing 10 people from California and Nevada of trafficking in fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills. Prosecutors said wiretaps showed that the defendants were aware that multiple deaths in the Sacramento area had been linked to the pills.Zachary Didier at Camp Chawanakee near Shaver Lake, Calif., in July 2019. (Chris Didier)Chris and Laura Didier recently attended the arraignment of a man charged with selling Zach the counterfeit pill that led to his death. The man hasn't yet entered a plea.They want those responsible to be held accountable, but they also want to warn the public."As soon as we started putting the puzzle together, it was, like, we need to ring the alarm bells," Laura said, "because we don't want anyone else to go through this. We don't want anybody else to go through this."Viral TikTok Highlights How Birth Control Pills Have Higher Blood Clot Risk Than AstraZeneca Vaccinea person standing in a room: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French Prime Minister Jean Castex are due to receive their first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. In the photograph above, elderly residents arrive to receive COVID-19 vaccines at the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre vaccination center, which is primarily administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, on March 18, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium.© Jean-Christophe Guillaume/Getty Images U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French Prime Minister Jean Castex are due to receive their first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. In the photograph above, elderly residents arrive to receive COVID-19 vaccines at the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre vaccination center, which is primarily administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, on March 18, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium.A viral TikTok video has opened the door for a conversation about the dangers of birth control pills as many countries in the European Union debate continuing to use the pharmaceutical company's COVID-19 vaccine.TikTok user Alyss Elizabeth made a video about the seemingly different levels of scrutiny between assessing the risk of blood clots for the vaccine versus the birth control pill.In her video, she said countries in Europe stopped the AstraZeneca vaccine roll out because of a six in one million chance of blood clot, while there is a "six in 10,000 chance of developing blood clots" for women on the pill.Newsweek previously reported that there have only been 17 reported cases of blood clots among the 17 million people in Europe who have received the vaccine, but the concern of the possibility prompted numerous countries to stop administering the shot. Some have since resumed after the European Medicine Agency and the World Health Organization both agreed that the risk of such a complication is minor and the vaccine remains safe to use.These Tips Can Help You Combat Coronavirus And Protect Others"Our thorough and careful review, alongside the critical assessment of leading, independent scientists, shows that there is no evidence that blood clots in veins are occurring more than would be expected in the absence of vaccination, for either vaccine," United Kingdom's Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Chief Executive Dr. June Raine said in a statement.But the video posted by Alyss Elizabeth has led to conversations among women who take birth control pills, a group which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says totals 65.3 percent of women aged 15 to 49 in the U.S. from 2017-2019. Oral contraceptive pills are the second most common method used.Women take birth control pills for a myriad of reasons besides contraception, including to treat endometriosis, to lower the risk of certain cancers and to reduce acne, menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding, according to the Mayo Clinic.Possible side effects range from minor headaches and nausea to serious blood clots, strokes and liver disorders.It's the synthetic estrogen found in the birth control pill, most commonly Ethinylestradiol, can increase the risk of blood clotting in women. But according to the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA), women's bodies have evolved to produce more clotting factor proteins early on in pregnancy to protect themselves from serious pregnancy-related bleeding. When birth control methods are made with pregnancy hormones like estrogen, the body thinks it's pregnant and these same changes will occur, putting women at an increased risk for blood clots.The average rate of developing a blood clot for the general population of reproductive-aged women is about one in 10,000, according to Dr. Kathryn McKenney, a Yale Medicine OB/Gyn.Age, pregnancy, medications and family history can increase the risk of blood clots in women, and McKenney said the risk doubles for women taking birth control pills. That's still considerably less than developing blood clots while pregnant, which McKennedy said is ten-times higher.Dr. Alok Khorana, the Chairman of the NBCA Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, said there is a lot of misinformation surrounding blood clots and the vaccine."We don't know there is an increase of blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine, we only know there are reports of individual patients getting blood clots within a short time frame after receiving the vaccine," he said. "There is a baseline risk of getting blood clots in the general public with or with getting this vaccine."Khorana said comparing the risk of blood clotting for those on the pill and those who receive the vaccine is "a little more apples to oranges" situation.The risk of blood clotting for women on the pill is more quantifiable and has been studied at length. Additionally, the pill is taken once a day for a longer duration, whereas the vaccine is taken only once.McKenney noted that the "surge in vaccine hesitancy among the general public" over the past decade has made people "very nervous" to hear about any potential adverse effect of a vaccine."In general, the risk women undertake by being under birth control is comparable to risk we take in everyday lives, whereas risks of rare but serious adverse vaccine effects are so much lower than those risks we routinely take," McKenney said.She added that there is a small risk of a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but that "the likelihood of having that adverse effect is a lot less likely than getting in a car accident when you walk out the door."The health risks for not taking a birth control pill and not getting vaccinated differ as well. The International Society on thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) recommends eligible adults receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, because "based on currently available data, the ISTH believes that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination strongly outweigh any potential complications and recommends vaccination of all eligible adults."Start your unlimited Newsweek trialWarning Issued About Meth Pills Resembling AdderallWe Can Do to the Senate What Brits Did to the House of LordsPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyAfter two centuries as an anti-Democratic force, the Senate needs to adapt or it might wake up one day and find that its powers have been stripped down to ceremonial engagements. Don’t laugh! Our neighbors from across the pond not too long ago did exactly this to the House of Lords.The English Parliament has existed since 1295, and since its inception the House of Lords had generally been the dominant chamber in England’s bicameral legislature. It represented the clergy, nobility and landowners and it had a greater say in shaping British government than the House of Commons that represented the common people. Sound familiar?However, all of this changed in the early 1900s as England confronted social changes not too dissimilar to America’s current political turmoil.The Filibuster Can’t Be ‘Reformed’—It Must Be Nuked As industrialization grew in Europe the voice of the common man increased in political importance, and they demanded that the government should exist to serve the people and not the British elites. They wanted government to play a greater and more active role in the welfare of its citizens instead of the unregulated, laissez-faire, small government agenda of the 1909, the Liberal Party that controlled the House of Commons passed the People’s Budget that proposed unprecedented taxes on the lands and incomes of Britain’s wealthy to fund social welfare programs to combat poverty, provide medical care, and improve public education. Unsurprisingly, the out-of-touch House of Lords rejected the budget response, the Liberal Party proposed legislation to reduce the power of the House of Lords, and soon the People’s Budget and the future of the House of Lords became the main issues of the 1910 general election.A young Winston Churchill was a major supporter of the People’s Budget, and he relished the battle against the House of lords April 1910, a year after it was introduced, the House of Lords approved the People’s Budget, but the damage to their political standing had already been done. In 1910, the Liberal Party retained control of the House of Commons, and began systematically reducing the power of the House of Lords. Initially, they flooded the House of Lords with Liberal Party members, but that was only the beginning.With the approval of King George V, the Parliament Act of 1911 was signed into law and it revoked the chamber’s veto power over legislation from the House of Commons. The act gave the House of Commons a method for bypassing the House of Lords, and sending legislation directly to the king or queen for approval. In 1949 a second Parliament Act was passed that further diminished the power of the House of Lords.For over a century, the House of Lords has been a ceremonial entity devoid of political power, but for the previous 600 years it had been the dominant voice in England’s government. Despite being powerless, the House of Lords is still referred to as the upper chamber of parliament. Today, the removal of its powers is regarded as a seminal moment in making England a more democratic society 2021, American House Democrats have an ambitious and popular legislative agenda not too dissimilar to England’s from a century ago. There are bills for protecting voting rights, providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented Americans, raising the minimum wage, DC statehood, and providing relief to Americans struggling due to COVID-19; and it is expected that due to the filibuster and its 60 vote requirement, many of these bills will die in the Senate despite the Democrats having a majority.The egregious obstructionism of Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party is so outlandish and vulgar that it can make people want to believe that the GOP’s destructive, undemocratic behavior is a historical anomaly. Yet tragically this political incivility has long been the norm for the Senate.Since the 1830s, conservative senators have used the filibuster to grind the Senate to a halt and prevent the passage of legislation. During this era, South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun used the filibuster to defend the institution of slavery against the growing abolitionist movement reshaping the North. Calhoun was an unabashed racist who considered slavery to be a “positive good” and whose constituency consisted of white Americans who owned land and people and not the enslaved Black Americans who made up over half of the state’s population.Charleston’s Finally Ready to Tear Down Its Jim Crow Era Slavery Shrine. Will South Carolina’s GOP Let It?And for at least as long, the Senate has served as an impediment to progress and democracy, and it still employs the filibuster to kill legislation that promotes racial equality. The filibuster was frequently used during Jim Crow as Americans attempted to end our apartheid state, and unsurprisingly Republicans embraced the filibuster to undermine the legislative agenda of America’s first Black president.And just this week, Senate minority leader McConnell threatened a “scorched-earth Congress” if Democrats attempted to abolish the http://filibuster.As it happens, that was the same week that the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act that provides a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented Americans, but due to the filibuster and conservative obstructionism it is unlikely that either bill will make it out of the Senate and become laws. Popular legislation that promotes racial equality and voting rights will again die in the Senate.But while the Senate’s impeding of democracy has been the American norm for two centuries, this does not mean it has to go on forever.The Senate is out of touch and far too often exists to defend the minority positions on voting rights, immigration, gender equality, and income inequality. The Senate could not even bring itself to convict President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial after he orchestrated an attack on the Capitol, despite the overwhelming support of the American people.If the Senate continues to represent the will of the elites and not the people, the only way to advance our democracy might be to turn it into America’s House of Lords by reducing its political power and relegating it to ceremonial duties. It has happened before, and it could happen again.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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