Day: September 27, 2021

Tributes made for TikToker Gabe Salazar amid reports of death in car crash

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Social media is in mourning TikTok influencer Gabriel Salazar, who reportedly died over the weekend at age 19.
According to friends and family, Salazar died Sunday in a car crash in San Antonio, Texas — although his death has yet to be confirmed, the Sun reported.
The social media sensation — who went by @gabenotbabe on TikTok — was known for posting short humorous lip-sync vids to his page, which has a staggering 1.4 million followers.
“I don’t know what’s real and not real anymore but unfortunately gabe past away on a car crash September 26 we couldn’t believe it the moment we found out [sic],” wrote friend Chris Vazquez on a GoFundMe page dedicated to the TikTok star.
The bereaved buddy added, “Dont really want to get into details because it’s so hard for us to even talk about the pain he went through. Never expected this happen but now you’re watching over us.”
As of Monday afternoon, the fund-raiser had netted nearly $18,000, which will go toward Salazar’s funeral expenses as they’re “too much for his family to afford,” per the page.
San Antonio Police Department, however, told The Post that “no one by that name” was involved in an accident recently.
We “found no one by that name involved in any crashes from this weekend,” PIO Jennifer Saucedo Rodriguez told The Post.
Friends and fans alike were torn up over his loss.
“Rest easy brother,” good pal and frequent TikTok collaborator Ricky Flores wrote on his Instagram page along with a pic of the two during better times. “Words can’t even explain how I feel right now. Man I would do anything to get you back right now bro.”
Flores also posted a black-and-white pic of Salazar with digitally imposed angel wings. “Gabe: in loving memory,” read the caption.
“Rip Gabe :/,” wrote fellow Tokfluencer Desiree Montoya under Salazar’s purported final video, which was posted Friday.
Another heartbroken fan wrote: “You were literally one of the first guys I saw and followed when I started on TikTok, rest in peace Gabe. I will love you all my life.”
“Please tell me this isn’t real,” said another.
Vazquez described Salazar as someone who “loved his family and was always horsing around with [his] sister and little brother.”
“He was always there with a big hug and smile, and his family will never forget those warm moments,” the devastated friend wrote. “He was so funny with a quiet sense of humor and sarcasm. I cannot believe that I am sitting here writing this.”
To read more from the New York Post, click here.

Dog earns Guinness World Record for longest ears

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This dog can definitely hear it when people say he’s a good boy.
Sometimes, all it takes to set a Guinness World Record is to have a unique feature. For example, a dog named Lou recently earned his spot in the record book for having the longest ears on a living dog.

Lou’s ears are 13.38 inches long.
(Guinness World Records)
Lou’s owner, Paige, told Guinness that she’s always known his ears were longer than average. According to a press release from the record-keeping organization, Paige only decided to measure them during the pandemic.
“Lou is a black and tan coonhound, and all of them should have ears that extend at least to the tip of their nose,” Paige, a veterinary technician, explained. “All black and tan coonhounds have beautiful long ears, some are just longer than others. Their long ears drag on the ground and stir up scents when they are tracking out in the field. It makes them great at following long, very old or 'cold' tracks that other breeds of dog may not pick up on.”
Lou’s ears measure out to 13.38 inches.
Paige said that while Lou’s ears are extraordinarily long, they don’t require much more cleaning than those of a normal dog. During the winter, however, she does wrap them in an ear-warmer to keep them from dragging in the snow.
“People always have questions about the breed. Coonhounds are not very common in this region so I get the opportunity to educate a lot of people on the breed,” Paige said. “Of course everyone wants to touch the ears, they’re very easy to fall in love with with just one sighting.”

Trick-or-treating amid COVID-19 pandemic: CDC director weighs in

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Looking to partake in Halloween festivities this year? Celebrate outdoors, limit crowds and trick-or-treat in small groups, says Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Oh gosh I certainly hope so,” Walensky told CBS’ Face the Nation, when prompted whether it was safe for kids to trick-or-treat this year. “If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely. Limit crowds, I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups and I hope that we can do that this year.”
Walensky’s comments come as children under 12 remain ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine, though Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday the company is “days, not weeks” away from submitting trial data to the FDA in a bid to expand use among kids ages 5-11, and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb has anticipated the age group could become eligible for vaccine by Halloween. Recent findings suggested the shot was safe and effective in elementary school-aged kids at a lower dose, 10 microgram (µg) versus the 30 µg dose for individuals ages 12 and older.
“Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination,” Bourla wrote in part in a release posted on Sept. 20. “These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”
Last year, COVID-related precautions and gathering limits resulted in canceled Halloween events across 37 states, USA Today reported, while the CDC had discouraged Americans from participating in traditional trick-or-treating and indoor costume parties. The health agency last year advised trick-or-treaters against wearing a costume mask as a replacement for their virus-related mask or in addition to one.
“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” the CDC said in a previous advisory, adding that anyone who may have COVID-19–or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19–should not partake in any in-person activities during the holiday.
Fox News’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.

Salmonella outbreak from unknown source spreads to 29 states

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An ongoing salmonella outbreak from an unknown food source has spread to 29 states, federal health officials warned.
The outbreak has infected nearly 280 people and more than two dozen have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest update, which was issued on Sept. 23.
Still, there have been no deaths associated with the “fast-growing outbreak,” according to the CDC.
The agency created a map showcasing where people impacted by the salmonella outbreak live.
So far, Texas has the most reported illnesses – 81 – followed by Illinois and Virginia, which have 23 and 22 reported cases, respectively.
Minnesota, with 19 illnesses, and Massachusetts, with 10, round out the top five states with the most reported cases.
However, the agency cautioned that the map may not represent all of the cases “because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for salmonella.”
The CDC said officials in several states have been collecting data as part of a multistate investigation into an outbreak of salmonella oranienburg infections.
The agency added that officials have been collecting and testing food items from restaurants “where sick people ate” but have not yet identified a “food linked to illness.”
In its latest update, the CDC said a strain of salmonella oranienburg was found in a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime – although the container had contained onions at one point, making it hard to identify the source.
“Because multiple food items were present in the container and in the sample that was tested, it is not possible to know which food item was contaminated,” the CDC said.
Officials are using the information “in conjunction with other available information to help narrow the list of possible foods linked to illness.”
Each year, the potentially harmful bacteria causes about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths across the United States, according to the CDC.
Most people who became infected with the bacteria have diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps with symptoms lasting up to seven days.
However, in some cases, “people’s illness may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized,” the CDC said.

Restaurant bans all minors after string of bad incidents involving drugs and destruction

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Sorry kids, this restaurant isn’t for you.
A restaurant in California has decided to ban any minors from its premises unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. This news came after a string of incidents occurred at the business that included objects being thrown at the wait staff, drugs being consumed on the premises and destruction of property.
The Red Rooster Burgers and Brew in Garden Valley, California, announced the ban on its Facebook page. Apparently, the business had been dealing with issues from underage customers for two years before implementing the ban.
The restaurant wrote, “For the last 2 years we have spoken to kiddos and voiced our concerns numerous times! Then, we implemented rules so they could still feel like they had a place to go, feel safe, and hang with their friends. It's very clear to us that the bad behavior is not going to end. If you have a kiddo that needs a safe place to be after school please reach out to us. It is not our intent to exile the youth in our community but to protect our property. Some of their actions are unlawful and we won't allow it.”
According to the post, the incidents included underage patrons throwing coins, French fries and candy across the dining room (and sometimes at workers), marijuana being smoked in the bathroom and other inappropriate behavior occurring in the bathroom.
The post states that other customers have been driven away due to the misbehavior of the kids.
“We also have issues with youth roaming the streets at night vandalizing the neighborhood,” the post continues. “Recently a neighbor's Halloween display was vandalized. We found pieces of it in our parking lot. It's unfortunate but we will have to install security cameras to catch these vandals. We live in such a quaint beautiful town. I wish it didn't have to be this way.”

COVID-19 vaccine boosters: Who is eligible?

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U.S. health authorities’ move last week to authorize and recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to certain populations who received a second dose six months ago has left about 20 million Americans eligible, according to Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator.
Booster shots are aimed to extend and enhance protection against severe COVID-19 disease and related complications among vulnerable populations, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said during a White House briefing Friday. But who can receive a booster dose at this time?
“If you are six months out from your last dose of Pfizer vaccine, you are eligible for a booster if you fall into one of three high risk groups,” Murthy said, noting the following eligible groups:
People ages 65 or older and residents in long term care facilitiesPeople ages 50-64 with medical conditions and at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness (such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease). People ages 18-49 with underlying conditions may receive a shot and should consider individual benefits and risksPeople ages 18-64 who live or work in a setting with increased risk of COVID-19 exposure (including healthcare workers, teachers, individuals in shelters or prisons and grocery store workers)A small fraction of Americans with moderate-to-severe immunocompromise were previously made eligible for a third dose as well. Murthy advised visiting for thousands of locations nationwide offering COVID-19 booster doses.
Video”CDC will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure appropriate recommendations to keep all Americans safe,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a statement. “We will also evaluate with similar urgency available data in the coming weeks to swiftly make additional recommendations for other populations or people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.”
“Your health matters just as much as other vaccine recipients and we want to make sure that your protection against COVID is strong and reliable as well,” Murthy added.
According to Zients, the U.S. has secured enough booster supply for every American, and doses are free with no I.D. or insurance required. Officials worked with governors, pharmacies, doctors, long term care facilities and other providers to make doses available to eligible Americans, he said, noting that 80,000 locations are offering a booster shot nationwide, including over 40,000 local pharmacies.
More specifically, Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots are available at nearly 6,000 CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations, and patients will be prompted to self-attest to their eligibility by the defined guidelines; Walgreens, Walmart and Sam's Club, Kroger and other pharmacies are offering doses as well.
Nevertheless, more than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated, and federal health officials emphasized that vaccinating the unvaccinated remains a top priority in an effort to suppress the pandemic. As of Sept. 24, the U.S. recorded over 130,000 new daily cases, with a seven-day average of deaths exceeding 1,500 and weekly average for hospital admissions at 8,906.

Life expectancy of American men fell by 2 years amid COVID pandemic: study

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The life expectancy of American men dropped by more than two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has found.
Oxford University said in the study published Monday that the life expectancy among men fell by 2.2 years in 2020, the largest drop since World War II, according to Reuters.
Life expectancy fell by more than six months compared to 2019 for 22 of the 29 countries analyzed for the study, which included the U.S. and European nations.
Overall, there were reductions in life expectancy in 27 of the 29 countries, the news outlet said.
Nov. 19, 2020: Ventilator tubes are attached to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Most life expectancy reductions could be linked to official COVID-19 deaths. The pandemic has so far claimed about 4.7 million lives across the globe and infected almost 232 million people, according to the latest numbers by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., more than 688,000 people have died and almost 43 million cases have been confirmed.
“The fact that our results highlight such a large impact that is directly attributable to COVID-19 shows how devastating a shock it has been for many countries,” said Dr. Ridhi Kashyap, co-lead author of the study, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Most countries saw greater drops in life expectancy for men than women. Overall, men’s life expectancy fell by more than a year in 15 countries, compared to women in 11 countries.
In the U.S., the increased mortality was mainly among people of working age and those under 60. In Europe, meanwhile, deaths among those over 60 contributed more significantly to the spike in mortality.

Pfizer begins Phase 2/3 study for COVID-19 oral antiviral in exposed adults

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Pfizer initiated a Phase 2/3 study of an investigational oral antiviral with a low dose of ritonavir to prevent COVID-19 illness, the company announced Monday. The treatment is aimed to slow viral replication after exposure to tamp down symptomatic disease and infection onset in others.
“With the continued impact of COVID-19 around the world, we believe that tackling the virus will require effective treatments for people who contract, or have been exposed to, the virus, complementing the impact that vaccines have had in helping quell infections,” Dr. Mikael Dolsten, PhD., chief scientific officer and president, worldwide research, development and medical of Pfizer, said in a news release posted Monday. “If successful, we believe this therapy could help stop the virus early – before it has had a chance to replicate extensively – potentially preventing symptomatic disease in those who have been exposed and inhibiting the onset of infection in others.”
The Phase 2/3 study called EPIC-PEP, (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, set to enroll up to 2,660 healthy adults ages 18 and older living with a household member with a confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection. Study participants will be randomly assigned to receive PF-07321332/ritonavir or a placebo twice each day for five or 10 days, per the news release. The treatment is designed to be administered early (such as the first sign or infection or awareness of exposure) while ritonavir is intended to slow the metabolism of the PF-07321332 antiviral to help fight the virus for a longer period of time.
“Given the continued emergence and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their immense impact, we continue to work diligently to develop and study new ways that our investigational oral antiviral candidate could potentially lower the impact of COVID-19, not only on patients’ lives, but also the lives of their families and household members,” Dolsten said.
The company intends to evaluate the candidate's safety and efficacy in preventing confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptoms through two weeks, Pfizer said, noting that an early stage trial suggested the oral antiviral was safe and well tolerated. The global program involves other ongoing studies, like COVID-infected patients at high-risk of poor outcomes while another trial includes patients at a standard risk, which began in July and August, respectively.

Quitting smoking leads to eating more junk food, weight gain, study finds

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Put down the pack and pick up a snack.
A new study from the University of Minnesota found that quitting smoking leads to a poor diet, potentially leading to weight gain.
The new study found that the opioid system — the brain functions responsible for addiction and appetite regulation — may cause former smokers suffering from nicotine withdrawal to prefer fatty, sugary foods to fill the void.
The study was led by Dr. Mustafa al’Absi, a licensed psychologist and professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, who published his findings in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
“We looked at whether or not acute nicotine withdrawal increases the intake of junk food — high in salt, fat and sugar — and how the stress-relieving receptors of the opioid system are involved,” al’Absi said in a press release from the university. “Mitigating these challenges during the treatment process will help patients quit smoking while understanding their eating habits and encourage healthier decisions.”
The study analyzed a group of smoking and non-smoking participants between the ages of 19 and 75. All subjects were asked to stop using nicotine for 24 hours and received either a placebo or 50 mg of naltrexone, a drug commonly used to treat patients with substance addiction problems.
At the end of the two sessions before and after temporarily quitting, participants were offered a variety of snacks that differed in high to low energy density and dimensions of salty, sweet and fat.
The study found that those who were experiencing nicotine withdrawals consumed more calories. Those who’d taken the naltrexone were less likely to choose a high-calorie food.
“The study’s findings may be related to the use of food, especially those high in calories, to cope with the negative affect and distress that characterizes the feelings people experience during smoking withdrawal,” al’Absi said. “Results from preclinical and clinical research support this and demonstrate that stress increases proclivity for high-fat and high-sugar foods.”
Weight gain or fear of weight gain after quitting, al’Absi believes, may be a factor in causing some smokers to relapse.
“These findings extend earlier studies that indicate the impact of tobacco use on appetite and help identify the influence of an important biological link, the brain opioid system, on craving during nicotine withdrawal,” al’Absi said. “The fear of weight gain is a major concern among smokers who think about quitting. The key to removing these barriers is to better understand the factors that increase the urge for high-caloric foods.”

WHO to revive probe into COVID-19 origins, officials warn time is running out

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The World Health Organization is developing a team of about 20 scientists who will be tasked with uncovering the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak– and officials warned that time could be running out, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that officials from the U.N.’s public-health arm have warned that the world may never know the virus’ origins.
Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, told the paper that it is unclear if the team’s mandate will be enough to actually make progress in the investigation.
“China still holds all the cards, the WHO lacks power and it’s inconceivable to me that a new committee will be able to negotiate access to China…This is building a beautiful committee with nowhere to go,” he said.
The outbreak has also created additional tension between the U.S. and China. The Journal’s report said the Biden administration has been pressing WHO's director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to renew the inquiry. The WHO did not immediately respond to a late email from Fox News.
An unidentified WHO spokesman told the paper that the team’s priority “needs to be data and access in the country where the first reports were identified.”
The U.S. intelligence community earlier this month failed to conclusively identify the origin of the coronavirus following a 90-day investigation ordered by President Biden and experts are divided on why. A report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) found that officials were unable to rule whether the virus escaped from a lab or spread to humans through an infected animal.
Klon Kitchen, a former intelligence officer with the ODNI, told Fox News it is in China's interest to continue to bar access to uncovering the origin of the virus.
“China is highly incentivized and capable of denying us this information,” Kitchen said. “They're incentivized to deny us this information because no matter what it is – whether it was a wet market or a biological facility as its origin – it's embarrassing to the Chinese Communist Party.”
The Journal’s report pointed out that Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the UN General Assembly last week and said his country will “continue to support and engage in global science-based origins tracing and stands firmly opposed to political maneuvering in whatever form.”