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Remains of Over 200 Children Found at Former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada
Recently, the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada. The institution was part of a system of boarding schools in the U.S. and Canada that forcibly separated indigenous children from their parents, families, and communities in an attempt to “assimilate” them and eliminate indigenous cultures. This system is not a relic of the distant past: It wasn't until 1978 that Native American parents gained the legal right to refuse having their children taken from them and being forcibly being put into boarding schools in the U.S., and the Canadian Indian residential school system continued until 1996. Schools were established largely by Christian churches and missionaries intent on converting children to Christianity and indoctrinating them into rejecting their indigenous identity and culture and turning them away from traditional practices, beliefs, cultures, and languages. They were founded on the racist belief that indigenous cultures were fundamentally inferior to that of the colonizers (i.e., White, European, Christian cisheteropatriarchy), that they were inherently sinful against Christian views, and that the only way to "save" the children was to keep them away from their family and community, deny them access to their traditional and ancestral culture, history, language, and beliefs, "civilize" them by making them fit into the White, Christian cisheteropatriarchy, and having them reject their family, ancestral culture, and indigenous identity. The schools were also rife with continuous and systematic physical, mental, and sexual abuse of children.
Despite the claims that this was done in order to "civilize" Indigenous people, it was itself among the most inhumane policies in the history of either country. It amounted to nothing less than attempted cultural genocide, and it was largely successful in many of its goals. There is no way to estimate the amount of traditional knowledge and culture that was lost and cannot be regained (particularly as many aspects of indigenous cultures are passed down orally, and with no children to pass the information down to, it died with the elders), nor is there any way to reverse the impact on the lives of those forced into the boarding schools, their families, or their descendents. The trauma is generational.
Indigenous communities in Canada are demanding an investigation by the government into what happened at Kamloops as well as at other such schools around the nation. The school was run by the Catholic Church until the 1960s, and was run by the federal government from then until it was closed in the 1970s.
"Mass grave reopens wounds among indigenous survivors of colonial Canadian school system"
"Canadians demand action from officials as country mourns discovery of a mass grave of children's remains"
Unvaccinated People Still Getting COVID-19 at Same Rate as Before
Just over 40% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and just over 50% have received at least one dose. This is positive news for those in those groups, and results in a significant decline in overall cases of COVID-19 and death rates, but the impact is only for those who have been vaccinated. Data analysis shows that the COVID-19 case rate for unvaccinated people has not changed appreciably in the past six months, and death rates are approximately the same as before the vaccine began being administered. Unfortunately, unvaccinated people are treating the decline in overall cases and the relaxation of mask and gathering rules as a signal that they are now safer than they were before and can participate fully in gatherings and stop wearing a mask. The opposite is true: If you are not vaccinated, you are not safer than before. We have not come close to herd immunity.
"COVID-19 cases and deaths are down but rate of infection is the same as it was in December for unvaccinated"
WHO Begins Using Greek Letters to Name COVID-19 Variants
In an effort to make it easier to refer to COVID-19 variants, as well as to help reduce stigmatization of countries and ethnic groups where the variants are first identified, the World Health Organization announced that they would begin referring to variants using Greek letters. The scientific names (a series of letters and numbers) will not be eliminated, but the Greek letters will provide an easier way to refer to them, particularly for the general public. Instead of having people refer to a strain as the "India variant," which can result in stigmatization of people from India, B.1.617.2, the main variant first identified there, will be known as "Delta." The new names are as follows:
Variants of Concern:
Alpha: B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom
Beta: B.1.351, first identified in South Africa
Gamma: B.1.1.7, first identified in Brazil
Delta: B.1.617.2, first identified in India
Variants of Interest:
Epsilon: B.1.427/B.1.429, first identified in California
Zeta: P.2, first identified in Brazil
Eta: B.1.525, first identified in the United Kingdom and Nigeria
Theta: P.3, first identified in Philippines
Iota: B.1.526, first identified in New York
Kappa: B.1.617.1, first identified in India
World Health Organization, "Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants"
"Alpha, Beta Instead Of Britain, South Africa. Why The WHO Is Renaming COVID Variants"
New Survey Provides Insights into Vaccination Intentions and CDC Guidance
A new survey provides insights into vaccination intentions and the impact of the changes in CDC mask rules. Among the findings:
7% of U.S. adults said that they will get vaccinated "only if required"
13% say they will "definitely not" get vaccinated
32% of unvaccinated adults said that FDA approval of vaccines would make them more likely to get vaccinated (the COVID-19 vaccines are currently being administered under Emergency Use Authorization)
21% of unvaccinated, employed adults said "they would be more inclined to do so if their employer gave them paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects"
10-15% said they would get vaccinated if there were financial incentives
5-8% of White respondents said they would get vaccinated if there were financial incentives
15-25% of Black respondents said they would get vaccinated if there were financial incentives
21-29% of Hispanic respondents said they would get vaccinated if there were financial incentives
43% said "CDC guidance on the types of activities that vaccinated and unvaccinated people can safely engage in is confusing and hard to follow"
"While the share of U.S. adults who report receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has continued to climb from 56% in April to 62% in May, the share who say they intend to get the vaccine as soon as possible fell to just 4%, leaving a very small group that is ready to get vaccinated right away. At the same time, the share who say they want to “wait and see” before getting vaccinated inched downward from 15% to 12% over the past month, while the shares saying they will get a vaccine “only if required” for work or other activities, or will “definitely not” get vaccinated remain essentially unchanged since January."
"KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: May 2021"
Guidance for Parents of Unvaccinated Children on Masks
The Akron Children's Hospital recently produced a short guide for parents about COVID-19 and masks for children.
New CDC Mask Guidelines: What parents need to know (From Akron Children’s Hospital)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced vaccinated people do not have to wear masks indoors or outdoors, in most cases.
But parents are left wondering how these latest guidelines impact their children under 12 years old who are not yet vaccinated. Akron Children's Chief Medical Center Officer Dr. Rob McGregor answers your top questions.
Q: Should children continue to wear a mask if they are not vaccinated?
A: Yes. The CDC recommends children should continue to wear face coverings when they are in public, especially indoors or in large crowds, until they are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Masks have been proven to reduce the risk of transmission.
Q: Should unvaccinated adults go unmasked, while their unvaccinated kids wear face coverings?
A: No. While it is safe for vaccinated people to stop wearing a mask, it is not safe for unvaccinated kids to stop this practice. To support your children, everyone should wear a mask in public spaces or large gatherings until the whole family is vaccinated.
Q: Can the whole family go to indoor public places, while the youngest family members are not vaccinated?
A: It depends. Families should assess the risk versus benefit to each gathering in a public space.
Q: Because we don't know who is vaccinated and who is not, should families mask in crowded places just to be safe?
A: Yes. Only about 35% of the population is fully vaccinated. It's best to protect your family against people who are unvaccinated and not wearing a mask.
Possible Link Between COVID-19 Vaccine and Myocarditis
A recent surveillance report from the Israeli Ministry of Health states that there may be a link between myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation, and the COVID-19 vaccine. The report stated that there were a total of 275 cases of myocarditis between December 2020 and May 2021 amongst 5,049,424 vaccinated individuals, with 148 of those cases occurring around the time of vaccination. Out of those 148, 121 of them were after the second dose of the vaccine, with most cases occurring in young men aged 16-30. The link was reportedly weaker the older the vaccinated individual was reported to be. In the US, a recent report currently in pre-publication status by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated that there were 7 cases of myocarditis in males ages 14-19 following Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations who were otherwise healthy. All recovered within 2-6 days following standard treatments. These cases also point to a potential link between myocarditis and COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly in younger males so far, however a link is yet to be determined. In addition, while there may be a link, the cases seem to be exceedingly rare and side effects treatable, thus the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations currently still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19. This will be an important side effect of the vaccine to monitor as more data is collected. In the meantime, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out or consult your primary care providers!
Recent Reports on COVID-19 Variant In Vietnam Need More Study
Some news outlets recently reported that a potential new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Vietnam was found and accounted for the recent outbreaks in COVID-19 cases there. A WHO representative, however, recently stated in an interview that there was no new variant and that this strain was still the Delta variant (B.1.617.2). While the Delta variant in Vietnam so far has additional mutations, the representative stated that this was all within current Delta variant study and that more study and monitoring is needed. Vietnam, which was reported as a leading example in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, has recently seen an uptick in cases since April of this year.
This Week's QM Round-Up Contributors (in alphabetical order):
Wilfredo Flores (he/him/his), fourth-year PhD candidate in Writing and Rhetoric, M.A. Technical Communication
Grey L. Pierce (they/them); M.A., Cognitive Psychology; Assistant Director, Michigan State University (MSU) Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting; Project Manager, State of the State Survey, MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research
Francis Yang (he/him/his), M.S.-Global Medicine, Second-year medical student