CDC warns against cruises, regardless of vaccination status

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned people on Thursday not to go on cruises, regardless of their vaccination status, because of onboard outbreaks fueled by the omicron variant.

The CDC said it has more than 90 cruise ships under investigation or observation as a result of COVID-19 cases. The agency did not disclose the number of infections.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high,” even if people are fully vaccinated and have received a booster, the CDC said.

The Cruise Lines International Association said it was disappointed with the new recommendations, saying the industry was singled out despite the fact it follows stricter health protocols than other travel sectors.

The decision “is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard,” a statement said. “The majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore.”

In March 2020, as the coronavirus took hold in the U.S., the CDC put a halt to all cruises for what turned out to be 15 months. Last June, it allowed ships to resume sailing under new strict new conditions.

In August, as the delta variant surged, the agency warned people who are at risk of severe illness despite being vaccinated not to go on cruises.

The CDC on Thursday also recommended that passengers get tested and quarantine for five days after docking, regardless of their vaccination status and even if they have no symptoms.

Source: APNews

13yr student dies of COVID-19 after governor doubles down against mask mandate

A 13-year-old girl died of COVID-19 in Mississippi not long after that state’s governor, Tate Reeves, downplayed the number of cases among its children. 

Mkayla Robinson died of coronavirus complications early Saturday just hours after testing positive. The active eighth-grader at Raleigh High School had attended classes most of the week before falling ill, according to The Mississippi Free Press, 

“It is with great sadness, and a broken heart, that I announce the passing of one of my 8th-grade band students,” the school’s band director, Paul Harrison, wrote on Facebook Saturday morning. “She was the perfect student. Every teacher loved her and wanted 30 more just like her. Please pray for Raleigh Junior High, the band, and especially the family as they deal with this.”

Cases like Robinson’s — or even the threat of them — have done little to sway Mississippi’s leaders.

On Friday, Gov. Reeves said at a press conference held mere miles from the newly constructed field hospital set-up at University of Mississippi Medical Center: “I don’t have any intention of issuing a statewide mask mandate for any category of Mississippians at this time. I don’t know how I can say that differently other than the way I’ve said it repeatedly for a number of days and weeks and months.” 

“If you look at those individuals under the age of 12, what you find is that it is very rare that kids under the age of 12 have anything other than the sniffles,” the governor added. “Does it happen from time to time? Sure, it does. I believe we have had one fatality of an individual, maybe it could’ve been two — I think there’s three under the age of 18 at this time? Two?”

The state’s health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, informed him that there had been four juvenile deaths in Mississippi, including one this summer. 

The number did not change Reeves’ position on masks. 

The tally also did not include Robinson. 

Reeves, a Republican, has deferred the decision on mask mandates to individual school systems, and at Friday’s press conference, he continued to downplay the effects of the virus on younger kids. “For those under the age of 12 who are not currently eligible for the vaccine,” he said, “it is highly unusual for there to be any significant effects.” 

Source: TheGrio

FDA authorizes third vaccine dose for immunocompromised people

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized a third dose of COVID-19 for certain people with compromised immune systems, a narrow move into the realm of booster doses amid a growing debate over their use.

The move will allow a third dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and applies to certain immunocompromised people, including those with organ transplants and those “diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise,” the FDA said.

The agency emphasized that the general public does not need a third dose at the moment.

Source: The Hill

RIP to Legendary DMV Producer Chucky Thompson

Unfortunately, the man behind hits like The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa,” Faith Evans’ “You Used To Love Me,” and Nas’ classic track “One Mic,” died after a fight with COVID-19.

Chucky Thompson was a member of Bad Boy Entertainment’s legendary “Hitmen” production team.

Thompson was one of the founding members of the squad, which included Easy Moe Bee and Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie.

The Washington D.C. native got his start playing the congas with Go-Go music legend Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers, before finding his way to Bad Boy. 

In addition to his hits with Diddy and Bad Boy, Thompson churned out hits for Tevin Campbell, New Edition, TLC, Busta Rhymes, Juvenile, and Mary J. Blige to name a few.

“My first real session with Bad Boy was with [producer] Easy Mo Bee. Puff asked if I wanted to go to the studio and hang out with him,” Chucky Thompson said during an interview with The Recording Academy.

“I’d never met him or anything. I showed up at the session; he had a guitar there, and I just started playing along with what Easy Mo Bee was doing. He heard it and immediately wanted to record it. That became the guitar parts on “Ready to Die.” That was always the energy,’ Chuck Thompson revealed. 

Most recently, Thompson helped produce tracks on Diddy’s upcoming album Off The Grid Volume 1 which is supposed to be released on September 24.

Off The Grid Volume 1 marks Diddy’s first album in 11 years and will be one of the first releases on his new imprint, Love Records.

Thompson made a documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen that aired on the History Channel and he was working on a film about his life and the Go-Go music scene in Washington D.C. titled “Chucky Thompson Presents D.C. Go-Go.”

Source: All HipHop

890 new COVID-19 cases in Maryland, highest number since May 1

As mask mandates are returning to Baltimore and vaccine mandates are being required for some state employees, the COVID-19 metrics continue to increase.

On Friday, Maryland reported 890 new CVOVID-19 cases, an increase from the 729 reported Thursday, and the highest amount reported since May 1 of this year.

On Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that state employees working in congregate settings must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination effective Sept. 1, or be subject to regular COVID-19 testing. 

On Thursday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also announced he would reinstate a mask mandate for Baltimore starting Monday at 9 a.m., regardless of vaccination status. 

UNITED STATES – MAY 17: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott conducts a news conference with members of the Maryland congressional delegation on the “Reconnecting Communities Act,” which aims to “reconnect and revitalize areas that were harmed by the construction of the Interstate Highway System and reform the long history of inequity in infrastructure, near Franklin and Monroe Streets in Baltimore, Md, on Monday May 17, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Scott told C4 and Bryan Nehman on Thursday that the city’s law department and others are looking into the “ability to mandate vaccines for our employees.”

To date, 7,250,459 vaccines have been administered in Maryland, 3,660,394 people have received their first dose of a vaccine, 3,314,640  people have received their second dose of a vaccine and 275,425  people have received the single-dose vaccine. 

Maryland’s current positivity rate is 3.79% with 345 people currently hospitalized. 

Source: WBAL

Baltimore County to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics for students over age 12

Baltimore County is holding a series of mass vaccination clinics aimed at getting more students vaccinated against COVID-19 before school starts on Aug. 30.

The clinics will be held at county high schools over the coming weeks and at wellness centers inside school buildings once school is in session.

The Baltimore County Department of Health is partnering with Baltimore County Public Schools to support 17 school wellness centers inside elementary, middle and high schools across the county.

The first two high school clinics are scheduled as follows:

– New Town High School, 4931 New Town Blvd., Monday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

– Dundalk High School, 1901 Delvale Ave., Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The clinics will not limit vaccinations to students. Any individual aged 12 or older can receive a vaccine.

Anyone who wants to get the vaccine but is unable to attend the clinics can find other available clinics at the county’s website.

Source: WBAL