Can AI Predict Whether COVID Patients Will Live or Die? This Tool Shows Doctors Who Is More at Risk
This tool identifies hospitalized patients most at risk of dying from COVID-19 using artificial intelligence (AI). The algorithm could help doctors to direct critical care resources to those in most immediate need, which the developers of the AI tool say could be especially valuable to resource-limited countries.
To develop the tool, scientists used biochemical data from routine blood samples taken from nearly 30,000 patients hospitalized in over 150 hospitals in Spain, the U.S., Honduras, Bolivia and Argentina between March 2020 and February 2022.
Taking blood from so many patients meant the team was able to capture data from people with different immune statuses — vaccinated, unvaccinated and those with natural immunity — and from people infected with every variant of COVID-19.
They found the algorithm predicted with great accuracy the survival or death of hospitalized patients up to nine days before either outcome occurred. The resulting algorithm — called COVID-19 Disease Outcome Predictor (CODOP) — uses measurements of 12 blood molecules that are normally collected during hospital admissions, meaning the tool can be easily integrated into any hospital.
COVID Vaccine No Longer Required, for Louisiana Students
Associated Press reported:
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has agreed to remove the COVID-19 vaccine from the list of vaccines students are required to get to enroll in school in the state, officials said Wednesday.
The state health department said in a news release that it will continue to strongly recommend the vaccine, in accordance with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, but acknowledged that the vaccine had not yet received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for those under age 16.
State Sen. Fred Mills, a Republican from New Iberia, announced on the Senate floor that the administration agreed to remove the requirement after meeting with legislators. Legislation that would have removed the COVID-19 vaccine from the requirement list had stalled earlier in the session.
Mills said lawmakers continued to hear from parents upset about the vaccine requirement.
Facebook Issues $397 Checks to Illinois Residents as Part of Class-Action Lawsuit
More than a million Illinois residents will receive a $397 settlement payment from Facebook this week, thanks to a legal battle over the platform’s since-retired photo-tagging system that used facial recognition.
It’s been nearly seven years since the 2015 class-action lawsuit was first filed, which accused Facebook of breaking a state privacy law that forbids companies from collecting biometric data without informing users.
The platform has since faced broad, global criticism for its use of facial recognition tech, and last year Meta halted the practice completely on Facebook and Instagram. But as Vox notes, the company has made no promises to avoid facial recognition in future products.
After Facebook initially agreed to settle the lawsuit for $550 million — which at the time was the largest payout from an online privacy class-action lawsuit — a federal judge fought back and said the amount was too small. Finally, the company last year agreed to a settlement total of $650 million.
Ukrainians Seeking Shelter in U.S. Must Have TB Screenings and Certain Vaccinations
CNN Health reported:
The United States is preparing to welcome more displaced Ukrainians now that the Biden administration has approved the first group to enter through the new Uniting for Ukraine program. Ukrainians began arriving through the program this month.
Ukrainian applicants will undergo rigorous security checks, including biographic and biometric screening, and must have been residents of Ukraine as of February 11. They must also meet certain public health requirements, including receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
“They’ll require these individuals to attest that they have received at least one dose of measles, polio and COVID vaccinations prior to coming into the country. If they have not, they must receive the vaccination abroad from the country that they are in,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
Judge Denies Offutt Airmen’s Request to Temporarily Block COVID Vaccine Mandate
The Lincoln Journal Star reported:
A federal judge in Nebraska on Wednesday denied a request for a preliminary injunction that would have temporarily protected U.S. Air Force members from penalties for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
The order from U.S. District Judge Brian Buescher came as part of an ongoing lawsuit from 36 airmen — including 17 based at Offutt Air Force Base and three serving Lincoln with the Nebraska Air National Guard — seeking to overturn the vaccine mandate for the military issued by the Pentagon last August. They argue the mandate violates their religious rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, known as RFRA.
The airmen’s lawyer, former Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, requested the preliminary injunction in March to bar the Air Force from taking any punitive action against any of the 7,835 airmen who have requested exemptions under RFRA.
At a court hearing earlier this month, Kobach claimed that 18 of the 36 airmen face discharge because their requests and appeals have been denied.
‘They Shut Us Down’: Michigan Businesses Sue Whitmer for Losses Due to COVID Lockdowns
The Epoch Times reported:
A coalition of five bowling alleys and family entertainment centers is suing Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, for losses incurred due to her mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020.
The plaintiffs allege that the shutdowns imposed by Whitmer and Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon were a “taking” of their businesses without just compensation in violation of both the state and the U.S. Constitution.
The coalition lost the first round of the legal battle when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan ruled against it. Oral arguments were recently held before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.
Scott Bennett, executive director of the Independent Bowling and Entertainment Centers Association, told The Epoch Times, that the forced closures were not based on solid scientific proof that bowling alleys and family entertainment centers would spread the virus any more than the Walmart stores or the GM plants that were allowed to remain open.
Navy Nearing 1,000 COVID Vaccine Denial Separations
USNI News reported:
The Navy is inching toward 1,000 separations due to COVID-19 vaccine denial, with the sea service approving separations for another 56 sailors over the past week.
The Navy currently has 980 total separations due to continued refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the service’s weekly COVID-19 update. Of the separations, 861 are active-duty sailors, while 97 are reservists. The total also includes 22 entry-level separations for sailors within their first 180 days of service.
The current separations are sailors who have not applied for religious exemptions. The Navy is suspended from separating anyone who requested a religious waiver for the vaccine due to a court ruling. Any of the separations before the court ruling on March 28 could have included those who had requested a religious exemption and were denied.
Germany’s Top Court Approves COVID Vaccine Mandate for Health Workers
The Local reported:
From mid-March this year, health and care workers in Germany have had to prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently recovered. If they can’t provide this proof they face fines or even bans from working — however, it is unclear how widely it has been enforced due to concerns over staff shortages.
On Thursday the constitutional court rejected complaints against the partial vaccination mandate, saying the protection of vulnerable people outweighs any infringement of employees’ rights.
The law covers employees in hospitals as well as care homes, clinics, emergency services, doctors’ surgeries and facilities for people with disabilities.
The court acknowledged that the law meant employees who don’t want to be vaccinated must deal with professional consequences or change their job — or even profession.
The Private Sector Steps in to Protect Online Health Privacy, but Critics Say It Can’t Be Trusted
Kaiser Health News reported:
Most people have at least a vague sense that someone somewhere is doing mischief with the data footprints created by their online activities: Maybe their use of an app is allowing that company to build a profile of their habits, or maybe they keep getting followed by creepy ads.
It’s more than a feeling. Many companies in the health tech sector — which provides services that range from mental health counseling to shipping attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder pills through the mail — have shockingly leaky privacy practices.
A guide released this month by the Mozilla Foundation found that 26 of 32 mental health apps had lax safeguards and numerous weaknesses in their privacy practices.
The stakes have become increasingly urgent in the public mind. Apps used by women, such as period trackers and other types of fertility-management technology, are now a focus of concern with the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade. Fueled by social media, users are exhorting one another to delete data stored by those apps — a right not always granted to users of health apps — for fear that the information could be used against them.
IRS Selfie-Tech Provider Stirs Senate Ire Over Face Recognition
Democratic senators asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether identity verification company ID.me illegally misled consumers and government agencies over its use of controversial facial recognition software.
ID.me, which uses a mixture of selfies, document scans and other methods to verify people’s identities online, has grown rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic, largely as a result of contracts with state unemployment departments and federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service.
Key to the concerns has been questions about ID.me’s use of facial recognition technology. After long claiming that it only used “one-to-one” technology that compared selfies taken by users to scans of a driver’s license or other government-issued ID the company earlier this year said it actually maintained a database of facial scans and used a more controversial “one-to-many” technology.
New South Wales Begins Digital Birth Certificate Program as Part of Digital ID Push
Reclaim the Net reported:
As part of the big global push for digital ID systems, the Australian state of New South Wales’ government has contracted Thoughtworks, a Canadian tech company, to develop a digital birth certificate system. The plans started last year when the NSW government announced it was consulting about Digital Birth Certificates as part of its “Government Made Easy” plan.
NSW’s assistant registrar of births, deaths and marriages, Amit Padhiar, said the state will be the first in the globe to develop a digital birth certificate system that will provide a safe and secure process for identification, verification and authentication.
The system will run on browsers, Android and iOS. NSW is also set to launch a digital ID system for citizens to access government services.
The Future of 911 Is a Little Bit Creepy
Over the coming weeks, AT&T is rolling out cell phone location tracking that’s designed to route emergency calls to 911 more quickly. The company says the new feature will be nationwide by the end of June and should make it easier for, say, an ambulance to reach someone experiencing a medical emergency.
At first glance, it seems like a no-brainer. But it’s also a reminder that as phone companies promise to save lives, they’re also using a lot more data about you in the process.
At the same time, the federal government is in the midst of a nationwide push to get 911 call centers to adopt a technology called Next Generation 911, which will allow people not only to call 911 but also to send texts including images and video messages — to the emergency line.
Meanwhile, Apple and Google have created new software that can directly pass on information from someone’s device, like information stored on a health app. The hope is that more data will save crucial time during emergencies, but privacy experts are already warning that the same technology could be misused or exploited.
What Is Discord? App at the Center of Investigation for Its Role in the Deadly Buffalo Supermarket Shooting Spree
As Americans search for answers over Saturday’s shooting spree in Buffalo that left 10 black New Yorkers dead, online chat forums including Discord and Twitch have come under intense regulatory scrutiny.
Right in the middle of a highly-charged debate over Elon Musk’s $44-billion planned acquisition of Twitter to rectify perceived left-wing censorship, Payton Gendron’s racially-motivated executions further polarized the issue of policing social media.
The 18-year-old killer posted repeatedly on Discord hate-filled diatribes after being radicalized online and attempting to live stream his act on Twitch.
Both platforms boast tens of millions of users and arose mainly as means for video game players to share their virtual exploits, exchange tips and chat about their favorite lore.