New Cake of Café de Crié (カフェ・ド・クリエ) in Japan

Japanese-style Roll Cake with Roasted Soybean Flour and Black Soybean

The cake is available at all stores of the Café for 440 yen (plus tax).

Herd Immunity for Americans May Be an Elusive Goal, Experts Say

Robin Foster and Ernie Mundell wrote . . . . . . . . .

While more than half of American adults have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, many scientists and public health experts now believe that herd immunity cannot be reached in the foreseeable future.

Instead, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will circulate in the United States for years to come, causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers, The New York Times reported.

How much smaller depends to a great degree on how many get vaccinated and how the coronavirus evolves. The virus is changing quickly, new variants are spreading easily and vaccination is moving too slowly for herd immunity to be established as quickly as some experts had hoped.

“The virus is unlikely to go away,” Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the Times. “But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.”

The drive for herd immunity convinced many Americans it was worthwhile to be vaccinated, so vaccine skeptics may use the latest thinking from public health experts to avoid being vaccinated, the Times noted. But vaccinations remain the key to turning the virus into a threat that can be tamed, experts said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s top medical adviser, acknowledged the shift in thinking.

“People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” he told the Times. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense. I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”

Early on, herd immunity was estimated to be about 60% to 70% of the population. Most experts, including Fauci, thought the United States could reach that threshold once vaccines were available.

But as vaccine distribution hit its stride this spring, the threshold target rose, mostly because of the emergence of more contagious variants of the virus. The predominant variant now circulating in the United States, called B.1.1.7 and first spotted in the U.K., is about 60 percent more transmissible.

Experts now estimate the herd immunity threshold to be at least 80 percent. If even more contagious variants develop, or if scientists find that immunized people can still transmit the virus, the threshold estimate will rise again, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, polls show that about 30 percent of the U.S. population is still reluctant to be vaccinated. That number is expected to improve, but probably not enough. What matters most now is the rate of hospitalizations and deaths once pandemic restrictions are eased, experts believe.

“What we want to do at the very least is get to a point where we have just really sporadic little flare-ups,” Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the Times. “That would be a very sensible target in this country where we have an excellent vaccine and the ability to deliver it.”

Vaccination rates among police officers remains low

Although police officers were among the first front-line workers to have access to coronavirus vaccines, their vaccination rates are lower than or about the same as those of the general public, new data from some of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies shows.

At the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, just 39 percent of employees have gotten at least one dose, officials said, compared to more than 50 percent of eligible adults nationwide. In Atlanta, 36 percent of sworn officers have been vaccinated, the Washington Post reported. And a mere 28 percent of those employed by the Columbus Division of Police — Ohio’s largest police department — report having received a shot.

“I think it’s unacceptable,” Joe Lombardo, the head of Las Vegas police and sheriff of Clark County, said of the meager demand for the shots within his force.

Because officers have high rates of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, their hesitancy puts them at greater risk of serious illness from the coronavirus while also undermining force readiness, experts told the Post. Police officers were more likely to die of COVID-19 last year than of all other causes combined, according to data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Vaccine hesitancy among the police also means they can spread the virus to vulnerable people with whom they interact.

“Police touch people,” Sharona Hoffman, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, told the Post. “Imagine having a child in the car who’s not vaccinated. People would want to know if a police officer coming to their window is protected.”

One solution is for departments to make vaccination compulsory, just as some health-care settings and universities have begun doing, experts said.

But police department leaders and union officials said in interviews with the Post that such requirements could backfire or lead to lengthy litigation. Of more than 40 major metropolitan police departments contacted by the Post, none had made vaccination mandatory.

“I hate to sound like I don’t care, but I really don’t,” Vince Champion, the Atlanta-based southeast regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, said of low vaccination rates. “It’s a personal decision. We fight [the virus] every day. We’re out among every disease in the world.”

Officers have voiced nervousness about the novelty of the shots and the speed with which they were developed, along with confidence that they can avoid the virus with proper protective gear, the Post reported. And many officers think previous COVID-19 infections have given them immunity, explained Sean Smoot, director and chief legal counsel of the Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois. That assumption runs counter to federal health guidance, which states that recovered people should be vaccinated because how long infection confers protection is unknown.

Many colleges will require vaccination in fall

Over 100 American colleges will require that students get coronavirus vaccines if they want to be on campus in the fall, a new survey shows.

More than 660,000 cases have been linked to universities since the start of the pandemic, with one-third of those reported since Jan. 1, The New York Times reported.

Schools including DePaul University, Emory University and Wesleyan University are requiring all students to be vaccinated, the Times survey found. Others have said they are requiring athletes or those who live on campus to get a shot. Most are allowing medical, religious and other exemptions, the survey found.

Although private colleges constitute the majority of schools with vaccine mandates, some public universities have also moved to require the shots, the Times said.

Students and employees of the University of Maryland will be required to get vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, said Chancellor Jay Perman. He said he was particularly concerned about the B.1.1.7 variant, which he described in his announcement last week as more contagious, the newspaper reported.

“That’s what we’re preparing for, more infectious, more harmful variants that we think could be circulating on our campuses come fall,” Perman said.

At least two dozen colleges, including those in California’s public university system, said that they would require shots once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full approval for the three coronavirus vaccines currently approved for emergency use in the United States, the Times reported.

Many schools that are not requiring vaccinations are instead offering incentives to encourage students to get their shots. Baylor University in Texas and Calvin University in Michigan have both announced that students who have been inoculated can skip mandatory COVID-19 testing, the newspaper said.

The University of Wyoming is offering vaccinated students and staff members a chance to participate in a weekly drawing for prizes such as tickets to football or basketball games and Apple products, the Times reported. Employees who are fully vaccinated are eligible for a personal day off.

On May 3, more than 147 million Americans had received their first shot, while 104.7 million have gotten their second, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Meanwhile, the U.S. coronavirus case count passed 32.4 million on Monday, while the death toll topped 577,000, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, nearly 153 million cases had been reported by Monday, with more than 3.2 million people dead from COVID-19.

Source: HealthDay

In Pictures: Breakfast Food Around the World

Zopf, Switzerland

Genfo, Ethiopia

Fish, miso soup, pickled vegetables and rice

Cod liver oil, Iceland

Kaya Toast, Singapore

Baghrir, Morocco

Is All Exercise Equal? How to Balance Workouts to Create the Ideal Fitness Plan

Genaro C. Armas wrote . . . . . . . . .

Spring can be an ideal time to try a new exercise routine. Warmer temperatures make it enticing to head outdoors and, this year, more people might be considering a return to the gym after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

While any regular physical activity can benefit your health, the ideal fitness plan requires the right balance.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both; plus muscle-strengthening activity, such as resistance training, at least two days per week.

“Aerobic exercise should be the foundation of any exercise program,” said Barry Franklin, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Aerobic exercise includes activities like walking or jogging. Also known as cardio or endurance workouts, aerobic activities increase cardiorespiratory fitness and delay or prevent illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

Moderate-intensity physical activity makes the heart beat faster and can make breathing harder than normal, but still allows for one to carry on a conversation.

It’s best to increase intensity gradually when starting a new exercise regimen, Franklin said. For instance, someone interested in running will need to start with a walking program and gradually build up speed over two to three months.

Consult a clinician if unsure how to proceed, he said. They may suggest a medically supervised treadmill test to evaluate how a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm respond to progressive levels of exercise, as well as their level of heart-lung fitness expressed as metabolic equivalents, or METs.

Franklin, a professor of physiology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, calls METs the “currency of exercise.” They are used to quantify one’s aerobic fitness in order to recommend the appropriate level of activity. For example, walking at a leisurely pace uses about 2 to 3 METs, while jogging or running requires 8 to 10 METs, depending on speed. The physical activity someone chooses should be at least two METs below the peak MET level reached during treadmill testing, Franklin said.

Studies have shown each 1 MET increase in exercise capacity is associated with a 10% to 25% improvement in survival. However, there is a plateau at about 10 to 12 METs, Franklin said. Someone who measures at 15 METs enjoys the same longevity benefits from being physically fit as someone at 10 to 12 METs.

“More is not always better,” he said.

Strength training includes activities like lifting weights, doing pushups and stretching with resistance bands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these activities should work all major muscle groups in the body and can be performed on the same or different days as aerobic exercise.

There’s no such thing as a perfect workout or routine for everyone, said Damon Swift, associate professor of kinesiology at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

“While the health implications of a particular exercise program are important, trying to pick activities that you enjoy and can be incorporated into a routine is also a very important factor,” he said. For instance, some people may find more motivation by taking a walk with friends, while others may prefer to work out by themselves and lift weights.

Swift’s latest research project, published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found exercise coupled with coaching sessions that boosted participants’ non-exercise physical activity by 3,000 steps per day resulted in “greater improvement in fitness compared to aerobic training alone.” Participants who had higher step counts also tended to lose more weight and body fat.

The bottom line: Whatever you choose to do, just keep moving.

“The biggest risk of death is being both inactive and having a high level of sedentary time,” Swift said. “If we can get the people who are inactive to do some kind of activity, that’s when you get the most bang for the buck.”

Source: American Heart Association

Pastrami Bleu Cheese Melt

Ingredients

olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
fresh bread rolls, enough for 2 sandwiches
pastrami slices
1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese

Method

  1. Pour a little olive oil in a saute pan, and over low-medium heat, slowly sauté onions and mushrooms until they are soft and somewhat caramelized.
  2. Slice rolls and assemble sandwiches by layering pastrami slices, bleu cheese, and cooked onions and mushrooms.
  3. Place sandwiches in a hot cast-iron grill pan with a cast-iron lid press on top or use a panini pan. Let bleu cheese melt and allow the bread to get crispy.
  4. Serve warm.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: The Organic Family Cookbook


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