'Long Covid Is Real'
Adm. Rachel Levine visits Yale University to hear from patients and their doctors. Plus: The latest fallout from the China spy balloon incident And: Kim Petras joins Beyoncé in making Grammy history!
This is a late edition of the Monday, Feb. 6, 2023 newsletter owing to the fact that I spent most of the morning on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Conn. and then performed Mom Taxi duties for most of the afternoon!
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Here Now the News:
DISASTER IN TURKEY: A pair of powerful earthquakes — 7.8 and 7.5 — and their aftershocks have killed at least 5,000 people, and the death toll could still go higher. Frighening videos of buildings collapsing were broadcast live. — Wall Street Journal
CHINA SPY BALLOON INVESTIGATION: As divers piece together what’s left of the Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by a U.S. Air Force fighter jet Saturday, the Biden administration extended an invitation to former officials who worked for former President Donald Trump to learn what they know about past incursions. — Politico
HOW DID THEY NOT KNOW? CNN reports it was only after Trump left office that the Biden team learned of those prior visits by Chinese spy balloons. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is calling for an investigation. — The Hill
NORAD COMMANDER SAYS: “WHOOPS!” News they missed a few balloons is news to him. And that’s a problem, he concedes. — ABC News
NEO-NAZI COUPLE BUSTED FOR POWER GRID THREAT: Washington Post
REAL-LIFE “WHITE NOISE” SCENARIO IN OHIO: The fictional Netflix film about a family forced to evacuate their town because of a toxic cloud resulting from a freight train derailment is eerily similar to what’s really happening right now near the state border with Pennsylvania. — NPR
THREE TOURISTS IN PUERTO RICO STABBED FOR TAKING PICTURES : A.P.
MTG COMPLAINS SHE’S NOT PAID ENOUGH: Her annual salary is $174,000. — Insider
BLACK HISTORY MONTH SCHOOL MENU: CHICKEN, WAFFLES AND WATERMELON?!? No, really. Aramark is apologizing. — NBC News
WESTERN NEW YORK EARTHQUAKE: WGRZ-TV
AMC THEATERS TO CHARGE YOU BASED ON SEAT LOCATION: Variety
BEYONCÉ HAS NOW WON MORE GRAMMYS THAN ANYONE EVER: NYT
BEYONCÉ SAYS “THANK YOU” TO QUEER COMMUNITY: them
THE SNUB BEYONCÉ FANS WON’T FORGIVE: The Cut
FIRST OUT TRANS WOMAN TO WIN A GRAMMY: Kim Petras teamed-up with Sam Smith to win Best Pop Duo. — People
LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT GRAMMY WINNER WENDY CARLOS! — Erin In The Morning Substack
SAM SMITH’S HORNS OUTFIT DRIVES CONSERVATIVES CRAAAZY: A.V. Club
HERE’S WHO ELSE WON WHAT: CNN
HELLO, ADMIRAL! As mentioned in my Bedtime Stories edition last night, Adm. Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary of Health and Human Services and the first trans American to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a Cabinet-level office, visited Yale University in New Haven, Conn. this morning. Of course, given that I live in Connecticut and we are friends, I got credentialed to cover her visit, and the first thing we did was snap a selfie together!
But her reason for the visit was far more important, and two-fold: This morning, Adm. Levine met with patients suffering Long Covid and the doctors, counselors, physical therapists and researchers who are working to support them. Yale is about to launch a multispeciality clinic for these patients, whose heartbreaking stories moved me to tears.
“I was very active,” said Hannah Hurtenbach of Wethersfield, Conn., a registered nurse who was diagnosed with post-Covid cardiomyopathy, cognitive brain fog and pulmonary issues. “I loved hiking and being outside. I was constantly on the move and now I barely leave my couch. I barely leave my house and I can't really handle even a part time job now when I used to work full time. So that has been really difficult at age 30 to be facing those sorts of issues that I never really anticipated feeling.”
Hurtenbach told me she appreciated Adm. Levine’s visit. “Sharing my experience today with the admiral was probably one of the more highlight moments of this experience,” she said. “Knowing that the federal government is taking action, is paying attention, and listening to these stories means more to me than anything else, and especially knowing that what I've gone through over the last couple of years can be led and used into the future research and help others just like myself.”
Levine told me so far, she has not contracted Covid, and that she is double-vaccinated and double-boosted. With the president announcing the end of emergency Covid declarations on May 11, she said the administration is pushing Congress to approve extra funding for Long Covid and other related needs. But how can she expect to get that through a House of Representatives full of anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and Covid-deniers, including in GOP leadership?
“Long Covid is real and we hear you,” she told me. “We plan to engage Congress to talk about the funding that we need. And we'll continue to work. We do have to get past misinformation in this country, but we are here to give the correct information about Covid-19 and Long Covid, and we'll continue to engage Congress on that.”
I also spoke with Christine, pictured above, a woman so impacted by Long Covid that she needs assistance to walk and has to pause as she speaks because of her shortness of breath. She told me this event was worth all the struggle to get there, and that even she learned a lot from hearing from the others trying to recover from Long Covid.
LEVINE ON GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE: The admiral spoke at another event at Yale Medical School Monday afternoon: “A Conversation on LGBTQI+ Health & Gender-Affirming Care.” Although it was closed to press, Yale Asst. Professor of Medicine Diane Bruessow shared with me what Levine told those gathered, which is that she remains positive and optimistic that things will get better, with time, and to not lose hope, even as more than 270 anti-trans pieces of legislation move their way through state legislatures. MORE TO COME IN THE LOS ANGELES BLADE!
CHECK OUT ERIN’S UPDATED ANTI-TRANS RISK ASSESSMENT MAP! Erin In The Morning Substack
Finally, for those who asked: I’m okay. It has been rough. That horrible comment about me being a “man in a dress” posted on Facebook actually stayed up for another 24 hours until finally enough people, including me, finally got it taken down. I’m grateful for all the support and love!
That’s all for this edition. I’ll be back on schedule tomorrow morning, hoping you’ll rise up with me! Until then, may your news be good news!
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