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Week in Review: July 11-16, 2021

July 16, 2021
This week, we’re taking a look at how dogs can help people through tragedy, why we may need to banish to-do lists and what’s next for the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s overcast outside, and we feel that’s an accurate summary of this week.

The rising number of COVID-19 cases in every state has us concerned, as does news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the delta variant is the most dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S.

In response, the 10 million residents in Los Angeles County will resume wearing their masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status, starting Saturday night.

Some states and school systems are requiring those age 12 and up be vaccinated in order to attend classes. Meanwhile, other state legislatures and governors are moving to prevent vaccine requirements. Here, in our home state of Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill banning public schools and universities from requiring COVID-19 vaccines not granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are currently available through the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, not full approval.)

Of course, there’s more going on than just COVID-19, but it feels like the taste of freedom many experienced on July 4 may be slipping away. This week, we’re taking a look at how dogs can help people through tragedy, why we may need to banish to-do lists and what’s next for the COVID-19 vaccine.

‘Please Pet Me’

In Surfside, Fla., rescue workers continue their search and the families of those missing continue their vigil at the condominium collapse. Additional reinforcements came this past week in the form of gentle smiles and wagging tails.   

The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry deployed nine golden retrievers to Champlain Towers South. The golden retrievers are trained to interact with people who are suffering and wear blue vests that read “Please Pet Me.”

Everywhere they went, they were received by people with tears in their eyes or huge smiles. They didn’t need words to communicate their message. Their paws, noses, eyes and tongues spoke volumes of understanding and offered temporary respite.

Read the full story here.

Scratch That Off the List

Does this sound familiar?

“Most people I know have a to-do list so long that it’s not clear that there’s an end to it. Some tasks, even quite important ones, linger unfinished for a long time, and it’s easy to start feeling guilty or ashamed about what you have not yet completed.”

We think author Art Markman, Ph.D., must have seen us write our own to-do lists. But beyond that, he offers sound advice for how to persevere. Shame and guilt are powerful emotions.

Markman offers three tools to respond, redirect and refocus those feelings surrounding our productivity. These provide a window into why to-do lists can be triggers for some people and better understand the psychology surrounding why and how we do things—and why we sometimes can’t do things.

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that you’re not a failure nor are you alone in your struggles to get things done. And, at some point, you have to walk away and just be.

Read the full story here.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines for those 12 and up. The question remains whether, or when, children under 12 can get vaccinated.

The pharmaceutical companies are conducting clinical trials. Pfizer said the data for children age 5 to 11 could come sometime in September, but experts say it could be end of 2021 or early 2022 before we consider how to use these vaccines.

"Boy, have I had this discussion with several parents," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University and a vaccine adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to CNN. "It doesn't have anything to do with size. It has everything to do with maturity of the immune system, and that doesn't correlate one-to-one with the size of the child."

The experts explain that there are additional considerations for vaccinating children, which is why adults traditionally test them first. As the start of a new school year approaches, there remains confusion and concern about returning to the classroom. This article explains in greater detail the considerations for allowing children to get a COVID-19 vaccine and why we still need to be patient.

Read the full story here.

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