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Coronavirus update: Dogs can sniff out the virus, why you should get that second shot

Unvaccinated consumers are driving the economic recovery

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Photo (c) svetikd - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 33,120,470 (33,089,091)

Total U.S. deaths: 589,925 (589,133)

Total global cases: 167,261,131 (166,515,132)

Total global deaths: 3,465,583 (3,432,173)

Researchers train dogs to detect the virus

As pharmaceutical companies race to find new fast-results coronavirus (COVID-19) tests, they may have a hard time beating the one that nature developed. It’s called a dog.

Research published today says that dogs can be trained to sniff the virus, and researchers recommend deploying canines at airports to test departing and arriving passengers. Dogs are already trained to detect other diseases like cancer, and previous research has shown their ability to smell the virus.

Researchers from the London School of Tropical Medicine used samples of clothing and face masks from people who had tested positive for COVID-19 and said they were able to train six dogs to correctly identify them.

Why it’s important to get that second dose

Some people who got the first dose of one of the two-dose vaccines have skipped the second. A new study suggests that they are giving up protection against the new COVID-19 variant that originated in India by doing so.

A study led by Public Health England found that two shots of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine provide effective protection against the variant, which is highly contagious. However, both vaccines were much less effective with just one dose.

Of the two vaccines, the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was more effective than AstraZeneca’s, offering 88% efficacy to AstraZeneca’s 60%.

Unvaccinated consumers are driving the economic recovery

The economy is improving as more Americans get vaccinated, but new research suggests that the two are not necessarily related. It says the unvaccinated population is engaging in more activity than those who are fully protected against the virus.

Market research firm Cardify said it discovered that the unvaccinated population is more likely to go to bars and restaurants and seek entertainment than their counterparts who have received the shots. That may be because people who haven’t been vaccinated tend to be younger and more tolerant of risk.

 “As places open up, they’re the ones leading the charge,” Cardify CEO Derrick Fung told the Wall Street Journal.

United Airline offers an incentive to get the shots

Members of United Airline’s loyalty program now have another incentive to get vaccinated. Fully vaccinated members will have a chance to win free flights for a year's worth of travel.

The promotion is called "Your Shot to Fly.” Any new or existing MileagePlus member who uploads their vaccination records to the airline's mobile app or website between today and June 22 can be entered to win a roundtrip flight for two, in any class of service, to anywhere in the world United flies. 

United said it will give away 30 pairs of tickets throughout the month of June. On July 1, United will also announce five randomly selected MileagePlus members who entered the sweepstakes for a grand prize of travel for a year for themselves and a companion – also in any class of service to anywhere in the world United flies.

Binge-eating while binge-watching an unhealthy combination

During the pandemic, millions of Americans binge-watched streaming videos while bingeing on food. A survey conducted by Google found that nearly 40% of Americans admitted to overeating last year while watching TV, often consuming an extra 1,500 calories per show.

"That's enough to put on five pounds per month," said Glenn Livingston, Ph.D., who supervised the study.

Livingston says dieting is not the way to shed the extra pounds since people using food to soothe emotional trauma have created a strong emotional link to food. Instead, he says you should work first on not bingeing. Keeping the fridge stocked with healthy food, he says, can also help.

Around the nation

  • Texas: State health officials say the effort to vaccinate children is off to a good start. More than 100,000 adolescents aged 12-15 got their shots last week in pediatricians’ offices, vaccine hubs, and school gyms across Texas.

  • New Hampshire: More than 45% of people in the state are now vaccinated, and officials say that’s one reason cases of the virus are at their lowest level since October. There were 79 new COVID-19 cases statewide Sunday and no reported deaths from the virus.

  • Colorado: Colorado has dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated people, but some businesses still require them. Colorado Public Radio reports that some businesses and their employees are getting pushback from consumers, but they point out that the state still has one of the highest infection rates in the country.

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