Plus Letters to Good Times…
Sounding Off About H1N1
Fire in ‘Flex’
Crime is on everybody’s mind lately, especially in Santa Cruz, which has seen a curious wave of short-lived criminal activity. But overall, is crime up—or down? It’s one of the things discussed in this week’s main news story. Here, writer Anna Merlan reports on a recent Santa Cruz City Council meeting where the issue of crime was the main agenda. Actually, it may have been more of a empowering session of healthy venting. Locals weighed in on their concerns and new actions were taken to increase crime watch locally.
On a much brighter note, there’s always music—it’s the subject of this week’s cover story. In what has to be one of the more inventive creations to come out of UC Santa Cruz—and there are many—Nick Veronin explores the mystique of Emily Howell. She’s not actually real—at least in the physical sense. Howell is the computer program designed by UCSC prof David Cope. The program actually creates music. Ponder that one.
Elsewhere, be sure to catch Lisa Jensen’s review of the new film Precious. It’s one of the most powerful and hypnotic films of the year. (I sat there afterwards wanting to experience more of the film’s truly original main character.) Find out more in this week’s film section (page 34).
What’s left? Well, Thanksgiving is fast approaching. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like some fine home-cooking to soothe the soul. And, really, after a year like 2009—and a decade like the one we’re emerging out of—it’s never too early to start giving thanks and reflecting. Preferably with a plate of full of food and something strong to toast with.
Cheers to that. More next time ..
Sounding Off About H1N1
I was very disturbed by the letter (GT 11/12) by Randy Baker MD, persuading pregnant women not to receive the H1N1 vaccine. I have no idea where he got his information claiming that the “chance of a pregnant woman dying form swine flu is one in 4 million.” In addition, his referral to Russell Blaylock is concerning, considering that he makes his living as a quack creating fear about such things as vaccines. Overwhelming evidence suggests that vaccines save lives.
The potential benefits of taking the H1N1 vaccine for the mother (and her unborn fetus) as well as the risk of serious illness or death from H1N1, outweighs theoretical risks to the fetus. Studies continue to show that vaccines aren’t associated with autism.
Pregnant women who catch the virus in their second or third trimester, are more likely to suffer complications, like pneumonia and severe respiratory distress. On Oct. 1, the CDC reported that 100 pregnant women infected with H1N1 were hospitalized in intensive care units in the first four months of the outbreak, and that 28 had died.
An Oct. 2, Washington Post article by David Brown stated, “most previous influenza pandemics have also had what appeared to be unusually high death rates in pregnant women. In one series of 1,350 Spanish flu cases in pregnant women in 1918, 27 percent were fatal. In the Asian flu outbreak of 1957, half the women of reproductive age in Minnesota who died of the infection were pregnant.“
According to the CDC, “Pregnant women have had higher rates of hospitalization than the general population. About 6 percent of confirmed H1N1 2009 influenza deaths in the U.S. have been in pregnant women, while only about 1 percent of the general population is pregnant at any given time. One recent large case control study found that the seasonal flu shot given to pregnant women reduced flu illness in their infants under 6 months of age by 63 percent.”
I encourage pregnant women and others to talk with their own doctors. Don’t listen to Randy Baker or Russell Blaylock.
Fire in ‘Flex’
I wish I could afford one of those yoga retreats reported on last week. (GT “Flex, Pray, Love,” above) It doesn’t really matter. What an interesting story on a local gal [Ann Barros] trying to help other people by hosting yoga retreats in Bali. I never tire, nor am I surprised any more, of the great souls that nurture and love in this fine community.
GT offices will be closed Nov. 26-27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Take note of the following holiday deadlines, which will be in effect for the Wednesday, Nov. 25 issue: Display, Class Display, Bulletin Board and Classified ads: 3 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19.
The following deadlines will be in effect for the Thursday, Dec. 3 issue: Display, Class Display and Bulletin Board: 3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25. Classified ads: 10 a.m., Monday, Nov 30. Calendar: noon Monday, Nov 23.