Radical? Radical!

Welcome to 2021! An interesting start to the year for my US friends, more of the same for my UK and European friends, and life in NZ and Australia goes on with an added dash of uncertainty because of the new! improved! more contagious Covid19!

I’ve had a few weeks away from my usual Monday morning writing routine, but I return to the blog today with a lovely book I’ve reviewed. There’s no secret about my personal preference for ACT both for living and flourishing in daily life, and for those of us living with persistent pain. Today’s book review is about Radical Relief: A guide to overcome chronic pain, written by Joe Tatta, physiotherapist. From the outset, I’ll acknowledge that I was sent a free promotional copy of this book – but I would have bought it anyway, I promise!

There are a few books I recommend for … Read more

‘Peer Respites’ Provide an Alternative to Psychiatric Wards During Pandemic

Mia McDermott is no stranger to isolation. Abandoned as an infant in China, she lived in an orphanage until a family in California adopted her as a toddler. She spent her adolescence in boarding schools and early adult years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, where she underwent treatment for bipolar disorder, anxiety and anorexia.

The pandemic left McDermott feeling especially lonely. She restricted social interactions because her fatty liver disease put her at greater risk of complications should she contract covid-19. The 26-year-old Santa Cruz resident stopped regularly eating and taking her psychiatric medications, and contemplated suicide.

When McDermott’s thoughts grew increasingly dark in June, she checked into Second Story, a mental health program based in a home not far from her own, where she finds nonclinical support in a peaceful environment from people who have faced similar challenges.

Second Story is what is known as a “peer respite,” … Read more

New Year Brings California No Pandemic Relief

An emergency medical technician directs another ambulance outside the emergency room of East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital on January 6, 2021. In Southern California, intensive care unit bed capacity has dropped to zero. Photo: Bing Guan / Bloomberg via Getty Images

If the first week of 2021 is any indication, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to batter California and the nation well into the new year. Two vaccines are authorized for emergency use in the US, and many more vaccine candidates are moving through the pipeline. But the early phase of the nationwide vaccination campaign — an effort of unprecedented scale and complexity — has been sluggish. Essential CoverageWhile federal officials stated a goal of giving 20 million Americans the first of two doses by the end of 2020, they achieved only 14% of that goal, the New York Times reported.

California, once praised for its aggressive moves to stave off Read more

Australia news live: Queensland awaits Covid lockdown update; Victoria records no new cases; next 14 days 'pivotal' for NSW

Queensland premier to give update at 9am as Brisbane enters day three of snap lockdown. Follow all the latest news and updates, live

9.54pm GMT

Melburnians are set to swelter today as the city braces for the hottest day in more than a year(am I say this from a place of authority as I’m currently typing this blog sitting in front of a fan on full blast and it isn’t even 9 am). This comes as the state’s northwest is on high alert for bushfires.

The temperature is set to hit 38C in Melbourne on Monday – its hottest day since January 31, 2020 – while Horsham, Mildura, Shepparton and Swan Hill are forecast to reach 40C, the AAP reports.

9.46pm GMT

Just a bit more on that Covid-19 situation at a western Sydney hospital via AAP.

The emergency department at Mount Druitt hospital in western Sydney has been closed … Read more

As the Vulnerable Wait, Some Political Leaders’ Spouses Get Covid Vaccines

With supplies of covid-19 vaccines scarce, a federal advisory panel recommends first putting shots into the arms of health care workers, who keep the nation’s medical system running, and long-term care residents most likely to die from the coronavirus.

This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free.

Nowhere on the list of prioritized recipients are public officials’ spouses.

Yet the first ladies of Kentucky and West Virginia; Republican Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence; Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden; and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, were among the first Americans to get the potentially lifesaving shots.

Kentucky also vaccinated six former governors and four former first ladies, including current Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s parents.

The early vaccinations of political spouses spurred outrage on social media, with several Twitter users saying they should not be able to “jump the line” ahead … Read more