Monday January 18, 2021

So get this, a report released over the weekend says a key ingredient to helping vaccinate more Americans against COVID-19 is inside Invasive Burmese pythons. Daryl Thompson, Director of Scientific Initiatives at Global Research and Discover Group Sciences, says the species that has caused devastation to Florida’s native wildlife and environment carries an oil called squalene which is used along with the vaccine to help alert the immune system to start learning to recognize the virus. And the python population is bountiful. Evidently, one 10–12-foot python contains enough squalene for 3,400 doses of the vaccine. The research right now is in its infancy stages, but they are working every day to get the green light to use the ingredient.

Another endangered Florida panther has died, this time, from injuries sustained from fighting with a fellow big cat. It’s the third panther death reported this year. The injured 2-year-old male panther was found Monday in Glades County near the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area. The cat was transported to an emergency care facility but ended up dying. Hunted heavily in the late 1800s, the Florida panther was nearly extinct by the 1950s. Today, they are primarily threatened by human encroachment on their habitat.

So we’ve heard all over the nation where senior citizens have been scrambling for the coronavirus vaccine. Well, not so much in western Palm Beach County communities. When medical staff were first trying to schedule appointments for 300 residents of the Belle Glade area, County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said, one accepted. McKinlay represents the area where Black people make up nearly 60% of the population. Well now, officials from the county’s health care district said that in the past week, attitudes seem to be changing. As of Friday morning, 432 people over the age of 65 had been vaccinated. To prove his belief that the vaccine is safe, and help encourage skeptical residents, Mayor Steve Wilson rolled up his sleeve and became the first person to receive the vaccine. Well of course, history is part of Black people’s reluctance. They can recall the Tuskegee Experiment, where the Centers for Disease Control falsely told Black men for 40 years that they were being treated for syphilis. Instead, the disease was allowed to fester as researchers studied the damage that was done. There many other historical medical experiments conducted on Black people, most times, without their consent. Some leaders say social media also helps in spreading the mistrust associated with the vaccine. Dr. Alina Alonso, the County Health Director says, the only way to overcome that is with education. Of the 769,765 people in Florida who had gotten the first dose of the vaccine as of Friday, only 36,528 were Black.

The Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission is having a Community Engagement Task Force on Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Belle Glade Library (725 NW Fourth Street, Belle Glade) for its fourth Community Forum on Policing in Palm Beach County. The forum will be an open dialogue of questions and answers with Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office command staff for the Glades area, which includes Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay. The event will be held in person with a maximum of 30 attendees and will be broadcast live on Channel 20. All others may participate virtually via Webex, where participants may ask questions. Preregistration is required. For more information, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/forum-on-policing-in-palm-beach-county-registration-135711361335.

Nearly 1.6 million positive cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in the state according to yesterday’s report. There are over 24 thousand Florida resident deaths reported, according to the Florida Department of Health. According to the CDC, Florida has recorded 22 positive cases of COVID-19 variants as of Jan. 15. The type of variants is not specified on the table. Florida Department of Health and the CDC were previously investigating the evidence of the first known case of what is known as the UK COVID-19 variant on Dec. 31, 2020. The numbers show there were 11,093 new cases reported on Sunday alone and 133 news resident deaths.  Glades County reported 837 total cases and 12 deaths. Hendry County reported 3,813 and 53 deaths.

Click HERE* for a case-by-case breakdown – updated daily.