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Lake Houston area’s In the Pink shifts to online fundraiser amid pandemic

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the In the Loop campaign will replace the yearly In the Pink of Health Luncheon to raise money for Project Mammogram, which helps uninsured people receive free breast cancer screenings and services.

As the primary fundraising event for Project Mammogram, the annual In the Pink of Health Luncheon celebrates survivors, remembers those who are lost and offers a time for everyone to contribute in one way or another. The fundraiser last year was a bustling event lined with pink that featured large gift baskets for bid, a corner shop, an enormous ballroom filled with banquet tables and topped off with a server in a champagne flute dress handing out glasses and posing for photos.

Meanwhile, In the Loop is a virtual campaign that encourages Lake Houston area residents to support Project Mammogram. It will end on Dec. 31 and will be followed by a “Lighter Shade of Pink Celebration” for the campaign in Jan. 2021.


Brooke Baugh, a consultant for the Northeast Hospital Foundation, is the primary event planner for In the Pink of Health luncheon. She said this year, the risks of the coronavirus caused them to make the decision early on in the pandemic not to hold an in-person event. Luncheon co-chairs Cristi Cardenas and Carol Prince felt early on that they should begin to look at other options, according to Baugh.

“So we canceled the luncheon and strategized on what this giving campaign would look like and how we would keep our committee engaged and how we would keep our donors engaged,” Baugh said. “Because what we did know for sure is that more and more women were going to find themselves in need of mammogram screenings with people losing jobs, without insurance, loss of insurance, under-insured, and the things that come along with the economic impact that we have all experienced since coronavirus.”

Last year, In the Pink of Health raised just over $100,000. Baugh said they hope to surpass that number this year, especially given the fact that an anonymous donor has offered to match unlimited donations dollar to dollar though the end of December. They have already raised $37,000 in pledged and paid commitments for the In the Loop campaign, which kicked off around the end of the second quarter.

By donating $150, which is about the cost of a screening mammogram, then it’s essentially supporting two screenings for the price of one, Baugh said.

“That is a huge, huge gift, and I think that makes people want to give more,” Baugh said.

In addition to their online In the Loop fundraiser, there will be an additional “In the Loop Pink Christmas Virtual Online Auction” from Dec. 6-12 in lieu of the auction typically held at the luncheon.

To make a donation or learn more about Project Mammogram, visit https://www.northeasthospitalfoundation.org/.

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Flu shot shortages in your areas? Record number of doses are on the way

October is prime time for flu vaccinations, and the U.S. and Europe are gearing up for what experts hope is high demand as countries seek to avoid a “twindemic” with COVID-19.

“There’s considerable concern as we enter the fall and winter months and into the flu season that we’ll have that dreaded overlap” of flu and the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health said Thursday. He got his own flu shot earlier this week.

A record number of flu vaccine doses are on the way, between 194 million and 198 million for the U.S. alone — seemingly plenty considering last year just under half of adults got vaccinated and there usually are leftovers.

Still, there’s no way to know how many will seek shots this year and some people occasionally are finding drugstores or clinics temporarily out of stock.

Related: The soreness many people feel after getting the flu shot is a sign the body is developing influenza-fighting antibodies.

Be patient: Flu vaccine ships gradually. Less than half has been distributed so far, and the CDC and manufacturers say more is in transit.

“This year I think everyone is wanting to get their vaccine and maybe wanting it earlier than usual,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told The Associated Press. “If you’re not able to get your vaccination now, don’t get frustrated” but keep trying.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, which is supplying nearly 250 million doses worldwide including 80 million for the U.S., says it has shipments staggered into November.

Vaccine maker Seqirus is exploring if it could squeeze out “a limited number of additional doses” to meet high demand, said spokeswoman Polina Miklush.

Brewing flu vaccine is time-consuming. Once production ends for the year, countries can’t simply order more — making for a stressful balancing act as they guess how many people will roll up their sleeves.

Germany usually buys 18 million to 19 million doses, and this year ordered more. As German Health Minister Jens Spahn put it: “If we manage, together, to get the flu vaccination rate so high that all 26 million doses are actually used, then I’d be a very happy health minister.”

Spain purchased extra doses in hopes of vaccinating far more older adults and pregnant women than usual, along with key workers in health facilities and nursing homes.

In contrast, Poland, which last year had 100,000 doses go unused, didn’t anticipate this fall’s high demand and is seeking more.

Related: Cold is easier to distinguish from flu and COVID-19, but symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar.

The good news: The same precautions that help stop spread of the coronavirus — wearing masks, avoiding crowds, washing your hands and keeping your distance — can help block influenza, too.

Winter just ended in the Southern Hemisphere and countries like South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Chile diagnosed hardly any flu thanks to COVID-19 restrictions

The Latest: NYC to fine people without masks in some areas


NEW YORK — Alarmed by a spike in coronavirus infections in a few Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, New York City officials will start issuing fines in those areas to people who refuse to wear masks, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

De Blasio said he was sending teams of hundreds of outreach workers and contact tracers to nine Brooklyn and Queens ZIP codes that have seen an upswing in positive COVID-19 tests in hopes of avoiding harsher enforcement measures.


Those workers will be handing out masks but also insisting that people put them on if they are in a place where they could be within 6 feet of other people.

The Democratic mayor warned he could order further crackdowns, including the closing of nonessential businesses and bans on gatherings if things don’t improve. Private schools and child care centers could be closed if people refuse to comply with coronavirus guidelines, de Blasio said.



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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

— llinois Gov. Pritzker to quarantine 2 weeks after contact with staffer who tested positive

— India vice president tests positive for virus, isolating at home


— How can I volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine study?

— The coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school re-openings, resumption of sports and play dates.

— University of Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins apologized for not wearing a mask after pictures surfaced online of him shaking hands and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with people at a recent Rose Garden ceremony.


— Tennessee Titans players, staff test positive for coronavirus; first outbreak in the NFL at Week 4.

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