Devin Booker comes back like he never left in Suns’ preseason finale

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Arizona Sports 13 October, 2021 - 07:34pm 2 views

The news comes a week after the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-2 to require proof of full vaccination at indoor venues throughout the city. That mandate takes effect in November. But Nathan Fletcher, chair of the Board of Supervisors, says the county likely won’t follow suit.

“Our vaccination rates are some of the highest in the nation and our COVID cases are clearly declining,” said Fletcher in a statement. “At this time, San Diego County has no plans to mandate vaccines at local businesses.”

It also doesn’t seem that the state plans to issue a vaccine mandate. In response to a Union-Tribune inquiry, the California Department of Public Health said that individual counties can take pandemic precautions that are stricter than the state’s stance.

The city of San Diego won’t mandate vaccination for entry into indoor spaces either, according to Courtney Pittam, press secretary for Mayor Todd Gloria, unless the county changes its guidance.

It’s not the first time San Diego and Los Angeles have taken different approaches to control the spread of the coronavirus. In July, Los Angeles County reinstated an indoor mask mandate in a bid to slow cases and hospitalizations fueled by the fast-spreading Delta variant. Weeks later, local officials asked San Diegans to mask up, too, regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not. But the local announcement was simply a recommendation, not a mandate.

Experts say a return to indoor masking for everyone, even the fully vaccinated, is starting to look inevitable

Yet infections and hospitalizations have steadily decreased in San Diego. On July 23, the county reported about 1,200 new cases, the highest single-day total since February. On Wednesday, the county reported 333 additional cases. The percent of tests coming back positive has also dipped from 8.8 percent in early August to 3.1 percent at the end of September, according to the latest local report. And the number of San Diegans in the hospital with COVID-19 has dipped from 537 a month ago to 287.

It’s clear that those who aren’t fully vaccinated are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. County figures released last week showed that residents who weren’t fully vaccinated accounted for 75 percent of infections, 98 percent of hospitalization and 86 percent of COVID-19 deaths between mid-September and mid-October. And 31 of the 37 additional coronavirus deaths the county has reported since last week have been among those who weren’t fully immunized.

The gaping divide between fully vaccinated San Diegans and everyone else could grow as the Food and Drug Administration and CDC roll out booster shots. Starting late September, those who had received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago became eligible for a third shot if they were older than 65 or at risk of severe COVID-19 based on their health or living and working conditions. That includes health care workers, grocery store clerks and people in homeless shelters.

The rollout of Pfizer booster shots is proceeding slowly and unevenly across the region’s health care systems and pharmacies

Those who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines haven’t been eligible for boosters, but that could change soon. The FDA’s vaccine advisory committee meets Thursday and Friday to review the evidence for approving boosters of both vaccines. The committee will also discuss whether it’s OK to mix and match vaccine types for the booster dose.

Dr. Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease expert at Rady Children’s Hospital, will be part of those discussions. Sawyer served on the advisory panels that recommended that the FDA authorize all three vaccines, and he recently voted to endorse boosters of Pfizer’s shots.

“If I had to guess, by the time we get all done the recommendation for Moderna and J&J is likely going to be the same as it finally ended up for Pfizer,” he said. “But I don’t really know that.”

Sawyer emphasized that the main way to end the pandemic remains to vaccinate the unvaccinated. That’s supported by local data. Over the past month, about 9.6 out of every 1,000 residents who weren’t fully vaccinated got a coronavirus infection. That figure dwarfs differences in so-called breakthrough infection rates among the fully vaccinated, with rates of 2, 2.5 and 3.5 cases per 1,000 residents for the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, respectively.

Public health officials are also pushing hard for everyone to get flu shots as the region heads into the fall and winter months. Wednesday morning, Supervisor Fletcher publicly received his flu vaccine. Moments later, the county announced that San Diego has logged 195 confirmed flu cases in 2021, an uptick from the region’s five-year average of 128 cases by mid-October.

The state public health department also urged Californians to get their flu shots, essentially saying that one fast-spreading virus is enough.

“In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, a severe flu season could be devastating for California,” said CDPH director Dr. Tomás J. Aragón in a statement. “Getting a flu shot is a safe and simple thing we can all do to keep people out of the hospital and reduce the strain on our health care system.”

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Port’s goals exceed benchmarks set in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Dock workers fear jobs will be lost.

Two people with the disease were in a shelter and four were living outdoors

Let Them Choose, part of Let Them Breathe group, argues school district lacks legal authority for vaccine mandate

Although serious illness can trigger mental distress, the reverse is also true — and is too often overlooked, experts say

For better health and a longer life span, exercise is more important than weight loss, especially if you are overweight or obese, according to an interesting new review of the relationships among fitness, weight, heart health and longevity.

With many Americans who got Pfizer vaccinations already rolling up their sleeves for a booster shot, millions of others who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine wait anxiously to learn when it’s their turn

Read full article at Arizona Sports

Suns Demolish Discombobulated Blazers in Preseason Blowout

Blazer's Edge 14 October, 2021 - 06:40am

Portland’s starters got more floor time in their third preseason game. It didn’t matter.

Let’s talk about the defense, since that’s the primary improvement expected this season. There’s a definite change in defensive philosophy, especially against screens. We’ve talked about this before. Sending two defenders out against screens allows the Blazers to use mobility among their bigs (which they have) instead of relying on size and shot blocking (which they don’t).

Increased turnovers are the main product so far. They’re able to pinch the ball-handler, either poking it away or creating trickier passing situations. Now Portland can scope out the angles, get long arms/hands into the lane, and force the miscue.

Unfortunately, turnovers aren’t even beginning to make up for an utter lack of effectiveness otherwise. The Blazers are pretty good at the point of attack. They’re adequate after the initial pass following, as their first rotation is usually crisp. After that, they’re hopeless. They seem to have no idea how to adjust as a team after that initial defensive move. One more pass yields an open three for the opponent. If the Blazers close, one pass after that yields a dunk. And all that happens when the Blazers were trying on defense. Phoenix got a disturbing number of dunks and alley-oops out of their halfcourt offense in this game...literally the easiest shots imaginable. This should never happen against a team with defensive backbone, particularly when the same team is giving up open threes. If the Blazers are not guarding the arc and not guarding the rim, what exactly ARE they guarding?

Any advantage in turnovers generated is being offset by turnovers committed, which is a recurring theme so far this preseason. It isn’t just the dregs of the rotation, either. I never thought I’d say that Portland’s starting lineup looks lost out there on the floor, but...they kind of did. We’re talking about this on the Dave and Dia podcast this week (coming out tomorrow). When you go away from an isolation-based offense which keeps the ball in the hands of your most experienced, talented players, you’re going to lose efficiency. Every pass is another opportunity for a miscue. You hope to generate enough superior looks to overcome the risk/difference. That’s not happening for the Blazers right now. In essence, they’re incurring the penalty for their new style without reaping the benefits. One would presume that this will improve over time, but the Blazers have only one game remaining before contests start counting.

Speaking of offense, Portland’s baffling inability to hit three-point shots continued today. There’s not much to say except that they’re bricking shots they usually hit. Some of it might be rhythm; their starting guards are concentrating on more things and/or getting shots later in possessions than they used to. But their outlet shooters just aren’t hitting either. Once the Blazers got behind in the game, they tried to take it over with offense, as is their habit. Without the threes, they were firing blanks.

Jusuf Nurkic continues to be a pivotal player in Portland’s schemes. He did not get as many touches on offense as he did in the first preseason game. The Blazers weren’t forcing it to, or through, him. When he did catch in the middle, he turned decisively and tried to score quickly. That was a big improvement over the bobble-and-delay performance we saw earlier. Nurkic’s screens came hard and stuck opponents on multiple occasions. That was great. Even playing better, he still committed 5 turnovers.

On defense, the story was also mixed. Portland had NO interior defense when Nurkic sat. That recommends him highly. He looked slightly more spry getting out to screens and back to the rim when necessary. But he also picked up 5 fouls in 20 minutes. Like most things with the Blazers this fall, it’s two steps forward, four-and-a-half steps back.

Larry Nance, Jr. struggled with continuity today, committing turnovers and fouls while not shutting down the inside subbing for Nurk. He did play a little bit of point forward. It’ll be interesting to see if that experiment continues.

Dennis Smith, Jr. got a lot of run and may be on the inside track to grab a final roster spot.

Other than that, no startling developments came out of the game. It wasn’t supposed to be a startle-heavy day for them. This game was designed for the starting lineup and high-rotation players got run together, shifting into gear. The opportunity came. The gear shifting? Not so much. It was disturbing to see how poorly the main players meshed together compared to the Suns.

The Blazers get one more chance to tune up on Friday night against the Golden State Warriors. Let’s hope they take better advantage than they did today.

Portland and Golden State tip it off at 7:00 PM on Friday night.

Suns JAM Session Podcast: Suns vs. Blazers Preseason Post Game Pod

Bright Side of the Sun 13 October, 2021 - 09:39pm

John Voita and Matthew Lissy bring you the best post game pod on Planet Orange!

Not much of a video person? Like to listen to your podcasts? Here is it is audio form:

Follow John (@DarthVoita), Matthew (@MatthewLissy), and the podcast (@SunsJAM) on Twitter.

If you use one of those platforms, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review.

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