Tulane Outbreak Daily | March 30, 2020

Featured Headlines

Four Passengers Die of COVID-19 on Holland America Cruise Ship -Bloomberg Passengers on the Zaandam, currently off the coast of Panama, all ports on the ship’s route have also refused entry.
TB Vaccine Investigated as a Weapon Against Coronavirus – Bloomberg A vaccine that’s been used to prevent tuberculosis is being given to health-care workers in Melbourne to see if it will protect them against the coronavirus. The bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG, shot has been used widely for about 100 years, with a growing appreciation for its off-target benefits. Not only is it a common immunotherapy for early-stage bladder cancer, it also seems to train the body’s first line of immune defense to better fight infections.
White House Airlifts Medical Supplies From China in Coronavirus Fight – New York Times  A commercial aircraft carrying 80 tons of gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down in New York on Sunday, the first of 22 scheduled flights that will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April. The plane delivered 130,000 N95 masks, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10 million gloves and thousands of thermometers for distribution to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  Flights would be arriving in Chicago on Monday and in Ohio on Tuesday, and that supplies would be sent from there to other states using private-sector distribution networks.

Fauci: U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach as high as 200,000 – Bloomberg A stark warning as debate rages about how soon to restart parts of the U.S. economy that have 
been on shutdown.
President Trump said on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for another month and could last until June. Fauci and Birx pointed to leading coronavirus models, which they said show that, even with social distancing and other mitigation measures in place, millions of Americans are anticipated to become infected and up to 200,000 could die. If social distancing is not followed, the estimates are even more grim, Trump noted, saying the model suggested some 2.2 million Americans could have died in the U.S. if officials ended containment efforts.
Some Megachurches Are Still Packing In Crowds – Bloomberg  Congregants of megachurches in Louisiana, Ohio and Florida attended services in defiance of social distancing orders on Sunday morning, even as politicians and doctors took to weekly news shows to warn of coronavirus’s spread in the U.S. In Louisiana, which has seen a spike in cases and has a shelter-in-place order, the Life Tabernacle Church in the town of Central held services at 10 a.m. More than 550 parishioners attended, about half as many as the week before, pastor Tony Spell told a local news reporter.
Global COVID-19 cases top 700,000; Trump extends plan to slow virus – CIDRAP  The global COVID-19 total easily passed 700,000 cases today, just 1 day after passing the 600,000-case mark, fueled by steep rises in Europe and the United States, where President Donald Trump said today that social (physical) distancing guidelines will be extended through the end of April.
Looming crisis in developing countries threatens to devastate economies and ramp up inequality – UNDP  The growing COVID-19 crisis threatens to disproportionately hit developing countries, not only as a health crisis in the short term but as a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come.  Income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries, and nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost. With an estimated 55 per cent of the global population having no access to social protection, these losses will reverberate across societies, impacting education, human rights and, in the most severe cases, basic food security and nutrition.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA expedites review of diagnostic tests to combat COVID-19 – FDA  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been providing unprecedented flexibility to labs and manufacturers to develop and offer COVID-19 tests across the U.S. The FDA’s regulations have not hindered or been a roadblock to the rollout of tests during this pandemic. Every action the FDA has taken during this public health emergency to address the COVID-19 pandemic has balanced the urgent need to make diagnostic tests available with providing a level of oversight that ensures accurate tests are being deployed. Moreover, as in previous emergencies, the FDA has been extremely proactive and supportive of test development by all comers—laboratories, and large and small commercial manufacturers—offering our expertise and support to speed development and to quickly authorize tests that the science supports.
Dr. Birx predicts up to 200,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths ‘if we do things almost perfectly’ – NBC News Dr. Deborah Birx painted a grim message about the expected fatalities, echoing that they could hit more than 2 million without any measures, as coronavirus cases continue to climb throughout the country. “I think everyone understands now that you can go from five to 50 to 500 to 5,000 cases very quickly,” Birx said.


Editor’s note: Regarding the case counts below, please consider due to limited testing capabilities in some locations, the real number of cases could be considerably higher.

Official Reporting for March 27, 2020

  WHO SITREP #69 ECDC    Country Data Johns Hopkins
Confirmed Cases 634,835 715, 660 735,560
Deaths 29,891 33,579 34,830


Total cases: 122,653
Total deaths: 2,112
Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)

Travel Related: 712
Close Contact: 1,326
Under Investigation: 83,318
Total Cases: 85,356

Surveillance Headlines


New York: Reported 6,120 more cases and 82 more deaths for a total of 59,513 cases, 965 of them fatal.

New Jersey: Reported 2,262 more cases, for a total of 13,383,

Maryland: Hogan issues stay-at-home order for Maryland; new cases announced one day after a record 16 fatalities reported – Washington Post

California:  Reports 69 more cases for a total of 5,718. CIDRAP

Michigan:  Detroit becomes a hot spot, where hospitals are overrun and at least 39 police officers have been sickened, 2 of them fatally. CIDRAP

Illinois: Reports 4,596 cases, most are from Chicago and Cook County. Chicago’s McCormick Place is being converted into a 3,000-bed COVID-19 treatment center  The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has so far reported 89 infections in inmates and 12 in staff..CIDRAP


Spain: Reported its highest number of deaths (838), but the number of daily new cases declined from 8,189 to 6,549. Spain has reported 78,797 cases, 6,528 of them fatal. Madrid is one of the hardest-hit area. CIDRAP

Italy: Reported 5,217 more cases, 756 new deaths, with a total of 10,779 fatalities. CIDRAP

Russia: Moscow’s mayor issued a stay-at-home order starting tomorrow affecting 12.7 million people. Moscow has recorded 1,014 cases new cases. CIDRAP

Middle East

Iran: Reporting 38,309 cases, with 123 more deaths that lift the country’s fatality count to 2,640. CIDRAP


South Korea: Reported 105 new case, total of 9,583. Due to a continuing rise in imported cases, the country today announced that travelers from Europe and the United States must self-quarantine for 14 days. CIDRAP

Hong Kong: Reported 59 more cases, 43 of them with a travel history, for a total of 642 cases. CIDRAP

Singapore:  Reported 42, 24 of them imported, for a total of 844. CIDRAP

China: Reported 45 more cases, 44 imported and 1 local case in Hunan province. CIDRAP


Travel Advisories

Look up current travel advisories at US Department of State

U.S. CDC Travel Advisories

Science and Tech

GigaGen jumps into COVID-19 arena with polyclonal antibodies – Fierce Biotech  Mining the blood of recovered patients for treatments during a pandemic isn’t a new idea. Takeda and Grifols are already doing it, working on antibody-rich drugs made from the plasma of patients who have fought off COVID-19 infection. But a small South San Francisco startup thinks its approach could be even better.

How 3D printing could save lives in the coronavirus outbreak – MIT Tech Review  Digital manufacturers are stepping in to crank out nasal swabs, ventilator parts, and more as critical supply chains fail.

Sequencing the Genome of the Virus behind COVI-19 – Johns Hopkins Hub Inside the molecular diagnostics laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital, while health care workers and hospital staff work tirelessly to process patient tests, Thielen and Mehoke, members of APL’s Research and Exploratory Development Department and the Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance, are waiting for the positive tests. Certainly, positive tests are no cause for celebration, but for Thielen and Mehoke, they are a key to learning more about the rapidly spreading virus.

La Jolla Institute for Immunology to host coronavirus immunotherapy clearinghouse – Eureka Alert  Immunology (LJI) has been awarded a $1.73 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (CoVIC) as part of the foundation’s global efforts to stem the tide of the current coronavirus outbreak, the Institute announced today. Antibody therapies are often the first novel therapies advanced for an emerging infectious disease.

Published Research

Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations – WHO

Structural basis of receptor recognition by SARS-CoV-2 – Nature

Structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain bound to the ACE2 receptor – Nature

SARS-CoV-2–Positive Sputum and Feces After Conversion of Pharyngeal Samples in Patients With COVID-19 – Annals of Internal Medicine

The First 75 Days of Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Outbreak: Recent Advances, Prevention, and Treatment – Environmental Research and Public Health

Identifying SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins – Nature

Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive) 


Why Sub-Saharan Africa needs a unique response to COVID-19 – World Economic Forum  As people continue to travel, it is only a matter of time before COVID-19 spreads to the rest of the 54 countries on the continent. As I write this from Monrovia, Liberia – a country whose health system has suffered enormous challenges due to civil wars and the Ebola epidemic in 2014 – I am compelled to highlight that one size does not fit all, and special considerations need to be taken into account as we develop the COVID-19 response for Africa.

Post Pandemic

What comes after the Covid-19 tsunami subsides – MIT Tech Review  Media executive and tech trend watcher Azeem Azhar takes a long-term view of the pandemic and its global ripple effects

A Game Plan to End Social Distancing – Politico/Jennifer Nuzzo  If we’re serious about controlling the crisis, here’s what it will take—and who needs to step up, from the Pentagon to the Peace Corps.

Coping in Quarantine

Lost Work Because Of Coronavirus? How To Get Unemployment, Skip Loan Payments And More – NPR The federal government is throwing $2 trillion at the coronavirus problem. Banks and other lenders are doing things to assist people on top of that. Here’s your survival kit for how to get the help that’s available and be in the best financial shape possible as you weather this storm.

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