Tulane Outbreak Daily | April 3, 2020

You may be able to spread coronavirus just by breathing, new report finds – Science The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has given a boost to an unsettling idea: that the novel coronavirus can spread through the air—not just via the large droplets emitted in a cough or sneeze. Though current studies aren’t conclusive, “the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing,” Harvey Fineberg, who heads a standing committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats, wrote in a 1 April letter to Kelvin Droegemeier, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. [Related document/National Academies] [Related NEJM Study] [Related Pre-Pub study] [Related Pre-Pub Study]
NYC first responders reeling from ‘unprecedented’ call volume amid coronavirus – NBC News New York City first responders are handling “tremendously high” call volumes, working multiple double shifts with back-to-back cases and suspected coronavirus patients going into cardiac arrest as the disease continues to sweep the city.
Map Reveals Hidden U.S. Hotspots of Coronavirus Infection – Scientific American By adjusting for population, researchers have identified rural areas in several states that could be disproportionally affected by COVID-19
Researchers Investigate If A Mutated Strain Of Coronavirus Is The Reason One Man Was Contagious For 49 Days – IFLScience An un-reviewed paper outlines the case of a male patient in China who exhibited the longest-recorded phase of viral shedding seen since the COVID-19 pandemic first began. Viral shedding is the stage of disease whereby a sick person is physically shedding the virus, for example in their mucus when coughing or sneezing, and is a factor that dictates the time healthcare officials advise we keep ourselves in quarantine when unwell. For COVID-19, the viral shedding phase is usually around 20 days with the longest previous recorded time being 37 days.[Related pre-pub paper]
[Perspective] Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era – NEJM Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. [Related: FDA Guidance on Face Masks]


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 April 3, 2020

WHO SITREP #73 ECDC | Country Data Johns Hopkins
Confirmed Cases 896,450 1000,249 1,026,974
Deaths 45,525 51,515 53,973


During January 26–February 10, 2020, an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease in an air-conditioned restaurant in Guangzhou, China, involved 3 family clusters. The airflow direction was consistent with droplet transmission. To prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants, we recommend increasing the distance between tables and improving ventilation.
Total cases: 213,144
Total deaths: 4,513
Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)

Travel Related: 1,144
Close Contact: 3,245
Under Investigation: 209,755
Total Cases: 213,144

Surveillance Headlines


USA: How Fast the Coronavirus Outbreak Is Growing in Hundreds of U.S. Communities – NYT

Oregon: Central Oregon Braces For Expected Surge In COVID-19 Patients – Central Oregon News

Houston, Texas: Houston hasn’t reported a surge of coronavirus cases. But its hospitals tell a different story. – NBC News

New York: N.Y. Reports Most Deaths in a Day – Bloomberg

Texas:59 San Antonio nursing home residents test positive for coronavirus – Texas Tribune

South America

Equador: Ecuadorians live with dead relatives amid coronavirus pandemic – NBC News

Brazil: Confirms First COVID-19 Case in Isolated Tribe – Telesure


Greece:Greece Records First Coronavirus Cases Among Refugees, Imposes Quarantine On Camp – NPR

Romania: Enduring eastern Europe’s biggest spike in deaths – Bloomberg

UK: Reports Deadliest Day Yet With 684 Coronavirus Deaths – Bloomberg


Singapore: Singapore to Close Schools, Most Workplaces With Rising Virus Cases – Bloomberg

Middle East

Afghanistan: With fake hand sanitizer and 12 ventilators, Afghanistan expects millions of coronavirus cases – The Intercept

Science and Tech

MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem steps up to the challenge of Covid-19 – MIT News Innovation and entrepreneurship aren’t easy. New companies are forced to make due with minimal resources. Decisions must be made in the face of great uncertainty. Conditions change rapidly.

F.D.A. Approves First Coronavirus Antibody Test in U.S.- NYTSuch a test may help scientists learn how widespread the infection is, and how long people remain immune after recovering.

Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome – NYTViruses must hijack living cells to replicate and spread. When the coronavirus finds a suitable cell, it injects a strand of RNA that contains the entire coronavirus genome. [If you hit a paywall at the link, try here]

How long coronavirus survives on surfaces – and what it means for handling money, food and more – World Economic ForumLike the other 200 or so respiratory viruses we know of, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the new coronavirus, infects the cells of our airways. It causes a range of signs and symptoms, or none at all. It can spread easily from person-to-person, and can be coughed into the air and onto surfaces. Viruses only replicate inside a living cell – outside the cell, they’re on a path to either infect us, or their own destruction. How long a virus survives outside a cell varies.


Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast- World Economic ForumAs several companies race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the public is repeatedly reminded that the finish line is at least 12 to 18 months away. This timeline feels excruciatingly long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world around us. But it deserves some context. New technologies combined with international cooperation to fight infectious diseases are enabling faster responses to new disease outbreaks, shaving several years from traditional vaccine development timelines. Here are the key steps in the path to developing a vaccine against coronavirus and an outline of what they mean for time saving and for you.

Why I am volunteering to get the coronavirus vaccine – MIT Tech Review To stop the coronavirus we need a vaccine fast—and volunteers willing to receive it. Several vaccines are in development, but the first to be tested in humans is a novel type of shot developed by Moderna Therapeutics, a company whose technology has allowed what’s being called the fastest startup of a vaccine trial ever.

Antivirals/Drug Therapies

Potential covalent drugs targeting the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus – Oxford AcademicSince December 2019, the newly identified coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has caused a massive health crisis worldwide and resulted in over 70,000 COVID-19 infections so far. Clinical drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2 are urgently needed to decrease the high fatality rate of confirmed COVID-19 patients. Traditional de novo drug discovery needs more than 10 years, so drug repurposing seems the best option currently to find potential drugs for treating COVID-19.

Unlike FDA, European regulators refuse to clear chloroquine for COVID-19 without data – Fierce Pharma Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have drawn more attention—and certainly more presidential support—than any other drug during the global quest to find an effective coronavirus therapy.

Trial drug can significantly block early stages of COVID-19 in engineered human tissues -Science DailyAn international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts.

Infection Prevention

What to know about the risks of restaurant takeout and delivery — and how to minimize them – Washington PostAn estimated 75 percent of Americans are now living under stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus, which may be one big reason why we’re typing the following phrases into Google as fast as our malnourished fingers will allow it: “Is it safe to order food delivery?” And: “Is it safe to eat takeout during covid?” And countless variations of each. People clearly want answers. Let’s get you some before you’re forced to binge-watch “Schitt’s Creek” with a cold can of baked beans.

Published Research

Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 – NEJM

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

Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 in Viral Shedding Observed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Aerodynamic Characteristics and RNA Concentration of SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol in Wuhan Hospitals during COVID-19 Outbreak

Opinions & Editorials

It’s Time to Face Facts, America: Masks Work – WiredWhen you look at photos of Americans during the 1918 influenza pandemic, one feature stands out above all else: masks. Fabric, usually white gauze, covers nearly every face. Across the country, public health experts recommended universal mask wearing, and some cities ordered residents to wear them under penalty of fine or imprisonment. The Red Cross made thousands of cloth masks and distributed them for free. Newspapers published instructions for sewing masks at home. “Make any kind of a mask … and use it immediately and at all times,” the Boston commissioner of health pleaded. “Even a handkerchief held in place over the face is better than nothing.” After the 1918 pandemic, the prophylactic use of masks among the general public largely fell out of favor in America and much of the West. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has almost never advised healthy people to wear masks in public to prevent influenza or other respiratory diseases. In the past few months, with medical supplies dangerously diminished, the CDC, US surgeon general Jerome Adams, and the World Health Organization have urged people not to buy masks, paradoxically claiming that masks are both essential for the safety of health care workers and incapable of protecting the public from Covid-19. (WIRED’s editorial staff, like the CDC, suggests that healthy people not wear masks.)

Should we wear masks or not? An expert sorts through the confusion – The Conversation
As a professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine and a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center caring for the most vulnerable in this pandemic, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about COVID-19. It turns out there is good science out there that helps us know what masks we need to wear and when to wear them. That being said, some of the following advice could change as scientists learn more about why some people get a bad or even lethal case of this virus while many more get through it OK. One of the areas of greatest confusion seems to be about masks. Much of the decision about wearing masks depends on what the essential businesses that remain open are doing to ensure social distancing and therefore, our safety.


Coping in Quarantine

Tulane University School of Social Work Launches Self Care Resource Website

Planning for life after coronavirus: When will we know it’s safe to travel again? – USA Today

Tips on Working From Home (WFH)

Have a Guitar at home? Gibson And Amped Guitar Offer Three Free Months Of Online Lessons – Rock My World

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