[3-minute audio at link] The U.S. has reached another dire landmark in its fight against COVID-19, surpassing 2 million confirmed cases on Wednesday. New coronavirus infections are rising in at least 20 states, even as restrictions on daily life continue to ease across the country.
As restrictions are lifted around the world, the sense of urgency surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic has weakened. Hundreds of millions of students have returned to school; restaurants, bars and other businesses are slowly reopening in many countries. In parts of Europe, vaccine researchers worry that they will not have enough sick people for testing.
Surgeons in Chicago have given a new set of lungs to a young woman with severe lung damage from the coronavirus. Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants.
From apple packing houses in Washington state to farm workers in Florida and a California county known as “the world’s salad bowl,” outbreaks of the novel coronavirus are emerging at U.S. fruit and vegetable farms and packing plants.
The government is stepping up its efforts to fund vaccine studies and production for at least three of five frontrunners — something that Dr. Anthony Fauci told Yahoo Finance will be worth its weight in gold in the long run.
The urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine has radically changed all that. Now, the hope is the entire process can be completed in a year or less.
Bowing to public outrage and an order from the supreme court, the Brazilian government has resumed publishing coronavirus case and death counts that show the cumulative toll of the country’s devastating outbreak . [If the link above does not work, try this]
Doctors can triage and monitor patients faster—and sometimes more accurately—with the aid of the pocket-size machines
New papers highlight the heart’s involvement in these Kawasaki-like cases. One author warns this is merely the tip of the iceberg. [Related JAMA paper]
Official Reporting for June 11, 2020
|WHO SITREP #142||ECDC||Johns Hopkins|
Total deaths: 112,133
USA: Tracking the Spread of the Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S. – Bloomberg
USA: More Food Shortages Loom With Outbreaks at 60 U.S Plants – Bloomberg
Southern California: San Bernardino County being watched by state as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations rise – SB Sun
South Carolina: virus chief ‘more concerned’ about virus now than ever – AP
Arizona: Banner Health Sounds Alarms on COVID Crisis in Arizona – MedPageToday
Florida: Florida COVID-19 cases continue 1,000-plus daily climb as testing, reopening expand – Local News
Alaska: Alaska sees highest active virus case count since start of pandemic – Anchorage Daily News
Texas: Texas Shatters Record For New Coronavirus Cases – Forbes
Alabama: New coronavirus cases almost double after reopening – Alabama News
Minnesota: Long Prairie beef processor among latest swept by COVID-19, despite significant prevention – Minnesota Public Radio
Why Forecasters Can’t Make Up Their Mind About Africa And The Coronavirus – NPR
South Korea: SKorea reports 45 new COVID cases, most in Seoul – AP
Science and Tech
A team of researchers from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health, identified genomic features of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other high-fatality coronaviruses that distinguish them from other members of the coronavirus family. This research could be a crucial step in helping scientists develop approaches to predict, by genome analysis alone, the severity of future coronavirus disease outbreaks and detect animal coronaviruses that have the potential to infect humans. The findings were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(link is external). [Related Study]
As we know all too well, a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome-like coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) recently emerged and rapidly spread among humans. A key to tackling this pandemic is to learn how the virus attaches to receptors on human cells. This mechanism would likely explain the levels of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, how it jumped to humans from an animal host, and host range. SARS-CoV-2 and its close coronavirus relative, SARS-CoV, recognize the same receptor in humans called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Researchers using the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory have determined the crystal structure of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 — engineered to facilitate crystallization — in complex with ACE2. In comparison with the SARS-CoV RBD, an ACE2-binding site in SARS-CoV-2, RBD has a more compact, stable conformation.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) today announced that through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies (Janssen) it has accelerated the initiation of the Phase 1/2a first-in-human clinical trial of its investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, Ad26.COV2-S, recombinant. Initially scheduled to begin in September, the trial is now expected to commence in the second half of July.
COVID-19 Genetic PCR Tests Give False Negative Results if Used Too Early – Imaging Technology News
Right now, there is only one drug shown by rigorous scientific testing to be helpful for treating COVID-19. That drug is the antiviral medication called remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences. But remdesivir’s proven benefits are modest: reducing hospital stays from 15 to 11 days.
Researchers from Freie Universität Berlin at the Institute for Animal and Environmental Hygiene and the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University are collaborating on alternative personal protection equipment. The testing was conducted in the context of the EIT Health Project ViruShield, supported by the European Union, with the objective to discover alternative filter materials for face masks in light of tight supply and globally imbalanced supply chains for personal protective equipment.
Genomic determinants of pathogenicity in SARS-CoV-2 and other human coronaviruses – PNAS
Molecular structure analyses suggest strategies to therapeutically target SARS-CoV-2 – Nature
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)
Coping in Quarantine
COVID-19 has affected every sector across the globe,and the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Our research suggests that recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take until 2023—or later. Investors are providing similar views of hotel companies’ prospects, as seen in the underperformance of US lodging real estate investment trusts (REITs). Like so many industries, hospitality will also see both subtle and substantial shifts in the post-pandemic era. Some are already apparent today.
It might be a while before we can offer a hug or handshake. But that’s OK.