With numbers spiking across Southern states, the United States set a daily record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday in a return to figures not seen since late April. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, 40,401 new cases were recorded June 25, surpassing the previous record set April 24, which saw 36,291 new cases.
U.S. governors are reversing plans to reopen their states as the country registered the biggest-ever jump in coronavirus cases, in a growing recognition that the contagion is increasingly dictating events in much of America.
The approach works this way: Samples from, say, 20 people are combined into a single pool. One coronavirus test is used on the entire pool. If the test comes back negative, researchers know they can move on to another pool of samples. If it comes back positive, only then would each individual be tested. “What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people in your society,” Fauci said. “And the only way you know that is by casting a broad net.”
For the past few weeks in the United States, the awful logic of the coronavirus seemed to have lifted. Stores and restaurants reopened. Protesters flocked to the streets. Some people resumed going about their daily lives, and while many wore face masks, many others did not. Yet cases continued to ebb. Even though the U.S. had adopted neither the stringent lockdowns nor the trace-and-isolate strategies seen in other countries, its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases settled into a slow decline. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence bragged that the country had made “great progress” against the disease, highlighting that the average number of new cases each day had dropped to 25,000 in May, and 20,000 so far in June.
In many parts of the world, authorities and experts are fretting over the onset of a coronavirus second wave. Yet in the Americas, there’s still no end in sight to the first. The virus is surging in various U.S. states, and the American death toll has eclipsed 120,000. On Thursday, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the real number of infected Americans is probably 10 times the 2.3 million official count.
In Houston, Texas, new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging. Some experts expect the virus outbreak to swamp the city’s medical infrastructure by July 4th. Emma Court and Joe Carroll report that if cases keep rising at their current pace in Harris County, which includes Houston, they will triple or quadruple by mid-July. The city’s hospital system may not be able to manage the crisis.
Strokes were reported in more than 60% of 125 patients in a U.K.-wide study who suffered brain problems along with Covid-19, according to research published Thursday in the Lancet Psychiatry journal. Almost a third experienced signs of confusion or changes in behavior reflecting an altered mental state. The study focused on cases that were serious enough to require hospitalization.
The reports seemed to take doctors by surprise: The “respiratory” virus that causes Covid-19 made some patients nauseous. It left others unable to smell. In some, it caused acute kidney injury.
Evidence from tissue studies and some people with COVID-19 shows that the virus damages insulin-producing cells.
A diverse research group from the United Kingdom, Italy, China, and Australia established a first expandable human gastric organoid culture across fetal developmental stages, supporting the hypothesis that fetal tissue seems to be much less susceptible to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection – especially in the early stages of development. [Related Pre-print study]
Official Reporting for June 26, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 9,129,146
Confirmed Cases: 9,581,803
Total deaths: 121,117
At a media briefing today, Hans Henri Kluge, MD, MPH, said though the European region makes up a decreasing proportion of global cases compared with earlier in the year, last week it saw a rise in cases for the first time in months. He added that the region continues to report about 20,000 cases and 700 deaths each day.
US: CDC Says Real Coronavirus Cases Number Might Be Much Higher Than The Official One – NPR
California: Charts show the hot spots driving California’s ‘sobering’ coronavirus surge – SF Chronicle
Ohio: Cases spike in Ohio – Toledo Blade
Michigan: 51 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases now linked to outbreak at East Lansing bar – Detroit News
Louisiana: Hard Times in the Big Easy – Vanity Fair
Alaska: Alaska’s active coronavirus infections hit new high including spike in seafood workers – Alaska News
Florida: Florida Smashes Coronavirus Case Record: Nearly 9,000 Positive Cases On Thursday – NPR
‘Very significant resurgence’ observed in European countries, says WHO – Euronews
Germany: Flare-Up in Virus Cases Sets Back Germany’s Efforts to Reopen – NYT
Texas: 6,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Texas Thursday, the 3-day total surpasses 17K – Houston News
India: Nearly 500,000 cases, aims to test everyone in its capital. – NYT
Science and Tech
The authors of a recent paper ask what role gut bacteria might play in COVID-19. They outline strands of existing evidence and conclude that a link between the two is plausible, but that more research is necessary. [Related Study]
3 min audio at the link – Researchers around the world are tracking the mutations in the coronavirus as it reproduces and spreads to ensure changes in the virus do not affect the development of the vaccine.
s Covid-19 continues to exact a heavy toll, development of a vaccine appears the most promising means of restoring normalcy to civil life. Perhaps no scientific breakthrough is more eagerly anticipated. But bringing a vaccine to market is only half the challenge; also critical is ensuring a high enough vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. Concerningly, a recent poll found that only 49% of Americans planned to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.1 One option for increasing vaccine uptake is to require it. Mandatory vaccination has proven effective in ensuring high childhood immunization rates in many high-income countries. However, except for influenza vaccination of health care workers, mandates have not been widely used for adults.
Scientists from across the globe are racing to develop effective vaccines and therapeutics for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).OnMarch 16, phase 1 clinical trials started with a vaccine candidate developed by a US based company, supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). T
So much has been reported over the past six months about testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that keeping up with the issue can be a real challenge. To discuss the latest progress on new technologies for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing in the United States, I spoke recently with NIH’s Dr. Bruce Tromberg, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Not only does Bruce run a busy NIH institute, he is helping to coordinate the national response for expanded testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s a disconcerting confluence of events, including a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, corporate bankruptcies, companies continuing to lay off workers and an overheated stock market that looks like it’s due for a correction, that indicates a tough road ahead.
Experts say there’s little evidence to link air conditioning to the spread of the coronavirus. Rather, the risk more likely comes from the amount of time spent indoors in close proximity to others. A CDC study raised concerns that air conditioning could spread the coronavirus. The research detailed an instance in which 10 restaurantgoers in China were sickened after eating at neighboring tables. The authors concluded that the virus was spread by the air conditioning system blowing tiny virus-laden droplets through the air. [Related CDC Study]
As we continue to struggle with the realities of living through the Covid-19 pandemic, I can’t help but feel disappointment, even sadness, every time I venture out of my house and witness people not wearing a mask. My rationing of groceries and household goods intended to keep me home for three weeks at a time have depleted several times over as the pandemic nears its five month mark in the United States. Putting on my mask, and gloves, to head to the corner market or get a ”breath of fresh air,“ I am astounded by the large numbers of people who are not wearing a mask.
The routes of transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), include direct contact and indirect contact. More importantly, SARS-CoV-2 may maintain its biologic stability in aerosol and on different surfaces for hours to days.2 In the care of patients with infectious viruses such as Ebola, a principle of protection for staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is to not expose their skin.
Neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 in 153 patients: a UK-wide surveillance study – The Lancet
A Case Series of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in 3 Febrile Infants in New York – American Academy of Pediatrics
Gut microbiota and Covid-19- possible link and implications – Virus Research
Coagulation Panel in Patients with SARS-CoV2 Infection (COVID-19) – Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)