Tulane Outbreak Daily | June 29, 2020

Featured Headlines

Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample, Spanish study shows – Reuters

Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said on Friday.

Misplaced Analogies: COVID-19 Is More like a Wildfire Than a Wave – Scientific American

New coronavirus infections have soared to their highest levels in five states, as some leaders pause plans to reopen businesses further. The record highs—in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and South Carolina—mark a concerning rise in cases that is now stretching into its third consecutive week. More than 2.5 million people in the United States have been infected with coronavirus and at least 125,000 have died, greater than any other country.

Swedish Covid Expert Says the World Still Doesn’t Understand – Bloomberg

Anders Tegnell is unlikely to stray far from home, after much of the European Union excluded Sweden from safe travel lists. His decision to advise against a Swedish lockdown has coincided with one of the world’s highest Covid-19 mortality rates. But Tegnell insists Sweden’s strategy remains widely misunderstood.

A race to determine what drives COVID-19 severity – Nature

Efforts are ongoing to find which human or viral factors underpin whether a person with COVID-19 will develop severe symptoms. Clinical evidence linked to two viral lineages now provides key insights into this enigma.

This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why. – Washington Post

When the first coronavirus cases in Chicago appeared in January, they bore the same genetic signatures as a germ that emerged in China weeks before.

CDC Says Singers Could Be Virus Superspreaders — But 100 Sang Unmasked With Pence – NPR

A choir of about 100 performers sang at a megachurch campaign event featuring Vice President Pence on Sunday. They did not wear masks while they sang.

Many epidemiologists and singing experts currently fear that singers may be superspreaders of COVID-19, due to aerosolization of the virus. Singing involves much more forceful and deep breathing than simple talking.

Clinical Considerations

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) – Medical News

MIS-C/PIMS-TS is very similar to Kawasaki disease. Kawasaki disease is a rare disease that affects children under the age of 5 primarily and is characterized by a fever that can last around 5 days alongside a bodily rash, swollen glands, red fingers & toes, and red eyes.

Coronavirus Pandemic Led to Surge in Alzheimer’s Deaths – Wall Street Journal

At least 15,000 more Americans have died in recent months from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than otherwise would have, health officials believe, pointing to how the coronavirus pandemic has exacted a higher fatality toll than official numbers have shown.

Official Reporting for June 29, 2020

World Health Organization


Confirmed Cases: 10,021,401

Deaths: 499,913


Confirmed Cases: 10,112,754

Deaths: 501,562

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 10,199,798

Deaths: 502,947

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 2,545,250
Total deaths: 126,369

Surveillance Headlines


Texas: How Texas Lost Control of the Virus – Bloomberg

Houston, Texas: Houston hospitals stop reporting coronavirus-related data after reaching base ICU capacity: report – The Hill

Hawaii: COVID-19 Cases Among Pacific Islanders Surge In Hawaii – Honolulu News

Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s percentage of positive coronavirus tests hits highest point in more than a month – Milwaukee Sentinal

Florida: Florida adds another 8,530 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Miami-Dade hits single-day high – Miami-Dade News

California: California orders bars closed in seven counties as coronavirus surges – NBC News

Louisiana: 1,400-plus more coronavirus cases reported Sunday; see latest data – Nola

Mexican Border: People with coronavirus are crossing the US-Mexico border for medical care – CNN


UK: UK considers first local lockdown in COVID-19 pandemic – ABC


India: opens one of the world’s largest hospitals to fight coronavirus – CNN

China: China Seals Off County of 400,000 to Stem Beijing Cluster – Bloomberg


Coronavirus Is Battering Africa’s Growing Middle Class – New York Times

Sierra Leone: Ventilator Invented & Made in Sierra Leone – Youtube


Virus Cases Surge by 75 in Australia’s Hotspot State Victoria – Bloomberg


Science and Tech




New Hope in the Struggle to Cut Covid’s Toll – Bloomberg

With more than 130 vaccines under development and close to as many drugs being examined, not every experimental program is included here. The tracker will add new ones as they start or advance in trials, gain significant backing or show promise. Almost all of these efforts are in the early stages, meaning that the gold standard of data―clinical trials with “blinded” placebo and therapy groups―is still hard to come by. With loosened rules and a desire to get solutions to market quickly, it’s important to cast a skeptical eye on too-good-to-be-true data.

Existing drugs can prevent SARS-CoV-2 from hijacking cells – Cambridge UK

An international team of researchers has analysed how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, hijacks the proteins in its target cells. The research, published in the journal Cell, shows how the virus shifts the cell’s activity to promote its own replication and to infect nearby cells. The scientists also identified seven clinically approved drugs that could disrupt these mechanisms, and recommend that these drugs are immediately tested in clinical trials.

US advisors add steroids to COVID-19 drug recommendations – Pharmaphorum

The conditional recommendation is based on the results of the UK RECOVERY trial, which found that a low 6mg dose of dexamethasone reduced the chances of death by around a third in patients requiring mechanical ventilation, and 20% in those needing oxygen support.

Anti Virals

Gilead prices COVID-19 drug candidate remdesivir at $2,340 per patient – Reuters

Gilead Sciences Inc has priced its COVID-19 drug candidate remdesivir at $2,340 for a five-day treatment in the United States and some other developed countries, potentially reflecting looming competition from a cheap steroid.



Social/Psychological Impact

Dying Alone During COVID; The Trauma of This Moment – Med Page Today

Doctors and nurses typically go the extra mile to make sure their patients don’t die alone. During the pandemic, those last moments with loved ones are often not possible. [Related NEJM Paper]

How to deal with our cognitive biases – Medical Express

Humanity is in a battle against SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In combating this invisible enemy, we should recognize our inherent cognitive biases. Cognitive biases are systematic errors in thinking which affect how we make decisions and judgements.

‘We No Longer Wish For Much’: People Of Wuhan Share Stories Of Loss And Survival – NPR

These are some of the people from Wuhan, China, who lived through the start of what became a pandemic claiming almost half a million lives around the world and counting. Now Wuhan’s residents are reflecting back to where it began, including the earliest reported infections, the city’s 76-day lockdown, residents’ efforts to help each other survive and the government’s initial missteps in countering the virus.

Coronavirus Responses Highlight How Humans Have Evolved to Dismiss Facts That Don’t Fit Their Worldview – Scientific American

Bemoaning uneven individual and state compliance with public health recommendations, top U.S. COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci recently blamed the country’s ineffective pandemic response on an American “anti-science bias.” He called this bias “inconceivable,” because “science is truth.” Fauci compared those discounting the importance of masks and social distancing to “anti-vaxxers” in their “amazing” refusal to listen to science.


Infection Prevention

Solutions for mask wearing issues – Washington Post Video

Why simple cloth masks without valves are better at fighting the spread of covid-19 – Washington Post

Those face masks you see with coin-sized valves on the front may look intriguing but they are not as good at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus as the seemingly lower-tech, non-valved masks.

From yellow fever to coronavirus, keeping the mail safe – Washington Post

Reporting from Jacksonville, Fla., during an 1888 outbreak of yellow fever, a correspondent for the Macon Telegraph wrote, “Well, another day has dawned and is half gone (I write at noon), and still we live.”

Coronavirus Is Airborne, But That Doesn’t Mean You’re Always At Risk – Forbes

Viruses need liquid to survive and spread. Once outside the body, they must remain in a watery solution such as snot or saliva so they don’t dry-out and eventually disintegrate. Every time you cough, sneeze, talk or even breathe, your fluids are expelled as droplets, which stay in the air for a certain amount of time and can settle on surfaces before they evaporate.

Published Research

Anosmia and dysgeusia associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection: an age-matched case–control study – CMAJ

SARS-CoV-2 Detection, Viral Load and Infectivity over the Course of an Infection – Journal of Infection

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

Sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater anticipates the occurrence of COVID-19 cases – Univ of Barcelona

Coping in Quarantine



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