4 min audio at the link – In an open letter to “decision makers,” a group of doctors, scientists, teachers and nurses says leaders need to “shut it down, start over” and “do it right.” The letter, which has been signed by more than 1,000 health professionals, says that means more testing and contact tracing, mandatory masks in all situations, more personal protective equipment and a ban on interstate travel.
The United States has recorded nearly 1.8 million new cases in July out of its total 4.5 million infections, an increase of 66% with many states yet to report on Friday. Deaths in July rose at least 19% to over 152,000 total.
Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. Black Americans, according to the CDC, are 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to their White counterparts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, sat down with BET to speak about why minority communities have such a high number of infections, hospitalizations and death rates and what can be done to fix the disparity. Link to full interview here
In the past seven days, the state of Texas has reported more than 52,000 new cases of COVID-19 and has attributed more than 2,300 deaths to the disease. Health-care workers continue to struggle to accommodate and care for an increasing number of people needing hospitalization as cases have surged in Texas, Florida, and California. Callaghan O’Hare, a photographer with Reuters, spent time inside Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center over the past month documenting the work being done by the chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Varon, and his team, under stressful and challenging circumstances. Dr. Varon said, “I’m afraid that at some point in time I’m going to have to make some very serious decisions. I’m starting to get the idea that I cannot save everybody.”
As the pandemic devastating the United States has infected millions of Americans, National Geographic has reported that the first dog in the country to be diagnosed with the coronavirus died earlier this month after a months-long battle with the virus, and the case highlights how little experts know about the disease’s effects on animals. [Related National Geographic article]
“The problem with this virus is that it thrives on the social contact which makes life worth living,” said the U.K. health secretary. The United Kingdom reintroduced new coronavirus restrictions in parts of northern England on Thursday amid a spike in cases, which is also occurring across Europe and Asia, stoking fears of a second wave.
Children under 5 can carry just as much of the coronavirus in their noses as older children and adults, researchers at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago reported Thursday. The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, raises the possibility that young kids may be able to spread COVID-19 as easily as adults, even if they aren’t that sick.
Did Dr. Fauci Recommend Wearing Eye Shields, Goggles For Covid-19 Coronavirus? – Forbes
Not surprisingly, some on social media blew what Fauci said out of context and suggested that this is the next step along the way to full hazmat suit or body condom requirements.
Young children with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 have higher amounts of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral RNA in their nasopharynx than older children and adults, according to a research letter published online July 30 in JAMA Pediatrics. [Related Study JAMA Pediatrics]
Researchers have discovered that children younger than 5 years with mild to moderate COVID-19 have much higher levels of genetic material for the virus in the nose compared to older children and adults. The findings point to the possibility that the youngest children transmit the virus as much as other age groups.
Children under the age of five have between 10 to 100 times greater levels of genetic material of the coronavirus in their noses compared to older children and adults, a study in JAMA Pediatrics said Thursday.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and Cedars Sinai Medical Center suggests that smoking increases the risk of more severe lung disease in cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. [Related pre-print study]
Official Reporting for July 31, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 17,106,007
Confirmed Cases: 17,296,303
Confirmed Cases: 17,334,539
Total deaths: 150,283
Alaska: State reports death of Anchorage resident with COVID-19 and nearly 2,500 active cases – Anchorage Daily News
Tennessee: Pediatric COVID-19 cases surge in Tennessee – WKRN
San Diego, California: San Diego County Reports 5 More COVID-19 Outbreaks At Local Bars, Restaurants – KPBS
Los Angeles, California: 9,000 coronavirus-related deaths after 2 days of record-setting fatalities – LA Times
Boston, Massachusetts: Another 15 Coronavirus Deaths in Mass., 304 New Confirmed Cases. – Local News
Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa? – BBC
Hong Kong: Covid-19: Why Hong Kong’s ‘third wave’ is a warning – BBC
Japan: Pfizer, BioNTech to Make 120 Million Vaccine Doses for Japan – Bloomberg
Science and Tech
Viruses enter cells and initiate infection by binding to their cognate cell surface receptors. The expression and distribution of viral entry receptors therefore regulates their tropism, determining the tissues that are infected and thus disease pathogenesis. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the third human coronavirus known to co-opt the peptidase angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for cell entry (1). The interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 is critical to determining both tissue tropism and progression from early SARS-CoV-2 infection to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Understanding the cellular basis of SARS-CoV-2 infection could reveal treatments that prevent the development of severe disease, and thus reduce mortality.
Chinese companies are at the forefront of global efforts to create a vaccine for the coronavirus, with more than half a dozen candidates in clinical development. Last week, Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics published results1 from an early-stage clinical trial showing that its vaccine is safe and can trigger an immune response.
A single-shot vaccine for COVID-19 being developed by a group of scientists, led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) immunologist Dan H. Barouch, has proven successful in tests on primates and could begin phase 3 trials as early as September.
The National Institutes of Health is investing $248.7 million in new technologies to address challenges associated with COVID-19 testing (which detects SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus). NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative has awarded contracts to seven biomedical diagnostic companies to support a range of new lab-based and point-of-care tests that could significantly increase the number, type and availability of tests by millions per week as early as September 2020. With national demand estimated to be millions more tests per day above current levels, these technologies are expected to make a significant contribution to expanding the nation’s testing capacity.
Social and Psychological Impact
Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 Screening Strategies to Permit the Safe Reopening of College Campuses in the United States – JAMA
Age-Related Differences in Nasopharyngeal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Levels in Patients With Mild to Moderate Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – JAMA
Outcomes of Maternal-Newborn Dyads After Maternal SARS-CoV-2 – American Academy of Pediatrics
Inhaled corticosteroids in virus pandemics: a treatment for COVID-19? – The Lancet
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)
Review of Viral Dynamics, Exposure, Infective Dose, and Outcome of COVID-19 Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Virus: Comparison with Other Respiratory Viruses – Preprints