The U.S. reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in about a week, as new infections in some parts of the country trended down.
Fewer than 47,000 new cases were reported in the U.S. Sunday, while the total number of confirmed cases exceeded five million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. [Video of traveling crisis nurses]
Audio at the link-One issue with controlling the spread of COVID-19 is the lack of fast testing. Some universities are using new, faster tests as students return. Experts say the country could benefit from such tests.
More than 97,000 U.S. children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, more than a quarter of the total number of children diagnosed nationwide since March, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. The report cited data from 49 states, New York City, Washington, Puerto Rico and Guam, most of which defined children as younger than 19 years old.
Why is anecdotal evidence good enough for masks but not hydroxychloroquine? Seriously? We all finally get on the same page, and then Allysia Finley writes an op-ed warning of “The Hidden Danger of Masks” (Aug. 5). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the President of the United States all recommend masks. Numerous studies, as well as common sense, suggest masks help stop the spread.
The coronavirus is simply too widespread and too transmissible. The most likely scenario, experts say, is that the pandemic ends at some point—because enough people have been either infected or vaccinated—but the virus continues to circulate in lower levels around the globe. Cases will wax and wane over time. Outbreaks will pop up here and there. Even when a much-anticipated vaccine arrives, it is likely to only suppress but never completely eradicate the virus. (For context, consider that vaccines exist for more than a dozen human viruses but only one, smallpox, has ever been eradicated from the planet, and that took 15 years of immense global coordination.) We will probably be living with this virus for the rest of our lives.
June 2021. The world has been in pandemic mode for a year and a half. The virus continues to spread at a slow burn; intermittent lockdowns are the new normal. An approved vaccine offers six months of protection, but international deal-making has slowed its distribution. An estimated 250 million people have been infected worldwide, and 1.75 million are dead.
Covid-19 before things get much, much worse. The bad news: That window is rapidly closing. And the country seems unwilling or unable to seize the moment.
Over the six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, you would never have gone broke betting on the disease continuing to surprise — on its apparent ability to grow weirder, less predictable, and less consistent, at times by the day. What first looked like a simple respiratory disease produced, over time, disorienting, diverse damage — in lungs, in hearts, in brains.
Coronavirus infections among U.S. children grew 40% in the last half of July, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, bringing the total number of child infections to 8.8% of all U.S. cases
3 minute audio – Back in the days before the coronavirus pandemic, lots of people found community and comfort in singing together, whether at school, as a form of worship, in amateur groups or performing as professionals. Last year, Chorus America reported that some 54 million Americans — that is, more than 15% of the entire country’s population — participated in some kind of organized group singing. And that study revealed that nearly three-quarters of those polled felt less lonely. Eighty percent said it made them “more optimistic, mindful and resilient.”
Two Phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials testing whether experimental monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can prevent infection by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are now enrolling healthy adults at clinical trial sites in the United States. Many of the trial sites and study investigators are part of the COVID-19 Prevention Network(link is external) (CoVPN), recently established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The trials are enrolling adults who are at risk of infection due to close contact at work or home to persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
What we know so far about children and covid-19 – MIT Tech Review
There is still a lot we don’t know about covid-19 in adults, and those knowledge gaps are even bigger when it comes to children. With many schools in the US opening up per the CDC’s recommendations, we could end up seeing infection rates among children skyrocket. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association recently released a new report that said in the last two weeks of July, across the states and cities that were studied, there were almost 100,000 new infections among children. On the heels of new events, here’s what we know and don’t know about children and covid-19.
For most children: Infection results in no symptoms or mild ones, including fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and diarrhea. Severe infections are extremely uncommon unless a preexisting condition makes a child more susceptible, like asthma or diabetes. According to the CDC, as of August 5 only 20 American children aged 5 or under have died from covid-19. Only 225 people between ages 15 and 25 have died.
Why are severe infections so low for children and young people? We don’t really know yet, but one theory has to do with ACE2, the protein receptor that the coronavirus uses to enter people’s cells and cause infection. One study published in JAMA found that in 305 covid-19 patients ages 4 to 60, the ones under 10 years old had the least active ACE2 receptors. Younger immune systems are also more primed to fight an infection more immediately. The body’s immune system has two arms: the adaptive immune system that learns how to fight specific pathogens for maximum efficiency; and the innate immune system, which uses generalized inflammatory responses to combat infections at the risk of damaging healthy tissue. Young children need to compensate for novice adaptive immunity, so inflammatory responses kick in faster and more readily when an infection starts.
Wouldn’t that lead to the “cytokine storm” phenomena we hear about? For the uninitiated, cytokine storms are a process of uncontrolled inflammation that’s caused by the immune system going off the rails, and it ends up causing massive damage to healthy tissue. But kids have lower levels of cytokines, likely to reduce the risk of such storms from coming up. In other words, children occupy the sweet spot of innate immunity: something that can aggressively attack the infection without backfiring.
Still a risk of dangerous complications: In extremely rare cases, children who have covid-19 come down with something called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which is similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare pediatric inflammatory illness that can cause coronary-artery aneurysms and toxic shock syndrome. When it happens, MIS-C typically affects multiple organs and comes up two to four weeks after infection. Most children who suffer from MIS-C require intensive care. Researchers are still trying to learn about the relationship between MIS-C and covid-19.
On transmission: Even though most children will get out of covid-19 relatively unscathed, the bigger concern is whether they can still spread it to others, especially vulnerable groups like the elderly. Our understanding of that is a work in progress. One study from South Korea found children were 72 percent less likely to spread the virus. But other case studies, like those at summer camps, show large outbreaks spread by children are entirely possible. A JAMA study suggested young children can actually carry a viral load that’s 10 to 100 times higher than adults, which would presumably mean children are a big factor in coronavirus transmission. Overall, there just isn’t enough data yet for experts to come to any firm conclusions.
In late December 2019, COVID-19 was firstly recognized in Wuhan, China and spread rapidly to all of the provinces of China. The West Campus of Wuhan Union Hospital, the designated hospital to admit and treat the severe and critically ill COVID-19 cases, has treated a large number of such patients with great success and obtained lots of valuable experiences based on the Chinese guideline (V7.0). To standardize and share the treatment procedures of severe and critically ill cases, Wuhan Union Hospital has established a working group and formulated an operational recommendation, including the monitoring, early warning indicators, and several treatment principles for severe and critically ill cases. The treatment experiences may provide some constructive suggestions for treating the severe and critically ill COVID-19 cases all over the world.
Official Reporting for August 10, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 19,462,112
Confirmed Cases: 19,845,788
Confirmed Cases: 19,947,467
Total deaths: 161,842
Florida: Florida reports record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations – NBC News
Mexico: I’d Rather Stay at Home and Die – NYT
Europe’s ‘Second Wave’ Coronavirus Spike Saps Optimism – Forbes
Owners of electric multicookers may be able to add another use to its list of functions, a new study suggests: sanitization of N95 respirator masks. The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign study found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot, decontaminated N95 respirators inside and out while maintaining their filtration and fit. This could enable wearers to safely reuse limited supplies of the respirators, originally intended to be one-time-use items.
Science and Tech
Like a scene from a bad horror movie, scientists have discovered that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, may be even more sinister and macabre than previously thought. The new research findings will interest those pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals who want to understand how the coronavirus spreads once it enters the body. [Related study in Cell]
Precisely how coronavirus replicate is a complex puzzle with many missing pieces. Also, in the era of this pandemic, understanding it has become a matter of acute urgency. In a new study, Rockefeller scientists provide a crucial piece of the puzzle: an atomic-level resolution view of SARS-CoV-2‘s replication system. Scientists now have an additional structural template that can help drug developers discover new compounds that could get into this molecular machine and make it stop. [Related Pre-Proof Study] [Related another article on same study]
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, scientists and health care providers are seeking ways to keep the coronavirus from infecting tissues once they’re exposed. A new study suggests luring the virus with a decoy — an engineered, free-floating receptor protein — binds the virus and blocks infection. Erik Procko, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, led the study, published in the journal Science. [Related Study in Science]
Just like natural antibodies, Lilly’s antibody should grab onto the virus and block it. Similar antibody treatments proved effective in treating Ebola disease, but the goal here is to prevent infection by giving the drugs earlier. Prevention with antibodies is known to work. There is an antibody shot given to babies that prevents RSV, a respiratory infection striking newborns.
THE PANDEMIC DISEASE Covid-19 does much more to the human body than a typical respiratory virus. In addition to neurological problems ranging from a loss of sense of smell to outright seizures, surprising gastrointestinal symptoms and kidney damage, and a potentially fatal haywire immune response, the disease also messes with a person’s blood. The sickest people start forming clots, potentially leading to stroke, heart attack, lung damage … it’s a mess. Physicians started noticing all this early in the pandemic, of course. The question was—and remains—what to do about it all.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, a coronavirus vaccine could be ready for distribution within months. “We feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021,” he told lawmakers on July 31, adding, “the plans now allow for any American who needs a vaccine to get it within the year 2021.”
J&J agrees to manufacture 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for US – Euro pharmaceutical Review
J&J will supply the US with 100 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate following an agreement with the country’s government.
Despite second waves in Australia, Japan and Spain — all countries that were deemed success stories and out of the woods — and some U.S. states like Rhode Island rolling back plans to open up, the global recovery narrative is alive and well on Wall Street.
Engineering human ACE2 to optimize binding to the spike protein of SARS coronavirus 2 – Science
The Global Phosphorylation Landscape of SARS-CoV-2 Infection – Cell
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)
Coping in Quarantine