Tulane Outbreak Daily – August 12, 2020

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Featured Articles

Scores of U.S. restaurants have had to temporarily close after outbreaks – New York Times

Across the United States this summer, restaurants and bars, reeling from mandatory lockdowns and steep financial declines, opened their doors to customers — but the short-term gains have led to broader losses.

How The Coronavirus Has Upended College Admissions – NPR

As stressful as it always is for students applying to college, this year it’s all that — and then some — for the admissions officials trying to decide whether to admit them. Because of the pandemic, many students will be applying without standardized test scores and several other metrics admissions officers at selective schools have long relied on, leaving colleges scrambling to figure out what else they might consider instead.

Putin Approves First Covid-19 Vaccine Even as Trials Go On -Bloomberg

President Vladimir Putin said Russia cleared the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for use and hopes to begin mass inoculation soon, even before clinical testing has finished.

Measure the risk of airborne COVID-19 in your office, classroom, or bus ride – National Geographic

A recent modeling effort may help provide some clues. Led by Jose-Luis Jimenez at the University of Colorado Boulder, the charts below estimate the riskiness of different activities based on one potential route of coronavirus spread: itty-bitty particles known as aerosols.

Cancel College – The Atlantic

Despite the continued spread of the coronavirus, many colleges around the country plan to welcome students back to campus over the coming weeks. Colleges want to reopen for good, nontrivial reasons. Administrators believe that most students learn better when they are physically assembled in the same place. And they know that the American college experience, at any rate, has long been about more than the classroom. It allows students to cut the umbilical cord, make friends with like-minded people, and pursue extracurricular activities—all of which are much harder to do if your freshman year consists of joining Zoom sessions from your parents’ basement. Many universities also face serious financial problems. If they are unable to reopen this fall, some may collapse.

San Quentin’s coronavirus outbreak shows why ‘herd immunity’ could mean disaster – Yahoo News

For critics of aggressive stay-at-home orders, the solution seems clear: Reopen the economy and enough people will eventually become infected by the novel coronavirus to achieve “herd immunity” even before a vaccine is available. The idea is that eventually, a sufficient percentage of the population will have survived COVID-19 and become immune, which in turn protects the rest of the uninfected population by interrupting the spread of the virus.

Clinical Considerations

SARS-CoV-2 on the ocular surface: is it truly a novel transmission route? – British Journal of Ophthalmology

Since December 2019, the novel COVID-19 outbreak has spread rapidly around the globe and infected millions of people. Although the major transmission route of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is considered to be airborne droplets and close contact, the ocular transmission route has been reported with great concern. The current work summarises the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, the ocular distribution of the major SARS-CoV-2 binding protein, and the experimental and clinical evidence of the ocular transmission route. Although it seems that the likelihood of the ocular surface being an infection gateway is low, SARS-CoV-2 infection or transmission via the ocular surface may cause conjunctivitis and other ocular discomfort. Therefore, good eye protection is an essential safeguard procedure, especially for medical staff.

How two coronavirus drugs for cats might help humans fight COVID-19 – Science News

Cats can contract an almost always fatal disease that’s caused by a coronavirus that infects only felines. Now preliminary research suggests that two experimental drugs that can cure that disease in cats, called feline infectious peritonitis, might help treat people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind the pandemic.

Study reveals immune-system deviations in severe COVID-19 cases – Stanford Medicine

A Stanford study shows that in severely ill COVID-19 patients, “first-responder” immune cells, which should react immediately to signs of viruses or bacteria in the body, instead respond sluggishly.

I’m a COVID-19 long-hauler and an epidemiologist – here’s how it feels when symptoms last for months – The Conversation

Imagine being young and healthy, a nonsmoker with no preexisting health conditions, and then waking up one morning feeling like you were being suffocated by an unseen force. Back in March, this was my reality. I had just returned from Europe, and roughly 10 days later started having flu-like symptoms. I became weak overnight and had trouble breathing. It felt like jogging in the Rocky Mountains without being in condition, only I wasn’t moving. I went to the hospital, where I was tested for COVID-19. I was one of the first people in Texas given a non-FDA-approved test. My results came back negative. As a social epidemiologist who deals with big data, I was certain it was a false negative.

A negative COVID-19 test does not mean recovery – Nature

Eight months into the global pandemic, we’re still measuring its effects only in deaths. Non-hospitalized cases are loosely termed ‘mild’ and are not followed up. Recovery is implied by discharge from hospital or testing negative for the virus. Ill health in those classed as ‘recovered’ is going largely unmeasured. And, worldwide, millions of those still alive who got ill without being tested or hospitalized are simply not being counted.

Official Reporting for August 12, 2020

World Health Organization


Confirmed Cases: 19,936,210

Deaths: 732,499


Confirmed Cases: 20,330,351

Deaths: 742,413

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 20,428,562

Deaths: 744,733

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 5,119,711
Total deaths: 163,651

Surveillance Headlines


Florida: Florida’s Covid-19 cases in children have increased 137% in past month – CNN

Florida – Coronavirus kills three people affiliated with same Florida school – NBC

Florida/Georgia: Florida and Georgia set new single-day records for coronavirus deaths – Washington Post

Texas: Texas Has Too Many Cases to Reopen, Governor Warns – New York Times

Georgia: Ga. School District Quarantines Hundreds Of Students Over Fears Of COVID-19 Exposure – NPR

Arizona: Arizona reports over 1,200 new COVID-19 cases, 45 new known deaths – AZ Central


France: Cases surge as France goes ‘wrong way’ – BBC




Science and Tech

Researchers at Michigan Tech, TÜV SÜD UK National Engineering Laboratory and University of Edinburgh call for increased research on virus surface stability and interaction in “Surface Chemistry Can Unlock Drivers of Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in Variety of Environmental Conditions” in the Cell Press journal Chem. They highlight the need to understand the different environmental conditions that affect the surface chemistry of viruses like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. [Related Study in Cell]
Fighting the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has not gone well. If you’re a political junkie, this pandemic’s spread has demonstrated the failure of political leadership – not shutting down travel early enough, dismantling the pandemic office, not invoking the defense authorization act, not putting a national mask-mandate in place, and generally not believing in medical science.


RLF-100: Hope or Hype for COVID-19 Patients? – MedPageToday

A proprietary formulation of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) called RLF-100 (a.k.a. aviptadil) might have helped critically ill COVID-19 patients, although initial results touted by the product’s developers in a press release remain to be confirmed in well-designed trials.


What’s the likelihood that my COVID-19 test result is wrong? – ABC.AU

When you have a coronavirus test there are two things you want: a negative test result and confidence that the result you get is correct. But stories of false positives and false negatives have raised concerns about the accuracy of COVID-19 testing.


Phase 3 of COVID-19 vaccine trial launches at Emory – Emory University

Emory administered its first dose of the vaccine at the Hope Clinic of Emory Vaccine Center this week. Hundreds of adult volunteers 18 and older will ultimately be enrolled at three clinics: Emory Children’s Clinic, the Hope Clinic of Emory Vaccine Center, and Grady Health’s Ponce de Leon Center.

What Will Moderna Look Like Post Covid-19? – Forbes

Moderna’s stock (NASDAQ: MRNA) has rallied almost 4x since the beginning of this year, rising from levels of about $20 to near $75 currently. However, we believe the vaccine, if successful, is only likely to contribute meaningfully to Moderna’s earnings for about two years, after which the rest of the company’s pipeline will be crucial to driving growth. Below, we take a brief look at how Moderna’s business could shape up post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meet the most important federal official you probably don’t know — the man who holds the fate of the coronavirus vaccine in his hands – Washington Post

Peter Marks, a self-effacing cancer doctor known for his maniacal work ethic and straight-arrow approach, is sitting on the hottest of hot seats. A top Food and Drug Administration career official, Marks is likely to decide in the next several months whether a coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective enough to be given to tens of millions of Americans. That may be among the most critical decisions in the history of the agency, one with sweeping health, economic and political consequences.


Psychological & Sociological Impact

In the Wake of Covid-19 Lockdowns, a Troubling Surge in Homicides – New York Times

“People have gotten to the point where they just don’t give a damn,” said a minister in Kansas City, which is on pace for a record number of killings. It started with an afternoon stop at a gas station. Two customers began exchanging angry stares near the pumps outside — and no one can explain exactly why.

Published Research

Phase 1/2 study of COVID-19 RNA vaccine BNT162b1 in adults – Nature

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)1. With rapidly accumulating cases and deaths reported globally2, a vaccine is urgently needed. We report the available safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity data from an ongoing placebo-controlled, observer-blinded dose escalation study among 45 healthy adults, 18 to 55 years of age, randomized to receive 2 doses, separated by 21 days, of 10 µg, 30 µg, or 100 µg of BNT162b1, a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine that encodes trimerized SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD).

Comparing SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV and influenza pandemics – The Lancet

The Personal View by Eskild Petersen and colleagues is a brilliant piece of comparative, historic-epidemiological research. At some important points, however, the contribution of Petersen and colleagues is too vague, although quantitative information is available. We would therefore like to supplement the work with this information.

Filtration Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Availability of N95 Face Masks for COVID-19 Prevention – JAMA

In March 2020, the soaring number of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections resulted in an unprecedented shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians and essential health care workers.1 The shortage was most profound among N95 masks. N95 respirators, named for their ability to filter 95% or more of tiny 0.3-μm particles, are the mainstay of protection against airborne pathogens.2 Airborne transmission results from contact with infectious particles contained within small (<5 μm) droplet nuclei (ie, aerosols) that can linger in the air for hours and be dispersed over great distances.

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

None Today

Coping in Quarantine

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