The modus operandi is becoming clearer. For the most part, SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, spreads by close personal contact via tiny particles emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings — or even just breathes normally. These can infect another person by falling into an eye, nose or mouth, by being inhaled or getting stuck on a hand and transferred to one of these entry sites. Here’s an explanation of the established route of contagion and other pathways under investigation.
As several U.S. states see a rising swell of Covid-19 patients, hospitals are trying to avoid a scenario where they face more sick patients than they have beds to hold them. The situation reflects the persistent threat that unchecked spread of the virus can overwhelm hospitals, as it did in Wuhan, China, and Lombardy, Italy. That fear prompted radical measures across the U.S. to lock down movement and commerce, allowing hard-hit areas like New York City, Detroit and New Orleans to handle the outbreak without needing to triage patients.
Looking back to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator said Monday she wished the United States had gone into a stricter lockdown.
This case series assessed a commercial airline flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Frankfurt, Germany, that occurred on March 9th, 2020. Among 102 passengers on a Boeing 737-900 aircraft were 24 members of a tourist group. Starting 7 days earlier, the group had contact with a hotel manager who later received a diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No member of the group had received a diagnosis of COVID-19 before the flight, and no measures to prevent transmission (eg, wearing of masks) had been applied. The flight duration was 4 hours 40 minutes.
From a human-made virus to vaccine conspiracy theories, we rounded up the most persistent false claims about the pandemic. As the world continues to battle the coronavirus, it is also fighting a different sort of epidemic: misinformation. This “infodemic” is just as harmful as COVID-19 itself, leading people to downplay the severity of the disease and ignore public health advice in favor of unproved treatments or “cures.”
A new research article identifies the factors that enabled South Korea to handle the COVID-19 pandemic particularly well.
Viral immunologists say that results so far have been predictable — here’s why that’s good news.
The dropping age of the infected is becoming one of the most pressing problems for local officials, who continued Wednesday to set curfews and close places where the young gather. U.S. health experts say that they are more likely to be active and asymptomatic, providing a vast redoubt for the coronavirus that has killed almost 130,000 Americans.
From the early days of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, states have wrestled with the best course of action for the nation’s imperiled bars and nightclubs. Many of these businesses find their economic prospects tied to a virus that preys on their industry’s lifeblood — social gatherings in tight quarters. Public health experts and top health officials, including the Dr. Tony Fauci, say the evidence is abundantly clear: When bars open, infections tend to follow.
Less than half of Americans say they’ll get a coronavirus vaccine – NBC News
The recent uptick in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) could be a consequence of heart attack patients avoiding hospitals during COVID-19, one Denver group suggested. There were significantly more OHCAs in the first 2 weeks of the local shelter-in-place order compared with the period before COVID or the early COVID period between the declaration of emergency and the statewide shelter-in-place order (46 vs 26 and 27 per week, respectively, P=0.001 and P=0.004).
A lot has been written about “long haulers”—patients who have tested positive for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, who continue to experience ongoing symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, palpitations and difficulty breathing for months after their initial diagnosis.
Data on new-onset type 1 diabetes during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic, particularly in children, is limited. A recent U.S. multicenter study reported outcomes in sixty-four adults and children with type 1 diabetes, and confirmed or suspected COVID-19. However, only six patients presented with new-onset type 1 diabetes (1).
Official Reporting for August 18, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 20,730,456
Confirmed Cases: 21,896,155
Confirmed Cases: 21,974,080
Total deaths: 169,870
Utah: Mink at two Utah farms test positive for COVID-19 – Reuters
Alaska: Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 50 new cases, all in residents – Alaska News
UK:England axes health agency criticised for COVID-19 response Reuters
Science and Tech
The virus that has devastated the world this year, SARS-CoV-2, is not a living organism. Viruses are not alive. Think of them instead as biological machines, incredibly small ones.
Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine deal with the U.S., announced last week with a $1.525 billion price tag, would be worth far more if all options are exercised—and if the mRNA biotech meets an aggressive timeline for the shot’s arrival.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is concerned Latin America won’t be the first in line for a coronavirus vaccine. So he has teamed up with Argentina to produce one.
Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Vanda) (Nasdaq: VNDA) today reported that interim analysis showed tradipitant may accelerate clinical improvement in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pneumonia in the ODYSSEY study.
More data from observational studies, this time in hospitalized patients, indicated that famotidine (Pepcid AC), which is used to treat heartburn, was associated with improved clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.
Psychological & Sociological Impact
Depression in British adults may have doubled during coronavirus pandemic – CNN
Nearly a fifth of British adults likely experienced some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic, according to official figures released Tuesday — twice as many as before the pandemic hit. Some 19.2% of British adults likely had some form of depression in June, up from 9.7% before the pandemic, said the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) in a report. Conversely, 3.5% of adults experienced an improvement in their symptoms of depression.
Coping in Quarantine