Researchers are testing an experimental drug to halt sudden outbreaks. The trial may bring a new type of treatment for the virus. The coronavirus crept into Heartland Health Care Center, a nursing home in Moline, Ill., on the last day of July, when a member of the nursing staff tested positive.
Government health leaders including Dr. Francis S. Collins and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci urged caution last week, citing weak data from the country’s largest plasma study.
Patients hospitalized with mild COVID-19 in China exhibited a wide range of SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing antibodies, with a minority of patients with levels below the detectable limit of the assay, researchers found.
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people had rates of COVID-19 infection three times higher than whites, CDC data from 23 states found. Among 340,059 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the agency from January 22 to July 3, the rate of infection was 3.5 times higher for the AI/AN population than it was for whites (95% CI 1.2-10.1), and more so affected younger people in this population (median age 40 vs 51 years in whites), reported Sarah M. Hatcher, PhD, of the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues.
The airborne transmission of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 via aerosol particles in indoor environment seems to be strongly influenced by relative humidity, concludes the analysis of 10 most relevant international studies on the subject. Therefore, they recommend controlling the indoor air in addition to the usual measures such as social distancing and masks. A relative humidity of 40 to 60 percent could reduce the spread of the viruses and their absorption through the nasal mucous membrane.
Bringing students back into classrooms or keeping them home can both have negative consequences. Even as schools have already begun reopening across the United States, debate is still intensifying over whether students should be physically present in classrooms. Children are widely thought to be at relatively low risk of developing severe COVID-19, but a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicates that cumulative cases doubled in roughly the past month: between July 9 and August 13, the number increased from about 200,000 to over 406,000. Physically reopening schools might accelerate the increase—potentially raising the number of children with severe symptoms and spurring spread among the community at large.
A safe return to school this fall can be managed only at the local level and only if local disease transmission is low, said Mike Ryan, MD, who directs the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) health emergencies program, in a live Q&A today with Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO COVID-19 technical lead.
You might have a sniffle and be done. You might run a fever with a cough and unshakable fatigue for five days—or 10. Or you might end up in a hospital, gasping air into congested lungs, an immunological storm raging in your body. And you might not make it through COVID-19 alive.
A bounty of new studies on immune cells and Covid-19 are the inspiration for the latest misinterpretation of Covid-19 research currently infecting social media, particularly among political supporters of President Trump. A casual scan of Twitter shows that some early research from scientists investigating coronavirus and the immune system has been wildly misinterpreted. These social media posts claim that thanks to “T cell immunity,” it will only take about 10-20% of the population to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 to reach herd immunity—the point where the disease will slowly stop its spread. According to some dangerously optimistic tweets, this means the pandemic could be over by October.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine, experimenting with a small number of human cell samples, report that the “hook” of cells used by SARS-CoV-2 to latch onto and infect cells is up to 700 times more prevalent in the olfactory supporting cells lining the inside of the upper part of the nose than in the lining cells of the rest of the nose and windpipe that leads to the lungs. These supporting cells are necessary for the function/development of odor-sensing cells.
Official Reporting for August 20, 2020
World Health Organization
(last updated 8/16)
Confirmed Cases: 20,730,456
Confirmed Cases: 22,431,929
Confirmed Cases: 22,497,390
Total deaths: 172,416
Maryland: Hospitalizations Down, Positivity Rate Up As Maryland Tops 102K Cases – CBS Baltimore
3 European countries see biggest jump in cases since lockdown – ABC News
Sweden: Sweden records highest death tally in 150 years in first half of 2020 – CNN
Science and Tech
It doesn’t take a pee-HD to see that urinals aren’t the cleanest things around. But can a urinal flush actually spread viruses like the Covid-19 coronavirus to you? Well, to answer this question in a research letter just published in the journal Physics of Fluids, a research team built a computer model of a urinal. After all, if you are going to build a computer model of anything, it might as well be a urinal.
Vaccine experts around the world are justifiably concerned by the lack of scientific data on the “Sputnik V” vaccine for Covid-19 that Russia recently approved after less than two months of human testing on a non-randomized group of 39 patients. But they are also worried about the potentially chilling effect its possible failure could have on public acceptance of whichever of the dozens of other Covid-19 vaccines in the pipeline eventually proves safe and effective. Business leaders should be concerned as well and must begin to play a central role now in building public confidence in vaccines.
As fall approaches rapidly, many are wondering if the race for a vaccine will bear fruit as early as January 2021.
I am a physician-scientist and infectious diseases specialist at the University of Virginia, where I care for patients and conduct research into COVID-19. I am occasionally asked how I can be sure that researchers will develop a successful vaccine to prevent COVID-19. After all, we still don’t have one for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been fraught with challenges since the current pandemic reached the United States.
Psychological & Sociological Impact