The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly tweaked its guidance on COVID-19 testing Monday, making a change that could result in fewer people being tested and hinder contact tracing efforts.
What’s going on, in the words of Marvin Gaye? If you regularly check the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on Covid-19 testing, you may have noticed a change. The “Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)” web page now includes updated guidance on what to do about testing, “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms.” That’s staying within one Denzel (because Denzel Washington is about six feet tall) of someone who is contagious for longer than it would take to microwave seven Hot Pockets in sequential order.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was instructed by higher-ups in the Trump administration to modify its coronavirus testing guidelines this week to exclude people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 — even if they have been recently exposed to the virus, according to two federal health officials.
A recent study conducted in New South Wales, Australia, demonstrates that there is an inverse relationship between relative humidity and transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). [Related Study in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases]
A February meeting of biotech executives became a coronavirus “superspreading” event with a transmission chain across the globe.
Forty-six people associated with the nursing home died, exposing how ill-prepared we were for the pandemic — and how we take care of our elderly.
Countries where flu season is ending are watching to see if the Northern Hemisphere heeds their lessons learned.
Today’s MMWR, which highlights the thoughtful and prudent public health practices used during overnight summer camps in Maine, reinforces how powerful everyday preventive actions are in reducing and keeping COVID-19 transmission low. Despite more than 1,000 campers and staff from nearly every state and 7 countries, only three people tested positive for COVID-19 during the camp and no additional campers or staff were known to be infected. Using a combination of proven public health strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19, campers and staff were able to enjoy a traditional summer pastime amid a global pandemic. As communities work together to get us back to where we used to be, it is essential that everyone – for their own good and that of their family’s – follow CDC and the federal government’s recommendations to protect against COVID-19. This includes wearing masks, practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene, and staying home when you are sick. I want to thank everyone who is already following this guidance, as well as encourage others to understand that their actions help others as much as they help them.
The topic of influenza season has been forefront on the minds of healthcare and public personnel. Will it be a severe flu season? Will SARS-CoV-2/coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surges occur this winter? How will this compound the stresses of COVID-19? The truth is that we’re in uncharted territory and that means planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
As the coronavirus pandemic rolls on, an unknown number of seemingly recovered patients are experiencing what is being called post-Covid syndrome — weeks or months of profound fatigue, fevers, problems with concentration and memory, dizzy spells, hair loss, and many other troubling symptoms. Among these “long-haulers,” as they have become known, a significant number face a very specific challenge: convincing others they had Covid-19 in the first place.
Official Reporting for August 26, 2020
World Health Organization
(last updated 8/24)
Cumulative Cases: 23,057,288
Cumulative Deaths: 800,906
Confirmed Cases: 23,928,539
Confirmed Cases: 24,016,679
Total deaths: 177,759
USA: Prognosis for rural hospitals worsens with coronavirus pandemic – Denver Post
Alabama: 6 days after reopening, the University of Alabama has over 500 coronavirus cases – Business Insider
Florida: Florida adds 3,220 coronavirus cases, 155 deaths Wednesday – Tampa Times
Maryland: Coronavirus In Maryland: Hospitalizations, ICU Cases, Positivity Rate Up – CBS News
California: ‘Disaster inside a disaster’: California wildfires and COVID-19 form twin crises – NBC
Alaska: 4 Yukon-Kuskokwim villages on lockdown in response to COVID-19 cases – Alaska News
Massachusetts: Mayor Says East Boston COVID Spike Could Prompt Curfew, Other Restrictions – Boston News
Germany: In Germany, early results of school reopenings are hopeful, but it’s ‘messy and imperfect.’ – NYT
Spain: Ready to send in troops to trace resurging coronavirus – Reuters
Greece battles coronavirus resurgence after early success – ABC News
China: Calls It A ‘Wartime Mode’ COVID-19 Lockdown. And Residents Are Protesting – NPR
Sierra Leone: SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiology in Sierra Leone – Virological
Science and Tech
An international team of scientists has assessed the fit for the main cellular attachment point of SARS-CoV-2 in 410 species of vertebrates, including 252 mammals, to categorize those most susceptible to viral entry. The computational study, published in PNAS Monday (August 24), predicts that several critically endangered primate species are at very high risk of the virus, although the results need to be confirmed with further experiments or surveillance.
The nation’s testing efforts will be further overwhelmed once influenza, R.S.V. and other seasonal viruses arrive.
A 15-minute Covid test from Abbott Laboratories that will be priced at just $5 has been granted emergency authorization for use in the U.S., a breakthrough that could ease the bottleneck that has crimped much of the nation’s testing capacity.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca’s potential coronavirus vaccine is now in advanced trials, and the company says it has the capacity to make 3 billion doses when the vaccine is ready. But even before the final phase of testing and government approval, the vaccine is on a massive manufacturing drive.
The European Union is offering only partial protection to vaccine makers against legal risks from side-effects of their potential COVID-19 shots, European officials said, in a move that is hampering deals and contrasts with U.S. policy.
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said a nasal spray vaccine candidate for coronavirus showed promising lab results, triggering an immune response in the nose and lungs that could potentially prevent infection.
Moderna today presented Phase I data showing that its closely-watched messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 showed immunogenicity in patients 55 years old and older that was roughly the same or higher than data seen in younger patients at the dosage it is using in its Phase III trial.
The U.S. move to allow pharmacists to administer seasonal flu and certain other shots to children is a precursor to an effort to quickly vaccinate Americans against the Coronavirus strain Covid-19 once a vaccine is approved by the federal government. It wasn’t long ago that pharmacists weren’t allowed to vaccinate Americans for the seasonal flu, let alone the array of shots these drugstore professionals now provide against Shingles, pneumonia and Whooping cough.
Everyone is eager to see a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed, but getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be only the first step in a long process to achieve herd immunity. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, outlines what it will take to make this crucial phase of the public health response to the pandemic a success.
Social and Psychological Impact
People with anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder report suffering relapses related to the stress of staying at home. Rosey has lived with bulimia for more than a decade. The 31-year-old resident of Melbourne, Australia, started therapy for her eating disorder six years ago. Although she says she had never considered herself “cured,” she had reached a point in her recovery that felt hopeful and manageable. Then along came the novel coronavirus.
SARS-CoV-2 infection in the COPD population is associated with increased healthcare utilization: An analysis of Cleveland clinic’s COVID-19 registry – The Lancet
A growing body of evidence indicates sex differences in the clinical outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)1–5. However, whether immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 differ between sexes, and whether such differences explain male susceptibility to COVID-19, is currently unknown. In this study, we examined sex differences in viral loads, SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody titers, plasma cytokines, as well as blood cell phenotyping in COVID-19 patients. By focusing our analysis on patients with moderate disease who had not received immunomodulatory medications, our results revealed that male patients had higher plasma levels of innate immune cytokines such as IL-8 and IL-18 along with more robust induction of non-classical monocytes.
Humidity is a consistent climatic factor contributing to SARS‐CoV‐2 transmission – Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
Coping in Quarantine
Restaurant servers typically prepare for shifts by polishing silverware and memorizing the day’s specials. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the staff at Local Jones in the Halcyon Hotel in Denver have embraced an additional ritual: making faces. Teams gather in a circle with their masks on and run through a series of facial-expression drills that involve arching their eyebrows, crinkling their noses and, most important—smizing.