Mainly fueled by ongoing surges in the Americas and India, the global COVID-19 total passed 24 million today amid ongoing efforts by containment countries to blunt the impact of flare-ups.
Medlife Crisis 15 Min long and interesting
Andrea Crisanti was on a 30-hour flight from Italy to Australia for a conference on 22 February when some disturbing news appeared on his phone. Italy had just had its first COVID-19 death, and more cases were accumulating fast. He asked conference organizers to move his talk to the first day, and made the grueling trip back home after that. “It’s something I do not recommend,” he says.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it has awarded 11 grants with a total first-year value of approximately $17 million to establish the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID). The global network will involve multidisciplinary investigations into how and where viruses and other pathogens emerge from wildlife and spillover to cause disease in people. NIAID intends to provide approximately $82 million over five years to support the network.
“It’s a tornado with a long tail and it’s a multi-organ disease,” said Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO’s top official in Europe.
Public health experts are reevaluating guidelines for safe social distancing amid growing evidence that the novel coronavirus can travel farther than six feet under certain conditions.
Los Angeles County officials on Wednesday reported the first cases of COVID-19 among newborns. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reported that 1,200 pregnant women and girls between the ages of 14 and 52 have tested positive for the virus and two have died of complications. Of the 193 babies who were tested at birth, eight were positive.
A surprising, inexpensive tool is available to us. Why aren’t more people studying the value of mouthwashes and nasal rinses? The obvious answer, of course, is that it’s not profitable. Salt water costs pennies; other products with antiviral activity cost just a few dollars. Why study these common antiseptics when you can have exotic new drugs and lucrative vaccines.
Official Reporting for August 27, 2020
World Health Organization
(last updated 8/24)
Cumulative Cases: 23,057,288
Cumulative Deaths: 800,906
Confirmed Cases: 24,204,686
Confirmed Cases: 24,288,572
Total deaths: 178,998
St. Louis Missouri: Hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit record spike in St. Louis area – St. Louis Today
Iowa: Southeast Iowa reaches new high in COVID-19 hospitalizations; Johnson County sees nearly 100 new cases in 24 hours – Iowa Citizen
France: France to make face coverings mandatory everywhere in Paris – CNBC
Europe: WHO says Europe faces ‘tricky moment’ as summer turns to fall – CNBC
Science and Tech
In epidemiology, serial intervals are measured from when one infected person starts to show symptoms to when the next person infected becomes symptomatic. For any specific infection, the serial interval is assumed to be a fixed characteristic. Using valuable transmission pair data for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in mainland China, Ali et al. noticed that the average serial interval changed as nonpharmaceutical interventions were introduced. In mid-January 2020, serial intervals were on average 7.8 days, whereas in early February 2020, they decreased to an average of 2.2 days. The more quickly infected persons were identified and isolated, the shorter the serial interval became and the fewer the opportunities for virus transmission. The change in serial interval may not only measure the effectiveness of infection control interventions but may also indicate rising population immunity.
42 min Audio at the link – The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered schools and businesses and altered life across the globe, but journalist Alexis Madrigal says comprehensive, rapid testing might be the key to a safe reopening.
Under normal circumstances, it could take years — if not decades — to bring a new vaccine to market. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all that. In May, the Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed with the goal of delivering initial doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January 2021 — shortening the development time from years to months.
When Merck & Co. won regulatory approval for its mumps vaccine in 1967, it set the record for speed. The process had begun four years earlier when scientist Maurice Hilleman was awakened one night by his sick 5-year-old daughter, swabbed her throat and took the specimen to his lab. This year, thousands of researchers in more than 30 countries have been racing to not just beat Hilleman’s time but to bury it, collaborating and competing on more than 600 projects to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. Authorities in China and Russia claim to be at the finish line, but researchers elsewhere are skeptical. With the best hopes for ending the pandemic resting on an effective vaccine, the stakes are immense. So are the challenges and the risks.
More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world—and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021. The World Health Organization is also coordinating global efforts to develop a vaccine, with an eye toward delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.
Social and Psychological Impact
Hospital design experts Bryan Langlands and Teri Oelrich explains how healthcare facilities can make creative use of their spaces in order to reduce the social isolation felt by healthcare workers and patients.
In mid-April, when much of the world was shielding from coronavirus in lockdown, Google searches for terms like ‘online courses’ and ‘free online courses’ reached a historic high. LinkedIn reported that in the first week of April, people watched 1.7 million hours of video content on LinkedIn Learning compared 560,000 hours in the first week of January.
Age-Related differences in immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2 – The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Coping in Quarantine