Tulane Outbreak Daily – September 14, 2020

Featured Headlines

Treatments that target the coronavirus in the nose might help prevent COVID-19 – Science News

COVID-19 can ravage the body, targeting the lungs, heart and blood vessels. To curb this wide-ranging attack, scientists are focusing on another part of the body: the nose.

The lasting misery of coronavirus long-haulers – Nature

Months after infection with SARS-CoV-2, some people are still battling crushing fatigue, lung damage and other symptoms of ‘long COVID’.

How Flu Shots Can Help in the Fight Against Covid-19 – NY Times

Experts worry that the two diseases could overwhelm the health care system and create a new shortage of hospital beds and personal protective equipment.

Substance use disorders linked to COVID-19 susceptibility – NIH

A National Institutes of Health-funded study found that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) are more susceptible to COVID-19 and its complications. The research, published today in Molecular Psychiatry, was co-authored by Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The findings suggest that health care providers should closely monitor patients with SUDs and develop action plans to help shield them from infection and severe outcomes.

Army Marshals Resources To Aid In Race For Coronavirus Vaccine – NPR

Agi Hajduczki, a research scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Infectious Diseases, opens a large freezer and takes out boxes of DNA. She is part of a team making a COVID-19 vaccine.

Restaurants Are Hurting — But Dining Indoors Poses Real COVID-19 Risk – NEJM Journal Watch

As we learn more about transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the news for restaurants goes from bad to worse. And while there’s a long list of sad things about this pandemic, the decimation of the restaurant business for owners and the people who work there is right up there. The loss of the restaurant experience for us diners is pretty sad, too.

Helen Branswell answers your questions about Covid-19, reinfection, and vaccine efficacy – STAT

t has been over nine months since STAT published reporter Helen Branswell’s first article about a mysterious cluster of pneumonia-like cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The cause of those infections was, of course, a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. That virus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, have since become the biggest story in the world.

Coronavirus cases are growing in 11 U.S. states as Fauci warns of ‘disturbing’ data – CNBC

Coronavirus cases continued to grow over the weekend in nearly a dozen U.S. states as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, warns about the nation’s worrying level of new infections.

Strict Social Distancing Is Working, Study From Johns Hopkins Says – CBS News

Researchers randomly surveyed more than 1,000 people from across Maryland, asking about their social distancing practices and how often they head out of the house.

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Public Transportation Vehicles: A Case Study in Hunan Province, China – Open Forum Infectious Diseases

Here we report a case study of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak event during bus trips of an index patient in Hunan Province, China. This retrospective investigation suggests potential airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the possibility of superspreading events in certain close contact and closed space settings, which should be taken in to account when control strategies are planned.

Amid spotty response, COVID silently stalked US for weeks – CIDRAP

Two new studies involving evolutionary genomics, computer simulations, and travel records from the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that inadequate travel monitoring, contact tracing, and community surveillance allowed the novel coronavirus to spread unchecked to and throughout North America and Europe in late January or early February.

Clinical Considerations

Kidney injury associated with COVID-19 – CMAJ

As many as 40% of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have acute kidney injury. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is usually related to disease severity.

Googling for Gut Symptoms Predicts Covid Hot Spots, Study Finds – Bloomberg

Internet searches on gastrointestinal symptoms predicted a rise in Covid-19 cases weeks later, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found, demonstrating a novel early warning system for hot spots of the pandemic disease.

Woman Shares Story Of Double-Lung Transplant To Treat COVID-19 – NPR

A small number of COVID-19 patients have survived after getting a double-lung transplant. One of those patients, Mayra Ramirez, shares the story of her surgery and ongoing recovery.

Official Reporting for September 14, 2020

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update SEP 14, 2020

Cumulative Cases: 28,918,900

Cumulative Deaths: 922,252


Confirmed Cases: 29,049,134

Deaths: 924,706

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 29,136,553

Deaths: 925,820

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 6,503,030
Total deaths: 193,705

Surveillance Headlines


Wisconsin: Wisconsin reports its record number of new daily cases, with spikes linked to college campuses – NY Times

Midwest: A record surge in new cases has hit the Midwest. – New York Times


France: Cases in France leap past 10,000 a day – BBC


Israel: To impose three-week national lockdown – BBC


India: At Least 25 Indian Lawmakers Test Positive For Coronavirus As Parliament Reopens – NPR

Science and Tech

The SARS-CoV-2 Envelope and Membrane proteins modulate maturation and retention of the Spike protein, allowing optimal formation of VLPs in presence of Nucleoprotein – University of Oxford Immunology Network

Boson et al. characterised how the intracellular trafficking and maturation of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein are regulated by the other structural proteins E, M and N. Co-expression of E or M were found to decrease S cleavage, alter the N-glycosylation patterns in the S2 subunit and to retain S protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC) or cis-Golgi, known CoV assembly sites. The S protein expressed alone was found widely distributed within the cell and to promote syncytia, which was prevented with SARS-CoV-2 infection or co-expression with E or M. In contrast, N protein does not appear to have any effect on S maturation or localisation. While E protein was found to influence the level of S expression by inducing a non-specific retention of glycoproteins in the ER and to slow down the cell secretory pathway; M influenced S localisation through direct interaction with S C-terminal moiety. Finally, all structural proteins proved essential for VLP formation.

Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020 – CDC

Community and close contact exposures continue to drive the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. CDC and other public health authorities recommend community mitigation strategies to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (1,2). Characterization of community exposures can be difficult to assess when widespread transmission is occurring, especially from asymptomatic persons within inherently interconnected communities.


Pfizer CEO Says Americans Could Get Covid Shot Before Year-End – Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said it’s “likely” the U.S. will deploy a Covid-19 vaccine to the public before year-end and that the company is prepared for that scenario, pushing back against more tepid expectations shared by health authorities.

Social and Psychological Impact

Alan Alda On The Importance Of Empathy During The COVID-19 Pandemic – NPR

5 min audio at the link – NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to actor Alan Alda, who started a center focused on communicating scientific information to the public, on how the dearth of empathy is affecting pandemic messaging.

Published Research

Psychiatric presentation of patients with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection: a retrospective review of 50 consecutive patients seen by a consultation-liaison psychiatry team. – Physicians Weekly

SARS-CoV-2 transmission via speech-generated respiratory droplets – The Lancet

Coping in Quarantine

We had a special guest stay at our B&B last weekend. Her name is Pia, and she is an award winning poet who needed a quiet place to finish her latest book of poetry. She was in luck, she had the place to herself for the first part of the weekend, and she finished her book. We shared some conversation and French wine one evening. What an amazing, warm, talented human. She sent her manuscript and I read a few of her poems this morning with a cup of coffee. Mind = blown. They are just words on a screen, configured in such a way upon reading, that the imagination is sparked and mind transported. I started wondering if there was a collection of poetry inspired by this global pandemic. The internet did not disappoint… there are many. This is just one.

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