A dramatic rise in new coronavirus cases in Europe has been characterized as a “wake up call” by the World Health Organisation’s top official in Europe. “We have a very serious situation unfolding before us,” WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said Thursday in a press briefing on the epidemiological situation in the region. “Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March.”
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted Wednesday that most of the American public will not have access to a vaccine against the novel coronavirus until late spring or summer of next year — prompting a public rebuke from President Trump, who declared the CDC chief was wrong.
After researchers noticed fewer nearsighted patients in a hospital ward in China, they speculated that wearing glasses might offer some protection against Covid-19. When researchers in China were analyzing hospital data of patients with Covid-19, they noticed an odd trend: Very few of the sick patients regularly wore glasses. In one hospital in Suizhou, China, 276 patients were admitted over a 47 day period, but only 16 patients — less than 6 percent — had myopia or nearsightedness that required them to wear glasses for more than eight hours a day. By comparison, more than 30 percent of similarly aged people in the region needed glasses for nearsightedness, earlier research had shown.
Over the weekend in New York’s Koreatown, near the Empire State Building in Midtown, throngs of diners packed the area, where some streets were closed to accommodate outdoor seating. Just a short block away from the revelry, however, the silence was palpable as restaurants, large and small, sat darkened. The same eerie contrast can be seen across the city.
A wedding in Maine is linked to 176 Covid-19 cases and the deaths of seven people who didn’t attend the celebration, demonstrating just how easily and quickly the virus can spread at social gatherings, public health experts say.
Covid-19 has affected every aspect of our lives. While the economic and social impact has been immense, Covid-19 remains first and foremost a medical crisis. It is our medical professionals who are responsible for containing and treating this unprecedented crisis. Yet during this time of profound uncertainty, it is easy to overlook the toll the pandemic is taking on frontline healthcare workers. The ability of healthcare leaders to address their staff’s trauma and stress will be essential to their organization’s long-term viability and the future of patient care.
A new paper published Thursday in the medical journal Health Affairs estimates that at least 42 percent of the employees who work in America’s schools are at high risk for developing severe cases of Covid-19, a significant increase over previous evaluations of the risk to school employees.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there were lots of stories about scrappy manufacturers promising to revamp their factories to start making personal protective equipment in the U.S.
During SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2) pandemic, the etiologic agent of COVID-19, several studies described the involvement of other tissues besides the respiratory tract, such as the gastrointestinal tract. Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2, the functional virus host cell receptor expressed by organs and tissues, seems to have an important role in the pathophysiology and presentation of this disease.
More than half of pregnant women admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 were asymptomatic, researchers found. Of 598 hospitalized pregnant women with COVID-19, about 55% were asymptomatic, while 16% of symptomatic pregnant women were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), about 9% required mechanical ventilation, and two women died, reported Miranda Delahoy, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues. [Related CDC MMWR]
[I dedicate this article to my amazing dentist, also a reader of the Tulane Outbreak Daily! I know, I need to come back in… ] 2 minute audio at the link. The pandemic is wreaking havoc with people’s stress levels. Some are taking it out — unwittingly — on their teeth. Experts say they have seen all kinds of tooth damage since the lockdown started.
Cumulative Cases: 29,737,453
Cumulative Deaths: 937,391
Confirmed Cases: 29,902,487
Confirmed Cases: 29,994,772
Total deaths: 196,277
USA: US Has Highest 1-Day Covid-19 Death Toll Since August – Forbes
Washington State: Washington state loosens coronavirus guidelines for weddings and funerals – King 5 News
UK: Restrictions expected in north-east England – BBC
Norway: Norway’s Bergen Clamps Down Amid Local Coronavirus Outbreak – Forbes
India: India’s COVID-19 total tops 5 million – CIDRAP
Science and Tech
Dr. Jason Kindrachuk, an infectious disease expert, examines the progress so far and the challenges that remain for researchers studying Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.
Each month for the last 20 years, scientist and artist David Goodsell has published the Protein of the Month, showcasing his beautiful renditions of scientifically important and curious proteins. I featured some of his artwork at SynBioBeta’s global synthetic biology summit.
The company hopes to earn the trust of the public and of scientists who have clamored for details of its study.
This report to Congress details a strategy to achieve the principal purpose and objective of Operation Warp Speed (OWS): ensuring that every American who wants to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can receive one, by delivering safe and effective vaccine doses to the American people beginning January 2021.
6 min audio at the link – As we get closer to a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s exciting to imagine a day when the virus is gone. But a vaccine will not be a magic bullet. In fact, it may be only about 50% effective.
Social and Psychological Impact
Oranges and frozen foods are being snapped up. Shelves have fewer choices. And customers are steering their carts in surprising new directions.
As Covid-19 cases surged in the United States in March 2020, stay-at-home orders were put in place. Schools closed, and many workers were furloughed, laid off, or told to work from home. With personal movement limited and people confined to their homes, advocates expressed concern about a potential increase in intimate partner violence (IPV). Stay-at-home orders, intended to protect the public and prevent widespread infection, left many IPV victims trapped with their abusers.
One day at the end of April, dentist Azmera Shaikh tested positive for the novel coronavirus. That afternoon, feeling feverish and achy, she and her mother, who had also tested positive, descended from their apartment here to board an ambulance to the hospital. They were startled to find a dozen or so neighbors lined up with mobile phones in hand. Pictures and videos of their departure soon circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook. “We were entertainment,” Shaikh says. “We were the joke of the town.”
The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps – BMJ
A case of probable Parkinson’s disease after SARS-CoV-2 infection – Lancet
SARS-CoV-2–Associated Deaths Among Persons Aged <21 Years — United States, February 12–July 31, 2020 – University of Washington
Coping in Quarantine
The idea to make a bobblehead of the nation’s top infectious-disease expert came to Phil Sklar on a chilly March afternoon as he watched the news at home in Milwaukee. After just 13 months of operation, his magnum opus, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, near downtown, had closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to running the museum, Sklar and his co-founder, Brad Novak, had since 2013 produced their own line of sports-related bobbleheads honoring star players and superfans. But with college and professional seasons suspended, nothing was happening to generate ideas for the figurines — or income for the museum.