Tulane Outbreak Daily – September 30, 2020

Featured Headlines

New U.S. COVID-19 cases rise in 27 states for two straight weeks – Reuters

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States has risen for two weeks in a row in 27 out of 50 states, with North Carolina and New Mexico both reporting increases above 50% last week, according to a Reuters analysis.

(OpEd) 7 former FDA commissioners: The Trump administration is undermining the credibility of the FDA – Washington Post

Robert Califf, Scott Gottlieb, Margaret Hamburg, Jane Henney, David Kessler, Mark McClellan and Andy von Eschenbach are all former commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration. Kessler is an adviser for the Biden campaign. Gottlieb and McClellan serve on the boards of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, respectively, both of which are developing covid-19 vaccines. With our country having passed the grim milestone of 200,000 covid-19 deaths, losing the equivalent of the entire population of Salt Lake City, the Food and Drug Administration might soon face one of its most important decisions in our lifetimes: the authorization of a coronavirus vaccine. A vaccine is urgently needed to reduce the health impacts of the virus and help Americans return to normalcy.

Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 on College Campuses – JAMA

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to present public health and societal challenges worldwide. Concerted public health efforts in the US at the local, state, territorial, national, and tribal levels remain paramount to protecting the population, particularly those at greatest risk for severe illness and death. Throughout the summer months, younger people accounted increasingly for confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in all US regions, with highest incidence among young adults aged 20 through 29 years during June to August, and with young adults (20-39 years) contributing to the large regional increases in the southern US during June 2020.

False-positive COVID-19 results: hidden problems and costs – The Lancet

RT-PCR tests to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA are the operational gold standard for detecting COVID-19 disease in clinical practice. RT-PCR assays in the UK have analytical sensitivity and specificity of greater than 95%, but no single gold standard assay exists.

Who Is Dying From Covid-19? Why? – Wall Street Journal

As the global death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic exceeds one million, the U.S. has passed its own milestone: 200,000 deaths caused by the new coronavirus. From the first known fatality in early February to the latest death count nearly eight months later, scientists and public-health authorities have been piecing together evidence about who the disease is killing and why.

Marking the passing of a grim pandemic milestone for the nation – Harvard Gazette

How to mourn, find meaning in the deaths of 200,000, with more certain to come. ess than a year after the first case was confirmed in the United States, the nation recently passed 200,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, a relatively large share of the current global toll of just over a million. The Gazette asked Harvard scholars to reflect on that tragic national milestone.

Many ventilation systems may increase risk of COVID-19 exposure, study suggests – Science Daily

Ventilation systems in many modern office buildings, which are designed to keep temperatures comfortable and increase energy efficiency, may increase the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, particularly during the coming winter. [Related Study Journal of Fluid Mechanics]

The Daily Dose: Maryland Confronts COVID-19 – NPR

An evening roundup of WYPR’s latest reporting on Maryland’s COVID-19 response, a summary of essential state and local updates, and a forum for locals who want to share stories about everyday life in the era of Coronavirus. Let your voice be heard on the podcast! Leave a voicemail with your thoughts, questions, and insights about life in the Coronavirus era at 410-235-6060.

Clinical Considerations

‘Super Healthy’ College Student Dies of Rare Covid-19 Complications – New York Times

Chad Dorrill was in “tremendous shape.” Tall and slender. Played basketball. Ran long distances. But the 19-year-old college student died on Monday night, apparently of neurological complications related to Covid-19.

Sweating Can Help Spread Covid-19, But Not By ‘Infectious Sweat’ – Forbes
Direct transmission occurs after virus particles in microscopic respiratory droplets are expelled into the air, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes, talks or breathes. Indirect routes include touching contaminated surfaces followed by your face, which is why hand washing is so vital.

Official Reporting for September 30, 2020

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update SEP 28, 2020

Cumulative Cases: 33,502,430
Cumulative Deaths: 1,004,421


Confirmed Cases: 33 714 595
Deaths: 1 008 932

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 33,495,373
Deaths: 1,004,314

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 7,168,077
Total deaths: 205,372

Surveillance Headlines


New York: Orthodox Jewish areas in NYC may see city-issued mask fines – ABC News

New York: NYC’s Daily Positive Rate Over 3% for First Time in Months – Bloomberg

North Dakota: Virus Outbreak Is as Bad as Florida’s in July – Bloomberg

California: Fatal cases of COVID-19 at nursing facilities prompt new California law – Los Angeles Times

Riverside, California: Highest number of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to grocery stores in Riverside County – Desert Sun News

Massachusetts: Coronavirus transmission rate rises to ‘worrisome’ level, second highest in U.S. – Boston Herald

US: More Than 600,000 Child Cases Of COVID-19 Reported In U.S., But Severe Illness ‘Rare’ – NPR

US: COVID-19 Daily Cases On The Rise In Nearly Half Of U.S. States – NPR


Canada: Covid-19 Cases Jump in Canada, Prompting New Restrictions – Wall Street Journal

Montreal: Partial lockdown after coronavirus surge – NBC News




Qatar: Qatar confirms 4 coronavirus reinfections in largest study to date – BNO News


Science and Tech


Regeneron Antibody Cocktail Lowers Virus in Covid Patients – Bloomberg

In an early-stage clinical trial of 275 Covid-19 patients, those who received Regeneron’s experimental therapy had lower virus levels in the bloodstream seven days later compared with patients who received a placebo.


‘Game Changing’ 15-Minute Covid-19 Test Cleared in Europe – Bloomberg

The test is part of a new class of quicker screening tools named for the identifying proteins called antigens they detect on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. Becton Dickinson expects to begin selling the test, which runs on the company’s cellphone-sized BD Veritor Plus System, in European markets at the end of October. It will likely be used by emergency departments, general practitioners and pediatricians.

Why Are You Scratching My Brain? Rapid, Extraction Free SARS CoV-2 Testing from Saliva – GBiosciences


All Eyes Are on Pfizer as Trump Pushes for Vaccine by October – New York Times

Despite slim chances that its vaccine will be ready by October, Pfizer has big incentives to hint that it might be.

COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b1 elicits human antibody and TH1 T-cell responses – Nature

An effective vaccine is needed to halt the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Recently, we reported safety, tolerability and antibody response data from an ongoing placebo-controlled, observer-blinded phase 1/2 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine trial with BNT162b1, a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulated nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein1.

Covid Vaccine Frontrunner Moderna Says Vaccine Won’t Be Approved Until Spring 2021 – Forbes

Pharmaceutical company Moderna, one of the companies in the lead pack in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, won’t be in a position to widely distribute it until at least next spring, CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times, echoing public health experts who predict a similar timeline for other vaccine candidates.


Sociological Impact

Will we ever trust crowds again? – National Geographic

WATCHING A RERUN of the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld gave me the first inkling that COVID-19 might be rearranging my mind for the long term. On the screen, the characters sat across the table from each other at Monk’s Café. Kramer flopped into the frame, draping his arm around another occupied chair. As his arm touched another person, I physically recoiled.

Covid Causing Shift From Public Transport To Cars – Forbes

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing people to shun public transport in favor of private cars in Germany, according to a report from the German Aerospace Center. In a survey conducted by the center’s Institute for Transport Research in June and July, half of respondents said they are using public transport less often or much less often. They identified fears of the health risk as the reason, and those fears haven’t subsided since the previous time the survey was taken in April.


Published Research

Experimental infection of domestic dogs and cats with SARS-CoV-2: Pathogenesis, transmission, and response to reexposure in cats – PNAS

A Review on the Neurological Manifestations of COVID-19 Infection: a Mechanistic View – Molecular Neurobiology

COVID-19 reinfection or relapse: an intriguing dilemma – Clinical Rheumatology

Systematic Review of Ocular Involvement of SARS-CoV-2 in Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Ophthalmology Reports

Lockdown impact on COVID-19 epidemics in regions across metropolitan France – The Lancet

Evidence-based treatment during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: Identifying the knowns and unknowns of nebulization – Journal of American Pharmacists

Effects of ventilation on the indoor spread of COVID-19 – Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

And just like that, this topic expands already. We added a new category in yesterday’s Tulane Outbreak Daily, and today has expanded to include conspiracy theories. The topic is near and dear to my heart, having spent a bit of time studying this theme in previous jobs. In the coming weeks I will post some interesting studies along this line as well as headlines relating to COVID or other infectious disease outbreaks that fall into the mis/disinformation bin.

A Theory About Conspiracy Theories – New York Times

In a new study, psychologists tried to get a handle on the personality types that might be prone to outlandish beliefs.


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