Tulane Outbreak Daily – November 13, 2020

Upcoming Virtual Events

COVID-19 Open Online Briefings with Dr David Nabarro

FRIDAY 13 November 2020
08:30 – 09:30 CET (Find your local time)
Zoom Meeting ID 829 9960 8512 / Passcode 674374

Featured Headlines

Challenges in Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Among Patients Who Recovered From COVID-19 – JAMA

Among patients who have recovered from COVID-19, repeated testing for SARS-CoV-2 may be done weeks or months after infection either as part of routine screening (eg, screening nursing home personnel on a weekly basis to prevent transmission of infections to patients) or because of the development of symptoms that are worrisome for reinfection. Unfortunately, the interpretation of positive test results in patients who have previously recovered from COVID-19 is fraught. The best widely available test, a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), is very sensitive for fragments of viral RNA and can be positive because of nonviable remnants of the virus. Currently, there is not a widely available test for determining whether the virus can reproduce and transmit infection.

U.S. lockdown not inevitable, Fauci says. But the numbers are horrendous. – Washington Post

The United States’ top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, cautioned against despair as the country endures a surge in covid-19 cases unlike anything it has previously seen. A record high of 145,835 new cases were reported Wednesday, just one week after the U.S. hit 100,000 cases for the first time. At least 65,000 Americans are hospitalized with covid-19, according to The Post’s latest data.

COVID-19 cases hit 1st Caribbean cruise since pandemic – ABC News

Officials say one of the first cruise ships to ply through Caribbean waters since the pandemic began ended its trip early after at least five passengers tested positive for COVID-19

How Pfizer Plans to Distribute Its Vaccine (It’s Complicated) – New York Times

Success will hinge on an untested network of governments, companies and health workers. For months, scientists and public health experts have been saying the most crucial part of defusing the Covid-19 pandemic will be developing a safe and effective vaccine. So it was cause for celebration this week when Pfizer announced that an early analysis showed its vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective.

Screening travelers for symptoms of Covid-19 was ineffective, CDC study says – CNN

Temperature and symptom-based screening programs don’t help catch coronavirus cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report that took a closer look at the programs used at US airports until mid-September. In January, the CDC started an enhanced screening program for air passengers arriving from certain countries with widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Largest-to-Date COVID Mortality Study Released – MedPageToday

Following news that the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine achieved “more than 90%” efficacy in an interim analysis, the world is starting to focus on the limited initial supplies of COVID vaccines. A new medRxiv preprint looks at over 500,000 Medicare beneficiaries to identify individuals at highest risk of COVID-19 death, which could help guide the necessary vaccine rationing. [Related preprint study]

Why do COVID death rates seem to be falling? – Nature

Hard-won experience, changing demographics and reduced strain on hospitals are all possibilities — but no one knows how long the change will last.

Fauci urges Americans to ‘double down’ on the basics as virus cases spike – NYT

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, urged Americans on Thursday to “double down” on basic precautions as coronavirus cases soared across the country and more Covid-19 patients were hospitalized than ever before.

What Is Happening And What Can Be Done About It? – NPR

5 min audio at the link – NPR correspondents discuss the latest on coronavirus cases around the U.S. and take a look at what the incoming Biden administration can and can’t do about the surge during the transition.

At dinner parties and game nights, casual American life is fueling the coronavirus surge as daily cases exceed 150,000 – Washington Post

A record-breaking surge in U.S. coronavirus cases is being driven to a significant degree by casual occasions that may feel deceptively safe, officials and scientists warn — dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools.

‘Catastrophic’ lack of hospital beds in upper Midwest as coronavirus cases surge – Washington Post

Covid’s long, dark winter has already arrived in the upper Midwest, as cases and deaths surge, snatching lives, overwhelming hospitals, exhausting health-care providers and raising fears that the region’s medical system will be completely overwhelmed in the coming days.

Report: Half of PPE Gowns Fail to Meet Safety Standards – MedPageToday

With shortages of PPE still ongoing, a disturbing report from the healthcare safety group ECRI released Tuesday reveals that more than half of the gowns submitted by hospitals for testing failed safety standards.

Clinical Considerations

Study finds lasting fatigue common after COVID-19 infection – Science Daily

More than half of people with acute COVID-19 infection continue to have persistent fatigue 10 weeks after their initial illness, according to a new study published November 9 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Liam Townsend of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and colleagues.

Official Reporting for November 12, 2020

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update November 10, 2020 (Last Updated)

Confirmed Cases: 579,253

Deaths: 1,231,017


Confirmed Cases: 52 143 259

Deaths: 1 284 610

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 52,643,939
Deaths: 1,291,921

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 10,314,254 (+143,408 New Cases)
Total deaths: 241,069 (+1,479 New Deaths)

Surveillance Headlines


COVID spread among Marine recruits despite quarantine – CIDRAP


Covid Hot Spots Show Signs Europe’s New Wave May Be Cresting – Bloomberg

Ukraine: President Hospitalized With COVID-19 – NPR

Russia: Moscow to close bars and restaurants overnight as Russia’s COVID-19 cases climb – Reuters

Science and Tech

Enhancing host cell infection by SARS-CoV-2 – Science Magazine

The current global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A critical initial step of infection is the interaction of the virus with receptors on host cells. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, this receptor binding occurs through the spike (S) protein on the virus surface. Both SARS-CoV-2 and the related SARS-CoV, which caused an outbreak in 2003, bind to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on human cells. However, the observed differences in tissues that are infected by these two viruses (tropism) suggests that additional host factors may be involved. On pages 861 and 856 of this issue, Daly et al. (1) and Cantuti-Castelvetri et al. (2), respectively, show that the membrane protein neuropilin-1 (NRP1) promotes SARS-CoV-2 entry and explain how NRP1 interacts with the SARS-CoV-2 S protein. The results suggest the S protein–NRP1 interaction as a potential antiviral target.

Chemists discover the structure of a key coronavirus protein – MIT News

The protein, which acts as an ion channel, could be a target for new drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. MIT chemists have determined the molecular structure of a protein found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein, called the envelope protein E, forms a cation-selective channel and plays a key role in the virus’s ability to replicate itself and stimulate the host cell’s inflammation response.


Moderna closes in on release of COVID-19 vaccine data – Reuters

Moderna Inc MRNA.O said on Wednesday it has enough data for a first interim analysis of the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, which should help determine the vaccine’s efficacy.

China Is Inoculating Thousands With Unapproved COVID-19 Vaccines. Why? – NPR

One early November morning, a Peking duck cook, several construction workers and a software engineer patiently lined up outside a Beijing vaccine facility, awaiting their turn to be injected with a coronavirus vaccine still awaiting regulatory approval.

Bloomberg Prognosis Podcast: The Next Year of the Virus
Eight months into the pandemic, the coronavirus is on a rampage around the world. In Europe, surging infections spur new lockdowns. The U.S. is entering its most dangerous period yet. With Michelle Fay Cortez and Robert Langreth, we look back at how we got here, and ahead to what’s next for the outbreak.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Pandemic Parenting – New York Times

It was a hard year that just kept getting harder.
There were maternity wards that transformed into ghost towns overnight, as visitor restrictions tightened and grandparents-to-be canceled flights. Schools closed, then reopened, only to close again, sending parents scrambling for child care, wrangling remote learners and struggling to do their own jobs. Millions of families lost income and many lost loved ones. For parents in particular, this year has meant recalibrating time and again. Yet, there was also joy — cobbled-together peaceful moments — amid a steady thrum of chaos, which isn’t letting up. We asked mothers and fathers across the country what parenting has been like for them during the pandemic and how, in their own ways, they have each learned to cope.

Children’s visits to the emergency room for mental health issues have risen sharply, the C.D.C. says – New York Times

The proportion of emergency room visits related to children’s mental health has increased significantly during the pandemic, highlighting concerns about the psychological effects that lockdowns and social distancing have had on American youth, according to a new analysis released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Published Research

SARS-CoV-2 lethality did not change over time in two Italian Provinces – Oxford Academic

Safety and efficacy of inhaled nebulised interferon beta-1a (SNG001) for treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial – The Lancet

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Coronavirus: believing in conspiracies goes hand in hand with vaccine hesitancy – The Conversation

While developing an effective vaccine probably won’t bring an immediate end to the pandemic, it’s clear that things can’t begin to return to normal without one. Anything that reduces a future vaccine’s effectiveness will be a problem. This includes vaccine hesitancy – when people are reluctant or refuse to be vaccinated.

Coping in 2020

Planning Your Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic – NIH Director’s Blog

With the holiday season fast approaching and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surging in most parts of the country, millions of Americans—including me and my family—will break with tradition this year to celebrate in ways that we hope will help to keep us all safe and healthy. Granted, this may present some difficult emotional and logistical challenges, but I’m confident that the American can-do spirit will rise to meet those challenges.

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