With no let-up in the nation’s COVID-19 surge, hospitalizations climbed to record levels, with daily death totals increasing as well, a sobering theme as the nation nears Thanksgiving.
The United States logged nearly 2,100 coronavirus-related fatalities on Tuesday, marking the deadliest day in more than six months. Record numbers of fatalities were also reported in nine states — Maine, Alaska, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Ohio and Oregon — according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
“We are on an absolutely catastrophic path,” said a COVID-19 doctor at America’s best-prepared hospital.
Millions of Americans appeared to be disregarding public health warnings and traveling ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, likely fueling an alarming surge in coronavirus infections before a series of promising new vaccines are expected to become widely available.
Coronavirus, which has killed more than 256,000 Americans so far, is on track to claim another 30,000 lives by mid-December, according to forecasts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The model shows weekly cases and deaths both rising every week for the next month, the maximum range of the agency’s projection.
Many people have changed or pared down their holiday plans, but many others have purchased tickets, their hearts and minds made up. At this point, since millions of people are likely to attempt some form of intermediate-risk Thanksgiving, we should consider a harm-reduction approach.
The U.K is on its second lockdown, and scientists say most sequences of new cases are from a coronavirus strain that originated in Spain — which British tourists brought home from summer vacations.
Researchers have identified increases in deaths during the pandemic compared with previous years. Although this is not surprising in itself, many of these excess deaths are not due to COVID-19. The authors of a new study took a look at the demographics of this increase.
42 min audio at the link – As coronavirus cases continue to surge both in the U.S. and around the world, there’s promising news on the vaccine front. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Moderna and, more recently, AstraZeneca have all announced that their vaccines have shown better-than-expected results.
New research shows adding a filter and improving the fit makes a cloth mask work even better.
“It’s an out-of-control fire. You stamp it out in one place, then it pops up somewhere else,” an AARP vice president said.
Amid a lame duck presidency and with the widespread availability of a COVID-19 vaccine still months away, US governors have become the first line of defense against the pandemic’s winter onslaught. Emma Court discusses how, with a lack of federal leadership, it has fallen to local authorities to impose mask mandates, curfews, and potentially even lockdowns before the winter, and the holidays, hit.
Limited knowledge about the contagiosity and case fatality rate of COVID-19 as well as the still enigmatic route of transmission have led to strict limitations of non-emergency health care especially in head and neck medicine and dentistry. There are theories that the oral cavity provides a favorable environment for SARS-CoV-2 entry and persistence which may be a risk for prolonged virus shedding. However, intraoral innate immune mechanisms provide antiviral effects against a myriad of pathogenic viruses. Initial hints of their efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 are surfacing. It is hypothesized that intraoral immune system activity modulates the invasion pattern of SARS-CoV-2 into oral cells. Thus, the significance of intraoral tissues for SARS-CoV-2 transmission and persistence cannot be assessed.
Official Reporting for November 24, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 58 900 547
Deaths: 1 393 305
Confirmed Cases: 59 307 493
Deaths: 1 397 672
Confirmed Cases: 59,759,535
Total cases: 12,333,452 (+157,531 New Cases)
Total deaths: 257,016 (+1,058 New Deaths)
Washington State: In ‘very dangerous time of this pandemic’ – AP
Canada enters a second lockdown – NYT
Germany: Merkel Proposes Tougher Virus Restrictions Ahead of Tense Talks – Bloomberg
Turkey: Posts Record Virus Deaths as Government Avoids Lockdown – Bloomberg
Japan Eyes Tighter Virus Steps as Severe Cases in Tokyo Jump – Bloomberg
Science and Tech
A new artificial intelligence (AI) platform developed by Northwestern University researchers can detect COVID-19 in the lungs 10 times faster and a bit more accurately than specialized cardiothoracic radiologists, according to a study published today in Radiology.
The U.S. government will start distributing Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s newly authorized COVID-19 antibody combination on Tuesday, beginning with over 30,000 treatment courses, a health official said on Monday.
Russia shocked the world in August when it approved a COVID-19 vaccine based on early data, leapfrogging global vaccine players like Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Now, the vaccine’s maker is reporting data from nearly 19,000 people showing it is more than 90% effective.
As COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and then recommended for use in the United States, it will be important to understand what is known about each vaccine. CDC will provide information on who is and is not recommended to receive each vaccine and what to expect after vaccination, as well as ingredients, safety, and effectiveness.
Top officials from Operation Warp Speed, the government’s program to fast-track the development and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, announced they’ve allocated 6.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to states based on their total populations.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Ventilator-associated pneumonia in patients with SARS-CoV-2-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring ECMO: a retrospective cohort study – Annals of Intensive Care
A Randomized Trial of Convalescent Plasma in Covid-19 Severe Pneumonia – NEJM
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Coping in 2020