Tulane Outbreak Daily – December 10, 2020

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Michelle Williams presents “COVID-19: Chasing Science to Save Lives,” When Public Health Means Business, Part 6, featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci and moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN. December 9, 3-4pm ET. Presented jointly by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the New England Journal of Medicine. Hosted by The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Featured Headlines

US virus deaths hit record levels with the holidays ahead – AP

Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to more than 2,200 a day on average, matching the frightening peak reached last April, and cases per day have eclipsed 200,000 on average for the first time on record, with the crisis all but certain to get worse because of the fallout from Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

New Data Reveal Which Hospitals Are Dangerously Full. Is Yours? – NPR

The federal government on Monday released detailed hospital-level data showing the toll COVID-19 is taking on health care facilities, including how many inpatient and ICU beds are available on a weekly basis.

U.S. adds 1 million cases in just four days, now above 15 million – NBC

More than 200,000 Americans are testing positive for the coronavirus every day on average, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, as the national infection total now tops 15 million. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Monday that the country is likely to see a Thanksgiving-related spike in Covid cases and hospitalizations in another week or so, in the middle of Hanukkah and just ahead of Christmas.

The Real Reason Americans Aren’t Quarantining – the Atlantic

If you flew into Honolulu International Airport anytime after the start of the pandemic, you would have had a different experience from most Americans who have traveled elsewhere this year. In the days following your arrival, you would not be wading into the azure waters of Waikiki Beach. You would not be climbing the soaring crest of Diamond Head to gaze upon the Pacific Ocean. A noble sea turtle might be floating in the bay, ready to swim alongside you, but you would not be able to join him. You would be in your hotel room, where you would be ordered to stay for the next 14 days for the state’s mandatory coronavirus quarantine.

Vaccine Headlines

UK to refine allergy warning on Pfizer vaccine sparked by two adverse reactions – Reuters

Britain’s medicine regulator warned people with significant allergies not to get Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine after two people suffered adverse reactions, but was set to give more detailed guidance on Wednesday based on reviews of those cases.

Oxford COVID-vaccine paper highlights lingering unknowns about results – Nature

The Oxford–AstraZeneca partnership is the first major developer to publish detailed data from phase III trials.

‘Oxford’ vaccine: Results from phase 3 trial – The Lancet

The study involved people in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa. Overall, the results show that the vaccine candidate protects against the symptomatic disease in 70% of cases.

UAE says Sinopharm vaccine has 86% efficacy against COVID-19 – Reuters

An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) has 86% efficacy, the health ministry of the United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday, citing an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials. [Related NYT article on UAE approved Chinese Vaccine]

Phase 3 trials show AstraZeneca COVID vaccine has up to 90% efficacy – CIDRAP

The first full peer-reviewed results of phase 3 trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University show that it is safe and up to 90% effective in preventing infection, supporting regulatory submissions for emergency use. [Lancet Paper]

Canada latest country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – BBC

Health Canada called the authorisation a “milestone” in the country’s fight against coronavirus. The agency said the vaccine met its “stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements”. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses of the vaccine this month.

‘So many unknowns’: Local doctors—and pharmacies—will still decide who gets COVID-19 vaccines – Science

When it comes to prioritizing who should receive the first COVID-19 vaccines in the Unites States and delivering the required doses, “we got a lot of work to do,” President-elect Joe Biden said at a press conference on 4 December. About 1 week from now, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency use as expected, the initial doses of it should begin to reach hospitals like the five run by Scripps Health in San Diego, which Chief Medical Officer Ghazala Sharieff oversees.

Efforts at COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Challenges and Successes – Vaccines

The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus (CoV), throughout the globe poses a daunting public health emergency. Different preventive efforts have been undertaken in response to this global health predicament; amongst them, vaccine development is at the forefront. Several sophisticated designs have been applied to create a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, and 44 candidates have already entered clinical trials.

Willingness to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Ticks Up to 63% in U.S. – Gallup

With two COVID-19 vaccines now in the final stages of approval for use in the U.S., 63% of Americans say they are willing to be immunized against the disease. The public’s willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccination approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has nearly rebounded to the previous high of 66% after hitting a 50% low point in September.

15 candidate vaccines in stage 3 clinical trials – Vaccine Tracker

60 candidate vaccines on trial in 38 countries – Vaccine Tracker

Clinical Considerations

Simultaneous COVID-19 in Homozygous Twins – Annals of Internal Medicine

Although we are rapidly learning more about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we still know little about why some infected persons have severe disease and others are asymptomatic or have mild disease.

PFBA Chemical Associated with Severe COVID – The Intercept

PFBA is one of a class of industrial compounds, often called “forever chemicals,” that has come to contaminate soil, water, and food around the world. It has been presented as relatively safe because it stays in human blood for much less time than some of the other compounds in the class and is a shorter molecule. Both traits are thought to be indications of its innocuousness. PFBA, which was created by 3M, is based on a four-carbon chain and is gone from human blood in a matter of days. It is still in use, while PFOA, which is based on eight carbons and stays in the human blood for years, has been phased out since 2015. [Related pre-pub Danish Study]

A Canadian woman has been sick with covid-19 long-term effects for nearly 9 months: ‘I’m definitely worried it will be permanent’ – Washington Post

When Ashley Antonio contracted covid-19 in late March, the Canadian criminal lawyer fought against the common symptoms that come with most cases: fever, body aches, fatigue, headaches.

Cutaneous Manifestations in Confirmed COVID-19 Patients: A Systematic Review – Biology

Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and concomitant skin rashes have been frequently reported. We summarized the cases described to date, including only patients with positive RT-PCR testing from nasopharyngeal swabs. Six hundred and fifty-five patients were found who presented different types of skin rashes, from maculopapular, vascular, vesicular, urticarial, to atypical forms and ocular involvement.

Official Reporting for December 10, 2020

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update December 7, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 67 780 361

Deaths: 1 551 214


Confirmed Cases: 67 965 261

Deaths: 1 557 616

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 68,822,212
Deaths: 1,567,706

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 15,040,175 (+217,046 New Cases)
Total deaths: 285,351 (+2,566 New Deaths)

Surveillance Headlines


Louisiana: New Orleans’ coronavirus data nears a key number, moving city closer to bar shutdown – NOLA

Colorado: School outbreaks nearly doubled in November as coronavirus cases surged – Colorado Sun

Arizona: What is driving Arizona’s high number of COVID-19 cases among children – KVOA

Texas: Covid-19 Is Overwhelming Rural West Texas – NYT

Massachusetts: Reimposes Coronavirus Restrictions – NPR


Germany: How Germany Avoided A ‘Lost’ School Year – NPR

Germany: Several German states are moving closer to a “hard lockdown.” – ABC

Germany: Covid-19 Deaths Rise the Most Since Start of Pandemic – Bloomberg


Singapore: ‘cruise to nowhere’ ends after passenger tests positive – BBC

Science and Tech

None Today

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Despite Pandemic, Thanksgiving Travel Higher in 80% of Counties From 2019 – Bloomberg

Millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving, against the advice of medical experts and in some of the country’s most alarming Covid-19 hotspots.

Inside a California Covid Revolt- -Bloomberg
Residents of Shasta County have taken resistance to Covid-19 restrictions to another level: “full-on anarchy.”

Published Research

Absence of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission from Children in Isolation to Guardians, South Korea – Emerging Infectious Diseases

Therapeutically administered ribonucleoside analogue MK-4482/EIDD-2801 blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets – Nature

Baricitinib treatment resolves lower-airway macrophage inflammation and neutrophil recruitment in SARS-CoV-2-infected rhesus macaques – Cell

A single-dose live-attenuated YF17D-vectored SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate – Nature

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

‘We are talking about people’s lives,’ dire warnings of public health crisis as COVID vaccine misinformation rages – USA Today
Researchers warn this is just the beginning of viral hoaxes on social media that will feed off the unknowns of the virus and the vaccines to undercut public trust in the coming wave of immunizations.

Coping in 2020

I have mentioned before my son lives 3,000 miles away in Germany. Working, interning and going to college through this weird year. Due to COVID I have not been able to see him in over a year now. Looking to the internets for a unique gift I know he will like – I found just the thing on Etsy.


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