Tulane Outbreak Daily – December 11, 2020

Featured Headlines

Holidays in a Pandemic? Here’s What Happened in 1918 – NYT

The festive season fell between two deadly waves of the deadly influenza outbreak. Families still gathered, often with empty chairs at the table.

Kids catch and spread coronavirus half as much as adults, Iceland study confirms – National Geographic

IN THE MIDST of the worst surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States, many state and local officials are again wrestling with the hot-button issue of whether to shut schools down. Now, emerging research confirms that schools aren’t the primary drivers of outbreaks, but cases will seep in and contribute to the disease’s spread whenever a country loses control of containing the pandemic. [Related Study in Science]

The Virologist Who Created A ‘Swiss Cheese’ Metaphor To Explain The Pandemic Has A Message For Educators – Forbes

If a photo can say a thousand words, an infographic on the coronavirus pandemic speaks volumes. The “Swiss cheese model” of pandemic defense is so easy to grasp, thousands of people are sharing it on social media. After reading about the useful metaphor in The New York Times, I contacted its creator, Australian virologist Ian Mackay. We talked about why he created it, how to interpret it, and what lessons we can learn from the visualization.

Study models airflow inside a car to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission – Medical News Today

Researchers have modeled how opening different windows affects airflow inside a car, which may help reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission between people traveling together. [Related paper in Science]

Evaluation of Cloth Masks and Modified Procedure Masks as Personal Protective Equipment for the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic – JAMA

In this comparative study of face covering FFEs, we observed that consumer-grade masks and improvised face coverings varied widely, ranging from 26.5% to 79.0% FFE. Modifications intended to enhance the fit of medical procedure masks improved FFE measurements from 38.5% (unmodified mask) to as much as 80.2%.

One Man’s Rolodex Helps Operation Warp Speed Live Up to Its Name – Bloomberg

A deep contact list, mutual trust and an urgent need smoothed the way for a pharmaceutical giant and a small biotech lab to join forces to hatch a new drug

Vaccine Headlines

F.D.A. Advisory Panel Gives Green Light to Pfizer Vaccine – NYT
The blessing of these experts means that the agency will likely OK the vaccine’s use, paving the way for health care workers to begin getting shots next week.

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination — An Ounce (Actually, Much Less) of Prevention – NEJM

The Covid-19 epidemic continues to rage, especially in countries that have been unable or unwilling to institute strong public health measures. A return to normality has increasingly come to rely on the success of vaccines to prevent disease and, we hope, limit further spread of infection.

First adolescents receive COVID-19 vaccine in Moderna study – WCVB

The first adolescent participants have received a COVID-19 vaccine in Moderna’s Phase 2/3 study, the company announced Thursday. The study, which includes adolescents ages 12 to less than 18, is being conducted in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine – NEJM

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the resulting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have afflicted tens of millions of people in a worldwide pandemic. Safe and effective vaccines are needed urgently.

Sinovac: What do we know about China’s Covid-19 vaccine? – BBC

Shipments of Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine CoronaVac have arrived in Indonesia in preparation for a mass vaccination campaign, with another 1.8m doses due to arrive by January.

Clinical Considerations

Once hospitalized, Black patients are less likely to die – Medical News Today

Previous research and anecdotal evidence show that in the United States, some populations, including people who are Black, Asian, or mixed race, are more likely to develop COVID-19.

Official Reporting for December 11, 2020

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update December 8, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 68 165 877

Deaths: 1 557 385


Confirmed Cases: 68 619 110

Deaths: 1 570 155

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 69,531,812
Deaths: 1,580,867

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 15,271,571 (+231,396 New Cases)
Total deaths: 288,762 (+3,411 New Deaths)

Surveillance Headlines


Wisconsin: Army Guard task force deploys to Wisconsin to fight COVID-19 – Army Times

Arizona: Hospitalizations rise with 90% of hospital beds full – AZCentral

Oregon: Restaurants defy coronavirus restrictions in central Oregon – OregonLive

Orange County, California: At the current rate of deterioration, the EMS system may collapse unless emergency directives are implemented now. – Orange County Health

California: Southern California is a main driver of state’s record COVID-19 deaths, with no signs of a letup – LA Times



Latin America Is Facing A Hunger Pandemic – NPR


China: Advises flight attendants to wear diapers to avoid coronavirus risks in lavatories – Washington Post

Science and Tech

Air purifier company seeks emergency FDA approval for device that rids indoor air of virus – Washington Post

ActivePure says its plug-in purification systems can eliminate coronavirus-causing pathogens in the air

The Latest on Coronavirus Mutations – Science

For people looking for an accessible writeup on the coronavirus mutational landscape, I can recommend this Reuters article that came out today. It has a lot of good information in it, and a lot of very well-made graphics to show what’s going on.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic – Washington Post

Retailers, police departments and loss prevention researchers are reporting an uptick in theft of necessities like food and hygiene products

Published Research

Limited Secondary Transmission of the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) by Asymptomatic and Mild COVID-19 Patients in Bhutan – American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Airflows inside passenger cars and implications for airborne disease transmission – Science

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

‘The Perfect Storm’: How Vaccine Misinformation Spread To The Mainstream – NPR

4 minute audio at the link – Kolina Koltai first heard about the coronavirus back in January, but not from newspapers or TV. Instead, she read about it in anti-vaccination groups on Facebook. “They were posting stories from China like, ‘Hey, here’s this mysterious illness,’ or ‘Here’s this something that seems to be spreading,'” she said.

No, the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t cause infertility in women – USA Today

False claims about COVID-19 vaccines continue to appear on social media sites as the Food and Drug Administration gets closer to authorizing one from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for use in Americans.

Coping in 2020

Things I find on Twitter…

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