Tulane Outbreak Daily | April 17, 2020

Featured Headlines

Preliminary Study Claims To Have Discovered The First Significant Mutation In The SARS-CoV-2 Pathogen – IFLScience

A preliminary study reports that a significant mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen may have been detected for the first time.The study looked at the genetic makeup of 106 samples of the Covid-19 pathogen from a database compiling information taken from infections across the globe. They then compared the information on the Covid-19 coronavirus with 39 genome sequences of the SARS coronavirus. SARS causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, which saw an outbreak in 2002. [Related Pre-Pub Study]

European nations revisit COVID-19 actions as cases climb in Asia – CIDRAP

In global COVID-19 developments today, pandemic activity gained more steam in parts of Europe and is still high in its initial hot spots, as a handful of Asian nations—such as Japan and Indonesia—grappled with rising case numbers.

Princeton researchers map rural U.S. counties most vulnerable to COVID-19 – Princeton

A county-by-county analysis of the United States by Princeton University researchers suggests that rural counties with high populations of people over 60 and limited access to health care facilities could eventually be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) that has so far killed more than 100,000 people worldwide.

Pandemic Surge Models in the Time of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2: Wrong or Useful? – Annals of Internal Medicine

With 2 million confirmed cases and more than 100 000 deaths worldwide, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS–CoV-2) pandemic has generated fear, uncertainty, and doubt as the world has witnessed COVID-19–related deaths and overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan, China; Italy; and New York City. With no preexisting herd immunity, vaccine, or proven antiviral treatment, public health decision making must rely on mitigation through social distancing.

Researchers report 21% COVID-19 co-infection rate – CIDRAP

A research letter published yesterday in JAMA found that rates of COVID-19 co-infections with other respiratory pathogens are 21%, higher than previously thought, suggesting that identification of another pathogen may not rule out the presence of the novel coronavirus.

How Bacteria Could Affect Outcomes Of COVID-19 Patients – WBUR

While most healthy people have very little bacteria or fungi in the lungs, the nature of those microbes changes when people develop a disease, he says. The range of microbes present throughout our bodies determines how the immune system responds.

COVID-19 mortality risk factors – Lancet

The Asia Executive Editor of The Lancet, Helena Hui Wang, chats with Bin Cao about clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China.

Covid-19 Does Not Discriminate by Body Weight – Wired

Researchers at New York University provided fodder for the latest round of this reporting: “Obesity appears to be one of the biggest risk factors related to Covid-19 hospitalizations and critical illness,” Newsweek claimed on Tuesday. Yet this rhetoric is based on flawed and limited evidence, which only exacerbates the stigma that larger-bodied people already face in society and our health care system. That stigma is what truly jeopardizes their health, not weight itself—a fact that’s only more important to consider in the midst of this pandemic. [Related Pre-Pub Study]

China’s virus death toll revised up sharply after review – AP

The new figures resulted from an in-depth review of deaths during a response that was chaotic in the early days. They raised the official toll in Wuhan by 50% to 3,869 deaths. While China has yet to update its national totals, the revised numbers push up China’s total to 4,632 deaths from a previously reported 3,342. [Related story in Forbes]


Editor’s note: Regarding the case counts below, please consider due to limited testing capabilities in some locations, the real number of cases could be considerably higher.

Official Reporting for April 17, 2020

WHO SITREP #87 ECDC | Country Data Johns Hopkins
Confirmed Cases 1,991,562 2,114,269 2,188,194
Deaths 130,885 145,144 147,632


Total cases: 6,814
Total deaths: 24,582
(Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting.)

Travel Related: 6,814
Close Contact: 14,728
Under Investigation: 611,006
Total Cases: 632,548

Surveillance Headlines


Iceland’s Lessons For Us All: How The Country Fought SARS-CoV-2 With Success, And Why It’s Coming Out Of The Battle Fast – Forbes


Viet Nam: There Have Been Fewer Than 300 COVID-19 Cases And No Deaths. Here’s Why – NPR

Wuhan, China: Wuhan raises number of COVID-19 deaths by 1,290 – ABC

Science and Tech

A Vital Hack Could Turn Medical Devices Into Ventilators – Wired

Hundreds of thousands of lower-grade breathing devices are going unused because manufacturers say they can’t perform life-saving functions. But a new patch might change that.


Early peek at data on Gilead coronavirus drug suggests patients are responding to treatment – Stat

A Chicago hospital treating severe Covid-19 patients with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir in a closely watched clinical trial is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week.


We’ve never made a successful vaccine for a coronavirus before. This is why it’s so difficult – ABC News

For those pinning their hopes on a COVID-19 vaccine to return life to normal, an Australian expert in vaccine development has a reality check — it probably won’t happen soon.

A Coronavirus vaccine is in Works, but it won’t emerge overnight – Johns Hopkins Hub

Some U.S. government officials are talking about a COVID-19 vaccine being ready in a year to 18 months. And some experts say that’s too soon, if it’s going to be a safe vaccine

Published Research

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and intravascular volume management strategies in the critically ill – Journal Baylor University Medical Center

Sustaining containment of COVID-19 in China – Lancet

Symptom Screening at Illness Onset of Health Care Personnel With SARS-CoV-2 Infection in King County, Washington – JAMA

Rates of Co-infection Between SARS-CoV-2 and Other Respiratory Pathogens – JAMA

Acute kidney injury in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients – Critical Care

Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)

Household Secondary Attack Rate of COVID-19 and Associated Determinants – MedRxiv

Analysis of the mutation dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 reveals the spread history and emergence of 2 RBD mutant with lower ACE2 binding affinity – BioRxiv

Infection Prevention

How the novel coronavirus spreads in a typical household – NewsMedical.net

The effective reproductive number is one of the basic concepts of the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Epidemiology refers to the study of diseases, their incidence and distribution, and possibly how they can be controlled. The effective reproductive number for a specific set of people (in this case, an average household) is the number of people that would get sick if one person in the set was infected. This is one of the most important factors in modeling the spread of the virus. [Related Study]

Coping in Quarantine

Pandemic baking, it’s a thing, and I too have failed. Last week’s bread was flat because I killed the yeast with too-hot water. Week before, I forgot the salt. I will try again this weekend. Here is a list of epic baking fails, enjoy and have a good weekend.

Banksy Shares Impressive Mural in Home Bathroom During Quarantine – Yahoo News

(Not to be outdone by Gibson…) Fender offers free guitar lessons during pandemic – Fender