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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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]
Official Reporting for April 17, 2020
|WHO SITREP #87||ECDC | Country Data||Johns Hopkins|
Total deaths: 24,582
Travel Related: 6,814
Close Contact: 14,728
Under Investigation: 611,006
Total Cases: 632,548
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)
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.
(Not to be outdone by Gibson…) Fender offers free guitar lessons during pandemic – Fender