Tulane Outbreak Daily | March 26, 2020

Featured Headlines

Researchers Push for Mass Blood Tests as a Covid-19 Strategy – Wired  Next week, blood banks across the Netherlands are set to begin a nationwide experiment. As donations arrive—about 7,000 of them per week is the norm—they’ll be screened with the usual battery of tests that keep the blood supply safe, plus one more: a test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Then, in a few weeks, another batch of samples will get the same test. And after that, depending on the numbers, there could be further rounds. The blood donors should be fairly representative of Dutch adults ages 18 to 75, and most importantly, they’ll all be healthy enough for blood donation—or at least outwardly so.

What the hell is going on with coronavirus testing in the US? – MIT Tech Review  The country is woefully behind where it should be, and that’s going to make it much harder to track and curtail the coronavirus’s spread.

What World War II Can Teach Us About Fighting the Coronavirus – Wired Ford announced Tuesday that it will not resume production, as initially planned. Ford has started several projects aimed at helping fight the pandemic. That means collaborating with 3M on a new respirator design using stockpiled parts like the fans made to cool the fannies of F-150 drivers. The automaker is working with GE Healthcare to increase production of ventilators, a crucial tool for Covid-19 patients struggling to breathe. Other automakers are working on similar efforts. Tesla bought more than 1,200 ventilators in China and donated them to the public health effort in California; CEO Elon Musk said his company is looking at how to build more. General Motors is helping Ventec Life Systems scale up its ventilator production and considering other ways to help.

Lessons from 1918 – PBS/John Barry  [Audio] We are currently in the midst of the greatest public health crisis in more than 100 years. The influenza pandemic of 1918 caused an estimated 50 million deaths worldwide with countless more infected with the virus. It was an era defining event that affected everybody in the world. 

What’s in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus Senate stimulus package – Washington Post

The legislation takes a multipronged approach to confronting the mounting crisis. It contains a number of measures aimed directly at helping workers, including stimulus checks for millions of Americans, and others to shore up the government safety net, with provisions such as more food stamp spending and more robust unemployment insurance benefits. It also includes numerous provisions to help businesses weather the impending crunch, providing them with zero-interest loans, tax breaks and other subsidies.[full text of HR 748 here]

ECDC warns of overwhelmed hospitals, Italy-type COVID-19 pattern – CIDRAP  The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) today warned in its latest COVID-19 risk assessment that cases are rapidly increasing in all of Europe, following rises that look similar to those of China’s Hubei province and Italy and that the risk of overwhelmed health systems is high.

Postacute Care Preparedness for COVID-19 – JAMA National projections suggest that hospitals may be overwhelmed with patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection in the coming months. Appropriately, much attention has addressed the acute challenges in caring for this surge of critically ill patients. What has received less attention, however, is what happens as patients—most of whom will recover, even in the highest-risk groups—begin to do so. Many patients with COVID-19 will need postacute care to recuperate from their infection. However, postacute care facilities currently lack the capacity and capability to safely treat patients with COVID-19 as they transition from the hospital to other care settings or to their homes. In this Viewpoint, we present the scope of the problem and outline a series of steps that may be helpful as postacute care organizations prepare for the coming increase in patients with COVID-19.

Amazon workers test positive for covid-19 at 10 U.S. warehouses – Washington Post  In the past few days, workers tested positive for covid-19 at Amazon warehouses and shipping facilities across the country, from New York to California and Michigan to Texas. In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for cleaning, and some workers who were in close contact with their infected colleagues have been quarantined.


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 March 26, 2020

As of 25-Mar-20 (Global) WHO SITREP #65 ECDC    Country Data Johns Hopkins
Confirmed Cases 414,179 467,710 487,684
Deaths 18,440  20,947 22,030


Total cases: 54,453
Total deaths: 737
Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)

Travel Related: 584
Close Contact: 986
Under Investigation: 52,883
Total Cases: 15,219
Total Cases: 54,453

Surveillance Headlines


New York: 13 die of COVID-19 at same New York City hospital in 24 hours – ABC7

New York: What Made New York So Hospitable for Coronavirus? – NYT

New Orleans: Demographics of New Orleans and early COVID-19 Hot Spots in the U.S – Data Center Research


Italy: Reported 5,210 new cases, along with 683 more deaths, raising its respective totals to 74,386 infections and 7,503 deaths. CIDRAP

Spain: Reported 5,552 new infections, including 443 more deaths, with a total of 47,601 cases, 3,434 of them fatal. CIDRAP

Germany: Reported 2,749 new cases, 27 more deaths, with a total of 35,740 cases and 2,749 deaths. CIDRAP

Spain: Reports 655 deaths in a day – Al Jazeera


Hong Kong: Reported 24 new cases, including 19 patients who had a travel history. – CIDRAP

Singapore: today reported 73 new cases, 38 of them imported. – CIDRAP

Middle East

Egypt: Reported 442 cases so far, 21 of them fatal. – CIDRAP

Iran: Reported 2,206 more cases and 143 more deaths, putting the respective totals at 27,017 and 2,077. – CIDRAP

Travel Advisories

Look up current travel advisories at US Department of State

U.S. CDC Travel Advisories

Infection Prevention


Science and Tech

Doctors Are Pooling Data to Help Understand Covid-19 – WiredThe anti-malaria medicine called hydroxychloroquine might be a rescue drug for Covid-19—or maybe not. Or another anti-inflammatory drug, such as tocilizumab, might dampen the deadliest effects of the coronavirus. Fast-tracked studies will take weeks, if not months, to produce results. So in the meantime, doctors around the globe are responding by sharing information, creating registries of people with chronic diseases who have also become infected with Covid-19. Collectively, the registries offer a valuable picture of an evolving disease.

A new app might help researchers monitor the spread of coronavirus – MIT Tech Review  The data collected from more than 750,000 people could help us understand why people’s experiences of coronavirus vary so wildly.

Engineers Made a DIY Face Shield. Now It’s Helping Doctors – Wired  Early last week the director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at University of Wisconsin-Madison, got an urgent email from the university’s hospital. Could his lab make 1,000 face shields to protect staff testing and treating Covid-19 patients? The hospital’s usual suppliers were out of stock, due to the spike in demand prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. A hasty prototype was crafted at the UW maker space by adapting a construction visor, mannequin head, and Home Depot supplies.

An open-source ventilator design has been submitted for fast-track approval – MIT Tech Review  The MIT team hopes the device could help save COVID-19 patients, as the escalating pandemic strains supplies of the machines. The motorized device automatically compresses widely available bag valve masks, the sort of manual resuscitator used by ambulance crews to assist patients with breathing problems. The designs could arrive as a growing number of engineers, medical students, and hobbyists attempt to build or share specifications for makeshift respirators—of unknown quality and safety—amid rising fears of widespread shortages as the coronavirus epidemic escalates.

Timeline Shows 3 Paths To COVID-19 Treatment And Prevention – ForbesScientists are breaking speed records in their race to develop treatments for the new coronavirus. Some are panning through old molecules hoping to find effective drugs. Others are applying the latest breakthroughs in synthetic biology to engineer sophisticated treatments and vaccines.

New York State seeks tech talent for its COVID-19 technology SWAT team – Tech Crunch The call, posted to New York State’s official government website, seeks “impactful solutions and skilled tech employees” to help state authorities scale and grow their technology-driven response to the spread of the coronavirus. Specifically, New York state is seeking people who have professional experience in “product management, software development / engineering, hardware deployment & end-user support, data science, operations management, design, or other similar areas.”

COVID Near You – Boston Children’s Hospital Created by epidemiologists and software developers at Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital and a group of volunteers from across the technology industry. Covid Near You uses crowdsourced data to visualize maps to help citizens and public health agencies identify current and potential hotspots for the recent pandemic coronavirus, COVID-19. The website is a sister tool of Flu Near You, created by Ending Pandemics and Boston Children’s Hospital in 2012 and maintained by the Boston Children’s Hospital team.


Coronavirus (COVID19) Vaccines and Immunity: March 25 Q&A with Greg Poland, MD – JAMA [Video] As COVID-19 spreads globally, populations who survive their illness will become immune. Mayo Vaccine Research Group Director Gregory Poland, MD discusses antibody responses, duration of immunity, vaccine candidates, and prospects for using convalescent serum to passively immunize unexposed high-risk people.


Bosch develops rapid test for COVID-19 – Bosch  Developed in just six weeks, the rapid test can detect a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in patients in under two and a half hours. The test for COVID-19 can help medical facilities make fast diagnoses and play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic.

Published Research

Association of Cardiac Injury With Mortality in Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19 in Wuhan, China – JAMA

Characteristics and Outcomes of 21 Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 in Washington State – JAMA

Eleven Faces of Coronavirus Disease 2019 – European Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Early Introduction of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 into Europe – Emerging Infectious Diseases

The clinical characteristics of pneumonia patients co‐infected with 2019 novel coronavirus and influenza virus in Wuhan, China – Journal of Medical Virology

The Possible Immunological Pathways for the Variable Immunopathogenesis of COVID—19 Infections among Healthy Adults, Elderly and Children – Electronic Journal of General Medicine/UK

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



Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Global Perspectives on COVID-19 – Meridian International Center [Video] Keynote speaker: Ambassador John E. Lange (Ret.) Senior Fellow, Global Health Diplomacy United Nations Foundation, Singapore’s Ambassador to the United States, Brazil’s charge d’affaires to the United States, and an International Affairs and Public Policy official from 3M.

Policy & Guidance

Oxford Uni academics launch a tracker for COVID-19 policy interventions – Tech Crunch  The tool, called the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), tracks 11 indicators to generate an index that compares the stringency of policy responses around the world. Nation state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to vary widely, both in timing and stringency. The U.K., for example, only began imposing more stringent restrictions on Saturday, ordering bars and restaurants to close. Yet Denmark — a European country with fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 — took similar steps around a week earlier.

Economic Impact

United Airlines will now cut its domestic flights by 52% – Tech Crunch  United Airlines, which had already announced drastic cuts to its domestic and international schedule, today announced even deeper cuts. While the carrier was originally planning to cut 42% of its domestic schedule, that number is now up to 52% as demand for flights continues to dwindle in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, across domestic and international flights, United will reduce capacity by 68% in April.

Coping in Quarantine

I survived solitary confinement. You can survive self-isolating. – Washington Post Imprisoned in Iran, Jason Rezaian had to cope with panic and anxiety. In this video, he shares how these lessons apply to the fear of coronavirus today. Over the past several days, as many people began confronting the reality that they’d have to stay holed up at home for the foreseeable future, friends around the world reached out to me for advice. They wanted tips on how to deal with prolonged social isolation. Suddenly my own experience of being held for 544 days, including in solitary confinement, in Iran’s Evin Prison has become more relevant than I ever imagined possible. While the self-imposed isolation we’re going through is vastly different from the harsh conditions of prison, prolonged captivity did teach me a few useful lessons about how to make the best of it. So here are a few pieces of advice: 1. Don’t spend all your time online. You thought you spent a lot of time on the Internet before? That was nothing. And if you’re active on social media, as many of us are, it’s going to be hard to step off that merry-go-round. 2. Read books After I was released from solitary confinement after 49 days, I was allowed some small privileges. The one that I quickly realized was the most indispensable was access to books. Reading was a wonderful mental escape from my grim surroundings. It also connected me to the outside world. 3. Exercise You might not think it’s possible because you don’t have a Peloton at home. 4. Plan for the future There were many days in prison that I thought it would never end. You may feel something similar in the weeks ahead, or you might have that feeling already. But this will pass. 5. Laugh My last (but by far most important) piece of advice is to find as much as you can to laugh about each day. I promise you there are opportunities all around you. If I could find them in solitary confinement, you can find them in your living room