Tulane Outbreak Daily | May 12, 2020

Featured Headlines

Fauci to warn Senate that reopening too quickly could lead to ‘needless suffering and death’

During a highly anticipated Senate hearing Tuesday, top federal health officials will be grilled on whether the country is truly ready to reopen — with Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, expected to warn that moving too quickly could lead to “needless suffering and death.”

SARS-CoV-2 could spread through surface of the eyes – Medical News

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus could spread via ocular or eye surfaces. This is because the receptor where the virus binds – the ACE2, is also expressed on human eyes, they note. [Related pre-print paper]

From the FLARE team: Maybe Some Cytokines are Okay?

As of today, May 11, 2020, over 285,000 people worldwide have died from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The magnitude of the pandemic has created an intense need to develop effective therapies. A staggering 1358 studies on COVID-19 have been registered on clinicaltrials.gov, and a whopping 2320 publications are listed in the “Treatment” section of LitCovid alone. A few randomized trials have been published, and a few more non-randomized, observational, and pre-print reports have caught the attention of the press and clinicians alike. There is a lot left to learn, and a lot to sift through. In tonight’s FLARE, we review a promising new trial that studied a three-drug combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir, and ribavirin vs. lopinavir-ritonavir alone for the treatment of COVID-19 in Hong Kong (Hung et al., 2020).

Confirmed: Kids Can Get Severe COVID-19 – Med Page Today

Like in adults, comorbidities a major risk factor. imilar to adults, most children hospitalized for COVID-19 had pre-existing conditions, with nearly 40% who required invasive mechanical ventilation, a small study of U.S. and Canadian pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) found. [Related paper]

Children face risk for severe complications and death from COVID-19 – Science Daily

Children, teens and young adults are at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19 than previously thought and those with underlying health conditions are at even greater risk, according to a new study.

COPD and smoking associated with higher COVID-19 mortality – Science Daily

Current smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk of severe complications and higher mortality with COVID-19 infection, according to a new study. [Related Study]

Pulmonary Doctor Shares His Experience Of Surviving COVID-19 – NPR

[4 min audio at the link] A New Orleans physician Dr. Jay Miller is weakened by a case of COVID-19. Meanwhile, his wife is pregnant with the couple’s first child and had to leave town to stay with her mother.

Imaging reveals bowel abnormalities in patients with COVID-19 – Science Daily

Several studies have evaluated the chest imaging findings in COVID-19, which helped improve understanding of how the disease affects the lungs. More recently, reports have documented that gastrointestinal symptoms, liver injury, and vascular findings are common in these patients. However, abdominal imaging findings have not yet been widely reported. Imaging findings may help physicians understand abdominal manifestations in patients with the infection. Therefore, the authors of this study set out to explore abdominal imaging findings in patients with COVID-19. [Related Study]

Why Meatpacking Plants Have Become Covid-19 Hot Spots – Wired

In Texas, the fastest growing Covid-19 outbreak isn’t in Dallas or Houston or San Antonio, the state’s most densely packed metro areas. It’s hundreds of miles to the north, in the dusty, windswept flatlands of Moore County, population 20,000. According to data reported Monday by the state health department, 19 out of 1,000 residents in Moore County have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19—10 times higher than the infection rates in the state’s largest cities.

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 May 12, 2020

WHO SITREP #112 ECDC Johns Hopkins
Confirmed Cases 4,006,257 4,137,193 4,215,514
Deaths 278,892 285,760 288,368


Total cases: 1,324,488
Total deaths: 79,756
(Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting.)

Surveillance Headlines


Navajo Nation: Coronavirus has been devastating, and help for a complex fight has been slow – Washington Post

Washington DC: White House Orders Staff To Wear Face Masks After New Coronavirus Cases – NPR

Lousiana: As COVID-19 tore through Louisiana nursing homes, these were hardest hit – Local News


Sweden: Sweden Revises Covid Strategy After Deaths of Elderly Spiral – Bloomberg

Russia: Health workers badly hit as Russia becomes coronavirus hotspot – ABC News

Russia: Ventilator fire blamed for Russia Covid-19 deaths – BBC

Moscow, Russia: A Coronavirus Mystery Explained: Moscow Has 1,700 Extra Deaths – New York Times


South Korea: Infections linked to Itaewon clubs reach 102 – Yonhap News

Science and Tech

COVID-19 Has Brought The World 50 Years Into The Future—Where We All Live Virtually – Forbes

2020 will always be remembered as the year that changed the course of human history forever. It is not that human beings never came across major transformations before. In fact, the whole human history is full of such transformations.

U.S. Officials: Beware Of China And Others Trying To Steal COVID-19 Research – NPR

As researchers around the globe race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, U.S. authorities are warning American firms to exercise extreme caution in safeguarding their research against China and others with a track record of stealing cutting-edge medical technology.

The Search for a Covid-19 Research Animal Model – Wired

Early in the morning, the day after Mardi Gras in New Orleans—an explosion of humanity unimaginable today, though it was only two months ago—a FedEx truck pulled up to a loading dock at Tulane University. Two people stood waiting. The driver pulled a cardboard box out from among the orders of shoes and toilet paper, and delivered it to the woman leading the pair. It contained a frozen vial filled with millions of particles of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that was at the same time silently making its way through the city all around them.


Coordinated strategy to accelerate multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates is key, NIH experts say – NIH

A harmonized and collaborative approach to the clinical testing, scale-up and distribution of candidate vaccines to prevent COVID-19 is essential, scientific leaders write in a perspective published today in Science. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, government, industry and academia have introduced a variety of vaccine candidates.

Let’s Say There’s a Covid-19 Vaccine—Who Gets It First? – Wired

The race to find a vaccine against Covid-19 is well underway. It has to be—without one, the Before Time is never coming back. More than a hundred candidates are cooking, most still preliminary. A handful are in early human studies, three in Phase II clinical trials designed to see if they actually confer immunity to the disease.


3-drug combo treatment may be successful – Medical News Today

A phase II clinical trial has found that a combination of three drugs — interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin — plus standard care is successful in treating mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19.

Stanford Medicine researchers lead clinical trial of interferon-lambda for COVID-19 – Stanford University

Scientists at Stanford Medicine are investigating whether a molecule called interferon-lambda can help people with mild cases of COVID-19 feel better and reduce their transmission of the disease-causing virus.

Economic Impact

Coronavirus Will Wipe Out These Three Industries For Good – Forbes

From No. 1. to BANKRUPT. In less than two years. My uncle used to be a chef in Australia’s top restaurant, Banc. The place was always packed. Regular customers included media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Published Research

Prevalence, Severity and Mortality associated with COPD and Smoking in patients with COVID-19: A Rapid Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – PLoS

Characteristics and Outcomes of Children With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Infection Admitted to US and Canadian Pediatric Intensive Care Units – JAMA

COVID-19 and Postinfection ImmunityLimited Evidence, Many Remaining Questions – JAMA

Association of Treatment With Hydroxychloroquine or Azithromycin With In-Hospital Mortality in Patients With COVID-19 in New York State – JAMA

Abdominal Imaging Findings in COVID-19: Preliminary Observations – Radiology

Estimating number of cases and spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using critical care admissions, United Kingdom, February to March 2020 – Eurosurveillance

COVID-19 and congenital heart disease in perspective – European Heart Journal

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

ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are expressed on the human ocular surface, suggesting susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection – BioRXiv

Coping in Quarantine

Tips on alleviating face masks’ rashes and skin irritations – Washington Post

Before the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Adam Friedman, professor and interim chair of dermatology at George Washington University, rarely wore a face mask. Today, working full days at the GWU outpatient facility, he wears one up to eight hours a day. As a result, his face has become perennially inflamed with an angry red rash.

This is what it will take to get us back outside – MIT Technology Review

At some point covid-19 will be vanquished. By early April some 50 potential vaccines and nearly 100 potential treatment drugs were in development, according to the Milken Institute, and hundreds of clinical trials were already registered with the World Health Organization.

Currently listening to the U.S. Senate Committee Testimony Webcast

The Miller Rooftop in Germany

So much talk about testing, vaccine, and Dr. Fauci’s voice is strained from restating the scientific facts. If history is an indicator of what is to come in regards to this pandemic, we have a long way to go before we can resume “normal” life. A popular American country singer has some advice on this topic. In fact, this song was played loudly from our rooftop in Germany (to the delight of our German neighbors!) nearly every Friday and/or Saturday night. German homes typically have no air conditioning in summer months, so the windows are wide open. Notice how many windows we had nearby.

Sailing Adventure in Greek and Turkish Islands

This song was our anthem every summer for four years. I’m pretty sure our immediate neighbors knew the words to this song before we left last October. With our dear friends we not only sang from our rooftop, we took this song on a week long 12 passenger sailboat cruise in the Greek and Turkish islands. The Captain of the sailboat floated gin & tonics out to us on a surfboard while we swam in the Aegean Sea. It was one of many adventures of a lifetime. When this pandemic ends, I highly recommend booking a trip of a lifetime to somewhere amazing, take your best friends and sing from the rooftops.





But wait, there’s more!

On the 200th birth anniversary (May 12th) of Florence Nightingale, a reader of the Tulane Outbreak Daily has contributed some prose to mark the occasion.

There was an amazing nurse called Flo,

Who, if alive today, could say “I told you so,

She first told us to stay 6 feet apart,

She told us to protect our healthcare workers from the start,

It’s been almost 200 years,

But we heeded not her fears.

And we realize too late in the fight,

That ole Flo was always right!

Latha Rajan
Clinical Associate Professor
Tropical Medicine, Tulane