Tulane Outbreak Daily | March 24, 2020

The majority of news outlets have made their content on COVID-19 available without a subscription. If you are unable to access one of the links I have posted, send an email and let me know. -Claudinne

Featured Headlines

There Is a ‘Tipping Point’ Before Coronavirus Kills – Bloomberg One in seven patients develops difficulty breathing and other severe complications, while 6% become critical. These patients typically suffer failure of the respiratory and other vital systems, and sometimes develop septic shock, according to a report by last month’s joint World Health Organization-China mission.

Life, or death? Experts guide pandemic medical equipment decisions – CIDRAP Healthcare systems face rationing of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, experts are offering recommendations to enable ethical allocation. Guidance rests on values of maximizing the benefits provided by scarce resources, treating people equally, encouraging and rewarding people who can save lives, and giving priority to people most in need, regardless of wealth or ability to pay. [Related Study NEJM] [Related Paper] [Guidance on this topic Lancet]

Diamond Princess had traces of coronavirus 17 days after ship emptied: CDC – ABC News Traces of the coronavirus remained inside cabins of the Diamond Princess for more than two weeks after the cruise ship was vacated, according to a report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Monday.

Europe Gets Serious About Lockdowns as Italy Slows Deaths – Bloomberg On the same day Italy finally saw a dip in the number of deaths from the coronavirus, the U.K. was forced into a full lockdown with Europe still scrambling for new ways to mitigate the devastating social and economic impact of the pandemic.

Medicine in the time of Facebook Groups – Bloomberg A Facebook group called the PMG COVID19 Subgroup, has 30,000 members worldwide. Learning from doctors in countries already ravaged by the virus, members of the group learned that the best chance of saving a Covid-19 patient is to turn almost immediately to ventilators after intubating the patient. If someone has respiratory failure, you skip oxygen and go straight to intubation.

20-Somethings Now Realizing That They Can Get Coronavirus, Too – New York Times More than 40 percent of those who have tested positive for the virus in New York City are between the ages of 18 and 44.

Stopping COVID-19: What Does Evidence Say Are Best Measures? – Science News  Travel restrictions, social distancing, what really works? A global analysis that modeled how travel restrictions have affected transmission revealed that a travel ban in Wuhan delayed the inevitable epidemic progression by only three to five days in Mainland China. [Related study]

From the U.S. HHS Surgeon General: ‘This week it’s going to get bad’ – CIDRAP  The Surgeon General of the United States, Jerome Adams, MD, said that this week could get bad for many Americans who will face a growing rise of COVID-19 cases in their communities. Residents of 13 states are now sheltering in place.

New York will be first state to test treatment of coronavirus with blood from recovered patients – NBC News The method dates back more than a century, but it has not been used widely in the United States in decades.

Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’ New York Times About 50 people gathered this month for a party in the upscale suburb of Westport, then scattered across the region and the world, taking the coronavirus with them.


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


Total (new) cases in last 24 hours

Globally: 332,930 confirmed (40,788) 14,510 deaths (1,727)
Western Pacific Region: 956,37 confirmed (850,3473 deaths (35)
European Region: 171,424 confirmed (20,131) 8,743 deaths (1,318)
South-East Asia Region: 1,776 confirmed (519) 58 deaths (13)
Eastern Mediterranean Region: 25,375 confirmed (1,706) 1,741 deaths (145)
Region of the Americas: 37,016 confirmed (17,331) 465 deaths (213)
African Region: 990 confirmed (251) 23 deaths (3)

As of March 23, 2020 (ECDC)

Confirmed Cases: 378,041
Deaths: 16,365
Cases < 15 Days: 267,840
For comparison, March 22, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 305,275
Deaths: 12,942
Cases < 15 Days: 203,152

Total cases: 33,404
Total deaths: 400
Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)

Travel Related: 449
Close Contact: 539
Under Investigation: 32,416
Total Cases: 33,404

Johns Hopkins University Upgrades COVID-19 Tracking Map With Local U.S. Data

About the Johns Hopkins Dashboard: In response to the ongoing public health emergency, hosted by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, was developed to visualize and track reported cases in real-time. The dashboard launched on January 22 and illustrates the location and number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries for all affected countries. Data collected and displayed is made freely available, initially as google sheets, now in a GitHub repository, along with the feature layers of the dashboard, which are now included in the ESRI Living Atlas. – Lancet

As of March 24, 2020
Total Confirmed Cases: 387,382
Total Deaths: 16,767
Total Recovered: 101,987

Surveillance Headlines


Illinois: 5 Chicago Hotels To House Those With COVID-19 – CBS Local

US health officials say 147 nursing homes have at least one resident with coronavirus – CNBC

New York: NY yesterday saw an increase of more than 4,000 confirmed cases since Sunday night, and the total number of cases is approaching 21,000. – New York Times 


Italy: Why have so many coronavirus patients died in Italy? – Telegraph


China: Wuhan to ease lockdown as world battles pandemic – BBC

South Korea: How ‘trace, test and treat’ may be saving lives – BBC


Somalia: Mogadishu’s refugees ‘waiting for death’ as Covid-19 reaches Somalia – Guardian

Travel Advisories

Look up current travel advisories at US Department of State

U.S. CDC Travel Advisories


Science and Tech

Coronavirus Could Be a ‘Chimera’ of Two Different Viruses, Genome Analysis Suggests – Science Alert Comparative genomic analyses have shown that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the group of Betacoronaviruses and that it is very close to SARS-CoV, responsible for an epidemic of acute pneumonia which appeared in November 2002 in the Chinese province of Guangdong and then spread to 29 countries in 2003.

COVID-19 and the 2003 SARS outbreak – Nebula.org SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 share many similarities. Both viruses originated in bats and share 80% of their genetic code. Furthermore, both viruses infect the respiratory tract using the same mechanism, and they cause similar symptoms. Researchers have identified genetic variants that are associated with susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV. It remains an open question whether the same genetic variants are also associated with susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection given the similarities between the two coronaviruses. 

Everything you need to know about chloroquine and vaccines – CNET A number of treatments and vaccines have been proposed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know about them.


Which Covid-19 drugs work best? – MIT Tech Review The first medical reports are in, but there’s no silver bullet for coronavirus infection yet.

Gilead’s potential coronavirus treatment gets FDA’s orphan drug label Gilead Sciences’ experimental drug remdesivir, seen as one of the more promising potential treatments for the coronavirus, on Monday received the orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


FDA updates COVID-19 testing guidelines to allow self-swab tests – Tech Crunch The FDA has updated its guidelines for COVID-19 testing procedures to make the process easier and less uncomfortable for patients, as well as to help limit the impact of testing on the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare workers, including protective masks, face shields, gloves and gowns.

Start-Ups Jump the Gun on Home Kits for Coronavirus Testing – NYT  After a federal warning, companies have stopped marketing kits that let consumers collect their own saliva or throat swabs and send them to labs.

Coronavirus tests: researchers chase new diagnostics to fight the pandemic – Nature Nature examines how viral diagnostic tests work, why testing has varied around the world and the CRISPR-based tests under development to fight COVID-19.

Published Research

Case-Fatality Rate and Characteristics of Patients Dying in Relation to COVID-19 in Italy – JAMA

Temporal profiles of viral load in posterior oropharyngeal saliva samples and serum antibody responses during infection by SARS-CoV-2: an observational cohort study – Lancet

A review of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) based on current evidence – Intl Journal of Antimicrobial Agents

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