- The disease is called COVID-19. It’s caused by an infection with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is one of multiple coronaviruses that can be transmitted to humans.
- Other examples of coronaviruses include SARS, MERS, and even the common cold.
- The United States currently has the highest number of confirmed infections and related deaths.
- Globally, there have been more than 23.7 million confirmed cases and over 814,000 associated deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
- The United States currently has the highest reported number of confirmed cases with more than 5.7 million. However, due to a lack of testing, the number of actual cases may be far higher.
- More than 177,000 people in the United States have died from the disease, and over 35,000 are currently hospitalized.
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A new study out this week finds evidence that a single superspreader event can have far-reaching consequences.
Researchers found that a medical conference in Boston in late February led to hundreds of cases across multiples states and continents, according to the preprint of a medical study on Medrxiv.
At the time, only 15 people had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States and social distancing measures had not yet been recommended.
At the Biogen medical conference, hundreds of attendees from across the globe met and mingled indoors for hours.
From that single conference, researchers were able to use a genetic mutation in the virus to detect the spread of COVID-19 to multiple locations. They found evidence that the viral outbreak at the conference led to 35 cases after the conference and then was introduced at a homeless shelter where 122 people developed the disease.
“We didn’t know better,” Dr. Jacob Lemieux, a physician and infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the study told the Washington Post. “The difference now is there is increasing scientific evidence to show what can happen from a single event like that. We do know better. So we need to learn the lesson.”
Researchers in Hong Kong have documented the first clearly proven case of COVID-19 reinfection, according to the New York Times.
For months, physicians and health experts have suspected that COVID-19 reinfection was possible, but this is the first time there’s clear proof.
Researchers report that a man was reinfected with COVID-19 about 4 months after first developing the disease.
Importantly, the man did not have symptoms during the second infection, suggesting that his immune system was able to effectively fight the virus even if it didn’t stop reinfection.
The study suggests that a vaccine will be needed in order to establish herd immunity against COVID-19 since reinfection is possible.
But experts say more research needs to be done to understand if this is a common occurrence.
According to the latest figures, more than 5.5 million U.S. residents have contracted the virus, and more than 174,000 have died from COVID-19.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates deaths will drop in the coming weeks, because mitigation measures like controlling crowds and shutting down bars work, reported CNN.
“It is important to understand these interventions are going to have a lag, that lag is going to be 3 to 4 weeks,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
“Hopefully this week and next week you’re going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop again,” he said.
Redfield pointed out the importance of maintaining prevention measures and expressed concern for the coming flu season.
He warned that this fall and winter could “be one of the most complicated public health times we have, with the two coming at the same time.”
But he emphasized that by maintaining physical distancing, mask wearing, and regular handwashing, we could make the coming flu season one of the least severe we’ve ever had.
Multiple college and professional athletes have said COVID-19 related heart issues have kept them from returning to competition.
Georgia State freshman Mikele Colasurdo was supposed to start as quarterback for this college football season, according to the Washington Post. However, he announced that he will sit out for the season due to a heart ailment that’s related to COVID-19.
In addition to Colasurdo, Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez said he will sit out the season due to myocarditis related to COVID-19. Indiana offensive lineman Brady Feeney is also out due in part to heart issues detected after a COVID-19 diagnosis, according to the Post.
Health officials have warned the FDA that they should avoid approving experimental convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 due to a lack of evidence.
According to a report in the New York Times, at least three health officials advised the FDA to hold off on approving using plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.
The officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and H. Clifford Lane, the clinical director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there wasn’t enough data to approve the treatment.
“The three of us are pretty aligned on the importance of robust data through randomized control trials, and that a pandemic does not change that,” Lane told the New York Times.
Convalescent plasma treatment works by obtaining plasma from people who have had a disease, in this case COVID-19. The plasma is then given to people battling the disease with the hopes that antibodies can help fight off the infection.
While it has been used to treat other diseases in the past, it’s not yet approved for COVID-19 treatment.
Multiple health centers are conducting clinical trials on convalescent plasma treatment but experts say there isn’t enough evidence the treatment works.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said the government struck a deal with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and would be able to provide a COVID-19 vaccine free to all citizens if it’s approved for use.
“Under this deal, we have secured early access for every Australian,” Morrison said, according to Market Watch. “If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians.”
Morrison also said the government wanted the vaccine to be as mandatory as possible and that he hopes the only exemptions will be on medical grounds.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that school officials in districts where there’s high cases of COVID-19 “better think twice” about allowing students to return.
Fauci spoke at a Healthcare Website town hall on August 18. He pointed out that since COVID-19 isn’t spreading uniformly throughout the country, some districts may be able to reopen safely.
However, multiple clusters of COVID-19 cases have been linked to schools reopening with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill announcing this week that they’ll go fully remote after multiple COVID-19 clusters were detected.
In areas where COVID-19 testing positivity rate is over 10 percent, Fauci said administrators should be wary of in-person instruction.
“You really better think twice before you do that because what might happen is what you’ve seen, you go in, people get infected, and boom they close them down,” he said speaking of schools closing shortly after reopening.
“It’s better to ease in with virtual until you see what’s going on when you’re in a really hot zone,” Fauci said.
An outbreak of COVID-19 in Maine has been linked to a wedding reception, according to CBS News.
The state reported that the outbreak was detected after 65 people attended a wedding reception on August 7.
At least 18 people who attended the reception later tested positive for COVID-19. Another 6 people who had close contact with those wedding attendees also tested positive.
This is the first outbreak in the state linked to a social event. Currently, the governor has banned events with over 100 people for outdoor events.
Weeks after the FDA revoked emergency approval to treat COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, a new study finds that the medication doesn’t protect people from disease.
The drug is approved to treat certain conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and was originally developed to treat malaria.
The FDA revoked emergency use authorization for the drug due to the increased risk of cardiac issues associated with the medication.
According to researchers from Case Western Reserve, people who take hydroxychloroquine are not more protected from COVID-19 than people who don’t take the medication.
The team looked at data from 36 health systems to see how people already taking hydroxychloroquine fared during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found that people taking the drug for other conditions weren’t less likely to develop COVID-19.
“Given how the study was structured, one can make an educated extension that it is not effective in preventing COVID-19 in people without those conditions. It is not uncommon for something to show promise in the lab, and then prove ineffective in the more complex biological landscape of humans,” Mendel Singer, PhD, MPH, lead author and vice chair for education in the department of population & quantitative health sciences at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine said in a statement.
A new study found that over 100 years after the deadly 1918 flu pandemic, the COVID-19 outbreak took a deadly toll on New York City.
Research published in
The researchers looked at the deaths over 61 days in 1918 and in 2020.
In 1918 there were 31,589 deaths for 5,500,000 residents, meaning about 287 deaths per 100,000 persons. In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, there were 33,465 deaths among 8,280,000 residents. This means there were 202 deaths per 100,000 persons.
This is in spite of all the medical and technological advancements of the last century.
Many tools were used in identifying and treating the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 that hadn’t been invented in 1918 when the field of virology was just starting.
But preventing the spread of disease is not so different from 1918. Experts still advise social distancing and wearing a mask.
Thousands of people are quarantining just weeks after schools started to reopen in parts of the United States.
More than 2,000 students, teachers, and other school staff are quarantining in 5 states, according to CNN. At least 230 COVID-19 cases have been reported.
While schools in Georgia made headlines after a photo of a crowded hallway went viral, other states are affected as well. People in Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Indiana, are also in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19.
School districts across the country have been grappling with how to educate students safely. Some districts have gone to online instruction only and others are trying out a hybrid of person and online instruction.
A new study has found that the virus that causes COVID-19 may be able to spread nearly 16 feet in certain spaces.
The researchers from the University of Florida looked at air samples from a hospital room where two patients with COVID-19 were being treated.
They were able to isolate viable SARS-CoV-2 from the air samples taken. The genetic sequence of the virus was identical to that of viral samples taken from one of the patients.
There are some caveats regarding the study including the fact that the research hasn’t yet been peer reviewed.
The concentration of airborne viral material in the room ranged widely in the samples taken, and it’s not clear that there would be enough viral material to be infectious.
Additionally, the results are likely not applicable for all public areas. A hospital room where two people are being treated for COVID-19 will likely have far higher amounts of SARS-CoV-2 than areas where people are not being treated.
Experts have been debating whether or not to call COVID-19 airborne for weeks. Earlier this summer hundreds of health experts asked the World Health Organization to consider if the virus could be considered airborne.
Despite not finishing vital medical trials, the Russian government said they will start administering a COVID-19 vaccine this fall, according to the New York Times.
The government hasn’t reported data from vital phase 3 trials where tens of thousands of people are given either the vaccine or placebo. Those trials are critical for verifying that a vaccine or medication is effective and for identifying potential side effects.
Health experts in the United States said they’re concerned that the vaccine could cause more mistrust in vaccines in general or give people a false sense of security.
Dr. Scott Gottleib, the former FDA commissioner, said that the news may be part of a Russian effort to undermine or cast doubt on a vaccine approved in the United States.
“Well, I wouldn’t take it certainly outside the clinical trial right now,” Gottlieb said on CNBC.
He also pointed out that a similar vaccine being tested in Canada hasn’t seen very promising results and that it’s not clear how effective this Russian vaccine is.
A major study found a significant number of children have tested positive for COVID-19 in just a couple of weeks.
Over 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks of July, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
This marks a 40 percent increase in pediatric cases.
In total, more than 338,000 children have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The AAP report was released as many school districts around the country grapple with starting the new school year. Some school districts in places like California and Chicago have said they will start school remotely.
Others are planning to have at least some students return to the classroom.
In Georgia, where classes have resumed in some districts, at least 9 COVID-19 cases have been reported in a school district that reopened last week.
When children develop COVID-19 they appear to have fewer severe symptoms than adults. However, they’re not immune to the virus and can spread the disease to other more vulnerable people.
Additionally, children can have serious and even severe symptoms of the virus. While rare, some children have died after developing COVID-19.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced August 7 that New York public schools can reopen if they’re in an area where the testing positivity rate is below 5 percent.
This means that public schools in New York City, the largest school district in the nation, could potentially reopen.
While New York was the original epicenter for COVID-19 in the United States, it now has some of the lowest infection rates in the country.
While Cuomo allowed schools to take steps to reopen, school districts will ultimately decide whether or not to reopen. They will then need to submit reopening plans to the state to get the final approval.
School reopenings in Georgia have already run into issues after some students and staff tested positive for COIVD-19 leading to more quarantines.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said officials may cut off water and power to houses if they see they’re hosting large gatherings in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garcetti said the order wouldn’t target small gatherings but places that have hosted large gatherings multiple times.
“These are focused on the people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us,” Garcetti said during a COVID-19 news conference, according to CNN.
Television news crews shot footage of a large party in the Hollywood Hills earlier this week and officials said it wasn’t an isolated incident.
Additionally, county health officials said they’re also investigating a potential superspreader event linked to three fraternities at the University of Southern California.
Los Angeles has been dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent months. Los Angeles County has nearly 200,000 reported COVID-19 cases and over 4,800 related deaths.
One day after reopening for the new academic year, a school in Georgia is disinfecting a classroom after a second-grade student tested positive for COVID-19.
The student’s class and teacher are currently quarantined and the school is being cleaned, according to NBC News.
The infection shows how difficult school reopenings are likely to be as COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States.
While many school districts don’t start the school year until later this month or September, schools in parts of Georgia have already reopened.
The reopened schools have already made headlines. A photo of a crowded hallway in a high school went viral on social media this week as it showed few students wearing masks.
California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Lousiana State Attorney General Jeff Landry are asking the federal government to step in and lower the cost for the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir.
The drug remdesivir is an antiviral and one of only a few treatments for COVID-19 that appears to decrease mortality.
The drug is produced by Gilead Pharmaceutical and is priced at about $3,200 per treatment.
Becerra and Landry want the federal government to get involved and license remdesivir to third party pharmaceutical companies in order to increase access and affordability.
Under the Bayh–Dole Act, the NIH and FDA are allowed to step in and ensure affordable access to a drug like remdesivir in an emergency.
“Americans ill from COVID-19 should have options in their medical treatment, and today’s petition will hopefully ensure they can access and afford remdesivir,” said Landry in a statement.
“Despite millions and millions of taxpayer-funded assistance, Gilead has neither established a reasonable price nor met the health and safety needs of the public,” he said. “So our bipartisan coalition is calling on the federal government to exercise its rights to help increase the supply of remdesivir and lower its price.”
A Norwegian cruise line is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 on a ship currently north of the Arctic circle.
The Hurtigruten cruise line reported that there are at least 41 people with COVID-19 on ship MS Roald Amundsen. The ship is currently far north in Norway.
According to CBS News, there have been 36 crew members and 5 passengers who developed COVID-19.
However, since the ship stopped at multiple ports in the far northern region of Norway, authorities are concerned that the virus could have been spread at multiple sites. They’re asking anyone who was in contact with people onboard the ship to reach out to local authorities.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told CNN on Sunday, August 2, that the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a new phase in the country with rural areas being affected in addition to urban areas.
“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus,” Birx said on CNN. “If you’re in multi-generational households, and there’s an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you’re positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities.”
Birx also said the virus was “extraordinarily widespread” and that schools shouldn’t open if they’re in states where the testing positivity rate is over 5 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Friday that a sleepaway camp for kids and teens became the site of a major COVID-19 outbreak, showing again that the disease can spread even among young people.
Nearly 600 camp counselors and campers attended the camp at the end of June. The camp had adhered to state rules designed to limit outbreaks, including mandatory negative COVID-19 tests for campers and counselors.
But while counselors had mask requirements, campers weren’t required to wear them.
Of the 597 campers and counselors present, at least 260 developed COVID-19. Camp counselors were most likely to contract the virus.
The researchers reported that this is another sign that the disease can spread among children, even if they are asymptomatic.
“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the research authors wrote.
“Asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission, as has been previously reported,” they said.
A new study out this week found that children may carry far more viral material in their nose and throat than adults.
The researchers found children had as much viral material in their swabs as adults — and sometimes up to 100 times more.
While other studies have found that very young children are less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19, this new research shows that these children are still very much at risk for spreading the disease.
Experts say these findings should be another factor that’s considered as the debate on opening schools continues.
“The school situation is so complicated — there are many nuances beyond just the scientific one,” Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who led the study, told the New York Times. “But one takeaway from this is that we can’t assume that just because kids aren’t getting sick, or very sick, that they don’t have the virus.”
Former presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after being hospitalized for COVID-19.
In a post on Cain’s website, the editor Dan Calabrese confirmed Cain’s death due to COVID-19.
“Herman Cain — our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us — has passed away,” Calabrese wrote. “We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight.”
“He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle,” continued Calabrese.
Cain’s death has put a spotlight on political rallies after he attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa which didn’t require attendees to wear a mask.
Cain was photographed at the event without a mask, but it’s unclear if he developed the disease while at the rally.
Cain, the former CEO of the Godfather pizza chain, made headlines when he ran for president in 2012. He was 74 years old.
COVID-19 cases are rising again in multiple parts of Europe, raising fears of a second wave.
Cases are on the upswing in Belgium, France, Germany, and Spain according to the Washington Post.
Some countries are pulling back again after reopening. In Spain, nightclubs and gyms are closed in Barcelona and a popular beach is also being closed.
In France, the government is now mandating that everyone wear face masks while in shops or indoor venues.
The Belgium Prime Minister has now outlined a variety of new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. These include limiting contact to people outside your home to only 5 other households. People can only stay inside a store for 30 minutes at a time, and they must shop alone.
A new study finds evidence that a drug originally designed to treat autoimmune diseases and types of lymphoma may help treat COVID-19.
Published in the journal
The study looked at infected cells in a lab so further tests need to be done in people to see if the drug is an effective way to combat COVID-19.
According to a press release by Yale University, the drug may also be combined with remdesivir to treat COVID-19.
A major vaccine trial is underway in the United States with researchers planning on involving at least 30,000 participants.
Those involved in the study will be divided into two groups with one group getting the experimental vaccine candidate and another group getting a placebo.
According to CNN, people who are part of the trial will get two doses of either the vaccine candidate or the placebo over 28 days to see how their immune system reacts.
A phase 3 trial is designed to verify that a medication or vaccine is effective, safe, and find out its effective dosage. The vaccine has been developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
This trial is just one of at least 2 dozen going on globally in the hunt to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Despite the early good news about a potential COVID-19 vaccine, it is possible this vaccine will not be approved for use.
In the past, many drugs can appear effective in phase 1 or 2 trials only to be found ineffective or dangerous in phase 3 trials.
Over 100 medical experts signed an open letter urging U.S. government leaders to shut down the country in an effort to stop COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The letter, posted by the U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Groups), cited climbing COVID-19 cases in multiple states as a reason to shut down again. According to the authors, without another shutdown it will be extremely difficult to stop the virus.
“We need that protocol in place until case numbers recede to a level at which we have the capacity to effectively test and trace,” the authors wrote. “Then, and only then, we can try a little more opening, one small step at a time.”
The authors said much more testing is needed to reopen safely.
“We currently have only 35 percent of the testing capacity we need to meet that threshold. The more people get sick, the more testing is required,” they wrote.
Additionally, they point out more contact tracers are needed to determine who has been exposed to the virus. They also said that more personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to safeguard medical professionals.
“If you don’t take these actions, the consequences will be measured in widespread suffering and death,” the authors wrote.
A new poll from the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that a large majority — or about 3 out of 4 Americans — support requiring people to wear masks while outside.
The study results come as the United States is seeing new record high cases of COVID-19. The country is nearing 4 million cases with over 140,000 deaths.
While mask wearing has become politicized, the study found that the majority of both Democrats (83 percent) and Republicans (58 percent) support mask requirements.
A vast majority of Americans — about 95 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of Republicans — say they’re donning face coverings when they leave their home.
Health authorities have supported wearing facial coverings like masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The American Red Cross announced July 22 that they’re running out of vital convalescent plasma used to treat people with COVID-19.
The plasma is taken from people who have already recovered from the illness and have crucial antibodies that can help fight the virus.
With the surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States, the Red Cross says there’s more demand for the plasma than supply.
“It is critical that COVID-19 survivors give their antibody-rich plasma now to ensure this blood product is available to help those actively battling this coronavirus,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of American Red Cross Biomedical Services said in a statement.
“Convalescent plasma has been used for decades as a potentially lifesaving treatment until virus or disease specific treatments and vaccines are developed,” Young continued. “It remains crucially important today in the fight against this COVID-19 pandemic.”
A lack of testing access has compounded the plasma shortage. If people are unable to be tested when they have the disease, they may not be able to donate plasma after they recover.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and want to donate plasma can learn more about the process here.
In just 2 weeks, at least 138,000 people have volunteered to be studied in COVID-19 vaccine trials, according to Forbes.
The National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) put out a call this month for volunteers to take part in vaccine trials this fall.
At least 120,000 people are needed to take part in four different vaccine trials that will examine the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
“While this early response is very gratifying, it is important to note that this is just a fraction of the number of people needed to participate in various trials and ensure adequate representation of various demographic categories,” a spokesperson for the NIAID told Forbes.
A study published July 21 in
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined samples from over 1,600 people in multiple states to look for signs of COVID-19 antibodies.
Researchers found the percentage of people with COVID-19 antibodies ranged widely from state to state with nearly 7 percent of people in New York having antibodies while only 1 percent of people in San Francisco having them.
Researchers estimate that the actual number of COVID-19 cases is likely 10 times higher than the recorded number, which may be due to people with mild or no symptoms.
“The findings may reflect the number of persons who had mild or no illness or who did not seek medical care or undergo testing but who still may have contributed to ongoing virus transmission in the population,” the study authors wrote.
Additionally, many people with symptoms have been unable to get tested for the disease due to a lack of supplies.
A new study published July 20 found that a commonly available treatment may help people with COVID-19 recover.
The treatment is interferon beta, a type of protein that’s traditionally used to treat people with multiple sclerosis. In the UK-based study, researchers had people with COVID-19 inhale the interferon beta.
The researchers reportedly found that people who were given the treatment had a 79 percent decreased chance of dying or having severe COVID-19. However, experts caution that the study was small with only 101 people involved. Additionally, researchers haven’t released full data, which has drawn criticism from experts, according to the New York Times.
Another study is being planned for the United States with around 400 participants.
The White House is telling hospitals to send important data on COVID-19 cases and deaths directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), bypassing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The HHS oversees the CDC.
The CDC has been collecting data on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths since the outbreak began.
Infectious disease experts told NPR they’re concerned that the agency is being ignored and politicized during the pandemic.
The CDC has long-standing relationships with hospitals nationwide and collects data from hospitals and state governments about a variety of infectious diseases including foodborne outbreaks and seasonal flu.
“It’s really hard not to see this as some kind of interference or snub [to] the CDC,” University of Arizona epidemiologist Saskia Popescu told NPR. “With so many concerns over the politicization of data right now, this is concerning.”
Governor Kevin Stitt announced yesterday that he has developed COVID-19.
Stitt said he had been getting tested periodically and that his symptoms were mild.
“I feel fine. I felt a little bit achy yesterday, didn’t have a fever but just a little bit achy,” the governor said, according to NPR. “So just did my regular testing and it came back positive.”
The governor had attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa Oklahoma last month, although it’s unlikely he contracted the virus at that event since it occurred nearly a month ago.
Stitt is the first U.S. governor to test positive for COVID-19. Other politicians to get the disease include Senator Rand Paul and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms.
Health officials are reporting a shortage of the medication remdesivir in areas where COVID-19 is surging.
The federal government is overseeing the distribution of the medication, originally developed to treat people for Ebola. However, according to CNN, physicians in areas hit the hardest by COVID-19 are reporting they don’t have enough of the drug.
In Texas, one hospital reported it had enough remdesivir for just 53 patients despite having admitted over 250 patients since mid-June.
Remdesivir, however, isn’t a highly effective drug against COVID-19. In early studies, experts found that it may decrease hospital stays by about 4 days.
Governor Gavin Newsom is now mandating a statewide shut down of indoor dining, places of worship, bars, and other establishments where COVID-19 could transmit easily.
The new shut down comes as the state has seen a surge of COVID-19 cases with over 9,000 cases in a single day (July 7).
In a press conference, Newsom said officials are worried that rural counties are running out of hospital beds.
“This virus is not going away any time soon,” Newsom said. “It’s incumbent upon all of us to recognize soberly that COVID-19 is not going away any time soon, until there is a vaccine and/or an effective therapy.”
Officials in New York City said there were no deaths linked to COVID-19 in a 24-hour period this Saturday.
This marks the first day with no COVID-19 related deaths in New York City since the outbreak accelerated in March.
The milestone is a glimmer of hopeful news in the fight against COVID-19 as much of the country is seeing a surge in cases.
In Florida this weekend, officials reported a record-breaking 15,299 COVID-19 positive tests in just 24 hours. This is higher than the previous record of 12,274 in New York at the height of that state’s outbreak in the spring.
A new study found that over half of people who had survived COVID-19 had signs of cardiac abnormalities.
Published in the European Heart Journal, researchers looked at data from 1,261 people who had been treated for COVID-19. The research subjects were between ages 52 and 71. About 70 percent of the patients were men.
The researchers found that slightly more than half of the total patients — or 667 people — had an abnormal echocardiogram.
Among people who didn’t previously have heart disease, about 46 percent had an abnormal echocardiogram.
The abnormalities seen included issues with the left and right ventricles of the heart and inflammation of the heart muscle.
About 15 percent of those studied had severe cardiac disease, including fluid around the heart muscle that can impact its ability to function.
The first person in the United States to get an experimental COVID-19 vaccine says she hasn’t had any side effects.
Jennifer Haller, 43, told KOMO News in Seattle that in the months since she was given the experimental vaccine she feels “fantastic.”
“It’s been 16 weeks since I had the first dose,” Haller told KOMO News. “I feel fantastic.”
The trial is run by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, and the experimental vaccine was developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health.
It uses messenger RNA in the hopes of priming the immune system to develop antibodies.
Haller said she’s still taking precautions, since it’s not clear if the experimental vaccine will provide immunity. During initial phase 1 trials, researchers look to make sure that the vaccine is safe.
A phase 3 trial is expected later this year that may shed light on how effective the vaccine is.
States that had shelter-in-place orders this spring helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
The new data was released as the United States is seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases after shelter-in-place orders were lifted in late May and early June.
But the report from Health Affairs found that those shelter-in-place orders likely saved many U.S. lives in the early months of the pandemic.
According to the report, between 250,000 and 370,000 lives were saved by May 15 as a result of shelter-in-place orders.
The report found that effects of physical distancing orders on COVID-19 cases and deaths were less clear.
With cases of COVID-19 hitting new highs in the United States, medical providers are again facing shortages of critical protective equipment.
Medical providers in states that are seeing surges — including Texas, Florida, and California — may be increasingly likely to contract the virus if they have to start reusing protective material like face masks or eyewear.
The New York Times reported that staff at a Houston hospital have been told to reuse N95 masks for over 2 weeks.
National Nurses United said that their members are reporting serious shortages of key equipment.
“We’re 5 months into this and there are still shortages of gowns, hair covers, shoe covers, masks, N95 masks,” Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United, told the Associated Press. “They’re being doled out, and we’re still being told to reuse them.”
At least 87 percent said they had to reuse respirator masks, and another 72 percent said they had exposed skin or clothing when treating patients, making them more susceptible to COVID-19.
According to a report from Kaiser Health News, nearly 600 healthcare workers in the United States have died after developing COVID-19.
The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has now topped 3 million in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins data.
U.S. disease transmission is accelerating, with 1 million people testing positive in just the last 28 days.
The new hotspots of the disease are in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California. Many of these states have started to pull back on reopening as the disease has spread more widely.
This new milestone comes as officials are trying to figure out how or if schools should reopen in the fall. President Donald Trump said he wanted schools to reopen and threatened to cut funding for schools that stayed closed.
While many people who develop COVID-19 recover within weeks, one woman says she still has symptoms of the disease months after she was first diagnosed.
Ann Wallace told CBS Boston that she was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in March and has had symptoms ever since.
Wallace, who has multiple sclerosis and survived cancer, told CBS that she has been to the emergency room 5 times and spent weeks unable to walk more than a few steps.
“For weeks on end I couldn’t get off my couch,” Wallace told CBS. “I would come downstairs in the morning, lie down on my couch. I would come downstairs because there I could be close to my refrigerator so I could get water or a snack, and I could be close to the bathroom… But I couldn’t take more than 10 or so steps at a time. If I did, I would feel myself start to black out. It is a terrifying virus to have.”
Wallace said she’s currently in pulmonary rehab but still feels burning in her lungs.
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Bolsonaro has been criticized by health experts for downplaying the pandemic. According to the Associated Press, as of July 7 more than 65,000 people in Brazil have died from the disease and more than 1.5 million have developed COVID-19.
Bolsonaro said he had fever, muscle aches, and malaise. He’s also taking the antimalaria medication hydroxychloroquine, despite recent studies finding it doesn’t help treat COVID-19 and can increase risk of irregular heartbeat.
In recent months Bolsonaro has been seen in crowds without a mask. He has also been critical of local leaders who wanted to shut down to stop the virus from spreading further.
The FDA is allowing the new test to be released under its emergency use authorization. This means that there’s evidence the test works and can be used due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it hasn’t yet been fully vetted by the FDA, so it’s not officially FDA approved.
The test from the medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Company is both portable and quick. Test results may be available within 15 minutes according to a company statement.
The test works by looking for signs of antigens to detect signs of SARS-CoV-2. These tests can detect viral proteins in the body.
Tony-nominated actor Nick Cordero has died after developing COVID-19 earlier this year. The actor died in Los Angeles after being hospitalized for over 90 days.
Cordero’s wife Amanda Kloots had been documenting his illness on social media. Kloots’ nearly daily updates on Cordero’s perilous condition helped put a face on the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cordero was seemingly healthy when he developed COVID-19 in March, and at 41 he didn’t appear to be at significant risk for complications. But after being hospitalized, the actor spent weeks on a ventilator and in an induced coma. He had to have his leg amputated and sustained severe lung damage according to his wife.
Cordero made a name for himself on Broadway in musicals like “Waitress” and “Bullets over Broadway,” which led to his Tony nomination. He’s survived by his wife and son Elvis.
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
Cain, 74, attended the campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20 without wearing a mask. On June 29, Cain tested positive for the coronavirus.
He developed symptoms serious enough to warrant hospitalization in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
Hospital officials say the 2012 presidential candidate isn’t on a ventilator and is “resting comfortably.”
Officials say it’s not known for certain where Cain contracted the virus, but they note his positive test result came 9 days after the Tulsa rally.
In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, young people are throwing COVID-19 parties, reports CNN. People with the virus are encouraged to attend so they can pass the virus on to others who are willing to contract it.
The first person to receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 reportedly wins the proceeds from ticket sales for the gathering.
“We thought that was kind of a rumor at first. We did some research — not only do the doctors’ offices confirm it, but the state confirmed they also had the same information,” said Sonya McKinstry, a Tuscaloosa City Council member.
In the past 2 weeks, 30 U.S. states and territories have experienced more than 25 percent of an increase in COVID-19 cases, reports NBC.
“We have dark clouds on the horizon,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a recent press briefing. “The situation across the country is getting worse, not better.”
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the United States could experience a massive spike in COVID-19 cases if more isn’t done to prevent its spread.
“We are now having 40,000 cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around,” Fauci told a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing.
A new tool can better compare transmission risk by region.
Danielle Allen, a professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and her colleagues at the Harvard Global Health Institute collaborating with scientists across the United States, have created an online COVID-19 risk assessment map.
“It allows you to compare a rural area in upstate New York compared to New York City and have an apples-to-apples comparison for relative impact and relative caseload,” said Ellie Graeden, PhD, the founder and chief executive officer at Talus Analytics and a faculty member at the Center for Global Health, Science, and Security at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Leaders of the European Union have announced that most travelers from the United States will be barred from entering when countries reopen their borders.
The European leaders said they’re taking the action because the spread of COVID-19 is still too prevalent in the United States.
They also said the list of countries from which travelers can arrive will be reviewed every 2 weeks and could be revised.
More time spent indoors to escape summer’s heat may increase risk of COVID-19, according to Edward Nardell, a professor of medicine and global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts.
“The states that, in June, are already using a lot of air conditioning because of high temperatures are also the places where there’s been greater increases in spread of COVID-19, suggesting more time indoors as temperatures rise,” Nardell told the Harvard Gazette.
“As people go indoors in hot weather and the re-breathed air fraction goes up, the risk of infection is quite dramatic,” he said.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, PhD, MSc, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), cautioned at a briefing, “Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.”
He explained that while many countries have used “unprecedented measures” to contain the virus, those measures have only slowed the spread — not stopped it.
Ghebreyesus concluded that “the hard reality is: this is not even close to being over.”
According to a recent Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report (MMWR) from the CDC, pregnant women may be at increased risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms that could require hospitalization.
The most recent CDC data suggests that pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized.
They also have an increased risk of being placed on a ventilator, compared with women who aren’t pregnant.
Government experts estimate that more than 20 million Americans may have contracted the new coronavirus — 10 times the official count.
This means more people without symptoms have gotten the virus than previously thought.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that he’s “cautiously optimistic” that we’ll have one or more effective COVID-19 vaccines available by the end of this year.
However, he warned “no vaccine is 100 percent effective,” but with COVID-19, he’d settle for 70 to 75 percent effectiveness.
June 25 saw 40,401 new U.S. cases of COVID-19, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
However, according to the CDC, those numbers are very likely understated.
“Every epidemiologist was telling, screaming as loud as we could, that three weeks after Memorial Day we’d have a peak in the cases, and five weeks after Memorial Day we’d begin to see a peak in hospitalizations and deaths,” epidemiologist Larry Brilliant told CNN.
“If you let everybody out without face masks and without social distancing in the middle of a pandemic, this is what was predicted,” he said.
Although COVID-19 typically resolves in weeks, a significant number “are still suffering with symptoms 3 months into the illness,” Dr. Helen Salisbury of University of Oxford wrote in the British Medical Journal.
Meanwhile, scientists are just beginning to understand the array of health problems caused by the coronavirus, which may affect both patients and health systems for some time.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that reopening will be paused as the state sees a major surge in COVID-19 cases.
The state reported 5,500 cases in a single day this week. Over 125,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state since the outbreak began.
Texas is one of many states seeing a massive uptick in COVID-19 cases. Arizona and Florida are also seeing major rises with each state seeing record numbers of cases this week.
California is also seeing a surge in cases with over 5,000 daily cases reported this week.
In all, 26 states are seeing some increase in COVID-19 cases.
While Abbott announced a pause in reopenings due to the disease, he said that he will not reimplement shutdowns.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” Governor Abbott said in a statement. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business. I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others.”
The funding for 13 COVID-19 testing sites is expected to be cut by the federal government, according to NBC News.
Federal funding for the sites will end June 30 even as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the United States.
Seven of the testing sites are in Texas which is seeing a spike in cases after reopening at the end of May. On June 23, state officials reported a new daily high of 5,000 cases.
Federal officials said they weren’t slowing down on testing and hundreds of sites will remain open.
“We have expanded from the original 41 sites to over 600 in 48 states and the District of Columbia in the federal bundled payment program to pharmacies, and enabled over 1,400 additional pharmacy sites through regulatory flexibility empowering pharmacists and facilitating billing and reimbursement,” Brett Giroir, the administration’s testing czar, told NBC News.
The other sites affected by the loss of federal funding are in Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.
President Trump made headlines this weekend after saying that he wanted to slow down testing. He later said he wasn’t joking about the statement.
The European Union may bar visitors from the United States due to rising COVID-19 cases, according to the New York Times.
The United States currently has the most reported number of COVID-19 cases in the world with over 2.3 million. Additionally, daily cases have begun to increase again in recent weeks as states have reopened.
According to the New York Times, if these rules are finalized, Americans would be barred from entering the European Union along with people from Brazil and Russia which have the next highest levels of COVID-19 cases after the United States.
Some essential travel between America and the E.U. would be allowed, according to the report.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, addressed the congress today to give an update in the fight against COVID-19.
Fauci, speaking at a congressional panel along with other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that the next 2 weeks will be critical to see if deaths are likely to increase.
While deaths from COVID-19 have been declining, cases of the disease have started to tick back up as states have reopened.
“The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states,” Fauci told the panel, according to the New York Times.
As cases have risen, Fauci also said that they will be doing more testing despite President Donald Trump saying at a rally he wanted officials to slow down testing.
“It’s the opposite. We’re going to be doing more testing, not less,” Fauci told Congress.
Fauci pointed out that doing more testing and surveillance is critical to know where infections are occurring.
Fauci also said health officials are “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine for COVID-19 may be available next year. Although he cautioned it would need to be tested in the real world before it’s fully approved.
Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the virus is still surging across the globe.
On Sunday, June 21, the
The center of the outbreak has shifted from Asia to Europe and now to North and South America.
Brazil reported over 50,000 cases in one day, while the United States reported over 30,000 cases.
While COVID-19 cases had been decreasing in the United States since a peak in May, in recent days, cases have started to increase again.
As states have reopened, COVID-19 hotspots have appeared in multiple states including Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
A new study out June 18 finds that using plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 is safe for people currently battling the disease.
The study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings involved 20,000 people and found that the treatment, called convalescent plasma, appeared to be safe for people with COVID-19.
The first group, about 5,000 people who received the plasma, had a mortality rate of around 12 percent in the subsequent week. In the early stages of the study, plasma was in short supply and people who received the treatment were severely ill.
As plasma became more readily available, people were able to get the treatment earlier in their disease when it’s more likely to be effective, and the mortality rate went down. However, it’s unclear if there were other advancements happening simultaneously that could also explain that change.
For the larger study, the mortality rate for people who received the plasma was under 9 percent, according to the Washington Post.
Because of the way the study was conducted, it wasn’t conclusively clear if the plasma helped lessen COVID-19 symptoms. There wasn’t a control group of people who didn’t receive treatment.
“You’d like to have the gold standard [of evidence] in something this important, and I feel like it always ends up here with this approach,” said Jeffrey P. Henderson, an infectious disease specialist at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Washington Post. “It’s pushed into action quickly, because there’s no other option, and there’s a theoretical reason in the moment that it works.”
Researchers say more studies are needed to determine if receiving plasma helped effectively treat people with COVID-19.
The epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak is now shifting in the United States from the east and west coast to southern and western states including Florida, Arizona, and Texas.
Texas reported an increase of 11 percent in COVID-19 cases in a single day with over 2,700 new cases reported on Wednesday.
Over 93,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the state and over 2,000 people have died from the disease, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
In Arizona, over 2,300 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday. Hospitals in the state are being put under pressure as well, with over 1,500 people hospitalized yesterday and at least 500 people in ICU beds, according to AZ Central.
Florida is also seeing a spike in cases with over 2,700 cases reported on Tuesday. In Florida, over 82,000 cases have been reported with more than 3,000 deaths.
At least 21 U.S. states are seeing an increase in cases, although former hotspots in New York and New Jersey are seeing their cases decline.
The FDA has revoked approval for a COVID-19 antibody test made by Chembio company.
These tests were supposed to detect antibodies that would indicate a past infection of COVID-19.
According to the FDA, initial data on the tests was adequate to give approval under emergency authorization. However, subsequent data on the tests found that they were not as accurate as initially thought and that they found high rates of false positives and negatives.
Many antibody tests were approved under the FDA’s emergency use authorization earlier this year, but experts have said it’s unclear how accurate these tests are.
Health officials in the United Kingdom said they will start using a common steroid to treat people with COVID-19 after a study reportedly found the drug could help improve outcomes for patients.
Researchers at Oxford University said that they’ve seen benefits from using a common cheap steroid called dexamethasone to treat people with COVID-19. The team announced the findings in a statement today, but haven’t yet released the findings in a published study.
However, the early reports have led health officials in the U.K. to conclude that they will use the steroid to treat people with COVID-19.
“This drug, dexamethasone, can now be made available across the NHS, and we’ve taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak,” UK prime minister Boris Johnson said, according to The Guardian.
According to reports from the researchers, the drug helped reduce the mortality rate for the sickest COVID-19 patients — those on ventilators — by a third. Other patients who took the drug had their mortality rate reduced by one-fifth.
The FDA is
The drugs, designed originally as antimalarial medication, have been studied as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
The drugs were also touted by President Donald Trump, who took hydroxychloroquine for 2 weeks, despite little evidence it could be used to prevent COVID-19.
Recent studies of the drugs have found little evidence it helped people with the disease. Additionally, the drugs are known to increase risk of cardiac complications.
California researchers say that a rare type of antibody may help them develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco and Stanford University are investigating neutralizing antibodies from people who have recovered from COVID-19, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Researchers say that just 5 percent of people with COVID-19 develop these antibodies. Additionally, these antibodies develop in low numbers, so researchers want to see if they can take enough of these antibodies to turn them into a serum that can be given to anyone.
More research needs to be done, but researchers hope they can use these antibodies to create a vaccine that can protect against SARS-CoV-2.
As protests against police brutality have taken place across the country, public health experts have been concerned that the virus that causes COVID-19 could spread.
This is especially true if people don’t wear masks, are unable to physically distance, or if the police arrest people and put them in jail cells where they’re unable to distance.
Now, public health officials in Kansas are reporting that a protester has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a march without wearing a mask.
“Similar to what we would ask anyone who goes out in public right now, we are asking anyone who attended the recent protest to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate if they become sick, as well as call their healthcare provider for next steps,” said Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Informatics Director, Sonia Jordan.
While cases are increasing rapidly in certain states, it’s likely that those increases are due to officials easing lockdowns and physical distancing measures.
Due to the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2, which can be up to 2 weeks, an outbreak of COVID-19 linked to protests is unlikely to be identified until later this month.
The CDC has given new guidance about how to get back to normal activities and stay safe.
In a call with reporters, CDC officials gave tips on how to safely go to the bank, have a cookout, and stay in a hotel, according to the Washington Post.
The CDC recommended people only use drive up windows or ATMs for banks, for cookouts people should bring their own food and beverages and maintain physical distancing.
If you’re going to a hotel or motel this summer, get ready to use the stairs. The CDC is advising people to avoid the elevator unless necessary.
Additionally, the CDC has advice for large gatherings.
Among the recommendations, they say planners should broadcast tips on staying safe, cut down on the number of attendees to decrease the risk of viral transmission, and limit attendance to people who live in the area so the virus is unlikely to spread far if there is an outbreak.
A formerly healthy woman in her 20s who developed COVID-19 underwent a successful lung transplant, according to physicians at Northwestern Medical Center.
The woman, whose name hasn’t been released, had been hospitalized for weeks after developing COVID-19.
Doctors not only put her on a ventilator, they had to put her on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine that oxygenates her blood, essentially doing the work of her lungs.
After putting her name on the organ transplant list, they had a match within 48 hours.
The patient is now in stable condition and her health is improving, the physicians said.
Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the lung transplant program at Northwestern Medical Center, said the patient is awake and talking.
“Yesterday, the patient smiled and told me ‘Thank you for not giving up on me,'” Bharat said via the Northwestern Medical Center Twitter. “There’s nothing more gratifying to hear. This is why we do what we do.”
The U.S. government will fund three major studies on potential COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Each trial is a phase 3 trial — traditionally the last phase before a medicine or vaccine can be approved for use — often involving thousands of volunteers.
The three trials are being conducted by three different pharmaceutical companies each looking at a different vaccine candidate. According to CNN, the studies will start with Moderna’s trial in July and then an Oxford/AstraZeneca’s trial in August.
Early successes in phase 1 and phase 2 trials don’t mean any of these vaccine candidates will be successful in their phase 3 trials.
However, due to the number of vaccine candidates being tested, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Healthcare Website this week that he’s cautiously optimistic there may be a viable COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
“Hopefully by the end of this year we will develop a vaccine we can deploy,” he told Healthcare Website. “We can never guarantee that. You can never, ever guarantee the success of a vaccine. We just have good experience to know that we are aspirationally, cautiously optimistic that we will have one by the end of the year.”
A U.S. government official said that doses of the country’s supply of the drug remdesivir may soon run out.
The drug has been granted emergency approval to treat COVID-19 and early research finds it may offer modest benefit against the disease.
Dr. Robert Kadlec, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official, told CNN that the government supply of remdesivir may soon run out. The government has been distributing doses of the medication to hospitals across the country.
Kadlec told CNN that the last shipment of the drug from the government will go out at the end of the month and that they’re talking to the drug’s manufacturer Gilead about when they can expect new supplies.
“Right now, we’re waiting to hear from Gilead what is their expected delivery availability of the drug as we go from June to July,” Kadlec told CNN. “We’re kind of not in negotiations, but in discussions with Gilead as they project what the availability of their product will be.”
A new study finds that over half a billion COVID-19 cases were likely prevented by a variety of lockdowns in six countries including the United States and China.
Published June 8 in
Specifically in the United States, the study found that lockdown measures, which occurred to some degree in nearly all states, helped stop the spread of the disease and that 60 million COVID-19 cases were likely avoided.
“Without these policies employed, we would have lived through a very different April and May,” Solomon Hsiang, director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of the study, told the Washington Post.
He said the shutdowns and other mitigation measures were “saving more lives in a shorter period of time than ever before.”
Brazil currently has over 614,000 reported cases of COVID-19, second only to the United States in total cases.
There have been 34,000 deaths in the country. This week there were over 1,300 deaths in a single day, according to NBC News.
Only the United States and the United Kingdom have reported higher daily death rates.
President Jair Bolonsaro has been criticized for downplaying the pandemic. One health advisor was fired after disagreeing with Bolonsaro about how to respond to the disease.
The misuse of cleaning supplies is likely among people trying to avoid contracting the virus during the pandemic. Experts say that physical distancing, wearing a mask, and regular handwashing are all key to avoid spreading the virus.
In the survey of 502 people, nearly 20 percent said they had put bleach on food, 18 percent said they had used household cleaners on their skin, and 10 percent said they had misted themselves with disinfectant.
Additionally, 6 percent said they had inhaled cleaners and 4 percent said they had ingested or gargled cleaners like bleach.
This exposure to household cleaners led to a quarter of respondents saying they had negative health effects.
The Lancet medical journal has retracted a study on hydroxychloroquine that made headlines last week.
Researchers, who published the study looked at more than 96,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
The study was retracted due to data used in the study that had not been directly obtained by the researchers themselves. In their retraction letter the researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said they worked with the company Surgisphere Corporation to obtain data. After other medical experts raised concerns about the company, the researchers conducted a review of the data. However, the Surgisphere Corporation would not give the full dataset to the reviewers meaning they could not do a full independent analysis of the data leading them to retract their study.
In the now-retracted study, the drug had been found not to improve people with COVID-19 and more people died after taking the drug.
Additionally, the New England Journal of Medicine also reacted a study on COVID-19 and cardiovascular health since it also used data from the company.
Unlike the studies mentioned above, a new study released today has not been retracted.
The large study found that taking hydroxychloroquine wasn’t effective as a prophylactic treatment against COVID-19.
Researchers looked at 821 people with no symptoms of COVID-19. Over 87 percent had close contact with someone with the disease.
About half of the people — 414 — were given hydroxychloroquine and the other participants were given a placebo.
Researchers found the infection rate among the two groups was statistically similar, meaning hydroxychloroquine didn’t show any ability to protect people from contracting the virus that causes COVID-19.
They found side effects were more common in people taking hydroxychloroquine but there was no major reactions reported.
A new study found that plasma from people who recovered from COVID-19 may be an effective treatment for the disease.
The small study published on June 2 in The American Journal of Pathology examined 25 patients with severe or life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19. The patients were given plasma infusions from 9 donors who had already recovered from the illness.
The primary goal of the study was to see if plasma transfusions were safe. The researchers found no adverse events from the transfusion in 24 hours after it was administered.
Additionally, the researchers reported that 19 of the 25 patients improved after being given the plasma infusions. Three deteriorated and one patient died from causes unrelated to plasma infusion.
“While physician scientists around the world scrambled to test new drugs and treatments against COVID-19, convalescent serum therapy emerged as potentially one of the most promising strategies,” Dr. James M. Musser, PhD, chair of the department of pathology and genomic medicine at Houston Methodist and corresponding author for the study, said in a statement.
“With no proven treatments or cures for COVID-19 patients, now was the time in our history to move ahead rapidly,” he said.
A major study published Thursday, May 28 found a 13 percent fatality rate for people with cancer who contract COVID-19.
Even for people whose cancer was relatively stable had double the risk of death if they contracted the disease.
“The death rate for this group of patients as a whole was 13 [percent] more than twice that reported for all patients with COVID-19… Certain subgroups, such as patients with active (measurable) cancer and those with an impaired performance status, fared much, much worse,” said Dr. Jeremy Warner, MS, associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University, the study’s corresponding author in a statement.
However, the team didn’t find that undergoing treatment for cancer, including chemotherapy or having surgery, impacted the risk of dying by COVID-19.
They advised that these treatments shouldn’t be delayed due to the pandemic since it can cause worse outcomes for patients.
The CDC has released
Among their recommendations, the CDC advises companies to assess the building itself to make sure it has enough ventilation to prevent the virus from recirculating. Additionally, they advise separating workspaces and desks so people can maintain 6 feet of separation at all times.
They point out that staggered start times, temperature checks, and disinfecting common space areas can also cut down on risk of transmission.
Even with all these safeguards, the CDC recommends all workers wear face masks to protect themselves and others from aerosolized viral particles.
Health officials are reporting that young adults, including people in their 20s, have developed symptoms of a rare syndrome now linked to COVID-19.
Officials had initially only seen this rare syndrome called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) in children. It appears to be similar to Kawasaki disease, which is characterized by inflamed blood vessels.
Experts believe this new rare syndrome, where inflamed blood vessels cause symptoms including severe abdominal pain, rash, and difficulty breathing is related to COVID-19.
One physician told the Washington Post that young adults with the syndrome appear to have more severe cases than children.
As the United States starts to reopen, new research looks into the devastating impact of waiting to implement lockdowns when the virus first started to spread.
Researchers from Columbia University looked at lockdown measures in the United States and the spread of the virus. While the nation was never completely locked down, widespread shelter-in-place orders started in mid-March.
The preprint of the research reports that if wider lockdown measures had been implemented 2 weeks earlier on March 1 over 53,000 lives could have been saved.
Pharmaceutical company Moderna reported positive results on phase 1 testing of a potential vaccine for COVID-19.
Phase 1 testing is designed to look at the safety of the vaccine. The company reported that they’ve seen evidence that people developed antibodies to COVID-19 and that early results show the vaccine is likely safe.
However, this is just a phase 1 trial and in order for the vaccine to be approved for use, it will need to be successful in phase 2 trials that look for efficacy and phase 3 trials that look at the appropriate dosage.
Additionally, another pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, said they would start to produce vaccines even before they’re proven successful so that there won’t be a shortage of the product if it is approved for use.
The company is currently working with Oxford University and investigating an experimental vaccine that’s still being tested for safety and efficacy.
AstraZeneca said they’ll produce and earmark at least 70 million doses of a potential vaccine for the United States in case it’s approved for use.
Officials from the WHO said that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 may never go away.
During a briefing on May 13, WHO emergencies expert Dr. Mike Ryan warned reporters that the public needs to be ready to deal with the virus for the long term.
“I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear,” he said. “I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be.”
While dozens of potential vaccines are being studied, there’s no guarantee they’ll work effectively enough to eliminate the virus.
Early research finds that certain antibodies in llamas may help combat the virus that causes COVID-19.
A study published this week in the journal Cell found that antibodies taken from a llama were engineered to fight the new coronavirus. These special antibodies were effective in a lab setting at neutralizing the virus.
The research is still in the early phases, but if successful it could mean that llama antibodies could help protect people from developing a severe case of COVID-19.
New studies find children are just as likely as adults to spread the new coronavirus. These early findings could make potential school openings especially fraught.
A German study, which is not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, looked at 60,000 people with COVID-19 in addition to 47 children with the disease. The team found that children had just as much viral load or even higher amounts of viral load than some adults.
This early research focusing on how children can spread the virus could be pivotal in helping officials combat a second wave as some states weigh loosening shelter-in-place orders.
Another study out of China found that school closures drastically helped lower transmission of the virus and lessen the severity of the outbreak.
“While proactive school closures cannot interrupt transmission on their own, they can reduce peak incidence by 40-60 percent and delay the epidemic,” the authors said.
Experts point out this is early research and more information is needed.
“Are any of these studies definitive? The answer is ‘No, of course not,’” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University. But, he said, “to open schools because of some uninvestigated notion that children aren’t really involved in this, that would be a very foolish thing.”
A new study in
The two hospitals in Wuhan, China are at the center of the outbreak in that country. Researchers found evidence of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 in the toilet area and in areas prone to crowding.
The study has given more information about whether the virus is easily transmitted through the air. Researchers said proper ventilation and disinfection may help stop the virus from spreading in other similar areas.
In late March, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital noticed something strange happening to patients’ blood, reported Reuters.
“Across New York City, we were seeing a large number of strokes and that these strokes were extremely concerning, and they were blocking big vessels to the brain,” Dr. J. Mocco, a Mount Sinai neurosurgeon, said in an interview.
Reuters also reported that under a new protocol, higher doses of a blood thinner normally used to dissolve clots will be given to COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai before any clots are detected.
“We’re seeing clots everywhere, high rates of clots in veins of the legs. So, across the board, for sure, we all believe that — and there’s objective evidence that this disease increases clot formation,” Mocco said.
The American Society of Hematology has noted COVID-19-associated clotting.
Its guidance to physicians states the benefits of blood-thinning therapy for those patients not already showing signs of clotting are “currently unknown.”
The FDA is reiterating its
The warning comes as serious side effects were noted during medical studies of the drug on people with COVID-19.
Some of the patients had serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms and some even died.
The deaths of two people with COVID-19 in California has shed new light on when SARS-CoV-2 was first circulating.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner reported Tuesday, April 21, that two people who died at home in early February had the virus. The cases were identified after the medical examiner tested samples from the patients for COVID-19 due to their flu symptoms.
Both of these people likely developed the disease via community spread and not from travel.
The first death occurred on Feb. 6 and the second on Feb. 17. Previously, the first known U.S. death from COVID-19 was said to occur in Washington state in late February.
“What these deaths tell us is that we had community transmission probably to a significant degree far earlier than we had known and that indicates that the virus was introduced and circulating in our community far earlier than we had known,” Santa Clara Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody told reporters.
A study published April 7 found that the arrival of spring and summer weather likely won’t stop the spread of the virus.
The study was published after a panel from the National Academies of Sciences reviewed data from around the world about the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Past pandemics such as the 1918 influenza outbreak have often waned dramatically in the summer with warmer temperatures and higher humidity helping to stop the spread of the virus, at least temporarily.
However, officials say in this new report there’s no sign that changes in temperature nor humidity will have a big effect on COVID-19.
In part, the panel found that because the virus is new and people don’t have natural immunity, they’ll be more susceptible to contracting the virus throughout the year.
The panel did say more research would be needed and there’s a chance the viral spread may slow somewhat during the summer months even if it doesn’t stop.
“There is some evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may transmit less efficiently in environments with higher ambient temperature and humidity,” the panel wrote, according to the Washington Post. “However, given the lack of host immunity globally, this reduction in transmission efficiency may not lead to a significant reduction in disease spread.”
The FDA announced April 2 that they’re relaxing restrictions that prohibit many gay and bisexual men from donating blood or plasma.
The FDA will now allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they haven’t had sex with a man in the last 3 months. Previously, there was a ban on giving blood for men if they had sex with another man within the previous year.
Prior to 2015, any man who had ever had sex with another man was banned from donating blood or plasma.
U.S. intelligence believes that China may have downplayed the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Bloomberg News.
According to the report, China “intentionally” reported false numbers about the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak.
While the intelligence report itself hasn’t been revealed, certain government officials and experts say a lack of transparency about the actual data may have impacted how countries prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The medical community made — interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, who’s coordinating the White House response to the outbreak, according to Bloomberg News.
“Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain,” she said.
This comes one day after China reported that an additional 1,500 asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 hadn’t been counted in national totals.
No, the new coronavirus is not the flu. In fact, it can present very differently from that seasonal virus.
We spoke to experts about how you can identify the different symptoms for COVID-19, the flu, and spring allergies.
Conducted by German researchers, though not yet peer-reviewed, the findings suggest that viral shedding occurred in high levels from the throat during early phases of illness for the patients studied.
However, the rate of shedding dropped after the fifth day in all patients except for two experiencing signs of pneumonia. They continued to shed COVID-19 at high levels until the 10th or 11th day, according to researchers.
“The present study shows that COVID-19 can often present as a common cold-like illness. SARS-CoV-2 can actively replicate in the upper respiratory tract, and is shed for a prolonged time after symptoms end, including in stool,” the study authors wrote.
Scientists also found that people with COVID-19 may shed over 1,000 times more virus than emitted during peak shedding of the 2003 SARS infection. They say this could explain why COVID-19 has spread so rapidly.
Public health experts have advised people to stop touching their faces to cut down on the risk of contracting the new coronavirus. But that’s easier said than done.
We talked to experts who told us how we can train ourselves to avoid touching our face constantly. More information can be found here.
As the outbreak continues to spread, there are ways you can prepare. Among them is simply stocking up your medicine cabinet with over-the-counter cold and flu medications.
While they can’t cure the virus, they can help relieve symptoms of mild cases.
Researchers are studying how people with the virus shed it and what impact it’s having on affected populations.
Testing and confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 is currently carried out by oral swabs. But research published Feb. 17 in Emerging Microbes & Infections finds evidence that there’s an oral-fecal transmission route.
The scientists reported that viruses’ genetic material can be detected in both anal swabs and blood samples. Crucially, evidence of the new coronavirus was found in anal swabs and blood — even when it wasn’t detected using oral swabs.
According to the study, this was particularly true for those patients receiving supportive care for several days.
Experts are still investigating, but early research suggests the virus originated in bats and then was transmitted to humans via an intermediary animal.
What’s the intermediary animal? Potentially a snake or type of anteater called a pangolin.
A global outbreak is frightening enough for adults. For kids, it can be overwhelming.
We talked to experts about the best way for parents to talk to their kids about what’s going on and how to reassure them.
Parents should also check in with themselves and consider how their fears may be influencing their children.