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COVID 19

COVID-19 news, 31 May – 06 June 2020

It’s 07 June, day 139 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.  Although most of us have been living on pause for months, in the past two weeks a great many of us (around the world) have decided that calling attention to racial injustice in the United States is worth taking a risk and congregating outside.

It’s 07 June, day 139 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.  Although most of us have been living on pause for months, in the past two weeks a great many of us (around the world) have decided that calling attention to racial injustice in the United States is worth taking a risk and congregating outside.

Today marks the 13th consecutive day of protests, across the US.

Last weekend demonstrators in Amsterdam, Berlin and London; Rio de Janerio and Buenos Aires; Auckland and Sydney; and Nigeria and Kenya protested police brutality in the United States, choosing to risk exposure to COVID-19 in the cause of justice.

📆This past week…

Last week’s COVID-19 political news:

✅ Dana Smith wrote a meticulously researched essay which suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is a “vasculotropic virus,” one that attacks blood vessels. Then this week, we learned that people with Type A blood may have elevated risk from respiratory complications.

❌ ✅ On Thursday, the Lancet retracted a study that linked hydroxychloroquine to higher mortality and heart problems in COVID-19 patients due to questions about its data. A different hydroxychloroquine study from the University of Minnesota showed that the drug does not prevent infection in people who have been exposed.

❌ “As we say in Tennessee, ‘That dog won’t hunt’ — it didn’t work,” said William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Schaffner, who was not involved in the trial, praised it as “rigorously done.”

Hydroxychloroquine failed to prevent healthy people from getting coronavirus in trialStars and Stripes, 03 June 2020.

❌ An anti-corruption watchdog group is calling on the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to investigate top executives at the biotech company Moderna for allegedly manipulating the stock market and possible insider trading.

Watchdog group wants SEC to investigate coronavirus vaccine company ModernaThe Hill, 03 June 2020.

📣 Missed last week, the 30 May 2020 cover story of The Economist magazine (should be accessible with email signup, five free articles/month).

The official death rate in America is about the same as in the European Union—which also has excess deaths, but has less erratic leaders and universal health care. Overall, America has fared a bit worse than Switzerland and a bit better than the Netherlands, neither of which is a failed state.

 

It continues to be difficult to focus on COVID-19 because of the death of George Floyd.

Details follow from this week’s COVID-19 newsletters.
Also see, around the country in charts (31 May).

📝 Subscribe to Kathy’s COVID-19 Memo :: COVID-19 Memo archives

 

06 June, Saturday

It’s day 138 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.

❌  Florida, North Caroline and Texas reveal three patterns but one conclusion: cases are increasing. Also in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott continued to open the state on Wednesday and shared disinformation about hospitalizations.

❌ The Friday jobs/unemployment report was wrong (overly sunny).

You may have read the glowing stenographic reports on unemployment data this week. Both the people touting the gain and the people who are supposed to read fine print lied to you, one intentionally, the other through oversight.

Blood type may be a factor in disease severity.

Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator…

If you read only one journalist on COVID-19, make it Ed Yong.

When I spoke with LeClerc on day 66, she was still experiencing waves of symptoms. “Before this, I was a fit, healthy 32-year-old,” she said. “Now I’ve been reduced to not being able to stand up in the shower without feeling fatigued. I’ve tried going to the supermarket and I’m in bed for days afterwards. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.” Despite her best efforts, LeClerc has not been able to get a test, but “every doctor I’ve spoken to says there’s no shadow of a doubt that this has been COVID,” she said. Today is day 80.

COVID-19 Can Last for Several MonthsThe Atlantic, 04 June 2020.

Important thread (and story) on tear gas from environment reporter Lisa Song at ProPublica. Reminder: tear gas is banned in international warfare. But cops use it across the country with what seems like little provocation.

Protests:

 

05 June, Friday

It’s day 137 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. Florida’s case load began to increase after 01 May. The state began “re-opening” on 04 May.

Contrary to a headline and assertion from Newsweek, the largest per-day report for the state of Florida was 1,575 on 03 April. Here we are with 1,419 on 04 June, two months later. The fact that these numbers are so close, after two months, is the story of poorly contained community spread.

The sharp increase in (average) daily cases this past week (incomplete without Saturday’s data) reflects infections which occurred around the Memorial Day weekend (based on a 7-14 day incubation to symptom cycle).

 

04 June, Thursday

It’s day 136 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.

Yes, you should wear your mask!

We understand that some people are citing our Perspective article (published on April 1 at NEJM.org)1 as support for discrediting widespread masking. In truth, the intent of our article was to push for more masking, not less.

Universal Masking in the Covid-19 EraNew England Journal of Medicine, 03 June 2020.

 

“As we say in Tennessee, ‘That dog won’t hunt’ — it didn’t work,” said William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Schaffner, who was not involved in the trial, praised it as “rigorously done.”

Hydroxychloroquine failed to prevent healthy people from getting coronavirus in trialStars and Stripes, 03 June 2020.

 

An anti-corruption watchdog group is calling on the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to investigate top executives at the biotech company Moderna for allegedly manipulating the stock market and possible insider trading.

Watchdog group wants SEC to investigate coronavirus vaccine company ModernaThe Hill, 03 June 2020.

 

03 June, Wednesday

It’s day 135 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. There has been a marked increase in reported deaths, both in daily and seven-day average reports (Johns Hopkins dashboard).

Despite their fears of infection, and statistics showing Black communities are among the hardest hit, many Black men feel wearing a mask is a bigger threat than the coronavirus. Just as they are more likely than white people to be stopped and frisked, to be pulled over for traffic violations, and to be charged with drug crimes, Black individuals also appear more likely to be targeted by police for simply wearing masks. In a heartbreaking calculus, many are choosing not to wear them at all.

‘Which death do they choose?’: Many Black men fear wearing a mask more than the coronavirusSTAT News, 03 June 2020.

 

02 June, Tuesday

It’s day 134 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.

In April, survey participants in 11 countries trusted government more than business when the issue was COVID-19.

 

🏥 From the east coast to the west coast, protests are interfering with COVID-19 testing. In Florida, one test site closed because the National Guard unit running the site was called away to help law enforcement elsewhere.

In some large cities, testing sites were closed or had reduced hours because of active protests. Half of the tests sites in Los Angeles closed on Monday due to safety concerns. All community testing sites were closed in Illinois.

❌ Trump’s plan to get corporations to host drive-up COVID-19 testing has gone about as well as that website we were also promised on 13 March. PolitiFact checked in on 09 April; not much to report.

🏥 In Louisiana, three-out-of-four patients who tested positive for coronavirus in the Ochsner Health System hospitals were black. Yet the Ochsner Health population is 31% black non-Hispanic and 65% white non-Hispanic. New England Journal of Medicine.

❌ CNN seems to have followed up from that STAT News interview I told you about yesterday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most prominent members of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Monday that he has not spoken to or met with President Donald Trump in two weeks.

📣 Data from state departments of health have now crossed 100,000 deaths. Let this be a reminder that these almost-real-time data are squishy. Unless your job is forecasting how many supplies or staff you might need at a hospital, the data are most useful for trends. And remember to consider rolling averages.

01 June, Monday

It’s day 133 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.

Protests and disease are not as dissimilar as you might think

❌ The US is sending 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil. A drug that has been shown to cause more harm than good for COVID-19 patients. Because the leaders of both countries think they know more than their scientists.

▪️ Trump postponed the G7 Summit until September. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would not come to Washington DC. He also said he was going to invite Australia, Russia, South Korea and India because the current list is a “very outdated group of countries.” The Group of Seven: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US.

📣 As if we didn’t have enough on our plates, the Atlantic hurricane season is here. Residents and public health officials in high-risk areas are planning how to juggle potentially two concurrent crises

 

31 May, Sunday

It’s day 132 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.

✅ The Supreme Court has rejected a request by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church for an exemption to California’s limit on public gatherings. Chief Justice Roberts joined with liberal justices for the 5–4 decision.

❌ It will come as no surprise that someone who attended the crowded Memorial Day festivities at Lake of the Ozarks, MO, has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The person was “probably infectious” on Memorial Day. The Camden County (MO) Health Department uses Facebook for its news releases.

❌ On Sunday, Alaska reported the most new cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began: 27. Not quite half were at a “transitional care facility in Anchorage… People stay at the facility between hospital stays after an injury, surgery or long illness before going home.” This is not a senior care facility. Alaska began reopening a week ago.

❌ For the fourth day in a row, Utah has reported a large increase in reported cases: 264 on Sunday; 269 on Saturday; 343 on Friday; and 215 on Thursday. On 14 May, the governor allowed all businesses to open. “We’ve plateaued.” That was premature.

❌ South Carolina reported more than 1,000 new cases in three days. Friday, then Saturday, set a record for the largest number of coronavirus cases confirmed in a single day. On 11 May, the Governor allowed restaurants to reopen.

❌ Texas has had a marked jump in reported cases, with numbers going up over the weekend instead of dropping. Texas began reopening on Friday 01 May.

In private, [Texas Gov. ]Abbott has acknowledged that his decision to reopen is likely to cause an increase in coronavirus cases… “The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission. The goal never has been to get transmission down to zero.”

… Infectious disease experts predict the average daily Covid-19 positive test rate in Texas could rise from 1,053 at the beginning of May to up to 1,800 by June.

On Sunday, Texas reported 1,949 new cases in the prior 24 hours. This is the most cases reported in a single day. Sunday’s reported cases were 5.4% greater than Saturday; nationally, cases went up only 1.1%.

❌ With no advance notice, the Trump administration has removed a warning that singing in choirs can spread the coronavirus which was part of the CDC’s pandemic re-opening guidance for churches and faith communities. The case study about Skagit County’s super-spreader event at a choir practice remains on the website.

💩 “Wastewater epidemiology” is a thing for detecting polio and opioid abuse. Preliminary research suggests it could be a thing for COVID-19, detecting new cases before people feel sick. This could inform public health officials of when to implement physical distancing measures before a health system is stressed.

In small studies so far, the detection of the new coronavirus in sewage samples “has correlated very nicely with the arrival of Covid-19 into different communities,” [Megan Murray of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health] added, including picking up “significant amounts of viral material” in Boston sewage weeks before cases arrived in March.

Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands have launched national wastewater testing for COVID-19. Some cities are also sampling for COVID-19 including Vancouver, WA and communities cross the Columbia River in Oregon.

Wastewater testing gains traction as a Covid-19 early warning systemSTAT News, 28 May 2020.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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