COVID-19 Information

This is a dynamic, selective collection of COVID-19 information, first gathered as personal research, then organized as a resource for family and friends being hit with misinformation, then expanded and further developed with help from the MacInTouch community and others.

The information is displayed with the latest items first. You can click and shift-click columns for sorting and sub-sorting (e.g. by Day, Priority, Category). Search works instantly across all data, and the page is carefully designed to work across devices from small smartphones to large displays.

I hope this resource is helpful as we face the greatest chaos and challenges of our generation. We need to work together, share facts and science, and fight against lies and propaganda that would divide us and disable us. Everything is at stake.

Ric Ford


Article / Quote (source) [keywords] Date P Cat.
Wastewater testing gains traction as a Covid-19 early warning system
“There is real hope that this can be a sensitive, early warning” if, as officials ease social distancing measures, Covid-19 begins to spread again, said Peter Grevatt, CEO of the nonprofit Water Research Foundation. “Several labs have achieved a proof-of-concept in terms of demonstrating the ability to detect the RNA [genetic material] of the virus in wastewater.” Studies in the U.S. and the Netherlands, among others, have shown you can pick up a signal about a week before the first clinical case. (STAT)
[sewage, testing, tracking]
CDC: Antibody tests not to be used for decisions on returning to work
Antibody tests that determine if someone has had the coronavirus in the past should not be used for making decisions about people returning to work, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in new guidance (The Hill)
[policy, testing, CDC, reopening]
The CDC Released New Death Rate Estimates For The Coronavirus. Many Scientists Say They’re Too Low.
New CDC estimates of coronavirus death rates look suspiciously low and present almost no data to back them up, say public health experts who are concerned that the agency is buckling under political pressure to restart the economy. (Buzzfeed)
[CDC, data, deaths, analysis, reopening, policy, inaccurate]
Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening
Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus' spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Donald Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly. (Politico)
[inaccurate, data, analysis, CDC, reopening, policy]
87,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Outbreak
At least 87,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 25 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis. (NY Times)
[data, excess mortality, analysis, deaths]
China’s first confirmed Covid-19 case traced back to November 17
The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, can be traced back to November 17, according to government data seen by the South China Morning Post. (SCMP)
[China, early cases]
Coronavirus started spreading in the U.S. in January, CDC says
The coronavirus began quietly spreading in the U.S. as early as late January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday — before President Donald Trump blocked air travel from China and a full month before community spread was first detected in the country. (NBC)
[CDC, early cases]
White House and CDC remove coronavirus warnings about choirs in faith guidance
The Trump administration with no advance notice removed warnings contained in guidance for the reopening of houses of worship that singing in choirs can spread the coronavirus. (Washington Post)
[policy, White House, CDC, church, spread, transmission, choirs]
England risks COVID-19 resurgence by ending lockdown too soon, scientific advisers say
England risks losing control of the coronavirus pandemic again and is at a “very dangerous moment” as it starts to ease out of the COVID-19 lockdown, senior scientific and medical advisers warned on Saturday. (Reuters)
[UK, reopening, policy, tracking]
Hundreds of South Korea schools close again after reopening
More than 500 schools closed again Friday to students after briefly reopening, as South Korea moves to stamp out a resurgence of the coronavirus in the capital, Seoul, and its surrounding metropolitan area. (CNN)
[South Korea, reopening, outbreaks]
First Wisconsin cases of rare, COVID-19-related syndrome suspected in Milwaukee
On Friday, Children’s Wisconsin announced multiple cases believed to be Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) had been identified. (NBC)
[MIS-C, children]
Study shows 10 times more New Yorkers had Covid-19 by April than previously counted
The antibody study in New York, along with other findings released last month, makes it clear there was substantial undetected spread early in the outbreak (CNN)
[early cases, random sampling, testing, serology, antibodies]
US missed early chance to slow coronavirus, genetic study indicates
They ran simulation after simulation but they all came up with one answer: There was no way the virus that was spreading in Washington state at the end of February was the same version carried in by the traveler on January 15. There had to have been a second introduction of the virus in mid-February, they concluded. (CNN)
[early cases, Washington State, genome, tracking]
Norway and Denmark drop mutual border controls - but exclude Sweden
Norway and Denmark are to drop border controls between the two countries but have excluded their Scandinavian neighbour Sweden, which has taken a lighter-touch approach to the Covid-19 pandemic and suffered a far higher death toll. (The Guardian)
[Sweden, policy, herd immunity, Norway, Denmark]
Why was Lombardy hit harder than Italy's other regions?
Covid-19’s unfettered spread in Lombardy weeks before the first official case was confirmed, with the early suspicions from GPs allegedly ignored or dismissed by regional health authorities, is one explanation for the region becoming Italy’s ground zero. (The Guardian)
[Italy, spread, Lombardy]
Brazil's indigenous people are dying at an alarming rate from Covid-19
Far from hospitals and often lacking basic infrastructure, Brazil's indigenous people are dying at an alarming rate from Covid-19 with little help in sight. (CNN)
[Brazil, indigenous, native]
As Covid-19 tears through Navajo Nation, young people step up to protect their elders
Young Navajos are motivated, in large part, by a desire to protect their elders — many of whom have underlying health conditions and who are at high risk of Covid-19 — and the vital cultural knowledge they carry. Frustrated by the federal government’s slow response, and worried about their loved ones, they have mobilized to provide health information, assistance, and supplies so their elders can stay safe at home. (STAT)
[indigenous, native]
A cluster of coronavirus cases was reported in Arkansas after a swim party
Several people who attended a high school swim party in Arkansas have contracted Covid-19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters on Saturday. (CNN)
[spread, swim party, Arkansas]
California county first to roll back reopening orders
A California county, which was one of the first places to reopen in the state, is now the first county to backtrack on its reopening after an outbreak of COVID-19. (The Hill)
[outbreaks, reopening]
Western Montana virus outbreak tied to luxury golf club
An outbreak of COVID-19 in western Montana is tied to an exclusive golf and country club developed by financial executive Charles Schwab, club officials said. (AP)
[Montana, golf, spread, outbreaks]
Germany tries to trace people who attended church service at which COVID-19 spread
German authorities are trying to trace everyone who attended a church service in Frankfurt this month after more than 107 people tested positive for the coronavirus. (Reuters)
[Germany, church, spread, transmission, contact tracking]
When did coronavirus really hit Washington? 2 Snohomish County residents with antibodies were ill in December
Jean is among two Snohomish County residents who have positive serology tests potentially linked to COVID-like illnesses dating back to December, throwing into question whether the coronavirus arrived in Washington, and the United States, earlier than previously known. (Seattle Times)
[early cases, serology, Washington State]
French patients were sick with Covid-19 in mid-November and before China - researchers
The hospital's chief of medical imaging, Professor Michel Schmitt, said the process allowed radiologists to pinpoint two cases of “typical anomalies caused by Covid-19” dated 16 November, 2019 and then 12 others in December and January – up until the virus reached its epidemic stage. (RFI)
[early cases, France, X-rays]
Medical journal says Trump is ‘factually incorrect’ about when it first published coronavirus reports
The Lancet said it first published reports on January 24, 2020. The first report described the first 41 patients from Wuhan, China, diagnosed with Covid-19. The Lancet noted that the lead scientists and physicians on the study were from Chinese institutions and “worked with us to quickly make information about this new epidemic outbreak and the disease it caused fully and freely available to an international audience.” (CNN)
[Lancet, early cases, Wuhan, misinformation]
Florida knew a COVID-19 pandemic was likely. State leaders didn’t warn the public.
While the public was kept in the dark, top Florida health officials were scrambling to come up with a plan for a crisis they knew was upon them, according to internal Florida Department of Health data and communications obtained by the Miami Herald. (Miami Herald)
[policy, Florida]
GOP fronts ‘pro-Trump’ doctors to prescribe rapid reopening
“I find it totally irresponsible to have physicians who are touting some information that’s not anchored in evidence and not anchored in science,” El-Sadr said. “What often creates confusion is the many voices that are out there, and many of those voices do have a political interest, which is the hugely dangerous situation we are at now.” (AP)
[misinformation, reopening]
US government is funding website spreading Covid-19 disinformation
The US government is funding a website in Armenia which is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, including warnings that Armenians ought to “refuse” future vaccine programmes. (The Guardian)
[misinformation, disinformation, Armenia]
Nearly half of Twitter accounts pushing to reopen America may be bots
But in a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America. (MIT)
[misinformation, bots, Twitter, reopening, policy, research]
No new cases of Covid-19, nobody in hospital with the coronavirus
New Zealand does not have a single person in hospital with Covid-19, as the country marks five consecutive days without a new case. (Radio New Zealand)
[policy, New Zealand, situation report]
France Bars Use Of Hydroxychloroquine In COVID-19 Cases
The French government is revoking a decree that had allowed hospitals to prescribe hydroxychloroquine in some COVID-19 cases, saying there is no proof that it helps patients — and citing data that shows it could cause heart problems and other health risks. (NPR)
[hydroxychloroquine, treatments, side effects, dangers]
When bubonic plague hit France in 1720, officials dithered. Sound familiar?
Instead, the president spent those crucial early weeks downplaying the risk of the coronavirus outbreak (in fact, he continues to do so). And when appropriate measures came, they came too late. What began as an outbreak turned into a massive public health crisis that is now far more difficult to track and contain. There are other parallels between the Great Plague of Provence and the Covid-19 pandemic. (STAT)
[history, 1918, policy]
America’s response to coronavirus pandemic is ‘incomprehensibly incoherent,’ says historian who studied the 1918 flu
I was part of the groups that did preparedness planning for pandemics in the [George W.] Bush administration, and in those groups we discussed the importance of who the spokesperson should be. Because getting compliance from the public obviously is crucial if you’re going to get social distancing and compliance with your recommendations. And we were unanimous that it should not be any politician, not the president, not secretary of HHS, not even CDC. But the reason was that any politician would start out with a significant chunk of the public not trusting him, not believing him. (Washington Post)
[history, 1918, policy, John M. Barry]
‘Baffling’ observations from the front line
When you talk to intensive care doctors across the UK, exhausted after weeks of dealing with the ravages of Covid-19, the phrase that emerges time after time is, “We’ve never seen anything like this before.” (BBC)
[hospitals, health care workers]
How many people have coronavirus? Sometimes, it's just a guess
Across populations, tests give more accurate results if the disease being tested for is common in the population. If an infection has only affected a small percentage of people being tested, even a very small margin of error in a test will be magnified. If just 5% of the population being tested has the virus, a test with more than 90% accuracy will still miss half the cases, Osterholm said. (CNN)
[inaccurate, testing, false negative, analysis]
Antibody tests for Covid-19 wrong half the time, CDC says
Antibody tests used to determine if people have been infected in the past with Covid-19 might be wrong up to half the time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidance posted on its website. (CNN)
[testing, inaccurate, CDC, serology]
Merck to buy Austrian vaccine maker as it jumps into COVID-19 race
Merck and Co. Inc. , which has largely kept to the sidelines of the race for COVID-19 treatments, said it was buying Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience and would collaborate with research nonprofit IAVI to develop two separate vaccines. (CNA)
[vaccines, Merck, Themis Bioscience, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, antiviral, Institut Pasteur, measles, CEPI, Ebola, ERVEBO, FDA, BARDA, clinical trials]
Here’s what we have to do to show a coronavirus vaccine works
Like a horse race, Operation Warp Speed could end up backing trials of several vaccine contenders. That means the total number of volunteers needed could soar to more than 150,000, Reuters reported. But it’s far from clear there will be enough covid-19 around. Adrian Hill, the Oxford University scientist behind the AstraZeneca shot said he thought there was a 50% chance a trial would lead to “no result at all.” (MIT)
[vaccines, clinical trials]
11,000 coronavirus cases tied to three meat processors
More than 11,000 cases of COVID-19 have been tied to plants of the three top U.S. meat processors, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods and JBS, according to a Washington Post analysis. (The Hill)
[spread, meatpacking]
SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in primary municipal sewage sludge as a leading indicator of COVID-19 outbreak dynamics
We report a time course of SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in primary sewage sludge during the Spring COVID-19 outbreak in a northeastern U.S. metropolitan area. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in all environmental samples and, when adjusted for the time lag, the virus RNA concentrations were highly correlated with the COVID-19 epidemiological curve and local hospital admissions. (MedRxiv)
[sewage, tracking, data, analysis]
Researchers track high levels of COVID-19 in Florida wastewater
“Our wastewater is chock-full of the virus,” said Marty, who has been looking at concentrations of the virus in sewage since Miami-Dade began taking samples in March. Ever since then, scientists have been working to estimate how many people are sick based on the concentration of virus in the wastewater. (WTSP)
[sewage, Florida, tracking, data, analysis]
Hydroxychloroquine: Trump’s Covid-19 ‘cure’ increases deaths, global study finds
Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug Donald Trump is taking to prevent Covid-19, has increased deaths in patients treated with it in hospitals around the world, a study has shown. A major study of the way hydroxychloroquine and its older version, chloroquine, have been used on six continents – without clinical trials – reveals a sobering picture. Scientists said the results meant the drug should no longer be given to Covid-19 patients except in proper research settings. (The Guardian)
[hydroxychloroquine, study]
Remdesivir alone is not enough, researchers conclude in first major Covid-19 trial of the drug
Researchers have finally published the data that led the federal government to recommend the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir in very ill coronavirus patients, and they say the drug alone will not be enough to help patients. The data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show the drug shortened the course of illness from an average of 15 days to about 11 days. (CNN)
[remdesivir, drugs, study, treatments]
Canadian team treating COVID-19 patients with dialysis sees ‘very positive’ early signs
A team of Canadian researchers trying to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients with a modified form of dialysis is seeing promising signs that they are able to fend off deadly immune system responses to the novel coronavirus. (CTV)
[dialysis, treatments]
Convalescent plasma donors invaluable component of increasing arsenal to medically treat COVID-19
As of Wednesday, 135 donors had given the Oklahoma Blood Institute 397 products of convalescent plasma, so far helping 41 hospitals. Dr. John Armitage, OBI’s president and CEO, said the nonprofit about three weeks ago reached the point of having enough of the plasma on hand to provide it quickly at a doctor’s request to transfuse into seriously or critically ill patients. … The Mayo Clinic is coordinating the nationwide investigational new drug therapy effort. Researchers hope the potential treatment will boost the body’s ability to fight the virus in severely ill patients or perhaps even prevent the moderately ill from worsening, according to the Mayo Clinic. (TulsaWorld)
[convalescent, plasma]
Coronavirus hot spots erupt across the country; experts warn of second wave in South
Dallas, Houston, Southeast Florida’s Gold Coast, the entire state of Alabama and several other places in the South that have been rapidly reopening their economies are in danger of a second wave of coronavirus infections over the next four weeks, according to a research team that uses cellphone data to track social mobility and forecast the trajectory of the pandemic.… “We’re looking at potentially a month or two later that we’re going to see the impact” of the reopening, said Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner. “You have not seen the impact of reopening yet. (Washington Post)
[spread, reopn, model, policy]
How the coronavirus spreads in those everyday places we visit
... if you want to avoid getting COVID-19, one of your major focuses should be avoiding a superspreading event [and] we thought now would be a good time to scour the research to note where these events have been documented and where they haven’t. We can also learn about the circumstances that led to each superspreading event, and do our best to avoid them. (Salt Lake Tribune)
[spread, transmission, super-spreading, lessons]
‘It’s something I have never seen’: How the Covid-19 virus hijacks cells
“It’s something I have never seen in my 20 years of” studying viruses, said virologist Benjamin tenOever of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, referring to how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, hijacks cells’ genomes. The “something” he and his colleagues saw is how SARS-CoV-2 blocks one virus-fighting set of genes but allows another set to launch, a pattern never seen with other viruses. (STAT)
[mechanism, DNA, virus, genome]
Little sense of shared grief as coronavirus deaths near 100,000
... Yet as the nation nears 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — far more than all those tragic events combined, or the entire Vietnam War — there is little sense this Memorial Day weekend that Americans are grieving together or uniting in a sense of purpose. (LA Times)
New York Times publishes names of 1,000 lives lost to coronavirus
A front page devoid of any photographs, news articles, ads, or anything else. The entire page is filled with the dead, under a banner headline that says “U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS.” Many experts say the Covid-19 death toll is even worse, because some victims died at home or weren’t counted for other reasons. (CNN)
[deaths, NY Times]
The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth.
Economists at the University of Wyoming estimated the economic benefits from lives saved by efforts to “flatten the curve” outweighed the projected massive hit to the nation’s economy by a staggering $5.2 trillion. Another study by two University of Chicago economists estimated the savings from social distancing could be so huge, “it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens.” In other words, the economists are saying, “the cure” doesn’t come at a cost at all when factoring in the economic value of the lives saved. (Washington Post)
[policy, deaths, economics, model, analysis]
Scientists propose a 50 days on, 30 days off coronavirus lockdown strategy
Fifty days of strict lockdowns followed by 30 days where measures are eased could be an effective strategy for reducing Covid-19 deaths while ensuring some level of economic protection, scientists claim. (CNBC)
[policy, reopening]
At Least 54,000 U.S. Deaths Could Have Been Avoided If Lockdown Had Come Two Weeks Earlier
Around 54,000 coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. could have been avoided by early May if states issued coronavirus restrictions on March 1, 2020, according to a new Columbia University model that starkly demonstrates how early action might have curtailed the growth of the virus. (Forbes)
[model, Columbia, policy, deaths, spread, transmission]
Fired scientist defends her COVID-19 data role, portrays Florida Dept. of Health as corrupt
Speaking publicly for the first time in an interview with CNN, a public statement posted on her blog and emails to Florida Today, fired Florida Department of Health scientist Rebekah Jones defended herself on Friday night and laid bare allegations of corrupt interference in the state's COVID-19 data by top officials. (FloridaToday)
[Florida, corruption, policy, data, inaccurate]
Doctor in small Georgia city says coronavirus spread through community before hospital staff found out what it was
Coronavirus spread through a southwest Georgia city for 10 days in March before hospital staff were told what was filling their wards with desperately sick people, a doctor told Congress on Thursday. (CNN)
[spread, hospitals, health care workers, Georgia]
Coronavirus May Spread via Pillows Used by Presymptomatic COVID-19 Patients
People infected with the coronavirus who were not yet showing symptoms spread the germ to a range of surfaces in a hotel room, including pillow cases, a sheet, and duvet, a study has revealed. (Newsweek)
[spread, transmission, study]
Coronavirus particles spread by talking can remain in the air for up to 14 minutes…
"Speech droplets generated by asymptomatic carriers... are increasingly considered to be a likely mode of disease transmission," researchers at the National Institutes of Health found. (CNBC)
[spread, transmission, aerosol, talking]
Two Southern churches forced to reclose after leaders, congregants get coronavirus
Two churches in Georgia and Texas that reopened recently amid the novel coronavirus pandemic have since closed their doors again after churchgoers and religious leaders tested positive for the virus, according to multiple media reports. (The Hill)
[spread, church]
Montgomery hospitals are down to 1 ICU bed…
The days ahead are crucial, said city Emergency Management Agency Director Christina Thornton. She pleaded with people to reach out to family members through phone calls or video chat, and to be kind to front-line workers while staying home as much as possible. “This isn’t the time to have big block parties,” Thornton said. “This isn’t the time to get 50 or 75 people crammed into an apartment because you can’t get into a club. (USA Today)
[spread, hospitals, Alabama]
North Carolina Hospital Nurse Said Patients Attending Coronavirus Parties
“There is no circumstance under which we want folks to actively pursue getting COVID-19 The reason we are working so hard collectively to keep the virus spread low is the fact that when there is more virus in our community, it not only impacts those who have it, but particularly those who are at high risk of getting severe reactions to the disease,” Cohen said. (Newsweek)
[spread, young people]
Young adults most likely age group to be infected with coronavirus
Snapshot surveillance data suggests that those aged 17 to 29 are the most likely group to carry the infection - although they are far less likely than older people to fall seriously ill. (The Telegraph)
[data, testing, infection, transmission, spread, young people]
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing 1) background information on several cases of a recently reported multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)… (CDC)
[children, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, MIS-C]
Maryland Reports 4 Cases Of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children Linked To COVID-19
The Maryland Department of Health reports at least four cases, one of which was fatal, of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C, the inflammatory syndrome linked to coronavirus (CBS)
[children, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, MIS-C]
Covid-19 appears to attack placenta during pregnancy
A small study of 16 pregnant women who tested positive for Covid-19 found evidence of injury to the placenta, the organ that acts as the gut, kidneys, liver and lungs for a fetus during pregnancy. (CNN)
[mothers, pregnancy, placenta]
CDC advises to test all babies born to moms with coronavirus
All newborns delivered to women with Covid-19 infections, confirmed or suspected, should be tested, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidelines released Wednesday. (CNN)
[CDC, children, infants, newborns, mothers, testing]
CDC and 11 states acknowledge mixing results of viral and antibody tests
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged on Friday it had mixed together results from viral and antibody coronavirus tests on its website. Eleven states also confirmed mixing viral and antibody test results. (CNN)
[data, analysis, inaccurate, CDC, testing]
Mayo Clinic doctors find many COVID-19 antibody tests fail their quality standards
A number of commercially available COVID-19 antibody tests, which look at a patient’s blood for signs of past infection, did not pass Mayo Clinic quality screening or meet their expectations for use, researchers from the hospital concluded in a joint investigation by the clinic and ABC News. (ABC)
[testing, inaccurate, Mayo Clinic]
FDA names 27 coronavirus antibody tests no longer ok to be sold
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday identified 27 coronavirus antibody tests that should no longer be sold in the United States, following up on new regulations meant to weed out dubious tests and players that had entered the country under loose rules set in March. (Reuters)
[testing, inaccurate, FDA]
‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. (The Atlantic)
[CDC, data, inaccurate]
Coronavirus testing is ‘a mess’ in the US, report says
Coronavirus testing in the United States is disorganized and needs coordination at the national level, infectious disease experts said in a new report released Wednesday. (CNN)
[testing, inaccurate, CIDRAP]
CDC releases detailed guidance on reopening that had previously been shelved by White House
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted 60 pages of detailed guidelines on how to reopen the United States from coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders on the agency's website. The guidance was a slightly shorter version of a 68-page document shelved by the White House last week after concerns it was too specific. (CNN)
[policy, CDC, reopening]
Florida and Georgia facing scrutiny for their Covid-19 data reporting
Florida and Georgia, two states that were among the first to announce the reopening of businesses and public spaces, have come under scrutiny for the accuracy and transparency of their reporting on Covid-19 cases. (CNN)
[policy, reopening, data, inaccurate, Florida, Georgia]
Florida Ousts Top COVID-19 Data Scientist
A scientist who created a dashboard for monitoring Florida's rising number of COVID-19 cases said she's been fired for refusing to manipulate the data. (NPR)
[Florida, inaccurate, manipulation, policy, reopening]
Staying safe isn't just about hygiene and distance. It's about time, too.
Growing evidence suggests that Covid-19 infection, like with other illnesses, is related to prolonged time exposed to the virus. The longer you stay in an environment that may contain the virus, the higher the risk of getting sick. (CNN)
[spread, transmission, time, exposure window, Erin Bromage]
Ford forced to halt production at two plants after employees test positive
Just days after reopening its American assembly plants, Ford temporarily shut down two separate factories because employees tested positive for Covid-19. (CNN)
[automobiles, manufacturing, spread, Stanford, factory, reopening]
CDC tracks cluster of coronavirus cases in rural Arkansas to church…
Contact tracers in rural Arkansas discovered "widespread transmission" within a church that spilled over into the surrounding community, a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. (CNBC)
[church, transmission, spread, Arkansas, outbreaks]
Texas church cancels masses following death of a possibly Covid-19 positive priest
A church in Houston has canceled mass indefinitely after one of its priests died and five others subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. (CNN)
[church, spread, transmission, Texas]
A person who was Covid-19 positive attended a church service and exposed 180 people
A person who later learned they were positive for Covid-19 attended a California religious service on Mother's Day, exposing 180 other people to the novel coronavirus, according to local health officials. The individual got a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 the day after the service… (CNN)
[church, spread]
… barber working illicitly tests positive for Covid-19
“We are taking extraordinary measures to try and minimize the spread of this dangerous disease and learning that a barbershop has been operating illicitly for weeks with a COVID-19 positive employee is extraordinarily disheartening,” said Dr. Carol Smith, the health commissioner for Ulster County, in a statement. (CNN)
[Kingston, New York, barber, spread]
‘Hubs of infection’: how Covid-19 spread through Latin America’s markets
Coronavirus cases in Peru rose to more than 88,000 on Saturday, with a death toll of 2,572, according to official figures. Only Brazil has a higher infection rate in Latin America, surging to fourth place in the world with 233,511 confirmed cases and sixth place for coronavirus deaths with 15,662, according to Johns Hopkins University. São Paulo’s CEAGESP wholesale market – one of the largest on the continent – has already seen “innumerable” cases and around 30 deaths from Covid-19, according to the president of the market suppliers’ union. (The Guardian)
[Brazil, Latin America, markets, spread, Peru, South America]
Coronavirus was in Brazil before carnival: study
The new coronavirus was circulating in Brazil in early February, weeks earlier than initially detected, and just before millions of people were partying in the streets for carnival, according to a new study. (France24)
[early cases, Brazil, spread, Carnival]
A New York start-up that offers online vet visits for dogs and cats is suddenly thriving…
Mo Punjani, one of Bond Vet's three co-founders, said that telehealth appointments are now increasing over 200% a month and that about half are resolved with the prescription of food or medicine. Between 80% and 90% of available slots on the site fill up every day, he said. (CNBC)
[veterinarians, pets, telehealth, dogs, cats]
Meet Winter, the 4-year-old llama whose blood might hold a treatment for COVID-19
The llama, which researchers vaccinated against the coronaviruses that cause MERS and SARS in 2016, "produced antibodies in response to vaccination, which were able to really potently neutralize both of those viruses," explained Daniel Wrapp, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. After the pandemic became world news earlier this year, the team tested those antibodies on cells infected with COVID-19… (CBC)
[vaccines, llama, antibodies, research]
UK researchers hope dogs can be trained to detect coronavirus
Dogs have already been successfully trained to detect the odour of certain cancers, malaria and Parkinson’s disease, and a new study will look at whether labradors and cocker spaniels can be trained to detect Covid-19 in people. (The Guardian)
Cats can infect other cats with coronavirus, researchers find
Cats can infect other cats with the novel coronavirus, but they may not show any symptoms, according to a study published Wednesday. The findings add to a growing body of research showing how cats, big and small, can contract the virus. But experts say there is no evidence felines are contributing to the spread of Covid-19. (CNN)
Doctors in Italian hospital report “30-fold” jump in kids with inflammatory symptoms
A hospital in the epicenter of Italy's coronavirus outbreak has seen a 30-fold increase of children with severe inflammatory symptoms most often associated with Kawasaki-like disease, according to a study published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet. (Axios)
[children, Kawasaki disease]
Vitamin D levels appear to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates
By analyzing publicly available patient data from around the globe, Backman and his team discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm -- a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system -- as well as a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality. (ScienceDaily)
[Vitamin D, study]
Bill Gates is funding an at-home coronavirus test program — but now it’s on hold due to federal regulations
Bill Gates is funding a new program to provide at-home coronavirus testing kits to residents in the Seattle area. The initiative aims to help researchers better understand how COVID-19 spreads through communities. But after an initial rollout that Gates said was testing about 300 people a day, the program has been put on “pause” while it awaits federal approval. (CBS)
[FDA, CT scan, Bill Gates, Seattle, Washington State, testing, home]
Microsoft and UnitedHealth offer companies free app to screen employees for coronavirus
UnitedHealth and Microsoft launch ProtectWell app to help employers screen workers for Covid-19 and develop testing guidelines base on job risk. … The availability and reliability of tests remain a challenge to ramping up wide-scale workplace testing. (CNBC)
[testing, reopening, symptoms, Microsoft, UnitedHealth, ProtectWell, app, screening]
Too Many States Are Flying Blind Into Reopening. Not Indiana.
Thanks to a study done with the state’s help, we now know that it’s likely that about 2.8 percent of Hoosiers have so far been infected with this virus. It also means that the fatality rate in Indiana is about 0.6 percent, significantly higher than what we usually see for seasonal influenza. (NY Times)
[testing, random sampling, Indiana]
NYU study flags false negatives from Abbott's portable coronavirus test, while FDA lists concerns
A new study measuring the performance of Abbott’s rapid, point-of-care coronavirus test found the device could miss nearly half of positive cases, depending on how the samples were handled and fed into the machine. (FierceBiotech)
[testing, Abbott, false negative, FDA, inaccurate]
Thousands of coronavirus tests are going unused in US labs
US labs that underwent huge efforts to retool for COVID-19 testing still aren’t operating at full capacity. Experts say the lack of a national strategy is largely to blame. (Nature)
[testing, policy]
FDA: Data suggests Abbott's rapid coronavirus diagnostic test is delivering inaccurate results
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert on Thursday saying there is early data that suggests Abbott Labs' rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test for may be delivering inaccurate results. (CNBC)
[FDA, inaccurate, testing, Abbott, false negative]
These are most — and least — accurate COVID-19 tests
The CDC-developed test, which returns results in a few days, detected 100% of positive samples. A similar test from Roche detected 96.5% of samples, and a test from Cepheid that produces results in less than hour detected 98.2% of positive samples. However, Abbott's ID NOW test — one that returns results in less than 15 minutes — detected virus in only 85.2% of positive samples, meaning it had a false negative rate of 14.8%. (SFGate)
[accuracy, inaccurate, testing, Abbott, false negative]
FBI seizes Senate Intel chairman Richard Burr's cellphone amid probe of coronavirus stock sales
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr turned over his cellphone to FBI agents in response to a search warrant served on him as part of a federal investigation of stock sales he made early in the coronavirus outbreak, NBC News confirmed on Thursday. (CNBC)
[insider trading, US Senate, Richard Burr, securities fraud, FBI]
N.J. investigating 18 kids reported to have rare inflammatory illness possibly linked to coronavirus
New Jersey is now investigating reports of 18 possible cases of kids with a mysterious systematic inflammatory syndrome that shares similarities with Kawasaki disease and may be linked to the coronavirus, the state’s top health official said Wednesday. (
[children, Kawasaki disease]
15 US states investigating cases of children suffering from rare inflammatory syndrome…
Health officials are looking into a rare inflammatory syndrome and how it could be impacting children during the coronavirus pandemic. Now 15 states, including New York, are investigating cases that could be linked to Kawasaki disease ⁠– a rare inflammatory condition that often impacts children aged five years or younger ⁠– and toxic shock syndrome… (The Independent)
[children, Kawasaki disease]
Coronavirus: Up to 100 UK children affected by rare disease linked to infection
Up to 100 children in the UK have been affected by a new disease thought to be linked to infection with coronavirus. At least one teenager, a 14-year-old boy, has died after suffering a stroke caused by complications of treatment for the new syndrome, which is similar to the existing Kawasaki disease leading to an inflammatory response in the body’s immune system causing blood vessels to swell. (The Independent)
[children, Kawasaki disease, UK]
Spanish antibody study points to 5% of population affected by coronavirus
Preliminary results from a nationwide coronavirus antibody study show that about 5% of the overall Spanish population has been affected, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, adding that results varied widely from region to region. (Reuters)
[Spain, testing, antibodies]
Study estimates 2.8% coronavirus infection rate for Indiana
In the state's first wave of random testing, preliminary data shows that 2.8% of Indiana's population has or had already had coronavirus. Of this percentage, nearly 45% showed no symptoms at all. … As part of the first phase of the study, researchers tested more than 4,600 Hoosiers between April 25 and May 1 for viral infections and antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. (WLWT)
[random sampling, testing, Indiana, asymptomatic]
Kremlin spokesman has virus-induced double-sided pneumonia
Peskov was the fourth senior Russian official to test positive for the virus. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced on April 30 that he was infected. Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev and Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova subsequently tested positive as well. It wasn’t clear when those officials last met with Putin, who has limited public appearances and held most of his meetings online during the virus pandemic. (AP)
[Russia, spread, government]
In South Korea And China, Loosening Restrictions Brings Coronavirus Resurgence
South Korea is now grappling with some of its largest infection clusters yet after authorities began to loosen some social distancing restrictions this month. Scores of new cases have been reported in the past two weeks, many of which are linked to a young man who stopped in at several clubs and bars in Seoul the night of May 1. Officials do not know how he contracted the virus in the first place. It’s a demoralizing development for officials there, who postponed their plans to reopen on-site classes in schools for the first time in more than two months. But South Korea is not the only apparent success story to report a regression recently. In Wuhan, China, where cases of the coronavirus were first reported, authorities announced Tuesday they will test the city’s entire population of 11 million after new cases cropped up. (NPR)
[spread, reopening, South Korea, Wuhan]
CDC and White House not on same page for coronavirus re-opening…
The Associated Press obtained a 63-page document that is more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The document shows how the thinking of the CDC infection control experts differs from those in the White House managing the pandemic response. The organizational tool advocates for a coordinated national response to give community leaders step-by-step instructions… (CNBC)
[CDC, policy, reopening]
Infections Near U.S. Meat Plants Rise at Twice the National Rate
The coronavirus spread at more than twice the national rate in U.S. counties with major meatpacking plants in the first week after President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing that they be reopened. (Bloomberg)
[meatpacking, spread, transmission, policy, reopening]
Health official quits after being pushed to reopen Colorado county and hot-spot meat plant
The Weld County emails show Wallace pleading with elected officials for help with testing and other resources, while trying to nudge the meatpacking plant into protecting its workers. In the end, county officials rebuffed his desire for the level of county-supported testing and tracing he wanted, telling him his job was to help “open up” Weld County even in defiance of state shutdown orders. (MarketWatch)
[meatpacking, spread, Colorado, policy]
Federal Whistleblower Says Boss Pushed Him to Purchase Drugs That Hadn’t Been Tested in Humans
… as Bright detailed in a whistleblower complaint filed last week, he didn’t think that BARDA should purchase the drug, known as EIDD-2801. A trained virologist who has decades of experience in government disaster preparedness, Bright had reason to worry that EIDD-2801 might be dangerous. The antiviral hadn’t undergone basic safety testing in humans, as is typically required of drugs that BARDA purchases. And similar drugs in the same class had caused serious reproductive problems in animals, with animals exposed in the womb born without teeth and with partially formed skulls. (The Intercept)
[Dr. Rick Bright, policy, drugs]
Playbook for High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents
The goal of the Playbook for High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents (Playbook) is to assist U.S. Government experts and leaders in coordinating a complex U.S. Government response to a high-consequence emerging disease threat anywhere in the world with the potential to cause an epidemic, pandemic, or other significant public health event... (Obama-Biden team)
[President Obama, playbook, policy]
Fauci warns: More death, econ damage if US reopens too fast
The U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert issued a blunt warning Tuesday that cities and states could “turn back the clock” and see more COVID-19 deaths and economic damage alike if they lift coronavirus stay-at-home orders too fast -- a sharp contrast as President Donald Trump pushes to right a free-falling economy. “There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” Dr. Anthony Fauci warned a Senate committee and the nation as more than two dozen states have begun to lift their lockdown… (AP)
[reopening, Dr. Fauci, US Senate]
Fox News staffers will continue working from home through mid-June…
Fox News stars are echoing President Trump's call to "reopen the country" and urging people to get back to work in the face of the coronavirus threat. But Fox's offices won't be opening up anytime soon. (CNN)
[policy, reopening]
Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities
The data contained in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with President Donald Trump’s Monday declaration that “all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly.” The top 10 areas saw surges of 72.4 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the prior week, according to a set of tables produced for the task force by its Data and Analytics unit. They include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Kentucky. (CNBC)
[policy, spread, data]
How coronavirus traveled the world, leaving death behind
Scroll through to discover how the deadly disease ravaged the world, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. The charts below show daily deaths across regions and individual countries, expressed as rolling seven-day averages. This approach to reporting makes trends clearer and smooths out any anomalies — like the lack of reporting during the weekend. (CNN)
Putin's spokesman becomes fifth senior Russian official to get coronavirus
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as a new surge in infections gave Russia the third highest number of reported cases in the world after the United States. (Reuters)
[Russia, spread]
More than 50 kids in New York City have coronavirus inflammatory syndrome…
New York City health officials are worried about a rising number of cases of a potentially fatal inflammatory syndrome that's causing heart and kidney failure in children with Covid-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. There are 52 confirmed cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, and 10 cases pending. Of those cases, 25 children have tested positive for Covid-19 and 22 others had antibodies against the disease. (CNBC)
[children, Kawasaki disease]
Don't let governors fool you about reopening
Citizens should know that reopening states is very unlikely to restore economic well-being. In fact, prematurely reopening society would likely cause the disease to escalate and lead to prolonged economic hardship. Every public interaction will endanger our health, causing sickness and death and further burdening our healthcare system. Other countries could forbid their citizens from visiting the United States, and Americans could be barred from much of the world. Even trade may be viewed as an unacceptable risk. (CNN)
[reopening, economics]
Revealed: major anti-lockdown group's links to America's far right
AR2 presents itself as a grassroots network, but the recordings and other materials reveal its allies include a well-connected Tea Party co-founder and a family of serial online activists who have rolled out dozens of “reopen” websites and Facebook groups. Its website was built and is hosted by a web designer long active in far-right circles online, and who runs a bespoke social media network for the militia movement. One of that website’s previous users bombed a mosque… (The Guardian)
[extremism, far right, reopening]
What Happened When Health Officials Wanted to Close a Meatpacking Plant, but the Governor Said No
New documents obtained by ProPublica show public health officials in Grand Island, Nebraska, wanted the JBS meatpacking plant closed. But Gov. Pete Ricketts said no. Since then, cases have skyrocketed. (ProPublica)
[meatpacking, spread, transmission, policy]
I Hired a Team of Secret Shoppers to Find Out How Businesses Were Opening in Dallas. It’s Not Good.
I wanted to get an understanding of what opening meant to businesses around Dallas. Were they opening? What precautions were they taking? Were employees in safe environments? And bigger picture, I wanted to know if these are places that I would feel safe taking my family to. So I hired a company that specialized in this type of project… (Mark Cuban)
[reopening, Dallas, Texas, retail]
Schumer calls on VA to explain use of unproven malaria drug to treat vets with coronavirus
Schumer called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why it allowed the use of an unproven drug on veterans for the coronavirus, saying patients may have been put at unnecessary risk. Schumer said the VA needs to provide Congress more information about a recent bulk order for $208,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine. President Donald Trump has heavily promoted the malaria drug, without evidence, as a treatment for Covid-19. (The Hill)
[hydroxychloroquine, vaccines, veterans]
U.S. companies kept shipping masks overseas even as hospitals ran out and despite warnings
U.S. companies continued their massive sell-off of medical masks overseas throughout March, well after the coronavirus began infecting Americans and draining hospitals of critical supplies and even as White House officials raised red flags, a USA TODAY investigation found. America exported more protective masks — including disposable surgical masks and N95 respirator masks — this March than in any other month in the past decade. (USA Today)
[PPE, health care workers]
Health workers warn social media misinformation is threatening lives
Over 100 doctors and nurses working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic sent letters to the largest social media platforms this week calling on them to tackle medical misinformation more aggressively. The letter sent to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube — and republished as an ad in The New York Times Thursday — warns misleading info about the disease is threatening lives. (The Hill)
[misinformation, health care workers]
Cluster of COVID-19 Cases Traced to Birthday Party
As Mother’s Day approaches, the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) reminds residents that the best way to celebrate is by staying home and staying healthy. PPHD recently identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases among attendees of a birthday party. Through contact tracing, the PPHD disease investigation team discovered more than five laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and many more ill individuals. (City of Pasadena)
[spread, transmission, birthday party]
Fauci to begin ‘modified quarantine’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, tells CNN he will begin a “modified quarantine” after making a “low risk” contact with the White House staffer who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (CNN)
[spread, White House, quarantine, Dr. Fauci]
CDC director, FDA commissioner to quarantine after exposure to people who tested positive…
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “will be teleworking for the next two weeks,” according to a CDC spokesman. Redfield “had a low-risk exposure” on Wednesday to “a person at the White House who has covid-19.” Meanwhile, Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, began to self-quarantine for two weeks after being exposed to an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus, the FDA said late Friday. (Washington Post)
[CDC, FDA, spread, White House, quarantine]
Document reveals Secret Service has 11 current virus cases, as concerns about Trump’s staff grow
According to the DHS document, along with the 11 active cases there are 23 members of the Secret Service who have recovered from COVID-19 and an additional 60 employees who are self-quarantining. No details have been provided about which members of the Secret Service are infected or if any have recently been on detail with the president or vice president. (Yahoo)
[secret service, infection, spread, White House]
… Ivanka's Assistant Tests Positive for Covid-19
Ivanka Trump's secretary became the third White House employee to test positive for coronavirus on Friday following Donald Trump's valet and Mike Pence's aide. … As per reports, 34 members of the US Secret Service have also tested positive… (CNN)
[spread, White House, secret service]
Peter Dutton, Australian Official Who Recently Met Ivanka Trump and Bill Barr, Has COVID-19
Ivanka Trump and Attorney General William Barr are the latest people in President Trump’s inner circle to have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Last week, the first daughter and attorney general both met with Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, who has now confirmed on Twitter that he has COVID-19. (Daily Beast)
[spread, White House]
CDC scientists overruled in White House push to restart airport fever screenings…
The White House is pushing a return to its failed experiment in relying on temperature screening of air travelers to detect coronavirus despite vehement objections from the nation's top public health agency, internal documents obtained by USA Today show. The discord underscores the administration’s disregard for science and the diminished standing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a moment when local governments, businesses and community leaders are seeking direction on how to reopen safely. (USA Today)
[White House, policy, airports, screening, CDC]
Rare syndrome tied to COVID-19 kills three children in New York…
Three children in New York have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday, a development that may augur a pandemic risk for the very young. (Reuters)
[children, Kawasaki disease]
Positive coronavirus cases shake White House
The coronavirus is hitting close to home at the White House, where two staffers with access to President Trump and Vice President Pence have tested positive in the last two days. One of the president’s personal valets tested positive Thursday after exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus Wednesday.… Concerns about the virus’s presence in the White House grew Friday when a Pence staffer tested positive. Trump later appeared to confirm the infected individual was Katie Miller, the vice president’s press secretary and the wife of senior White House adviser Stephen Miller. (The Hill)
[spread, White House, press secretary, valet]
The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them
The only reason the total USA new case numbers look flat right now is because the New York City epidemic was so large and now it is being contained. So throughout most of the country we are going to add fuel to the viral fire by reopening. It's going to happen if I like it or not, so my goal here is to try to guide you away from situations of high risk. (Erin Bromage)
[spread, toilet, aerosol, viral load, transmission, risk, outdoors, indoor, analysis, reopening]
France had Covid-19 in November...
Covid-19 cases in France can be dated back to as early as November 16, nearly 10 weeks before the country’s first confirmed cases of the disease were thought to have occurred, according to a French hospital. The November case was identified by the hospital’s medical imaging department after carrying out a retrospective study on about 2,500 chest scans performed between November 1 and April 30. (SCMP)
[early cases, France]
Moderna Gets OK to Start Larger Trial for a Coronavirus Vaccine
On Thursday, Moderna announced that the Food and Drug Administration had cleared its application to proceed to a clinical trial involving about 600 people. … Moderna’s vaccine candidate, called mRNA-1273, relies on genetic material known as messenger RNA… (NY Times)
[Moderna, messenger RNA (mRNA), clinical trials, vaccines]
The contribution of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections to transmission - a model-based analysis of the Diamond Princess outbreak
On the Diamond Princess 74% (70-78%) of infections proceeded asymptomatically, i.e. a 1:3.8 case-to-infection ratio. Despite the intense testing 53%, (51-56%) of infections remained undetected, most of them asymptomatic. Asymptomatic individuals were the source for 69% (20-85%) of all infections. (CMMID)
[spread, asymptomatic, transmission, Diamond Princess, analysis]
Incidence of COVID-19 and Connections with Air Pollution Exposure
This study investigates the relationship between exposure to particulate matter and COVID-19 incidence in 355 municipalities in the Netherlands. The results show that atmospheric particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 is a highly significant predictor of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and related hospital admissions. The estimates suggest that expected COVID-19 cases increase by nearly 100 percent when pollution concentrations increase by 20 percent. (MedRxiv)
[air pollution, Netherlands]
Here’s how Italians ‘quaranteamed’ 700 years ago
CNN talked to Rebecca Messbarger, a professor of Italian and founding director of the Medical Humanities program at Washington University in St. Louis about social distancing from the Black Plague until now. The parts about the different ways people deal with distance still ring true. (CNN)
[quarantine, 1918, Italy, The Decameron]
California identifies nail salons as source of coronavirus community spread
Community spread of the coronavirus in California began in a nail salon, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday, as other states allow their manicurists to reopen. (CNBC)
[spread, California, nail salons, reopening, policy]
CDC guide to reopening was trashed by the Trump admin. It just leaked
Public health experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have leaked their recommendations on how to safely reopen businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic—after officials in the Trump administration rejected the guidance and allegedly told CDC officials their plan would “never see the light of day.” The 17-page document (PDF found here) was initially set to be published last Friday but was nixed. Instead, it was released to the Associated Press by a CDC official who was not authorized to release it. (Ars Technica)
[CDC, policy, reopening]
Nurses head to the White House to protest lack of protective equipment
Nurses rallied in front of the White House on Thursday morning to protest the lack of personal protective equipment available to them in the battle against the novel coronavirus. The demonstrators gathered in Lafayette Square in front of the White House and placed 88 pairs of empty shoes on the ground. Those shoes represented the life of each nurse they say has been lost due inadequate personal protective equipment while fighting the coronavirus. The demonstrators then read the names of the 88 fallen nurses. (CNN)
[health care workers, deaths, PPE]
What Americans who beat the Great Depression can teach us today
Commentators have drawn parallels between our current time and the 1930s, saying the pandemic could trigger the same type of economic and political upheaval that marked the Depression. But there’s another part of that era that can illuminate the present: Lessons from those who somehow managed to emerge from the Depression with their optimism – and in some cases, their finances – intact. These survivor stories are collected in a classic book, “Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression,” by Studs Terkel, the late, legendary journalist. It’s filled with bruising but inspirational stories from impoverished farmers, businessmen, hustlers, politicians, housewives and others. One reviewer described Terkel’s book as “a huge anthem in praise of the American spirit.” (CNN)
[Great Depression, Studs Terkel]
Dr. Scott Gottlieb: ‘Tens of thousands of kids’ with undetected coronavirus could be spreading it
Gottlieb said the role of children in spreading seasonal influenza is well understood and that is why schools were closed in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. He said there is ample data showing that the scope of a flu epidemic is reduced “dramatically” when schools are shut down. With the flu, children become vectors and spread it throughout the community, said Gottlieb. “We assumed the same was true of coronavirus. We don’t have data yet on that.” (CNBC)
[children, spread]
Hostile states trying to steal coronavirus research, says UK agency
Hostile states are attempting to hack British universities and scientific facilities to steal research related to Covid-19, including vaccine development, cybersecurity experts have warned. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the proportion of such targeted cyber-attacks had increased, branding the criminal activity “reprehensible”. It is understood that nations including Iran and Russia are behind the hacking attempts, while experts have said China is also a likely perpetrator. (The Guardian)
[cyberattacks, science, Russia, China, Iran]
Children are falling ill with perplexing inflammatory syndrome thought to be linked to covid-19
The cases appeared to have some characteristics of an illness known as Kawasaki disease. The cardiologists, rheumatologists and critical-care doctors in the meeting also were struck by their unusual timing and location. They started three to four weeks after the big wave of adult sickness, mostly in Europe and up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, where covid-19 hit hard. (Washington Post)
[children, Kawasaki disease, spread, infection rate]
Where The Latest COVID-19 Models Think We’re Headed — And Why They Disagree
FiveThirtyEight — with the help of the Reich Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst — has assembled six models published by infectious disease researchers to illustrate possible trajectories of the pandemic’s death toll. In doing so, we hope to make them more accessible, as well as highlight how the assumptions underlying the models can lead to vastly different estimates. (FiveThirtyEight)
[model, analysis, deaths]
These are the ‘10 plain truths’ about the coronavirus pandemic…
Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, laid out "10 plain truths" about Covid-19 on Wednesday as he spoke at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the pandemic response. "In my 30 years in global public health, I've never seen anything like this," Frieden, who now serves as president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, said. "It's scary. It's unprecedented." (CNN)
[policy, analysis, CDC]
Doctors lambaste federal process for distributing Covid-19 drug remdesivir
Hospitals and physicians around the country are sharply criticizing the federal government for the uneven and opaque way it is distributing its supply of the Covid-19 drug remdesivir. (CNBC)
[remdesivir, policy, FDA, HHS]
Gilead Lobbying Rose As Interest In COVID-19 Treatment Climbed
Gilead Sciences, the drugmaker behind the experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, spent more on lobbying Congress and the administration in the first quarter of 2020 than it ever has before, according to federal filings. The pharmaceutical company spent $2.45 million on lobbying in the first three months of the year, a 32% increase over the $1.86 million it spent in the first quarter of 2019. The first quarter is also when Congress drafted and passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which contained numerous provisions affecting the pharmaceutical industry, including funding for the development of vaccines and treatments in response to the pandemic. (NPR)
[remdesivir, lobbying]
COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
IHI has cultivated a list of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) guidance and resources we hope will be helpful for hospital and health system leaders and health care providers. (IHI)
Cyber volunteers release blocklists for 26,000 COVID-19 threats
As part of this project, the group has created two blocklists containing URLs or domain names that are known to be associated with attacks on healthcare, government, and enterprise organizations or are related to Coronavirus “themed” scams, phishing attacks, and malware. (BleepingComputer)
[COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition, malware, cyberattacks]
The coronavirus has mutated and appears to be more contagious now, new study finds
The coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, over four months ago has since mutated and the new, dominant strain spreading across the U.S. appears to be even more contagious, according to a new study. The new strain began spreading in Europe in early February before migrating to other parts of the world, including the United States and Canada, becoming the dominant form of the virus across the globe by the end of March… (CNBC)
[spread, mutation, genome]
FDA steps up scrutiny of coronavirus antibody tests to ensure accuracy
Earlier this year, the FDA was hammered for moving too slowly in allowing academic medical centers and others to develop diagnostic tests for the virus that might have made them more widely available. Then, critics say, it swung too far in the other direction in allowing the antibody tests to go unvetted. The result, they complained, was a flood of products of dubious quality that confused hospitals, doctors and consumers — “a wild, wild West” environment, said Scott Becker, chief executive officer of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which represents state and local public laboratories. (Washington Post)
[testing, FDA, accuracy, inaccurate, fraud]
15 children are hospitalized in New York City with an inflammatory syndrome that could be linked to coronavirus
The patients, ages 2 to 15 years, were hospitalized from April 17 to May 1, according to the alert. Several tested positive for Covid-19 or had positive antibody tests. Some of the patients experienced persistent fever and features similar to Kawasaki disease or features of toxic shock syndrome… (CNN)
[children, Kawasaki disease, NYC]
Pfizer begins human testing for experimental coronavirus vaccine in the US
Pfizer said Tuesday it has begun testing an experimental vaccine to combat the coronavirus in the United States. The U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant, which is working alongside German drugmaker BioNTech, said the first human participants in the United States have been dosed with the potential vaccine, BNT162. They began human trials of the experimental vaccine late last month in Germany. (CNBC)
[clinical trials, BNT162, Pfizer, BioNTech, messenger RNA (mRNA)]
Japan sending Fujifilm's flu drug favipiravir to over 40 countries for Covid-19 trials
Favipiravir works by preventing the virus from replicating in cells. It's marketed under the brand Avigan and was developed in 2014 by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical… Fujifilm began a phase 2 clinical trial in Massachusetts in April. The trial called for about 50 patients and is taking place in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. (CNBC)
[Favipiravir, clinical trials, Avigan, Fujifilm]
UK hospital trials new treatment drug
A new drug developed by UK scientists to treat Covid-19 patients is being trialled at University Hospital Southampton. Developed by UK bio-tech company Synairgen, it uses a protein called interferon beta, which our bodies produce when we get a viral infection. Initial results from the trial are expected by the end of June. (BBC)
[UK, clinical trials, Synairgen, interferon beta]
Social Distancing Scoreboard
Compare your community’s social distancing activity to its activity prior to COVID-19 (Unacast)
[tracking, mobility]
Introductions and early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in France
We sequenced 97 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes from samples collected between January 24 and March 24, 2020 from infected patients in France. Phylogenetic analysis identified several early independent SARS-CoV-2 introductions without local transmission, highlighting the efficacy of the measures taken to prevent virus spread from symptomatic cases. In parallel, our genomic data reveals the later predominant circulation of a major clade in many French regions, and implies local circulation of the virus in undocumented infections prior to the wave of COVID-19 cases. (BioRxiv)
[spread, genome, France, asymptomatic]
End of the beginning for COVID-19 vaccines
It has been a hundred days and change since Chinese researchers posted the genetic sequence for the SARS-CoV2 virus to a public database, setting off the biggest and fastest race to create vaccines the world has ever seen. So far, at least six vaccines have made it into Phase I trials and a second cohort is poised to get into the clinic by the end of summer (see “COVID-19 Vaccines Timeline”). (BioCentury)
[clinical trials, timelines, genome, vaccines]
Ousted HHS official files whistleblower complaint on coronavirus response
In his complaint, Dr. Rick Bright, who until last month was the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, described a chaotic response to the virus at the Department of Health and Human Services. The chaos was fueled largely by “pressure from HHS leadership to ignore scientific merit and expert recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections and cronyism,” the complaint says. (NBC)
[science, whistleblower, Dr. Rick Bright, BARDA, hydroxychloroquine, HHS, Peter Navarro]
What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine
One of the questions I get asked the most these days is when the world will be able to go back to the way things were in December before the coronavirus pandemic. My answer is always the same: when we have an almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19, or when almost every person on the planet has been vaccinated against coronavirus. (Bill Gates)
Man wipes nose on store clerk after refusing to wear mask
Police in Holly, Michigan, have arrested a 68-year-old man on assault charges after he entered a Dollar Tree on Saturday and wiped his face on an employee’s shirt. Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh said the man entered the store at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday without a mask, despite an executive order in the state requiring patrons in enclosed public spaces to wear one at all times. Rex Howard Gomoll of Linden faces misdemeanor charges of assault and battery… (CNN)
[retail, arrest, Michigan, Dollar Tree, assault]
Colorado man who discussed attending coronavirus protest at state capital charged with possession of pipe bombs
Bunn and his associates discussed attending one of the coronavirus anti-shutdown rallies at the Colorado state Capitol building, a law enforcement source familiar with the case told CNN. The discussion included openly carrying firearms as a show of force, similar to what another group of protestors did at the state Capitol in Michigan last week, the source said. A search warrant was executed at Bunn’s Northern Colorado residence. Agents found four pipe bombs… (CNN)
[pipe bombs, arrest]
Man wears KKK hood to Santee grocery store
“The images I’ve seen are abhorrent,” County Supervisor Diane Jacobs said in a statement. “This blatant racism has no place in Santee or any part of San Diego County. (Nexstar)
[KKK, hood, Ku Klux Klan]
Walmart in Quincy closed after employee dies from the coronavirus
The Walmart in Quincy is closed after an employee at the store died from the coronavirus, Mayor Tom Koch announced Monday. … Last week, a Walmart in Worcester closed its doors after dozens of employees were diagnosed with the coronavirus. According to NBC10 Boston, since the closure, the number of cases among employees at the store has risen to 81 after 391 employees were tested for the illness. (Boston Globe)
[Walmart, deaths, spread]
Gut microbiota may underlie the predisposition of healthy individuals to COVID-19
This study suggests that gut microbiota may underlie the predisposition of normal individuals to severe COVID-19. (MedRxiv)
[gut, microbiome, cytokine storm]
Roche’s COVID-19 antibody test receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization and is available in markets accepting the CE mark
The serology test has a specificity greater than 99.8% and sensitivity of 100% (14 Days post-PCR confirmation). The high specificity of the test is crucial to determine reliably if a person has been exposed to the virus and if the patient has developed antibodies. Roche will provide high double-digit millions of tests already in May… (Roche)
[testing, serology, accuracy, FDA]
Performance Characteristics of the Abbott Architect SARS-CoV-2 IgG Assay and Seroprevalence Testing in Idaho
Here, we evaluated the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG test for detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies by testing 3 distinct patient populations. … These data demonstrate excellent analytical performance of the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG test as well as the limited circulation of the virus on the West Coast. We expect the availability of high-quality serological testing will be a key tool in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. (MedRxiv)
[testing, serology, accuracy, Abbott]
Antibody testing will enhance the power and accuracy of COVID-19-prevention trials
Clinical trials are being set up at a rapid rate to test various approaches to preventing COVID-19. Getting fully interpretable and unbiased results from these trials depends on serological testing of participants at baseline and (for at least a subset of the participants)7 at the end of the trial. While accurate serological tests are still in development, trialists have a window of opportunity for obtaining blood from trial participants and banking it in anticipation of having such tests in the near future. It is essential that this opportunity be taken in order to maximize the scientific value of the information that these trials provide. (Nature)
[testing, serology, clinical trials, blood]
Medical Laboratorians Respond to COVID-19
ASCLS sent a letter … on behalf of the tens of thousands of professionals in medical laboratories. The letter outlines the realities of SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 testing capacity; our concerns about how that testing is represented to the public; and how this crisis has revealed that clinical laboratories were already at the breaking point for a number of reasons… (ASCLS)
[testing, accuracy]
Developing a National Strategy for Serology (Antibody Testing) in the United States
While serology testing has the potential to provide valuable information to individuals and to public health authorities, there are significant areas of uncertainty that will need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months. The first and most urgent is serology test validation. There are dozens of serology tests being marketed in the United States that are not providing accurate information and that are not comparable to each other. (Johns Hopkins)
[serology, testing, antibodies, accuracy]
Coronavirus antibody tests have ‘really terrible’ accuracy, researcher says
Some antibody tests, which check for prior Covid-19 infection, had high rates of false positives in screenings performed by a consortium of California laboratories, according to a recently released report. A false positive means someone would be told they'd already had coronavirus when they had not -- a potential danger as people could then think they were immune to the virus when they're actually still vulnerable. (CNN)
[inaccurate, testing, false positive, COVID-19 Testing Project, serology, antibodies]
German Covid-19 cases ‘may be 10 times higher than official figures’
Researchers from Bonn University said on Monday that their preliminary study, based on fieldwork in the town of Gangelt in Heinsberg municipality, which had one of Germany’s highest death tolls, showed the risk of infection by asymptomatic carriers. The researchers concluded from a random sample of 919 people that about 15% of Gangelt’s population had been infected, with a fatality rate of 0.37%. Extrapolating nationwide, they said about 1.8 million people living in Germany may have contracted the virus, against 160,000 confirmed cases so far. (CNN)
[asymptomatic, Germany, testing, sprad, random sampling]
French doctors say they found a Covid-19 patient from December
Doctors at a Paris hospital say they've found evidence that one patient admitted in December was infected with Covid-19. If verified, this finding would show that the virus was already circulating in Europe at that time -- well before the first known cases were diagnosed in France or hotspot Italy. (CNN)
[France, spread, fishmonger, early cases]
Why so many people are dying in Belgium
President Donald Trump pointed to a graph recently, displaying Belgium at the top and the US in seventh place, as a result of the number of deaths relative to population size. … Belgian officials say they are counting in a way that no other country in the world is currently doing: counting deaths in hospitals and care homes, but including deaths in care homes that are suspected, not confirmed, as Covid-19 cases. (BBC)
Public’s trust in science at risk, warns former No 10 adviser
Public trust in science risks being damaged by potential political interference, according to a former chief scientific adviser who has set up a panel of experts to rival those advising ministers. Prompted by growing concern about the lack of transparency around the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), Prof Sir David King has convened a panel of experts that he says will act as an independent alternative. (The Guardian)
[UK, policy]
Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows, raising questions amid coronavirus pandemic
Three frontline health care workers have mysteriously fallen out of hospital windows in Russia over the past two weeks… Kosyakin had previously criticized hospital administration for protective gear shortages on his social media and was questioned by the police for allegedly spreading fake news. … Nepomnyashchaya allegedly fell out of a window during a meeting with regional health officials. Nepomnyashchaya was reported to have opposed those changes… Natalya Lebedeva, head of the emergency medical service at Star City, the main training base for Russia's cosmonauts, died in a hospital after a fall. (CNN)
[Russia, health care workers, deaths, suspicious]
The Risk Of Exposure To COVID-19 In Georgia Has Increased By More Than 40% Since The State Reopened For Business
The risk of exposure to COVID-19 for people who live in Georgia has increased every day since Kemp began reopening the state. The incidence rate (IR) for COVID-19 is calculated as the number of coronavirus cases for every 100,000 people. It’s the best publicly available metric we have for estimating an individual’s risk of exposure to the virus. (Forbes)
[reopening, incidence rate (IR), Georgia]
COVID-19 Case Mapper
Pitch Interactive and Big Local News, with support from the Google News Initiative, created a map to make it possible for local journalists to easily embed up-to-date visualizations related to the coronavirus pandemic on their sites for readers, and free up time for other important local journalism. (Pitch Interactive)
[maps, cases, county, incidence rate (IR)]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Situation Update
Out of over 130,000 workers in these affected meat or poultry processing plants, 3 % were identified as having COVID-19. Among workers, 20 COVID related deaths were reported. (CDC)
[meat, food, CDC, FEMA, situation report, model, task force, NY Times]
The Trump administration projects about 3,000 daily deaths by early June
As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks. The daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, nearly double the current number of about 1,750. (NY Times)
[model, deaths]
Costco is limiting how much meat customers can buy
Costco on Monday became the latest retailer to implement purchasing limits on fresh meat because of the slowdown at processing plants during the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced it’s limiting shoppers to three items of beef, pork and poultry products to “help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need.” Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket chain, announced a similar rule last week. (CNN)
[meat, food, Costco]
Vitamin D
In general, vitamin D functions to activate the innate and dampen the adaptive immune systems. Deficiency has been linked to increased risk or severity of viral infections, including HIV. (Wikipedia)
[Vitamin D]
More than 370 workers at a pork plant in Missouri tested positive for coronavirus. All were asymptomatic
373 employees and contract workers at Triumph Foods in Buchanan County, Missouri, have tested positive for coronavirus. All of them were asymptomatic, according to a press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. (CNN)
[asymptomatic, spread, food, meatpacking, meat, pork]
Laraque says having coronavirus is ‘the worst thing ever’
“Right now, I have oxygen going through my nose. It’s hard to talk right now because I have no energy and stuff. It’s going to take a long time before my lungs clear up. I’m going to be here for a while.” Laraque said he’s dismayed by people who aren’t taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously. He said some people who saw his tweets announcing that he has COVID-19 have questioned whether he is actually sick. “Are you kidding me?” he said. “They have no idea. This is serious stuff.” (NHL)
[hockey, lungs, pneumonia, fever]
“No one” in Puerto Rico has received stimulus checks, says San Juan mayor
The Treasury Department has sent out more than 88 million payments. Not one of them went to Puerto Rico (Salon)
[Puerto Rico, stimulus]
Brazil Has the Highest Rate of Coronavirus Contagion in the World, Says Study
Brazil has the highest rate of Coronavirus contagion among 48 countries analyzed by Imperial College in London. The indicator, also called R0, shows how many people each infected person transmits the disease. The higher the transmission speed, the greater the risk of possible overload in the health system. In the week that started on Monday (26), the R0 of Brazil was 2.81, that is, each infected person transmits the disease to about three people, according to the estimates of the university's infectious diseases center (MRC), one of the most respected in the analysis of epidemics. (Folhapress)
[spread, reproduction number, exponential, Brazil, policy]
Coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Belarus, but its leader still denies there is a problem
Now — with more than 15,000 confirmed cases — Belarus has one of Eastern Europe’s highest per capita infection rates, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Those figures collide head-on with President Alexander Lukashenko’s policies, setting up a potential hot spot even as much of Europe weighs how to reopen with the worst of the outbreak possibly behind them. Lukashenko has pushed back on recommendations from the World Health Organization — and his own Health Ministry — for social distancing and business closures. (Washington Post)
[policy, spread, Belarus]
Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience
Our bipartisan group of experts in economics, public health, technology, and ethics from across the country, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, has released the nation’s first comprehensive operational roadmap for mobilizing and reopening the U.S. economy in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. (Harvard)
[model, reopening, testing]
Small towns and rural hospitals brace for their coronavirus peak, which could be weeks away
While hospitalizations related to Covid-19 have started to decelerate in some cities, suggesting the worst may be over, it could take the virus weeks to peak in more rural communities across the U.S., health officials warn. Some hospitals haven't had enough medical personnel for decades, are already operating at full capacity or are filling up quickly and don't have enough ventilators to handle a surge of critically ill patients, they say. (CNBC)
New York Gov. Cuomo Tells Reopen Protestors ‘You Have No Right to Jeopardize My Health’
“You don’t have a right to jeopardize my health. You want to jeopardize your health, God bless you. You have no right to jeopardize my health,” he said. “The mask is not about your health. The mask is about my health, and my children’s health and your children’s health and that’s why you have to wear a mask. It’s not about your life, it’s about other people’s lives.” ... New York has more than 318,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 24,000 deaths… (Newsweek)
COVID-19 Publishers Open Letter of Intent – Rapid Review
On 27 April 2020, a group of publishers and scholarly communications organisations announced a joint initiative to maximize the efficiency of peer review, ensuring that key work related to COVID-19 is reviewed and published as quickly and openly as possible. OASPA fully supports this collaborative approach and is pleased to host the Open Letter of Intent below. (OASPA)
Pick of the coronavirus papers: Immune system shows abnormal response to COVID-19
Nature wades through the literature on COVID-19 so you don’t have to. (Nature)
Trump again shifts estimated US coronavirus death toll
President Donald Trump said Sunday that the US coronavirus death toll could reach 80,000 to 90,000, a considerable upward shift from his previous estimates last month. ... Dr. Deborah Birx, a White House coronavirus task force official, offered different numbers from Trump’s on the US death toll from the virus. “Our projections have always been between 100-240,000 American lives lost and that’s with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance,” Birx told Chris Wallace (CNN)
[deaths, model]
‘Swastikas and nooses’: governor slams ‘racism’ of Michigan lockdown protest
“We know that people are not all happy about having to take the stay-home posture,” Whitmer said on Sunday, “and you know what, I’m not either. But we have to listen to the public health experts and displays like the one we saw in our state capitol are not representative of who we are in Michigan. “There were swastikas and Confederate flags and nooses and people with assault rifles. That’s a small group of people when you think that this is a state of almost 10 million people, the vast majority of whom are doing the right thing.” (The Guardian)
[Nazi, threats]
Adding A Nylon Stocking Layer Could Boost Protection From Cloth Masks, Study Finds
Researchers at Northeastern University have found that adding an outer layer made from nylon stockings to a homemade face covering can boost its ability to filter out small particles in the air by creating a tighter seal between the mask and the wearer's face. In some cases, that extra nylon layer helped homemade cloth masks match or exceed the filtering capability of medical-grade surgical masks. (NPR)
[face masks]
Stillwater rescinds mask order after businesses report employees 'threatened with physical violence' by those opposed
City Manager Norman McNickle said in a press release that businesses relayed that store employees had been “threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse” Friday. “In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm,” McNickle said. “This has occurred in three short hours and in the face of clear medical evidence that face coverings helps contain the spread of COVID-19. (TulsaWorld)
[threats, spread, face masks, Oklahoma]
Auschwitz Museum condemns Nazi slogan at ‘Re-open Illinois’ protest
“Arbeit macht frei” was a false, cynical illusion the SS gave to prisoners of #Auschwitz. Those words became one of the icons of human hatred. It’s painful to see this symbol instrumentalized & used again to spread hate. It’s a symptom of moral and intellectual degeneration. (The Hill)
George W. Bush Calls for End to Pandemic Partisanship
In a video, the former president, who generally avoids speaking out on current affairs, urged Americans to “remember how small our differences are” in a time of crisis. President Trump swiped at him in response. (NY Times)
Birx: ‘Devastatingly worrisome’ that stay-at-home protesters aren’t practicing social distancing
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx on Sunday said it was “devastatingly worrisome” that those protesting at state Capitols against stay-at-home orders did not wear masks or practice social distancing, warning that they could unknowingly transmit the novel coronavirus to at-risk relatives. “It’s devastatingly worrisome to me personally because if they go home and they infect their grandmother or grandfather who has a comorbid condition and they have a serious or very unfortunate outcome they will feel guilty for the rest of their lives. (The Hill)
[spread, transmission]
Excess U.S. deaths hit estimated 37,100 in pandemic’s early days, far more than previously known
The United States recorded an estimated 37,100 excess deaths as the novel coronavirus spread across the country in March and the first two weeks of April, nearly 13,500 more than are now attributed to covid-19 for that same period, according to an analysis of federal data conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health. The Yale team’s analysis suggests that the number of excess deaths accelerated as the pandemic took hold. (Washington Post)
[analysis, excess mortality]
Coronavirus Policy Response Simulator: Health and Economic Effects of State Reopenings
The interactive tool presented below uses an epidemiological framework along with empirical estimates to simulate the health and economic effects of easing state lockdown policies. Users specify both a “policy” level and “behavior” level. (Penn Wharton)
[model, reopening]
Low population mortality from COVID‐19 in countries south of latitude 35 degrees North supports vitamin D as a factor determining severity
Research is urgently needed to assess whether there may be a correlation between vitamin D status and severity of COVID‐19 disease. Meanwhile, the evidence supporting a protective effect of vitamin D against severe COVID‐19 disease is very suggestive, a substantial proportion of the population in the Northern Hemisphere will currently be vitamin D deficient, and supplements, for example, 1000 international units (25 micrograms) per day are very safe. It is time for governments to strengthen recommendations for vitamin D intake and supplementation, particularly when under lock‐down. (Wiley)
[Vitamin D]
Florida medical examiners were releasing coronavirus death data. The state made them stop.
State officials have stopped releasing the list of coronavirus deaths being compiled by Florida’s medical examiners, which has at times shown a higher death toll than the state’s published count. The list had previously been released in real time by the state Medical Examiners Commission. But earlier this month, after the Tampa Bay Times reported that the medical examiners’ death count was 10 percent higher than the figure released by the Florida Department of Health, state officials said the list needed to be reviewed and possibly redacted. (Tampa Bay Times)
[Florida, inaccurate]
US government orders 100,000 more body bags for possible coronavirus victims
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ordered 100,000 more body bags, in preparation for the worst case scenario of coronavirus deaths. The agency spent $5.1m (£4.7m) on the body bags, after previously ordering 100,000 in early April, to help tackle the crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal. (The Independent)
[body bags, FEMA]
Natural product-derived phytochemicals as potential agents against coronaviruses: a review
Naturally occurring phytochemicals provide a valuable and powerful resource of chemical compounds displaying antiviral properties. Further chemical modification of these structures, guided by computer-based docking simulations, may also increase their potency and/or selectivity. Some of the key compounds that show promise for the treatment of coronavirus in humans include scutellarein, silvestrol, tryptanthrin, saikosaponin B2, lectins such as griffithsin, lycorine and polyphenolics – including quercetin, myricetin, caffeic acid, psoralidin and isobavachalcone. Needless to mention, these compounds may be toxic at certain levels, and hence in vitro and in vivo testing is required to determine safe and therapeutic levels for each compound… (ScienceDirect)
[natural compounds, polyphenols, phytochemicals]
Latest COVID-19 Research
Mass General Research Institute’s latest COVID-19 research in the areas of mobilizing response, diagnostics, therapies, clinical trials and disease biology. (MGH)
[hospitals, research]
UK Covid-19 survivors’ plasma being trialled to treat critically ill
Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London, where the prime minister was treated for Covid-19, had collected the first plasma donations and will begin transfusion trials “in the coming weeks”, the hospital’s Biomedical Research Centre said in a statement. (The Guardian)
[plasma, antibodies, UK]
Apple and Google release test version of coronavirus tracing software
Apple and Google released a beta version of their coronavirus tracing software on Wednesday. This software will power apps that do “digital contact tracing” or, as Apple and Google call it, “exposure notification.” These apps will provide notifications to users that they may have been exposed to someone infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus, without collecting or sharing data about their identities. Apple and Google are not building the apps. Rather, they’re building technology into their market-leading smartphone operating systems, iOS and Android, to enable apps to use Bluetooth signals to determine their distance from other phones. (CNBC)
[contact tracking, Apple, Google, API, Bluetooth]
CDC criteria for digital contact tracing opens door for Apple-Google approach
In the latest CDC publication, the group cites the “PACT protocol” as a an example of the recommended method for using “Bluetooth enabled proximity tracking” while maintaining privacy. As CNBC reported earlier this week, Apple and Google, in developing a contact tracing system, took several ideas from PACT, an open-source protocol developed under the leadership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The companies will unveil sample apps using their system early next week, company representatives said, and released beta software for developers on Wednesday. Apple and Google have said they’re leaving it to public health authorities to decide what system to make and how to implement it. (CNBC)
[Apple, Google, surveillance, Bluetooth, contact tracking, tracking]
Sweden pop-up restaurant to serve solo diners only
One guest per night from May 10 to August 1 will have the pleasure of dining with themselves. (CNN)
[Sweden, food]
The end of coronavirus: what plague literature tells us about our future
When the number of fatalities finally peaks and dwindles, Defoe’s citizens pull up their windows and shout to each other to share the news. Camus’s Oran is liberated; its citizens struggle to make sense of what has happened to them. Back in fifth-century Athens, the Peloponnesian war continues. Whether society changes for the better or worse, or simply stays the same, is what we will find out. (The Guardian)
[literature, history, pandemic]
Britons will suffer health problems from Covid-19 for years, warn doctors
Survivors face post-traumatic stress and organ damage while even those not infected risk psychological side-effects (The Guardian)
A day in the life of paramedics in a pandemic
“Anybody who says they’re not scared during this is lying to you,” he added. “We may not feel it now, but, summer? Fall? when the dust settles, I think that a lot of first responders might be dealing with PTSD.” (CNN)
[emergency medicine, paramedics, health care workers]
‘Social bubbles’ of small groups could be early step out of UK lockdown
Under the social bubble proposal, people would be allowed to combine their household with one or two others, up to a maximum of 10 people. A cautious version of the plan would probably mean that the vulnerable such as the over-70s and those with underlying health conditions would be advised to keep isolating and not merge with other households. However, experts are concerned that the government needs to more rigorously quarantine new cases of coronavirus at the point that it moves to the “test, track and isolate” phase advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO). (The Guardian)
[policy, social bubble]
Contact Tracing Assessment of COVID-19 Transmission Dynamics in Taiwan and Risk at Different Exposure Periods Before and After Symptom Onset
In this study, high transmissibility of COVID-19 before and immediately after symptom onset suggests that finding and isolating symptomatic patients alone may not suffice to contain the epidemic, and more generalized measures may be required, such as social distancing. (JAMA)
[Taiwan, contact tracking, spread, transmission]
Trump looks to replace HHS watchdog who identified crucial hospital supply shortages
The White House late Friday moved to oust a Health and Human Services inspector general after the official presented President Donald Trump with a report showing that hospitals responding to the coronavirus pandemic are lacking in necessary supplies. (CNBC)
[PPE, hospitals, health care workers]
Contact Tracing Assessment of COVID-19 Transmission Dynamics in Taiwan and Risk at Different Exposure Periods Before and After Symptom Onset
In this study, high transmissibility of COVID-19 before and immediately after symptom onset suggests that finding and isolating symptomatic patients alone may not suffice to contain the epidemic, and more generalized measures may be required, such as social distancing. (JAMA)
[tracking, asymptomatic, spread]
Seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among health care workers in a large Spanish reference hospital
The seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among health care workers (HCW) was lower than expected. Thus, being a high-risk population, we anticipate these estimates to be an upper limit to the seroprevalence of the general population. Forty per cent of those with past or present infection had not been previously diagnosed with COVID-19, which calls for active periodic rRT-PCR testing among all HCW to minimize potential risk of hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infections. (MedRxiv)
[testing, seroprevalence, antibodies, health care workers, hospitals]
Early detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in COVID-19 patients as a serologic marker of infection
With the assays developed here, we can screen medical staff, in-coming patients, passengers and people who are in close contact with the confirmed patients to identify the “innocent viral spreaders”, protect the medical staff and stop the further spreading of the virus. (Clinical Infectious Diseases)
[testing, serology, health care workers, ELISA]
Roads closed into New Mexico city to mitigate ‘uninhibited spread of Covid-19’
The emergency order and road closures will be enforced by Gallup city police, the McKinley County Sheriff’s Department, the New Mexico State Police and state Department of Transportation. The New Mexico National Guard will provide support in a non-law enforcement capacity.​ “The spread of this virus in McKinley County is frightful,” Lujan Grisham said. “And it shows that physical distancing has not occurred and is not occurring. The virus is running amok there. It must be stopped, and stricter measures are necessary.” (CNN)
[spread, road closures, New Mexico, lockdown]
Randomised test of 100,000 to help decide end of UK lockdown
A randomly selected group of 100,000 people in England will be tested for Covid-19 in an attempt to quantify whether transmission levels of the virus are low enough to exit the lockdown. The tests, next week, will provide a national snapshot of the proportion of those infected with the virus ahead of a planned review of restrictions on 7 May. (The Guardian)
[UK, random sampling, testing]
What Health Care Leaders and Clinicians Say About the Covid-19 Pandemic
The NEJM Catalyst Insights Council is a qualified group of U.S. executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians at organizations directly involved in health care delivery, who bring an expert perspective and set of experiences to the conversation about health care transformation. They are change agents who are both influential and knowledgeable. (NEJM)
[health care workers, policy]
Timing of immune response to COVID-19 may contribute to disease severity
“The danger is, as the infection keeps going on, it will mobilize the whole of the adaptive immune response with its multiple layers,” said Weiming Yuan, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and co-corresponding author of the study. “This longer duration of viral activity may lead to an overreaction of the immune system, called a cytokine storm, which kills healthy cells, causing tissue damage.” The interaction of the innate and the adaptive immune responses might also explain why some COVID-19 patients experience two waves of the disease, appearing to get better before eventually getting much worse. (EurekAlert)
[cytokine storm, immune response]
‘How is this possible?’ Researchers grapple with Covid-19’s mysterious mechanism
Respiratory physician Dr David Darley says something peculiar happens to a small group of Covid-19 patients on day seven of their symptoms. “Up until the end of that first week, they’re stable,” says Darley, a doctor with Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital. “And then suddenly, they have this hyper-inflammatory response. The proteins involved in that inflammation start circulating in the body at high levels.” (The Guardian)
[emergency medicine, neurological, blood clots, ventilator, lungs]
Coronavirus (COVD-19)
resources, news releases (NIH)
First responders recovered from Covid-19 return to frontlines with a new grasp of the enemy
The first wave of emergency medical technicians who contracted Covid-19 and survived are now returning to the job, armed with a first-hand understanding of the disease and a new empathy for the patients. (CNN)
[health care workers, symptoms, emergency medicine]
Estimating the Prevalence of COVID-19 in the United States
We have presented three complementary approaches for estimating the true COVID-19 prevalence in the United States from March 1 to April 4, 2020 at the national, state, and city (New York City) levels. The approaches rely on different datasets and modeling assumptions in order to balance the inherent biases of each individual method. While the case count estimates from these methods vary, there is general agreement among them that the actual state-level case counts are likely 10 to 100 times greater than what is currently being reported. (MedRxiv)
[model, analysis]
Donate COVID-19 Plasma
If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies. These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease. (FDA)
[FDA, plasma, antibodies, blood]
Police Deploy ‘Pandemic Drone’ to Detect Fevers and Enforce Social Distancing
Police in Westport, Connecticut, announced this week that they’re testing a so-called “pandemic drone” that can detect when people on the ground have fevers. The new drone platform will also be used to determine when people are closer than six feet to each other. Police will be able to deliver a verbal warning through the drone’s speaker to anyone not practicing social distancing. (Gizmodo)
[drone, police, fever, surveillance]
The California town testing every resident for coronavirus
A small town in northern California is working to become the first in the US to have every community member tested for coronavirus. Researchers hope the endeavor will help clarify how Covid-19 spreads through communities, and how immunity is built. (The Guardian)
Mass incarceration could add 100,000 deaths to US coronavirus toll, study finds
As many as 99,000 more people could die in the US as a result of the virus being contracted behind jail walls, the study predicts. Of those, 23,000 are projected to succumb behind bars and 76,000 in surrounding communities as a result of inmates spreading the virus upon release. The projection would almost double last month’s White House modeling of Covid-19’s grim legacy in terms of lives lost. (The Guardian)
[prisons, spread]
Statement from leader of federal vaccine agency about his reassignment
Dr. Rick Bright, the director of the agency responsible for leading the charge on the production and purchase of vaccines in the Trump administration, released a statement Wednesday blaming political motives for his abrupt reassignment. (CNN)
Roche CEO calls some Covid-19 antibody tests a ‘disaster’ and questions makers’ ethics
An erroneous false-positive result could lead to the mistaken conclusion that someone has immunity. In developing its test, Schwan said, Roche scrutinized some existing products for reliability before rejecting them. “It’s a disaster. These tests are not worth anything, or have very little use,” Schwan told reporters on a conference call. “Some of these companies, I tell you, this is ethically very questionable to get out with this stuff.” (CNBC)
[testing, inaccurate]
Cross-reactive neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by serum antibodies from recovered SARS patients and immunized animals
In this study, we firstly analyzed 20 convalescent serum samples collected from SARS-CoV infected individuals during the 2003 SARS outbreak. All patient sera reacted strongly with the S1 subunit and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV, cross-reacted with the S ectodomain, S1, RBD, and S2 proteins of SARS-CoV-2, and neutralized both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 S protein-driven infections. (BioRxiv)
[serum, antibodies]
Nurses read names of colleagues who died of COVID-19 in protest outside White House
A group of registered nurses gathered outside the White House on Tuesday in honor of nurses who have died of COVID-19 and to demand mass production of personal protective equipment. (USA Today)
[health care workers, deaths, PPE]
NIH Panel Recommends Against Drug Combination Promoted By Trump For COVID-19
A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities. “The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was associated with QTc prolongation in patients with COVID-19,” the panel said. QTc prolongation increases the risk of sudden cardiac death. (NPR)
[hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin]
Science Media Centre
(Science Media Centre)
[science, journalism]
The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients
Oximeters are not 100 percent accurate, and they are not a panacea. There will be deaths and bad outcomes that are not preventable. We don’t fully understand why certain patients get so sick, or why some go on to develop multi-organ failure. Many elderly people, already weak with chronic illness, and those with underlying lung disease do very poorly with Covid pneumonia, despite aggressive treatment. But we can do better. Right now, many emergency rooms are either being crushed by this one disease or waiting for it to hit. We must direct resources to identifying and treating the initial phase of Covid pneumonia earlier by screening for silent hypoxia. (NY Times)
[oximeter, lungs, ventilator, pneumonia, silent hypoxia]
States and Hospitals Are Essentially Smuggling PPE Because They’re Afraid the Feds Will Seize It
Despite reassurances from the federal government that they’ve worked to properly supply medical institutions with life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE), hospital administrators across the country have been forced to take extraordinary measures to avoid having their PPE purchases seized by federal agents for re-distribution. (Law and Crime)
[federal seizure, FEMA]
What a renowned infectious diseases doctor learned when he got COVID-19
Dr. Michael Saag is one of the nation's best authorities on the coronavirus — not only because he's researched viruses for more than three decades, but also because he recently recovered from the illness himself. (NBC)
Apple and Google Announced a Coronavirus Tracking System. How Worried Should We Be?
A well-designed tool would give people actionable medical information while also protecting privacy and giving users control, but a poorly designed one could pose unnecessary and significant risks to privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. To help distinguish between the two, the ACLU is publishing a set of technology principles against which developers, the public, and policymakers can judge any contact tracing apps and protocols. (ACLU)
[privacy, tracking, Apple, Google]
Covid-19 outbreaks at Irish meat plants raise fears over worker safety
An outbreak of Covid-19 among workers in a meat factory in Tipperary has raised fears that the virus is spreading through abattoirs and meat-processing plants in Ireland. Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture, Brian Stanley, told the Irish parliament last night that 120 workers at the Rosderra Meats plant in Roscrea had tested positive for the virus. He also said that of 350 workers at the plant, up to 140 were off sick last week. (The Guardian)
[food, meatpacking, Ireland]
ACEP-AAEM Joint Statement on Physician Misinformation
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) jointly and emphatically condemn the recent opinions released by Dr. Daniel Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi. These reckless and untested musings do not speak for medical societies and are inconsistent with current science and epidemiology regarding COVID-19. As owners of local urgent care clinics, it appears these two individuals are releasing biased, non-peer reviewed data to advance their personal financial interests without regard for the public’s health. COVID-19 misinformation is widespread and dangerous. Members of ACEP and AAEM are first-hand witnesses to the human toll that COVID-19 is taking on our communities. ACEP and AAEM strongly advise against using any statements of Drs. Erickson and Massihi as a basis for policy and decision making. (ACEP, AAEM)
[misinformation, emergency medicine]
Effect of Convalescent Plasma Therapy on Viral Shedding and Survival in COVID-19 Patients
In current study, 6 COVID-19 subjects with respiratory failure received convalescent plasma at a median of 21.5 days after first detection of viral shedding, all tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by 3 days after infusion, and 5 died eventually. In conclusion, convalescent plasma treatment can discontinue SARS-CoV-2 shedding but cannot reduce mortality in critically end-stage COVID-19 patients, and treatment should be initiated earlier. (Journal of Infectious Diseases)
[plasma, transfusion]
Graphs and maps
These graphs were generated in week 2020-18 with data from all 24 participating countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (Berlin), Germany (Hesse), Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK (England), UK (Northern Ireland), UK (Scotland), UK (Wales). Graphs: pooled number of deaths by age group, excess mortality, map of z-scores, Z-scores by country (EuroMOMO)
[excess mortality]
The Future of the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. Because of a longer incubation period, more asymptomatic spread, and a higher R0, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily than flu. 2. A higher R0 means more people will need to get infected and become immune before the pandemic can end. 3. Based on the most recent flu pandemics, this outbreak will likely last 18 to 24 months. 4. It likely won’t be halted until 60% to 70% of the population is immune. 5. Depending on control measures and other factors, cases may come in waves of different heights (with high waves signaling major impact) and in different intervals. (CIDRAP)
[Dr. Michael Osterholm, CIDRAP, Univ. of Minnesota, health care workers, scenarios]
Link identified between dietary selenium and outcome of COVID-19 disease
Ramy Saad, a doctor at Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, currently taking an MSc degree in Nutritional Medicine at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Surrey, commented; “The correlation we have identified is compelling, particularly given previous research on selenium and infectious diseases. As such, a careful and thorough assessment of the role selenium may play in COVID-19 is certainly justified and may help to guide ongoing public-health decisions.” (ScienceDaily)
[selenium, China]
What to know about your pet and Covid-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that dogs, cats and other animals follow the social distancing guidelines as humans. While there's currently no evidence that pets play a role in spreading Covid-19 to people, it's normal for pet owners to still be worried. Below, veterinarians and health experts answer common questions about how to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe during the pandemic. (CNBC)
[pets, cats, dogs]
Where did Covid-19 come from?
Donald Trump, the US president, has given credence to the idea that intelligence exists suggesting the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, although the US intelligence community has pointedly declined to back this up. The scientific community says there is no current evidence for this claim. ... The scientific consensus rejecting the virus being engineered is almost unanimous. In a letter to Nature in March, a team in California led by microbiology professor Kristian Andersen said “the genetic data irrefutably shows that [Covid-19] is not derived from any previously used virus backbone”. (The Guardian)
[Wuhan, origin, genome]
Two better ways to chart the spread of coronavirus
Many coronavirus trackers focus on the total number of cases. But viruses spread exponentially, which can quickly balloon the number of infections from a few dozen to hundreds or thousands within days, making it harder to compare countries in different stages of outbreak. Is there a better way? We used global data from John Hopkins University to explore two new ways to track countries that are succeeding — or failing — in “flattening the curve.” (Politico)
FDA authorizes experimental drug remdesivir for emergency use in COVID-19 patients
The Food and Drug Administration just authorized the emergency use of remdesivir, an experimental anti-viral drug, to treat COVID-19. Emergency authorization does not mean that the drug is FDA-approved, a standard that only comes after a detailed review showing a drug can safely and effectively treat a particular disease. The agency can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for unapproved medical products that may help treat a life-threatening disease when no approved alternatives are available — that’s what it did here. (The Verge)
[remdesivir, FDA]
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tells Putin he has coronavirus
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that he had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus and was temporarily stepping down to recover. (Reuters)
[Russia, government, infection]
Capitol physician says Senate lacks capacity to test all senators
The Capitol’s attending physician said Thursday that coronavirus tests will be available for staffers and senators who are ill, but not enough to proactively test all 100 senators as the chamber comes back in session, according to two people familiar with the matter. In a conference call with top GOP officials, Dr. Brian Monahan said there is not sufficient capacity to quickly test senators for coronavirus — a contrast with the White House, where any people meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are tested for the disease. Monahan said test results in the Senate will take two or more days, while the White House has rapid testing. (Vox, Politico)
[US Senate, testing]
Maryland's GOP governor deploys National Guard to protect COVID-19 tests from being seized by feds
National Guard troops were protecting a shipment of COVID-19 tests Maryland ordered from South Korea from being seized by the feds Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., said. "The National Guard and the state police are both guarding these tests at an undisclosed location," the Republican governor told The Washington Post. Hogan said the decision was motivated by reports from other governors who revealed that the Trump administration had seized supplies they purchased. (Salon)
[Maryland, governors, National Guard, PPE, FEMA]
COVID-19 Update for April 29
Today the City issued a cease and desist order for the Walmart Supercenter located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. WDPH has been informed that 23 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. WDPH conducted an inspection of the store yesterday which revealed staff and patrons not having or wearing proper personal protective equipment. The City is ordering that the operator cease and desist operation of the retail establishment, including any food service, effective immediately and vacate all personnel. The store shall remain closed until it is professionally cleaned and sanitized and a re-inspection by our health department can occur. The operator shall require all employees returning to work to be tested for COVID-19 and shall not allow any employee testing positive to return to work. All COVID-19 testing will be conducted at the direction of the City Medical Director, who will confirm the testing results and determine whether an employee is eligible to return to work. All patrons and employees shall be required to wear face masks while in the store and employees returning to work shall also wear protective gloves. (City of Worcester)
[Walmart, infection, Worcester MA]
Confirmed coronavirus cases surge in reopened JBS Colorado beef plant; worker dies
COVID-19 cases at a JBS meatpacking plant in Colorado have more than doubled “in a number of days” and a sixth employee died of the virus, a union official said on Thursday, underscoring the risks of U.S. meat plants reopening. (Reuters)
[food, meatpacking, reopening]
Japanese island suffering second wave of coronavirus after lifting lockdown too early
The lessons that other authorities will have to learn if they want to protect their residents are clear, Professor Tsukamoto said. “These lockdowns and states of emergency will have to be lifted eventually, but the lesson is to wait as long as possible, to get accurate data on infection numbers and to be very, very cautious when the rules are relaxed”, she said. “And the authorities have to be ready to move quickly and put the restrictions back in place at the first sign of another surge”, she said. (The Telegraph)
[reopening, Japan]
An analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral load by patient age
Data on viral load, as estimated by real-time RT-PCR threshold cycle values from 3,712 COVID-19 patients were analysed to examine the relationship between patient age and SARS-CoV-2 viral load. Analysis of variance of viral loads in patients of different age categories found no significant difference between any pair of age categories including children. In particular, these data indicate that viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from those of adults. Based on these results, we have to caution against an unlimited re-opening of schools and kindergartens in the present situation. Children may be as infectious as adults. (Christian Drosten et al)
[children, viral load]
Isolation of Infectious SARS-CoV-2 from Urine of a COVID-19 Patient
SARS-CoV-2 caused a major outbreak of severe pneumonia (COVID-19) in humans. Viral RNA was detected in multiple organs in COVID-19 patients. However, infectious SARS-CoV-2 was only isolated from respiratory specimens. Here, infectious SARS-CoV-2 was successfully isolated from urine of a COVID-19 patient. The virus isolated could infect new susceptible cells and was recognized by its’ own patient sera. Appropriate precautions should be taken to avoid transmission from urine. (
[urine, toilet]
Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea
We described the epidemiologic characteristics of a COVID-19 outbreak centered in a call center in South Korea. We identified 97 confirmed COVID-19 case-patients in building X, indicating an attack rate of 8.5%. However, if we restrict our results the 11th floor, the attack rate was as high as 43.5%. This outbreak shows alarmingly that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can be exceptionally contagious in crowded office settings such as a call center. The magnitude of the outbreak illustrates how a high-density work environment can become a high-risk site for the spread of COVID-19 and potentially a source of further transmission. (CDC)
[spread, transmission, indoor, analysis, attack rate]
The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 infection and mortality
We found very significant correlation between the mean vitamin D levels (average 56.79 nmol/L, STDEV 10.61) and the number of cases of COVID–19/1M population (average 259.95, STDEV 298.732, t-value = –3.03947; p-value = 0.004274), and between the mean vitamin D levels and the number of deaths caused by COVID–19/1M (Figure 1) (average 5.963936, STDEV 15.13207, t-value = 12.29871; p-value < 0.00001) (table 1). (Research Square)
[Vitamin D]
Is ethnicity linked to incidence or outcomes of covid-19?
Alipio’s results, viewed in the context of earlier recent vitamin D and COVID-19 publications, must now lead to urgent research. Human nature is such that simple solutions to complex issues, for example vitamin C for scurvy, and hand washing prior to baby delivery, are often not readily embraced; but surely the scale and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic demands all avenues are fully explored; more so when no other effective treatment strategies as yet exist. A safe simple step, the correction of a deficiency state, vitamin D this time, convincingly holds out a potential, significant, feasible ‘COVID-19 mitigation remedy. (BMJ)
[Vitamin D]
The race for coronavirus vaccines: a graphical guide
More than 90 vaccines are being developed against SARS-CoV-2 by research teams in companies and universities across the world. Researchers are trialling different technologies, some of which haven’t been used in a licensed vaccine before. At least six groups have already begun injecting formulations into volunteers in safety trials; others have started testing in animals. Nature’s graphical guide explains each vaccine design. (Nature)
[graphic, illustration, diagram, vaccines, ACE2]
Toilets May Pose Risk for Spreading COVID-19
In light of the puzzling nature of this epidemiologic spread, we've adapted social distancing. However, I want to talk about one other potential means of its spread: the toilet. (David A. Johnson MD)
[toilet, bathroom, spread, transmission]
COVID-19 Tracker & Interactive Charts
We built this real time coronavirus/covid-19 tracker for US and Canada to bring more transparency to the public and increase awareness about the global epidemic. (1Point3Acres)
[real-time, data, updates, news]
How one company is fast-tracking development of potential plasma-based treatments for the coronavirus
Medical biotech company Emergent BioSolutions is one of the many health industry players turning its efforts towards addressing the current global coronavirus pandemic. Their work includes a two-pronged effort to pursue plasma-based treatments that could help lessen the impact of COVID-19 on health care systems, with a fast-tracked development timeline that could see human clinical trials start as soon as this summer. The company is simultaneously working on two different therapeutic approaches, including one that uses plasma (a liquid that is the majority component of blood) sourced from humans, and one that sources it from horses. (TechCrunch)
[horses, plasma]
COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker
This tracker contains an aggregation of publicly-available information from validated sources. It is divided into filterable and sortable tabs, with each tab dedicated to a different area of research: one offers the overarching outlook of all treatments and vaccines, one tracks treatments, one tracks vaccines, and so on. There is also a section where all of the data is collated and visualized via charts and graphs. The document is designed to be explored and organized for easy reference, plus it can be downloaded for offline use. (Milken)
[vaccines, drugs, treatments]
Russian Doctors Count Their Own Dead From Coronavirus
Russian doctors mistrustful of official coronavirus data have launched an unofficial list of their colleagues who have died from the virus. The news comes as a growing number of hospitals across Russia have reported Covid-19 outbreaks among doctors and patients in recent weeks. (Moscow Times)
[deaths, Russia, health care workers]
Indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2
Home outbreaks were the dominant category (254 of 318 outbreaks; 79.9%), followed by transport (108; 34.0%; note that many outbreaks involved more than one venue category). Most home outbreaks involved three to five cases. We identified only a single outbreak in an outdoor environment, which involved two cases. Conclusions: All identified outbreaks of three or more cases occurred in an indoor environment, which confirms that sharing indoor space is a major SARS-CoV-2 infection risk. (MedRxiv)
[spread, environment, home, outdoors]
Taking Account of Asymptomatic Infections in Modeling the Transmission Potential of the COVID-19 Outbreak on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
We take the case of the Diamond Princess (DP) cruise ship as an experimental model for studying the transmission potential of COVID-19 in a closed environment. ... We find evidence to support a CDC report that "a high proportion of asymptomatic infections could partially explain the high attack rate among cruise ship passengers and crew." This emphasizes the importance of improved reporting and quarantine of asymptomatic cases, and raises questions on quarantine procedures in closed environments such as military vessels, cruise ships, dormitories, prisons, and other enclosed living complexes with high population densities. (MedRxiv)
[asymptomatic, reproduction number, attack rate, serial interval]
Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story
Whether Sweden's Covid-19 strategy has succeeded or failed may not be clear for months to come, but as countries across the globe count their dead and wonder whether they could have done more to halt the spread of the virus, the world will be watching. (CNN)
[Sweden, policy]
How New Zealand 'eliminated' Covid-19 after weeks of lockdown
Like many countries, New Zealand had models that showed that a potential coronavirus outbreak could be devastating if no action was taken. Unlike some other countries, New Zealand responded relatively fast. (CNN)
[New Zealand]
Concern as coronavirus threatens Russia's closed ‘nuclear cities’
The head of Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation has expressed concern about the spread of the new coronavirus to three “nuclear cities”, including one that houses a top-secret research institute that helped develop the Soviet atomic bomb. (The Guardian)
[Russia, nuclear]
USS Kidd Arrives in San Diego to Treat COVID-19 Outbreak; First Cases Emerged More than A Month After Hawaii Port Visit
The first sailor began to show symptoms of the virus on April 22, more than 30 days after the ship’s last port visit in Hawaii, according to a status update provided to Congress and reviewed by USNI News. The time between port visits and the first reported case of symptoms have raised questions inside the Navy as to how the virus operates and how long it could exist undetected on a ship. (USNI)
[Navy, spread, infection, testing, infection duration]
Remembering 100 NHS and healthcare workers who have died
Tens of thousands of people across the UK have now died with coronavirus, including more than 100 NHS staff and other healthcare workers. The BBC has been tracking their deaths during the pandemic. (BBC)
[health care workers, deaths]
Dog is apparently first in U.S. to test positive for the coronavirus
The pet dog of a family taking part in a study at Duke University is apparently the first in the U.S. to test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. (CBS)
Estimation of SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality rate by real-time antibody screening of blood donors
Blood donors comprise approximately 4.7% of the similarly aged population of Denmark and blood is donated in all areas of the country. The objective of this study was to perform real-time seroprevalence surveying among blood donors as a tool to estimate previous SARS-CoV-2 infections and the population based IFR [Infection Fatality Rate]. (MedRxiv)
[testing, Denmark, blood donors, seroprevalence, IgM, IgG, antibodies]
In Taiwan, the coronavirus pandemic is playing out very differently
One economy that managed to avoid a lockdown, and which has been functioning better than many others, is Taiwan's. The island appears to have emerged from the crisis relatively unscathed. It managed to keep its 11 million-strong labor force working and its economy running. (NBC)
Scientists to Stop COVID-19 - four proposals
We are a group of passionate citizen-scientists who offer four actionable, non-partisan proposals to produce safe and effective COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines in the shortest possible timeframe, and to reopen our society in a manner that reduces the risk of future COVID-19 outbreaks. ... The four proposals that follow describe: (1) How to rapidly repurpose an antiviral drug to treat COVID-19 patients; (2) How to expedite the development of human antibody drugs to treat patients and to provide short-term protection for healthy individuals; (3) How to develop COVID-19 vaccines on an expedited time scale; and (4) How to reopen our businesses and schools in a manner that reduces the risk of future outbreaks and deaths. (Scientists to Stop COVID-19)
[proposals, plan, drugs, antibodies, vaccines, policy]
Saliva samples preferable to deep nasal swabs for testing COVID-19
The study led by the Yale School of Public Health — and conducted at Yale New Haven Hospital with 44 inpatients and 98 health care workers — found that saliva samples taken from just inside the mouth provided greater detection sensitivity and consistency throughout the course of an infection than the broadly recommended nasopharyngeal (NP) approach. The study also concluded that there was less variability in results with the self-sample collection of saliva. (Yale)
[testing, saliva, accuracy]
U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19
In the early weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, the United States recorded an estimated 15,400 excess deaths, nearly two times as many as were publicly attributed to covid-19 at the time, according to an analysis of federal data conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health. The excess deaths — the number beyond what would normally be expected for that time of year — occurred during March and through April 4, a time when 8,128 coronavirus deaths were reported. (Washington Post)
[analysis, excess mortality]
How does coronavirus kill? Clinicians trace a ferocious rampage through the body, from brain to toes
On rounds in a 20-bed intensive care unit one recent day, physician Joshua Denson assessed two patients with seizures, many with respiratory failure and others whose kidneys were on a dangerous downhill slide. Days earlier, his rounds had been interrupted as his team tried, and failed, to resuscitate a young woman whose heart had stopped. All shared one thing, says Denson, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the Tulane University School of Medicine. “They are all COVID positive.” (Science)
[ACE2, organs]
Coronavirus: many patients reporting neurological symptoms
In the vast majority of cases, COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that causes fever, aches, tiredness, sore throat, cough and, in more severe cases, shortness of breath and respiratory distress. Yet we now understand that COVID-19 can also infect cells outside of the respiratory tract and cause a wide range of symptoms from gastrointestinal disease (diarrhoea and nausea) to heart damage and blood clotting disorders. It appears that we have to add neurological symptoms to this list, too. (The Conversation)
At least 12 UK children have needed intensive care due to illness linked to Covid-19
More than a dozen children have fallen ill with a new and potentially fatal combination of symptoms apparently linked to Covid-19, including a sore stomach and heart problems. The children affected appear to have been struck by a form of toxic shock syndrome. All have been left so seriously unwell that they have had to be treated in intensive care. (The Guardian)
[toxic shock, Kawasaki disease, children, septic shock, ICU]
COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccines Tracker
The below therapies and vaccines are sorted in order of how close they could be to approval, starting with a treatment in Phase 3 trials, followed by others in Phase 1 studies and then preclinical development. Approval, of course, would only come if they are proven safe and effective. (STAT)
[drugs, vaccines, treatments]
Why experts are questioning two hyped antibody studies in coronavirus hotspots
Two studies that estimate people have contracted Covid-19 in California hotspots at dozens of times the rate that current counts indicate have made headlines across the US. But the studies have sparked a methodological dustup in the science world, raising questions about the statistical calculations and the real dangers of coronavirus. (The Guardian)
[testing, antibodies, Stanford, Los Angeles]
New Castle County says wastewater analysis shows 15X's more COVID-19 cases than confirmed tests
After New Castle County Public Works Stormwater and Environmental Program Manager Mike Harris teamed up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology's startup Biobot Analytics, officials studied samples of waste matter at a pretreatment center for the sewer system. According to estimations provided following bacterial testing at the plant, the county appeared to have a staggering number of novel coronavirus COVID-19 cases--15,200 in a catchment area that serves about 100,000 individuals in an area of the county. (WDEL)
[testing, sewage, Delaware, MIT]
Coronavirus found in Paris sewage points to early warning system
By sampling sewage across greater Paris for more than 1 month, researchers have detected a rise and fall in novel coronavirus concentrations that correspond to the shape of the COVID-19 outbreak in the region... (Science)
[testing, sewage, Paris]
Evaluation of antibody testing for SARS-Cov-2 using ELISA and lateral flow immunoassays
Conclusions: The performance of current LFIA devices is inadequate for most individual patient applications. ELISA can be calibrated to be specific for detecting and quantifying SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG and is highly sensitive for IgG from 10 days following symptoms onset. (MedRxiv)
[testing, antibodies, ELISA, LFIA, IgG, IgM]
Vitamin D Supplementation Could Possibly Improve Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected with Coronavirus-2019
Vitamin D status is significantly associated with clinical outcomes. A multinomial logistic regression analysis reported that for each standard deviation increase in serum 25(OH)D, the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a severe outcome were approximately 7.94 times (OR=0.126, p<0.001) while interestingly, the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a critical outcome were approximately 19.61 times (OR=0.051, p<0.001). The results suggest that an increase in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could either improve clinical outcomes or mitigate worst (severe to critical) outcomes, while a decrease in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could worsen clinical outcomes of COVID-2019 patients. (SSRN)
[Vitamin D, Mark Alipio]
Walmart store in Colorado shuts down after coronavirus deaths
Public health officials in Aurora, Colorado, ordered a Walmart supercenter to shut down Thursday after a 72-year-old Walmart worker, her 63-year-old husband, and a 69-year-old third-party security contractor for the company died from coronavirus. Six additional employees at the store tested positive for coronavirus, the Tri-County Health Department in Colorado said Thursday. Three other workers were suspected of having the virus and were awaiting lab results. The department said it closed the store after receiving complaints from employees and shoppers about the “lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at one time, and employees not wearing masks or face coverings.” (CNN)
[Walmart, deaths]
Remembering UpToDate creator Burton (Bud) Rose, the ‘Steve Jobs of medicine’
Ask any doctor, nurse, or other clinician about UpToDate and you’ll get some version of this answer: I use it all the time to stay current, and often pull it up when I’m talking with patients. For clinicians around the world, UpToDate is essentially Google for medicine, but smarter and based on evidence. The creator of this invaluable and now-omnipresent resource, Dr. Burton “Bud” Rose, a brilliant kidney specialist, entrepreneur, and our friend and colleague, died on Friday from complications of Covid-19 at age 77. (STAT)
[Dr. Burton “Bud” Rose, UpToDate]
In four U.S. state prisons, nearly 3,300 inmates test positive for coronavirus - 96% without symptoms
As mass coronavirus testing expands in prisons, large numbers of inmates are showing no symptoms. In four state prison systems — Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia — 96% of 3,277 inmates who tested positive for the coronavirus were asymptomatic, according to interviews with officials and records reviewed by Reuters. (Reuters)
[prisons, asymptomatic, testing]
4-month-old daughter of New York City firefighter dies of coronavirus
A New York City firefighter and his wife lost their 4-month-old daughter to the coronavirus, the family said. Jay-Natalie La Santa died on Monday, nearly a month after she was rushed to the hospital with a fever. (NBC)
[NYC, baby]
Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2: the world should face the reality
Hand washing and maintaining social distance are the main measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to avoid contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, these measured do not prevent infection by inhalation of small droplets exhaled by an infected person that can travel distance of meters or tens of meters in the air and carry their viral content. Science explains the mechanisms of such transport and there is evidence that this is a significant route of infection in indoor environments. Despite this, no countries or authorities consider airborne spread of COVID-19 in their regulations to prevent infections transmission indoors. It is therefore extremely important, that the national authorities acknowledge the reality that the virus spreads through air, and recommend that adequate control measures be implemented to prevent further spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in particularly removal of the virus-laden droplets from indoor air by ventilation. (NIH)
[spread, aerosol]
Germany’s Covid-19 expert: ‘For many, I’m the evil guy crippling the economy’
Christian Drosten, who directs the Institute of Virology at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, was one of those who identified the Sars virus in 2003. As the head of the German public health institute’s reference lab on coronaviruses, he has become the government’s go-to expert on the related virus causing the current pandemic. In an exclusive interview, Drosten admits he fears a second deadly wave of the virus. He explains why Angela Merkel has an advantage over other world leaders – and why the “prevention paradox” keeps him awake at night. (The Guardian)
[interview, prevention paradox, Germany, testing, reproduction number, herd immunity]
Seniors with Covid-19 show unusual symptoms, doctors say
… seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse. “With a lot of conditions, older adults don’t present in a typical way, and we’re seeing that with Covid-19 as well… (Kaiser Health News)
[symptoms, elderly]
Researchers found coronavirus in a patient’s eyes — days after it left her nose
Italy’s first coronavirus patient traveled from Wuhan, China, to Italy in late January and was admitted to the hospital with coronavirus symptoms days later. A recently published report shows that she had detectable traces of the virus in her eyes days after it had cleared from her nose. The report demonstrates that the novel coronavirus can exist in an infected person’s eye fluids at probable contagious levels, increasing the need for people to be cognizant about their hand hygiene and to keep their hands away from their face, experts say. (Washington Post)
[eyes, conjunctivitis, ocular secretions]
… many people who tested positive for Covid-19 displayed no symptoms
Two coronavirus studies released Friday -- one involving almost 2,000 people from Florida and the other from a Washington state nursing home -- came to the same conclusion: Many of the people who tested positive for the virus didn't know it they had it because they showed no symptoms. (CNN)
[asymptomatic, testing]
Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019…
In a case series of 214 patients with coronavirus disease 2019, neurologic symptoms were seen in 36.4% of patients and were more common in patients with severe infection (45.5%) according to their respiratory status, which included acute cerebrovascular events, impaired consciousness, and muscle injury. (JAMA)
36,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Crisis
At least 36,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic over the last month than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 12 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis (NY Times)
[deaths, analysis, excess mortality]
Early Results of Antibody Testing Suggest Number of COVID-19 Infections Far Exceeds Number of Confirmed Cases in Los Angeles County
Based on results of the first round of testing, the research team estimates that approximately 4.1% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus. Adjusting this estimate for statistical margin of error implies about 2.8% to 5.6% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus- which translates to approximately 221,000 to 442,000 adults in the county who have had the infection. That estimate is 28 to 55 times higher than the 7,994 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the county by the time of the study in early April. The number of COVID-related deaths in the county has now surpassed 600. (Los Angeles County)
[testing, antibodies, Los Angeles]
Healthy people in their 30s and 40s, barely sick with COVID-19, are dying from strokes
As Oxley, an interventional neurologist, began the procedure to remove the clot, he observed something he had never seen before. On the monitors, the brain typically shows up as a tangle of black squiggles – “like a can of spaghetti,” he said – that provide a map of blood vessels. A clot shows up as a blank spot. As he used a needlelike device to pull out the clot, he saw new clots forming in real time around it. (Washington Post)
[blood clots]
Rapid Open Development and Clinical Validation of Multiple New 3D-Printed Nasopharyngeal Swabs
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused a severe international shortage of the nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs required for testing. We participated in an unprecedentedly open and urgent iterative process to help develop and validate new swabs. (MedRxiv)
[swabs, testing]
Fix The Mask
ASTM-level surgical masks have a sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency of 0.1 microns is ≥95%. The problem is, they don’t seal tightly to the wearer's face. That puts the wearer at risk of exposure COVID-19. We designed two solutions making surgical masks even better - one immediate and one mass manufacturable, single piece, and easy to clean. (Paseman et al)
[ex-Apple, face masks]
Doctor who pioneered HIV treatment discusses potential Covid-19 drugs
As director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York City in the early 1990s, Ho’s lab pioneered treatment approaches to HIV and he was TIME’s Man of the Year for that work in 1996. He still leads the center. Now, his focus is Covid-19, or more specifically, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. He and a team of about 15 people are working on two different approaches to stopping the virus: isolating antibodies from people who’ve recovered from Covid-19, and developing new drugs called protease inhibitors that interfere with the virus’s ability to replicate. (CNBC)
[AIDS, HIV, antibodies, protease inhibitors]
My grandfather’s nightmare of living through a pandemic
In 1918, my grandfather was just a teenager, but he remembered somber men in black coveralls and black hats — set off by the bright, white face masks they wore — pulling up in black canvas-covered wagons outside the house next door, entering slowly, gingerly, and coming back out again with a body wrapped in whatever covering could be found: a carpet, an overcoat, a table cloth or even the very bed sheet in which the victim had died. On some days, the somber men took away more than one body from a single house. And he knew they would be back again the next day. Maybe to the same house. Maybe to the one across the street. Maybe to his own. (CNN)
[1918, Philadelphia]
Severe COVID-19 patients have ‘unprecedented’ blood clots.
Coronavirus patients may be at risk of potentially life-threatening blood clots, according to medical experts and emerging research. Doctors treating those diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, are seeing patients with clots throughout the body, including in the lungs and beneath the skin’s surface. (Global News)
[blood clots]
Study Raises Questions About False Negatives From Quick COVID-19 Test
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic tested 239 specimens known to contain the coronavirus using five of the most commonly used coronavirus tests, including the Abbott ID NOW. The ID NOW has generated widespread excitement because it can produce results in less than 15 minutes. But the ID NOW only detected the virus in 85.2% of the samples, meaning it had a false-negative rate of 14.8 percent, according to Dr. Gary Procop, who heads COVID-19 testing at the Cleveland Clinic and led the study. (NPR)
[false negative]
Coronavirus came to New York from Europe, not China, governor says
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday pointed to research showing that strains of the novel coronavirus entered his state from Europe, not China, and said that travel bans enacted by U.S. President Donald Trump were too late to halt its spread. (Reuters)
NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
NAMI released the NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide to answer frequently asked questions regarding the intersection between Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and people affected by mental illness, their caregivers and loved ones. The guide features FAQs on a variety of topics from managing anxiety and social isolation to accessing health care and medications. (NAMI)
2020-04-246Mental Health584
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Overview, Cause And Risk Factors, Pathogenesis And Disease Progression, Clinical Presentation, Diagnosis, Investigations, Management – General, Management – Oxygenation And Ventilation, Novel And Investigational Therapies, Prognosis, Prevention, Controversies, References (LITFL)
[critical care, healthcare, emergency medicine]
The FDA just approved Columbia's Covid-19 plasma therapy study…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just green-lit a clinical trial at Columbia University to determine whether the plasma collected from Covid-19 survivors can effectively protect health care workers on the frontlines and alleviate symptoms in those who are severely ill. (CNBC)
[plasma, FDA]
Identification of super-transmitters of SARS-CoV-2
Interestingly, four genetic clusters defined as Super-transmitters (STs) were found to become dominant and were responsible for the major outbreaks in various countries. Among the four clusters, ST1 is widely disseminated in Asia and the US and mainly responsible for outbreaks in the states of Washington and California in the US as well as those in South Korea at the end of February and early March, whereas ST4 contributed to the pandemic in Europe. Each ST cluster carried a signature mutation profile which allowed us to trace the origin and transmission patterns of specific viruses in different parts of the world. (MedRxiv)
Was CES ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic?
Complaints about illness around and after CES — A quick search of CES social media posts on Twitter shows a rather pronounced spike in tweets about attendees feeling sick, fatigued, and overwhelmed by an inexplicable bug. Some even called it the "Vegas flu." Of course, these tweets fall into the anecdotal category of evidence but they coincide with the time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave nationwide alerts for the virus. Even weeks after CES, as APM Reports notes, people complained about lingering coughing episodes, headaches, pain in their bodies, and a shortness of breath. Officials like the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Michael Osterholm, said that CES would have been the ideal spot for a viral outbreak. (Input)
[CES, spread]
Malicious forces creating ‘perfect storm’ of coronavirus disinformation
The coronavirus crisis has sparked a “perfect storm” of global online disinformation, cyber-espionage and disruption, involving up to a dozen states but most prominently Russia and China, experts have warned. In the midst of a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people, analysts have witnessed a sharp rise in deliberate misinformation campaigns on social media, which have occurred in parallel with attempts to hack international organisations at the forefront of the coronavirus response. (The Guardian)
[disinformation, Russia, China]
Trump floats dangerous coronavirus treatment ideas as Dr Birx looks on – video
Donald Trump prompted a backlash from medical experts after floating the idea that they could look into heat, light and injections of disinfectants as a cure for Covid-19. His public health advisers immediately played down the idea, and medics warn that trying such ideas could be fatal. (The Guardian)
Trump’s COVID-19 disinfectant ideas horrify health experts
U.S. President Donald Trump’s musings on whether injecting disinfectants might treat COVID-19 horrified medical professionals on Friday and raised fresh concerns that his stream-of-consciousness briefings could push frightened people to poison themselves with untested treatments. (Reuters)
Internal Documents Reveal Team Trump’s Chloroquine Master Plan
Forget testing, ventilators, and PPE. Donald Trump’s big plan to beat COVID-19 involved distributing millions of doses of an unproven drug. Behind the scenes, senior administration officials pushed hard to bend the rules and back up his boasts. (Vanity Fair)
[chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine]
FDA issues warnings on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after deaths and poisonings reported
The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Friday against taking malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting after deaths and poisonings were reported. The agency said patients taking the drugs for approved reasons, including malaria or to treat autoimmune conditions like lupus, should continue taking their medicine as prescribed. (CNBC)
[chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine]
Citing a high risk of death, researchers cut chloroquine coronavirus study short over safety concerns
Citing a high risk of death, researchers cut short a study testing anti-malaria drug chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19 after some patients developed irregular heart beats and nearly two dozen died after taking doses daily. (CNBC)
Leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week
Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide – a powerful bleach used in industrial processes such as textile manufacturing that can have fatal side-effects when drunk – is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body”. He added that it “can rid the body of Covid-19”. A few days after Grenon dispatched his letter, Trump went on national TV at his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Thursday and promoted the idea that disinfectant could be used as a treatment for the virus. To the astonishment of medical experts, the US president said that disinfectant “knocks it out in a minute. One minute!” (The Guardian)
FDA warns of serious side effects from drugs touted by Trump to treat coronavirus
The drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, should only be used in hospitals or clinical trials because they can kill or cause serious side effects, the FDA said. These include serious heart rhythm problems in Covid-19 patients treated with the drugs, especially when they are combined with the antibiotic azithromycin or other medications that can affect the heart. (CNN)
[hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, misinformation]
Family Mourns A Dad Who Denied, Then Died From, COVID-19
The family of John McDaniel, an Ohio man who died from COVID-19 after initially claiming the pandemic was overblown, is grieving this week. McDaniel's wife says they're also mourning the fact that her husband didn't get a chance to change the stance he took against the initial public response to the outbreak. It's now clear, she adds, that shutdown orders were necessary. (NPR)
USDA inspector dies as coronavirus spreads in meat packing plants
A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector tasked with ensuring safe food quality at meat processing plants died Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19, a source who was on a call in which the federal agency confirmed the death told USA Today. (USA Today)
[food, USDA, inspectors]
Covid-19 causes sudden strokes in young adults, doctors say
“Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid,” he added. “All tested positive. Two of them delayed calling an ambulance.” (CNN)
[stroke, blood clots]
If America is at war with covid-19, it’s doing a bad job of fighting
Near-term PPE shortages may not be averted, but through efficient mobilization of US manufacturers the stockpiles can be replenished and built up to proper levels in time to face potential new outbreaks in the fall. Perhaps the 50 states can come together to pull off a massive testing and contact tracing effort. But who will lead it? (MIT)
[war, PPE, stockpile, Manhattan Project, Defense Production Act (DPA)]
Is the Virus on My Clothes? My Shoes? My Hair? My Newspaper?
We asked the experts to answer questions about all the places coronavirus lurks (or doesn’t). You’ll feel better after reading this. (NY Times)
[groceries, shoes, transmission]
The first modern pandemic
This is like a world war, except in this case, we’re all on the same side. Everyone can work together to learn about the disease and develop tools to fight it. I see global innovation as the key to limiting the damage. This includes innovations in testing, treatments, vaccines, and policies to limit the spread while minimizing the damage to economies and well-being. This memo shares my view of the situation and how we can accelerate these innovations. (Bill Gates)
[innovation, policy, war]
New HHS spokesman made racist comments about Chinese people in now-deleted tweets
The new spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services in a series of now-deleted tweets made racist and derogatory comments about Chinese people, said Democrats wanted the coronavirus to kill millions of people and accused the media of intentionally creating panic around the pandemic to hurt President Donald Trump. Michael Caputo, a longtime New York Republican political operative who worked on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, was appointed last week as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, a prominent communications role at the department which serves a central role in the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. (CNN)
Symptom Checker
This tool is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate attention please call 911 or the number for your local emergency service. (Buoy Health)
Were you unable to get a COVID-19 test?
Do you have the symptoms of Coronavirus, (COVID-19), but were unable to get tested? Are you in a high-risk group, and have verified exposure to someone who has tested positive? Did you go to an ER or a doctor's office, but were told you could not get tested? Please report your details below. Please also take the survey at and report your results to Buoy Health. (Buoy Health)
Coronavirus was killing Americans weeks earlier than originally thought
Health officials now say two people died from Covid-19 in California in early February before the first reported death from the disease in the United States. Santa Clara county officials, in northern California, said they now know a 57-year-old woman died in her home on 6 February and and a 69-year-old man died in his home on 17 February. ... Cody called the three deaths “iceberg tips” – indicators that spread had been much worse than what experts originally thought. She noted that since testing at the time was limited by the federal government’s guidance on who should be tested, health officials were unable to act sooner. (The Guardian)
[early cases]
Top vaccine doctor says his concern about Trump's coronavirus treatment theory led to ouster from federal agency
A doctor who was removed as head of the federal agency that is helping develop a vaccine for the coronavirus said he was ousted after he resisted widespread adoption of a drug promoted by President Donald Trump as a treatment for Covid-19. (CNBC)
[hydroxychloroquine, BARDA, HHS]
How Trump allies have organized and promoted anti-lockdown protests
Republican politicians and individuals affiliated with President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign are organizing or promoting anti-lockdown protests across key electoral battleground states, despite the White House’s own cautious guidance on relaxing restrictions, interviews with two dozen people involved show. (Reuters)
Trump and Fox want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole
After weeks of hyping it as a potential coronavirus miracle drug, President Donald Trump and Fox News have suddenly lost faith in hydroxychloroquine. A study of coronavirus patients in Veterans Affairs hospitals released Tuesday found more deaths among those treated with hydroxychloroquine than those treated with standard care. Researchers reported finding no benefit to its use. (Vox)
[misinformation, hydroxychloroquine]
Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus
Nextstrain is an open-source project to harness the scientific and public health potential of pathogen genome data. We provide a continually-updated view of publicly available data with powerful analytics and visualizations showing pathogen evolution and epidemic spread. (Nextstrain)
[tracking, genome, tools, open source]
Far more people may have been infected by coronavirus in one California county
“We found that there are many, many unidentified cases of people having Covid infection that were never identified with it with a virus test,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University and one of the paper’s authors. “It’s consistent with findings from around the world that this disease, this epidemic is further along than we thought.” The study estimated that 2.49% to 4.16% of people in Santa Clara Country had been infected with Covid-19 by April 1. This represents between 48,000 and 81,000 people, which is 50 to 85 times what county officials recorded by that date: 956 confirmed cases. (CNN)
[infection rate]
Estimating the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States
Across the United States we estimate as of 6 April 2020 the fraction of the population infected was 4.8% [3.2%, 8.0%], 39 times the portion of the population with a positive test result. Excluding New York state, which we estimate accounts for over half of infections in the United States, we estimate an infection rate of 2.0% [1.7%, 2.6%]. (MedRxiv)
Putin leverages coronavirus chaos to make a direct play to Trump
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin appear to have had more sustained contact with each other in the past two weeks than at any time since 2016, as the Kremlin tries to use the coronavirus pandemic and close personal ties between the two leaders to normalize long-strained relations with Washington. The two leaders spoke on the phone at least four times over a two-week period... (CNN)
[Putin, Russia]
Cluster of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the French Alps, 2020
The index case stayed 4 days in the chalet with 10 English tourists and a family of 5 French residents; SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 5 individuals in France, 6 in England (including the index case), and 1 in Spain (overall attack rate in the chalet: 75%). One pediatric case, with picornavirus and influenza A coinfection, visited 3 different schools while symptomatic. One case was asymptomatic, with similar viral load as that of a symptomatic case. Seven days after the first cases were diagnosed, one tertiary case was detected in a symptomatic patient with a positive endotracheal aspirate; all previous and concurrent nasopharyngeal specimens were negative. (Oxford)
[transmission, spread, viral load, asymptomatic, early cases]
Dr. Gupta shows spread of virus with a restaurant seating chart
Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how difficult it will be to mitigate spread of the coronavirus in restaurants, one of the businesses set to reopen following governors relaxing orders in some Southern states. (CNN)
[study, restaurants, spread, transmission]
What Happens If U.S. Reopens Too Fast? Documents Show Federal Coronavirus Projections
Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some outside experts say even that grim outlook may be too optimistic. (NPR)
[HHS, model]
More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug in VA virus study
A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported. (CNBC)
[hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin]
COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines
These Treatment Guidelines have been developed to inform clinicians how to care for patients with COVID-19. Because clinical information about the optimal management of COVID-19 is evolving quickly, these Guidelines will be updated frequently... (NIH)
Remembering those who have died from Covid-19
Tens of thousands have lost their lives to Covid-19. If you have a family member you'd like to honor, share your story here. (CNN)
[deaths, memories]
Russian Police Break Up Anti-Lockdown Protest
Security forces violently dispersed a crowd of some 2,000 people protesting against a lockdown in Vladikavkaz, southern Russia, to stop the spread of COVID-19. Dozens were detained. An opera singer accused of organizing the protest was arrested earlier. (RFE/RL)
[Russia, protests]
When Denver backed off social distancing in the 1918 pandemic, the results were deadly
Politicians were feeling pressure during the pandemic. Businesses were agitating to reopen and deaths were going down, especially far away from the coastal cities that it had hit worst, first. It seemed time to declare “mission accomplished” and get the economy humming again -- especially with an election looming. It was 1918 and Denver Mayor William Fitz Randolph Mills bowed to business leaders and decided to back off social distancing. (CNN)
[Denver, 1918]
Trump tells Georgia governor he supports move to reopen despite public health experts' concerns
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday night and expressed support and praise for the Republican’s move to reopen businesses in his state starting Friday, a source familiar with the call said. The call came as public health officials warned that Kemp is moving too quickly, some business owners said they would keep their doors closed and mayors said they feared Kemp’s action would deepen the coronavirus crisis in their communities. Trump and Pence complimented Kemp on his performance as Georgia governor, the source said. (CNN)
Two cats in New York are first pets known to have coronavirus in the US
Two cats in New York have been infected with the novel coronavirus, federal officials announced Wednesday. Both had mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to make a full recovery. (CNN)
Can an Oral Polio Vaccine Help Stop the Coronavirus?
Dr. Robert Gallo, who helped identify HIV in the 1980’s, is leading an initiative to use the oral polio vaccine for short-term coronavirus treatment. He believes it could provide a couple of months of immunity, buying time for anyone infected to develop the antibodies to fight it. It still awaits FDA approval, but Dr. Gallo believes there is cause for hope — as he explains to Walter Isaacson. (PBS)
[vaccines, polio, FDA]
[AI, research, science, papers, summary]
Trolley problem
The trolley problem is a specific ethical thought experiment among several that highlights the difference between deontological and consequentialist ethical systems.[12] The central question that these dilemmas bring to light is on whether or not it is right to actively inhibit the utility of an individual if doing so produces a greater utility for other individuals. (Wikipedia)
Normative ethics
Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. (Wikipedia)
States work to keep meat plants open despite virus outbreaks
Governors in the Midwest are working to keep large meatpacking plants operating despite coronavirus outbreaks that have sickened hundreds of workers and threaten to disrupt the nation’s supply of pork and beef. (PBS)
[food, meatpacking, outbreaks]
USDA Is Relocating Its Food Inspectors From One Hot Spot to the Next As More Employees Get Sick
As more federal food inspectors go home sick, the Agriculture Department is scrambling to reassign employees from shuttered facilities to those with new outbreaks and is instructing those with known exposure to the novel coronavirus to continue reporting to work. (GovExec)
[food, USDA, inspectors]
UK to trial coronavirus treatments using blood from survivors
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has started to collect blood from recovered patients with a view to using the antibody-rich serum to boost the immune systems of patients struggling to overcome the virus. The limited supply of convalescent plasma will be given to patients enrolled on sub-studies in the Recovery trial led by Peter Horby at the University of Oxford, and the Remap-Cap trial led by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) in London. (The Guardian)
[convalescent, plasma, serum, trial]
This site is a resource to educate interested donors, the health care community and the public on the rapidly evolving therapy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. This site is brought to you by AABB. AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks), is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and biotherapies. (Cerus, AABB)
[convalescent, plasma]
Sewer systems are a window into the coronavirus pandemic
In collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Biobot analyzed sewage samples taken in Massachusetts in the middle of March. Based on the amount of virus, it predicted that there were a few thousand people infected in the area. At the time, there were only just over 400 confirmed cases. Currently, there are almost 40,000. Now, Biobot is analyzing samples from over 100 sewage treatment facilities in 30 states. (The Verge)
[sewage, testing]
Unverified antibody tests ‘risk increasing coronavirus infections’
Unapproved antibody tests could increase people’s risk of becoming infected with coronavirus, the UK’s national testing coordinator has warned. Countries around the globe are scrambling to develop reliable antibody tests that can detect if people have had the virus and may be immune, in the hope that this might allow for a loosening of lockdown restrictions – so far without success. Reports have emerged that organisations and individuals are trying to acquire tests, with many of these testing kits likely to yield false results. (The Guardian)
[testing, antibodies, sero-survey]
Infection and Rapid Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Ferrets
SARS-CoV-2-infected ferrets exhibit elevated body temperatures and virus replication. Although fatalities were not observed, SARS-CoV-2-infected ferrets shed virus in nasal washes, saliva, urine, and feces up to 8 days post-infection. At 2 days post-contact, SARS-CoV-2 was detected in all naive direct contact ferrets. Furthermore, a few naive indirect contact ferrets were positive for viral RNA, suggesting airborne transmission. (ScienceDirect)
[ferrets, transmission, aerosol, fever]
Contamination at CDC lab delayed rollout of coronavirus tests
The failure by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to quickly produce a test kit for detecting the novel coronavirus was triggered by a glaring scientific breakdown at the CDC’s central laboratory complex in Atlanta, according to scientists with knowledge of the matter and a determination by federal regulators. The CDC facilities that assembled the kits violated sound manufacturing practices, resulting in contamination of one of the three test components used in the highly sensitive detection process, the scientists said. (Washington Post)
[CDC, contamination]
'Liquid gold': the rush for plasma and the Covid-19 survivors who want to help
Once a national resource of convalescent plasma has been gathered, academic laboratories will need to work with industry partners to extract the antibodies so that they can create hyper-immune globulin, vials of purified antibodies, which are easy to ship worldwide (unlike plasma). This is already done with treatments for rabies, for example. (The Guardian)
[antibodies, plasma, hyperimmune globulin, convalescent]
CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance
The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance is an initiative to accelerate the development of a potential treatment for COVID-19. The first phase of the Alliance is collecting plasma at licensed plasma collection centers across the U.S. from healthy individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Known as convalescent plasma, the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients contains critical antibodies that could be used to make an experimental treatment. The “I” and “g” in CoVIg-19 stand for immune globulin, which the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance will use to concentrate the antibodies into an investigational medicine. (CoVIg-19)
[plasma, immune globulin, Bill Gates, Microsoft]
The Reality of Testing [podcast]
Dr. Osterholm and host Chris Dall discuss whether the US is nearing an apex in COVID-19 cases, what it may look like to “reopen” the country, a reality check regarding widespread testing, and what to make of the constant stream of new information and research findings. (Dr. Michael Osterholm)
[testing, 1918, marathon, model, transmission]
Rt Covid-19
These are up-to-date values for Rt, a key measure of how fast the virus is growing. It’s the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. (Systrom)
[Rt, spread, reproduction number, model,]
Incidence, clinical outcomes, and transmission dynamics of hospitalized 2019 coronavirus disease...
We assessed incidence, duration of hospitalization, and clinical outcomes of acute COVID-19 inpatient admissions in a prospectively-followed cohort of 9,596,321 individuals enrolled in comprehensive, integrated healthcare delivery plans from Kaiser Permanente in California and Washington state. We also estimated the effective reproductive number (RE) describing transmission in the study populations. (Kaiser Permanente)
[hospitalization, reproduction number, ICU]
Indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2
All identified outbreaks of three or more cases occurred in an indoor environment, which confirms that sharing indoor space is a major SARS-CoV-2 infection risk. (MedRxiv)
[indoor, spread, infection, home]
Using ILI surveillance to estimate state-specific case detection rates and forecast SARS-CoV-2 spread...
We find a surge of non-influenza ILI above the seasonal average and show that this surge is correlated with COVID case counts across states. By quantifying the number of excess ILI patients in March relative to previous years and comparing excess ILI to confirmed COVID case counts, we estimate the syndromic case detection rate of SARS-CoV-2 in the US to be approximately 1 our of 100. This corresponds to at least 28 million presumed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 patients across the US during the three week period from March 8 to March 28. (MedRxiv)
[ILI, analysis]
Number of people with coronavirus infections may be dozens of times higher than the number of confirmed cases
An antibody study carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has found that the number of people infected with coronavirus in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) may be many times higher than the confirmed number of cases. (
[testing, antibodies]
As governments fumbled their coronavirus response, these four got it right.
Like a line of dominoes, country after country has been shut down by the novel coronavirus. Despite signs the threat was making its way across the globe, there was a clear pattern of response in many parts of the world -- denial, fumbling and, eventually, lockdown. In our globalized world, it’s puzzling that so few lessons were learned in the early weeks of each country’s outbreak, when the chances of containing and stopping the virus were highest. Now the focus is on flattening the curve, or slowing the virus’ spread, to keep death tolls from climbing further. As much of the world mulls gradually lifting lockdowns, there are still lessons to be learned from these four places that got it right. Here are 12 of those lessons. (CNN)
[lessons, Iceland, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany]
Critics question Swedish approach as coronavirus death toll reaches 1,000
Sweden has passed the grim milestone of 1,200 coronavirus deaths, far exceeding the tolls of its nearest neighbours, but suggested it may be nearing the outbreak’s peak as scientists continue to question the government’s light-touch approach. The Public Health Agency announced a death toll of 1,203 people from Covid-19 on Wednesday, a rate of 118 per million inhabitants, compared with 55 in Denmark and just 13 in Finland, both of which imposed strict early lockdowns to curb the virus’s spread. (The Guardian)
Emirates Airline Begins Conducting Rapid COVID-19 Tests For Boarding Passengers
In a move that could be a step toward making air travel palatable to the public again, Emirates Airline has begun conducing rapid-on site COVID-19 for passengers. The testing began with passengers on a flight from Dubai to Tunisia on Wednesday. The analysis is a blood test with results within 10 minutes. The airline says it is the first to roll out rapid testing. (NPR)
[airlines, testing]
Elon Musk's promised ventilators never delivered to California hospitals, governor’s office says
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last month he had obtained more than 1,000 ventilators to help California hospitals treating patients infected with the coronavirus, an effort Gov. Gavin Newsom hailed as “heroic.” Now, more than three weeks later, the governor’s office says none of the promised ventilators have been received by hospitals. (CNN)
COVID-19 outbreak at a large homeless shelter in Boston: Implications for universal testing
Of 408 participants, 147 (36.0%) were PCR-positive for SARS-CoV-2. COVID-positive individuals were more likely to be male (p<0.001) but did not differ significantly from COVID-negative individuals with respect to other demographic and clinical characteristics. Cough (7.5%), shortness of breath (1.4%), and fever (0.7%) were all uncommon among COVID-positive individuals. Our findings illustrate the rapidity with which COVID-19 can be widely transmitted in a homeless shelter setting and suggest that universal PCR testing, rather than a symptom triggered approach, may be a better strategy for identifying and mitigating COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness. (MedRxiv)
[spread, asymptomatic, undetected infections, homeless shelter]
Gmail blocked 18M COVID-19-themed phishing emails in a week
“Every day, Gmail blocks more than 100 million phishing emails,” Gmail Security PM Neil Kumaran and G Suite and GCP Lead Security PM Sam Lugani explain. “During the last week, we saw 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19. This is in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related daily spam messages.” (BleepingComputer)
Coronavirus clue? Most cases aboard U.S. aircraft carrier are symptom-free
Roughly 60 percent of the over 600 sailors who tested positive so far have not shown symptoms of COVID-19, the potentially lethal respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, the Navy says. The service did not speculate about how many might later develop symptoms or remain asymptomatic. “With regard to COVID-19, we’re learning that stealth in the form of asymptomatic transmission is this adversary’s secret power,” said Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, surgeon general of the Navy. (Reuters)
[asymptomatic, spread, undetected infections, aircraft carrier, Navy]
'We Alerted The World' To Coronavirus On Jan. 5, WHO Says
Responding on Wednesday to a question about the U.S. accusations, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said, “In the first weeks of January, the WHO was very, very clear.” “We alerted the world on January the 5th,” Ryan said. “Systems around the world, including the U.S., began to activate their incident management systems on January the 6th. And through the next number of weeks, we’ve produced multiple updates to countries, including briefing multiple governments, multiple scientists around the world, on the developing situation — and that is what it was, a developing situation.” (NPR)
[WHO, early cases]
Exploit for Zoom [zero-day exploits] sold for $500,000
“From what I’ve heard, there are two zero-day exploits in circulation for Zoom. [...] One affects OS X and the other Windows,” said Adriel Desautels, the founder of Netragard, a company that used to run an exploit acquisition platform, told Motherboard. (BleepingComputer)
[zero-day, Zoom]
Icelandic doctor says the country's strategy to track spread of coronavirus can be used in US
Iceland's strategy to track the spread of the coronavirus can be used in the U.S., deCODE Genetics CEO Kári Stefánsson told CNBC on Wednesday. (CNBC)
[deCODE, testing, Iceland]
The FDA authorizes 2 more coronavirus antibody tests
The tests can detect past infections after people have recovered. But it's still not clear whether having antibodies means a person has long-term immunity to the virus. A total of three tests are now authorized by the FDA, which determined that the benefits of using the quickly designed tests during the pandemic outweigh the risks -- such as false negatives or false positives. (CNN)
[antibodies, testing, FDA]
Trump’s tariffs on China could cost the US in its fight against the coronavirus
U.S. tariffs on imported medical equipment, particularly from China, have added to the struggle in America's fight against the coronavirus outbreak. (CNBC)
[tariffs, China, health care workers]
Major League Baseball will conduct the country's largest coronavirus antibody test on employees
The test used in the study is not diagnostic and not the same test used in healthcare settings to identify the presence of the virus. Rather, it measures whether people have been exposed. The study will use rapid antibody tests, the league confirmed to CNBC. The Athletic previously reported that 10,000 employees from those teams have volunteered to participate. (CNBC)
[antibodies, testing]
Abbott announces new coronavirus antibody test that could do up to 20 million screenings in June
Abbott Laboratories announced the launch of its third test for the coronavirus and said it could be screening 20 million people for antibodies for Covid-19 by June. (CNBC)
[antibodies, testing]
France Finds 668 Coronavirus Cases Among Aircraft Carrier Crew
France said that at least 668 members of its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier battle group have been infected by the novel coronavirus, with one now in intensive care. (Bloomberg)
[aircraft carrier, France]
Getting a coronavirus test in Wuhan: fast, cheap and easy
Coronavirus tests can be difficult to come by in many countries including in hard-hit parts of the United States and Britain, but in Wuhan, the Chinese epicentre of the pandemic, they are fast, cheap and easy to get. (Reuters)
[testing, Wuhan, nucleic acid test]
We’ll see more shortages of diagnostic tests if the FDA has its way
Because of a quirk in FDA regulations. Diagnostic tests are currently regulated in one of two ways, and there’s no clear rule to determine which one applies to coronavirus tests. This uncertainty is a big part of why test shortages have caused a national crisis. (STAT)
[testing, FDA, regulations]
Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 11 European countries
We estimate that, across all 11 countries between 7 and 43 million individuals have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 up to 28th March, representing between 1.88% and 11.43% of the population. The proportion of the population infected to date – the attack rate - is estimated to be highest in Spain followed by Italy and lowest in Germany and Norway, reflecting the relative stages of the epidemics. (Imperial College London)
[attack rate, transmission, spread, reproduction number, interventions]
Trump’s decision to freeze WHO funding has been condemned
Reality check: The move can be interpreted as an attempt to shift blame for the pandemic, which has hit the US harder than any other country. But the WHO warned the US of the risk of human-to-human transmission of covid-19 as far back as January 10. (MIT)
‘Crime against humanity’: Trump condemned for WHO funding freeze
Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet medical journal, wrote that Trump’s decision was “a crime against humanity … Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity.” (The Guardian)
[WHO, The Lancet]
Bill Gates calls Trump’s decision to halt funding for WHO ‘as dangerous as it sounds’
“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever,” Gates tweeted. ... It’s unclear exactly what mechanism Trump intends to use to withhold WHO funding, much of which is appropriated by Congress. The president typically does not have the authority to unilaterally redirect congressional funding. (CNN)
[WHO, Bill Gates]
81 NIH employees have contracted coronavirus
At least 81 employees of the National Institutes of Health have contracted the coronavirus, the agency said Tuesday. An internal email sent to members of NIH's Office of Research Services team Tuesday and obtained by The Hill said 906 tests of NIH personnel had been conducted so far, including repeat testing of some of those who are among the confirmed cases. (The Hill)
[NIH, infection]
Recommendations for Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
FDA has issued guidance to provide recommendations to health care providers and investigators on the administration and study of investigational convalescent plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 (COVID-19 convalescent plasma) during the public health emergency. (FDA)
[FDA, serum, plasma, plasmaphoresis, blood, transfusion]
A Month After Emergency Declaration, Trump's Promises Largely Unfulfilled
“We’ve been working very hard on this. We’ve made tremendous progress,” Trump said. “When you compare what we’ve done to other areas of the world, it’s pretty incredible.” But few of the promises made that day have come to pass. (NPR)
Moscow rolls out digital tracking to enforce lockdown. Critics dub it a ‘cyber Gulag’
Roskomsovoda, a group that monitors internet freedom in Russia, called the new tool part of “a surveillance race” and rolled out a map of “digital civil rights abuses” to monitor restrictions that may stay in place past the coronavirus era. The Moscow mayor’s office says it will delete all data after the self-isolation period ends, but experts worry the accumulated database with people’s full profiles and extensive records of their every move could end up in the wrong hands. “There is a high probability that once the epidemic ends this data will start leaking to the [black] market, which happens to many other data bases,” said Sarkis Darbinyan, Roskomsvoboda’s lawyer. “This is very risky.” (CNN)
[tracking, contact tracers, privacy, Russia, Putin, surveillance]
Swedish coronavirus deaths top 1,000, fuelling criticism over strategy
Sweden just passed a grim milestone, as Scandinavia’s biggest economy reported more than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19. The development adds to controversy surrounding Sweden’s decision to ignore the lockdowns being imposed elsewhere, and instead leave schools, bars, cafes and restaurants open to the public. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has said that stricter measures may be needed going forward. In all, 1,033 Swedes have died from Covid-19, official figures showed on Tuesday (April 14). Though still well below fatality rates in Italy and the UK, it’s far worse than in any of the Nordic countries with which Sweden usually compares itself. The Swedish mortality rate is almost 10 times higher than in Finland, more than four times higher than in Norway, and twice Denmark’s. (Straits Times)
[Sweden, herd immunity, experiment]
South Korea forges ahead with election — with masks, thermometers and lots of sanitizer
South Korea is going ahead with its hotly contested parliamentary elections Wednesday, even as nations around the world, from Britain to Bolivia, have postponed races out of coronavirus concerns and a primary in Wisconsin raised myriad concerns about safety and disenfranchisement. With nearly four out of five South Koreans saying they intend to cast a ballot and early voting already logging record turnout, the country may offer an early look at how to hold a general election in the midst of a pandemic. (LA Times)
[elections, voting]
After Putin’s bravado, COVID-19 is starting to hit Russia hard
Less than a month ago Russia’s state-controlled media showed President Vladimir Putin talking about how the country had managed to contain the new coronavirus and keep the situation “under control.” (CBS)
[Russia, Putin]
Liz Cheney refutes Trump's false claim of total authority
GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, the third highest ranking House Republican, pushed back against a false claim by President Donald Trump that he has “total” authority to decide to lift restrictions governors have imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic. “The federal government does not have absolute power,” Cheney, who serves as a member of House GOP leadership as Republican Conference chairwoman, tweeted on Monday evening, though she did not mention the President explicitly. (CNN)
[U.S. Constitution]
Anti-malarial drug touted by Trump was subject of CIA warning to employees
The CIA has privately advised its workforce that taking an anti-malarial drug touted by President Trump and some of his supporters as a promising treatment for the novel coronavirus has potentially dangerous side effects, including sudden death. The warning, featured on a website for CIA employees with questions related to the spread of covid-19, came in late March after public discussion — and promotion by the president — that hydroxychloroquine, administered in concert with the antibiotic azithromycin, might prove effective against the disease. (Washington Post)
[hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine]
Universal Screening for SARS-CoV-2 in Women Admitted for Delivery
Between March 22 and April 4, 2020, a total of 215 pregnant women delivered infants at the New York–Presbyterian Allen Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center . All the women were screened on admission for symptoms of Covid-19. Four women (1.9%) had fever or other symptoms of Covid-19 on admission, and all 4 women tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (Figure 1). Of the 211 women without symptoms, all were afebrile on admission. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from 210 of the 211 women (99.5%) who did not have symptoms of Covid-19; of these women, 29 (13.7%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Thus, 29 of the 33 patients who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 at admission (87.9%) had no symptoms of Covid-19 at presentation. (NEJM)
[pregnancy, OBGYN, obstetrics]
The Metric We Need to Manage COVID-19
I hope by sharing this work with you, you will consider Rt as the metric that can guide our analysis and decision-making. (Systrom)
US COVID-19 deaths poorly predicted by IHME model
Over 70 percent of US states had death rates that were inconsistent with IHME predictions. Ability of IHME model to make accurate predictions decreases with increasing amount of data. Improved predictive modelling needed for adequate provision of ventilators, PPE, medical staff at a local level. (U. of Sydney)
[IHME, model, predictions]
FAA bars active pilots from taking chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus
Pilots are prohibited within two days of flying from experimenting with two yet unproven medications to prevent coronavirus infection, the Federal Aviation Administration has determined. “Use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection is disqualifying while on the medication and for 48 hours after the last dose before reporting for flight or other safety related duties,” a new FAA directive says. (CNN)
[pilots, FAA, hydroxychloroquine]
What you need to know before going to the grocery store
[food, groceries]
Coronavirus saliva test gets FDA emergency use approval, Rutgers University says
The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for a coronavirus test relying on saliva samples developed by a Rutgers University-backed entity, Rutgers said Monday. The test could increase, by tens of thousands of tests per day, the number of screenings for Covid-19, Rutgers said. (CNBC)
[testing, saliva, Rutgers]
Testing pooled samples for COVID-19 helps Stanford researchers track early viral spread in Bay Area
The prevalence of the virus that causes COVID-19 was tracked during the early days of the pandemic by pooling samples from people with upper respiratory symptoms in a study conducted by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine. Combining samples from several people at a time allowed the scientists to estimate the prevalence of the disease in the San Francisco Bay Area while conserving scarce testing resources. (Stanford)
[testing, pooled samples]
Can't find what you want in the grocery store? Here's why
The transportation links that move food around the globe are being tested in unprecedented ways. Shipowners are struggling to change crews and move goods between ports. Airlines have grounded thousands of planes, slashing air freight capacity. Travel restrictions also are clogging up road networks and making it difficult for farm workers to get where they are needed. And at the end of food supply chains, supermarkets that have come to rely on just-in-time deliveries have been upset by huge demand and panic buying. (CNN)
[food, supply chain]
US to receive 750,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea
Over the weekend, the first shipment of 150,000 tests were delivered to the US by SolGent. The next shipment of 600,000 tests will arrive by April 15. They are being provided by two South Korea-based companies, SD Biosensor and Osang Healthcare. The intent, the FEMA spokesperson said, is to move the tests to a cold storage facility in Louisville, Kentucky, for distribution. Urgent needs will be given priority, according to a FEMA advisory obtained by CNN. (CNN)
[testing, South Korea, SolGent, FEMA]
Diagnostic devices for use against coronavirus (COVID-19): List of authorized devices
Only diagnostic tests authorized by Health Canada can be imported or sold in Canada. Unauthorized tests may not produce accurate results, leading to potential misdiagnosis. Health Canada has confirmed that authorized COVID-19 tests are well supported by evidence indicating they will provide accurate and reliable results. (Canada)
[Canada, testing, authorized]
Governors on East and West coasts form pacts to decide when to reopen economies
States on the country's East and West coasts are forming their own regional pacts to work together on how to reopen from the stay-at-home orders each has issued to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The first such group to be announced came Monday on the East Coast. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts each plan to name a public health and economic official to a regional working group. The chief of staff of the governor of each state also will be a part of the group, which will begin work immediately to design a reopening plan. Later on Monday, the West Coast states of California, Washington and Oregon also announced they are joining forces in a plan to begin incremental release of stay-at-home orders. (CNN)
Pharmacologic Treatments for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The COVID-19 pandemic represents the greatest global public health crisis of this generation and, potentially, since the pandemic influenza outbreak of 1918. The speed and volume of clinical trials launched to investigate potential therapies for COVID-19 highlight both the need and capability to produce high-quality evidence even in the middle of a pandemic. No therapies have been shown effective to date. (JAMA)
[therapy, treatments, review]
Harvard Researcher Tells You Everything You Need to Know about the Coronavirus Pandemic
Harvard researcher David Sinclair has devoted his life to understanding and promoting human longevity. He wrote about pandemics in the book Lifespan, and on this episode of Health Theory with Tom Bilyeu he synthesizes the data we have about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. He explains what the virus is and how it spreads, describes the way it mutates, and discusses what people should do to protect themselves from this new coronavirus. (David Sinclair)
[Harvard, researcher, pandemic]
Apple and Google’s coronavirus app is a ‘global mass surveillance tool’
Apple and Google are bringing coronavirus contact tracing to iOS and Android. Computer science professor Jaap-Henk Hoepman says this will turn smartphones into “pocket Stasi agents.” (Decrypt)
[surveillance, contact tracers, Apple, Google]
Contact Tracing in the Real World
The real trade-off between surveillance and public health is this. For years, a pandemic has been at the top of Britain’s risk register, yet far less was spent preparing for one than on anti-terrorist measures, many of which were ostentatious rather than effective. Worse, the rhetoric of terror puffed up the security agencies at the expense of public health, predisposing the US and UK governments to disregard the lesson of SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2015 — unlike the governments of China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, who paid at least some attention. What we need is a radical redistribution of resources from the surveillance-industrial complex to public health. (Cambridge)
[contact tracking, policy, contact tracers]
Draft plans for contact-tracing app said device IDs could be used to identify users
A draft government memo explaining how the NHS contact-tracing app could stem the spread of the coronavirus said ministers might be given the ability to order “de-anonymisation” to identify people from their smartphones, the Guardian can reveal. (The Guardian)
[deanonymization, privacy, device ID, contact tracking, tracking]
Variation in False Negative Rate of RT-PCR Based SARS-CoV-2 Tests...
Over the four days of infection prior to the typical time of symptom onset (day 5) the probability of a false negative test in an infected individual falls from 100% on day one (95% CI 69-100%) to 61% on day four (95% CI 18-98%), though there is considerable uncertainty in these numbers. On the day of symptom onset, the median false negative rate was 39% (95% CI 16-77%). This decreased to 26% (95% CI 18-34%) on day 8 (3 days after symptom onset), then began to rise again, from 27% (95% CI 20-34%) on day 9 to 61% (95% CI 54-67%) on day 21. (MedRxiv)
[false negative]
Coronavirus symptoms: 10 key indicators and what to do
Fever, cough and shortness of breath are found in the vast majority of all Covid-19 cases. But there are additional signals of the virus, some that are very much like cold or flu, and some that are more unusual. Any or all symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are 10 signs that you or a loved one may have Covid-19 -- and what to do to protect yourself and your family. (CNN)
'Elbow to elbow:' North America meat plant workers fall ill, walk off jobs
According to more than a dozen interviews with U.S and Canadian plant workers, union leaders and industry analysts, a lack of protective equipment and the nature of “elbow to elbow” work required to debone chickens, chop beef and slice hams are highlighting risks for employees and limiting output as some forego the low-paying work. Companies that added protections, such as enhanced cleaning or spacing out workers, say the moves are further slowing meat production. Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, on Sunday said it is shutting a pork plant indefinitely and warned that plant shutdowns are pushing the United States “perilously close to the edge” in meat supplies for grocers. Lockdowns that aim to stop the spread of the coronavirus have prevented farmers across the globe from delivering produce to consumers. Millions of laborers also cannot get to the fields for harvesting and planting, and there are too few truckers to keep goods moving. (Reuters)
[food, meat]
Coronavirus Tests Are Being Fast-Tracked by the FDA, but It's Unclear How Accurate They Are.
Tests turning up negative even when all signs point to COVID-19 has been a common experience in American hospitals over the past month, public health experts have told ProPublica. It’s unclear what proportion of these negative results are inaccurate — known as “false negatives” — and whether that’s due to some external factor, like bad sample collection, or because of an issue inherent in the tests’ design. Neither the major test manufacturers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would say how common false negatives are. (ProPublica)
[false negative, testing, inaccurate]
FBI Discovers Promised Stockpile of 39 Million Medical Masks Was a Scam
As state governments and hospitals have scrambled to obtain masks and other medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic, scammers attempted to sell a fake stockpile of 39 million masks to a California labor union. The Los Angeles Times first reported on Sunday that the FBI had uncovered the scam, which has been traced back to a broker in Australia and a supplier in Kuwait. The investigators discovered the scam because they were looking into whether the supply could be intercepted by the federal government through the Defense Production Act. (Newsweek)
[scam, FBI, SEIU, face masks]
Bolsonaro dragging Brazil towards coronavirus calamity, experts fear
“It’s as if everybody’s on the same train heading towards a cliff-edge and someone says: ‘Look out! There’s a cliff!’ And the passengers shout: ‘Oh no there isn’t!’ And the train driver says: ‘Yeah, there’s nothing there!’” said Ivan França Junior, an epidemiologist from the University of São Paulo’s faculty of public health. “My sadness stems from seeing avoidable deaths that we are not going to avoid.” (The Guardian)
[Brazil, Bolsonaro]
FDA green-lights system that can decontaminate "millions" of N95 respirators per day
The system, called the STERRAD Sterilization System, uses “vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization,” according to the agency. More than 6,300 hospitals in the US already have the system installed, according to the FDA, and each system can reprocess approximately 480 respirators per day. The system is limited to “a maximum of 2 decontamination cycles per respirator,” according to the FDA letter authorizing its use. (CNN)
[decontaminate, N95, face masks, hydrogen peroxide]
The importance of positive emotions during the coronavirus crisis
Australian academic, psychologist and author Lea Waters talks about the power of positivity during the coronavirus crisis. The video forms part of a multi-part series looking at ways we can all stay positive during the coronavirus crisis. (Lea Waters)
2020-04-125Mental Health453
High transmissibility of COVID-19 near symptom onset
The attack rate was higher among those whose exposure to index cases started within five days of symptom onset (2.4%, 95% CI 1.1-4.5%) than those who were exposed later (zero case from 605 close contacts, 95% CI 0-0.61%). The attack rate was also higher among household contacts (13.6%, 95% CI 4.7-29.5%) and non-household family contacts (8.5%, 95% CI 2.4-20.3%) than that in healthcare or other settings. (MedRxiv)
[attack rate, timing, duration, serial interval, reproduction number, transmission, contact tracking, Taiwan, exposure window, incubation, viral load]
Real-time detection of COVID-19 epicenters within the United States using a network of smart thermometers
Here, we demonstrate an approach to identify anomalously elevated levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) in real-time, at the scale of US counties. Leveraging data from a geospatial network of thermometers encompassing more than one million users across the US, we identify anomalies by generating accurate, county-specific forecasts of seasonal ILI from a point prior to a potential outbreak and comparing real-time data to these expectations. Anomalies are strongly correlated with COVID-19 case counts and may provide an early-warning system to locate outbreak epicenters. (Kinsa Inc.)
[temperature, tracking, thermometer, fever]
New Guidance on COVID-19 Management
An American Thoracic Society-led international task force has released a guidance document to help clinicians manage COVID-19 patients in the face of a worldwide pandemic and minimal empirical evidence to guide treatment. The new guidance – COVID-19: Interim Guidance on Management Pending Empirical Evidence – is published as an open access document on the American Thoracic Society’s website. (American Thoracic Society)
[treatments, ventilator, hydroxychloroquine]
Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing
As part of this partnership Google and Apple are releasing draft technical documentation: Contact Tracing - Bluetooth Specification, Contact Tracing - Cryptography Specification, Contact Tracing - Framework API (Apple, Google)
[contact tracking, Apple, Google]
Documents seen by Guardian show tech firms using information to build ‘Covid-19 datastore’
Technology firms are processing large volumes of confidential UK patient information in a data-mining operation that is part of the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Palantir, the US big data firm founded by the rightwing billionaire Peter Thiel, is working with Faculty, a British artificial intelligence startup, to consolidate government databases and help ministers and officials respond to the pandemic. (The Guardian)
[privacy, security, Big Data, syndromic surveillance, aircraft carrier, government, Palantir, NHS]
Singapore's coronavirus struggle shows colossal task of global containment
Experts say the breaches of Singapore’s defences show how difficult it will be to curb the coronavirus spread elsewhere. “Singapore’s approach has been by far one of the very best,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota. “What they are really showing the rest of the world is that this is just a difficult virus to beat back and keep down.” (Reuters)
Six different polls show how Fox’s coronavirus coverage endangered its viewers
Republican pollster Neil Newhouse reportedly warned GOP leaders in a mid-March memo that Fox’s coverage was endangering the lives of the party’s base by influencing them not to take steps to protect themselves from the virus. Newhouse was right to worry. Six different public polls released over the past month have pointed to the same problem, with each showing that Fox viewers were more likely to believe the press had exaggerated the risks and were taking the coronavirus less seriously than people who get their news from other sources. (Media Matters)
[misinformation, polling]
Phishing emails impersonate the White House and VP Mike Pence
In phishing emails discovered by email security firm Inky, threat actors try to impersonate the White House who is sending out Coronavirus guidelines on behalf of President Trump. These emails state they are the latest "Coronavirus Guidelines for America" and prompt the recipient to click on a link to download a document. (BleepingComputer)
[phishing, scam]
6 ways climate change and disease helped topple the Roman Empire
... in recent years historians have also started to revisit the fall of the Roman Empire with an openness to the importance of environmental factors, including climate change and pandemic disease. Thanks to amazing new evidence from the natural sciences, we can now see that, while the human factors remain integral, they are sometimes just the surface effects of the deeper and more powerful forces of nature. (Vox)
[Roman Empire, climate, pandemic, Antonine Plague]
Collecting and evaluating convalescent plasma for COVID‐19 treatment: why and how
Plasma provided by COVID‐19 convalescent patients may provide therapeutic relief as the number CODID‐19 cases escalate steeply world‐wide. Prior findings in various viral respiratory diseases including SARS‐CoV related pneumonia suggest that convalescent plasma can reduce mortality, although formal proof of efficacy is still lacking. (VoxSanguinis)
[transfusion, serum therapy, convalescent, blood]
Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
This article reviews the roles of vitamin D in reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections, knowledge about the epidemiology of influenza and COVID-19, and how vitamin D supplementation might be a useful measure to reduce risk. Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. (NIH NLM)
[Vitamin D]
Some doctors moving away from ventilators for virus patients
As health officials around the world push to get more ventilators to treat coronavirus patients, some doctors are moving away from using the breathing machines when they can. The reason: Some hospitals have reported unusually high death rates for coronavirus patients on ventilators, and some doctors worry that the machines could be harming certain patients. (Seattle Times)
Sewage analysis suggests a New England metro area with fewer than 500 COVID-19 cases may have exponentially more
Preliminary findings released this week from a new effort to track the spread of the coronavirus through sewage data suggests that one metro region in Massachusetts that's reported fewer than 500 positive tests actually may actually have exponentially more. (ABC)
[sewage, testing]
SARS-CoV-2 infection in Health Care Workers in a large public hospital in Madrid...
There appears to be a close connection between health care worker infection and the driving forces of transmission in the community. Although we cannot exclude an additional risk factor of infection by SARS-CoV-2 due to the fact of the hospital environment, the similar proportions of positive cases among all the areas of the hospital and the evolutive wave of infection, as compared with the community, are clear arguments against a major factor of occupational risk. Exhaustive testing, such as the one carried out in our institution, covering over one third of all the workers, could be used as a reference of the population infected in the community. Since a significant proportion of COVID-19 cases can be asymptomatic and not all the hospital employees were actually tested, it is highly likely that this 11,6 % is a minimum estimation of the impact of SARS-CoV-2 circulation in Madrid during the first 4 weeks of the epidemics. (MedRxiv)
[hospitals, health care workers, Madrid, Spain]
Aerosol and Surface Distribution of [SARS-CoViD-2] in Hospital Wards...
To determine distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in hospital wards in Wuhan, China, we tested air and surface samples. Contamination was greater in intensive care units than general wards. Virus was widely distributed on floors, computer mice, trash cans, and sickbed handrails and was detected in air ≈4 m from patients. (CDC)
[hospitals, contamination, aerosol, healthcare, transmission]
Antiserum is human or nonhuman blood serum containing monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies that is used to spread passive immunity to many diseases via blood donation (plasmaphoresis). For example, convalescent serum, passive antibody transfusion from a previous human survivor, used to be the only known effective treatment for ebola infection with a high success rate of 7 out 8 patients surviving. Antisera are widely used in diagnostic virology laboratories. The most common use of antiserum in humans is as antitoxin or antivenom to treat envenomation. Serum therapy, also known as serotherapy, describes the treatment of infectious disease using the serum of animals that have been immunized against the specific organisms or their product, to which the disease is supposedly referable. (Wikipedia)
[antibodies, antiserum, blood, serum, serotherapy, serum therapy, antitoxin, antivenom, transfusion, plasmaphoresis]
Some states getting $300K per coronavirus case, New York getting $12K
Analysis from Kaiser Health found that states like Minnesota, Nebraska and Montana are getting more than $300,000 per reported COVID-19 case, while New York, the hardest-hit state, is receiving roughly $12,000 per case. Florida, which is also grappling with a serious outbreak, is getting $132,000 per case. The funds are coming from $30 billion in emergency grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (The Hill)
[HHS, grants, Medicare]
The Way It Was: Darbyville plague
People were dying so fast that funeral services were discontinued, and from coffins, interments went to simple boxes. From boxes, the ever mounting dead were laid in bare dirt graves, and from single graves, burials were made in community ditch-graves. Woodlawn was rapidly filling. Wagons hauled 24 hours a day, especially at night, since most deaths occurred then, and survivors dared not allow the bodies to lay longer than the length of a trip to the cemetery. (Baker County Press)
[Yellow Fever]
Yellow Fever
In 2013, yellow fever resulted in about 127,000 severe infections and 45,000 deaths, with nearly 90 percent of these occurring in African nations. Nearly a billion people live in an area of the world where the disease is common. It is common in tropical areas of the continents of South America and Africa, but not in Asia. Since the 1980s, the number of cases of yellow fever has been increasing. This is believed to be due to fewer people being immune, more people living in cities, people moving frequently, and changing climate increasing the habitat for mosquitoes. The disease originated in Africa and spread to South America with the slave trade in the 17th century. Since the 17th century, several major outbreaks of the disease have occurred in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, yellow fever was seen as one of the most dangerous infectious diseases. In 1927, yellow fever virus became the first human virus to be isolated. (Wikipedia)
Apple, Google Team on Coronavirus Tracking – Sparking Privacy Fears
Despite Apple and Google’s emphasis on privacy, some remain concerned about its implications – particularly with the collecting and handling of sensitive healthcare data. (ThreatPost)
[contact tracking, Google, Apple]
Apple and Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing technology
Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread. A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. (Apple)
[contact tracking, Google]
NIH Begins Study to Quantify Undetected Cases of Coronavirus Infection
In this “serosurvey,” researchers will collect and analyze blood samples from as many as 10,000 volunteers to provide critical data for epidemiological models. The results will help illuminate the extent to which the novel coronavirus has spread undetected in the United States and provide insights into which communities and populations are most affected. (NIH)
[sero-survey, testing]
Less than 1% of Austrians [acutely] infected with coronavirus, study shows
Less than 1% of the Austrian population is “acutely infected” with coronavirus, new research based on testing a representative sample of more than 1,500 people suggests. ... However, researchers, speaking at a press conference to release the results, said the study provided only a “snapshot” and did not account for asymptomatic infections, or people who were immune. (The Guardian)
[random sampling, testing]
What Immunity to COVID-19 Really Means
Unlike diagnostic tests, which are used to confirm the presence and sometimes load, or amount, of the virus, antibody tests help determine whether or not someone was previously infected—even if that person never showed symptoms. Widespread use of such assays could give scientists greater insight into how deadly the virus is and how widely it has spread throughout the population. It is less clear what those antibody tests mean for real life, however, because immunity functions on a continuum. With some pathogens, such as the varicella-zoster virus (which causes chicken pox), infection confers near-universal, long-lasting resistance. Natural infection with Clostridium tetani, the bacterium that causes tetanus, on the other hand, offers no protection—and even people getting vaccinated for it require regular booster shots. (Scientific American)
[antibodies, testing]
Compromised Zoom Credentials Swapped in Underground Forums
Researchers have uncovered a database shared on an underground forum containing more than 2,300 compromised Zoom credentials. The database contained usernames and passwords for Zoom accounts – including corporate accounts belonging to banks, consultancy companies, educational facilities, healthcare providers and software vendors. Some of the accounts included meeting IDs, names and host keys in addition to credentials. (ThreatPost)
A promising COVID-19 treatment gets fast-tracked
Under the leadership of immunologist Arturo Casadevall, Johns Hopkins has spearheaded the use of a convalescent serum therapy, a potential COVID-19 treatment—with an old pedigree. On March 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began allowing researchers to request emergency authorization for its use. Within three days hospitals in Houston and New York City started treatments, and now under a FDA "expanded access program" soon "a very large number" of U.S. hospitals will follow suit, according to Tobian. (Johns Hopkins)
[serum, convalescent, transfusion, blood]
Transfusion of serum sourced from resistant individuals
A relatively simple, inexpensive and broadly available technology, using traditional semi-abandoned “antiquated” methods, may stop the pandemic. (Tom Ritch)
[plasma, transfusion, serum, convalescent, antibodies]
Pass the salt: The minute details that helped Germany build virus defences
The Jan. 22 canteen scene was one of dozens of mundane incidents that scientists have logged in a medical manhunt to trace, test and isolate infected workers so that the regional government of Bavaria could stop the virus from spreading. That hunt has helped Germany win crucial time to build its COVID-19 defences. (Reuters)
[Stockdorf, Germany, contact tracking]
Blood tests show 14% of people are now immune to covid-19 in one town in Germany
Now, after searching blood from 500 residents for antibodies to the virus, scientists at a nearby university say they have determined that one in seven have been infected and are therefore “immune.” Some of those people would have had no symptoms at all. (MIT)
[Gangelt, Germany, antibodies, infection rate, serology, sero-survey, asymptomatic]
Estimates of the Undetected Rate among the SARS-CoV-2 Infected using Testing Data from Iceland
Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States is currently targeted to individuals whose symptoms and/or jobs place them at a high presumed risk of infection. An open question is, what is the share of infections that are undetected under current testing guidelines? To answer this question, we turn to COVID-19 testing data from Iceland. Our primary estimates for the fraction of infections that are undetected range from 88.7% to 93.6%. (James Stock et al)
[testing, undetected infections, deCODE]
US Senate, German government tell staff not to use Zoom
The two organizations now join a list that also includes the Taiwanese government, the Australian government, SpaceX, Google, and New York state area schools. (ZDNet)
[Germany, security, US Senate]
Can Masks Capture Coronavirus Particles?
Bottom line: Masks can filter particles as small as 0.007 microns – 10 times smaller than viruses, and much, much smaller than PM2.5. What’s more, they work surprisingly well, even while people are wearing them. Surgical masks are perform less well cheap but are cheaper and more readily available. (Smart Air)
[face masks]
Stanford researchers develop potential method to reuse N95 respirators
A team of Stanford researchers may have found a way to use heat to disinfect N95 respirators, potentially enabling reuse of the single-use masks that are running dangerously low nationwide as the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continues to grow. The team’s research, based on experiments on a type of fabric commonly used in respirators and industrial-grade respirators, found that a 30-minute exposure to 75 °C could be used up to 20 times to disinfect N95 respirators without a loss of filtration efficiency and mechanical deformation. (Stanford)
[face masks, oven, decontaminate]
The untold origin story of the N95 mask
The most important design object of our time was more than a century in the making. (FastCompany)
[face masks]
How we’re using ultraviolet light to slow the N95 mask shortage
It’s no secret: Hospitals throughout the U.S. are facing a critical N95 respirator mask shortage. Instead of accepting this shortage as fact, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine experts teamed up to tackle the problem head on. They came up with an innovative solution: Using big ultraviolet (UV) light towers to decontaminate the N95 masks, making them reusable. (Nebraska Medicine)
[sanitize, decontaminate, face masks, UV]
An Ohio firm’s new machine can sanitize 80,000 masks a day for the coronavirus fight.
A Battelle engineer, Kevin Hommema, said his wife, a doctor at a Columbus hospital, was worried about a shortage of protective masks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the problem could be addressed using technology Battelle had developed a few years before to disinfect and re-use masks exactly for that reason, but never scaled up for use. (
[face masks, sanitize, hydrogen peroxide, FDA, decontaminate]
The right way to use and clean your mask...
For masks to be effective, they must be worn properly. Here's the right way to use a cloth face covering during the COVID-19 pandemic, plus common pitfalls that could affect your safety. (CNBC)
In-person voting was likely a ‘disaster’ for Wisconsin’s efforts to flatten coronavirus curve, national experts say
As voters lined up across Wisconsin on Tuesday, waiting hours in some places, researchers who have been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus nationwide watched in stunned horror and confusion. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
[voting, Wisconsin]
Coronavirus Was Slow to Spread to Rural America. Not Anymore.
Grace Rhodes was getting worried last month as she watched the coronavirus tear through New York and Chicago. But her 8,000-person hometown in Southern Illinois still had no reported cases, and her boss at her pharmacy job assured her: “It’ll never get here.” Now it has. A new wave of coronavirus cases is spreading deep into rural corners of the country where people once hoped their communities might be shielded because of their isolation from hard-hit urban centers and the natural social distancing of life in the countryside. (NY Times)
The cluster effect: how social gatherings were rocket fuel for coronavirus
“If you have 100 or 200 people spend enough time in a room with a person carrying the virus, then for example 20 might walk out with the new infection and, after a few days’ incubation time, pass it on to their families and workmates, let’s assume 10 more people each. Within a few days, the virus can thus multiply 200 times with only one new incident - and then continue.” (The Guardian)
Coronavirus Invades Saudi Inner Sanctum
As many as 150 royals in the kingdom are now believed to have contracted the virus, including members of its lesser branches, according to a person close to the family. King Salman, 84, has secluded himself for his safety in an island palace near the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his son and the 34-year-old de facto ruler, has retreated with many of his ministers to the remote site on the same coast where he has promised to build a futuristic city known as Neom. (NY Times)
[Saudi Arabia]
Coronavirus: 100 days that changed the world
Over the next 100 days, the virus would freeze international travel, extinguish economic activity and confine half of humanity to their homes, infecting more than a million people and counting, including an Iranian vice-president, the actor Idris Elba, and the British prime minister. By the middle of April, more than 75,000 would be dead. But all that was still unimaginable at the end of December, as 11.59pm ticked over to midnight, fireworks exploded and people embraced at parties and in packed streets. (The Guardian)
The Face Mask Debate Reveals a Scientific Double Standard
The recent back-and-forth debate—and policy reversal—over the use of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 reveals a glaring double standard. For some reason, we’ve been treating this one particular matter of public health differently. We don’t see op-eds that ask whether people really need to keep 6 feet away from each other on the street, as opposed to 3 feet, or that cast doubt on whether it’s such a good idea to promote bouts of handwashing that are 20 seconds long. But when it comes to covering our faces, a scholarly hyper-rigor has been applied. In recent weeks, experts have counseled caution—or rejected the use of masks by the general public outright—as they pleaded for better, more decisive evidence. Why? (Wired)
COVID-19 Exploited by Malicious Cyber Actors
Both CISA and NCSC are seeing a growing use of COVID-19-related themes by malicious cyber actors. At the same time, the surge in teleworking has increased the use of potentially vulnerable services, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), amplifying the threat to individuals and organizations. APT groups and cybercriminals are targeting individuals, small and medium enterprises, and large organizations with COVID-19-related scams and phishing emails. This alert provides an overview of COVID-19-related malicious cyber activity and offers practical advice that individuals and organizations can follow to reduce the risk of being impacted. (CISA)
[CISA, NCSC, cyberattacks, cybercriminals]
Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November: Sources
Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents. The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia -- forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home. (ABC)
[intelligence, Pentagon, NCMI, briefing]
Drone video shows inmates digging mass burial graves on New York's Hart Island
Aerial video shows mass graves being dug and bodies being buried by inmates at an island cemetery in the midst of the COVID-19 emergency in New York. The drone video was shot on April 2 and released by the Hart Island Project, an advocacy group aiming to bring more transparency to how New York City handles burials, and pushing for better public access to the island site and burial information. (CTV)
[burial, NYC, Hart Island]
Google bans Zoom software from employee laptops
Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday banned Zoom video conferencing application from its employees’ laptops, citing security concerns. (Reuters)
U.S., UK cyber officials say state-backed hackers taking advantage of outbreak
A joint advisory published on Wednesday by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre said that while the overall volume of malicious activity does not appear to have changed, hackers of all varieties were leveraging anxiety around the disease outbreak to push people into clicking links and downloading attachments. (Reuters)
[hackers, criminals]
A Man With The Coronavirus Hugged People At A Funeral And A Birthday Party. Three Of Them Died.
A federal report details how a potential "super-spreading event" in Chicago likely infected 15 people at two family gatherings, three of whom died of COVID-19. (Buzzfeed)
Cost of Navy secretary's trip to Guam? $243,000, his job and isolation after exposure to coronavirus
Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly’s trip last weekend to address sailors aboard the COVID-19-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt cost taxpayers more than $243,000 for the 35-hour round trip on a Gulfstream 550, according to a Navy official. Modly’s profanity-laced speech to the sailors, during which he branded the fired captain of the ship as “naive” and “stupid” for seeking aid, prompted Modly to offer his resignation Tuesday. (USA Today)
[USS Theodore Roosevelt, aircraft carrier, Navy]
Navarro left a trail of political wreckage in California
As a candidate, the Trump trade adviser feuding with Fauci was known for his combative ways. ... Larry Remer, a veteran Democratic political consultant who ran two of Navarro’s campaigns, describes his former client as “the biggest asshole I’ve ever known.’’ (Politico)
Why in times of COVID-19 you can not walk/run/bike close to each other.
In a lot of countries walking, biking and jogging are welcome activities in these times of COVID-19. However, it is important to note that you need to avoid each other's slipstream when doing these activities. This comes out of the result of a study by the KU Leuven (Belgium) and TU Eindhoven (Netherlands). (Jurgen Thoelen)
[running, cycling, slipstream]
Why coronavirus testing takes so long: a behind-the-scenes look at the steps involved
After a slow start, testing for COVID-19 has ramped up in recent weeks, with giant commercial labs jumping into the effort, drive-up testing sites established in some places and new types of tests approved under emergency rules set by the Food and Drug Administration. But even for people who are able to get tested (and there’s still a big lag in testing ability in hot spots across the U.S.), there can be a frustratingly long wait for results — not just hours, but often days. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) didn’t get his positive test results for six days and is now being criticized for not self-quarantining during that time. We asked experts to help explain why the turn-around time for results can vary widely — from hours to days or even a week — and how that might be changing. (Kaiser Health News)
[labs, swabs, PCR, FDA]
New COVID-19 ‘Citizen Science’ Initiative Lets Any Adult with a Smartphone Help to Fight Coronavirus
A critical mass of CCS participants uploading information though the app, launched on March 26, 2020, could help data-crunching researchers gain insight into how the virus is spreading... (UCSF)
[smartphone, app, tracking]
Beyond Zoom: How Safe Are Slack and Other Collaboration Apps?
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, remote-collaboration platforms – now fixtures in many workers’ “new normal” – are facing more scrutiny. Popular video-conferencing app Zoom may currently be in the cybersecurity hot seat, but other collaboration tools, such as Slack, Trello, WebEx and Microsoft Teams, are certainly not immune from cybercriminal attention. (ThreatPost)
[Zoom, Slack, Trello, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, web conferencing]
Fake Zoom installers being used to distribute malware
Attackers are taking advantage of the increased popularity of the Zoom video conferencing service to distribute installers that are bundled with malware and adware applications. (BleepingComputer)
[Zoom, malware, Trojans, RATs]
Iran, Colombia, and Italy Put Citizens at Risk with COVID-19 Government Mobile Apps
ZeroFOX Alpha Team has aggregated and analyzed dozens of nation and/or government-sponsored mobile applications on the Android platform, related to COVID-19. Some of these are official COVID-19 mobile apps, endorsed by a specific country, while others are unofficial one-off applications. In each app, Alpha Team identified a number of privacy concerns, vulnerabilities or backdoors. In this blog post, we provide a technical analysis of three applications. (ZeroFOX)
[android, backdoors]
Saliva spray during speech could transmit coronavirus – study
Tiny droplets of saliva that are sprayed into the air when people speak may be sufficient to spread coronavirus, according to US government scientists who say the finding could help control the outbreak. (The Guardian)
[droplets, face masks]
Findings of lung ultrasonography of novel corona virus pneumonia during the 2019–2020 epidemic
Lung ultrasonography gives the results that are similar to chest CT and superior to standard chest radiography for evaluation of pneumonia and/or adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with the added advantage of ease of use at point of care, repeatability, absence of radiation exposure, and low cost (Intensive Care Medicine)
[ultrasonography, imaging, lungs, CT scan]
NASA under 'significantly increasing' hacking, phishing attacks
NASA has seen "significantly increasing" malicious activity from both nation-state hackers and cybercriminals targeting the US space agency's systems and personnel working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (BleepingComputer)
[hacking, cyberattacks]
Dr. Fauci Has Been Dreading A Pandemic Like COVID-19 For Years
But the thing that worries most of us in the field of public health is a respiratory illness that can spread even before someone is so sick that you want to keep them in bed. And that’s really the difference.” (FiveThirtyEight)
1,500 Troops Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 as Military Struggles with Virus’ Spread
More than 1,500 active duty troops have been diagnosed with coronavirus according to new statistics released by the Pentagon. And in the broader Department of Defense, including civilians, contractors and dependents, that number has reached 2,657, including seven deaths. (U.S. News and World Report)
[military, Navy]
BillionToOne COVID-19 Response
BillionToOne developed a novel qSanger-COVID-19 Test that is more than 30x higher throughput than existing quantitative PCR (qPCR) methods and is highly accurate and cost-effective. (BillionToOne)
[Sanger, Human Genome project]
Key Trump coronavirus task force must work remotely after positive COVID-19 test
A critical White House unit that is getting, shipping and distributing goods to fight the spread of the coronavirus has been ordered to vacate its war room and begin working remotely after a "partner" of the group tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent to staff members late Monday. (NBC)
[FEMA, supply chain, task force, infection]
Trump removes inspector general overseeing $2 trillion coronavirus relief package days after he was appointed
President Donald Trump has removed the lead watchdog overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus package, just days after the official, Glenn Fine, was appointed to the role. The move came as Trump pursued similar action in recent weeks against independent inspectors general across the federal government. (CNBC)
Interpol: Ransomware attacks on hospitals are increasing
The INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organisation) warns that cybercriminals are increasingly attempting to lockout hospitals out of critical systems by attempting to deploy ransomware on their networks despite the currently ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. (BleepingComputer)
[ransomware, hospitals, Interpol]
All COVID-19 clinical trials at a glance
Over 500 clinical trials of potential COVID-19 treatments and interventions have been launched worldwide. Here's a quick guide to getting data on who is researching what, where and when - and what they have discovered. A more comprehensive overview is available for download below. (TranspariMED)
[clinical trials]
SARS-CoV-2 titers in wastewater are higher than expected from clinically confirmed cases
Wastewater surveillance may represent a complementary approach to measure the presence and even prevalence of infectious diseases when the capacity for clinical testing is limited. Moreover, aggregate, population-wide data can help inform modeling efforts. We tested wastewater collected at a major urban treatment facility in Massachusetts and found the presence of SARS-CoV-2 at high titers in the period from March 18 - 25 using RT-qPCR. We then confirmed the identity of the PCR product by direct DNA sequencing. Viral titers observed were significantly higher than expected based on clinically confirmed cases in Massachusetts as of March 25. (MedRxiv)
[Massachusetts, sewage, testing]
On average, only 6% of actual infections detected worldwide
The number of confirmed cases for the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 officially issued by countries and widely reported by national and international media outlets dramatically understates the true number of infections, according to a recent report from the University of Göttingen. (MedicalXpress)
[Göttingen, Lancet]
Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus miracle cure
Trump’s promotion of the drug has raised questions about his motivation, and on Monday the New York Times reported that the president holds “a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, the company that makes a brandname version of hydroxychloroquine. (The Guardian)
[hydroxychloroquine, misinformation, Sanofi]
Coroners worry Covid-19 test shortages could lead to uncounted deaths
With concerns growing about the coronavirus death toll being incomplete because of lack of testing for the living, coroners and medical examiners said being unable to test the dead compounds the issue. They said they are worried that deaths are being significantly undercounted and that as a result, the statistics used by the federal and state governments to chart the virus's spread and severity are far from reliable. (CNN)
Navarro memos warning mass death circulated West Wing in January
In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios. (Axios)
[Peter Navarro, memos, China, travel ban]
Theodore Roosevelt captain followed in footsteps of ship’s namesake by writing bombshell letter
Crozier’s firing sparked a maelstrom of criticism, with a mother of one Roosevelt sailor telling Navy Times she was “devastated” by the captain’s dismissal, adding that Crozier “risked his own livelihood. That is so hard to do. Not a lot of men, not a lot of women, not a lot of people out there who would do that for others.” Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that the aircraft carrier’s namesake was once entangled in a similar conundrum, noted retired Navy commander Ward Carroll in Proceedings Magazine. (Navy Times)
[Theodore Roosevelt, Navy]
How a Ship’s Coronavirus Outbreak Became a Moral Crisis for the Military
In a profanity-laced reprimand, the acting Navy secretary criticized sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their fired captain, who had requested more assistance to fight the infection. (NY Times)
[Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, aircraft carrier, nuclear]
Why Does the President Keep Pushing a Malaria Drug?
Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that the aircraft carrier’s namesake was once entangled in a similar conundrum, noted retired Navy commander Ward Carroll in Proceedings Magazine. ("James Hamblin, M.D.")
[hydroxychloroquine, misinformation]
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care
Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, (CNN)
[Boris Johnson, UK]
Developing antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2
Laboratories and diagnostic companies are racing to produce antibody tests, a key part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Lancet)
New Data on COVID-19 vs Other Viral Infections (Ventilator Outcomes)
We have here on Day Zero the infection, and then the infection persists for about five days of incubation. Between day 5 and day 12 is the symptomatic period of growing and building, and this is of course an average, and eighty percent of people in this period will exit out of this cycle without any further intervention - no need for oxygen, no need to visit the emergency room, no need to be admitted - but it's about twenty percent of those people here that need to be hospitalized, and of course, some of those will just need supplemental oxygen, maybe some observation, but again some of those may need to be put on a ventilator. (MedCram)
[ventilator, incubation, hospitalization, stages]
How the coronavirus spread through San Jose’s fire department
The cluster of San Jose cases illustrate the heightened risk police officers, firefighters and paramedics face both from the public they are sworn to serve — and from each other, working in professions that leave them unable to distance themselves from others, or from a silent, potentially deadly disease. (Mercury News)
[police, fire fighters]
Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and different domestic animals to SARS-coronavirus-2
We found that SARS-CoV-2 replicates poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, but efficiently in ferrets and cats. We found that the virus transmits in cats via respiratory droplets. (BioRxiv)
[dogs, cats, ferrets, chickens, pigs, ducks]
Epidemiological and Clinical Aspects of COVID-19; a Narrative Review
... misinterpreting or ignoring strong evidence in clinical practice and public health probably results in less effective and somehow more harmful decisions for individuals as well as subgroups in general populations of countries in the initial stages of this epidemic. Accordingly, our narrative review appraised epidemiological and clinical aspects of the disease including genetic diversity of coronavirus genus, mode of transmission, incubation period, infectivity, pathogenicity, virulence, immunogenicity, diagnosis, surveillance, clinical case management and also successful measures for preventing its spread in some communities. (NIH)
Use of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A tweet by President Trump on 21 March 2020 claiming that the combination of HCQ and azithromycin “ha[s] a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” accelerated a worldwide run on the drugs, with pharmacies reporting shortages within 24 hours. Here, we try to provide guidance regarding clinical decision making both for patients with COVID-19 and those with immune-mediated conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and strategies to mitigate further harm to these patients. (American College of Physicians)
[hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine]
Random Sampling Reveals 0.6% Of Icelanders Infected With COVID-19
Random sampling carried out by deCODE has shown that the COVID-19 incidence in the general population in Iceland is 0.6%, mbl reports. According to deCODE, 13 of the 2,300 people selected at random from the capital area tested positive positive for COVID-19. (Reykjavik Grapevine)
[random sampling]
Trouble in testing land
Professor Sir John Bell explores the challenges of antibody testing for Covid-19, noting that no tests to date have performed well. (Oxford)
Experts warn about big dollar fraud in $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package
The U.S. government’s historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid relief package recently approved by Congress is highly vulnerable to fraud and abuse, oversight experts and veteran watchdogs who investigated abuse of the government’s financial system bailout more than a decade ago told ABC News. (ABC)
[fraud, bailout, oversight]
Three reasons why Jacinda Ardern's coronavirus response has been a masterclass in crisis leadership
As someone who researches and teaches leadership — and has also worked in senior public sector roles under both National and Labour-led governments — I'd argue New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is giving most Western politicians a masterclass in crisis leadership. (ABC)
A Tale of Two Quarantines
I ended up quarantined in both Beijing and Washington during the coronavirus outbreak. The experiences weren’t as different as you might think. (Foreign Policy)
‘These are answers we need.’ WHO plans global study to discover true extent of coronavirus infections
In an effort to understand how many people have been infected with the new coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) is planning a coordinated study to test blood samples for the presence of antibodies to the virus. (Science)
[antibodies, WHO, blood]
Coronavirus 'game changer' testing kits could be unreliable, UK scientists say
The huge stock of 17.5m antibody home testing kits ordered by the government after Boris Johnson said they could be a “game changer” could in fact be unreliable, scientists have said, saying that they may fail to detect up to half of coronavirus cases. (The Guardian)
[accuracy, antibodies]
Crappy' tests to check for past coronavirus infection are flooding the US, lab association says
Regulatory changes by President Donald Trump’s administration have made it easier for companies to flood the US market with “crappy” tests that are supposed to determine whether someone has recovered from coronavirus, according to the CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. (CNN)
[China, antibodies, rules, regulations, FDA, accuracy]
Mayo Clinic News Network
The Mayo Clinic News Network is an external, public facing news site that offers a wide variety of consumer news, health tips, science research and patient stories. (Mayo Clinic)
TWiV (This Week in Virology)
MicrobeTV is an independent podcast network for people who are interested in the sciences. Our shows are about science: viruses, microbes, parasites, evolution, urban agriculture, communication, and engineering. (
Partners In Health to Help State Trace Contacts of COVID-19 Patients ...
The COVID Community Team, a virtual support center of nearly 1,000 people, will contact COVID-19 patients, learn about their recent public activities, and ensure they can take appropriate steps to get healthy and not spread the virus further. Dr. Paul Farmer, PIH co-founder and chief strategist, said contact tracing is vital to early detection and triage for people who could slip through the public safety net, and be at risk for rapid declines in health. (Partners In Health)
[contact tracking]
Ohio plans random population testing to help determine how many people have coronavirus
The Ohio Department of Health plans to randomly sample Ohio’s population for the coronavirus, which will provide much needed information of how extensive COVID-19 is in the state. (
[random sampling]
What you need to know about spring allergies and COVID-19
In many parts of the U.S., spring is in full bloom. And with the arrival of spring comes an increase in seasonal allergies and now questions about increased risk related to COVID-19. (Mayo Clinic)
[allergies, asthma, pollen, inhaler, nasel spray]
Tiger at the Bronx Zoo tests positive for the coronavirus
The tiger who tested positive is believed to have become infected by a zoo employee. (CNBC)
[cats, dogs, animals, tiger]
A cat just tested positive for coronavirus
A dog in Hong Kong tested positive for the novel coronavirus a few weeks ago, and that good boy eventually died of old age after reportedly recovering from the illness. Now, a cat in Belgium contracted COVID-19 from her master, who also tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (BGR)
[cats, animals, dogs]
SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing serum antibodies in cats: a serological investigation
Our data demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 has infected cat population in Wuhan during the outbreak. (BioRxiv)
[cats, animals]
COVID-19 transmission messages should hinge on science
It is possible to get through this pandemic together with thoughtful, consistent, science-based and open communication and decision-making. It is possible to communicate uncertainty about the underlying science, apply the precautionary approach where uncertainty exists, and implement well-reasoned decisions about how best to limit the dissemination of COVID-19. ("Lisa Brosseau, ScD")
[aerosol, transmission]
COVID-19 Resources for Mental Health Professionals
We have compiled the following resources to assist professionals in the health, mental health, and adjacent fields in helping their clients during this time. This is a dynamic list and we will add resources as we create or find them. (Beck Institute)
[mental health]
2020-04-056Mental Health342
Convalescent plasma: new evidence for an old therapeutic tool?
Passive immunisation for the prevention and treatment of human infectious diseases can be traced back to the 20th century. The recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has turned the spotlight onto the possible use of convalescent whole blood and convalescent plasma in the treatment of infectious diseases because they are the only therapeutic strategy available in some cases, given the unavailability of vaccines, drugs or other specific treatments. (NIH)
[plasma, blood, passive immunisation, passive antibody therapy]
Trials of Plasma From Recovered Covid-19 Patients Have Begun
US Food and Drug Administration officials approved nationwide tests of two treatments, both derived from the blood of people who have survived the disease. (Wired)
[plasma, trial, passive antibody therapy, hyperimmune globulin]
Lost Time: How coronavirus spread while supply orders lagged
Back in January, the first alarms were sounding about the outbreak in China. In time, it would become a global pandemic. An Associated Press review has found that the Trump administration squandered precious months before bolstering the federal stockpile of urgently needed medical supplies and equipment. (AP)
Strongman Medicine: Suspicious Numbers and Brutal Quarantines
Accurate and timely information is vital to combating a pandemic, but still, some countries’ first impulses are to cover up the spread of the disease. This week, we look at a few of those efforts, plus some brutal methods of enforcing stay-at-home orders. (Slate)
How to Stop Touching Your Face All the Time, According to Experts
The CDC states that COVID-19 is mainly spread from person-to-person, either between close contact or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If those respiratory droplets land on your hand and make contact with any open skin, or your mouth or eyes, you may be at risk. That's why one of the steps the CDC is urging people to follow (after washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds) is to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. (Good Housekeeping)
How Generals Fueled 1918 Flu Pandemic to Win Their World War
Just like today, brass and bureaucrats ignored warnings, and sent troops overseas despite the consequences. (The American Conservative)
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across the world; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. The Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the global economy can decline. (Wikipedia)
Request to Immediately Increase Allocation of Controlled Substances to Combat COVID-19
The number of patients requiring ventilation has resulted in huge spikes in demand for morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl and other opioids, some of which were already in shortage prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. To ensure that hospitals can access the medications they need to treat COVID-19 patients, it is imperative that CII supply is rapidly ramped up. (American Hospital Association)
How the cell phones of spring breakers who flouted coronavirus warnings were tracked
Across the globe governments are weighing the need to contain the virus against citizens' privacy, with privacy losing in some cases. (CNN)
US exports of masks, PPE to China surged in early phase of coronavirus
U.S. exports of surgical masks, ventilators and other personal protective gear to China skyrocketed in January and February, when the coronavirus was wreaking havoc in the country where it began and as U.S. intelligence agencies warned it would soon spread. (USA Today)
How has Croatia become one of the most successful countries in the fight against coronavirus
The leading politicians in the country basically lifted their hands and said we will leave it to the experts, whatever they advise is the law. Quite clearly a massive positive step that has clearly worked. No mixed messages, no campaign rallying, just a clear and unified message from people whose job it is to do this. (Dubrovnik Times)
These ‘disease hunters’ developed a novel technique for tracking pandemics after 9/11, but lost funding right before COVID-19
After 9/11 spurred governments to invest in combatting bioterrorism, a group of disease experts figured out how to track pandemics with a technique called “syndromic surveillance.” The technique involved tracking aggregated data from emergency rooms, and had its peak around the 2009 swine flu outbreak. Now, these experts and the tech industry are exploring the technique to help fight the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (CNBC)
[syndromic surveillance]
Contagion (2011 film)
Contagion is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh. ... The plot concerns the spread of a virus transmitted by fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease, the loss of social order in a pandemic, and the introduction of a vaccine to halt its spread. To follow several interacting plot lines, the film makes use of the multi-narrative "hyperlink cinema" style. (Wikipedia)
As Trump administration debated travel restrictions, thousands streamed in from China
Reuters has found that the administration took a month from the time it learned of the outbreak in late December to impose the initial travel restrictions amid furious infighting. During that time, the National Security Council staff, the state department and other federal agencies argued about everything from how best to screen for sick travelers to the economic impact of any restrictions, according to two government officials familiar with the deliberations. (Reuters)
The Guardian
(The Guardian)
Why Did President Trump Lie About the COVID-19 Crisis?
In a crisis, there are three rules that must be followed when communicating with the public: Be first. Be right. Be credible. (Republicans for the Rule of Law)
6 feet of social distancing not nearly enough: CDC’s recommendation driving some experts ‘nuts’
Richard Corsi, a Portland State University dean, has studied the spread of COVID-19 through both large and tiny droplets in the air and recommends people stay 20 feet away from each other when they’re outdoors. Indoors, where ventilation is much worse, Corsi recommends extreme caution and carrying out essential tasks like grocery shopping when truly necessary. (OregonLive)
A curated list of the highest quality peer reviewed medical research on Covid-19
This table is compiled from over 1600 peer-reviewed articles based on the impact factor of the journal, citations, altmetrics provided by Meltwater and human review. (
Coronavirus: New Facts about Infection Mechanisms
In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, a new research reveals how tiny droplets carrying the virus can remain in the air for some time. (NHK)
[droplets, spread, microdroplets]
How Important Is Speech in Transmitting Coronavirus?
Normal speech by individuals who are asymptomatic but infected with coronavirus may produce enough aerosolized particles to transmit the infection, according to aerosol scientists at the University of California, Davis. Although it’s not yet known how important this is to the spread of COVID-19, it underscores the need for strict social distancing measures — and for virologists, epidemiologists and engineers who study aerosols and droplets to work together on this and other respiratory diseases. (UC Davis)
What We Need to Understand About Asymptomatic Carriers if We’re Going to Beat Coronavirus
what the conversation around asymptomatic coronavirus carriers is missing, and what we need to understand if we’re going to beat this nefarious virus together (ProPublica)
Experts tell White House coronavirus can spread through talking or even just breathing
A prestigious scientific panel told the White House Wednesday night that research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes or coughs, but also just by talking, or possibly even just breathing. (CNN)
Airborne spread of infectious agents in the indoor environment
Since the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic, scientific exploration of infection control is no longer restricted to microbiologists or medical scientists. Many studies have reported on the release, transport, and exposure of expiratory droplets because of respiratory activities. This review focuses on the airborne spread of infectious agents from mucus to mucus in the indoor environment and their spread as governed by airflows in the respiratory system, around people, and in buildings at different transport stages. (AJIC)
[aerosol, spread, transmission, droplets]
‘War Dialing’ Tool Exposes Zoom’s Password Problems
Lo shared the output of one day’s worth of zWarDial scanning, which revealed information about nearly 2,400 upcoming or recurring Zoom meetings. That information included the link needed to join each meeting; the date and time of the meeting; the name of the meeting organizer; and any information supplied by the meeting organizer about the topic of the meeting. The results were staggering, and revealed details about Zoom meetings scheduled by some of the world’s largest companies, including major banks, international consulting firms, ride-hailing services, government contractors, and investment ratings firms. (Brian Krebs)
[Zoombombing, wardialing]
If you're traveling between states, here's where you'll have to self-quarantine
In the absence of federal domestic travel restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19, the governors of at least 40 states have stepped in, issuing stay-at-home orders. And more than a dozen are discouraging interstate travel by announcing quarantine requirements for travelers or people who live there traveling home from other states. Alaska, Florida and Hawaii were the first states to institute state-to-state quarantine requirements for travelers last week, and about a dozen other states have followed suit. (USA Today)
[quarantine, travel restrictions, interstate travel]
Are We Already Missing the Next Epidemic?
I’ve built true-to-life computer models capturing how fear works in people and how it spreads through human societies. The best advice these models have to offer right now is that we need to think about the novel coronavirus as four separate epidemics: In addition to the disease it causes, Covid-19, there are also in epidemics of fear about the virus, fear about the economy—and likely soon—fear about a new vaccine. All four contagions are closely intertwined and will interact to amplify each other in complex ways. (Joshua M. Epstein)
[fear, model, history, psychology, vaccines]
Coronavirus Anxiety - Helpful Expert Tips and Resources
... we have created this resource page - updated daily - to provide helpful tips and strategies from our ADAA mental health professionals - as well as personal stories of triumph - to help you or a loved one struggling with anxiety around the coronavirus or with general health anxiety concerns. (ADAA)
[mental health]
2020-04-045Mental Health314
New mental health support program available through University of Alberta
Peter Silverstone, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, said the ongoing pandemic puts a variety of stressors on people's lives stemming from isolation, health concerns, economic stress and uncertainty about the future. All of which can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The Centre for Online Mental Health Support, a new program Silverstone launched on Tuesday with colleagues at the U of A, provides three-to-five-day programs offering mental health advice and support. (CBC)
[mental health]
2020-04-044Mental Health313
DOJ Says Zoom-Bombing is Illegal, Could Lead to Jail Time
“You think Zoom bombing is funny? Let’s see how funny it is after you get arrested,” stated Matthew Schneider, United States Attorney for Eastern Michigan. “If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.” (BleepingComputer)
[Zoom, security]
CDC launches studies to get more precise count of undetected Covid-19 cases
Joe Bresee, deputy incident manager for the CDC’s pandemic response, said the agency hopes to flesh out the portion of cases that have evaded detection using three related studies. (STAT)
[sero-survey, serology, asymptomatic]
Every Zoom Security and Privacy Flaw So Far, and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
In this article, I walk through the many software, security, and privacy issues Zoom has encountered and its response to each. (Glenn Fleishman)
[Zoom, web conferencing]
Living wills and advance directives for medical decisions
Living wills and other advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself (Mayo Clinic)
Responding to Covid-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic?
There are two reasons that Covid-19 is such a threat. First, it can kill healthy adults in addition to elderly people with existing health problems. The data so far suggest that the virus has a case fatality risk around 1%; this rate would make it many times more severe than typical seasonal influenza, putting it somewhere between the 1957 influenza pandemic (0.6%) and the 1918 influenza pandemic (2%). Second, Covid-19 is transmitted quite efficiently. The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase. There is also strong evidence that it can be transmitted by people who are just mildly ill or even presymptomatic.3 That means Covid-19 will be much harder to contain than the Middle East respiratory syndrome or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which were spread much less efficiently and only by symptomatic people. In fact, Covid-19 has already caused 10 times as many cases as SARS in a quarter of the time. (Bill Gates)
[spread, elderly, asymptomatic]
Marshall Plan
'...the only thing we have to fear is... fear itself' (audio)
(Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
'...the only thing we have to fear is... fear itself'
(Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Black Death
Gunnison, Colorado: the town that dodged the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic
(The Guardian)
The Deadliest Flu: The Complete Story of the Discovery and Reconstruction of the 1918 Pandemic Virus
Coronavirus: What can we learn from the Spanish flu?
Covid-19 Is Nothing Like the Spanish Flu
The Great Influenza
(John M. Barry)
Spanish Flu: a warning from history
Visualizing the History of Pandemics
As humans have spread across the world, so have infectious diseases. Even in this modern era, outbreaks are nearly constant, though not every outbreak reaches pandemic level as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has. Today’s visualization outlines some of history’s most deadly pandemics, from the Antonine Plague to the current COVID-19 event. (Visual Capitalist)
‘Write It Down’: Historian Suggests Keeping a Record of Life During Pandemic
(University Of Virginia)
What our leaders can do now
(Bill Gates)
3M response to Defense Production Act order
Study of 1918 flu pandemic shows U.S. cities that responded more aggressively in health terms also had better economic rebounds.
Pentagon says it still hasn’t sent ventilators because it hasn’t been told where to send them
Stockpile of US-manufactured ventilators sold overseas: report
(The Hill)
New disclosure reveals Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her husband dumped retail stock and bought shares in a company that manufacturers medical supplies
Charles Koch Network Pushed $1 Billion Cut to CDC, Now Attacks Shelter-in-Place Policies for Harming Business
(The Intercept)
‘Things under control’: how Europe sleepwalked into the coronavirus crisis
World leaders’ posts deleted over fake news
Belarus president refuses to cancel anything - and says vodka and saunas will ward off COVID-19
(Sky News)
Coronavirus in Hungary – Viktor Orban rules by decree indefinitely
Austria to make basic face masks compulsory in supermarkets
[face masks]
Usage of Masks “Flattened” Growth of Coronavirus Cases in Czech Republic
(Prague Morning)
Brazil's Bolsonaro in denial and out on a limb
3 GOP Senators In Self-Quarantine Will Be Unable To Vote On Coronavirus Relief
Rand Paul is first senator to test positive for coronavirus
U.S. axed CDC expert job in China months before virus outbreak
House members, Senate aides traded stocks in early days of coronavirus
Shareholder suit accuses Sen. Richard Burr of securities fraud
[insider trading, US Senate, securities fraud, Richard Burr]
Recording shows Senate intel chair warned of coronavirus disruption in private weeks ahead of time
Sen. Kelly Loeffler Dumped Millions in Stock After Coronavirus Briefing
(Daily Beast)
World leaders are fighting the virus. And each other.
US uses encrypted app to connect with Iranians as coronavirus sweeps their country
They’ve Contained the Coronavirus. Here’s How.
(NY Times)
Americans Don’t Trust The People In Charge Of The Coronavirus Fight
Trump dismissed coronavirus pandemic worry in January — now claims he long warned about it
From complacency to emergency: How Trump changed course on coronavirus
A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus
(NY Times)
US officials shake hands, touch their faces and share a microphone at coronavirus press briefing
How Right-Wing Pundits Are Covering Coronavirus
(NY Times)
I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it.
(Beth Cameron)
Swedish PM warned over ‘Russian roulette-style‘ Covid-19 strategy
How Dutch false sense of security helped coronavirus spread
(Irish Times)
Scientists have been sounding the alarm on coronavirus for months. Why did Britain fail to act?
(Richard Horton)
Coronavirus: Some scientists say UK virus strategy is ‘risking lives’
Medicaid for All Who Face the Coronavirus
The United States Announces Assistance To Combat the Novel Coronavirus Feb. 7
(Michael R. Pompeo)
Li Wenliang
Americans are underestimating how long coronavirus disruptions will last, health experts say
Pentagon Seeking 100,000 Body Bags for Civilians in Virus Crisis
The Pentagon confirmed that it’s seeking to provide as many as 100,000 military-style body bags for potential civilian use as the U.S. warns that deaths could soar in the coming weeks from the coronavirus pandemic. (Bloomberg)
I Spent A Day In The Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy Of N95 Mask Sellers And Buyers And This Is What I Learned
Premier Inc. Data Shows Drugs Essential to Providing Care for COVID-19 Patients Quickly Slipping into Shortage
(Premiere Inc.)
An outbreak on a Navy warship — and an ominous sign of a readiness crisis
(Navy Times)
A Special Message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama
(Dalai Lama)
Internet Pioneer Vint Cerf Tests Positive For Covid-19
Tampa Bay pastor arrested, accused of violating social distancing guidelines amid coronavirus pandemic
I-95 checkpoint shuts down at Florida-Georgia border after traffic backs up for miles
CDC Issues Domestic Travel Advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut
Governors are starting to close their borders. The implications are staggering.
Florida expands quarantine to visitors from Louisiana
Virginia Pastor Dies From Coronavirus After Previously Saying ‘Media Is Pumping Out Fear‘ About Pandemic
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (includes data)
Trump administration contingency planning for coronavirus lasting ‘18 months or longer'
Ga. lawmakers urged to self-quarantine after senator’s positive coronavirus test
Coronavirus bill: The biggest expansion in executive power we've seen in our lifetime
Native American tribe takes trailblazing steps to fight Covid-19 outbreak
(The Guardian)
White House Takes New Line After Dire Report on Death Toll
(NY Times)
The Fed tried some extreme measures to stabilize the markets, but may need to go further to steady the ship
Trump ‘offers large sums’ for exclusive access to coronavirus vaccine
'I Am Dreading My Next Shift': An NYC E.R. Doctor Speaks Out About The Escalating Coronavirus Crisis
Should I Quarantine Because of Coronavirus? It Depends on Who You Ask.
Here's How Fast the Coronavirus Could Infect Over 1 Million Americans
Up to 150 million Americans are expected to contract the coronavirus, congressional doctor says
Coronavirus: DOD Response
(US Dept. of Defense)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports
10 Days Later: What Italians Wish They Had Known
(The Atlantic)
Coronavirus timeline
r/COVID19 [science]
r/Coronavirus [main]
The Atlantic
(The Atlantic)
stock futures
NY Times
(NY Times)
MIT Technology Review
A current list of DIY masks for the COVID-19 pandemic
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by the numbers
Coronavirus: Research, Commentary, and News
What’s a virus, anyway? Part 1: The bare-bones basics
Suppliers of COVID-19 related products
(Amazon Business)
Hospitals and government organizations
(Amazon Business)
Fighting COVID-19 with Epidemiology: A Johns Hopkins Teach-Out
Off Their Plate
(Natalie Guo et al)
I’m Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. AMA about COVID-19.
(Polymer Search)
COVID-19 Resources (free resources)
(Rob Evans)
List of Free Software and Services During Coronavirus Outbreak
(World Economic Forum)
Economic Strategy Group Statement on COVID-19 Pandemic and Economic Crisis
COVID-19 Small Business Resource Center
Multilingual epidemic control manuals for COVID-19
(China CDC)
Social distancing
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
Coronavirus disease 2019
(Samuel Herschbein)
[resources, news]
Everything you need to know about the coronavirus
(The Verge)
COVID‑19 Information and Resources
Coronavirus Resource Center
Corona confusion: How to make sense of the numbers and terminology
(Deutsche Welle)
Coronavirus Tax Relief
...Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave...
(U.S. Dept. of Labor)
US tax filing deadline moved to July 15, Mnuchin says
Calculate how much you could get from the coronavirus stimulus checks
Coronavirus checks, direct deposits are coming. Here's everything you need to know.
SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
(US Small Business Administration)
Zoom’s Encryption Is “Not Suited for Secrets” and Has Surprising Links To China, Researchers Discover
(The Intercept)
Warning: Zoom Sends Encryption Keys To China (Sometimes)
Security tips every teacher and professor needs to know about Zoom, right now
(Ars Technica)
Two more macOS Zoom flaws surface, as lawsuit and government probe loom
Zoom Lets Attackers Steal Windows Credentials via UNC Links
Kwampirs threat actor continues to breach transnational healthcare orgs
(Help Net Security)
Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing
(The Intercept)
Zoom macOS install ‘shady,‘ plus video chats aren't end-to-end encrypted
Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don’t Have a Facebook Account
Zoom is in everyone's living room - how safe is it
As Zoom Booms, Incidents of ‘ZoomBombing’ Become a Growing Nuisance
Ryuk Ransomware Keeps Targeting Hospitals During the Pandemic
Cybersecurity experts come together to fight coronavirus-related hacking
Coronavirus Resource Center: Inoculation Against Misinformation
(Center for Inquiry)
White supremacists encouraging their members to spread coronavirus to cops, Jews, FBI says
Beware of criminals pretending to be WHO
INTERPOL warns of financial fraud linked to COVID-19
FDIC warns of scams saying banks in trouble from outbreak
Fake coronavirus tracking apps are really malware that stalks you
Russia deploying coronavirus disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says
FTC, FDA warn companies making Coronavirus claims
Nation-Backed Hackers Spread Crimson RAT via Coronavirus Phishing
Deployment Kit for Securing Your Workforce at Home (webcast)
U.S. Health Department Site Hit With DDoS Cyber Attack
Apple employees working from home stumbling over confusing security guidelines
(Wesley Hilliard)
CBP officers seize fake COVID-19 test kits at LAX
COVID-19 Testing Center Hit By Cyberattack
People’s uncertainty about the novel coronavirus can lead them to believe misinformation, says Stanford scholar
CVS’s Chief Medical Officer Sent All Employees an Email With Coronavirus Misinformation
(Mother Jones)
Coronavirus: Fake list of dangerous tips from ‘Stanford’ shared across the internet
(The Independent)
Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware
(Brian Krebs)
Coronavirus: How hackers are preying on fears of Covid-19
Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams
Enterprise VPN Security
Working from Home: COVID-19’s Constellation of Security Challenges
Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative to Further Mitigate the Spread of Virus
Using ILI surveillance to estimate state-specific case detection rates and forecast SARS-CoV-2 spread in the United States
COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports
Open Coronavirus
Mt. Sinai Health launches coronavirus app to track outbreak across the New York City
Did Florida’s spring breakers spread coronavirus across the country?
WeChat, a Chinese social media, may early detect the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in 2019
Terrifying cellphone ‘heat map’ shows just how much people are still traveling
iPhone location data used by US government to track coronavirus spread
UK's ICO Says Mobile Tracking is Legal During COVID-19 Crisis
UK considers virus-tracing app to ease lockdown
Russia to use mobile phones to track people at risk of coronavirus
Dutch Scientists Find a Novel Coronavirus Early-Warning Signal (sewage)
COVID Near You
Authorities Eye Using Mobile Phone Tracking COVID-19’s Spread
U.S. government, tech industry discussing ways to use smartphone location data to combat coronavirus
(Washington Post)
Israel to track mobile phones of suspected coronavirus cases
(The Guardian)
South Korea to step-up online coronavirus tracking
Experts warn as many as 1 in 3 coronavirus test results may be incorrectly negative
(The Week)
COVID-19 Blood Test Results Explained
("San Miguel, CO")
FDA authorizes first coronavirus blood test, a key step for showing immunity and testing for vaccines
(USA Today)
Community Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Among Patients With Influenzalike Illnesses Presenting to a Los Angeles Medical Center in March 2020
How Covid-19 immunity testing can help people get back to work
Why coronavirus antibody testing in one Colorado town could provide a way forward
Spanish capital ditches ‘unreliable’ Chinese coronavirus test kits
Iceland’s testing suggests 50% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic
(ZME Science)
[asymptomatic, testing, Iceland]
Everyone In Iceland Can Get Tested For The Coronavirus. Here's How The Results Could Help All Of Us.
First Results Of General Population Screening: About 1% Of Icelanders With Coronavirus
(Reykjavik Grapevine)
CDC developing serologic tests that could reveal full scope of U.S. coronavirus outbreak
How this South Korean company created coronavirus test kits in three weeks
‘We're behind the curve’: U.S. hospitals confront the challenges of large-scale coronavirus testing
‘It’s Just Everywhere Already’: How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response
(NY Times)
N95 decontamination for the COVID-19 pandemic
Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions - Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19
Population study investigates immunity to Covid-19
Worst-hit German district to become coronavirus ‘laboratory’
(The Guardian)
Coronavirus Did Not Originate in a Lab—It Is the Product of Natural Evolution, Scientists Say
What we’ve learned about the coronavirus — and what we still need to know
Incubation Period and Other Epidemiological Characteristics of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Infections...
(Journal of Clinical Medicine)
Catching Up to Coronavirus: Top 60 Treatments in Development
Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines
The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho Speaks About COVID-19
Coronavirus update with Ralph Baric (quotes/commentary)
(Microbe TV podcast)
Coronavirus update with Ralph Baric
(Microbe TV podcast)
Confronting a Pandemic (transcript)
(Donald G. McNeil Jr. podcast)
Confronting a Pandemic
(Donald G. McNeil Jr. podcast)
COVID-19 in Iceland
A prediction model for the number of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and the corresponding burden on the health care system. (Univ. of Iceland)
[testing, analysis]
Infectious Disease Experts Don’t Know How Bad The Coronavirus Is Going To Get, Either
A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data
( team)
How many Americans have coronavirus? New Reuters poll might offer a hint
Speed of COVID-19 in different countries
(Pavel Pochobradský and Vojtěch Loskot)
Correcting under-reported COVID-19 case numbers
(Alexander Lachmann)
The COVID Tracking Project
(The Atlantic)
2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Data Repository
(Johns Hopkins)
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Research and Statistics
COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak
Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now
(Tomas Pueyo)
An interactive visualization of the exponential spread of COVID-19
(Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider)
Tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus
(Reuters graphics)
CoVID 19 Worldwide Growth Rates
("Mark Handley, UCL")
What is viral load and why are so many health workers getting sick?
(The Telegraph)
National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project
COVID-19 Assist
Mayo warns drug touted by Trump as COVID-19 cure will 'claim lives'
(Post Bulletin)
Doctors And Nurses Say More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know
Pink eye may be a rare symptom of coronavirus, doctors say
[conjunctivitis, eyes, symptoms]
Important coronavirus updates for ophthalmologists (conjunctivitis)
(American Academy of Ophthalmology)
Aerosol Box
("Dr. Hsien Yung Lai, Devon Chang")
A Respiratory Therapist on What He's Seeing in COVID-19 Patients
COVID-19 Resource Centre
(The Lancet)
COVID-19 and Italy: what next?
(The Lancet)
(Internet Book of Critical Care)
Novel Coronavirus: A Physician's Guide
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Epidemiology, virology, clinical features, diagnosis, and prevention
Open Letter to Vice President Mike Pence RE: US COVID-19 Response (local copy)
(medical professionals)
Open Letter to Vice President Mike Pence RE: US COVID-19 Response
(medical professionals)
Coronavirus can spread one to three days before symptoms appear: CDC study
A Florida man dies days after hundreds of people exposed to coronavirus walked around the world’s busiest airport
Outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany Resulting from a Single Travel-Associated Primary Case
Super-Spreading Event In Washington Suggests Coronavirus Is Airborne Without Coughs or Sneezes
70 Austin Spring-Breakers Chartered A Plane To Mexico. 28 Of Them Now Have COVID-19.
Five days of worship that set a virus time bomb in France
In Canada and abroad, COVID-19 super-spreaders could be anywhere
How one soccer game contributed to the spread of coronavirus in Italy
(Boston Globe)
Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of coronavirus more than we realized
Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially... simulation/animation
(Washington Post)
Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’
(NY Times)
Some of Mexico’s wealthiest residents went to Colorado to ski. They brought home coronavirus
(LA Times)
The Austrian ski town that spread coronavirus across the Continent
Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2)
Coronavirus spreads quickly and sometimes before people have symptoms, study finds
Sun exposure does not kill the coronavirus
Caring for well-washed hands
(Howard Oakley)
How to clean your Apple products
How to Make Disinfectant Wipes
Can coronavirus survive on your Apple Watch or Fitbit? Yes, experts say
(USA Today)
Risks of COVID-19 In and Around Your Vehicle
List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (updated daily)
[cleaning, sanitize, disinfect, chemicals]
The Right Way to Kill Coronavirus Germs, According to Cleaning Experts
(Good Housekeeping)
The New Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces For 2-3 Days — Here’s How To Clean Them
No-Sew Pleated Face Mask with Handkerchief and Hair Tie
(Japanese Creations)
It’s Time to Face Facts, America: Masks Work
Face Mask Science - Literature Review
Dr. Fauci Answers Trevor’s Questions About Coronavirus
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
Coronvirus Disease 2019 FAQ
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Directory of Local Health Departments
State and Territorial Health Department Websites
“... remember it’s not about you - it’s about everybody else.”
(Hugh Montgomery)
Young and Unafraid of the Coronavirus Pandemic? Good for You. Now Stop Killing People
COVID-19: What Older Adults Need to Know
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart
Don’t panic about shopping, getting delivery or accepting packages
(Joseph G. Allen)
Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus
(Ars Technica)
Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty
(Psychology Tools)
[mental health]
2020-04-035Mental Health18
CDC analysis shows coronavirus poses serious risk for younger people
(The Hill)
WHO warns some children develop ‘severe’ or ‘critical’ disease from coronavirus
... Viral Coronavirus Advice Letter
How to reduce your vulnerability to coronavirus – when sleeping
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Should you take Vitamin D and Vitamin C?
(Dr. Mike Hansen)
[Vitamin D, Vitamin C]
Respiratory Health for Better COVID-19 Outcomes
New symptom of virus could be loss of taste and smell, top UK doctor says
(The Independent)
Find a COVID-19 Testing Site
Check your risk for COVID‑19
COVID-19 Self Triage Tool
(USC Gehr Family Center)
Manage Anxiety & Stress
2020-04-036Mental Health7
COVID-19 Projections
IHME’s COVID-19 projections show demand for hospital services in each state. The demand for these services is expected to exceed capacity. (IHME)
Coronavirus “flattening the curve” explained by Emergency Physician Emily Porter, M.D.
Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide
To answer these questions, I referenced dozens of articles and scientific reports and enlisted the help of Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist from the North Carolina State University and cohost of Risky or Not and Food Safety Talk, as well as Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, and Dr. Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist and infection preventionist. This article has been thoroughly vetted for scientific accuracy and I will continue to update it with the most up-to-date information as it emerges. (Serious Eats)
COVID-19 Ask a Scientist
(Federation of American Scientists)
COVID-19 Hotlines and Testing
(COVID-19 Census)
Empowering and protecting your family...
(Dr. David Price)