Thurssday, June 4, 2020
I’ve added a new category in News: George Floyd Aftermath.
It's not COVID-19, but this crisis may turn out to have an even greater effect on our lives.
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QOTDQuote Of The Day: “The noblest kind of retribution is not to become like your enemy.”Marcus Aurelius
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This site is a COVID-19 news & info aggregator. I read dozens of articles each day; I post what I think are the best.
To avoid TMIToo Much Information I'll limit the number of daily articles to about 20. Articles that are relevant for only a short time are kept for two weeks (e.g. the News & Commentary and Politics categories). Other articles may remain for far longer (e.g. the Essential Info and Keeping Busy categories).
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Like many people reading the news I'm suffering from outrage fatigue. Trump and his minions spew an incessant barrage of hate-inciting, anti-government, and anti-science gibberish. I'm cutting back on reporting these because “my brain hurts” (Monty Python Gumby catchphrase). I will report the more egregious events.
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Quickly Jump to a category below:│ Essential Info │ Topics │
│ News & Commentary │ Politics │ Covidiots & Humor │ Keeping Busy │
- Click a date to show only articles added that date in the sections below.
June 4, 2020, Thursday
- George Floyd Aftermath:
- Unidentified, heavily armed law enforcement is operating in Washington, DC.
- Jimmy Carter mourns “tragic racial injustices” in statement on George Floyd.
- UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned US racism & attacks on journalists.
- Pentagon’s Esper distanced himself from Trump’s threat to use military against citizens.
- Gun-toting members of the Boogaloo movement are showing up at protests.
- Boogaloo members charged with planning violence at Las Vegas protests.
- Two medical journals & others question the data used to conclude hydroxychloroquine is dangerous.
- 911 dispatchers got COVID-19 & 1 died because their agency’s response faltered.
- COVID vaccine execs hyped vague data to cash in $90M in stock.
- Cuomo asked protestors to get tested for COVID-19.
- Sweden acknowledged that its COVID-19 response should have been greater.
June 3, 2020, Wednesday
- George Floyd Aftermath:
- Mike Mullen, the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote “I Cannot Remain Silent”
- The Defense Science Board’s James Miller sent a resignation letter to Defense Secretary Esper.
- Former Defense Secretary Mattis describes Trump as a threat to the Constitution.
- At least 2 clergy were forcibly expelled from St. John’s church.
- Catholic archbishop of Washington said Trump's visit to shrine was reprehensible.
- A Trump supporter used an assault rifle to threaten Black Lives Matter protestors.
- CIA veteran says “This is what happens in countries before a collapse.”
- Former President Bush says protesters should be heard,
- Barack Obama: “How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change”
- Latin America is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A new study shows that while hydroxychloroquine is safe it’s ineffective against coronavirus.
- WHO is resuming its trial of hydroxychloroquine.
- WA governor Inslee extended the eviction moratorium through August 1.
- A Dutch study shows that children are not big spreaders of COVID-19.
- Children are less prone to SARS-CoV-2 infection because they have less ACE2 in their nasal tissues.
In Other News… (not COVID-19 related)
- Twitter has shut down multiple accounts that it says were operated by the neo-nazi white supremacist group Identity Evropa posing as liberal groups encouraging violence (including the fake account @Antifa_US).
- Twitter does treat Trump differently. A bot account was setup that copied Trump’s tweets verbatim and tweeted them. It got shutdown after echoing “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.
June 2, 2020, Tuesday
- SARS-CoV-2 can invade the brain and cause signal alterations in the region responsible for smell.
- People with COVID-19 are not likely to be infectious 8 days after their symptoms began.
- People with diabetes and a high BMI have a higher risk of death from COVID-19.
- 85 in a crew of 126 tested postive for COVID-19 aboard a Seattle based fishing boat.
- Mexico COVID-19 outbreak is straining hospitals that are understaffed and undersupplied.
- A systemic review & meta-analysis reinforces that social distancing & face masks work.
- Black and Asian people in England more likely to die from COVID-19.
- Many scientists & doctors are questioning the study that showed hydroxychloroquine’s dangers.
- An Italian doctor said coronavirus is losing its potency. See next article for rebuttal.
- Experts are disputing the Italian doctor’s report that coronavirus is becoming less potent.
- Ars Technica has good explanation of how SARS-CoV-2 is a hybrid from bats and pangolins.
- Ars Technica has good analysis of the models used to predict COVID-19 (pretty technical).
- Michigan is reopening this week.
- Seattle’s abrupt reopening during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic caused a second deadly outbreak.
- 70% of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine - if it’s free and available to everyone.
- About 54 million Americans could go hungry because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Americans are delaying medical care, devastating health-care providers.
- Researchers examined several coronavirus’ neurologic effects, comparing to SARS-CoV-2.
- Eli Lilly started an early-stage trial of an antibody-based treatment for COVID-19.
- June 1, 2020, Monday (No Updates)
May 31, 2020, Sunday
- Glucocorticoids, used to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, can nearly quadruple the death rate.
- Researchers found the genes in SARS-CoV-2 that enabled it to cross from bats to humans.
- The coronavirus seems to be sparing populations at high altitudes in the Himalayas and Andes.
- Prescriptions for anti-malarial drugs rose 2,000% after Trump support.
- Party and protest crowds are not practicing social-distancing.
- Referring to the pandemic, the Pope said that people are more important than the economy.
In Other News… (not COVID-19 related)
- Seattle is under curfew from 5pm Sunday through 5am Monday. What started as a peaceful protest against the death of George Floyd turned violent. The protest’s message has been drowned out by images of burning police cars, broken glass, and looting.
- SpaceX’s Dragon safely delivered the two astronauts to the ISS.
- Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has been cancelled for the first time since World War II.
May 30, 2020, Saturday
- WA stay-at-home expires May 31 for much of WA, Inslee announces new rules.
- Farm workers are contracting COVID-19 at alarming rates.
- A resurgence of COVID-19 caused South Korea to close schools days after reopening.
- SCOTUS ruled that California’s restrictions on religious gatherings are not discriminatory.
- Scientists say the CDC’s death rate estimates are far too low.
- States are continuing to hide or deliberately skew COVID-19 data.
- Florida’s governor’s office pressured the Miama Herald not to file a lawsuit…
- The EU urged the U.S. to reconsider Trump’s decision to terminate its relationship with WHO.
- Paris’ parks reopened to a sunny Saturday and crowds.
- The Pope urged politicians to divert funding from weapons to research to prevent pandemics.
- The Seattle Monorail is back in (limited) operation.
- For some comic relief: 22 teddy bears in a rollercoaster.
In Other News… (not COVID-19 related)
- Minneapolis Metro Transit Union’s drivers refused to transport police to George Floyd protests and to transport protesters to jail.
- SpaceX successfully launched 2 astronauts into orbit today. This is the first time the US has done this since the Shuttles were retired.
May 29, 2020, Friday
- A sudy showed that asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers don’t readily infect others.
- French tests show even mild coronavirus illness leads to antibodies.
- Maternal-fetal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur, but is rare.
- The New York Times examines why the world is still far from herd immunity for coronavirus.
- Trump ended the US relationship with WHO, saying it’s controlled by China.
- The White House had the CDC remove COVID-19 guidelines for church choirs.
- The French drug company Sanofi has stopped enrolling COVID-19 patients in its hydroxychloroquine trials.
- Children with COVID-19 & MIS-C may be experiencing a ‘cytokine storm’.
- King County’s waste treatment is seeing far more non-flushable wipes and PPE in wastewater.
- The Khan Academy has an easy-to-read article on whether viruses are alive or dead.
- A 103 yo woman recovered from COVID-19, celebrating with a Bud Light.
In Other News… (not COVID-19 related)
- Derek Chauvin, the policeman who knelt on George Floyd’s neck causing his death, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin and three fellow officers at the scene were fired on Tuesday from the Minneapolis Police Department.
- The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time.
May 28, 2020, Thursday
- The Dutch are reporting permanent lung damage from SARS-CoV-2.
- Half of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in Washington are in people under 40.
- A large percentage of US people have antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 but never became seriously ill.
- COVID-19 is more deadly in the US and Europe, researchers and investigating why.
- England and Wales had 20,000 excessive deaths in care homes.
- The Washington Post has a good analysis of the coronavirus’ situation & future.
- Masks4All is an international movement to get everyone to wear cloth face masks.
- COVID-19 is disrupting internal clocks, causing signs of depression, et al.
- Measuring SARS-CoV-2 RNA in sewage can give advanced warning of outbreaks.
- A study confirmed that sunlight inactivates SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces.
- Gov. Inslee announced new rules to help protect nursing home & farm workers.
- Cuomo signed an executive order allowing ubsinesses to deny entry to customers without face masks.
- Some businesses are banning face masks, fashioning themselves as fortresses for the resistance.
- Tyson is closing a pork plant because 22% of the workforce tested positive for COVID-19.
- A COVID-19 hospital in India is overwhelmed by the sharply rising outbreak.
- An analysis of China’s social media posts predicted COVID-19 case counts.
- A Pennsylvania Republican tested positive for COVID-19, he notified Republicans but not Democrats.
- A Brazilian government aide said elderly deaths were good since that will reduce the pension deficit.
- “Measles parties” and delayed vaccination worsened the 2018-19 measles outbreak in NYC.
- A vaccine for H1N1 did not cause narcolepsy, it was triggered by a protein in H1N1.
- The US is planning to cancel Chinese graduate student visas. WTF?
- I re-added the CDC’s updated guidelines for wearing a cloth face mask.
May 27, 2020, Wednesday
- The US death toll passed 100,000, Ars Technica examines at the numbers.
- COVID-19 transmission is increasing in Eastern WA while decreasing in Western WA.
- Nature published a study detailing the link between COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease.
- A study showed that a 5-day course of remdesivir was not significantly different that a 10-day course.
- After the new COVID-19 outbreak, Wuhan tested 6.5 million residents in just 10 days.
- Fauci on hydroxychloroquine: “scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy”.
- Several EU countries banned the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19.
- WA houses of worship are reopening with restrictions depending on county & reopening plan.
- Boeing is cutting more than 12,000 jobs with thousands more planned.
- New York's Cuomo asked Congress to “stop abusing” Democratic-controlled states.
- Concern over COVID-19 vaccine timeline causes stocks to dip.
May 26, 2020, Tuesday
- A study (analysis) shows that Canadians are united against COVID-19 while the US is divided.
- A study showed that 87% of COVID-19 patients reported a loss of smell.
- After restrictions were rolled back Memorial Day saw many crowded parties & gatherings.
- The meat industry is still being affected by COVID-19.
- The Washington Post takes a look at what we don't know about coronavirus.
- A virus researcher details his COVID-19 infection: “It hit me like a bus.”
- Nursing homes have high mortality, now they can't get supplies they need.
- A model from the Institute for Disease Modeling shows how to reopen King Co. safely.
- A Reuters/Ipsos poll found 60% plan to get seasonal flu vaccine. Recommended reading.
- There's a push for more flu vaccinations this fall to prevent a “double-barreled assault”.
- Researchers found an anti-RBD antibody that blocks viral entry of SARS-CoV-2.
- Other researchers found a human monoclonal antibody (CB6) that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2.
- A study investigates why bats host deadly viruses without experiencing disease.
- A study of 20,133 UK patients with COVID-19 has good data and graphs.
- KOMO News examines the issue of blood clots in COVID-19 patients.
- A Port Orchard diner opened for one day claiming it was not a protest.
- May 25, 2020, Monday
May 24, 2020, Sunday
- STAT has a must-read article detailing how SARS-CoV-2 behaves differently than other viruses.
- University of Michigan has an excellent “Influenza Encyclopedia” web site. Check Out Seattle.
- The CDC is overstating the ability to test people by incorrectly combining different test results.
- A new type of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was tested on humans, it looks promising.
- A study showed remdesivir is effective in shortening the time to recovery.
- A new COVID-19 test that returns results in 1 hour is being trialed.
- Two children at Seattle Children’s Hospital have the rare inflammatory syndrome.
- Doctors in France found patient x-rays indicating COVID-19 in mid-November.
- Large grocery chains are not informing workers about COVID-19 risks, infections, & deaths.
- North Dakota’s GOP governor made an emotional plea to stop the anti-mask culture war.
- Governor Inslee’s office responds to Trump’s demand to reopen churches.
- A church service in Frankfurt Germany resulted on more than 40 COVID-19 cases.
- A high school pool party in Arkansas results in a cluster outbreak of COVID-19.
- Large employers want Congress to ban health care mergers and acquisitions for 1 year.
- Satire: Fauci urges Trump to remain on golf course until pandemic is over.
- May 28, 2020, Thursday
- May 23, 2020, Saturday (No Updates)
May 22, 2020, Friday
- A large study showed that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective against COVID-19.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs has been treating vets with COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine.
- The CDC updated “How COVID-19 Spreads”. Touching surfaces isn't a big risk.
- The placentas of women with COVID-19 show abnormalities which suggest additional antenatal monitoring.
- A study examining the lungs of deceased COVID-19 patients found severe injury.
- The NIH analyzed the reduced antiviral defense and “exuberant” inflammatory response to SARS-CoV-2.
- Infectious SARS-CoV-2 was found in the feces of patient who died.
- Testing worked better than symptom screening to control an outbreak at an elderly facility.
- The severity of COVID-19 depends mostly on the host, not on SARS-CoV-2 genetic variation.
- Trump warns governors: let places of worship open this weekend
- Three gym owners defying Inslee's stay-at-home order filed a lawsuit.
May 21, 2020, Thursday
- A study showed that lockdown delays cost many lives.
- The Kawasaki-like disease in children is also affecting young adults.
- A study using hamsters showed wearing a mask prevents COVID-19 transmission.
- All Seafair summer events are officially canceled for 2020.
- A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine.
- Democratic areas have three times as COVID-19 deaths as Republican areas.
- WA’s AG sent a final notice to the Snohomish barber shop that’s open.
- Minnesota churches will hold full services, defying governor’s order.
- The U.S. claims that the U.N. is using the COVID-19 pandemic to promote abortion worldwide.
- Michigan’s AG asked Trump to wear mask when visiting Ford plant - he didn’t.
May 20, 2020, Wednesday
- A study in the Lancet confirmed that most elderly patients on ventilators die.
- In two studies, monkeys infected with COVID-19 developed immunity to reinfection.
- Washington state still needs more COVID-19 testing supplies.
- An epidemic model reinforces a study I posted on May 9th that climate does not affect COVID-19.
- A COVID-19 vaccine may not come soon because coronavirus vaccines don’t protect mucous membranes.
- Inovio’s vaccine produces antibodies in mice & guinea pigs. So far human trials show it’s safe.
- A group that created a vaccine for MERS has created a candidate vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.
- Ecuador’s doctors were moved to the cities, rural people with COVID-19 have no healthcare.
- Another deadly church outbreak, this time in Arkansas.
- Yakima has the highest case rate of any West Coast county.
- Nursing homes were deficient in infection control long before COVID-19.
- Americans are avoiding mass transit and driving instead. Car sales are up.
May 19, 2020, Tuesday
- A study shows that people who've had COVID-19 have a robust immune responses against it.
- A machine that removes CO2 and adds oxygen to blood is the 'last best option'.
- Children with COVID-19 may be less contagious than adults, two UK epidemiologists say.
- Mount Sinai is using Artificial Intelligence to accurately analyze COVID-19 Patients.
- Scientists can discover neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 from convalescent patients.
- South Korea saw a cluster of COVID-19 at fitness dance studios.
- Workers file class action suit against McDonald's over COVID-19 safety.
- Inslee lashes out at President Trump over importance of COVID-19 testing.
- Oregon’s supreme court halted a rural judge’s ruling that restrictions were unconstitutional.
- Australian poll finds 1 in 8 blame Bill Gates and 5G for coronavirus.
- Another hilarious parody video from Randy Rainbow: Distraction!
May 18, 2020, Monday
- China capitulated and is backing a WHO review of COVID-19.
- States' reopening plans vary widely and seemingly ignore new cases and deaths.
- It will be 5-6 weeks before we know if reopenings cause virus spikes.
- French schools reopened and already have 70 new cases.
- Most African nations have lower case counts and death rates.
- SARS-CoV-2 can enter the body through the nose, possibly explaining the high transmission rate.
- A paper investigates the acute heart failures in children due to inflamation.
- Moderna’s vaccine shows encouraging early results in trial.
- An antibody from a SARS patient in 2003 appears to work against SARS-CoV-2.
- The CDC will track the spread of COVID-19 by testing in 25 metropolitan areas.
- A model can accurately predict the mortality rates of patients more than 10 days in advance.
- A different model predicts patients at the highest risk for fatal outcomes.
- Smoking are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 because of receptors in the lung.
- COVID-19 is deadliest in New York City's black and Latino neighborhoods.
- Transit workers' increased exposure to COVID-19 shows they're getting infected more. - WaPoThe Washington Post
- A site has excellent graphics showing the virus and the protein binding sites.
- Trump is taking hydroxychloroquine. What could go wrong?
- The idiocy of attacking cell-towers is rampant in the UK and Australia. It's spread to the US.
May 17, 2020, Sunday
- World leaders demand free vaccines, treatments and tests.
- So of course the US (and the UK) are against free vaccines.
- A survey of Japan’s COVID-19 doctors shows a lack of fresh masks & hazard pay.
- California State University's 23 campuses will be online only until the end of the fall term.
- The nursing home chain that owns the Life Care Center in Kirkland violated federal COVID-19 standards. - WaPoThe Washington Post
- A young, athletic woman got COVID-19 & ended up in a hospital after being sick for two days.
- A 12-yo got COVID-19, experienced the toxic-shock syndrome, and died twice (she's alive).
- A wonderful virtual 3D tour of the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses VI Tomb
- 62 countries push for inquiry into COVID-19 outbreak (China capitulated and agreed to it).
Symptoms of Coronavirus - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Added Monday, April 27, 2020
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Do You Have COVID-19 or Just Spring Allergies? - UW Medicine
Now that the COVID-19 outbreak is overlapping with spring allergy season, those sniffles or that cough you normally would have dismissed are suddenly more concerning. Do your symptoms just mean your seasonal allergies are back? Maybe you have a cold or the flu? Or is it possible you caught the new coronavirus?Added Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Apple and CDC
[ Has a COVID-19 Screening Tool ]Added Friday, March 27, 2020.
- Symptoms of Coronavirus - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you.[ Has sections on Making, Wearing, and Washing Cloth Face Coverings ]Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
How to Make Your own Face Covering - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, shares ways to create your own face covering in a few easy steps.”Added Sunday, April 5, 2020.
- Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Animated GIF showing the proper way to wash hands - gfycat
[ The site autoplays other animated GIFs. Turn if off using the Autoplay Related GIFs switch near the bottom left. ]Added Monday, March 23, 2020.
How to clean your Apple products [ techniques apply to other brands ] - Apple
Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don't use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don't submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don't use on fabric or leather surfaces.Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
How soap absolutely annihilates the coronavirus - Vox
[ Good visualization. ]Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Animated GIF showing the proper way to wash hands - gfycat
Social Distancing - Wikipedia
[ Wikipedia's usual good coverage. ]Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Social Distancing - Wikipedia
- What’s open and closed - Washington State Coronavirus Response
An Update on … the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge… (not due to COVID-19) - Seattle DOT
An Update on Efforts to Stabilize and Shore the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, While more Information is Needed to Determine Long-term Future
We do not yet know if repair of the bridge is feasible technically or financially. If repair is feasible, it’s likely this would only restore up to an additional decade of life to the bridge. In either case, we will need to replace the West Seattle High Rise-Bridge much sooner than promised when it opened in 1984. Further, should repair prove feasible, under a “best case” scenario we do not anticipate traffic returning to the bridge in 2020 or 2021.Added Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Reduced Schedule - King County Metro
Metro has also temporarily discontinued fare payments, and has moved to rear-door bus boarding except for passengers with mobility challenges. Text your bus stop ID # to 62550 for to find out when the next bus will arrive.”[ Metro bus stop signs have the # on them ]Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Changes that affect my ride - Sound Transit
[ Buses, Link light rail, Sounder trains. ]Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Seattle Streetcar - Seattle DOT
Seattle Streetcar will operate on a reduced schedule starting Monday, March 23. South Lake Union Streetcar will not operate until further notice. First Hill Streetcar will operate with 15-minute headways, Monday to Saturday, during reduced service hours 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
On Thursday, May 28, 2020, Seattle Center Monorail will resume service. Initially, the Seattle Center Monorail will operate with limited hours so we can focus on implementing new COVID-19 safety measures.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Declining ridership due to COVID-19 brings change to Amtrak Cascades trains - WA DOT
Due to a severe drops in ridership, WSDOT is reducing service of Amtrak Cascades trains. Two daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland are the only Cascades trains that will continue to operate in Washington.
The Seattle-Portland evening trains 507 and 508 were suspended as of March 21 and beginning Thursday, March 26, trains 517 and 518 also will be suspended until further notice. The trains that will continue to operate between Portland and Seattle include trains 500, 501, 504, and 505. View schedules for those trains at www.AmtrakCascades.com by clicking on the Buy Tickets button. There is no purchase necessary to view schedules.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
- An Update on … the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge… (not due to COVID-19) - Seattle DOT
Inslee extends statewide school closure order through end of year … - KOMO News
Inslee extends statewide school closure order through end of year to tame COVID-19
The statewide closure of all public and private schools that began last month will be extended through the remainder of the academic year to help stem the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced Monday.
The statewide school closure began March 17 and originally was set to expire on April 24. But under the extended order, all public and private K-12 schools in Washington state will be prohibited from providing traditional, in-person instruction through the end of the school year on June 19. Instruction can still happen via distance learning.Added Monday, April 6, 2020.
COVID-19 School Closure - Seattle Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools buildings are closed through the end of the school year. The central office, John Stanford Center, is closed to the public.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Novel coronavirus & COVID-19: facts and resources - University of Washington
We are planning to be back this fall for in-person instruction and expect to provide specific details in mid-June to early July. We are working on many scenarios, and each week provides more public health information to inform our decisions. At this time, we anticipate an autumn quarter that includes both in-person and remote elements.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information - Seattle Colleges
This website is our districtwide information source in response to COVID-19 and for related resources for students, faculty, and staff. Updates are posted regularly as the situation continues to evolve.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
- Inslee extends statewide school closure order through end of year … - KOMO News
All Seafair summer events officially canceled for 2020 - Komo News
Seafair organizers announced all major of the events over the weeks-long celebrations have been canceled for 2020 and will instead have to wait until the summer of 2021 to come back.
Gone are the annual big 4th of July fireworks show over Lake Union and Gas Works Park, the Torchlight Parade in late July, and the grand finale weekend featuring the Blue Angels roaring in the skies above and Unlimited Hydros roaring across Lake Washington. Intermixed were car shows, Milk Carton derbies, the big triathlon, and other neighborhood celebrations.
"We are deeply disappointed but together we will get through this emergency," Eric Corning, President and CEO of Seafair, said in a statement announcing the cancellations.Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
… What’s open and what’s closed? - Seattle Parks and Recreation
Seattle Parks and Recreation amenities: What’s open and what’s closed?
(This post is being updated as restrictions change, and should be considered current. But please read the other posts for more info on closures and changes.)Added Friday, April 17, 2020.
Seattle Aquarium - Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is closed to the public temporarily.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Woodland Park Zoo - Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo depends on zoo visitors, events and programs to help fund our animal care teams, educational experiences and conservation work. With our gates closed, our critical earned revenue that helps fund our people and mission has come to a halt.
Your zoo manages the largest number of live animals in Washington state, with nearly 1,000 animals, and has served as a community anchor and beacon of hope for more than a century. All of our animals, large and small, are waiting out the pandemic like the rest of us, and being cared for by our amazingly dedicated animal care and veterinary teams.
Your gift today will enable us to continue providing the best possible care for all of our animals, each and every day, and to connect with our community until we can open our gates once more.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
- All Seafair summer events officially canceled for 2020 - Komo News
Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19) - WHOWorld Health Organization
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Coronavirus Resource Center - Johns Hopkins
Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - MacInTouch
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Don't Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus - Ars Technica
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Washington State Coronavirus Response - Washington State
Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
COVID-19 Terms You Need to Know - UWUniversity of Washington Medicine
What’s more, reading news articles and alerts can feel like interpreting a foreign language, from vague phrases and symptoms to confusing medical terms and scientific jargon.
And to tackle those terms? Here’s a COVID-19 vocabulary primer to help you navigate these new words and phrases.Added Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
Best Help Resources and Offers for Dealing with Coronavirus - Corona Guide
We wanted to stay informed about the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus and resulting pandemic, but even with our technical and data-centric backgrounds we found ourselves overwhelmed by all the links and information we came across. We decided to curate a list of the best resources from the most reputable people, organizations, and institutions and share it with the world. These resources include helpful advice and tips for mitigating the spread, quality journalism, the best visualizations and live data trackers we have come across, and relevant research papers.[ User interface is not simple… ]Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily - Take Control Books
[ Free book from a great collection. ]Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19) - WHOWorld Health Organization
COVID-19 Interactive Map - Johns Hopkins
[ Click Admin2 near the lower left to see confirmed cases by state, click Admin3 to see by county. ]Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
COVID-19 United States Cases by County - Johns Hopkins
Added Monday, April 13, 2020.
COVID-NET - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
A weekly summary of U.S. COVID-19 hospitalization data.Added Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
COVID-19 in US and Canada - 1Point3Acres
We created this website to increase awareness and bring transparency to the public, and we are glad many of you frequented our tracker and found it useful. CDC and JHU COVID-19 World Map etc. use our data, free of charge.Added Friday, May 1, 2020.
Rt Covid-19 - Rt Live
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. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. When Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading.Added Saturday, April 18, 2020.
COVID-19 Forecasts - Reich Lab
[ technical, shows predictions for various models ]Added Thursday, April 30, 2020.
COVID Act Now - COVID Act Now
CovidActNow.org was created by a team of data scientists, engineers, and designers in partnership with epidemiologists, public health officials, and political leaders to help understand how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their region.[ Covers all 50 states and 2,100+ counties. ]Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
US Health Weather Map - Kinsa
[ This map doesn't show only COVID-19 infections. It shows fevers (influenza-illnesses) based on Kinsa’s Smart Thermometers and mobile applications. ]Added Monday, March 30, 2020.
- COVID-19 Interactive Map - Johns Hopkins
- The disease is COVID-19: COronaVIrus Disease - 2019
- The virus causing the disease is SARS-CoV-2: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - CoronaVirus - 2
Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia
[ Updated often, this blurb could be outdated when you read this. ]
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in an ongoing pandemic. As of 15 May 2020, more than 4.53 million cases have been reported across 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 307,000 deaths. More than 1.63 million people have recovered.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of smell and taste. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-organ failure, septic shock, and blood clots. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is typically around five days but may range from two to fourteen days.
The virus is primarily spread between people during close contact, most often via small droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and talking. The droplets usually fall to the ground or onto surfaces rather than travelling through air over long distances. Less commonly, people may become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face. It is most contagious during the first three days after the onset of symptoms, although spread is possible before symptoms appear, and from people who do not show symptoms. The standard method of diagnosis is by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) from a nasopharyngeal swab. Chest CT imaging may also be helpful for diagnosis in individuals where there is a high suspicion of infection based on symptoms and risk factors; however, guidelines do not recommend using CT imaging for routine screening.Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 - Wikipedia
[ Updated often, this blurb could be outdated when you read this. ]
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness. Colloquially known as coronavirus, it was previously referred to by its provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). As described by the National Institutes of Health, it is the successor to SARS-CoV-1. SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is contagious in humans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Taxonomically, SARS-CoV-2 is a strain of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). It is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. There is no evidence yet to link an intermediate animal reservoir, such as a pangolin, to its introduction to humans. The virus shows little genetic diversity, indicating that the spillover event introducing SARS-CoV-2 to humans is likely to have occurred in late 2019.Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
COVID-19 & SARS-CoV-2 - cognition studio
[ Excellent graphics showing the virus and the protein binding sites. ]Added Monday, May 18, 2020
SARS-CoV-2 looks like a hybrid of viruses from two different species - Ars Technica
Now, a US-based research team has done a detailed analysis of a large collection of viral genomes, and it finds that evolution pieced together the virus from multiple parts—most from bats, but with a key contribution from pangolins.
There's some good news in all of this: rumors about this being an escaped weapons experiment make little sense in terms of what the genome sequences tell us about biology. Less reassuring, however, is what the sequences tell us about the giant natural experiment that may be going on around us.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
‘It’s something I have never seen’: How the Covid-19 virus hijacks cells - STAT
A deep dive into how the new coronavirus infects cells has found that it orchestrates a hostile takeover of their genes unlike any other known viruses do, producing what one leading scientist calls “unique” and “aberrant” changes.
Recent studies show that in seizing control of genes in the human cells it invades, the virus changes how segments of DNA are read, doing so in a way that might explain why the elderly are more likely to die of Covid-19 and why antiviral drugs might not only save sick patients’ lives but also prevent severe disease if taken before infection.
“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.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Are viruses dead or alive? - Khan Academy
If life were a monster movie, would viruses be vampires or zombies? Werewolves or Frankenstein’s monster? Would they be something else entirely? The first step in answering these questions comes down to – are viruses alive or dead? How do we determine whether something is alive? Let’s compare viruses to the 7 criteria researchers have set to determine if something is alive.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill. - WaPoThe Washington Post
Viruses have spent billions of years perfecting the art of surviving without living — a frighteningly effective strategy that makes them a potent threat in today’s world.
That’s especially true of the deadly new coronavirus that has brought global society to a screeching halt. It’s little more than a packet of genetic material surrounded by a spiky protein shell one-thousandth the width of an eyelash, and it leads such a zombielike existence that it’s barely considered a living organism.
But as soon as it gets into a human airway, the virus hijacks our cells to create millions more versions of itself.Added Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
What the structure of the coronavirus can tell us - WaPoThe Washington Post
Like any virus, the novel coronavirus is a germ that tries to burrow into a cell and turn it into a virus-replicating factory. If it succeeds, it can produce an infection — in this case, a respiratory disease. The type of cells a virus targets and how it enters them depend on how the virus is built.
This virus gets its family name from a telltale series of spikes — tens or even hundreds of them — that circle its bloblike core like a crown, or corona. Virologists know from studying its close cousins, viruses that cause SARS and MERS, that the spikes interact with receptors on cells like keys in locks, enabling the virus to enter.
Very recent innovations in imaging techniques enabled researchers to peer so closely at the novel virus’s spikes that they created a model of one, right down to the atoms, and are beginning to reveal its secrets.Added Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
- SARS-CoV-2 looks like a hybrid of viruses from two different species - Ars Technica
One-hour COVID-19 test being trialed at hospitals around London - Reuters
A COVID-19 test that gives results in just over an hour and which requires no laboratory, potentially allowing for swifter testing of much larger numbers of people, is being rolled out at a number of London hospitals after getting regulatory clearance.
The new test, based on the design of a DNA test developed by a professor at Imperial College London, received approval for clinical use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) at the end of April after successful trials.
With a sensitivity of over 98% and specificity of 100%, the DnaNudge test is being rolled out in cancer wards, accident and emergency, and maternity departments, as a prelude to possible wider application.
“It is a lab in a cartridge effectively,” said Chris Toumazou, a professor of engineering at Imperial College who developed the test. “The key is that with this test you go straight from a saliva swap or a nasal swab into the cartridge with no transport and no laboratory.” “You can even look at such small fragments of the RNA (Ribonucleic acid) that you can check whether a patient is coming out of it or going into COVID,” Toumazou said.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
… Artificial Intelligence to Analyze Coronavirus (COVID-19) Patients - Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai First in U.S. to Use Artificial Intelligence to Analyze Coronavirus (COVID-19) Patients
Mount Sinai researchers are the first in the country to use artificial intelligence (AI) combined with imaging, and clinical data to analyze patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). They have developed a unique algorithm that can rapidly detect COVID-19 based on how lung disease looks in computed tomography (CT scans) of the chest, in combination with patient information including symptoms, age, bloodwork, and possible contact with someone infected with the virus.
We were able to show that the AI model was as accurate as an experienced radiologist in diagnosing the disease, and even better in some cases where there was no clear sign of lung disease on CT,” says one of the lead authors, Zahi Fayad, PhD, Director of the BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute (BMEII) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
- One-hour COVID-19 test being trialed at hospitals around London - Reuters
New York's Cuomo, concerned about COVID-19 spread, asks protesters to get tested - Reuters
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said several days and nights of demonstrations in the state after the killing of George Floyd could accelerate the spread of the coronavirus, and urged protesters to get tested.
“I’m not a nervous Nellie, I’m just looking at the numbers,” said Cuomo, noting that an estimated 30,000 people have protested in the state. “Many wear masks. But there is no social distancing. Police are in their face ... If you were at a protest, get a test, please.”
Officials in Chicago this week expressed similar concern, and asked protesters to quarantine themselves for 14 days.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Antibody Tests Point To Lower Death Rate For The Coronavirus Than First Thought - NPR
Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself.The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.
"The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body.
And the revised estimates support an early prediction by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. In an editorial published in late March in The New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci and colleagues wrote that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 "may be considerably less than 1%."
[ As of today, the mortality rate for confirmed cases is 6%. ]Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Wuhan swabs 9 million people, tests 6.5 million for COVID-19 in 10 days - Ars Technica
When Chinese officials in the city of Wuhan discovered a cluster of just six COVID-19 cases around two weeks ago—the first cases there in more than a month—they quickly set an ambitious plan to test the entire city of roughly 11 million and crush a potential second wave of infection. And they initially planned to try to do it in just 10 days.
Ten days out, they nearly met that goal. Wuhan Municipal Health Commission swabbed more than 9 million residents and tested more than 6.5 million of those swabs for coronavirus genetic material between May 15 and May 24, according to state media.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’ - The Atlantic
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. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The upshot is that the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons.
This is not merely a technical error. States have set quantitative guidelines for reopening their economies based on these flawed data points.
Several states—including Pennsylvania, the site of one of the country’s largest outbreaks, as well as Texas, Georgia, and Vermont—are blending the data in the same way. Virginia likewise mixed viral and antibody test results until last week, but it reversed course and the governor apologized for the practice after it was covered by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Atlantic. Maine similarly separated its data on Wednesday; Vermont authorities claimed they didn’t even know they were doing this.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Washington state still in need of COVID-19 testing supplies, governor's office says - Komo News
Washington state health officials said they are expecting another round of materials to test for the coronavirus, which Gov. Jay Inslee said are still desperately needed.
The additional nasal swabs and transport kits are expected to be delivered this week, according to state health officials.
Inslee said the state is still a long way away from being able to conduct sufficient testing at a level to adequately gauge the impact of COVID-19 locally. He said it's not because of a lack of money, but a lack in manufacturing.
According to the governor, he has wanted to increase the manufacturing levels for test materials and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for months. But the governor said the Trump Administration has been slow to act.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
CDC plans sweeping COVID-19 antibody study in 25 metropolitan areas - Reuters
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans a nationwide study of up to 325,000 people to track how the new coronavirus is spreading across the country into next year and beyond, a CDC spokeswoman and researchers conducting the effort told Reuters.
The CDC study, expected to launch in June or July, will test samples from blood donors in 25 metropolitan areas for antibodies created when the immune system fights the coronavirus, said Dr. Michael Busch, director of the nonprofit Vitalant Research Institute.
Busch is leading a preliminary version of the study - funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - that is testing the first 36,000 samples.
The CDC-funded portion, to be formally announced this week, will expand the scope and time frame, taking samples over 18 months to see how antibodies evolve over time, said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
- Washington state still in need of COVID-19 testing supplies, governor's office says - Komo News
- New York's Cuomo, concerned about COVID-19 spread, asks protesters to get tested - Reuters
Dutch coronavirus study: children are not big spreaders - Reuters
A study by the Netherlands’ National Institute for Health (RIVM) published on Wednesday concluded that children under the age of 12 play little role in transmitting the new coronavirus.The study in the country’s leading medical journal Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde followed the progress of the disease in 54 families, including 227 people in all.
Studies in other countries have previously found that children are less often infected by the virus and, once infected, less often become seriously ill.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Nasal Gene Expression of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 in Children and Adults - JAMAThe Journal of the American Medical Association
It is hypothesized that the lower risk among children is due to differential expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses for host entry. We investigated ACE2 gene expression in the nasal epithelium of children and adults.
The results from this study show age-dependent expression of ACE2 in nasal epithelium, the first point of contact for SARS-CoV-2 and the human body. Covariate-adjusted models showed that the positive association between ACE2 gene expression and age was independent of sex and asthma. Lower ACE2 expression in children relative to adults may help explain why COVID-19 is less prevalent in children.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
… distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent … transmission … - The Lancet
Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis
The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis support physical distancing of 1 m or more and provide quantitative estimates for models and contact tracing to inform policy. Optimum use of face masks, respirators, and eye protection in public and health-care settings should be informed by these findings and contextual factors. Robust randomised trials are needed to better inform the evidence for these interventions, but this systematic appraisal of currently best available evidence might inform interim guidance.
Physical distancing of at least 1 m is strongly associated with protection, but distances of up to 2 m might be more effective. Although direct evidence is limited, the optimum use of face masks, in particular N95 or similar respirators in health-care settings and 12–16-layer cotton or surgical masks in the community, could depend on contextual factors; action is needed at all levels to address the paucity of better evidence. Eye protection might provide additional benefits.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Positive coronavirus test is no guarantee of infectiousness - Nature
People with COVID-19 are unlikely to spread the new coronavirus if more than eight days have passed since their symptoms began, according to experiments in monkey cells.
Jared Bullard at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and his colleagues seeded cultured monkey cells with 90 human samples that had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA (J. Bullard et al. Clin. Infect. Dis. http://doi.org/dw8z; 2020). The researchers found that RNA-positive samples collected more than eight days after a person’s symptoms began did not infect the cells — suggesting that people who test positive for viral RNA are not necessarily infectious.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
… the coronavirus seems to be sparing populations at high altitudes - WaPoThe Washington Post
From the Andes to Tibet, the coronavirus seems to be sparing populations at high altitudes
Nestled in a picturesque Andean valley, the high-altitude city [ Cusco, Peru ] of 420,000 residents, the gateway to the cloud forest citadel of Machu Picchu, receives more than 3 million international visitors per year — many from pandemic hot spots, including the United States, Italy and Spain.
Yet since those three deaths, between March 23 and April 3, at the start of Peru’s strict national lockdown, there has not been another covid-19 fatality in the entire Cusco region, even as the disease has claimed more than 4,000 lives nationally. Infections have also remained low. Just 916 of Peru’s 141,000 cases come from the Cusco region, meaning its contagion rate is more than 80 percent below the national average.
Similar results have been seen elsewhere in the Andes, and in Tibet.
In one peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, researchers from Australia, Bolivia, Canada and Switzerland looking at epidemiological data from Bolivia, Ecuador and Tibet found populations living above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) reported significantly lower levels of confirmed infections than their lowland counterparts.
Cowl notes that prolonged exposure to altitude triggers a chain reaction in the lungs involving a protein known as ACE2 that might prevent pulmonary shunting, a problem common among covid-19 patients. Ordinarily, when a part of the lung is damaged, the body redirects the flow of blood toward healthier areas that are better able to absorb oxygen. Shunting stops that process of redirection, resulting in hypoxia. It is, according to Cowl, a common element among the roughly 30 percent of covid-19 patients who exhibit mild symptoms yet have unusually low levels of oxygen in their blood — and who sometimes take a sudden turn for the worse.Added Sunday, May 31, 2020
Evolution of pandemic coronavirus outlines path from animals to humans - Duke
A team of scientists studying the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, found that it was especially well-suited to jump from animals to humans by shapeshifting as it gained the ability to infect human cells.
Conducting a genetic analysis, researchers from Duke University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Texas at El Paso and New York University confirmed that the closest relative of the virus was a coronavirus that infects bats. But that virus’s ability to infect humans was gained through exchanging a critical gene fragment from a coronavirus that infects a scaly mammal called a pangolin, which made it possible for the virus to infect humans.
The researchers report that this jump from species-to-species was the result of the virus’s ability to bind to host cells through alterations in its genetic material. By analogy, it is as if the virus retooled the key that enables it to unlock a host cell’s door -- in this case a human cell. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the “key” is a spike protein found on the surface of the virus. Coronaviruses use this protein to attach to cells and infect them.Added Sunday, May 31, 2020
A Study on Infectivity of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Carriers - NIHNational Institutes of Health
In summary, all the 455 contacts were excluded from SARS-CoV-2 infection and we conclude that the infectivity of some asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers might be weak.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Evidence and possible mechanisms of rare maternal-fetal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 - Science Direct
Current data indicates that viral RNA levels in maternal blood are low and there is no evidence of placental infection with SARS-CoV-2. Published reports to date suggest that perinatal transmission of SARSCoV- 2 can occur but is rare.
Among 179 newborns tested for SARS-CoV2 at birth from mothers with COVID-19, transmission was suspected in 8 cases, 5 with positive nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and 3 with SARS-CoV-2 IgM. However, these cases arise from maternal infection close to childbirth and there are no information about exposition during first or second trimester of pregnancy.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Simulated Sunlight Rapidly Inactivates SARS-CoV-2 on Surfaces - Oxford University Press
In the present study, simulated sunlight rapidly inactivated SARS-CoV-2 suspended in either simulated saliva or culture media and dried on stainless steel coupons. Ninety percent of infectious virus was inactivated every 6.8 minutes in simulated saliva and every 14.3 minutes in culture media when exposed to simulated sunlight representative of the summer solstice at 40oN latitude at sea level on a clear day. Significant inactivation also occurred, albeit at a slower rate, under lower simulated sunlight levels.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Poop alert: Sewage could signal impending burst of COVID-19 cases - Ars Technica
We know that infected humans shed SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in feces, so you can take samples of sewage sludge, look for the virus's genetic materials, and thereby get an idea of the viral load of the pooping population.
In fact, the idea of using our sewers for biosurveillance isn't a new one. I first heard the concept at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting in 2011, when biotechnology companies like PacBio and Oxford Nanopore proposed using their advanced new platforms to sequence the DNA in sewage for public health intelligence. But the idea was old hat even then—Israel has been monitoring sewage for signs of polio outbreaks since 1989, and it detected outbreaks in 1991, 2002, and 2013.
What makes the approach here all the more useful is the fact that changes in the amount of detectable virus in sewage sludge appears to mirror changes in the number of new cases—in fact, they give advanced warning. Those are the findings in a recent preprint from a group of researchers at Yale.
Between March 19 and May 1, the scientists took daily samples of sewage sludge from the East Shore Water Pollution Abatement Facility in New Haven, Connecticut, which serves a population of around 200,000 people. The researchers then measured the total amount of RNA in each sample, as well as the amount of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. This showed that levels of coronavirus rose over that time, peaked, and then decreased.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Accelerated viral dynamics in bat cell lines, with implications for zoonotic emergence - eLife
The findings may help to explain why bats are often the source for viruses that are deadly in humans. Learning more about bats' antiviral defenses and how they drive virus evolution may help scientists develop better ways to predict, prevent or limit the spread of viruses from bats to humans.
Bats host virulent zoonotic viruses without experiencing disease. A mechanistic understanding of the impact of bats’ virus hosting capacities, including uniquely constitutive immune pathways, on cellular-scale viral dynamics is needed to elucidate zoonotic emergence.
Rapidly-transmitting viruses that have evolved with bat immune systems will likely cause enhanced virulence following emergence into secondary hosts with immune systems that diverge from those unique to bats.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Infectious SARS-CoV-2 in Feces of Patient with Severe COVID-19 - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [ SARS-CoV-2 ] was isolated from feces of a patient in China with coronavirus disease who died. Confirmation of infectious virus in feces affirms the potential for fecal–oral or fecal–respiratory transmission and warrants further study.Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Differential Effects of Intervention Timing on COVID-19 Spread in the United States - medRxiv
Here we use county-level observations of reported infections and deaths, in conjunction with human mobility data and a metapopulation transmission model, to quantify changes of disease transmission rates in US counties from March 15, 2020 to May 3, 2020.
We find significant reductions of the basic reproductive numbers in major metropolitan areas in association with social distancing and other control measures.
Counterfactual simulations indicate that, had these same control measures been implemented just 1-2 weeks earlier, a substantial number of cases and deaths could have been averted.
Specifically, nationwide, 61.6% of reported infections and 55.0% of reported deaths as of May 3, 2020 could have been avoided if the same control measures had been implemented just one week earlier.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
HKU hamster research shows masks effective in preventing Covid-19 transmission - HKUThe Univerity of Hong Kong
Tests on hamsters showed wearing surgical masks can significantly reduce the non-contact transmission of the deadly Covid-19 virus, especially when masks were worn by infected individuals, according to a study led by HKU infectious disease expert Prof Yuen Kwok-yung.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Susceptible supply limits the role of climate in the early SARS-CoV-2 pandemic - Science
Here, we use a climate-dependent epidemic model to simulate the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic probing different scenarios based on known coronavirus biology. We find that while variations in weather may be important for endemic infections, during the pandemic stage of an emerging pathogen the climate drives only modest changes to pandemic size.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
… How symptomless transmission helps pathogens thrive - Princeton Environmental Institute
COVID-19′s silent spread: How symptomless transmission helps pathogens thrive
COVID-19′s rapid spread throughout the world has been fueled in part by the virus’ ability to be transmitted by people who are not showing symptoms of infection. The study examined the pros and cons of silent transmission on the pathogen’s long-term survival. Does transmission without symptoms enable the pathogen to infect greater numbers of people? Or does the lack of symptoms eventually lessen transmission and reduce the pathogen’s long-term survival?
The answer could inform how public health experts plan control measures such as quarantines, testing and contract tracing.
“An asymptomatic stage for various reasons could provide certain benefits to the pathogen,” said Bryan Grenfell, Princeton’s Kathryn Briger and Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs and associated faculty in the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) who is affliated with PEI’s Climate Change and Infectious Disease initiative. “With the COVID-19 crisis, the importance of this asymptomatic phase has become extremely relevant.”Added Saturday, May 16, 2020
… speech droplets and their potential importance in SARS-CoV-2 transmission - PNASProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The airborne lifetime of small speech droplets and their potential importance in SARS-CoV-2 transmission
Speech droplets generated by asymptomatic carriers of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are increasingly considered to be a likely mode of disease transmission. Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second. In a closed, stagnant air environment, they disappear from the window of view with time constants in the range of 8 to 14 min, which corresponds to droplet nuclei of ca. 4 μm diameter, or 12- to 21-μm droplets prior to dehydration. These observations confirm that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Coronavirus can survive long exposure to high temperature… - South China Morning Post
Coronavirus can survive long exposure to high temperature, a threat to lab staff around world: paper
The new coronavirus can survive long exposure to high temperatures, according to an experiment by a team of French scientists.
Professor Remi Charrel and colleagues at the Aix-Marseille University in southern France heated the virus that causes Covid-19 to 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) for an hour and found that some strains were still able to replicate.
The scientists had to bring the temperature to almost boiling point to kill the virus completely, according to their non-peer-reviewed paper released on bioRxiv.org on Saturday. The results have implications for the safety of lab technicians working with the virus.Added Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
- Infectious SARS-CoV-2 in Feces of Patient with Severe COVID-19 - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
- Dutch coronavirus study: children are not big spreaders - Reuters
The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus - NYTThe New York Times
The coronavirus still has a long way to go. That’s the message from a crop of new studies across the world that are trying to quantify how many people have been infected.
Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But in new studies that test the population more broadly, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits. The numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely. The precise herd immunity threshold for the novel coronavirus is not yet clear; but several experts said they believed it would be higher than 60 percent. Even in some of the hardest-hit cities in the world, the studies suggest, the vast majority of people still remain vulnerable to the virus.
Some countries — notably Sweden, and briefly Britain — have experimented with limited lockdowns in an effort to build up immunity in their populations. But even in these places, recent studies indicate that no more than 7 to 17 percent of people have been infected so far. In New York City, which has had the largest coronavirus outbreak in the United States, around 20 percent of the city’s residents have been infected by the virus as of early May, according to a survey of people in grocery stores and community centers released by the governor’s office.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Cloth masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19, save lives and restore jobs - Masks4All
100+ countries and 12+ U.S. States have already made cloth masks required in public because they limit the spread of COVID-19
The leading disease experts and governments representing 95% of the world’s population (including the U.S. CDC) agree with the science and require/recommend masks because cloth (non-medical) masks are shown to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Countries/territories that have required or universal mask usage include Germany, South Korea, France, Japan, Taiwan, Israel, Spain, Indonesia, Argentina, Greece, China, and many more.
Anyone not wearing a cloth mask in public puts everyone at risk of getting infected and they hurt our economy by increasing the chances of a second lockdown. Why? The U.S. CDC and most experts agree that many infected and contagious people don’t know they’re sick because they don’t have symptoms. Wearing a mask significantly reduces the chances of spreading COVID-19 from you to others.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
… transmission increasing in Eastern Wash., dropping in Western … - KOMO News
COVID-19 transmission increasing in Eastern Wash., dropping in Western Wash., report says
A new report released Tuesday evening from the Washington Department of Health details increasing COVID-19 transmission rates in eastern Washington, while the virus transmission appears to be decreasing in western Washington.
The latest statewide modeling estimates the effective reproductive number, which is the measure of how many new infections a single COVID-19 case will produce.
If the reproductive number is below one, that means the number of new COVID-19 cases are declining.
The data based on May 3-12 found the reproductive number was below one in western Washington and above one in Eastern Washington. If you exclude Yakima County from the data, eastern Washington's reproductive number remains just barely above one.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
WHO warns of 'second peak' in areas where COVID-19 declining - Reuters
Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an “immediate second peak” if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan told an online briefing, noting that while cases are declining in many countries they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa.
Ryan said epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. There was also a chance that infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.Added Monday, May 25, 2020
French patients were sick with Covid-19 in mid-November and before China - researchers - rfi
Doctors in the French Haut-Rhin region, hit hard by Covid-19, say they’ve detected several cases dating back to 16 November 2019 – long before the disease is believed to have surfaced in France, and before it was even announced in China.
Radiologists at the Albert Schweitzer private hospital in Colmar, near the German border, reviewed 2,456 chest X-rays produced between 12 October, 2019 and 30 April, 2020 to see if they coud find one or more “patient zeros”.
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.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
How COVID-19 Spreads - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
The virus does not spread easily in other ways. COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.
Added Friday, May 22, 2020
- From touching surfaces or objects. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.
- From animals to people. At this time, the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low. Learn about COVID-19 and pets and other animals.
- From people to animals. It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
- How COVID-19 Spreads - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
- The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus - NYTThe New York Times
High COVID-19 Attack Rate Among Attendees at Events at a Church — Arkansas, March 2020 - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Among 92 attendees at a rural Arkansas church during March 6–11, 35 (38%) developed laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, and three persons died. Highest attack rates were in persons aged 19–64 years (59%) and ≥65 years (50%). An additional 26 cases linked to the church occurred in the community, including one death.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Rate Following Exposure at a Choir Practice … - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Rate Following Exposure at a Choir Practice — Skagit County, Washington, March 2020
Following a 2.5-hour choir practice attended by 61 persons, including a symptomatic index patient, 32 confirmed and 20 probable secondary COVID-19 cases occurred (attack rate = 53.3% to 86.7%); three patients were hospitalized, and two died. Transmission was likely facilitated by close proximity (within 6 feet) during practice and augmented by the act of singing.
The potential for superspreader events underscores the importance of physical distancing, including avoiding gathering in large groups, to control spread of COVID-19. Enhancing community awareness can encourage symptomatic persons and contacts of ill persons to isolate or self-quarantine to prevent ongoing transmission.Added Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
- High COVID-19 Attack Rate Among Attendees at Events at a Church — Arkansas, March 2020 - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
How some cities “flattened the curve” during the 1918 flu pandemic - National Geographic
In 1918, the studies found, the key to flattening the curve was social distancing.Added Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” - WaPoThe Washington Post
[ Excellent animations showing how diseases spread exponentially. ]Added Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
- How some cities “flattened the curve” during the 1918 flu pandemic - National Geographic
Understanding epidemiology models - Ars Technica
With the severity of COVID-19, it's no surprise that there has been increased scrutiny of epidemiological models. Models have become yet another aspect of life embroiled in political controversy. And it's fair for the public to ask why different models—or even the same model run a few days apart—can produce dramatically different estimates of future fatalities.
[ Technical but very interesting. ]Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Using Reports of Symptoms and Diagnoses on Social Media to Predict COVID-19 Case Counts … - JMIRJournal of Medical Internet Research
Using Reports of Symptoms and Diagnoses on Social Media to Predict COVID-19 Case Counts in Mainland China: Observational Infoveillance Study
We found that reports of symptoms and diagnosis of COVID-19 significantly predicted daily case counts up to 14 days ahead of official statistics, whereas other COVID-19 posts did not have similar predictive power. For the subset of geotagged posts, we found that the predictive pattern held true for both Hubei province and the rest of mainland China regardless of the unequal distribution of health care resources and the outbreak timeline.
Public social media data can be usefully harnessed to predict infection cases and inform timely responses. Researchers and disease control agencies should pay close attention to the social media infosphere regarding COVID-19. In addition to monitoring overall search and posting activities, leveraging machine learning approaches and theoretical understanding of information sharing behaviors is a promising approach to identify true disease signals and improve the effectiveness of infoveillance.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Estimating The Infection Fatality Rate Among Symptomatic COVID-19 … - Health Affairs
Estimating The Infection Fatality Rate Among Symptomatic COVID-19 Cases In The United States
After modeling the available national data on cumulative deaths and detected COVID-19 cases in the United States, the IFR-S [ Infection Fatality Rate – Symptomatic ] from COVID-19 was estimated to be 1.3%.
We see the same patterns in the United States, with observed rates being much higher during the initial part of the pandemic.
If we carry out a thought experiment where 35.5 million individuals would contract COVID-19 illness this year in the US (i.e., the same number as flu last year)19 then, in the absence of any mitigation strategies or social distancing behaviors and the supply of health care services under typical conditions, our IFR-S estimate predicts that there would have been nearly 500,000 COVID-19 deaths this year.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
An interpretable mortality prediction model for COVID-19 patients - Nature
In summary, this study has identified three indicators (LDH, hs-CRP and lymphocytes), together with a clinical route, for COVID-19 prognostic prediction. We have developed an XGBoost machine learning-based model that can predict the mortality rates of patients more than 10 days in advance with more than 90% accuracy, enabling detection, early intervention and potentially a reduction of mortality in patients with COVID-19.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Disease modelers are wary of reopening the country. … - WaPoThe Washington Post
Disease modelers are wary of reopening the country. Here’s how they arrive at their verdict.
“The math is unfortunately pretty simple,” said Jeffrey Shaman, a leading epidemiologist at Columbia University. “It’s not a matter of whether infections will increase but by how much.”
To answer that question — by how much? — epidemiologists like Shaman use computer models to project a range of possible futures based on assumptions about the nature of the disease and how society will react to it.
Projections from different teams, such as those by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and Shaman’s group at Columbia, often are in disagreement. That leads some people to question the usefulness of models: They can’t all be right, so perhaps they are all wrong.
Yet such disagreements are inevitable, and they render disease models more, rather than less, useful. To understand why, one must grapple with the deep uncertainty at the heart of the practice of disease modeling.Added Friday, May 15, 2020.
- Understanding epidemiology models - Ars Technica
Neuropathogenesis and Neurologic Manifestations of the Coronaviruses … - JAMAThe Journal of the American Medical Association
Neuropathogenesis and Neurologic Manifestations of the Coronaviruses in the Age of Coronavirus Disease 2019
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019, causing human coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has now spread into a worldwide pandemic. The pulmonary manifestations of COVID-19 have been well described in the literature. Two similar human coronaviruses that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-1) are known to cause disease in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Emerging evidence suggests COVID-19 has neurologic consequences as well.
To date, SARS-CoV-2 has infected millions and affected billions of lives. The understanding of neurologic disease in patients with COVID-19 is evolving, and clinicians should continue to monitor patients closely for neurological disease. Early detection of neurological deficits may lead to improved clinical outcomes and better treatment algorithms.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
… Alteration of the Brain in a Patient With … (COVID-19) and Anosmia - JAMAThe Journal of the American Medical Association
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Alteration of the Brain in a Patient With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Anosmia
To our knowledge, this is the first report of in vivo human brain involvement in a patient with COVID-19 showing a signal alteration compatible with viral brain invasion in a cortical region (ie, posterior gyrus rectus) that is associated with olfaction.
Based on the MRI findings, including the slight olfactory bulb changes, we can speculate that SARS-CoV-2 might invade the brain through the olfactory pathway and cause an olfactory dysfunction of sensorineural origin; cerebrospinal fluid and pathology studies are required to confirm this hypothesis.
Ours and others’ observations of normal brain imaging in other patients with COVID-19–associated olfactory dysfunctions and the disappearance of the cortical MRI abnormalities in the follow-up study of this patient suggest that imaging changes are not always present in COVID-19 or might be limited to the very early phase of the infection.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Phenotypic characteristics and prognosis of inpatients with COVID-19 and diabetes… - Springer Link
Phenotypic characteristics and prognosis of inpatients with COVID-19 and diabetes: the CORONADO study
Diabetes has rapidly emerged as a major comorbidity for COVID-19 severity. However, the phenotypic characteristics of diabetes in COVID-19 patients are unknown.
In people with diabetes hospitalised for COVID-19, BMI, but not long-term glucose control, was positively and independently associated with tracheal intubation and/or death within 7 days.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Black and Asian people in England more likely to die from COVID-19, says report - Reuters
Black and Asian people in England are up to 50% more likely to die after becoming infected with COVID-19, an official study said on Tuesday, putting pressure on the government to outline plans to protect the most at-risk communities.
Doctors, politicians and footballers have been among those vocal in expressing concern about the unexplained higher mortalities in ethnic minorities.
The report said that people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had approximately twice the risk of death of people who were white British.
Those of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani or other Asian ethnicity, as well as those of Caribbean or other Black ethnicity, had between a 10 to 50% higher risk of death than those in the white British group, PHE said.
The findings echo a previous study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released last month.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Thousands of Dutch Covid-19 patients likely have permanent lung damage, doctor says - NL Times
Thousands of Netherlands residents who recovered from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, may be left with permanent damage to their lungs, resulting in decreased capacity and more difficulty absorbing oxygen, Leon van den Toorn, pulmonologist chairman of the Dutch association of physicians for pulmonary disease and tuberculosis NVALT, said to newspaper AD.
Many people underestimate the consequences of the coronavirus Van den Toorn said to the newspaper. The virus and the body's response to it can cause permanent damage to the lungs, he said. "In severe cases, a kind of scar formation occurs, we call this lung fibrosis. The lungs shrink and the lung tissue becomes stiffer, making it harder to get enough oxygen."
Van den Toorn expects that "there may be thousands of people in the Netherlands who suffered permanent injury to the lungs from corona". Of the 1,200 Covid-19 patients who so far recovered after admission to intensive care, "almost 100 percent went home with residual damage", he said to AD. And about half of the 6 thousand people who were hospitalized, but did not need intensive care, will have symptoms for years to come.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Kawasaki disease linked to COVID-19 in children - Nature
An unusually high incidence of Kawasaki disease in children was reported in a French centre for emerging infectious diseases: 17 cases in 11 days, in contrast to an average of 2 cases per month in 2018–2019. In 82% of the cases, IgG antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 were detected, suggesting an association between the virus and this syndrome in children. Although only six patients had recent history of an acute respiratory infection, all patients had gastrointestinal symptoms before the onset of Kawasaki disease symptoms. Remarkably, almost 60% of the patients originated from sub-Saharan Africa or Caribbean islands, and 12% from Asia, raising a possible genetic predisposition. Although Kawasaki disease-like syndromes have previously been linked to other viral infections, these patients showed higher levels of pro-inflammatory markers than other cohorts, which may reflect a particularly strong immunological reaction to SARS-CoV-2.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Dangerous blood clots pose a perplexing coronavirus threat - KOMO News
Blood clots that can cause strokes, heart attacks and dangerous blockages in the legs and lungs are increasingly being found in COVID-19 patients, including some children. Even tiny clots that can damage tissue throughout the body have been seen in hospitalized patients and in autopsies, confounding doctors' understanding of what was once considered mainly a respiratory infection.
"I have to be humble and say I don't know what's going on there, but boy we need to find that out because unless you know what the pathogenic (disease-causing) mechanism is, it's going to be tough to do intervention," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, remarked during a medical journal interview last month.
It's unclear how many COVID-19 patients develop clots. Studies from China, Europe and the United States suggest rates ranging from 3% to 70% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients; more rigorous research is needed to determine the true prevalence, the National Institutes of Health says.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Features of 20,133 UK patients in hospital with covid-19… - bmj
Features of 20 133 UK patients in hospital with covid-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol: prospective observational cohort study
This rapid prospective investigation of patients with covid-19 admitted to hospital in England, Wales, and Scotland showed that obesity, chronic kidney disease, and liver disease were also associated with increased hospital mortality. Severe covid-19 leads to a prolonged hospital stay and a high mortality rate; over a quarter of inpatients in this study had died at the time of reporting, and nearly a third remained in hospital.
In study participants, mortality was high, independent risk factors were increasing age, male sex, and chronic comorbidity, including obesity.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Loss of Smell and Taste in 2013 European Patients With Mild to Moderate COVID-19 - AIMAnnals of Internal Medicine
A total of 1754 patients (87%) reported loss of smell, whereas 1136 (56%) reported taste dysfunction.
The prevalence of self-reported smell and taste dysfunction in our study is higher than previously reported and may be characterized by different clinical forms. Our results suggest that anosmia may not be related to nasal obstruction or inflammation.
No significant association was found between loss of smell and the otolaryngologic symptoms of nasal obstruction, rhinorrhea, and postnasal drip in the entire cohort or among subgroups with anosmia, hyposmia, or normosmia.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19 - NEJMThe New England Journal of Medicine
In our small series, vascular angiogenesis distinguished the pulmonary pathobiology of Covid-19 from that of equally severe influenza virus infection.
In patients who died from Covid-19–associated or influenza-associated respiratory failure, the histologic pattern in the peripheral lung was diffuse alveolar damage [ injury to the gas-exchange surfaces ] with perivascular [ exterior of blood vessels ] T-cell infiltration. The lungs from patients with Covid-19 also showed distinctive vascular features, consisting of severe endothelial injury [ interior of blood vessels ] associated with the presence of intracellular virus and disrupted cell membranes. Histologic analysis of pulmonary vessels in patients with Covid-19 showed widespread thrombosis [ blood clot inside a blood vessel ] with microangiopathy [ disease of small blood vessels ].Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Elderly covid-19 patients on ventilators usually do not survive, New York hospitals report - WaPoThe Washington Post
Most elderly covid-19 patients put on ventilators at two New York hospitals did not survive, according to a sweeping study published Tuesday that captured the brutal nature of this new disease and the many ways it attacks the body.
The study, published in the Lancet, is broadly consistent with clinical findings from China and Europe, and confirmed that advanced age is the greatest risk factor for a severe outcome, particularly if accompanied by chronic underlying diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Coronavirus deadliest in New York City's black and Latino neighborhoods, data shows - Reuters
Some New York City neighborhoods have seen death rates from the novel coronavirus nearly 15 times higher than others, according to data released by New York City’s health department on Monday, showing the disproportionate toll taken on poor communities.
The data shows for the first time a breakdown on the number of deaths in each of the city’s more than 60 ZIP codes. The highest death rate was seen on the edge of Brooklyn in a neighborhood dominated by a large subsidized-housing development called Starrett City.
In the wealthy, mostly white enclave of Gramercy Park in Manhattan, the rate is 31 deaths per 100,000 residents, the data shows. A long subway ride away in Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens, which is more than 40% black and 25% Latino or Hispanic, the death rate is nearly 15 times higher: 444 deaths per 100,000 residents.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
A quarter of COVID-19 patients who died in England had diabetes - sky news
Statistics from NHS England show that of the 22,332 people who died since 31 March, 5,873 (26%) of them were diabetic.
The breakdown of those who had type 1 and type 2 has not been released. According to diabetes.co.uk 6% of the UK population is diabetic.
Also, 18% of people who died after testing positive for COVID-19 - 4,048 deaths - had dementia as an underlying health condition and 15% (3,254 deaths) had chronic pulmonary disease.
Some 14% (3,214 deaths) had chronic kidney disease as an underlying health issue.Added Saturday, May 16, 2020
Patients with certain cancers are nearly three times as likely to die of covid-19, study says - WaPoThe Washington Post
Cancer patients — especially those with blood or lung malignancies, or tumors that have spread throughout the body — have a higher risk of death or other severe complications from covid-19 compared with those without cancer, according to a study published Tuesday.
The study, which involved 14 hospitals in Hubei province in central China, where the pandemic emerged, included 105 cancer patients and 536 non-cancer patients of the same age — all of whom had covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The co-authors, from China, Singapore and the United States, found that cancer patients who developed covid-19 had nearly a threefold higher death rate from the virus than the 2 to 3 percent rate estimated for the general population. Cancer patients also were more likely to experience “severe events,” such as being admitted to intensive care units and needing mechanical ventilation, than people without cancer. Risk factors included not just age, but also the kind of cancer, the stage and the treatment.
“These findings suggest that patients with cancer are a much more vulnerable population in the current covid-19 outbreak,” the authors concluded.Added Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
… 88 percent of coronavirus patients on ventilators didn’t make it - WaPoThe Washington Post
In New York’s largest hospital system, 88 percent of coronavirus patients on ventilators didn’t make it
Researchers found that 20 percent of all those hospitalized died — a finding that’s similar to the percentage who perish in normal times among those who are admitted for respiratory distress.
But the numbers diverge more for the critically ill put on ventilators. Eighty-eight percent of the 320 covid-19 patients on ventilators who were tracked in the study died. That compares with the roughly 80 percent of patients who died on ventilators before the pandemic, according to previous studies — and with the roughly 50 percent death rate some critical care doctors had optimistically hoped when the first cases were diagnosed.Added Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Placental Pathology in COVID-19 - AJCPAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Added Friday, May 22, 2020
- The placentas of women infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have higher rates of decidual arteriopathy and other maternal vascular malperfusion features associated with adverse outcomes compared to controls.
- The placentas of women infected with SARS-CoV-2 show no significant increase in acute or chronic inflammatory pathology compared to controls.
- As the placentas of women with SARS-CoV2 show reproducible histopathologic abnormalities, these findings suggest increased antenatal surveillance for women with COVID-19 may be warranted.
Imbalanced Host Response to SARS-CoV-2 Drives Development of COVID-19 - NIHNational Institutes of Health
Here we offer an in-depth analysis of the transcriptional response to SARS-CoV-2 compared with other respiratory viruses. Cell and animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in addition to transcriptional and serum profiling of COVID-19 patients, consistently revealed a unique and inappropriate inflammatory response. This response is defined by low levels of type I and III interferons juxtaposed to elevated chemokines and high expression of IL-6. We propose that reduced innate antiviral defenses coupled with exuberant inflammatory cytokine production are the defining and driving features of COVID-19.Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Viral and host factors related to the clinical outcome of COVID-19 - Nature
Here we analyzed the clinical, molecular and immunological data from 326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shanghai. Genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 assembled from 112 quality samples together with sequences in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) showed a stable evolution and suggested two major lineages with differential exposure history during the early phase of the outbreak in Wuhan. Nevertheless, they exhibited similar virulence and clinical outcomes.
The determinants of disease severity seemed to stem mostly from host factors such as age, lymphocytopenia, and its associated cytokine storm, whereas viral genetic variation did not significantly affect the outcomes.Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Young adults are also affected by Kawasaki-like disease linked to coronavirus, doctors say - WaPoThe Washington Post
Recent public health warnings about a severe and puzzling inflammatory syndrome linked to covid-19 have focused on children. But some doctors say they are also seeing the illness, similar to Kawasaki disease, in a few young adults.
Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases doctor at NYU Langone, said younger children with the condition seem to have symptoms that look more like traditional Kawasaki, which is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels. But teens and young adults have more of an “overwhelming” response involving the heart and multiple organs. “The older ones have had a more severe course,” Lighter said.
Physician Jane Burns, who runs the Kawasaki disease research center at UC San Diego, worries the condition may be underdiagnosed in adults. The challenge, she said, is that many doctors who treat adults have “never seen Kawasaki disease before because that’s a disease of children.” Moreover, it’s trickier to get a quick look at adults’ hearts, because their chest walls are so thick and ultrasounds may be more difficult to interpret.Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Monkeys infected with COVID-19 develop immunity in studies, a positive sign for vaccines - Reuters
Two studies in monkeys published on Wednesday offer some of the first scientific evidence that surviving COVID-19 may result in immunity from reinfection, a positive sign that vaccines under development may succeed, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
Although scientists have assumed that antibodies produced in response to the new coronavirus virus are protective, there has been scant scientifically rigorous evidence to back that up.
In one of the new studies, researchers infected nine monkeys with COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. After they recovered, the team exposed them to the virus again and the animals did not get sick.
The findings suggest that they “do develop natural immunity that protects against re-exposure,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a researcher at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston, whose studies were published in the journal Science.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
COVID-19 Infection Makes Strong Immunity Against COVID-19 Reinfection - Daily Med Ed
People with COVID-19 have robust immune responses against the virus, scientists say.
The researchers based their conclusions after testing immune T-cell counts in 20 patients who recovered from the infection.
“If we had seen only marginal immune responses, we would have been concerned,” explained researcher Alessandro Sette. “But what we see is a very robust T-cell response against the spike protein [on the virus’ outer shell], which is the target of most ongoing COVID-19 efforts, as well as other viral proteins. These findings are really good news for vaccine development.”
“People were really worried that COVID-19 doesn’t induce immunity, and reports about people getting reinfected reinforced these concerns,” he said.
However, “knowing now that the average person makes a solid immune response should largely put those concerns to rest,” Crotty believes.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Children with COVID-19 may be less contagious than adults, two UK epidemiologists say - Reuters
There are tentative signs that children may not spread the novel coronavirus as much as adults, two top epidemiologists said on Tuesday, though they cautioned that the bad news was that human immunity may not last that long.
Dr Rosalind Eggo, an infectious disease modeller at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said she had seen some indications from research that children may not spread the novel coronavirus as much as adults.
She said that her research had shown that there was a much lower level of symptomatic infection in those under 20 years-old - perhaps as little as 20% of infections showing clinical symptoms.
“We think that children are less likely to get it so far but it is not certain,” she said. “We are very certain that children are less likely to have severe outcomes.”Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Key nose cells identified as likely COVID-19 entry points - Newcastle U.
Scientists, including experts at Newcastle University, have discovered that goblet and ciliated cells in the nose have high levels of the entry proteins that the COVID-19 virus uses to get into our cells.
The identification of these cells by researchers involved in the Human Cell Atlas Lung Biological Network could help explain the high transmission rate of the virus.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Acute heart failure in … children … global SARS-CoV-2 … - Circulation
Acute heart failure in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in the context of global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic
Conclusion: Children may experience an acute cardiac decompensation due to severe inflammatory state following SARS-CoV-2 infection (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children - MIS-C). Treatment with immune globulin appears to be associated with recovery of left ventricular systolic function.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Smoking increases SARS-CoV-2 receptors in the lung - EurekAlert!
New research from CSHL scientists suggests that cigarette smoke spurs the lungs to make more ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), the protein that the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 grabs and uses to enter human cells. The findings, reported May 16, 2020 in the journal Developmental Cell, may explain why smokers appear to be particularly vulnerable to severe infections. The analysis also indicates that the change is reversible, suggesting that quitting smoking might reduce the risk of a severe coronavirus infection.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Kawasaki-like disease: emerging complication during the COVID-19 pandemic - The Lancet
Second, new concerns about a novel severe Kawasaki-like disease in children related to COVID-19, including Lucio Verdoni and colleagues' description of an outbreak in Italy in The Lancet, change our understanding of this disease in children.
Kawasaki disease is a rare acute paediatric vasculitis, with coronary artery aneurysms as its main complication. The diagnosis is based on the presence of persistent fever, exanthema, lymphadenopathy, conjunctival injection, and changes to the mucosae and extremities.
Verdoni and colleagues describe ten cases (seven boys, three girls; aged 7·5 years [SD 3·5]) of a Kawasaki-like disease occurring in Bergamo, Italy, at the peak of the pandemic in the country (Feb 18 to April 20, 2020), a monthly incidence some 30-fold higher than observed for Kawasaki disease across the previous 5 years.Added Saturday, May 16, 2020
Kidney injury seen in more than a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients: U.S. study - Reuters
“We found in the first 5,449 patients admitted, 36.6% developed acute kidney injury,” said study co-author Dr. Kenar Jhaveri, associated chief of nephrology at Hofstra/Northwell in Great Neck, New York, whose findings were published in the journal Kidney International.
Acute kidney injury occurs when the kidneys fail and become unable to filter out waste.
Of those patients with kidney failure, 14.3% required dialysis, Jhaveri said in a phone interview.Added Friday, May 15, 2020.
Incidence of Thrombotic Complications in Critically Ill ICU Patients With COVID-19 - NIH
The 31% incidence of thrombotic complications in ICU patients with COVID-19 infections is remarkably high. Our findings reinforce the recommendation to strictly apply pharmacological thrombosis prophylaxis in all COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU, and are strongly suggestive of increasing the prophylaxis towards high-prophylactic doses, even in the absence of randomized evidence.Added Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
Doctors keep discovering new ways the coronavirus attacks the body - WaPoThe Washington Post
Damage to the kidneys, heart, brain — even ‘covid toes’ — prompts reassessment of the disease and how to treat it [ coronavirus ].
Today, there is widespread recognition the novel coronavirus is far more unpredictable than a simple respiratory virus. Often it attacks the lungs, but it can also strike anywhere from the brain to the toes. Many doctors are focused on treating the inflammatory reactions it triggers and its capacity to cause blood clots, even as they struggle to help patients breathe.Added Monday, May 11, 2020.
Are Temperature Checks Effective In Stopping Coronavirus Spread? - HuffPost
While fever can be expected in many cases, experts have also learned that there’s no guarantee it’ll be present for everyone. COVID-19 doesn’t produce the same symptoms in each patient (and a large portion of cases might be asymptomatic). One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which analyzed 5,700 people seriously ill with COVID-19 in the New York City area, found that two-thirds did not have a fever.
“While fever is one of the more common manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection, it is not universal,” said Stephen P. Juraschek, a physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Unfortunately, we are unable to predict whether or not someone will be symptomatic and what their symptoms will be.”Added Monday, April 27, 2020.
Researchers identify cells likely targeted by Covid-19 virus - MIT News
Researchers at MIT; the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; along with colleagues from around the world have identified specific types of cells that appear to be targets of the coronavirus that is causing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Using existing data on the RNA found in different types of cells, the researchers were able to search for cells that express the two proteins that help the SARS-CoV-19 virus enter human cells. They found subsets of cells in the lung, the nasal passages, and the intestine that express RNA for both of these proteins much more than other cells.
The researchers hope that their findings will help guide scientists who are working on developing new drug treatments or testing existing drugs that could be repurposed for treating Covid-19.Added Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
- Placental Pathology in COVID-19 - AJCPAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
- Neuropathogenesis and Neurologic Manifestations of the Coronaviruses … - JAMAThe Journal of the American Medical Association
New coronavirus losing potency, top Italian doctor says - Reuters
Has the novel coronavirus in Italy changed in some significant way? That was the suggestion of a top doctor in northern Italy who reports that patients to his hospital have been showing up with lower levels of the virus in their upper respiratory tracts compared with those two months ago.
Alberto Zangrillo, head of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, roiled the global public health community on Sunday when he told RAI, the national TV station, that “the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” with patients showing minute amounts of virus in nasal swabs. Zangrillo theorized in a follow-up interview with The Washington Post that something different may be occurring “in the interaction between the virus and the human airway receptors.”
He added, “We cannot demonstrate that the virus has mutated, but we cannot ignore that our clinical findings have dramatically improved.”Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Experts dispute reports that coronavirus is becoming less lethal - WaPoThe Washington Post
Alberto Zangrillo, head of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, roiled the global public health community on Sunday when he told RAI, the national TV station, that “the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” with patients showing minute amounts of virus in nasal swabs. Zangrillo theorized in a follow-up interview with The Washington Post that something different may be occurring “in the interaction between the virus and the human airway receptors.”
He added, “We cannot demonstrate that the virus has mutated, but we cannot ignore that our clinical findings have dramatically improved.”
The comments, which received widespread attention following a Reuters report, prompted vigorous pushback from Michael Ryan, a top official with the World Health Organization, who said Monday during an online news conference that “we need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that all of a sudden the virus by its own volition has now decided to be less pathogenic. That is not the case at all.”
The consensus among other experts interviewed Monday is that the clinical findings in Italy likely do not reflect any change in the virus itself.
Zangrillo’s clinical observations are more likely a reflection of the fact that with the peak of the outbreak long past, there is less virus in circulation, and people may be less likely to be exposed to high doses of it. In addition, only severely sick people were likely to be tested early on, compared with the situation now when even those with mild symptoms are more likely to get swabbed, experts said.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Children with perplexing syndrome … may be experiencing deadly ‘cytokine storm’ - WaPoThe Washington Post
Children with perplexing syndrome linked to covid-19 may be experiencing deadly ‘cytokine storm’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month issued an alert warning doctors to be on the lookout for what they are calling multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, which is now believed to have impacted approximately 300 U.S. children. It appears to have some characteristics in common with Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that typically impacts children under the age of 5 and whose cause is unknown.
Christopher Strother, the director of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai, described it as the pediatric version of the “cytokine storm” occurring in some adults with severe illness from the novel coronavirus.
The paper’s authors wrote that the “mechanism of injury during cytokine storm is poorly understood, but an exaggerated initial response that persists over time is associated with poor outcomes.”Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Half of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in Washington are in people under 40 - The Seattle Times
A new analysis finds that by early May, 39% of confirmed cases statewide were among people age 20 to 39, while those 19 and younger accounted for 11%.
The trend is concerning and should be kept in mind as more counties begin to ease restrictions and reopen businesses, said Seattle epidemiologist Judith Malmgren, who is affiliated with the University of Washington and is lead author of the report.
Though younger people are less likely to die or be hospitalized with the virus, they can still suffer serious illness — as underscored by recent reports of a rare, life-threatening inflammatory syndrome in children. And even if younger people don’t get sick, they can pass the virus on to others who are more vulnerable.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
England and Wales see 20,000 excess deaths in care homes - The Lancet
On May 15, 2020, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) released provisional figures on deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector in England and Wales. From March 2 to May 1, 2020, COVID-19 was confirmed or suspected in the deaths of 12,526 individuals living in care homes in the two nations. Worrying as these figures are, they only capture official notifications; when taking account of excess mortality, the situation appears even worse. In an average year, the care sector in England and Wales sees roughly 20,000 fewer deaths during March and April than have been recorded in 2020.
Once COVID-19 enters a care home, it moves quickly. By the time the first patient displays symptoms, up to half the residents might already be infected. Care homes have found it difficult to obtain adequate quantities of personal protective equipment in a reasonable time, with providers tending to prioritise the National Health Service. A survey by the Alzheimer's Society found that almost half of care homes were not confident in their supply of personal protective equipment; one facility said it had started taping bags over staff members' hands, feet, and hair.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Researchers ponder why covid-19 appears more deadly in the U.S. and Europe than in Asia - WaPoThe Washington Post
Even allowing for different testing policies and counting methods, and questions over full disclosure of cases, stark differences in mortality across the world have caught the attention of researchers trying to crack the coronavirus code.
Parts of Asia reacted quickly to the threat and largely started social distancing earlier on. But researchers are also examining other factors, including differences in genetics and immune system responses, separate virus strains and regional contrasts in obesity levels and general health.
Scientists at Japan’s Chiba University plotted the trajectory of the virus across the world and said they noticed stark regional disparities.
“That means we need to take into consideration regional differences first, before analyzing what policies and other factors are affecting the spread of infection in any given country,” said Akihiro Hisaka of the university’s Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
New numbers for nursing home deaths paint concerning picture for the road ahead - KOMO News
From reports of 17 bodies piled up in one New Jersey nursing home, to others of family and friends unable to say goodbye as loved ones die alone...one of the most alarming aspects of the Coronavirus crisis has been how hard it’s hit America’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
We now know in a large number of states the percentage of COVID-19 deaths in nursing home facilities hovers around 50% of the total statewide deaths, though some are much higher.
According to the latest numbers, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in Minnesota, 81% of the deaths occurred in long-term care facilities; 0.77% in New Hampshire; 78% in Rhode Island.
“As cities and states open up, our providers are left to compete with grocery stores and nail salons and gyms for PPE to keep their staff safe."
Her [ Katie Sloan, President, and CEO of LeadingAge ] organization has now sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence to provide Nursing Homes with far more resources.“While it may not be your intention, these photo-ops send a false impression that nursing homes and other aging services providers are getting what they need. That is nowhere close to the truth," the letter reads in part.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
2 cases of … inflammatory syndrome in kids … in Puget Sound area - KOMO News
2 cases of rare COVID-19 inflammatory syndrome in kids confirmed in Puget Sound area
Two children in the Puget Sound region have been confirmed to have a rare inflammatory syndrome that doctors now believe is associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.
A child that is younger than 10 from Snohomish County, and a child between 10-19 is from King County have both been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), according to the state Department of Health. Both kids are currently being treated at Seattle Children's Hospital.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
- New coronavirus losing potency, top Italian doctor says - Reuters
Glucocorticoids Are Harmful in Treating Viral Respiratory Infections - U Turku
Glucocorticoids, which are widely used as treatment in intensive care, can nearly quadruple the death rate of patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. Researchers at the University of Turku, Finland, discovered the reason for the higher mortality. The findings are also important in the fight against COVID-19 disease.
A closer analysis revealed that most patients who participated in the study had received glucocorticoids in addition to IFN beta, which proved to be exceedingly harmful. The death rate of patients who were treated only with interferons was 10.6 percent, but the addition of glucocorticoids increased the death rate to 39.7 percent.
The researchers demonstrated with cell and tissue cultures that glucocorticoids inhibit IFN signalling and prevent both the body’s own and administered interferon from fighting against the disease.Added Sunday, May 31, 2020
French tests show even mild coronavirus illness leads to antibodies - The Guardian
A medical study in France suggests even mild cases of coronavirus infection, not requiring hospital treatment, produce antibodies in almost all patients, with the body’s defences against the virus increasing during the weeks of recovery.
The research, led by a team from the Pasteur Institute, raises hopes that everyone who has had the disease could acquire some degree of immunity, although it is not clear for how long or to what degree.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
GSK says science does not link pandemic H1N1 flu vaccine to sleep disorder - Reuters
British drugmaker GSK said on Thursday that its previous flu pandemic vaccine, which used some of the same ingredients as COVID-19 vaccines currently under development, was not linked to a rise in cases of the sleep disorder narcolepsy.
A spokesman for GSK said the “science has moved on” since concerns were raised about links between narcolepsy and its H1N1 vaccine, called Pandemrix, which was developed during the flu pandemic 10 years ago.
In a statement to Reuters, GSK said available scientific data now suggest that “the rare occurrence of narcolepsy during the 2009/10 flu pandemic was triggered by the body confusing a protein in the wild type H1N1 flu virus with a human protein relevant in regulating the sleep cycle”.
[ This clears ingredients that could be used in a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. ]Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Remdesivir for 5 or 10 Days in Patients with Severe Covid-19 - NEJMThe New England Journal of Medicine
In patients with severe Covid-19 not requiring mechanical ventilation, our trial did not show a significant difference between a 5-day course and a 10-day course of remdesivir. With no placebo control, however, the magnitude of benefit cannot be determined. (Funded by Gilead Sciences; GS-US-540-5773 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04292899. opens in new tab.)Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
A human neutralizing antibody targets the receptor binding site of SARS-CoV-2 - Nature
In this study, we report the isolation of 2 specific human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) from a convalescent COVID-19 patient. CA1 and CB6 demonstrated potent SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralization activity in vitro against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, CB6 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in rhesus monkeys at both prophylactic and treatment settings. Further structural studies revealed that CB6 recognizes an epitope that overlaps with angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)-binding sites in SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD), thereby interfering with the virus/receptor interactions by both steric hindrance and direct interface-residue competition.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Human neutralizing antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection - Nature
We identified antibodies with potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity that correlates with their competitive capacity with ACE2 for RBD binding.
Crystal structure analysis of RBD-bound antibody revealed steric hindrance that inhibits viral engagement with ACE2 and thereby blocks viral entry. These findings suggest that anti-RBD antibodies are viral species-specific inhibitors. The antibodies identified here may be candidates for the development of SARS-CoV-2 clinical interventions.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report - NEJMThe New England Journal of Medicine
Remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.
A total of 1063 patients underwent randomization. The data and safety monitoring board recommended early unblinding of the results on the basis of findings from an analysis that showed shortened time to recovery in the remdesivir group. Preliminary results from the 1059 patients (538 assigned to remdesivir and 521 to placebo) with data available after randomization indicated that those who received remdesivir had a median recovery time of 11 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 9 to 12), as compared with 15 days (95% CI, 13 to 19) in those who received placebo (rate ratio for recovery, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.55; P<0.001).Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
… COVID-19 vaccine: a … first-in-human trial - The Lancet
Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, first-in-human trial
The Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine is tolerable and immunogenic at 28 days post-vaccination. Humoral responses against SARS-CoV-2 peaked at day 28 post-vaccination in healthy adults, and rapid specific T-cell responses were noted from day 14 post-vaccination. Our findings suggest that the Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine warrants further investigation.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19 - Nature
We have previously engineered a synthetic DNA vaccine targeting the MERS [ Middle East Respiratory Syndrome ] coronavirus Spike (S) protein, the major surface antigen of coronaviruses, which is currently in clinical study. Here we build on this prior experience to generate a synthetic DNA-based vaccine candidate targeting SARS-CoV-2 S protein.
The engineered construct, INO-4800, results in robust expression of the S protein in vitro. Following immunization of mice and guinea pigs with INO-4800 we measure antigen-specific T cell responses, functional antibodies which neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 infection and block Spike protein binding to the ACE2 receptor, and biodistribution of SARS-CoV-2 targeting antibodies to the lungs. This preliminary dataset identifies INO-4800 as a potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate, supporting further translational study.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Inovio says COVID-19 vaccine produces antibodies in mice, guinea pigs - Reuters
U.S. immunotherapy company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (INO.O) said on Wednesday its experimental vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection produced protective antibodies and immune system responses in mice and guinea pigs.
“We saw antibody responses that do many of the things we would want to see in an eventual vaccine,” said Dr. David Weiner, director of the vaccine and immunotherapy center at the Wistar Institute, which has collaborated with Inovio. “We are able to target things that would prevent the virus from having a safe harbor in the body.”Inovio said preliminary results from its human trial are expected in June. The 40 healthy participants in the Phase 1 trial are given two shots, four weeks apart, of the vaccine, called INO-4800, and then followed for two weeks.
“We are already seeing safety data and it has been benign,” Dr. Katherine Broderick, head of research and development at Inovio, told Reuters. “Some people have slight redness of the arm.”Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
… antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 identified by … sequencing of … patients’ B cells - Cell
Potent neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 identified by high-throughput single-cell sequencing of convalescent patients’ B cells
The COVID-19 pandemic urgently needs therapeutic and prophylactic interventions. Here we report the rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies by high-throughput single-cell RNA and VDJ sequencing of antigen-enriched B cells from 60 convalescent patients.
Altogether, we showed that human neutralizing antibodies could be efficiently discovered by high-throughput single B-cell sequencing in response to pandemic infectious diseases.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Hospital machine touted as 'last best option' to treat COVID-19 patients - KOMO News
Until there is a cure or vaccine, hospitals could continue to struggle to treat the most critical COVID-19 patients, but doctors at Harborview Medical Center are turning to a machine for to help revive patients suffering from severe lung damage.
The machine, known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, is seen as a possible last resort for coronavirus patients.
According to experts, the ECMO pump acts as a lung and heart by drawing blood out of a patient’s body to removes carbon dioxide before pumping oxygen rich blood back in.
The machine had traditionally been used to treat those with influenza or pulmonary infections, including pneumonia.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by a human monoclonal SARS-CoV antibody - Nature
One antibody, named S309, potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV pseudoviruses as well as authentic SARS-CoV-2 by engaging the S receptor-binding domain.
Antibody cocktails including S309 along with other antibodies identified here further enhanced SARS-CoV-2 neutralization and may limit the emergence of neutralization-escape mutants. These results pave the way for using S309- and S309-containing antibody cocktails for prophylaxis in individuals at high risk of exposure or as a post-exposure therapy to limit or treat severe disease.[ Non-technical: an antibody from a SARS patient in 2003 appears to work against SARS-CoV-2. ]Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine shows encouraging early results in human safety trial - WaPoThe Washington Post
Moderna, the Massachusetts biotechnology company behind a leading effort to create a coronavirus vaccine, announced promising early results from its first human safety tests Monday.
The eagerly-awaited data provide a preliminary look at one of the eight vaccines worldwide that have begun human testing. The data have not been published in a scientific journal and are only a first step toward showing the experimental vaccine is safe and effective.
The company’s stock soared on the report that eight participants who received low and medium doses of Moderna’s vaccine had blood levels of virus-fighting antibodies that were similar or greater than those in patients who recovered. That would suggest, but doesn’t prove, that it triggers some level of immunity.
An effort led by the University of Oxford, in partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, plans to have millions of doses of vaccine available by fall. Last week, those researchers disclosed that more than 1,000 patients had already enrolled in the initial trial of its vaccine, which began in late April.
A Chinese company, Sinovac Biotech, recently published a study in the journal Science showing that its vaccine protected rhesus monkeys against infection and is currently being tested in 144 people. Two other safety trials are ongoing in the U.S., led by Pfizer and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Vaccine experts have said that these accelerated development timelines are theoretically possible, but extremely optimistic — and depend on everything going right. They stress that it will be crucial to gather convincing data the vaccines are safe and effective before using them broadly — and the new data are promising but preliminary, from the earliest phase one trials that test safety in healthy people.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
- Immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19 - Nature
- Glucocorticoids Are Harmful in Treating Viral Respiratory Infections - U Turku
COVID vaccine execs hyped vague data to cash in $90M in stock, watchdog says - Ars Technica
An anti-corruption watchdog is pressing the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate executives of the biotech company Moderna after they cashed in about $90 million in company shares days after promoting “positive" but vague data from its early COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.
The watchdog group, Accountable.US, called the timing of the trades suspicious and questioned whether executives coordinated their stock sales prior to the data release.
In a letter to the SEC that was released to CBS Moneywatch, Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig wrote, "This misconduct was particularly egregious because it involved not only financial fraud and manipulation of the financial markets, but also because it exploited widespread fears surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” In all, the executives' exploitation served to "boost the company's value, as well as their own bank accounts.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Eli Lilly starts human study of potential COVID-19 antibody treatment - Reuters
Eli Lilly and Co said on Monday it had started an early-stage trial to test its potential treatment for COVID-19, in the world’s first study of an antibody treatment against the disease.
The experimental treatment, LY-CoV555, has been developed through collaboration with privately held AbCellera Biologics, which Lilly partnered with in March.
Lilly’s treatment is an antibody directed against the spike-shaped protein structures of the virus and is designed to block it from locking on to human cells, thus neutralizing the virus.
The drugmaker said the antibody treatment was developed after it was identified from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from the lung illness caused by the new coronavirus.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
7 in 10 Americans would be likely to get a coronavirus vaccine, Post-ABC poll finds - WaPoThe Washington Post
About 7 in 10 Americans say they would get a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus if immunizations were free and available to everyone, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The nationwide survey finds that a majority of people of all political affiliations are interested in receiving such a vaccine. But the extent of that interest varies along partisan lines, with slightly more than 8 in 10 Democrats saying they would definitely or probably get vaccinated, compared with slightly fewer than 6 in 10 Republicans. Independents fall in between.
The Post-ABC poll also shows that Americans’ eagerness to get vaccinated is heavily tied to the depth of their fear of being infected with the potentially lethal virus. Overall, 63 percent say they are very or somewhat worried they or a member of their immediate family might catch the virus that causes covid-19, while 35 percent say they are less worried. But among those who are worried, 81 percent say they are likely to get vaccinated, compared with 52 percent of those who are not as worried.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Sanofi stops enrolling COVID-19 patients in hydroxychloroquine trials - Reuters
Sanofi has temporarily stopped recruiting new COVID-19 patients for two clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine and will no longer supply the anti-malaria drug to treat COVID-19 until concerns about safety are cleared up, it said on Friday.
The moves come after the World Health Organization paused its large trial of hydroxychloroquine, prompting several European governments to ban the use of the drug, also used in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Moderna rally loses steam over COVID-19 vaccine worries - Reuters
Shares of biotechs racing to make coronavirus vaccines, including Moderna Inc, fell about 10% on Wednesday, as investor concerns grew about the prospects of the experimental products that are still in early stages of development.
Shares of the company fell as investors questioned the widely accepted timeline of 12 to 18 months for developing a vaccine for the new coronavirus, and also worried about a lack of granular data on the vaccines, analysts said.
“The stock was due for a pullback on some concerns around timing of COVID-19 vaccine deployment,” said Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh.
The 12-18 months timeline was too aggressive, Merck & Co Inc Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Frazier told the Financial Times on Tuesday.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Scientists vs politicians: The reality check for “warp speed” vaccine research - Ars Technica
Hollywood-style messages from politicians about beating the pandemic downplay technical complexity.
They [ scientists ] say a vaccine could take much longer because little is known about the disease and how bodies will react to attempts at immunization. In fact, some warn we may never create a vaccine for Covid-19.
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization, believes an optimistic scenario is a vaccine produced in the “tens of millions” next year, which would be mainly distributed to healthcare workers, and far larger volumes in 2022. To inoculate the world and defeat Covid-19 could take four to five years, she says.
Peter Hotez, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who is developing a vaccine, says the US president sees vaccines as a “manufacturing problem,” like making enough ventilators or tests.
“Manufacturing is not the hurdle. It’s taking the time to collect enough efficacy and safety data,” he says. “The Operation Warp Speed language coming out of the White House and biotechs and pharma companies [saying] that they will have a vaccine by the fall—or in weeks or days—does so much damage.”Added Monday, May 25, 2020
A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine - Reuters/Ipsos poll - Reuters
Some 36% of respondents said they would be less willing to take a vaccine if U.S. President Donald Trump said it was safe, compared with only 14% who would be more interested.
Most respondents in the survey of 4,428 U.S. adults taken between May 13 and May 19 said they would be heavily influenced by guidance from the Food and Drug Administration or results of large-scale scientific studies showing that the vaccine was safe.
Fourteen percent of respondents said they were not at all interested in taking a vaccine, and 10% said they were not very interested. Another 11% were unsure.
Studies are underway, but experts estimate that at least 70% of Americans would need to be immune through a vaccine or prior infection to achieve what is known as “herd immunity,” when enough people are resistant to an infectious disease to prevent its spread.Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Top HIV scientist says he wouldn't count on a vaccine for coronavirus soon - Reuters
A top U.S. scientist said on Wednesday that governments should not count on a successful vaccine against COVID-19 being developed anytime soon when deciding whether to ease restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic.
William Haseltine, a groundbreaking researcher of cancer, HIV/AIDS and human genome projects, said the better approach now is to manage the disease through careful tracing of infections and strict isolation measures whenever it starts spreading.
While a COVID-19 vaccine could be developed, he said, “I wouldn’t count on it.”
Vaccines developed previously for other types of coronavirus had failed to protect mucous membranes in the nose where the virus typically enters the body, he said.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
World leaders unite in call for a people’s vaccine against COVID-19 - UNAIDS
More than 140 world leaders and experts, including the President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall and the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have signed an open letter calling on all governments to unite behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19. The call was made just days before health ministers meet virtually for the World Health Assembly on 18 May.
The letter, which marks the most ambitious position yet set out by world leaders on a COVID-19 vaccine, demands that all vaccines, treatments and tests be patent-free, mass produced, distributed fairly and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.
The letter, coordinated by UNAIDS and Oxfam, warns that the world cannot afford monopolies and competition to stand in the way of the universal need to save lives.[ See article below “US and UK 'lead push against global patent pool …” ]Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
US and UK 'lead push against global patent pool for Covid-19 drugs' - The Guardian
Efforts to dilute world health assembly resolution on open licensing decried as ‘appalling’
Ministers and officials from every nation will meet via video link on Monday for the annual world health assembly, which is expected to be dominated by efforts to stop rich countries monopolising drugs and future vaccines against Covid-19.
As some countries buy up drugs thought to be useful against the coronavirus, causing global shortages, and the Trump administration does deals with vaccine companies to supply America first, there is dismay among public health experts and campaigners who believe it is vital to pull together to end the pandemic.
While the US and China face off, the EU has taken the lead. The leaders of Italy, France, Germany and Norway, together with the European commission and council, called earlier this month for any innovative tools, therapeutics or vaccines to be shared equally and fairly.
“If we can develop a vaccine that is produced by the world, for the whole world, this will be a unique global public good of the 21st century,” they said in a statement.[ See article above “World leaders unite in call for a people’s vaccine …” ]Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
- A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine - Reuters/Ipsos poll - Reuters
- COVID vaccine execs hyped vague data to cash in $90M in stock, watchdog says - Ars Technica
A mysterious company’s coronavirus papers in top medical journals may be unraveling - Science
A study published on 22 May in The Lancet used hospital records procured by a little-known data analytics company called Surgisphere to conclude that coronavirus patients taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to show an irregular heart rhythm—a known side effect thought to be rare—and were more likely to die in the hospital.
But just as quickly, the Lancet results have begun to unravel—and Surgisphere, which provided patient data for two other high-profile COVID-19 papers, has come under withering online scrutiny from researchers and amateur sleuths. They have pointed out many red flags in the Lancet paper, including the astonishing number of patients involved and details about their demographics and prescribed dosing that seem implausible.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Malaria drug touted by Trump ineffective to prevent COVID-19 in high profile study - Reuters
The malaria drug promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19 was shown to be ineffective in preventing infection in people exposed to the coronavirus, according to a widely anticipated clinical trial released on Wednesday.
The new trial found no serious side effects or heart problems from use of hydroxychloroquine.
In the first major study comparing hydroxychloroquine to a placebo to gauge its effect against the new coronavirus, University of Minnesota researchers tested 821 people who had recently been exposed to the virus or lived in a high-risk household.
“Our data is pretty clear that for post exposure, this does not really work,” said Dr. David Boulware, the trial’s lead researcher and an infectious disease physician at the University of Minnesota.
“I think both sides - one side who is saying ‘this is a dangerous drug’ and the other side that says ‘this works’ - neither is correct,” said Boulware.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
WHO set to resume hydroxychloroquine trial in battle against COVID-19 - Reuters
The World Health Organization will resume its trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against the coronavirus, its chief said on Wednesday, after those running the study briefly stopped giving it to new patients over health concerns.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Study panning anti-malaria drug Trump took against COVID faces new questions - Reuters
British medical journal the Lancet on Tuesday said it had concerns about data behind an influential article that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, a conclusion that undercut scientific interest in the medicine championed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Nearly 150 doctors signed an open letter to the Lancet last week calling the article’s conclusions into question and asking to make public the peer review comments that preceded publication.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Prescriptions for anti-malarial drugs rose 2,000% after Trump support - UPI
A new study finds that prescriptions rose sharply for two anti-malarial drugs that President Donald Trump claimed could help prevent or treat COVID-19.
This happened despite the fact that multiple studies found the medicines might only bring harm to patients with coronavirus illness.
The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found that prescriptions for the two drugs -- hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine -- rose by a staggering 2000 percent during the week of March 15 to March 21.Added Sunday, May 31, 2020
EU governments ban malaria drug for COVID-19, trial paused as safety fears grow - Reuters
European governments moved on Wednesday to halt the use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, and a second global trial of it was suspended, further blows to hopes for a treatment promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The moves by France, Italy and Belgium followed a World Health Organization decision on Monday to pause a large trial of hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns.
A UK regulator said on Wednesday that a separate trial was also being put on hold, less than a week after its launch. The study, being led by the University of Oxford and partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was expected to involve as many as 40,000 healthcare workers.
“All hydroxychloroquine trials in COVID-19 remain under close review” while investigators assess any further risks, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in an email to Reuters.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Fauci: Science shows hydroxychloroquine is not effective as a coronavirus treatment - CNN
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that data shows hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus, disputing use of the drug to fight the deadly virus even as President Donald Trump touts it as a potential cure and says he has taken it himself.
"The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it," Fauci, a key medical adviser on the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN's Jim Sciutto on "Newsroom" of the drug, adding that there's likelihood of "adverse events with regard to cardiovascular."
Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, is the first Trump administration official to say the drug is not effective in treating the virus based on scientific data. Medical experts and the US Food and Drug Administration, though, have questioned its efficacy and warned of potentially harmful side effects as the President has promoted the treatment.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
WHO pauses trial of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns - Reuters
The World Health Organization has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. “The executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity trial while the safety data is reviewed by the data safety monitoring board,” Tedros told an online briefing.
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said the decision to suspend trials of hydroxychloroquine had been taken out of “an abundance of caution”.Added Monday, May 25, 2020
U.S. veterans agency has given hydroxychloroquine to 1,300 coronavirus patients - Reuters
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has treated 1,300 coronavirus patients with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which a study has tied to an increased risk of death, according to a document released by a Senate Democrat on Friday.
The VA, which provides care to 9 million veterans, said that about 1,300 coronavirus patients who received the drug are among more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients it has treated. It has also dispensed hydroxychloroquine to about 7,500 patients with other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
The VA said it will continue to dispense the drug under the guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration.Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Hydroxychloroquine … for treatment of COVID-19… - The Lancet
Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis
We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.
Our study included a large number of patients across multiple geographic regions and provides the most robust real-world evidence to date on the usefulness of these treatment regimens. Although observational studies cannot fully account for unmeasured confounding factors, our findings suggest not only an absence of therapeutic benefit but also potential harm with the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine drug regimens (with or without a macrolide) in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Friday, May 22, 2020
- A mysterious company’s coronavirus papers in top medical journals may be unraveling - Science
Comic: Fake News Can Be Deadly. Here's How To Spot It - NPR
Health officials right now aren't just having to battle an illness with no known cure or vaccine — they're having to fight back against Internet trolls and conspiracy theorists. The World Health Organization has labeled the current moment an "infodemic."
"While the virus spreads, misinformation makes the job of our heroic health workers even harder. It diverges attention of our decision-makers and it causes confusion and spreads fear to the general public," says the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.Added Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
Myth busters - WHOWorld Health Organization
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Australian poll finds 1 in 8 blame Bill Gates and 5G for coronavirus - ZDNet
When it comes to believing stupid conspiracy theories related to coronavirus, young Australians are the most susceptible, or at least that's what they're telling pollsters.
According to a poll [PDF] conducted by Essential Research, one-fifth of all 18 to 34-year olds said they had some belief that Bill Gates was involved in the creation and spread of coronavirus, with the same number responding positive to the question: "The 5G wireless network is being used to spread the COVID-19 virus".
These numbers decreased with age, with 13% of 35 to 54-year olds responding positively to the theories, and only 4% and 8% of the 55+ cohort, respectively, subscribed to the 5G nutbaggery and Gates idiocy.
Broken down by gender, 15% of the 524 male respondents said they believed in the 5G conspiracy, compared to 9% of the 549 female respondents, while the gender split was 14% and 13%, respectively, on the Gates theory.
In total, the poll indicated that just under one in eight respondents, 12%, believed 5G has been used in the coronavirus pandemic, while 13% subscribed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates playing "a role in the creation and spread of COVID-19".
Almost 40% of respondents said they believed coronavirus was created in a lab in Wuhan, the same number against the idea, and 77% said they believed the outbreak in China was worse than official statistics shown by Beijing.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Cell-tower attacks by idiots who claim 5G spreads COVID-19 … - Ars Technica
Cell-tower attacks by idiots who claim 5G spreads COVID-19 reportedly hit US
The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly issuing alerts to wireless telecom providers and law enforcement agencies about potential attacks on cell towers and telecommunications workers by 5G/coronavirus conspiracy theorists. The DHS warned that there have already been "arson and physical attacks against cell towers in several US states."
The preposterous claim that 5G can spread the coronavirus, either by suppressing the immune system or by directly transmitting the virus over radio waves, led to dozens of tower burnings in the UK and mainland Europe. Now, the DHS "is preparing to advise the US telecom industry on steps it can take to prevent attacks on 5G cell towers following a rash of incidents in Western Europe fueled by the false claim that the technology spreads the pathogen causing COVID-19," The Washington Post reported last week.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
- Australian poll finds 1 in 8 blame Bill Gates and 5G for coronavirus - ZDNet
- Comic: Fake News Can Be Deadly. Here's How To Spot It - NPR
We should have done more, admits architect of Sweden's Covid-19 strategy - The Guardian
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist and the architect of its light-touch approach to the coronavirus has acknowledged that the country has had too many deaths from Covid-19 and should have done more to curb the spread of the virus.
Anders Tegnell, who has previously criticised other countries’ strict lockdowns as not sustainable in the long run, told Swedish Radio on Wednesday that there was “quite obviously a potential for improvement in what we have done” in Sweden.
Asked whether too many people in Sweden had died, he replied: “Yes, absolutely,” adding that the country would “have to consider in the future whether there was a way of preventing” such a high toll.
Sweden’s death rate per capita was the highest in the world over the seven days to 2 June, figures suggest.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Michigan governor largely rescinds lockdown, retailers to reopen - AUTHReutersOR
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday moved to further reopen the Midwest state’s economy, largely rescinding a stay-at-home order in place since March and allowing retailers and restaurants to open back up over the next week.
Whitmer’s new executive order will allow retailers to reopen on Thursday and restaurants and bars on June 8, both subject to capacity limits. Until now, only essential retailers like groceries had remained open, while restaurants had closed dining areas while offering pickup and delivery services.
“The data has shown that we’re ready to carefully move our state into this next phase,” Whitmer told a press conference. “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to practice social distancing.”
Michigan, one of the states hit hardest by the outbreak, has had one of the stricter stay-at-home orders.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
South Korea closes schools again amid coronavirus spike, days after reopening - WaPoThe Washington Post
South Korea closed hundreds of schools that had reopened days earlier — and postponed the opening of many others — after a spike in cases of the novel coronavirus.
The country had started to stage the opening of schools in the last week, instituting social distancing and prevention measures in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
But according to the Korea Times, hundreds of schools were closed again because of high infection rates in their communities. It cited the Ministry of Education as saying that 838 schools of the 20,902 nationwide that were supposed to reopen on Wednesday did not, including in Seoul, and hundreds closed on Thursday in Seoul, Bucheon and other cities.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Stay-home order to expire but new rules, including face masks, announced - KOMO News
"We're pleased we can give people more flexibility in this," he said.
As part of the new plan, the governor said as of June 8 workers will be required to wear face masks unless they work alone or don't have in-person contact with others.
Inslee said businesses could deny entrance to customers not wearing facial coverings, although he said that guideline has always "been the case."
One of the key elements of the new plan is allowing counties with fewer than 25 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day time span can apply to advance to the second phase. The new standard, which supplanted an earlier requirement of having less than 10 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day time span, should make it easier for larger counties to apply to move to the next phase.
Washington state's largest counties, King, Snohomish and Pierce, are still in phase 1 and they currently have COVID-19 rates of infection that are still above Inslee's mark for advancing to the next phase.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Supreme Court… says California may enforce certain restrictions on religious gatherings - WaPoThe Washington Post
Supreme Court, in rare late-night ruling, says California may enforce certain restrictions on religious gatherings
The Supreme Court late Friday rejected a California church’s challenge of the state’s new pandemic-related rules on worship services, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s liberals in the 5-to-4 vote.
Roberts wrote that state officials such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had leeway to impose restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and had not singled out places of worship for unfair treatment.
“The notion that it is ‘indisputably clear’ that the government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,” Roberts wrote. He was referring to the standard that challengers must meet to enjoin enforcement of the state order.
The court’s four most-consistent conservatives said they would have granted the request because the state’s new rules likely violate the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion. “California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,” wrote Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. “Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.” Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch joined Kavanaugh’s dissent.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
'At last we're free': Parisians head for the park as lockdown eases - Reuters
Parisians flocked to parks and gardens as they reopened in the sunny French capital on Saturday for the first time after almost 11 weeks of coronavirus lockdown, one of the last areas of France to ease restrictions.
With public impatience mounting and temperatures up to 28 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) forecast over the holiday weekend, authorities brought forward the parks’ reopening, initially scheduled for June 2.
“At last we’re free,” said Anne, a Parisienne standing near the gates of the 400-year-old Luxembourg Gardens on the city’s Left Bank soon after they reopened. “This feels like being released from a kind of prison.”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pressured the government to reopen parks since the national lockdown was eased on May 11. Hidalgo is standing for re-election next month.
Social distancing rules remain in force across Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, and the recommended wearing of masks in parks may soon become compulsory as health officials remain watchful for any new increase in infections.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
New rules announced for nursing homes testing, farm workers' safety - KOMO News
Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced a series of new measures designed to step up testing at the state's nursing homes and assisted living centers as well as rolling out new safety precautions for workers in Washington's state's agricultural industry, which has been accused in recent days of not doing enough to provide adequate protections to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Under the governor's measure for long-term care, all workers and residents of nursing homes will need to be tested for COVID-19 by June 12, while testing at assisted living housing that have memory care residents needs to be completed by June 23.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
New York Stores Can Ban Customers For Not Wearing Masks - Hudson Valley Post
Cuomo said he's signing an executive order that allows business owners to deny entrance to anyone who isn't wearing a mask or face covering.
"That store owner has the right to protect themselves. That store owner has a right to protect customers. You don't want to wear a mask, fine. Then you don't have a right to enter that store," Cuomo said on Thursday.
Many businesses across the state already have signs saying you can't enter without a mask, but officials say this mandate will support those businesses.
"Today I am signing an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to those who do not wear masks or face-coverings. No mask - No entry," Cuomo tweeted.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Washington houses of worship allowed to hold services under Inslee’s … plan - The Seattle Times
Washington houses of worship allowed to hold services under Inslee’s coronavirus guidance plan
Washington’s churches and houses of faith can start to hold services again — with restrictions — under new coronavirus safety guidance from the state, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday.
The guidelines will allow up to 100 people — excluding religious staff — to meet outdoors at the property of a faith group anywhere in the state.
Then, in the second phase of the governor’s four-part reopening plan, faith organizations will be allowed to hold services indoors while capping attendance to 25% of building capacity or 50 people, whichever is less.
King, Pierce, Snohomish and other counties with higher COVID-19 infections rates are still in the first phase of the governor’s plan.
Mark Miloscia, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, on Wednesday said the relaxed restrictions still violate constitutional protections on worship. “And that’s completely unacceptable, and I think it’s clearly against the First Amendment,” said Miloscia.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
New COVID-19 model shows slim room for error in reopening King Co.… - KOMO News
New COVID-19 model shows slim room for error in reopening King Co., but provides roadmap
A new COVID-19 model shows social distancing has had a profound effect in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in King County over the past few months, but says the county remains on the cusp of a dangerous new explosion in cases. Still, it has simulated some scenarios that show what can be done to allow loosening of restrictions while keeping the virus' spread in check.
For starters, the model, done by the Institute for Disease Modeling, calculates that King County's social distancing efforts have dropped the virus' potential transmission levels by 67% since the start of the outbreak in March. In turn, the virus' effective reproductive number -- known in statistical circles as R0 -- has dropped below the critical threshold of 1. The measurement estimates how many people each person diagnosed with COVID-19 will infect. The greater the number, the more explosive the spread. Any number over 1.0 means the virus spread will increase while a number under 1 says it will decrease.
For this study, researchers attempted to model how much can King County loosen social distancing restrictions and keep the R0 at or below 0.9 to prevent explosive growth?
What not to do? Just flip a switch and turn everything back to normal, the model says.
But researchers say the models suggests a hypothetical scenario with increased testing and tracing and a more robust household quarantine program where the community could experience potential transmission levels back to 75% and still manage to keep the R0 number in that 0.9 range through July 31, which would prevent a resurgence of the virus spread: [ Details in article, worth a read. ]Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
… Local officials stunned by raucous Memorial Day festivities - WaPoThe Washington Post
‘An international example of bad judgment’: Local officials stunned by raucous Memorial Day festivities
A pandemic couldn’t cancel America’s most crowded parties this Memorial Day weekend, even as the novel coronavirus took at least 2,000 more American lives.
The raucous events across the country over the holiday weekend led some local officials to sound the alarm Monday, warning that consequences could be dire if such behavior continued unchecked.
The weekend’s crowded festivities could presage the challenges local officials may face this summer as governors gradually roll back restrictions and residents flood reopened businesses. In areas that no longer have enforceable executive orders, authorities insist there is little they can do to require people to practice social distancing.
“It kind of ties our hands when they’re just guidelines and not mandates,” Chris Twitchel, captain of operations for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, in the Lake of the Ozarks, told The Washington Post this weekend. He added, “We are doing the best thing that we can by urging people to use social distancing. But ultimately, there’s not a lot we can do about it.”Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
… Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities - NPR
From Camping To Dining Out: Here's How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities
One big warning: Your personal risk depends on your age and health, the prevalence of the virus in your area and the precautions you take during any of these activities. Also, many areas continue to restrict the activities described here, so check your local laws.
And there's no such thing as a zero-risk outing right now. As states begin allowing businesses and public areas to reopen, decisions about what's safe will be up to individuals. It can help to think through the risks the way the experts do.Added Monday, May 25, 2020
High school pool party spurs cluster of positive cases amid ‘second peak,’ … - WaPoThe Washington Post
High school pool party spurs cluster of positive cases amid ‘second peak,’ Arkansas governor says
A cluster of people who attended a high school pool party tested positive for the novel coronavirus as Arkansas faces a “second peak” of cases, the state’s governor said Saturday.
“A high school swim party that I’m sure everybody thought was harmless,” Asa Hutchinson (R) said during a briefing. “They’re young, they’re swimming, they’re just having activity, and positive cases resulted from that.”
“We have to manage the risk,” he said.” “We take the virus very seriously, it’s a risk, it causes death, but you can’t cloister yourself at home, that is just contrary to the American spirit.”
Hutchinson never issued a statewide stay-home directive, and at a White House meeting with President Trump on Wednesday, the governor emphasized Arkansas is “at work” and businesses are open.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Inslee's office responds to Trump church reopen demand - KOMO News
Hours after President Donald Trump threatened to override the governors of states that have not yet fully reopened their churches or places of religious worship, Gov. Jay Inslee's office on Friday pushed back on the sweeping statement by the White House.
“Today, I am identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues, and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said at a hastily-scheduled White House briefing Friday. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right.”
But a spokeswoman for Inslee rebuked the president's statement. "Our office continues to work with spiritual leaders and health experts to identify ways to do this safely," the governor's office said in a written statement to KOMO News Radio. "While we have read the president’s comments, there is no order and we think he understands at this point that he can’t dictate what states can or cannot open."Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
More than 40 diagnosed with COVID-19 after Frankfurt church service - Thomson Reuters
"Most of them are not seriously ill. As far as we know only one person has been admitted to hospital," Rene Gottschalk told the dpa agency.
The service took place on May 10 at a Baptist church, the department's deputy chief Antoni Walczok told local newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau. On its website https://www.seidheilig.de the church says it holds services in both German and Russian.
"The situation is very dynamic," Walczok told the paper, adding the church did not violate official guidelines aimed at containing the spread of the virus.
Churches in the German state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, have been able to hold services since May 1 provided they adhere to official social distancing and hygiene rules.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Trump warns governors: let places of worship open this weekend - Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged state governors to allow the reopening this weekend in the United States of places of worship which have been closed due to the coronavirus, warning that he will override governors who do not do so.
At a short appearance in the White House briefing room, Trump said he was declaring that places of worship - churches, synagogues and mosques - are providing essential services and thus should be opened as soon as possible.
Trump issued a warning to governors who refuse his appeal but did not say under what authority he would act to force the reopening of religious facilities.
“If they don’t do it I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less,” he said.Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Catholic, some Lutheran churches defy state [MN] order to limit worshipers - Star Tribune
Minnesota’s Catholic Church and a conservative Lutheran denomination said Wednesday they’ll resume worship services next week in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order limiting religious services to 10 people.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference and the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) in Minnesota sent separate letters to Walz announcing they would resume worship services May 26. To date, the novel coronavirus has resulted in the death of 777 Minnesotans.Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Snohomish barber shop defying stay-home order given 'final warning' to close - Komo News
For weeks, people from across western Washington have flocked to The Stag Barbershop in Snohomish where owner Bob Martin has continued to cut hair despite the governor’s ‘stay home’ order.
With warnings and notices from the county and state falling short, the Attorney General is ordering him to cease and desist operations.
In a letter sent to Martin Wednesday, the AG’s Office outlines the numerous complaints it has received and past notices that have been handed down to him. It closes by reading “this is your final warning,” noting he must shut his doors in 48 hours or be subject to a lawsuit.
Martin didn’t want to go on camera but tells KOMO News he has no plans to stop cutting hair despite the new development. He also says he’s working with an attorney out of Texas that specializes in constitutional law and will fight the cease and desist order.Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Cluster of Coronavirus Disease Associated with Fitness Dance Classes, South Korea - CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
During 24 days in Cheonan, South Korea, 112 persons were infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 associated with fitness dance classes at 12 sports facilities. Intense physical exercise in densely populated sports facilities could increase risk for infection. Vigorous exercise in confined spaces should be minimized during outbreaks.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Oregon Supreme Court temporarily reinstates Brown's coronavirus restrictions - KOMO News
The Oregon Supreme Court late Monday halted a rural judge's order earlier in the day that had tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff had ruled that Brown erred by not seeking the Legislature’s approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit. The Supreme Court's ruling stays Shirtcliff's decision pending review by all the high court justices.
The lower court judge had issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches around Oregon that argued the state's social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.
In a seven-page opinion, Shirtcliff wrote that the damage to Oregonians and their livelihood was greater than the dangers presented by the coronavirus.[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
70 cases of COVID-19 at French schools days after re-opening - The Star
Just one week after a third of French schoolchildren went back to school in an easing of the coronavirus lockdown, there has been a worrying flareup of about 70 COVID-19 cases linked to schools, the government said Monday.
The situation highlights the precarious situation the French government finds itself in as it seeks both to reassure the public that the country is moving forward past coronavirus and to react prudently to safeguard public health.
Blanquer [ French Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer ] did not specify if the 70 cases of COVID-19 were among students or teachers.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
New cases? Deaths? U.S. states' reopening plans are all over the map - Reuters
This situation, with three different leaders using different criteria to decide how to reopen - has been replicated throughout the country, according to data here compiled by the National Governors' Association.
Luisa Franzini, chair of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, said every state seems to be using its own criteria to determine whether to reopen.
None is really meeting all the metrics set out by the federal government, Franzini said. Instead local governments appear to be picking “what seems to be working for them.”
But, as with many aspects of handling the pandemic, the final say on how to reopen lies with state and local officials, who under the U.S. Constitution hold the authority here to make laws related to residents' health and welfare.
“There has not been the slightest hint of interest on the part of Congress in creating a national uniform set of rules on business closures and re-openings,” said Robert Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas. None of the guidelines from the White House are legally binding, he noted.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
How long before we know if reopenings cause virus spikes? - AP
The virus can circulate undetected, then flare up in a nursing home or after a family gathering. So it could be several weeks to see surges in infections. What’s more, there are still new infections happening now during lockdowns. Some parts of the U.S. are seeing increasing numbers of daily new cases and some are seeing declines. Health officials will be looking at the number of new cases per day and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests.
All told, it can take two weeks or so — the time for one group of people to spread the virus to another — to have enough testing data. Crystal Watson of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said it will take a few rounds of infection spread — five to six weeks — to know how reopening has affected epidemic curves.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
- Trump warns governors: let places of worship open this weekend - Reuters
- We should have done more, admits architect of Sweden's Covid-19 strategy - The Guardian
- Includes actions both against stay-at-home/lockdown orders and for re-opening.
Social distancing strictures fall away as crowds gather to party and protest - WaPoThe Washington Post
Crowds of another sort gathered in a number of cities, where thousands took to the streets, at times amid violence, in protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by white police in Minneapolis.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) reminded demonstrators in a news conference where he announced the full mobilization of the state National Guard to control the violent unrest. Warning that hospitals were “on the verge of being overrun,” Walz said “demonstrators should wear masks and try to practice social distancing.”
Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C., was rebuked last weekend by Gov. Roy Cooper (D) for “dangerous and reckless” flouting of state regulations banning outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people, after maskless thousands stood together in the grandstands. On Saturday, however, the speedway parking lot was overflowing, and hundreds more stood in line two hours before the 7 p.m. race time.
“It’s not a crisis. The actual virus is real, but the pandemic is made up,” said Joe Florio, standing in line with his daughter and grandson.
“All of us old, belligerent people refuse to wear those d----- things,” Lenny Kempf, an 82-year-old retired home builder, said of face masks as he watched the boats easing into slips at the yacht club in Osage Beach, Mo. “I wish I could wring [Anthony S.] Fauci’s neck,” Kempf said of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Added Sunday, May 31, 2020
‘Sorry, no mask allowed’: Some businesses pledge to keep out customers who cover their faces - WaPoThe Washington Post
As statewide coronavirus orders are easing, many stores and restaurants nationwide have taken the opposite route: They have made face coverings a requirement, kicking out those who fail to comply and even going to court to enforce their directives.
Yet in the emergent culture war over masks, a handful of businesses — the Liberty Tree Tavern among them — are fashioning themselves as fortresses for the resistance.
“If we’re only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity, I want them to be the 25 percent of people that aren’t p-----, that aren’t sheep,” Smith told The Washington Post. “Being scared all the time isn’t good for your health. It suppresses your immune system.”
Scientific and medical experts agree people should cover their faces in public to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed at least 100,000 people in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that masks serve as an especially important safeguard in crowded spaces, where social distancing is impossible.
But Smith, who said he did not believe the virus poses a serious threat, wanted to stir the pot.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Port Orchard diner opens for sit-down dining for Memorial Day against stay-home order - KOMO News
[ This article has many typos, surprising for KOMO News. ]There was no shortage of customers at the "That One Place" diner in Port Orchard on Memorial Day. The popular restaurant opened just for one day -- not in defiance of the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Health order, said its owner.
But was a move supported enthusiastically by diners we spoke with during the lunch hour. All the staff were wearing face masks and gloves while the customers were not.
“We are not trying to be rule breakers, we are just trying to state our peace [sic]," said owner Craig Kenady.
“I haven't been able to sit down and eat anywhere forever," said Brian Rigg who is eager to see the county get back to business. “We’ve had two deaths in the whole county, so I don't see any reason to keep it closed any longer."
For Buff, his sit-down meal was a protest. “One-hundred percent, it’s an act of defiance toward Jay Inslee," Buff said.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Three gym owners file lawsuit to rescind Inslee's stay-home order - KOMO News
Three gym owners have filed a lawsuit with the Washington Supreme Court Thursday to rescind Governor Jay Inslee’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
One of the gym owners was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Tuesday after he defied the Governor’s order by opening his gym for eight days.
About 100 people attended a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court at the State Capitol in support of the lawsuit and in defiance of order of not public gatherings. Most of the supporters were not wearing face masks while some did respect social distancing.
“A dark fear has overcome many Washingtonians as they watch their businesses, their finances, their families, and even their health disappear," said attorney Stephen Pidgeon reading the opening line of the lawsuit.
The suit claims the Governor overstepped his constitution authority by “suspending the liberty interests” the gym owners and “has abolished the constitutional state of Washington, and has erected in its place an unacceptable tyranny in violation of his oath of Office..."Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Oklahoma city ends face mask rule for shoppers after store employees are threatened - NBC News
The mayor of an Oklahoma city [ Stillwater ] amended an emergency declaration requiring customers to wear face masks while inside businesses after store employees were threatened with violence.
“In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse," City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. "In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm."Added Saturday, May 2, 2020.
Many supposedly grassroots reopen sites are tied to one pro-gun lobbyist - Ars Technica
Over the past month, seemingly spontaneous protest sites have popped up throughout the country that advocate for an end to lockdowns various states have mandated in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Now, security researchers have tied much of this seemingly grassroots activity to a single person.
Aaron Dorr is a well-known activist and lobbyist who has long been known for his advocacy of firearms ownership. Over a five-hour span on April 8, he registered six domains—reopenohio.com, reopenpa.com, reopenmn.com, reopeniowa.com, reopenwyoming.com, and reopenmissouri.com—and nine days later purchased reopentxnow.com.
He and his brothers then used a variety of state-specific Facebook groups, which according to the Des Moines Register have a total of more than 200,000 followers, to drive massive amounts of traffic to the newly registered addresses. In turn, the domains redirected visitors to a host of state-specific gun advocacy sites, such as Iowa Gun Owners. Each gun ownership site used a different organization name and prominently displayed banners decrying the lockdowns in their respective states.
“The various groups seemed loosely affiliated and seem to be run by different people in each state, but tie back to a Mr. Aaron Dorr,” researchers with Internet analysis tool provider DomainTools wrote in an analysis published on Friday. “As we looked further we would find that this is more of a small group’s astroturfing effort.”Added Friday, April 24, 2020.
'People are going to go hungry': pandemic effects could leave 54m Americans without food - The Guardian
A record number of Americans face hunger this year as the catastrophic economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic looks set to leave tens of millions of people unable to buy enough food to feed their families.
Nationwide, the demand for aid at food banks and pantries has soared since the virus forced the economy to be shutdown, resulting in more than 40m new unemployment benefit claims, according to the latest figures.
Overall, about 54 million people across the US could go hungry without help from food banks, food stamps and other aid, according to an analysis by Feeding America, the national food bank network.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Americans are delaying medical care, and it’s devastating health-care providers - WaPoThe Washington Post
As coronavirus infections spread and sickened more people in March, visits to hospitals around the country actually began to drop off.
As in many other industries, those lost visits represented a widespread financial crisis for hospitals and other health-care providers, even in places the novel coronavirus hardly touched.
Hospital visits started to drop nationwide in March as state and federal officials called for postponing non-covid-19 treatments when possible to free up health-care resources. These cancellations included surgeries, outpatient procedures and even preventive services.
By mid-May, almost 94 million adults had delayed medical care because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau reported in its Household Pulse Survey. Some 66 million of those needed but didn’t get medical care unrelated to the virus.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Buildup of non-flushable wipes and PPE in wastewater at an all time high - KOMO News
The King County Wastewater Treatment Division says the buildup of masks, gloves, and non-flushable wipes in the wastewater system is at an all time high.
Marie Fiore, a spokesperson at the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, says since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early March, they have seen a huge buildup of masks, gloves, and non-flushable wipes in the county’s wastewater system.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, toilet paper was in short supply. Fiore says they were worried this shortage would lead to people using alternatives to toilet paper such as non-flushable wipes, which clog up pipes and pumps in the sewer system.
During the pandemic, many people have turned to convenient cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfecting wipes. These items are also non-flushable but often end up in the sewer system.
Most recently, Fiore says they have seen an increase of personal protective equipment in the wastewater treatment systems. People are starting to leave their houses while wearing PPE, and these disposable gloves and masks are finding their way into the wastewater system.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Tyson Foods will shut U.S. pork plant as more workers catch COVID-19 - Reuters
Tyson Foods Inc said on Thursday it will temporarily close an Iowa pork plant due to the coronavirus pandemic, a month after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered slaughterhouses to stay open to protect the country’s food supply.
Meat processors like Tyson Foods, WH Group’s Smithfield Foods and JBS USA temporarily closed about 20 slaughterhouses last month as workers fell ill with the new coronavirus, leading to shortages of certain products in grocery stores. Production remains lower than normal because of increased absenteeism and social distancing among employees.
An Iowa state official said 555 employees at Tyson’s Storm Lake plant tested positive for the virus, about 22% of the workforce.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Boeing cutting more than 12,000 U.S. jobs, thousands more planned - Boeing
Boeing Co said on Wednesday it was eliminating more than 12,000 U.S. jobs, including 6,770 involuntary layoffs, as the largest American planemaker restructures in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Boeing also disclosed it plans “several thousand remaining layoffs” in coming months but did not say where those would take place.
Boeing is slashing costs as a sharp drop in airplane demand during the pandemic worsened a crisis for the company whose 737 MAX jet was grounded last year after a second fatal crash. Boeing said it restarted 737 MAX production at a “low rate” at its Renton, Washington factory. Reuters reported in April that regulatory approval for the MAX was not expected until at least August.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. … - WaPoThe Washington Post
The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse.
There are now more than 11,000 coronavirus cases tied to Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods and JBS.
Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the United States, has transformed its facilities across the country since legions of its workers started getting sick from the novel coronavirus. It has set up on-site medical clinics, screened employees for fevers at the beginning of their shifts, required the use of face coverings, installed plastic dividers between stations and taken a host of other steps to slow the spread.
Despite those efforts, the number of Tyson employees with the coronavirus has exploded from less than 1,600 a month ago to more than 7,000 today, according to a Washington Post analysis of news reports and public records.
A May report from CoBank, which specializes in serving rural America, warns that meat supplies in grocery stores could shrink as much as 35 percent, prices could spike 20 percent and the impact could become even “more acute later this year” as the knock-on effects on the U.S. agriculture supply chain are felt.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Empty trains, clogged roads: Americans get behind the wheel to avoid transit - Reuters
Several opinion polls show Americans plan to avoid trains and buses as stay-at-home orders ease, with some city dwellers buying a car for the first time. A potential boon to coronavirus-battered automakers, the shift poses a challenge to city planners end environmental goals.
Similar dynamics have played out in China, where transit ridership in large cities remains down about 35% two months after lockdown restrictions were lifted while car purchases increase.
Sales of passenger cars jumped 12.3% between April 20 and 25, according to China’s Passenger Car Association. Transit ridership has plummeted by as much as 95% in large U.S. cities during the pandemic and America’s leading transit agencies forecast massive budget drops and revenue deficits well into 2022.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
U.S. workers hit McDonald's with class action over COVID-19 safety - Retuers
McDonald’s failed to provide adequate hand sanitizer, gloves and masks and has not notified its staff when an employee has become infected with the new coronavirus, according to a copy of the lawsuit provided by a spokesman for the workers.
McDonald’s said in a statement that the allegations were inaccurate and that safety, including wellness checks and protective gear, was a top priority.
The workers requested the Illinois state court issue an injunction, which would make McDonald’s stop requiring workers to reuse masks, mandate face coverings for customers and require the company to inform employees if a coworker becomes infected.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Transit workers are paying a heavy price during the pandemic - WaPoThe Washington Post
The covid-19 deaths were piling up so fast that New York City bus driver Danny Cruz began to worry that no one understood the toll the virus was taking on his fellow transit workers. … By Cruz’s count, 129 New York City transit workers have died of covid-19.
Across the country, an estimated 430,000 public transit workers, including train operators and bus drivers like Cruz, have kept systems operating, moving essential workers such as doctors, nurses and first responders who have been hailed as heroes. By comparison, the lower-paid and largely minority transit workers said they are often abused by riders and insufficiently protected by their employers.
For transit workers, the return to normal life only exacerbates their fears.
The novel coronavirus has sickened or killed transit workers in nearly every major system in the country. Transit and union officials — many of whom were slow to recognize the threat that the virus posed to their workforces — have scrambled to implement new safety measures such as more frequent cleanings, adjusting boarding processes to isolate drivers and requiring passengers to wear face coverings.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Fearing COVID-19, biggest U.S. university system makes fall term virtual - Reuters
California State University said almost all classes across its 23 university campuses would be online at least until the end of the fall term. Programs such as the maritime academy, which holds classes aboard a training ship, may be among a handful of exceptions. The Cal State university system serves 482,000 students.
“As the largest four-year system of higher education in the country, while the spotlight is on us in terms of the decision, we weren’t hoping to influence anyone,” said Cal State spokesperson Mike Uhlenkamp.
“This is a decision that the chancellor and the campus presidents arrived at that we feel is in the best interests of our students and our employees.”Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
- Empty trains, clogged roads: Americans get behind the wheel to avoid transit - Reuters
- 'People are going to go hungry': pandemic effects could leave 54m Americans without food - The Guardian
Coronavirus may never go away, even with a vaccine - WaPoThe Washington Post
Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population. Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox.
It is a daunting proposition — a coronavirus-tinged world without a foreseeable end. But experts in epidemiology, disaster planning and vaccine development say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response. The long-term nature of covid-19, they say, should serve as a call to arms for the public, a road map for the trillions of dollars Congress is spending and a fixed navigational point for the nation’s current, chaotic state-by-state patchwork strategy.
There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time.
Americans have only started to wrap their heads around the idea, polls show. U.S. leaders and residents keep searching for a magic bullet to bring the pandemic to an abrupt end: Drugs that show even a hint of progress in the petri dish have sparked shortages. The White House continues to suggest summer’s heat will smother the virus or that it will mysteriously vanish. A vaccine — while crucial to our response — is not likely to eradicate the disease, experts say. Challenges to vaccination are already becoming clear, including limited supply, anti-vaccine opposition and significant logistical roadblocks.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
100,000 Americans dead—and counting—as COVID-19 ravages US - Ars Technica
More than 100,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 according to several pandemic-tracking efforts—and the pandemic is far from over. As the country reached the grim milestone, many areas were still seeing increasing case counts, and researchers have suggested that a second wave of infection is looming.
The risk of continued spread remains high as all 50 states have now begun easing restrictions aimed at curbing transmission.
So far, the US leads the world in the number of confirmed cases and deaths, with around 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths. The country with the next highest numbers is Brazil, which has nearly 400,000 cases and over 24,500 deaths.
In per capita comparisons, the United States is also among the worst off. It clusters with Belgium and Spain in terms of cases per million people—about 5,000 cases per million, according to tracking by the Financial Times. Only a few countries have a higher rate, including Qatar, Luxembourg, and Singapore. The UK and Italy, by comparison, have seen around 4,000 cases per million so far, and Germany and France both have around 2,000 cases per million.
Still, the country’s arresting death toll is significantly higher than was predicted by President Trump. As recently as April 20, he said that the death toll was “going toward 50 or 60,000.” He has since adjusted.Even more sobering, perhaps, is that the current case and death counts—however stunning—are likely underestimates, largely due to limited testing that has plagued the country’s pandemic response from the very beginning.Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
COVID-19 pandemic uniting Canadians like no other event in decades - EurekAlert!
A new study by researchers from McGill University and the University of Toronto finds a cross-partisan consensus on battling COVID-19 in Canada. Unlike in the U.S., this consensus is fostering broad agreement on the threats posed by the pandemic and the actions necessary to contain it - all of which is crucial to efforts to fight the virus.
"We know that public opinion tends to become polarized on highly salient issues, except when political leaders are in consensus. In the United States, there appears to be political and public polarization on the severity of the pandemic," says co-author Aengus Bridgman, a PhD Candidate in Political Science at McGill University under the supervision of Dietlind Stolle. "Other evidence suggests that polarization is undermining compliance with social distancing."Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
‘Tell me what to do! Please!’: Even experts struggle with coronavirus unknowns - WaPoThe Washington Post
In this pandemic, we’re swimming in statistics, trends, models, projections, infection rates, death tolls.
Scientists are still trying to understand the virus they call SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease covid-19. Basic questions are not fully answered: How deadly is this virus? How contagious? Are there different strains with different clinical outcomes? Why does SARS-CoV-2 create a devastating disease in some people while leaving others without symptoms or even knowledge that they were infected?
With stay-at-home orders expiring and businesses reopening, all the scientific data is being scrutinized anew. But the numbers are often ambiguous, with large margins of error. And because this is still an early phase of the pandemic, scientific findings have to be couched in tentative, provisional, sometimes squishy language that is festooned with caveats and admitted limitations.
The experts shy away from predictions and instead offer “scenarios.” For example, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a document titled COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios that offered guidance to public health officials. The document gave a wide range of numerical estimates for the contagiousness and lethality of covid-19. The guidance was presented with a cautionary preamble: “Information about [covid-19’s] biological and epidemiological characteristics remain limited, and uncertainty remains around nearly all parameter values.”Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
What African Nations Are Teaching the West About Fighting the Coronavirus - The New Yorker
African governments, unlike their Western counterparts, aren’t relying on common sense. Judging from the numbers, and interpreting them with the scientific information that’s understood so far, Africa has made the better bet. Although cases on the continent are increasing, many African countries are not seeing the exponential daily growth in confirmed cases, nor in mortality, that has been happening in the United States and Western Europe.
Confronted with data patterns that don’t match our own, the impulse among Western observers has been to identify what makes these countries like each other but unlike us—to reach for the science (or its best guesses) that tells a soothing story about why Africa appears to have it so much better than, say, New York City.Added Monday, May 18, 2020
Models v. Evidence - Boston Review
In one camp are infectious disease epidemiologists, who work very closely with institutions of public health. They have used a multitude of models to create virtual worlds in which sim viruses wash over sim populations—sometimes unabated, sometimes held back by a virtual dam of social interventions. This deluge of simulated outcomes played a significant role in leading government actors to shut borders as well as doors to schools and businesses.
But the hypothetical curves are smooth, while real-world data are rough. Some detractors have questioned whether we have good evidence for the assumptions the models rely on, and even the necessity of the dramatic steps taken to curb the pandemic. Among this camp are several clinical epidemiologists, who typically provide guidance for clinical practice—regarding, for example, the effectiveness of medical interventions—rather than public health.[ Somewhat technical but worth reading (IMHO). ]Added Saturday, May 9, 2020.
Was the new coronavirus accidentally released from a Wuhan lab? It’s doubtful. - WaPoThe Washington Post
The balance of the scientific evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the new coronavirus emerged from nature — be it the Wuhan market or somewhere else. Too many unexpected coincidences would have had to take place for it to have escaped from a lab. But the Chinese government has not been willing or able to provide information that would clarify lingering questions about any possible role played by either Wuhan lab.
That’s why intelligence agencies are still exploring that possibility, no matter how remote it may be. And even then, it’s unclear when or if we will ever know the origin story of this new virus that is causing death and economic turmoil around the globe.Added Friday, May 1, 2020.
COVID-19: The CIDRAP Viewpoint - CIDRAP
[ CIDRAP: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy At U. Minnesota ]
In the first report, published Apr 30, 2020, "The future of the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned from pandemic influenza," Kristine Moore, MD, MPH, Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, John Barry, MA, and Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, paint a picture of the pandemic and detail how it's behaving more like past influenza pandemics than like any coronavirus has to date. And, because of that, certain inferences can be drawn — such as the fact that it may well last 18 to 24 months, especially given that only 5% to 15% of the U.S. population is likely infected at this point.
Key recommendations from the report:
Added Friday, May 1, 2020.
- States, territories, and tribal health authorities should plan for the worst-case scenario (which involves a large second peak of cases in the fall of 2020), including no vaccine availability or herd immunity.
- Government agencies and healthcare delivery organizations should develop strategies to ensure adequate protection for healthcare workers when disease incidence surges.
- Government officials should develop concrete plans, including triggers for reinstituting mitigation measures, for dealing with disease peaks when they occur.
- Risk communication messaging from government officials should incorporate the concept that this pandemic will not be over soon and that people need to be prepared for possible periodic resurgences of disease over the next 2 years.
- Coronavirus may never go away, even with a vaccine - WaPoThe Washington Post
911 dispatchers left at the mercy of coronavirus as agency’s response faltered - Sun Sentinel
“Your safety is our top priority,” a boss reassured employees in the crowded confines of Broward County’s three 911 centers in mid-March. She assured them the agency’s chief concern was protecting them from getting sick.
But the Sheriff’s Office also had another priority: keeping dispatchers working. And in two months’ time, 44 of them would contract COVID-19. One of them, a mother of four, would die.
An internal trove of emails obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel shows just how unprepared and unsure Sheriff’s Office leaders were in confronting the extreme danger the coronavirus posed to its emergency dispatch operators, who had no choice but to report to work. Their anguish and fear — as colleague after colleague tested positive — are evident throughout the messages.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Mexico’s hospitals strain to treat coronavirus as officials say cases are peaking - WaPoThe Washington Post
But now, as Mexico City hits what officials say is the peak of its outbreak, it’s facing an onslaught of cases with an understaffed and undersupplied hospital system. There is concern that the country’s death toll is far higher than the official figures.
The government originally projected 6,000 to 15,000 deaths nationwide, with a small chance they could rise to double that upper limit. By Monday, authorities had confirmed 10,167 deaths. López-Gatell [ Mexicon’s coronavirus czar ] has acknowledged that the catastrophic scenario of 30,000 fatalities is no longer remote.
“We hope there aren’t that many deaths,” he told senators last week. But he noted that Mexico is afflicted by high rates of obesity, diabetes and other conditions. “These chronic illnesses have a stunning effect on the death toll.”
Mexico’s government maintains that it is trying to balance public health concerns and the economic needs of the large low-income population. Critics say authorities failed to communicate the gravity of the challenge early on, and took a huge risk in not testing more of the population. Many worry whether the fragile health-care system can hold up.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Coronavirus outbreak strikes Seattle factory trawler as most of 126 crew tests positive - The Seattle Times
A Seattle-based factory trawler cut short its fishing season off the Washington coast after 85 of 126 crew tested positive for COVID-19 in screening results obtained Saturday, according to a statement released by vessel operator American Seafoods.
The test results for the FV American Dynasty are a somber finding for the North Pacific fishing industry, which has been trying to keep the novel coronavirus off the ships and out of the shore-based plants that produce much of the nation’s seafood.
Last week, as the vessel docked in Bellingham, one crew member reported feeling sick, tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. That prompted the company to have the rest of the crew screened, and 85 tested positive in results received Saturday.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Every worker on one Tennessee farm has tested positive for coronavirus - The Daily Kos
That farm is in Tennessee. A farm in New Jersey has more than 50 workers with the virus, and in a neighboring county nearly 60 more on another farm have been ill. An Oneida, New York greenhouse operation growing tomatoes and strawberries reported nearly 170 infected workers.
These are among the most vulnerable essential workers in the U.S. Essential because they're providing our food. Vulnerable because so many are noncitizen immigrants who don't have access the medical care and live, work, and travel in cramped, crowded situations. Advocates are sounding an alarm bell—it's going to get worse as the harvest around the country ramps up. "We're watching very, very nervously—the agricultural harvest season is only starting now," Michael Dale, executive director of the Northwest Workers' Justice Project in Portland, Oregon, told Bloomberg. "I don't think we're ready. I don't think we're prepared."Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Inside a COVID-19 hospital in India, doctors see no end in sight - Reuters
While infection rates from the virus have begun to fall in many countries, in India they are still rising sharply, and epidemiologists warn peak is yet to come.
Concerns are rising about how the country of 1.3 billion, with one of the world’s most overburdened healthcare systems, will handle the surge with roughly 6,000 new infections being detected daily this week.
On Thursday, Reuters was given exclusive access inside Max Super Speciality Hospital - currently the largest such private COVID-19 treatment site in New Delhi - where some 200 patients are being treated for the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“We are getting more and more people daily both in numbers and in the severity of disease,” said Arun Dewan, the director of the hospital’s critical care section. “We’re not seeing any end.”
“Manpower will be the biggest challenge. We have reached the limit,” he said, adding even as the toll rises, the wait list of patients is growing fast.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
On the front lines of the pandemic, grocery workers are in the dark about risks - WaPoThe Washington Post
“We have had consistent problems with Walmart,” wrote Ruth Jones, Quincy’s health commissioner, in an April 28 email to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. “They have a cluster of Covid cases among employees and have not been cooperative in giving us contact information or in following proper quarantine and isolation guidelines.”
The next day, at another Walmart in Worcester, Mass., a local public health director ordered a shut down after obtaining an internal company list showing nearly two dozen employees had tested positive.
Health officials in the two cities pressed the nation’s largest grocer to test all of its employees at the two stores for coronavirus. The screenings, which began within days in the store parking lots, helped confirm a wider problem: 119 of the workers were infected, according to health officials.
The Post interviewed about 40 current and former employees at more than 30 supermarkets who alleged that the companies had not disclosed cases of infected or dead workers, retaliated against employees who raised safety concerns and used faulty equipment to implement coronavirus mitigation measures.
All of the grocers contacted by The Post — Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Target, Kroger, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Lidl — declined to provide the number of workers who tested positive for the coronavirus or died from it. Combined, those employers account for roughly 11,300 stores and 2.4 million employees nationwide.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Rural Ecuador faces coronavirus outbreak without doctors - Reuters
When a group of villagers in the Ecuadorean fishing community of El Real came down with coughs and fevers in early April, nobody was sure if they had the coronavirus - and no health workers were available to diagnose or treat them. Their local doctor, like many of rural Ecuador’s health workers, had been transferred to the country’s biggest city, Guayaquil. There, the COVID-19 pandemic had overwhelmed hospitals and left authorities struggling to collect bodies.
The situation suggests that moving doctors to cities may have exacerbated the impact of the disease in rural areas where poverty is significantly greater and access to healthcare much more precarious.
The health ministry did not respond to a request for comment.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Major nursing home chain violated federal standards meant to stop spread of disease … - WaPoThe Washington Post
Major nursing home chain violated federal standards meant to stop spread of disease even after start of covid-19, records show
Nursing homes operated by Life Care Centers of America, one of the largest chains in the industry, violated federal standards meant to stop the spread of infections and communicable diseases even after outbreaks and deaths from covid-19 began to sweep its facilities from the Pacific Northwest to New England, inspection reports show.
Over the past six weeks, as the nationwide death toll among the elderly soared, government inspectors discovered breakdowns in infection control and prevention at at least 10 Life Care nursing homes that underwent covid-19 inspections overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That does not include deficiencies found at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Wash., which suffered the country’s first reported outbreak of the novel coronavirus in February.
At a series of Life Care nursing homes since then, inspectors discovered staff who did not wash their hands or enforce social distancing guidelines, according to the inspection reports. At one home in Denver on May 5, staffers left an isolation room door open, allowing a patient with covid-19 to slip outside into the hallway without a face mask and sit next to a room with two healthy residents. At another home in Colorado, a nursing assistant hovered 12 inches from the face of a coughing patient who was not wearing a mask. In Kansas, inspectors found a nursing home’s infection control log failed to include two patients with fevers — one was sent to the hospital with a 103-degree fever and died.Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
Japan COVID-19 doctors lack fresh masks, hazard pay-union survey - Reuters
In the global scramble for protective gear and medical equipment, some Japanese doctors and other experts say there has been a failure by the national and some local governments to provide adequate financial assistance and protective gear to hospitals and medical staff.
The survey by the Zenkoku Ishi Union, posted on its website on Friday, found nearly 70% of doctors saying the government is failing to handle the situation properly.Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
- 911 dispatchers left at the mercy of coronavirus as agency’s response faltered - Sun Sentinel
103-year-old Massachusetts woman beats coronavirus, celebrates with Bud Light - USA Today
Shelley Gunn describes her Polish grandmother, Jennie Stejna, as having a feisty spirit. Stejna certainly displayed that spirit as the 103-year-old woman recently survived a bout with the coronavirus. Three weeks ago, Gunn said Stejna was the first to test positive for coronavirus in her nursing home. She had a low-grade fever and was moved to a separate ward. Stejna didn’t really grasp or understand COVID-19, Gunn said, but did know she was very ill. Gunn said there was always a staff member by her side.
As Stejna’s condition worsened, Gunn said they called to say what they thought were their final goodbyes. She thanked Stejna for everything she had done for her. When Shelley's husband, Adam Gunn, asked whether Stejna was ready to go to heaven, she replied, “Hell yes.” But on May 13, Gunn said she got good news — Stejna had recovered.
“This feisty old Polish grandmother of ours officially beat the coronavirus,” Adam Gunn, said.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
A Virus-Hunter Falls Prey to a Virus He Underestimated - NYTThe New York Times
“This is the revenge of the viruses,” said Dr. Peter Piot, the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “I’ve made their lives difficult. Now they’re trying to get me.”
Dr. Piot, 71 years old, is a legend in the battles against Ebola and AIDS. But Covid-19 almost killed him.
“A week ago, I couldn’t have done this interview,” he said, speaking recently by Skype from his London dining room, a painting of calla lilies behind him. “I was still short of breath after 10 minutes.”
Looking back, ruefully, on being brought down by a virus after a life as a virus-hunter, Dr. Piot said he had misjudged his prey and had become the hunted.
“I underestimated this one — how fast it would spread. My mistake was to think it was like SARS, which was pretty limited in scope. Or that it was like influenza. But it’s neither.”
“It hit me like a bus. Extreme exhaustion, like every cell in your body is tired.”
It was a new feeling. Despite all the time he has spent in mosquito-riddled climes, “I’d never been seriously ill in my life,” he said. A regular jogger and apparently healthy he joked, “This is the first time in my adult life I didn’t drink wine for a month.”Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
The girl who died twice - WaPoThe Washington Post
Juliet Daly was a healthy 12-year-old in Covington, La., until the coronavirus infected her heart, making its electrical signals go haywire and stop working
The 12-year-old from Covington, La., padded out of her room in her PJs shortly after 7 a.m., ate a half-bowl of Rice Krispies, and got on a Zoom call with her sixth-grade social studies class. She had been feeling unwell all weekend with twisting abdominal pains, vomiting and a fever of 101.5, but she seemed to be on the mend.
She had been healthy and did not have a cough, shortness of breath or other typical symptoms of covid-19, so Jennifer, a radiologist, initially suspected appendicitis, some kind of stomach bug, or perhaps the flu.
That afternoon, they took Juliet to the emergency department, where doctors noticed an unusual constellation of symptoms pointing to a different problem. Her heart rate was extraordinarily low, jumping around in the 40s when it should have been between 70 to 120 beats per minute. And when they squeezed her nails, they turned white and stayed white when they should have gone back to pink.
Juliet was in a kind of toxic shock, and her heart had become so inflamed it was barely beating.Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
‘I Wish I Could Do Something for You,’ My Doctor Said - NYTThe New York Times
Young, healthy people like me are getting very, very sick from the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The day before I got sick, I ran three miles, walked 10 more, then raced up the stairs to my fifth-floor apartment as always, slinging laundry with me as I went.
The next day, April 17, I became one of the thousands of New Yorkers to fall ill with Covid-19. I haven’t felt the same since.
I am one of the lucky ones. I never needed a ventilator. I survived. But 27 days later, I still have lingering pneumonia. I use two inhalers, twice a day. I can’t walk more than a few blocks without stopping.Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
‘An Anvil Sitting on My Chest’: What It’s Like to Have Covid-19 - NYTThe New York Times
There is a clinical list of Covid-19 symptoms that includes a dry cough, a fever and shortness of breath. And then there is how the disease actually feels. It is like a lengthy hangover. An anvil on your chest. An alien takeover. It is like being in a fight with Mike Tyson.Added Thursday, May 7, 2020.
My COVID-19 Diary - Jason Chatfield
[ cartoon format, very well done ]Added Saturday, April 25, 2020.
Nightmares, flashbacks, uncertainty: A 29-year-old recovers after coronavirus brought him near death - WaPoThe Washington Post
He had been in the hospital for seven days when doctors declared he might not make it out alive.
His blood oxygen levels sank. His lungs struggled. The ventilator helping him breathe, doctors at Virginia Hospital Center said, did not seem to be doing much good.
Nurses called his family. His family called a priest. They wanted to make sure Francis Wilson, 29, received last rites before the end.
Wilson, a George Mason University law student, was among the first wave of coronavirus patients admitted to a Washington-area hospital last month. He was an outlier — young, healthy, no preexisting conditions. But by the time he called an ambulance, he could barely stand up without gasping for air.
He was also one of the first cases in which doctors watched a patient come so close to death — and live.Added Friday, April 17, 2020.
Surviving a severe case of coronavirus may be just the start of recovery - msn
People who survive the most dire cases of disease caused by the novel coronavirus are about to learn one of the cruelest lessons of the pandemic: After defeating the virus, the really hard part begins.Added Friday, April 3, 2020.
- 103-year-old Massachusetts woman beats coronavirus, celebrates with Bud Light - USA Today
Latin America had time to prepare for the coronavirus. It couldn’t stop the inevitable. - WaPoThe Washington Post
For a time, early in the pandemic, when Latin America was mostly a spectator watching outbreaks in China, then Europe, then the United States, there was hope that when the coronavirus arrived here, things would be different. The climate was warmer. The people were younger. The governments had more time to study the mistakes made elsewhere, and to prepare.
Weeks later, more than a million people have been infected, tens of thousands are dead, and those hopes are gone.
The warmer weather did little to slow the disease as it devastated tropical metropolises in Ecuador and Brazil. Youth has not protected Mexico or Peru. And despite early and aggressive government action in many cases, Latin America has been unable to avert what now appears to have always been inevitable.
The disease has been a disaster in Brazil, now second only to the United States in reported cases, with more than 31,000 dead, but it’s not the only country in the region in the full grip of the coronavirus. Peru has now confirmed twice as many infections as China. Mexico has suffered more than 10,000 deaths. Officials in Chile, now in the throes of one of the world’s most explosive outbreaks, warn that the hospital system in Santiago is teetering at capacity. The World Health Organization has declared Latin America the new epicenter of the global pandemic.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Patience to beat a pandemic: How Seattle reopened after the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic - Seattle PI
Just like during the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle faced a rigid quarantine that confined residents to their homes, placed bans on large gatherings, closed businesses and ordered wearing masks in public during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.
But unlike Gov. Jay Inslee's phased approach to reopen the state county-by-county based on the number of confirmed cases, Seattle's reopening of society following quarantine in 1918 was abrupt, and consequently saw another deadly wave of the illness in the early months of 1919. The premature easing of quarantine rules led to a resurgence of cases that could have been prevented, and the threat of a second quarantine loomed over the city.Added Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Transmission dynamics of and insights from … measles outbreak … - Science Advances
Transmission dynamics of and insights from the 2018–2019 measles outbreak in New York City: A modeling study
In 2018–2019, New York City experienced the largest measles outbreak in the United States in nearly three decades. To identify key contributing factors, we modeled the transmission dynamics of this outbreak. Results indicate that delayed vaccination of 1- to 4-year-olds enabled the initial spread and that increased infectious contact, likely via “measles parties,” facilitated later transmission. We found that around half of infants were susceptible by age 1 and thus had many infections. Without the implemented vaccination campaigns, numbers of infections and hospitalizations could have been >10 times higher and would predominantly affect those under 4.
Enhanced public health education is needed to reduce activities that unnecessarily expose children to measles and other infections.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
A Monday Is a Tuesday Is a Sunday as COVID-19 Disrupts Internal Clocks - Scientific American
Several research groups have taken advantage of this unplanned natural experiment to gauge the psychological impacts of time distortions and, in turn, their effects on mental health. Psychologists know that time sense links to well-being. Its perceived slower passage can represent signs of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Overall, people seem to be experiencing time more slowly, according to data that are beginning to be compiled. In a not yet peer-reviewed preprint paper, Sylvie Droit-Volet, a time perception researcher at the University of Clermont Auvergne in France, and her colleagues show that people there report the clock moving more slowly during the lockdown. The researchers also document feelings of sadness and boredom and tie them to the overall feeling of deceleration.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
Fears of coronavirus second wave prompt flu push at U.S. pharmacies, drugmakers - Reuters
U.S. pharmacy chains are preparing a big push for flu vaccinations when the season kicks off in October, hoping to curb tens of thousands of serious cases that could coincide with a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Getting a flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus for which there are no approved vaccines. Public health officials have said vaccination against the flu will be critical to help prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with flu and COVID-19 patients.
“We’re in for a double-barreled assault this fall and winter with flu and COVID. Flu is the one you can do something about,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner said.Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Influenza Encyclopedia - University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine
[ Very interesting. Check out Seattle. ]Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Outbreak Investigation … of … Community for Older Adults … - JAMAThe Journal of the American Medical Association
Outbreak Investigation of COVID-19 Among Residents and Staff of an Independent and Assisted Living Community for Older Adults in Seattle, Washington
In independent/assisted living facilities, testing was a better strategy for identifying staff and older adults with COVID-19 than symptom screening. Adherence to social distancing and preventive guidelines may contribute to interruption of COVID-19 transmission.Added Friday, May 22, 2020
Infection Control Deficiencies Were Widespread … in Nursing Homes Prior to COVID-19 … - GAOU.S. Government Accountability Office
Infection Control Deficiencies Were Widespread and Persistent in Nursing Homes Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that most nursing homes were cited for infection prevention and control deficiencies (82% of those surveyed from 2013-2017). About half of these homes had persistent problems and were cited across multiple years.Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
No, we’re not all in this together — look at what’s happening with coronavirus in Yakima - The Seattle Times
Yakima County, one-ninth the size of King, had 82 new cases Sunday. Two days prior, it reported 122 new cases. It now has a case rate of more than 1,000 per 100,000 residents, the highest of any county on the West Coast and three times the rate of King.
In the last few days, nearly half of all the new cases reported in the state were in Yakima.
The Yakima outbreak was clustered at first in nursing homes, like here, but is now running through agriculture and fruit-packing plants. The health officer there said the spread there versus relative containment elsewhere is because two-thirds of the jobs in Yakima are considered both “essential” (such as the food industry) and hands-on (can’t be done remotely).Added Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Interactive Agent-Based Model Visualization for COVID-19 Masking - De Kai @ Berkeley
Watch this tutorial video and then play with this masksim simulator yourself — we're making an interactive version of this agent-based model available here for you to try experimenting with our new individual agent-based model, and see what different masking policies do. You'll see how much small accidents can affect the spread of infections as we've made each run completely randomized. Try many runs if you want to see the statistical tendencies under different masking policies.Added Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them - Erin Bromage
[ An excellent not-too-technical explanation from a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology (specializing in Immunology) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. ]Added Monday, May 11, 2020.
Anti-Mask League of San Francisco [ 1918 pandemic ] - Wikipedia
Cases of the Spanish flu began to appear in San Francisco during the fall of 1918. The first documented case was in late September; by mid-October, the city had more than 2,000 cases. The city's Board of Health enacted various measures to try to curb the disease, such as banning gatherings, closing schools and theaters, and warning citizens to avoid crowds. Professions that served customers (barbers, hotel and rooming house employees, bank tellers, druggists, store clerks, and any other person serving the public) were required to wear masks. Then on October 25, the city passed an ordinance that "every resident and visitor of San Francisco would be required to wear a mask while in public or when in a group of two or more people, except at mealtime."
Although there were some complaints from citizens during the initial period of mask-wearing, the new ordinance in 1919 galvanized more serious opposition and the Anti-Mask League was formed. Members of the league included physicians, citizens, civil libertarians, and at least one member of the Board of Supervisors. An estimated 4,000–5,000 citizens attended the meeting on January 25.
Some objections to the ordinance were based on questions of scientific data while others considered the requirement to infringe on civil liberties.
In addition to complaints from the Anti-Mask League, some health officers from other cities also contended that masks were not necessary. The San Francisco city health officer criticized the secretary of the state's Board of Health for questioning the efficacy of masks, saying "The attitude of the state board is encouraging the Anti-Mask League."
On January 27, the league presented a petition, signed by Mrs. E. C. Harrington as chairman, to the city's Board of Supervisors, requesting repeal of the mask ordinance. Newspapers across the world took note of the protesting organization. San Francisco lifted the mask requirement effective February 1, 1919, on the recommendation of the Board of Health.Added Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
- Latin America had time to prepare for the coronavirus. It couldn’t stop the inevitable. - WaPoThe Washington Post
Pentagon chief balks at Trump’s call for … military force on U.S. citizens… - WaPoThe Washington Post
Pentagon chief balks at Trump’s call for active-duty military force on U.S. citizens, and Mattis rips president
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper distanced himself from President Trump on Wednesday, saying the use of active-duty forces to quash unrest across the nation is unnecessary at this stage, hours before his predecessor, Jim Mattis, excoriated the president for working to divide the country.The comments captured the extraordinary tension that has been building among current and former Pentagon officials since Monday, when Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act to use active-duty troops in U.S. cities and Esper referred to American cities as a “battlespace.”
Later that day, the Pentagon began moving forces to the Washington area in preparation for possible operations in the nation’s capital, and authorities used force to clear largely peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square so Trump could walk to a damaged church and pose for photographs with a Bible.
The criticism of the events this week represents a growing sense of dismay among retired military leaders who have warned against the domestic use of military aggression and politicization of the armed forces.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Army veteran, issued a broadside on Wednesday, saying that Esper and Milley followed Trump to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday night “like two lap dogs carrying out this president’s really twisted idea of what the military is supposed to do.”
“He knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to support Donald Trump in this, instead of standing up to this president and saying, ‘Sir, no. You are politicizing the military. This is not the appropriate use of our military.’ Instead, he went right along with it, and that is very scary to me.”Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
A dangerous new factor …: Unidentified law enforcement officers - WaPoThe Washington Post
A dangerous new factor in an uneasy moment: Unidentified law enforcement officers
The Associated Press reports that active-duty members of the military who were moved into Washington to help keep order would be moved back out, though that decision was later reversed.
Washington residents have also been confronted with a number of other heavily armed law enforcement officers who share an unexpected characteristic: Neither their affiliation nor their personal identities are discernible.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman encountered these individuals, who gave no more specific identification than that they were associated with the Justice Department. Near the White House on Wednesday, MSNBC’s Garrett Haake had a similar encounter.
So did the New Republic’s Matt Ford. When he asked the armed men whether they were associated with the Bureau of Prisons based on an acronym on their uniforms, Ford was simply told, “Maybe.”
As it turns out, each of these encounters was apparently with elements of the Bureau of Prisons, called to the region by Attorney General William P. Barr this week. Friedman confirmed with the BOP that the men he encountered were with the agency; Haake’s Twitter followers picked out BOP insignia on their clothing.
“The idea that the federal government is putting law enforcement personnel on the line without appropriate designation of agency, name, etc. — that’s a direct contradiction of the oversight that they’ve been providing for many years to local police and demanding in all of their various monitorships and accreditation,” former New York City police commissioner William Bratton said in a phone interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
UN rights chief condemns 'structural racism' in US - France 24
Michelle Bachelet insisted that the grievances at the heart of the protests that have erupted in hundreds of US cities needed to be heard and addressed if the country was to move forward.
"The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard," she said in a statement.
"The voices calling for an end to police violence need to be heard. And the voices calling for an end to the endemic and structural racism that blights US society need to be heard."
"Especially during a crisis, a country needs its leaders to condemn racism unequivocally; for them to reflect on what has driven people to boiling point; to listen and learn; and to take actions that truly tackle inequalities," she said.
"What has been happening is an unprecedented assault on journalists," she said, pointing out that "in some cases they have been attacked or even arrested while on air."Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Anti-government 'Boogaloos' charged with planning violence at Las Vegas protests - Reuters
Three Las Vegas men alleged to be part of the extremist Boogaloo movement have been arrested and charged with planning to cause violence and destruction during protests in the city over the police killing of George Floyd.
The men, who police said had a homemade bomb or Molotov cocktail in their possession when they were taken into custody on Saturday, all live in the Las Vegas area, the region’s joint terrorism task force said on Wednesday.
“Violent instigators have hijacked peaceful protests and demonstrations across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death for their own radical agendas,” said Nicholas Trutanich, the U.S. attorney for Nevada.
Boogaloo is “a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society,” the Joint Terrorism Task Force said in its news release Wednesday.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Gun-toting members of the Boogaloo movement are showing up at protests - CNN
The Boogaloos are an emerging incarnation of extremism that seems to defy easy categorization. They are yet another confounding factor in the ongoing effort among local, state and federal officials to puzzle out the political sympathies of the agitators showing up to the mostly peaceful George Floyd rallies who have destroyed property, looted businesses, or -- in the case of the Boogaloos who descended on Minneapolis -- walked around the streets with assault rifles.
Boogaloo members appear to hold conflicting ideological views with some identifying as anarchists and others rejecting formal titles. Some pockets of the group have espoused white supremacy while others reject it. But they have at least two things in common: an affinity for toting around guns in public and a "boogaloo" rallying cry, which is commonly viewed as code for another US civil war.
"If people are going to initiate deadly force against us, we need to be willing and able to initiate deadly force in return," Teeter, 22, said.
"These are straight up criminals. These are not protestors," said one high-ranking LAPD official.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
Jimmy Carter mourns continued "tragic racial injustices" in statement on George Floyd - CBS News
With Carter's statement, all living U.S. presidents have spoken out about Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police last week.
Rosalynn and I are pained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks. Our hearts are with the victims' families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty. We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution.
People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say "no more" to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.
We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.Added Thursday, June 4, 2020
A letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper - James N. Miller in WaPoThe Washington Post
You recited that same oath on July 23, 2019, when you were sworn in as Secretary of Defense. On Monday, June 1, 2020, I believe that you violated that oath. Law-abiding protesters just outside the White House were dispersed using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op. You then accompanied President Trump in walking from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for that photo.
President Trump’s actions Monday night violated his oath to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” as well as the First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble.” You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it.
Anyone who takes the oath of office must decide where he or she will draw the line: What are the things that they will refuse to do? Secretary Esper, you have served honorably for many years, in active and reserve military duty, as Secretary of the Army, and now as Secretary of Defense. You must have thought long and hard about where that line should be drawn. I must now ask: If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?
Unfortunately, it appears there may be few if any lines that President Trump is not willing to cross, so you will probably be faced with this terrible question again in the coming days. You may be asked to take, or to direct the men and women serving in the U.S. military to take, actions that further undermine the Constitution and harm Americans.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
I Cannot Remain Silent - Mike Mullen - 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president's visit outside St. John's Church.
Whatever Trump's goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.
Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods. They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
… Mattis Denounces … Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution - The Atlantic
James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution
James Mattis, the esteemed Marine general who resigned as secretary of defense in December 2018 to protest Donald Trump’s Syria policy, has, ever since, kept studiously silent about Trump’s performance as president. But he has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary broadside in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation, and accuses him of ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.
“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
CIA veterans … see troubling parallels in Trump’s handling of protests - WaPoThe Washington Post
CIA veterans who monitored crackdowns abroad see troubling parallels in Trump’s handling of protests
The scenes have been disturbingly familiar to CIA analysts accustomed to monitoring scenes of societal unraveling abroad — the massing of protesters, the ensuing crackdowns and the awkwardly staged displays of strength by a leader determined to project authority.
In interviews and posts on social media in recent days, current and former U.S. intelligence officials have expressed dismay at the similarity between events at home and the signs of decline or democratic regression they were trained to detect in other nations.
“I’ve seen this kind of violence,” said Gail Helt, a former CIA analyst responsible for tracking developments in China and Southeast Asia. “This is what autocrats do. This is what happens in countries before a collapse. It really does unnerve me.”Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
… police forcibly expel priest from St. John’s church near White House - Religion News Service
Ahead of Trump Bible photo op, police forcibly expel priest from St. John’s church near White House
The church appeared to be completely abandoned. It was, in fact, abandoned, but not by choice: Less than an hour before Trump’s arrival, armored police used tear gas to clear hundreds of peaceful demonstrators from Lafayette Square park, which is across the street from the church.
Authorities also expelled at least one Episcopal priest and a seminarian from the church’s patio.
“They turned holy ground into a battleground,” said the Rev. Gini Gerbasi.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, the bishop of Washington who helped organize the clergy presence at the church, said Trump’s arrival at St. John’s happened without warning and left her “outraged.” “The symbolism of him holding a Bible … as a prop and standing in front of our church as a backdrop when everything that he has said is antithetical to the teachings of our traditions and what we stand for as a church — I was horrified,” she told Religion News Service.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, also criticized the move, accusing the president of using “a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes.” “We need our President, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders who help us to be a people and nation living these values. For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’”Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
… archbishop of Washington slams Trump’s visit to John Paul II shrine - WaPoThe Washington Post
‘I find it baffling and reprehensible’: Catholic archbishop of Washington slams Trump’s visit to John Paul II shrine
President Trump triggered sharp condemnation from top religious leaders for the second time in two days on Tuesday, with Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory slamming his visit to a D.C. shrine honoring Pope John Paul II.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree,” Gregory said in a statement as Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Northeast Washington.
“Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth," Gregory said. "He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Man arrested after pulling rifle on Black Lives Matter protesters in Upland - FOX 11
The protesters were marching in the Southern California city in solidarity following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
At some point during the tense altercation in San Bernardino County, a Trump supporter pulled out a rifle and threatened the BLM protesters, officials said.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Former President Bush, contrasting Trump approach, says protesters should be heard - Reuters
Former President George W. Bush said on Tuesday the killing of George Floyd reflected a “shocking failure” concerning racism in the country, and urged that protesters be heard, in sharp contrast to fellow Republican Donald Trump’s get-tough approach.
“The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving,” Bush said in a statement. “Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.”
“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country,” he said. “This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society?”Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change - Barack Obama
Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
- Pentagon chief balks at Trump’s call for … military force on U.S. citizens… - WaPoThe Washington Post
Inslee extends eviction moratorium through Aug. 1 to protect renters - KOMO News
Governor Jay Inslee extended protections for renters Tuesday through the beginning of August o alleviate the financial pressure caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Inslee's newest proclamation extends his prior eviction moratorium for 60 days through Aug. 1.Added Wednesday, June 3, 2020
60% of U.S. adults plan to get seasonal flu vaccine: Reuters/Ipsos poll - Reuters
About 60% of U.S. adults either plan to or definitely will get the flu vaccine in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, with more Americans who identified themselves as Democrats planning to do so than Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.[ The stats are broken down by demographics, worth a read. ]Added Tuesday, May 26, 2020
GOP governor offers emotional plea to the anti-mask crowd: Stop this senseless culture war - WaPoThe Washington Post
Across the border in North Dakota, though, GOP Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday offered a plea to stop the madness. Burgum suggested the debate over masks was being needlessly politicized and that those who are bucking federal health officials’ guidance should rethink their posture.
“I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they’re creating a divide — either it’s ideological or political or something — around masks versus no mask,” Burgum said. “This is a, I would say, senseless dividing line, and I would ask people to try to dial up your empathy and your understanding.”
“If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support,” Burgum said, before his voice began breaking. “They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life who currently have covid, and they’re fighting.”Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Large employers push back on U.S. healthcare mergers during coronavirus crisis - Reuters
A group representing some of the largest U.S. employers has asked Congress for a year-long ban on mergers and acquisitions among hospitals and doctors groups that received government money to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pacific Business Group on Health, whose members include Boeing, Salesforce, Tesla, and Walmart, said in a letter addressed to congressional leaders this week that it feared that further consolidation in the healthcare industry could lead to higher costs.
Physician practices’ revenues have plummeted across the United States since shutdowns were imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as patients stay home except for emergencies.
Even before the pandemic, well-funded hospital systems were taking over smaller doctors groups and hospitals to increase market share.Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
- Inslee extends eviction moratorium through Aug. 1 to protect renters - KOMO News
China’s Xi backs WHO-led review of covid-19 outbreak, proposes aid for developing world - WaPoThe Washington Post
Chinese leader Xi Jinping called on the world Monday to rally behind the World Health Organization and support developing countries as he opened a WHO annual assembly after weeks of acrimony between China and the United States and its allies over a proposal to investigate the origins of covid-19.
Xi’s speech, delivered via video at the invitation of WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, signaled a growing sense of assurance on China’s part. For weeks it had been anticipating — and bitterly opposing — a proposal from Western countries to conduct an international probe into the pandemic’s beginnings, generally believed by scientists to be in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
China’s opposition has melted in recent days as international support for an inquiry grew to include Russia, Turkey and European and African countries, and as drafts of the proposed resolution showed a focus on international collaboration to manage the pandemic, with relatively limited emphasis on questioning its source.
Another prospect that China vehemently opposed — a Taiwanese presence at the World Health Assembly — also dissolved Monday after Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan would withdraw its bid for observer status, which Beijing had resisted.[ See yesterday’s article “… 62 countries … push for independent …”. ]Added Monday, May 18, 2020
… 62 countries … push for independent inquiry into coronavirus outbreak - ABC News (AU)
Coalition of 62 countries backs joint Australian, EU push for independent inquiry into coronavirus outbreak
A coalition of 62 countries has backed a joint Australian and European Union push for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak ahead of a crucial World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting on Monday in Geneva.
European nations and Australia have been rallying support for a draft EU motion which calls for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of "the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19".Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
- China’s Xi backs WHO-led review of covid-19 outbreak, proposes aid for developing world - WaPoThe Washington Post
The plan is to have no plan - PressThink (Jay Rosen)
The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible— by telling the governors they’re in charge without doing what only the federal government can do, by fighting with the press when it shows up to be briefed, by fixing blame for the virus on China or some other foreign element, and by “flooding the zone with shit,” Steve Bannon’s phrase for overwhelming the system with disinformation, distraction, and denial, which boosts what economists call “search costs” for reliable intelligence.
Stated another way, the plan is to default on public problem solving, and then prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default.Added Thursday, May 7, 2020.
We cannot allow the normalization of firearms at protests to continue - WaPoThe Washington Post
We’ve gotten far too accustomed to the image of white protesters carrying paramilitary-level firearms in public spaces. The presence of guns — often really large guns — at protests has become alarmingly normalized. It is time to take stock of what that means.
Accepting and even expecting to see firearms at protest rallies means that we somehow embrace the threat of chaos and violence. While those who carry say they have no intention of using their weapons, the firepower alone creates a wordless threat, and something far more calamitous if even just one person discharges a round.
Accepting the open display of firearms at protests means we can expect an increased militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies seeking to protect their troops.
Accepting the open display of firearms at rallies means we must also admit this confirms a significant cultural shift that collides with norms and current laws.
Accepting the display of firearms at protests by some and not others means that we must also accept that some are rewarded with a kind of special citizenship that allows them to be seen as patriotic instead of threatening, and aggrieved instead of aggressive.
Accepting this increasingly brazen display of guns as normal means an armed political movement is flourishing outside the guardrails of our political system.Added Thursday, May 7, 2020.
- The plan is to have no plan - PressThink (Jay Rosen)
People more important than the economy, pope says about Covid crisis - Reuters
“Healing people, not saving (money) to help the economy (is important), healing people, who are more important than the economy,” Francis said.
“People do not come out of a crisis like this the same as before. We will come out either better or worse than before. Let’s have the courage to emerge better than before in order to build the post-crisis period of the pandemic positively,” he said.Added Sunday, May 31, 2020
The CDC Released New Death Rate Estimates … Scientists Say They’re Too Low. - BuzzFeed
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.
A week ago, as the US began to reopen, the CDC put out five scenarios for how the coronavirus crisis could play out across the country. This “pandemic planning” document is being used throughout the federal government and is meant to help public officials make decisions about when and how to reopen, according to the CDC.
While no one yet knows the coronavirus’s actual death rate, the agency’s range of possible rates seemed alarmingly low to many epidemiologists, compared to existing data in places both inside and outside the US. For instance, estimates of New York City’s total death rate, 0.86% to 0.93%, are even higher than the CDC’s worst-case scenario. Estimates from countries like Spain and Italy are also higher, ranging from 1.1% to 1.3%.
Researchers also lambasted the CDC’s lack of transparency about its data sources. The eight-page document disclosed almost nothing about its numbers, citing only internal data and a preprint — a study that has not been peer-reviewed — led by scientists in Iran.
“This is terrible. This is way too optimistic,” Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of population health at the University of California at Irvine, told BuzzFeed News, adding, “With this document, the CDC is determined to smash its credibility with the public health community of which it is supposedly a leader.”Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening - Politico
In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test, according to reporting from POLITICO, other news outlets and the states' own admissions. Some states have shifted the metrics for a “safe” reopening; Arizona sought to clamp down on bad news at one point by simply shuttering its pandemic modeling. About a third of the states aren’t even reporting hospital admission data — a big red flag for the resurgence of the virus.
The spotty data flow is particularly worrisome to public health officials trying to help Americans make decisions about safely venturing out. The lack of accurate and consistent Covid-19 data, coupled with the fact that the White House no longer has regular briefings where officials reinforce the need for ongoing social distancing, makes that task even harder.
The problems are widespread and have infiltrated federal health agencies as well.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Herald drafted a suit seeking ALF records. DeSantis aide pressured law firm not to file it - Miami Herald
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ general counsel called a representative of the Miami Herald’s law firm seeking to quash a public records lawsuit that would force the state to divulge the names of all elder-care facilities that have had a positive test for the coronavirus.
The back-door pressure — through an attorney who had no involvement in the case — paid off.
The law firm, Holland & Knight, told Sanford Bohrer, a senior partner with decades of representing the Miami Herald, to stand down and abandon the lawsuit.
“We are disappointed that the governor’s office would go so far as to apply pressure on our legal counsel to prevent the release of public records that are critical to the health and safety of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens,” Marques said. “We shouldn’t have had to resort to legal action in the first place. Anyone with a relative in an elder-care facility has a right to know if their loved ones are at risk so they can make an informed decision about their care.”[ Emphasis added by Sam. ]Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Divert weapons funding to research to prevent next pandemic, pope says - Reuters
Pope Francis on Saturday urged politicians to divert funds spent on weapons to research to prevent another pandemic, as he led the largest gathering in the Vatican in nearly three months.
In his closing prayer, Francis said national leaders should take a far-sighted attitude, helping the most needy now and putting in place long-term economic and social solutions.
He prayed that the Madonna would “touch (leaders’) consciences so that enormous sums spent to possess more armaments and to perfect them be instead destined to the promotion of sufficient research to prevent such catastrophes in the future”.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
Brazil Government Aide Says COVID-19's Toll on Elderly Will Reduce Pension Deficit … - Newsweek
Croda [ Julio Croda, an epidemiologist who used to head the health ministry's department of immunization and transmissible diseases ] told Reuters that when informed that older people would be more likely to die from the disease, Solange Veira, who leads the Superintendence of Private Insurance, linked to the country's finance ministry and who helped reform the country's pensions, said: "It's good that deaths are concentrated among the old." "That will improve our economic performance as it will reduce our pension deficit," Veira reportedly added, according to Croda.Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
U.S. planning to cancel visas of Chinese graduate students: sources - Reuters
The United States is planning to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students believed by President Donald Trump’s administration to have links with China’s military, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.
The move, first reported by the New York Times, could impact 3,000 to 5,000 Chinese students and could be announced as early as this week, according to the sources, including a current U.S. official and another individual who was briefed on the administration’s internal discussions.
[ When I worked at U. Washington we had many Chinese grad students. It’s sad to think such smart and good people may get caught up in politics. ]Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
… Pennsylvania Democrats say GOP put them at risk by hiding member’s positive covid-19 test - WaPoThe Washington Post
‘Callous liars’: Pennsylvania Democrats say GOP put them at risk by hiding member’s positive covid-19 test
Democratic state legislators in Pennsylvania accused their Republican counterparts Wednesday of keeping a GOP lawmaker’s positive coronavirus diagnosis under wraps for days, arguing the lack of transparency may have increased their risk of contracting the potentially deadly infection.
Republican state Rep. Andrew Lewis released a statement Wednesday revealing he received his positive test result on May 20 — a jarring announcement that rattled House Democrats who said they had no idea he had been sick or other GOP members had been told to self-quarantine due to possible exposure.
“While we are pleased to learn that this House member seems to have recovered, it is simply unacceptable that some House Republicans knew about this for more than a week and sat on that knowledge,” Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said in a statement. “Knowing how House members and staff work closely together at the Capitol, we should have been made aware of this much sooner.”Added Thursday, May 28, 2020
New York's Cuomo says Congress 'abusing' states worst hit by coronavirus - Reuters
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on Wednesday for the U.S. Congress to “stop abusing” New York and other Democratic-controlled states and release more federal funds to help them combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“States that bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic account for one-third of the national GDP,” said Cuomo, a Democrat whose state has been hit hardest by the outbreak. “How can you tell one-third of the country to go to heck?”Added Wednesday, May 27, 2020
- People more important than the economy, pope says about Covid crisis - Reuters
U.N. rejects U.S. claim it is using coronavirus to promote abortion - Reuters
“Any suggestion that we are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to promote abortion is not correct,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “While we support healthcare that prevents millions of women from dying during pregnancy and childbirth and protects people from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, we do not seek to override any national laws,” he said.
In a letter to U.N. chief Antonio Guterres on Monday, acting USAID Administrator John Barsa said the world body’s plan - announced two months ago - gave sexual and reproductive health services the same level of importance as food insecurity, essential healthcare, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation. “The U.N. should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service,’” wrote Barsa, adding that it was “most egregious” that the plan “calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion.”Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Divided by COVID-19: Democratic U.S. areas hit three times as hard as Republican ones - Reuters
As America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic splits along partisan lines, a Reuters analysis may help explain why: Death rates in Democratic areas are triple those in Republican ones.
By Wednesday, U.S. counties that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election reported 39 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 residents, according to an analysis of demographic and public health data. In counties that voted for Republican Donald Trump, 13 of every 100,000 people had died from the virus.
The uneven impact reflects the disproportionate toll the infectious disease has taken in densely packed Democratic-voting cities like New York. Rural areas and far-flung suburbs that typically back Republicans have not seen as direct an impact.
Democratic state Representative Leslie Love, whose district includes part of Detroit, said the partisan divide reminded her of the statewide response to previous problems like crack cocaine and high auto insurance rates that hit hardest in black neighborhoods. “It is that same type of disconnect: ‘If it’s not happening to me, if it’s not in my backyard, then that’s their problem over there, and not ours,’” she said. “It’s going to be your problem, though.”Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Inslee lashes out at President Trump over importance of COVID-19 testing - KOMO News
“I have to get this off my chest: When I heard Donald Trump say that testing was overrated, I about went through the roof," Inslee said. "Our ability to open up the economy in the state of Washington depends on our ability to get tested."
He lashed out at Trump after the president boasted about 10 million COVID-19 tests done in the country Thursday at a Pennsylvania medical equipment distribution center.
“So, we have the best testing in the world,” Trump said. “ It could be that testing is frankly overrated. Maybe it is overrated.”
Inslee said getting testing swabs from the federal government is a big issue that has been confusing and chaotic. Washington state was supposed to get 580,000 swabs this month, but so far, only about 10 percent have arrived, he said.Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
- U.N. rejects U.S. claim it is using coronavirus to promote abortion - Reuters
EU urges U.S. to reconsider decision to cut ties with WHO - Reuters
“In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said in a statement.
“In this context, we urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision,” they said a day after President Donald Trump announced the move, accusing the U.N. agency of becoming a puppet of China.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also condemned the move and pledged intensive talks with Washington on the issue.
The decision is “the wrong signal at the wrong time,” Maas told German media group Funke. With the number of infections continuing to rise globally, “we cannot tear down the dike in the middle of a storm”, he said.Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
US “terminating relationship” with World Health Organization, Trump says - Ars Technica
President Trump today said the US government is "terminating our relationship" with the World Health Organization, alleging that the global health group has not implemented needed reforms and that it is controlled entirely by China.
"China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year, compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year," Trump said during a brief press conference at the White House Rose Garden.
Trump halted funding to WHO in mid-April. On May 18, he sent a letter to WHO, saying that the US will permanently stop funding the group if it "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days." It's only been 11 days since then, but Trump said today he is moving ahead with his threat.
"Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization, and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs," Trump said.Added Friday, May 29, 2020
White House and CDC remove coronavirus warnings about choirs in faith guidance - WaPoThe Washington Post
Last Friday, the administration released pandemic guidance for faith communities after weeks of debate flared between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines posted on the CDC website included recommendations that religious communities “consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.”
It added: “The act of singing may contribute to transmission of Covid-19, possibly through emission of aerosols.”
By Saturday, that version was replaced by updated guidance that no longer includes any reference to choirs or congregant singing and the risk for spreading virus. The altered guidance also deleted a reference to “shared cups” among items, including hymnals and worship rugs, that should not be shared. The updated guidelines also added language that said the guidance “is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment.”Added Friday, May 29, 2020
Trump has ‘legal’ and ‘moral responsibility’ to wear mask on Ford plant tour… - WaPoThe Washington Post
Trump has ‘legal’ and ‘moral responsibility’ to wear mask on Ford plant tour, Michigan attorney general says
Ahead of President Trump’s planned trip Thursday to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan, the state’s attorney general implored him to wear a face mask on his tour, citing a “legal responsibility” — and said he would be asked not to return if he does not do so.
In an open letter addressed to Trump, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) asked the president, who has consistently appeared barefaced in public and at the White House, to adhere to executive orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Ford’s policy mandating masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Trump is scheduled to visit a factory southwest of Detroit that has been repurposed to manufacture ventilators.
“While my Department will not act to prevent you from touring Ford’s plant, I ask that while you are on tour you respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford — and across this State — by wearing a facial covering,” Nessel wrote. “It is not just the policy of Ford, by virtue of the Governor’s Executive Orders. It is currently the law of this State.”[ Trump didn't wear a mask, even though all the Ford execs did. ]Added Thursday, May 21, 2020
Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine as hedge against virus - Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that he has touted despite medical warnings about its use, as a preventive medicine against the coronavirus.
Trump, 73, who is tested daily for the virus, said he had asked the White House physician if it was OK to take the drug, and the doctor told him, “well, if you’d like it.”[ What could go wrong? ]Added Monday, May 18, 2020
- EU urges U.S. to reconsider decision to cut ties with WHO - Reuters
- Covidiots: Covid + idiots
The most disturbing video known to man [ Alex Jones: “I will eat my neighbors” ] - Barstool
[ Video transcript from The Daily Kos ]
“I will admit it. I will eat my neighbors. I’m not letting my kids die. I’m just going to be honest. My superpower is being honest. I have extrapolated this out, and I won’t have to for a few years because I’ve got food and stuff. But I’m literally looking at my neighbors now and going, I’m ready to hang them up and gut ‘em and skin ‘em and chop ‘em up. You know what, I’m ready. My daughters aren’t starving to death. I’ll eat my neighbors. See, my superpower is being honest — I’ll eat your ass. I will. I’m combat model — optimum self-sufficiency. Probably the leader. The point is is that you’ve thought about that yet, because I’m somebody that thought I could fix this, and I’m starting to think about having to eat my neighbors. Do you think I like sizing up my neighbor? Hell, I’m going to haul him up by a chain and chop his ass up. I’ll do it. My children aren’t going hungry. I will eat your ass. That’s what I want the globalists to know: I will eat your ass first.”[ This nut-job has many followers, Trump complimented his “amazing reputation.” ]Added Saturday, May 2, 2020.
Muslims ‘immune to coronavirus’ some imams in Somalia say, putting public at risk - Al Arabiya
Some imams in Somalia are saying Muslims are immune to COVID-19, going against senior Muslim scholars who have insisted the coronavirus pandemic is a severe threat to all people around the globe.
“Some mosques spread this rumor that this disease is only for non-believers,” said the medical worker, who wished to remain anonymous in fear of societal backlash, in an interview with Al Arabiya English.Added Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
State rep. won’t wear mask because faces are the ‘likeness of God’ - Ohio Capitol Journal
Having already claimed that face masks do not work, state Rep. Nino Vitale offered a new reason Monday why he wouldn’t wear a mask during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — because faces are the “likeness of God.” Vitale, a Republican from Urbana, has been among the most outspoken critics against the health orders issued by Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. He has called their COVID-19 response unconstitutional and in recent days has openly encouraged Ohioans to ignore their shutdown orders.Added Thursday, May 7, 2020.
- Muslims ‘immune to coronavirus’ some imams in Somalia say, putting public at risk - Al Arabiya
Fauci Urges Trump to Remain on Golf Course Until Pandemic Is Over - The Borowitz Report
Sharply disagreeing with critics of Donald J. Trump’s weekend visit to the Trump National Golf Club, Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged Trump to remain on the golf course until the pandemic is over.
“The people who are giving you a hard time about your golf trip are just haters,” Fauci told Trump on Sunday. “It’s in the best interest of everyone in the country that you keep golfing, Mr. President.”Added Sunday, May 24, 2020
Bill Barr Tests Negative for Integrity - The Borowitz Report
In a test result that he called “a tremendous relief,” the Attorney General, Bill Barr, has tested negative for integrity, Barr confirmed on Friday.
Barr submitted to the test after learning that he had come into contact with career Justice Department prosecutors who were found to be integrity carriers.
“When I learned that there were still people at the Justice Department with integrity, I was understandably furious,” Barr told reporters. “I told them to go home at once.”Added Saturday, May 9, 2020.
Cartoon: Tips for social distancing outdoors - The Daily Kos
[ I see most of this on my walks. ]Added Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
And now, a message from Dr. Anthony Fauci. - Saturday Night Live
[ Brad Pitt playing Fauci. Back on April 10th in an interview Fauci was asked who he'd like to play him, Brad Pitt or Ben Stiller. He chose Brad Pitt. ]Added Sunday, April 26, 2020.
A Spoonful Of Clorox - A Randy Rainbow Song Parody
[ I found this very funny. Randy has other great Trump & COVID-19 videos. ]Added Saturday, April 25, 2020.
Stay At Home Music Festival - psuedon
[ Great group names, like Wu-Han Clan. ]Added Thursday, April 2, 2020.
MASH and the Coronavirus - frankieveepro
I have sincerely believed for a long time that whatever issue life puts in front of us M*A*S*H had a solution.Added Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Toilet Tissue - The Carol Burnett Show Official
Why, why did I have to take my toilet tissue for granted?Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
- Fauci Urges Trump to Remain on Golf Course Until Pandemic Is Over - The Borowitz Report
7 Things To Do If You Can't Leave the House - Internet Archive
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- 7 Things To Do If You Can't Leave the House - Internet Archive
Planet of the Humans - Michael Moore
Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It's too little, too late.Added Saturday, April 25, 2020.
Feature Films - Internet Archive
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Film Noir - Internet Archive
[ A sub-genre of Feature Films. My favorite Internet Archive genre. ]Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
179 History Documentaries You Can Watch Right Now (No Membership Required) - PBS SoCal
Added Monday, March 30, 2020.
Nightly Opera Stream - Metropolitan Opera
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Ken Burns' Baseball - PBS
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
The PhD Movies - PhD Comics
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
15 Broadway Plays and Musicals - Playbill [ the ones on YouTube are free ]
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Seattle Symphony - Seattle Symphony
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Planet of the Humans - Michael Moore
Acorn TV - Acorn TV
[ free month trial using the code “FREE30” ]Added Saturday, April 18, 2020.
The Shows Must Go On! - Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is calling all musical lovers! Starting this Friday, we’ll be releasing a full-length, smash-hit musical once a week for you to watch for free!
It will be available for 48 hours, so you can tune in whenever you like over the weekend!Added Sunday, April 5, 2020.
- HBO Encourages Viewers to #StayHomeBoxOffice with Hundreds of Hours of Free Programming - HBO
Star Trek: Picard - CBS All Access (free 1-month trial)
[ Create an account, enter the code “GIFT” to get a free month. Downside: you need to enter a credit card when creating the account. You can cancel the trial before next month’s bill. ]Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
- Acorn TV - Acorn TV
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Guggenheim Museum, NYC, NY
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Musée d”Orsay, Paris, France
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City, Mexico
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
US National Parks
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
The British Museum - Museum of the World - London, England
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
The Dali Museum - St. Petersburg, FL
Added Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Take Virtual Tours of These Stunning Libraries - I Love Libraries (American Library Association)
Added Friday, March 27, 2020.
The Louvre, Paris, France
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Museum of Flight - Virtual Museum Online, Seattle, WA
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
Pharaoh Ramesses VI Tomb - VRTEEK
[ Wonderful virtual tour of the tomb in the Valley of the Kings. ]Added Sunday, May 17, 2020
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
We collaborate with 190+ leading universities and companiesAdded Thursday, March 26, 2020.
National Emergency Library - Internet Archive
To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.Added Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Here’s The Entire List of College Courses You Can Take For Free Due to School Closings - Totally the Bomb
[ A lot of ads, just keep scrolling. And scrolling, and scrolling… ]Added Monday, March 23, 2020.
22 oversized teddy bears in a rollercoaster. - Buitengebieden
[ Some relief from all the bad news. A video further down adds screams. ]Added Saturday, May 30, 2020
DISTRACTION! - A Randy Rainbow Song Parody
[ Hilarious! ]Added Tuesday, May 19, 2020
"Stayin' Inside" - Corona Virus Bee Gees Parody
Added Friday, March 27, 2020.
Neil Diamond sings “Sweet Caroline” with updated lyric for safety during Covid-19 pandemic.
Added Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Animal and Nature Cams - University of Washington - UWUniversity of Washington
Added Friday, March 20, 2020.
- 22 oversized teddy bears in a rollercoaster. - Buitengebieden
SARS-CoV-2 image courtesy of Scientific Animations
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