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Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Page 5

The U.S. currently has more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than any country in the world. Coronavirus is real it is not a hoax. Coronavirus is not the flu no matter what they say, you can get a flu shot which reduces the chances of you getting the flu, you cannot get a coronavirus shot because there are currently no coronavirus vaccines shots. Coronavirus is deadlier than the flu and spreads faster than the flu. Currently there are no shots or cures for the coronavirus. Coronavirus kills people of all ages. Coronavirus can remain in the air and on surfaces for more than an hour. Someone who is not showing any signs of illness can infect you. Be safe; stay home if directed, keep your distance from others, stay home if sick to prevent possible spread of the disease, wash your hands with soap before you touch your face and wash your hands with soap frequently. Below you can find the latest coronavirus updates statistics, totals, new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends, timelines and more.

Donald J. Trump failure to act quickly and reasonably to protect the American people from the Coronavirus has put America lives at risks.

Live statistics and coronavirus news tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients, and death toll by country due to the COVID 19 coronavirus from Wuhan, China. Coronavirus counter with new cases, historical data, and info. Daily charts, graphs, news and updates

View United States Coronavirus update with statistics and graphs: total and new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends and timeline.

US confirmed 247,403 new cases on Wednesday and 3,656 Americans died of the coronavirus in a single day
Alexandra Villarreal in Austin

Nearly a quarter million new coronavirus infections and more than 3,600 deaths were reported in the United States on Wednesday, shattering previous records as the national vaccination campaign against Covid-19 began rolling out across the country this week. According to Johns Hopkins University, the US confirmed 247,403 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, and another 3,656 Americans died of the virus in a single day. Thursday’s unemployment report also showed new jobless claims rose to 885,000 last week, representing the highest weekly number since September.

In a bittersweet day defined by both hope and despair, some hospital pharmacists on Wednesday reported receiving vials filled with surplus of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, potentially providing millions more doses than expected. Another vaccine by Moderna – which is 94% effective – is also barreling toward emergency authorization as early as this week. A 22-member panel of experts are meeting to discuss its efficacy and potential side effects on Thursday. But no vaccine will be widely available to the American public for months, and in the meantime, overwhelmed hospitals across the country are caring for more than 110,000 coronavirus patients – a staggering figure that has more than tripled since September, according to Washington Post analysis. more...


Sweden, which has never imposed a full lockdown, has seen nearly 350,000 cases and more than 7,800 deaths - a lot more than its Scandinavian neighbours. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he agreed with the king's remarks. "Of course the fact that so many have died can't be considered as anything other than a failure," Mr Lofven told reporters. Referring to the government's strategy, Mr Lofven added that "it's when we are through the pandemic that the real conclusions can be drawn".

In the programme, the king says: "I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died and that is terrible. "The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. One thinks of all the family members who have happened to be unable to say goodbye to their deceased family members. I think it is a tough and traumatic experience not to be able to say a warm goodbye." When asked if he was afraid of being infected with Covid-19, the king - who is 74 - said: "Lately, it has felt more obvious, it has crept closer and closer. That's not what you want." more...

By Hayley SmithStaff Writer

When Erick Fernandez’s alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m., the stress begins. As an emergency room nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Fernandez said his 6 a.m. shift marks the start of a long day. The hospital is home to one of the busiest ERs in the state, and like many, it has been overrun by COVID-19. “The surge is definitely in full force,” Fernandez said. “Sometimes we come in in the morning, and a lot of the areas are just full of COVID patients already.”

In the last week, California has averaged more than 32,000 coronavirus cases each day, according to The Times tracker. That’s a 129% increase from two weeks ago. What’s more, those figures are also contributing to higher hospitalization rates than at any other point during the pandemic. more...

Donnelle Eller Des Moines Register

Tyson Foods Wednesday fired seven employees at its Waterloo pork processing plant following an investigation into allegations that managers and supervisors made bets on the number of workers who would be sickened by the coronavirus. Arkansas-based Tyson last month hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the gaming allegations after they were raised in wrongful death lawsuits filed by families of workers at the plant who died of COVID-19.

The managers' alleged betting scheme occurred early in the pandemic as the coronavirus began tearing through the Waterloo plant, where about 1,000 of 2,800 workers tested positive for it in early May. Tyson Foods CEO Dean Banks said in a statement Wednesday that "behaviors exhibited by these individuals do not represent the Tyson core values." Tyson "took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth. Now that the investigation has concluded, we are taking action based on the findings,” Banks said. “We value our people and expect everyone on the team, especially our leaders, to operate with integrity and care in everything we do,” he said. more...

By The Associated Press

LONDON — London and its surrounding areas will be placed under Britain’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions beginning Wednesday as infections rise rapidly in the capital, the health secretary said Monday, adding that a new variant of the virus may be to blame for the spread. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government must take swift action after seeing “very sharp, exponential rises” in Greater London and nearby Kent and Essex. He said in some areas cases are doubling every seven days.

The surge of COVID-19 cases in southern England may be associated with a new variant of coronavirus, Hancock told lawmakers. He said officials are assessing the new strand but stressed there was nothing to suggest it was more likely to cause serious disease, or that it wouldn’t respond to a vaccine.

“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the south of England, although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas,” he said. Initial analysis suggests that the new variant is growing faster than existing variants, he added. “The medical advice that we have is that it is highly unlikely that this new variant will impinge the vaccine and the impact of the vaccine,” he said. more...

By Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) Every day, the number of families mourning the death of a loved one to Covid-19 keeps growing at a devastating rate.
More than 300,000 people in the US have died from coronavirus since the first known death on February 6. That's an average of more than 961 deaths a day. But this holiday season has been especially brutal, with more than 50,000 deaths in just the past month, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the past week, an average of 2,403 people in the US have died from Covid-19 every day.

"Any death from Covid is a terrible tragedy," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN on Monday.
And the effects go beyond families directly impacted by coronavirus. "I lost my father in April. I wasn't able to see him for the month-and-a-half before. I've gotten to experience the pain of individuals who can't be with their relatives," Azar said. "The pain and the anguish in our health care system in our country is real." Doctors say the death toll will keep accelerating this winter, as Covid-19 hospitalizations reach unprecedented and unsustainable levels. On Sunday, a record-high 109,331 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project. more...

By Maggie Fox, CNN

(CNN) A biotech conference in Boston last February that's already been flagged as a Covid-19 superspreading event led to at least 245,000 other cases across the US and Europe, a new genetic fingerprinting study shows. One single case seems to have been responsible for many of the other eventual cases, the team at the Broad Institute in Massachusetts reported.

Their study finds two particular genetic fingerprints of viruses associated with the conference and then tracks those lineages across the US. One "was exported from Boston to at least 18 US states as well as to other countries, including Australia, Sweden, and Slovakia," the team, led by Bronwyn MacInnis, director of pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute, wrote in the journal Science. One was especially bad. A virus carrying one mutation -- a small genetic change they've flagged as C2416T -- was apparently carried to the conference by a single person, and ended up infecting 245,000 people. A subset of the viral strain with a mutation known as G26233T ended up in 88,000 of these cases. more...

Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 17 to 4 with one member abstaining on Thursday to recommend the approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, the last step before the FDA gives the final OK to broadly distribute the first doses throughout the United States. If the FDA accepts the nonbinding recommendation from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee — which is expected — it would mark a pivotal moment in the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 15.4 million people and killed roughly 290,000 in the U.S. in less than a year.

The committee plays a key role in approving flu and other vaccines in the U.S., verifying the shots are safe for public use. While the FDA doesn’t have to follow the advisory committee’s recommendation, it often does. The FDA could grant emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s vaccine as early as Friday, James Hildreth, a member of the committee, told NBC’s “Weekend Today” on Saturday. An emergency use authorization, or EUA, generally allows a drug or vaccine to be administered to a limited population or setting, such as to hospitalized patients, as the agency continues to evaluate safety data. more...

Dan Barrick, Todd Bookman, Josh Rogers

Rep. Dick Hinch, a Republican who was elected speaker of the New Hampshire House just one week ago, died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This comes about a month before the state legislature, the largest in the U.S., is expected to convene in Concord for its regularly scheduled annual session. The state's attorney general, Gordon MacDonald, announced the cause of death Thursday afternoon with the consent of Hinch's family, following an autopsy by New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Jennie Duval.

Hinch, who was 71 and from Merrimack, was poised to lead his party in the state's House of Representatives. New Hampshire Republicans gained control of both the House and the state Senate from Democrats in elections last month. Hinch was formally elected House speaker on Dec. 2 at an outdoor session held on an athletic field at the University of New Hampshire because of coronavirus concerns. Earlier that same week, several Republican House members were confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending an indoor GOP caucus meeting.

Since then, a member of Gov. Chris Sununu's staff and an employee in the House speaker's office have also tested positive, according to announcements from each office. At the time the legislative staffer's diagnosis was announced, the House speaker's office said: "no legislators were identified as close contacts." more...

Holly Ellyatt

LONDON — People who have a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not receive the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the U.K. drug regulator said Wednesday. The U.K’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency updated its guidance to British health service trusts on who should receive the vaccine after two members of Britain’s National Health Service experienced allergic reactions to the shot. Both are recovering well, according to the national medical director for the NHS.

“Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector) should not receive the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine,” the regulatory agency said. Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS, said such a precaution “is common with new vaccines.”

The U.K. was the first country to approve and administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. On Tuesday, it began a massive vaccination drive starting in hospitals, with health and care home workers and those over age 80 first in line to be inoculated. more...

By Sharon Braithwaite and Amy Cassidy, CNN

London (CNN)People with a "significant history of allergic reactions" should not be given the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, UK health authorities said Wednesday, after two healthcare workers had symptoms after receiving a shot the day before. The precautionary advice was given after the pair "responded adversely" following their shots on the first day of the mass vaccination rollout in the UK, National Health Service England said Wednesday. Both staff members reportedly had a significant history of allergic reactions and carried adrenaline autoinjectors, according to PA Media. Thousands overall are believed to have been vaccinated in the UK on Tuesday.

"As is common with new vaccines the MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday," said Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England, in a statement. "Both are recovering well."

"Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector) should not receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine," states the new MHRA advice, PA Media reported. It said that vaccines "should only be carried out in facilities where resuscitation measures are available." Vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit told CNN that allergic reactions to vaccines were not uncommon: "Certainly, vaccines can cause severe allergic reactions. In the United States, roughly one of every 1.4 million doses of vaccines is complicated by a severe allergic reaction." more...

Bill Bostock

The first man to get Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine out of trials in England was called William Shakespeare. The UK approved the vaccine last week, and begun inoculating vulnerable people in the Midland county Warwickshire on Tuesday. Shakespeare, 81, and his literary namesake were both born in the county, and the internet wasted no time cracking jokes. Adaptions of the titles of Shakespeare's plays were popular, including "The Taming of the Flu" and "The Two Gentlemen of Corona."

One of the first people injected with Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine outside trials in England was called William Shakespeare. The UK became the first country to approve the vaccine on Wednesday last week, and began administering it to vulnerable people on Tuesday morning. The first recipient was Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother, who was injected at 6:31 a.m. local time at University Hospital in Coventry, Warwickshire. Moments later, 81-year-old William Shakespeare became the first man to be inoculated, the BBC said. more...

CBS News

Florida authorities investigating an alleged hack into the state's emergency response system raided the home Monday of a woman fired earlier this year from her job as COVID-19 data curator. Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that Rebekah Jones, who was fired for unauthorized public comments about the data in May, has been under investigation since early November when someone illegally accessed the state's emergency alert health system. Jones tweeted video of the officers entering her home, claiming Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis "sent the gestapo" to silence her. Jones was fired from her post in May after she raised questions about Florida's COVID-19 data. She had been reprimanded several times and was ultimately fired for violating Health Department policy by making public remarks about the information, state records show. more...

Guardian staff and agencies

The co-owner of a New York City bar that authorities said defied coronavirus restrictions was taken into custody early on Sunday, after running over a deputy. Danny Presti tried to drive away from the Staten Island bar, Mac’s Public House, as deputies were arresting him for serving patrons in violation of city and state closure orders, Sheriff Joseph Fucito said. Presti struck the deputy and kept driving for about 100 yards even as the deputy was left hanging on to the hood, Fucito said, adding that the 34-year-old was eventually stopped and apprehended. Charges were pending.

Much more conservative than the rest of New York City, Staten Island was the only one of the five boroughs to vote for Donald Trump in November. It is home to many police officers and firefighters and is usually seen as supportive of law enforcement. Mac’s Public House was the site of protests this week, after sheriff’s deputies arrested Presti on charges of violating restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus and obstructing governmental administration. The bar is in an area designated an orange zone by Governor Andrew Cuomo and was not supposed to be serving indoors. But the owners declared the bar an “autonomous zone”, a reference to leftwing protesters against racism and police brutality who claimed control over a Seattle neighborhood in June. more...

Amanda Holpuch in New York

Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for Covid-19, the president tweeted on Sunday. Giuliani, 76 and a former mayor of New York City, has been leading Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden, through lawsuits in battleground states. Trump did not specify when Giuliani tested positive or if he was experiencing symptoms. Giuliani did not immediately comment. It was not immediately clear if he was at a hospital. “Rudy Giuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus,” Trump tweeted, using a racist term for the coronavirus. “Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” Hours before Trump made the announcement, Giuliani was interviewed on Fox News. He appeared in good spirits while sharing baseless claims of election fraud during the 10-minute interview. more...

Dr. Steven LaTulippe's remarks at a pro-Trump rally gained attention, but patients had previously complained about his medical guidance regarding COVID-19.
Salvador Hernandez BuzzFeed News Reporter

Dr. Steven LaTulippe proclaimed to a crowd of President Trump supporters on Nov. 7 that "COVID-19 is no more" and that, throughout the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed more than 275,000 people in the US this year, neither he nor the staff at his clinic ever wore a face mask when seeing patients. "I hate to tell you this. I might scare you, but I and my staff, none of us, once wore a mask in my clinic," LaTulippe told a cheering crowd protesting the presidential election results in Salem, Oregon, where attendees aired unfounded and baseless conspiracies of massive voter fraud. "I want to expose what I call 'corona-mania.'"

On Thursday, the Oregon Medical Board suspended LaTulippe's license and ordered the family practice doctor to "stop practicing medicine until further order of the Board," calling his actions "a serious danger to the public health or safety." According to the order, not only have LaTulippe and his staff refused to wear masks at the South View Medical Arts clinic in Dallas, Oregon, but also, "urge persons who enter the clinic wearing masks to remove their masks." "[LaTulippe] regularly tells his patients that masks are ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and should not be worn," the statement reads, despite ongoing evidence that face coverings reduces the risks of spreading a virus that has so far infected more than 14.4 million people in the US. more...

Efforts to develop a vaccine is a plot by Russia and China to spread communism worldwide, said department readiness and countermeasures manager Igor Shepherd.
By The Associated Press

CASPER, Wyo. — A Wyoming Department of Health official involved in the state's response to the coronavirus questioned the legitimacy of the pandemic and described a forthcoming vaccine as a biological weapon at a recent event. The “so-called pandemic” and efforts to develop a vaccine are plots by Russia and China to spread communism worldwide, department readiness and countermeasures manager Igor Shepherd said at the Nov. 10 event held by the group Keep Colorado Free and Open.

Shepherd was introduced as and talked about being a Wyoming Department of Health employee in the hour-plus presentation in Loveland, Colorado. Shepherd's baseless and unsubstantiated claims undermined Wyoming's public health measures — and public exhortations — to limit the spread of the virus, as well as its plans to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in the months ahead. Even so, Wyoming officials including Gov. Mark Gordon, who at a recent news conference called people not taking the virus seriously “knuckleheads,” declined to comment. more...

*** Do not believe the lies masks do not kill people, mask save lives. ***

By Miriam Valverde

Masks do not kill people and do not reduce blood oxygen levels. For more than seven minutes, a video on Facebook shows a man in a large brown chair reading calmly from his notes, predicting global food shortages as "a side effect of the coronavirus hoax," and misleading about the use of masks to prevent the spread of the virus. About 34 seconds in, the man says: "The masks will kill quite a few people, it’s well known that they reduce blood oxygen levels and those with respiratory and cardiac disorders will die. It’s true that surgeons wear masks, but they are different masks and different circumstances and not usually worn all day."

As he reads in a matter-of-fact tone, big red capital letters frame the video: "They want to kill 6 billion of us. Here’s how they will do it." The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) The man in the Facebook video was described by The Bangkok Post, a Thailand-based news outlet as a doctor, prolific author, and former newspaper columnist "who has built a career on being anti-establishment," and is now "peddling played-out COVID-19 conspiracy theories."

This video includes several unfounded and wrong claims, but this fact-check will focus on the claim about masks having a deadly effect. Bottom line: Public health experts say masks are effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus, and while some people may experience some discomfort wearing them, masks are generally safe to use. (The American Lung Association has suggestions on how to get used to wearing a mask.) more...

By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline

Facebook will remove harmful anti-vaxx propaganda from the social media platform as the world prepares to receive the first coronavirus vaccine. False claims about the jab doing the rounds on the site will be removed and the company will also expand its ban on anti-vaxx adverts to include Covid-19. Prominent conspiracy theories propagating on all forms of social media by poorly-informed individuals include the wholly false claim the coronavirus vaccine contains microchips which governments will use to spy on citizens.

The company warned in a statement that it will 'not be able to start enforcing these policies overnight'. The move expands Facebook's current rules against falsehoods and conspiracy theories about the pandemic. It currently takes down coronavirus misinformation that poses a risk of 'imminent' harm, while labeling and reducing distribution of other false claims that fail to reach that threshold. In October, the company announced it would ban ads that discourage people from getting vaccines and this will now also apply to new Covid-19 vaccines. more...

The president of France from 1974 to 1981 was a champion of European integration.
By The Associated Press

PARIS — Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the president of France from 1974 to 1981 who became a champion of European integration, died on Wednesday. He was 94. Giscard d’Estaing’s office said he passed away in his family home in the Loir-et-Cher region, in central France, after contracting COVID-19. “In accordance with his wishes, his funeral will take place in strict privacy,” his office said. Giscard d’Estaing was hospitalized last month with heart problems, but remained vigorous deep into old age.

In a January interview with The Associated Press, he displayed a firm handshake and sharp eye, recounting details from his meetings as French president in the 1970s with then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and then-Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, whose photos graced his office walls. He wrote the article in the EU charter that allowed Brexit to happen — the brief measure that allows a member state to leave the bloc.

On the eve of Britain’s departure this year, Giscard told AP it was a “step backward” geopolitically, but took the long view. “We functioned without Britain during the first years of the European Union ... So we will rediscover a situation that we have already known.” Born in Germany in the wake of World War I, Giscard d’Estaing helped liberate Paris from the Nazis in the next world war, and later laid the groundwork for the shared euro currency and helped integrate Britain into what became the EU in the 1970s. Seeing the Britons leave, “I feel great regret,” he said. He remained unfailingly optimistic in the European project, forecasting that the EU and the euro would bounce back and gradually grow stronger and bigger despite the challenges of losing a major member. more...


Sweden did things differently when the coronavirus first appeared in Europe. Other countries locked down to stop COVID-19 from spreading. Sweden relied largely on voluntary social distancing. But now infections, deaths and hospitalizations are surging. A recent poll shows that Swedes are losing confidence in the country's ability to combat the virus. The government is now rethinking its strategy. And we're joined by reporter Maddy Savage in Stockholm. Thanks so much for being with us.

MADDY SAVAGE: Thank you.

MCCAMMON: What are the latest infection numbers, Maddy? And what kind of spike in cases and deaths has Sweden seen?

SAVAGE: Well, things aren't looking good here in Sweden right now. Just to give you a bit of context, you might remember it did badly at the start of the pandemic - very high case numbers in proportion to its population size. But in July, August - over the summer here, numbers dropped significantly, which got a lot of anti-lockdown supporters around the world praising the strategy. more...

By Maggie Fox, CNN

(CNN) Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 13-1 on Tuesday to recommend that both health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line for any coronavirus vaccines that get emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted to include both groups in what they're calling Phase 1a of the CDC's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. They are at "exceptionally high risk," Dr. Jose Romero, who chairs ACIP, said.

"Long term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently," the CDC said. These very frail people account for 40% of coronavirus deaths in the US and the ACIP committee members felt strongly they need to be protected. So far, the CDC's Sara Oliver told the meeting, 100,000 long term care facility residents have died from Covid-19. ACIP members also agreed it would be efficient to vaccinate the staff working in nursing homes and similar long term care facilities and the residents at the same time.

And no one had doubts about the need to protect health care workers. More than 240,000 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus and 858 have died, the CDC says. "Anybody that works within a health care institution that could have contact with an individual who has Covid should receive vaccination," Romero told CNN before the meeting started. "That includes individuals such as the persons delivering food, those persons in housekeeping who rapidly turn over rooms in the emergency room or who perform cleaning in the patient's rooms. Those individuals will be included." more...

By Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer was blunt about the region’s coronavirus conditions, calling this time — nearly nine months in — “the most difficult moment in the pandemic.” Both cases and hospitalizations have hit unprecedented levels. And officials fully expect conditions to deteriorate rapidly in the coming weeks, following Thanksgiving gatherings and other holiday-related events. “The increases we’re seeing now are not sustainable,” Ferrer said. “They’re not sustainable, because they’re gonna overwhelm not just our healthcare system, but the entire state’s healthcare system.” Such predictions have been echoed by state officials and public health experts. more...

By Sharon Braithwaite and Emma Reynolds, CNN

(CNN) Coronavirus cases dropped by around 30% in England during the country's second national lockdown, researchers say. Swab tests on more than 105,000 people showed that Covid-19 infections are declining in England, according to an interim report from the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) program. The report includes results from home coronavirus tests taken between November 13 and 24, and shows that "an estimated 0.96% of England's population has the virus, or around 1 in 100 people."

"This is roughly a 30% drop in the number of infections compared with previous findings, where more than 1 in 80 or 1.3% of people had the virus as of 2nd November," according to the researchers from Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI. The four-week national lockdown in England, which saw non-essential businesses close and residents told not to mix with other households, began on November 5 and will end on Wednesday. It came after the UK experienced a second wave of infection, which particularly affected regions in the north of England. The government introduced a localized system for the country, under which regions where infections were high were placed under tighter restrictions than other areas. England will return to a tiered system on Wednesday. "We're seeing a fall in infections at the national level and in particular across regions that were previously worst affected. These trends suggest that the tiered approach helped to curb infections in these areas and that lockdown has added to this effect," said Paul Elliott, the director of the program at Imperial. more...

*** Ted Cruz was wrong or lying like many do in the republican party. ***

The U.S. senator from Texas was spectacularly wrong in his "guarantee" about what would happen immediately after the 2020 election.
David Mikkelson

One of the many striking aspects of the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. was that the public response to social distancing restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus was sharply divided over partisan political lines. As one (of many) academic studies found that year, “Individuals’ social distancing has more to do with whether they are Republicans or Democrats than the incidence of COVID-19 in their communities, and the effect of partisanship on the willingness to social distance is increasing over time, especially among Republicans.”

Each side blamed the other for “weaponizing” the pandemic response, with President Donald Trump accusing Democrats of hypocrisy during the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign by repeatedly asserting that come the day after the Nov. 3 election (i.e., when COVID would no longer be a useful political issue), Americans wouldn’t be hearing much about the coronavirus any more:

Trump’s words on the campaign trail echoed those of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who on July 22, 2020, “guaranteed” that if Democratic challenger Joe Biden won the election, within a week, Democrats would lift pandemic-related restrictions on schools and businesses and claim that “suddenly all the problems are solved”: more...

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) Following a month of skyrocketing Covid-19 cases, the US has reached its highest number yet of hospitalizations due to the virus. The US surpassed 80,000 daily hospitalizations on November 19 and set new records steadily for 17 days straight until Friday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Then on Saturday, the number reached 91,635. The spread of coronavirus has been climbing at concerning rates leading up to and just following the Thanksgiving holiday and could soon be getting worse due to holiday travel, experts say. As of Saturday, more than 13.2 million people have been infected by the virus and at least 266,047 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 4 million of the total cases of the pandemic have been reported in the month of November (about 30%), and more than 100,000 cases have been recorded every day for the last 26 consecutive days, JHU said. more...

By Frances Mulraney For Dailymail.com

Health experts are warning that daily deaths from COVID-19 in the United States could double to 4,000 within the next ten days due to the impact of the colder weather and Thanksgiving travel. They caution that despite the prospect of a vaccine, the country's outbreak is far from over and could be 'rounding the corner into a calamity' after hitting a record 90,000 hospitalizations on Thursday. It comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says that Christmas and the New Year won't be any different to Thanksgiving, as he projected rising coronavirus cases throughout December.

The US hit over 13 million infections on Black Friday as 205,000 new cases were recorded, likely consisting of some Thanksgiving figures when 20 states did not report any data. It marked the country's 25th consecutive day with more than 100,000 new cases. There have been more than 264,000 deaths in total, with five states setting death records this week and 23 states reporting higher case counts than last week. The US reported less than 1,000 daily deaths only twice in the last week, while the two days prior to Thanksgiving each saw more than 2,000 American deaths. more...

Andrea Hsu

Just a few months into the coronavirus pandemic, Holly Smith had already made up her mind. She was not going to reopen her restaurant to diners until there was a vaccine. She just didn't think it was safe. When she shared the decision with her staff, they asked: Would the vaccine be mandatory? Yes, she said. It would be.

"I'm not going to open until I can indeed be sure that everyone on my staff is vaccinated," says Smith, chef and owner of Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Wash. "The immediate people on the team — you've got to take care of them. If you don't take care of them, they cannot help you take care of business."

With promising news from three COVID-19 vaccine trials showing 90% to 95% efficacy, employers are now weighing whether they should simply encourage their employees to get vaccinated or make it mandatory. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has stated that employers can legally impose a flu vaccine requirement on their workforce, but employees have the right to request medical or religious exemptions under federal anti-discrimination laws. Each claim must be evaluated on its own merits, a time-consuming process for employers. more...

Arthur Brice

Is Canadian pathologist Dr. Roger Hodkinson correct when he asserts that COVID-19 is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public" and "just another bad flu"? No, neither of those claims is true: Data from the CDC show that COVID-19 deaths so far in the United States are four times greater than the highest level of deaths reported each year from flu. Similarly, data from the WHO show that COVID deaths worldwide so far are more than double the average number of global flu deaths. Clearly, the severity of COVID-19 is not a hoax and the fatality rate for the disease surpasses that of even the worst year for the flu. Health officials also point out that COVID-19 is more easily transmitted than the flu. The claim appeared in an article published by Infowars on November 18, 2020, titled "Top Pathologist Claims Coronavirus is 'The Greatest Hoax Ever Perpetrated on an Unsuspecting Public'" (archived here) which opened:

James Crump

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been accused of overseeing a “killing spree”, after he extended a ban on cities in the state imposing their own mask mandates. On Wednesday, Mr DeSantis extended an executive order issued in September, which prevented local governments from fining residents who refused to wear face masks, or from closing restaurants not complying with coronavirus measures.

The decision on 25 September prompted the start of the state’s third phase of pandemic measures, which allowed restaurants and bars to open at 100 per cent capacity. Florida Democratic officials criticised the governor for the extension of the executive order on Wednesday, amid a spike in cases in the state. Chris King, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, quote tweeted a local news story about the decision, adding: “Alternate headline: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Continues Killing Spree.” more...

UK drug company says that while further research is needed, it did not expect it to delay regulatory approval in Europe.

AstraZeneca might have to run an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, after concerns were raised about the effectiveness of its jab. The British company’s chief executive Pascal Soriot was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg News report on Thursday that an additional study would be run to evaluate a lower dosage that performed better than a full amount in AstraZeneca’s studies.

“Now that we’ve found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study,” Soriot was quoted as saying. Soriot said it would probably be another “international study, but this one could be faster because we know the efficacy is high, so we need a smaller number of patients”. The news comes as AstraZeneca, and its partner the University of Oxford, has faced questions about its success rate that some experts said could hinder its chances of getting speedy approval by United States and European Union’s regulators. more....

Matt Cannon

About 250 anti-lockdown protesters gathered for a Thanksgiving meal in Oregon on Wednesday, just hours after the state's governor extended COVID-19 restrictions. Attendees at the "Defeat the Steal and Defy the Lockdown" rally reportedly included crowds from past pro-Trump events and members of the far-right Proud Boy group, Demonstrators were encouraged to bring dishes, such as turkey and pies, for a sharing buffet and were pictured sitting at rows of tables or under tents amid the afternoon drizzle in Salem, the Statesman Journal reports.

"The lockdown shouldn't be happening," one attendee, Geena Shipman of Springfield, told the local newspaper. "When businesses have to close ... it affects them. A lot of people have worked their whole lives to build a company to support their family and they're getting shut down because they can't afford to stay open ... and that's not fair." Several anti-lockdown protests have been held in Oregon in recent weeks, with Governor Kate Brown defeating a legal challenge from local restaurant owners calling for statewide anti-coronavirus measures to be lifted. more...

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

(CNN) In a 5-4 ruling, the US Supreme Court sided with religious organizations in a dispute over Covid-19 restrictions put in place by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo limiting the number of people attending religious services. The case is the latest pitting religious groups against city and state officials seeking to stop the spread of Covid-19, and it highlights the impact of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Court. The decision comes as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

In the late-night decision, Barrett sided with her conservative colleagues in the dispute, while Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent. The ruling underscores Barrett's impact on the bench, reflecting the Court's rightward shift. Last spring and summer, before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court split 5-4 on similar cases out of California and Nevada, with Roberts and the liberals in the majority siding against houses of worship. Barrett was confirmed in October to take Ginsburg's seat. more...

By John Bowden

Sweden's top infectious disease expert said Tuesday that the country has not seen evidence of herd immunity slowing the spread of the coronavirus in the country. “The issue of herd immunity is difficult,” Anders Tegnell, Sweden's state epidemiologist, said at a news briefing, according to Bloomberg News. “We see no signs of immunity in the population that are slowing down the infection right now," Tegnell said. Sweden has seen a resurgence of the virus in recent weeks, with the rate of new infections more than doubling from earlier this year.

The country has recorded roughly a quarter of a million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and about 6,500 deaths from the disease, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Some U.S. officials including Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of President Trump's coronavirus task force, have promoted a strategy of herd immunity despite repeated warnings from health experts that such a plan would be insufficient for controlling the spread of the virus or limiting deaths in the U.S. Advocates of the idea have pointed to Sweden as an example, citing the country's unwillingness to implement lockdown measures inhibiting public life to stop the virus's spread. more...

By Arman Azad and Alaa Elassar, CNN

(CNN) The US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Regeneron's antibody cocktail to treat Covid-19 in high-risk patients with mild to moderate disease. President Donald Trump received the therapy, called REGEN-COV2, when he was hospitalized for coronavirus. The treatment has to be infused into the bloodstream and is meant to mimic an immune response to infection. The cocktail reduced Covid-19-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits in some patients within 28 days of treatment, the FDA said in a news release.

Regeneron's chief executive officer, Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, said in a statement that demand may initially exceed supply, "making it even more critical that federal and state governments ensure REGEN-COV2 is distributed fairly and equitably to the patients most in need." An emergency use authorization (EUA) is a lower regulatory bar than full approval by the FDA. An EUA allows products to be used under particular circumstances before all the evidence is available for approval. "When used to treat COVID-19 for the authorized population, the known and potential benefits of these antibodies outweigh the known and potential risks," the FDA said. Regeneron submitted its application for the authorization in October, shortly after Trump tested positive for the coronavirus and received the biotechnology company's antibody therapy. more...

Laurel Wamsley at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Denmark's agriculture minister has resigned, amid backlash to the government's order to cull all of the country's mink population. Mogens Jensen stepped down on Wednesday. He released a statement in which he said his ministry had made a mistake in ordering the destruction of all minks in Denmark. Jensen repeated his earlier apologies, offering particular regret to the country's mink farmers.

Last week it emerged that Denmark's government did not have the legislation in place for such a directive, though a deal was later reached to create a retroactive legal basis for the cull. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also apologized earlier in the week, and said the government had not been aware that there was no legal basis for its decision. "I do not mean to disregard the law," she said, according to The Associated Press. Still, the cull of Denmark's 17 million farmed mink — which are raised for their fur — continues, and must be completed by midnight Thursday. more...


South Dakota is, by any measure, one of the hardest-hit states by the coronavirus surge in the United States right now. Yet, amid a rapidly worsening situation Governor Kristi Noem is making sure people know that if President-elect Joe Biden moves to institute a national mask mandate, she won't comply. In his latest episode of The Point, CNN's Chris Cillizza explains how Noem is choosing politics over safety to propel her national standing within the Republican Party. video...

Will Feuer, Leslie Josephs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended Americans against traveling for Thanksgiving to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Dr. Henry Walke, CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, said there is “no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask.”

“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” he said. “For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living.” Walke added that the CDC is concerned “about the transportation hubs.” He said he’s worried people won’t be able to maintain social distancing while waiting in line, for example, to board buses and planes.

“We’re alarmed,” he said, adding that the country has seen an “exponential increase” in cases, hospitalizations and deaths recently. “One of our concerns is that as people over the holiday season get together, they may actually be bringing infections with them to that small gathering and not even know it.” Roughly 30% to 40% of Covid-19′s spread is driven by people without symptoms, he said. more...

Good Morning America

Newlyweds Mikayla and Anthony spoke to WLWT about their Halloween wedding that got 32 guests sick, including the bride, groom and three of their grandparents. video...

NBC News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to close New York City schools as the city reaches 3 percent Covid-19 positivity rate. In a heated exchange with a reporter, Cuomo pointed to the city’s previous decisions with shutting down schools and state laws that have been put in place. video...

By Emma Reynolds, CNN

(CNN) Lockdowns could be avoided if everyone followed health measures such as wearing masks, the World Health Organization's top Europe official said at a Thursday news briefing. WHO Europe's Regional Director Hans Kluge stressed that lockdowns should be a "last resort," and urged the public to follow guidance to help to prevent deaths. He said that if 95% of people wore masks, instead of the current 60%, "lockdowns would not be needed" -- although he added that mask use was not a "panacea" and needed to be combined with other measures. "If we all do our share, lockdowns are avoidable," Kluge said. more...

Joel Shannon USA TODAY

South Dakota's high rates of COVID-19 and low virus regulation have sparked criticism even as some dying of the virus there don't believe it poses a real threat. That's according to Jodi Doering, a South Dakota nurse who has gained national attention for her account of working on the front lines in a state where leaders have long minimized the impact of the virus and refused to implement rules like mask mandates.

"I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real," Doering wrote in a Saturday tweet. "They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don’t have COViD because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens." In an interview with CNN, Doering said her description wasn't about a single patient. She tweeted after her frustration boiled over, as she recalled numerous patients whose dying words echoed the same theme: "This can't be happening. It's not real." more...

By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent

(CNN) The Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to early data released Monday by the company, making it the second vaccine in the United States to have a stunningly high success rate. "These are obviously very exciting results," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor. "It's just as good as it gets -- 94.5% is truly outstanding." Moderna heard its results on a call Sunday afternoon with members of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board, an independent panel analyzing Moderna's clinical trial data.

"It was one of the greatest moments in my life and my career. It is absolutely amazing to be able to develop this vaccine and see the ability to prevent symptomatic disease with such high efficacy," said Dr. Tal Zacks, Moderna's chief medical officer. Vaccinations could begin in the second half of December, Fauci said. Vaccinations are expected to begin with high-risk groups and to be available for the rest of the population next spring.

Unexpectedly high efficacy rates
Last week, Pfizer announced that early data show its vaccine is more than 90% effective against the disease. In Moderna's trial, 15,000 study participants were given a placebo, which is a shot of saline that has no effect. Over several months, 90 of them developed Covid-19, with 11 developing severe forms of the disease. Another 15,000 participants were given the vaccine, and only five of them developed Covid-19. None of the five became severely ill. more...

By Nathaniel Weixel

California is pulling the "emergency brake" and tightening restrictions for 94 percent of the state's residents amid a record-breaking increase in coronavirus cases. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday said 41 of the state's 58 counties will be put into the most restrictive "purple" tier because of widespread virus transmission, effective tomorrow. This means indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and houses of worship will be closed. “We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement.

Those counties must make changes in the next 24 hours, Newsom said during a press briefing, rather than the three days allowed under the state's reopening blueprint. Counties will also be moved back after only one week of rising infection spread, rather than two. Counties will be reassessed multiple times during the course of a week, and they will be unable to move forward until the numbers improve and the state deems it safe. Newsom said the state will no longer wait until each Tuesday to impose new restrictions on counties.

Daily cases have doubled in the state over the last 10 days, the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. The state's positivity rate over the past seven days is 4.6 percent. While much lower than the national average, Newsom said that rate is far too high. Just two weeks ago, the state's positivity rate was 3.2 percent. If left unchecked, Newsom said the spread could quickly overwhelm the state's health care system and lead to "catastrophic outcomes." more...

Exclusive: study of low-risk individuals finds impairments four months after infection
Linda Geddes - the guardian

Young and previously healthy people with ongoing symptoms of Covid-19 are showing signs of damage to multiple organs four months after the initial infection, a study suggests. The findings are a step towards unpicking the physical underpinnings and developing treatments for some of the strange and extensive symptoms experienced by people with “long Covid”, which is thought to affect more than 60,000 people in the UK. Fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness and pain are among the most frequently reported effects.

On Sunday, the NHS announced it would launch a network of more than 40 long Covid specialist clinics where doctors, nurses and therapists will assess patients’ physical and psychological symptoms. The Coverscan study aims to assess the long-term impact of Covid-19 on organ health in around 500 “low-risk” individuals – those who are relatively young and without any major underlying health complaints – with ongoing Covid symptoms, through a combination of MRI scans, blood tests, physical measurements and online questionnaires.

Preliminary data from the first 200 patients to undergo screening suggests that almost 70% have impairments in one or more organs, including the heart, lungs, liver and pancreas, four months after their initial illness. “The good news is that the impairment is mild, but even with a conservative lens, there is some impairment, and in 25% of people it affects two or more organs,” said Amitava Banerjee, a cardiologist and associate professor of clinical data science at University College London. “This is of interest because we need to know if [the impairments] continue or improve – or if there is a subgroup of people who could get worse.” more...

Joel Shannon, Joshua Bote USA TODAY

Many Americans are bracing for increased virus restrictions and the possibility of fall and winter lockdowns, even as leaders in some areas are doubling-down on their hands-off approach. The nation's surge in cases continues: On Friday, the U.S. recorded 184,514 new daily infections, breaking yet another record, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The U.S. first surpassed 100,000 new daily cases on Nov. 5 and has continued to break the daily record since then.

Meanwhile, Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who tested positive for the virus on Friday, has repeatedly argued that containing the virus is largely up to individuals. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has emphasized new treatments and vaccines that are expected to become available soon. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's office said she has no intention of using state resources to enforce any federal COVID-19 orders that might come from a Biden administration. South Dakota is a current global hot spot for the virus. more...

Will Feuer

The United States reported another record one-day spike in Covid-19 cases as the outbreak grows more severe and overwhelms some hospitals. The country reported more than 153,400 new cases on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s the third-straight record one-day spike and has pushed the seven-day average of new U.S. infections to over 131,400, up more than 32% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data.

It’s not just cases. More than 67,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, more than at any other point during the pandemic, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. The number of people dying every day from the disease is climbing, too. more...

“If we are saying we can go back to work after testing positive—how do we expect the public to take this pandemic seriously?” one nurse told the Beast.
Pilar Melendez

At one hospital in North Dakota, nurses are being forced to test patients for the deadly coronavirus with only a surgical mask. And across the state, scores of nurses are working several overnight shifts in a row, scared to speak up as North Dakota grapples with a rapid coronavirus spike that’s left hospitals facing a dangerous shortage of beds. On Monday, state officials announced a seemingly counterproductive band-aid to combat the tidal wave of cases that have overwhelmed the mostly rural hospital system: COVID-19 positive nurses and other health-care workers can come to work.

Now, nurses are mad as hell. “Nurses are very highly trusted in our community, and if we are saying we can go back to work after testing positive—how do we expect the public to take this pandemic seriously?” Tessa Johnson, president of the North Dakota Nurses Association, told The Daily Beast. “I have heard that from a lot of people that they are at their breaking point. I think we are going to lose nurses from this. It has affected everyone in a different way,” she added. more...

By Alexandra Odynova

Moscow — At least four Russian health care workers given the country's first COVID-19 vaccine have contracted the coronavirus, as its developers claim human trials show their formula is 92% effective. The efficacy claim from the government-run lab that developed the vaccine came on the heels of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's announcement of data showing that its vaccine, developed in conjunction with a German company, is 90% effective.

The Russian vaccine was registered as a safe, effective drug by the country's regulatory body in August with the name Sputnik V, even as it continued undergoing Phase 3 human trials. Pharmaceutical companies have worked with government agencies in many countries, in unprecedented public-private initiatives, to expedite what is typically a 10-year process to get effective vaccines approved and into circulation. more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) Following weeks of rapid climbs in Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, more state leaders have begun asking residents to stay at home in hopes of helping curb an already rampant spread of the virus. The announcements also come as Texas became the first US state to surpass a million cases. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is asking people to commit to a voluntary plan he calls "Stay at Home 2.0" in the next two weeks in efforts to push a "significant reversal of the current trends" in the state.

"We have to go back to the basics," the governor said, encouraging businesses to return to telecommuting as much as possible and asking residents to avoid hosting groups of people over for dinners, parties and other gatherings. Wisconsin's governor announced Tuesday he's signed a new order advising people to "stay home to save lives." "It's not safe to go out, it's not safe to have others over," he said. "Please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and playdates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead." more...

By Caitlin O'Kane

An education watchdog in the U.K. found that some children have regressed due to COVID-19-related school closures and restrictions. A report from Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, says some kids have fallen back in basic skills – and some who were greatly impacted have even forgotten how to use a fork and knife.

Ofsted made visits to 900 schools and early childcare providers in September and October, according to a press release from the U.K. government department. It found there are three "broad groups" of children, according to chief inspector, Amanda Spielman.

One is the "hardest hit" group of young kids. This group has suffered from time out of school and has gone backwards on words and numbers. This group has also reverted to diapers after being potty-trained or lost "basic skills" such as using a knife and fork. The majority of children are in the middle group and "have slipped back in their learning to varying degrees since schools were closed to most children and movement restricted." According to Spielman, the "lost learning is unarguable, but it is hard to assess." more...

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

(CNN) A small minority of places where people go frequently account for a large majority of coronavirus infections in big cities, according to a new modeling study. The study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, suggests that reducing the maximum occupancy in such places -- including restaurants, gyms, cafes and hotels -- can slow the spread of illness substantially.

"Our model predicts that capping points-of-interest at 20% of maximum occupancy can reduce the infections by more than 80%, but we only lose around 40% of the visits when compared to a fully reopening with usual maximum occupancy," Jure Leskovec, an author of the study and associate professor of computer science at Stanford University, said during a press briefing on Tuesday. "Our work highlights that it doesn't have to be all or nothing," he said. The model also found significant racial and socioeconomic inequities in coronavirus infections. more...

By Holly Yan and Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) In less than 10 months, the US went from one known coronavirus infection to 10 million. That bleak milestone was reached Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And the most recent 1 million infections happened faster than any previous million, in just 10 days.

The virus is now spreading exponentially in all regions of the country. As of Monday, 43 states reported at least 10% more new Covid-19 cases compared to last week, according to Johns Hopkins. And the rate of new infections is far outpacing the rate of testing. The average daily number of new cases soared 34% over the past week, but testing has only increased 7.41% over the past week, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

"We absolutely need more testing. Cases are rising faster than testing rates are rising," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. And with every surge in new infections comes new hospitalizations and deaths. More than 237,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins. But amid the horrific trends, there's some good news on the vaccine front. more...

CLAIM: The U.S. has “a better handle on [COVID-19] than Europe”; “the disease is less deadly here than it is in most of Europe, based on case fatality data”

VERDICT: Misleading

Cherry-picking: Instead of reporting data from the entire time period of the pandemic, the article only uses statistics from September and October 2020, when cases in Europe began to spike, to claim that the U.S. has outdone Europe in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Inaccurate: More people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. than any other country in the world. When data is normalized to account for differences in population size across countries, the number of deaths in the U.S. remains higher than that of Europe. The claim that COVID-19 is less deadly in the U.S. than in Europe is false. more...

Mutations in mink herds and wildlife such as weasels, badgers, ferrets may pose risk to human health and vaccine development
Sophie Kevany and Tom Carstensen

A Danish vaccine specialist has warned that a new wave of coronavirus could be started by the Covid-19 mink variant. “The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark. There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore [the mutation] would slam us all in the whole world back to the start,” said Prof Kåre Mølbak, vaccine expert and director of infectious diseases at Denmark’s State Serum Institute (SSI). He added, however, that the world was in a better place than when the Covid-19 outbreak began.“We know the virus, have measures in place including testing and infection control, and the outbreak will be contained, to the best of our knowledge.” more...

Denmark’s prime minister wants to cull all minks in farms to minimise the risk of re-transmitting COVID-19 to humans.

Denmark’s State Serum Institute, which deals with infectious diseases, has found mink-related strands of the novel coronavirus in 214 people since June, according to a report on its website updated on November 5. Meanwhile, one strain of the mutated coronavirus, which has prompted Denmark to cull its entire herd of mink, has been found in 12 people and on five mink farms so far.

Early this week, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the government wants to cull all minks on farms to minimise the risk of the weasel-like mammals’ re-transmitting COVID-19 to humans. Health minister Magnus Heunicke said half the 783 human COVID-19 cases in northern Denmark “are related” to minks. “It is very, very serious,” Frederiksen said. “Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide.” more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) The US reported more than 121,000 infections Thursday, beating a daily case record it set just 24 hours ago. The grim tally comes after Wednesday's record of more than 100,000 cases, which was the first time the US hit a six-figure number of infections. That means in just two days, the country reported more than 220,000 positive tests, bringing the past week's total to more than 660,000 new cases of the virus. As nationwide cases soar, the number of hospitalized Americans is also climbing, with now more than 53,000 patients across the US, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And doctors have warned that as those numbers move upward, a rise in deaths will follow.

In the Midwest -- where communities have been hit particularly hard and outbreaks are only worsening -- hospitalizations are up "following the region's sharply accelerating case surge," the project said in a Thursday blog post. "Reported deaths from the Midwest are rising as well, several weeks into that region's case surge," the project said. More than 234,900 Americans have died since the pandemic's start and an ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects another 31,000 people could lose their lives over the next two and a half weeks. In New Mexico, where health officials have sounded the alarm for weeks over a Covid-19 crisis, the daily number of Covid-19 deaths hit a record high. Hospitalizations have shot up by 260% in the last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said, and health officials added they expect to run out of general hospital beds "in a matter of days."

The governor said the state is "not trending anywhere in the right direction" and urged residents to follow public health guidance aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. "If we don't do them, more drastic decision making will occur, and we will have a horrible November and a dramatically bad December," the governor said.

'It is everywhere'
New Mexico is one of at least 38 states reporting more new Covid-19 infections than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Only two US states -- Alabama and Tennessee -- are trending in the right direction. more...

Noah Higgins-Dunn

England will adopt a second national lockdown as coronavirus cases run rampant in the United Kingdom, closing all nonessential businesses but leaving schools open for the next four weeks as it tries to suppress the virus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday. People will be ordered to stay at home unless it’s for essential purposes, including education, medical reasons, or to shop for groceries, Johnson said during a press conference in London. Pubs, bars and restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery.

Some industries that can’t work from home, like construction and manufacturing, will continue. The lockdown will take effect starting Thursday and will end on Dec. 2, he said. “Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” Johnson said. The U.K.’s government program that financially assists furloughed employees will be extended during the lockdown, he said. The move from Downing Street follows similar announcements from Germany and France this week, which also declared fresh nationwide lockdowns in an effort to gain control of the coronavirus’ worsening spread ahead of the holidays. more...

Joel Shannon USA TODAY

A long-feared surge in COVID-19 cases is underway in the U.S. and abroad, leading to a new round of virus-related rules in some areas, restrictions that have quickly met pushback. A judge in El Paso County, Texas, ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential services starting at midnight Friday amid growing hospitalizations in the area. Texas' attorney general has joined several restaurant owners in suing to block the order.

A surge in coronavirus cases has led officials in Harrison County, Iowa — a heavily Republican county — to require people to wear face masks in public. But Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has continued this week to downplay efforts to contain the virus and has rejected mask requirements. Reynolds has said Iowans must learn to live with the virus. Meanwhile in Europe, hard-hit Belgium imposed a partial lockdown in an attempt to gain control of the virus' spread. In France, authorities ordered another four-week lockdown that began Friday. more...

By Jen Christensen, CNN

(CNN) Grocery store work puts employees at serious risk for infection, a new study found, particularly those who have to interact with customers. These workers likely became a "significant transmission source" for Covid-19 without even knowing it because most in the study were asymptomatic. The analysis, published Thursday in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is the first to demonstrate the significant asymptomatic infection rate, exposure risks and psychological distress grocery workers have felt during the pandemic.

In the study, 20% of the 104 grocery workers tested at a store in Boston in May had positive nasal swab tests. This was a significantly higher rate of infection than what was seen in the surrounding communities, the researchers said. Workers who dealt with customers were five times as likely to test positive for Covid-19 as colleagues in other positions. But three out of four of those who tested positive had no symptoms. more...


BERLIN -- German officials agreed to impose a four-week partial lockdown and the French government announced a nationwide lockdown Wednesday as European governments sought to stop a fast-rising tide of coronavirus cases sweeping the continent. The World Health Organization says the European region - which includes Russia, Turkey, Israel and Central Asia, according to its definition - accounted for almost half of the 2.8 million new coronavirus cases reported globally last week. The U.N. health agency said virus-related deaths were also on the rise in Europe, with about a 35% spike since the previous week, as well as hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

"We are deep in the second wave," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels. "I think that this year's Christmas will be a different Christmas." The European Union, Britain, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland alone accounted for 1.1 million cases over the past seven days, she said, "and we expect this number to keep rising in the next two to three weeks, and rapidly." German officials have agreed to a four-week shutdown of restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other leisure facilities in a bid to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Merkel and the country's 16 state governors, who are responsible for imposing and easing restrictions, agreed on the partial lockdown in a videoconference. It is set to take effect on Monday and last until the end of November. more...

Korin Miller

A disturbing new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that nurses have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The report, which was published earlier this week, analyzed data from 6,760 hospitalizations across 13 states between March and May.

The researchers discovered that 6 percent of adults hospitalized after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, during that time were health care workers. Of those, 36 percent were in nursing-related occupations. Among hospitalized health care workers, about 28 percent were admitted to the intensive care unit, 16 percent required mechanical ventilation and 4 percent died in the hospital.

Health care professionals “can have severe COVID-19-associated illness, highlighting the need for continued infection prevention and control in health care settings as well as community mitigation efforts to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” the report concludes.

This isn’t just something the CDC has noticed: Dr. Martin J. Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers University, tells Yahoo Life that he’s conducted research that has also concluded that “nurses are disproportionately affected by the virus.” more...

By Sophie Lewis

Vladimir Putin is taking his most drastic measures yet to curb the second wave of COVID-19. The Russian president on Tuesday implemented a nationwide mask mandate, as coronavirus cases spike worldwide.

Under the new mandate, effective Wednesday, masks will be mandatory in crowded public spaces, such as public transportation, parking lots and elevators, according to the order published on the website for the federal health watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor, also known as the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing.

The department has also banned all entertainment activities, including bars and restaurants, between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. It recommended strengthening safety protocols on public transport, taxis, shops, restaurants and theaters. more...

By Mary Ilyushina and Frederik Pleitgen, CNN

Moscow (CNN)In August, Russian state media rolled out the red carpet for a bombshell announcement -- President Vladimir Putin, from his residence outside Moscow, unveiled what he said was the world's first registered coronavirus vaccine, meant to bring Russia closer to the end of a devastating pandemic.

Putin, who is famously secretive about his family, said one of his daughters had already been inoculated as part of the early-stage trials and felt "well," to bulk up the vaccine's safety claims. Now, as the second wave of Covid-19 hits the country -- with record numbers of new infections and deaths -- the vaccine, named Sputnik V, is far from being widely available to the general public. Russia has passed a grim milestone of 1.5 million cases and at least 26,269 deaths, although experts have previously cast doubts on Russia's counting methods.

Lagging in trials
Russia approved the vaccine after trying it on several dozen subjects in a non-blind study and ahead of Phase 3 trials, which are key to establish its safety and efficacy, drawing skepticism from the international community and accusations it could have jumped the gun for political gains. more...

Adrianna Rodriguez, Jessica Flores, Mike Stucka - USA TODAY

Coronavirus continues to wrack the United States, with 44 states reporting rising caseloads in the latest week, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Only Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia reported lower numbers. The death rate has also edged back up to about 800 Americans per day, a level not seen in more than a month. In Los Angeles, health officials said the Lakers' NBA Finals victory on Oct. 11 may have contributed to a spike as residents gathered for watch parties and celebrations. The county reached 300,000 COVID-19 infections and 7,000 deaths on Monday. And in Texas, coronavirus cases are nearing 900,000, according to a USA TODAY analysis. The mayor of Juárez is asking the Mexican government to consider temporarily banning U.S. citizens from nonessential travel over the border as COVID-19 continues to overwhelm hospitals in El Paso, Texas. more...

By James Gallagher

Antibodies are a key part of our immune defences and stop the virus from getting inside the body's cells. The Imperial College London team found the number of people testing positive for antibodies has fallen by 26% between June and September. They say immunity appears to be fading and there is a risk of catching the virus multiple times.

More than 350,000 people in England have taken an antibody test as part of the REACT-2 study so far. In the first round of testing, at the end of June and the beginning of July, about 60 in 1,000 people had detectable antibodies. But in the latest set of tests, in September, only 44 per 1,000 people were positive. It suggests the number of people with antibodies fell by more than a quarter between summer and autumn. more...

By Jen Christensen, CNN

ATLANTA (CNN) — Children account for 11% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., a 14% increase over the past two weeks, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday. The group, which represents pediatricians, says about 792,188 children have been infected in the U.S. as of Oct. 22. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 8.6 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus. The AAP said 94,555 new child cases were reported from Oct. 8 to Oct. 22.

Severe illness and deaths from COVID-19 are still rare among children. As of Oct. 22, children represented between 1% and 3.6% of total hospitalizations, depending on the state. Between 0.6% and 6.9% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization and in states that reported the information, up to 0.15% of all children with COVID-19 died. Sixteen states reported no child deaths. The AAP said it started collecting this data in the absence of regular releases of information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. more...

Stephen Fidler

LONDON—A large English study showed the number of people with Covid-19 antibodies declined significantly over the summer, suggesting that getting the virus may not confer long-lasting immunity from future infection. The survey of 365,000 adults in England who tested themselves at home using a finger-prick test showed the proportion of people testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies declined by 26.5% between June 20—12 weeks after the peak of infections in the country—and Sept. 28.

The results also suggested that people who didn’t display symptoms were likely to lose detectable antibodies before those who had showed symptoms. The study, conducted by Imperial College London and the Ipsos Mori polling organization, was funded by the British government, which announced the results and published the study on Monday night. The results haven’t yet been reviewed by other experts.

Doctors don’t yet know whether antibodies confer any effective immunity against reinfection by Covid-19. But even if they do and the results of this survey are confirmed, it suggests the prospect of widespread long-term herd immunity to the virus will be difficult to achieve. Herd immunity occurs when enough people in a population develop an immune response, either through previous infection or vaccination, so that the virus can’t spread easily and even those who aren’t immune have protection.

The findings showed 18-24 year olds lost antibodies at a slower rate than those aged 75 and over. The smallest decline of 14.9% was of people aged between 18 and 24 years, and the largest decline of 29% was of people aged 75 and over. The study reflects earlier smaller trials and suggests that antibodies to the virus decline over 6-12 months after infection, as in other seasonal coronaviruses such as the common cold. The study doesn’t indicate whether other types of immune responses—such as that contributed by so-called T cells—would help protect against reinfection. more...


The novel coronavirus spreads in three ways, but they all involve the same basic principle. Viral particles need to reach the nose, the mouth, or the eyes, at which point they might be able to hook up to cells to start replicating. Droplet, aerosol, and fomite transmission are all possible with COVID-19, with agencies including the WHO and CDC stressing the first one. Fomites refer to touching surfaces that might be contaminated to get infected. Meanwhile, droplets and aerosols are essentially the same things. They’re tiny particles invisible to the naked eye that can contain water or not. The bigger saliva droplets are heavier, and gravity draws them to the ground faster than aerosols, which can linger in the air for a longer amount of time and travel distances greater than 6 feet. By blocking ingress via the nose and mouse, face masks can prevent droplets, aerosols, and even fomite transmission.

A new video shot in slow motion shows exactly how dangerous droplets and aerosols truly are. It’s identical to videos that appeared several months ago, warning of the danger of airborne transmission and the importance of wearing face masks and other coverings that can protect the person wearing the mask as well as those around them. What’s different about this high-tech demonstration is that Dr. Anthony Fauci has commented on the results. more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) The US just marked a harrowing milestone: It recorded its highest one-day number of Covid-19 infections Friday at more than 83,000 -- more than 6,000 higher than the country's previous record set in July. And as the fall surge continues, the daily numbers will get worse, experts warn. "We easily will hit six-figure numbers in terms of the number of cases," Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN Friday night. "And the deaths are going to go up precipitously in the next three to four weeks, following usually new cases by about two to three weeks."

This comes as the country's seven-day average of new daily cases surpassed 63,000 Friday -- an 84% increase since the average started ticking back up in mid-September, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Health officials say the steep inclines follow the reopening of schools and colleges across the US and have been largely driven by small gatherings -- often family events -- that are increasingly moving indoors, where the virus is likely to spread. In Maryland, the governor said this week family gatherings were the No. 1 source of transmission in the state, followed by house parties. In North Carolina, health officials reported its highest daily case count Friday and said they continue to see clusters "from social and religious gatherings." more...

By Rob Kuznia, Scott Bronstein, Drew Griffin and Curt Devine, CNN

(CNN) It was a blockbuster story. A respected Chinese virologist appeared on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News in mid-September to share the results of her just-completed report. The conclusion: The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was likely engineered in a Chinese lab. On Carlson's show, she claimed it was intentionally released into the world. Then, its validity began to unravel. The publication of the paper by lead author Li-Meng Yan -- an ex-patriot from China seeking asylum in the US -- was quickly linked to former White House adviser Steve Bannon, long a strident critic of China's government. The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security -- a leading authority on the pandemic -- criticized the science behind the report, and pointed out that Yan and her co-authors "cite multiple papers in their reference section that have weaknesses or flaws."

A CNN review of Yan's research found it was also built on what appears to be the same theories, similar passages and identical charts presented by an anonymous blogger whose writings were posted on a website linked to Bannon months earlier. Additionally, a source told CNN the three co-authors of Yan's paper used pseudonyms instead of their real names, a practice frowned upon in scientific and academic work. Yet, even after Facebook slapped a "false information" flag on Carlson's September 15 interview with Yan and Twitter suspended Yan's account, Carlson, Bannon and Yan have pressed forward.

"You'd think that our media would want to get to the bottom of this pandemic," Carlson said on his October 6 show, "but instead they ignored her claims."  Yan -- who is back on Twitter -- published a second report on October 8 titled "SARS-CoV-2 is an Unrestricted Bioweapon," which doubled down on the theory that the virus sweeping the globe was manmade and added that its "unleashing" was intentional. That study also included material seemingly copied from the anonymous blogger. more...

Clinical trials for the drugmaker's vaccine remain on hold in the United States.
By Sara G. Miller

A volunteer in AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine trial has died in Brazil, Reuters reported Wednesday. Anvisa, Brazil's health authority, received information from an investigation into the death. It's unclear whether the volunteer received the vaccine or the placebo shot. AstraZeneca's phase 3 clinical trial was put on hold in early September after a study participant in the United Kingdom developed a spinal cord injury. The trials have since resumed in the U.K. as well as in Brazil, though they remain on hold in the U.S. The vaccine candidate is being developed with the University of Oxford. more...

Reese Oxner

Ireland will be the first European country to return to a nationwide shutdown as COVID-19 cases rise, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said Monday. Nonessential retail businesses are ordered to close. Residents are expected to stay within about 3 miles of their homes, except for work and other essential activities. The country is entering its highest level of coronavirus restrictions for six weeks, beginning Thursday. The country expects 150,000 people to lose their jobs over the next "couple of days," Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

"We're making a preemptive strike against the virus, acting before it's too late," Varadkar said during a news conference Monday. "Our objective is to change the structure of the virus to flatten the curve again to get it under control." The government told residents to stay home and exercise only within 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) of their homes. Police will continue to use road checkpoints to deter longer and nonessential journeys. Varadkar said there will be a penalty for travel beyond that distance, but he added that details are being finalized. There will be exemptions for work and essential purposes. more...

Adam Payne

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to force Greater Manchester into England's highest tier of coronavirus restrictions after the UK government failed to come to an agreement with local leaders about the size of financial support required for the area. Mayor Andy Burnham and other Greater Manchester representatives had initially demanded £75 million in support, which they later reduced to £65 million, but were offered £60 million by the government.

Johnson's government then withdrew its offer, the BBC reported, meaning it is now set to follow through on its threat to impose the restrictions on the city region. UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick on Tuesday said in a statement: "I'm disappointed that, despite recognizing the gravity of the situation, the mayor [of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham,] has been unwilling to take the action that is required to get the spread of the virus under control in Greater Manchester and reach an agreement with the government. more...

By Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News

(Kaiser Health News) "Lord, give me back my memory." For months, as Marilyn Walters struggled to recover from Covid-19, she has repeated this prayer day and night. Like other older adults who've become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls "brain fog" — difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to remember what happened a short time before. This sudden cognitive dysfunction is a common concern for seniors who've survived a serious bout of Covid-19.

"Many older patients are having trouble organizing themselves and planning what they need to do to get through the day," said Dr. Zijian Chen, medical director of the Center for Post-Covid Care at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. "They're reporting that they've become more and more forgetful." Other challenges abound: overcoming muscle and nerve damage, improving breathing, adapting to new impairments, regaining strength and stamina and coping with the emotional toll of unexpected illness.

Most seniors survive Covid-19 and will encounter these concerns to varying degrees. Even among the age group at greatest risk — people 85 and older — just 28% of those with confirmed cases end up dying, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Because of gaps in testing, the actual death rate may be lower.) Walters, who lives in Indianapolis, spent almost three weeks in March and April heavily sedated, on a ventilator, fighting for her life in intensive care. Today, she said, "I still get tired real easy and I can't breathe sometimes. If I'm walking sometimes my legs get wobbly and my arms get like jelly." more...

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday issued a “strong recommendation” that all passengers and employees on airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-share vehicles should wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The interim guidance also calls for facial coverings at transportation hubs like airports and train stations.

“Broad and routine utilization of masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel more safely even during this pandemic,” the CDC said. Airlines, Amtrak and most public transit systems and U.S. airports already require all passengers and workers to wear facial coverings, as do most airports, and ride-sharing firms Uber and Lyft.

But the White House in July opposed language in a bill before Congress that would have mandated all airline, train and public transit passengers and workers to wear masks. The White House did not immediately comment on the CDC recommendation. In July, the White House Office of Management and Budget said legislation requiring masks was “overly restrictive.” It added that “such decisions should be left to states, local governments, transportation systems, and public health leaders.” more...

By Anuron Kumar Mitra

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Intensive care units (ICUs) at hospitals treating COVID-19 patients should do away with air-conditioning to limit the risk of infecting doctors, a study from a top Indian research institute has said. Frontline health workers around the world have borne the brunt of the coronavirus crisis. More than 500 doctors have died from COVID-19 in India - the world's second-worst hit nation - as infections near 8 million, straining the country's weak and underfunded public health system.

"The recirculation of the air by the centralized air-conditioning systems is what has led to the significant infection of our committed medical fraternity and has also led to deaths of doctors and nurses," the study by the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, considered one of the country's best science universities, said.

Reducing recirculation of air and increasing the use of outdoor air can lower the risk of spreading coronavirus in indoor spaces, the World Health Organisation has said. Previous studies have suggested countries in hot climates should take care that indoor rooms are not dried out by overcooling with air conditioning, noting that keeping indoor humidity levels between 40% and 60% will help limit airborne transmission of the virus.

Where air-conditioning can be done away with, ICUs could be fitted with fans that force air inside, and exhaust fans to pull the infected air and treat it with soap-based air filters or very hot water before releasing it outside, the study https://www.iisc.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Redesign-of-ICUs.pdf added. more...

Americans living in "Cancer Alley" suffer from high rates of cancer. In this six-part series, USA TODAY investigates how racism fuels COVID-19 deaths.
Rick Jervis and Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

RESERVE, La. – The doctor called on Mother’s Day with the news Karen Wilson had dreaded for weeks. Your brother won’t survive the night, he told her. Expect another call soon. Don’t be alone. Wilson’s younger brother, Jules Duhe, had been on a ventilator fighting COVID-19 since April. She hung up the phone and called her other brother, cried, showered and cried some more before finally falling asleep. At 2:30 a.m., the phone call came, springing her awake. Duhe, 53, was dead. His magnetic smile, his love of food and travel, his spontaneous visits – all gone. Wilson sat up in bed, cold shivers running through her.

Just four years earlier, Wilson had buried her older brother, James Duhe, who died of liver cancer at age 61. The cancer had consumed his body in two months, stunning the family. In August, Wilson’s sister, Shirley Jacob, already suffering congestive heart failure and other ailments, also contracted COVID-19. She died within a week. Three funerals in four years. It was nearly more than the family could handle, even in a place like Reserve, where the risk of cancer is the highest in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“A lot of people around here were dying of cancer,” Wilson said. “Now, they’re dying of COVID.” In the first half of the 20th century, Reserve was a mostly white small town on the east bank of the Mississippi River adjusting to life in post-slavery Louisiana. But in the 1960s, chemical plants arrived in force, drastically reshaping the region and transforming the racial makeup of the town. more...

Man arrested after allegedly threatening to kidnap Wichita mayor over Covid-19 mask mandate
By Raja Razek and Rebekah Riess, CNN

(CNN) The mayor of Wichita, Kansas, says a man who he says threatened to kidnap him was upset over the city's COVID-19 mask ordinance. Meredith Dowty, 59, is facing a criminal threat charge after officials were "alerted to threatening statements directed toward city of Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple," according to a news release from Wichita police. According to Sedgwick County Detention Center records, Dowty was booked at 6:05 p.m. Friday with no bail amount set. CNN has been unable to determine whether he has an attorney. Whipple told CNN he gets threats periodically, but the details of "this one seemed different." more...

Interviews with public health experts and reviews of studies by government agencies, watchdog groups and scientists reveal a cascade of blunders.
Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Almost two months had passed since Chinese health officials first described a fast-moving new coronavirus that had jumped the species barrier from animals to humans. By the time President Donald Trump strode into the White House briefing room on the evening of Feb. 26, the virus had killed more than 2,700 people in China and forced the lockdown of 11 million residents in Wuhan. Infections in Italy were rising by an astonishing 40% a day.

That night Trump assured Americans, “We’re very, very ready for this, for anything.” Then he held aloft a report co-produced by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security ranking 195 countries on their readiness to confront a pandemic. “The United States,” he said, “is rated number one most prepared.” The nation did indeed rank first on the Global Health Security Index. But the president never mentioned the report’s ominous central finding: “No country is fully prepared for epidemics or pandemics. Collectively, international preparedness is weak.”

Moreover, the index revealed a number of U.S. flaws that have proved crippling in the fight against COVID-19. America received the lowest possible score for public confidence in government; low rankings among the index’s 60 high-income countries for doctors per capita (38th) and hospital beds per capita (40th); and a dismal rating for access to health care — 175th out of 195 countries. What the index could not have predicted — what stunned the nation's public health experts as months passed — was America’s lethargic and inconsistent response, and its failure to follow basic precepts of its own pandemic playbook. more...

Molly Beck, Patrick Marley, Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

JANESVILLE - Thousands of Donald Trump's fans, many of them without masks, filtered onto an airport tarmac Saturday afternoon as they awaited a visit from the president amid soaring coronavirus cases across Wisconsin. “This entire pandemic is a hoax," said Brandon Rice of Eau Claire as he waited in line at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville. "I think it was done to make him look bad. It’s fake news."

Some attendees at Trump's Saturday evening rally wore masks, some didn’t and some left them dangling at their chins, leaving their mouths and noses exposed. Those at the airport were given temperature checks and provided masks if they didn't have them. Signs at the gate asked people to wear masks.  more...

Miriam Marini Detroit Free Press

Two western Michigan physicians urged President Donald Trump to cancel his campaign rally taking place Saturday afternoon in Muskegon, where coronavirus cases are on the uptick.

Doctors Rob Davidson and Susan Fabrick held a press conference via Zoom on Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before doors were slotted to open at FlyBy Air near the Muskegon County Airport. The doctors said the president is failing to listen to the evidence.

"As physicians, we are really concerned about the inaccurate misinformation that President Trump repeats day after day, multiple times a day," said Fabrick, a family medicine doctor who has practiced in Muskegon for 26 years. "No matter what he claims, COVID-19 is still with us and it is still killing people."

Muskegon County mirrors a statewide trend with coronavirus case report averages on the upswing, with 102 cases reported by the county last week. Although the county's total case count is significantly lower than Wayne County's, which holds the state's top spot, it reports 8.48 cases per 100,000 residents compared to Wayne County's 7.13.

"Instead of coming to Muskegon to continue spreading misinformation and packing people close together with COVID-19 cases going up, President Trump should cancel his campaign event and focus on fighting the pandemic with science and evidence," said Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, which hosted the press conference. "As a physician, I'm concerned that his campaign events endanger public health, they have also become platforms for spreading medically inaccurate information that puts people's lives at risk." more...

Noah Higgins-Dunn

The United States reported more than 69,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest daily count the nation has reported since late July. The U.S. has now reported more than 8 million Covid-19 cases and at least 218,600 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The surge in coronavirus cases comes as infectious disease experts warn the U.S. could face a “substantial third wave” of infections that will be further complicated this winter by the spread of seasonal influenza, which causes many similar symptoms to that of the coronavirus.

As colder temperatures arrive in the Northern Hemisphere, more people will spend time indoors and likely fail to follow public health guidance, which creates a greater risk for the cornoavirus’ spread compared with outdoor activities, Dr. William Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, said. The U.S. is averaging roughly 55,000 new coronavirus cases every day, based on a weekly average to smooth out the reporting, a more than 16% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. New cases were growing by 5% or more in 38 states as the number of infections in the Midwest continues to surge. more...

Michael Martin

Coronavirus can be tricky: What was originally thought to be a respiratory virus seems to have wide-ranging effects on the human body, attacking the system of blood vessels that feeds the brain, heart, kidneys and liver. Those who recover may have long-lasting symptoms that endure far beyond the relatively circumscribed, temporary effects of the flu.

A review of studies conducted by the UK National Institute for Health Research is the latest report to come to this conclusion. It warns that some coronavirus patients may experience "Long COVID," or symptoms that last for weeks or months, which can be plentiful and transient. "A common theme is that symptoms arise in one physiological system then abate, only for symptoms to arise in a different system," the NIHR report said.

The title of the report—"Living With COVID-19"—has become a reality for many people worldwide. "The overwhelming message is that this is not a linear condition," Elaine Maxwell, lead author of the study, told the Financial Times. "Many [patients] suffer a rollercoaster of symptoms moving around the body, from which they do not recover." more...

By Emma Reynolds and Tim Lister, CNN

London (CNN) Concern is mounting in Europe as countries smash records for daily coronavirus cases and the World Health Organization warns that the daily death toll on the continent could reach five times its April peak within months. Countries that managed to contain infection rates through spring lockdowns and began relaxing measures are watching the virus return with a vengeance, with Germany, France and the Czech Republic all reporting record case numbers in the past two days. "The fall/winter surge continues to unfold in Europe with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths," WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told a news briefing Thursday. He said the situation was of "great concern," with daily case numbers and hospital admissions up and the region registering its highest weekly incidence of Covid-19 cases -- almost 700,000 -- since the beginning of the pandemic. more...

Alexander Nazaryan National Correspondent, Yahoo News

WASHINGTON — More than a dozen people were infected with the coronavirus after a recreational hockey game in Tampa, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published on Thursday. The game, which took place on June 16, did not lead to any hospitalizations or deaths. But it does represent one of the few documented instances of viral spread stemming from an athletic event. The players did not wear face masks, which likely contributed to their becoming infected.

The new study does not say where, exactly, the game took place, only that the rink was enclosed and somewhere in the Tampa area. The participants included 22 men between the ages of 19 and 53. There were two referees, a spectator and at least one rink employee also present.  Three days after the evening match, Florida health authorities learned that one of the players had been complaining of “fever, cough, sore throat, and a headache” since the day after the game. He is believed to be the index patient — that is, the one who infected others. more...

By Shelby Lin Erdman

(CNN) One hockey player infected as many as 14 other people at a single indoor ice hockey game last spring, Florida health department officials reported Thursday. That means indoor sports games can turn into superspreader events, the researchers said in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report. The game was played on June 16 at an ice rink in Tampa and by the following day, a player, considered the index patient, experienced symptoms of Covid-19, including fever, cough, sore throat and a headache. Two days later, he tested positive for the virus, the Florida Department of Health reported.

Coronavirus spreads at hockey game
Each team had 11 players, all male, between the ages of 19 and 53, with six on the ice and five on the bench at any given time during the game, the researchers reported. Each team also shared separate locker rooms, typically for 20 minutes before and after the 60-minute game, and no one wore cloth face masks for disease control.

"During the five days after the game, 15 persons experienced signs and symptoms compatible with coronavirus disease 2019; 13 of the 15 ill persons had positive laboratory test results indicating infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19," researchers wrote. Two of the sick individuals did not get tested. more...

By Kai Kupferschmidt

One of the world’s biggest trials of COVID-19 therapies released its long-awaited interim results yesterday—and they’re a letdown. None of the four treatments in the Solidarity trial, which enrolled more than 11,000 patients in 400 hospitals around the globe, increased survival—not even the much-touted antiviral drug remdesivir. Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) released the data as a preprint on medRxiv last night ahead of its planned publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Yet scientists praised the unprecedented study itself and the fact that it helped bring clarity about four existing, ‘repurposed’ treatments that each held some promise against COVID-19. “It's disappointing that none of the four have come out and shown a difference in mortality, but it does show why you need big trials,” says Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. “We would love to have a drug that works, but it’s better to know if a drug works or not than not to know and continue to use it,” says WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan.

The prospects of two of the four treatments—the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the HIV drug combination ritonavir/lopinavir—had faded after another large study, the United Kingdom’s Recovery trial, showed them not to increase survival in June. After analyzing that study and its own data up till then, WHO decided to drop both from the study.

There was still hope for remdesivir and for interferon-beta, which initially had been given in combination with ritonavir/lopinavir but was tested as a standalone drug after the Recovery data came out. But neither of those treatments lowered mortality or delayed the moment patients needed ventilation to help them breathe. The results in these two treatment arms are likely to be the most scrutinized. more...

By John Bonifield

(CNN)In a study it described as both conclusive and disappointing, the World Health Organization said the antiviral drug remdesivir has "little or no effect on mortality" for patients hospitalized with coronavirus and it doesn't seem to help patients recover any faster, either. Until now, remdesivir has been the only drug that appeared to have specific effects for coronavirus. It was the only drug with an Emergency Use Authorization for Covid-19 from the US Food and Drug Administration. Results of the WHO study have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. But WHO posted them to a pre-print server. The WHO study reviewed remdesivir and three other repurposed drugs: hydroxychloroquine, the HIV combination of lopinavir and ritonavir and interferon. None of them helped patients live any longer or get out of the hospital any sooner, WHO said. more...


Research is coalescing around the idea that people with Type O blood may have a slight advantage during this pandemic. Two studies published this week suggest that people with Type O have a lower risk of getting the coronavirus, as well as a reduced likelihood of getting severely sick if they do get infected.

One of the new studies specifically found that COVID-19 patients with Type O or B blood spent less time in an intensive-care unit than their counterparts with Type A or AB. They were also less likely to require ventilation and less likely to experience kidney failure. These new findings echo similar findings about Type O blood seen in previous research, creating a clearer picture of one particular coronavirus risk factor.

Patients with Type O or B blood had less severe COVID-19
Both new studies came out Wednesday in the journal Blood Advances. One looked at 95 critically ill COVID-19 patients at hospitals in Vancouver, Canada, between February and April. They found that patients with Type O or B blood spent, on average, 4.5 fewer days in the intensive-care unit than those with Type A or AB blood. The latter group stayed, on average, 13.5 days in the ICU. The researchers did not see any link between blood type and the length of each patient's total hospital stay, however. They did, however, find that only 61 percent of the patients with Type O or B blood required a ventilator, compared to 84 percent of patients with Type A or AB. more...

By Emma Reynolds, Eva Tapiero and Amy Cassidy, CNN

(CNN) Two of Europe's biggest capitals are in trouble as Paris imposed overnight curfews and London banned people from different households from meeting indoors to combat the spread of coronavirus. The announcements came as countries across Europe tightened restrictions following a surge in Covid-19 case numbers in most countries. The French capital and the cities of Aix-Marseille, Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint Etienne, Lille, Rouen and Lyon will face a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew starting at midnight on Friday, President Emmanuel Macron announced. "The aim is to reduce private contacts, which are the most dangerous contacts," Macron said Wednesday.

Violating the nighttime curfew will carry a fine of 135 euros (about $160) for a first offense, and 1500 euros ($1,760) if the offense is repeated.
France reported 22,591 new cases and 95 deaths on Wednesday, bringing its total to 779,063 cases and 33,037 deaths. London will move from a Tier 1 "medium" to the Tier 2 "high" alert level of coronavirus restrictions from Saturday morning, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Thursday.
It means Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors in any setting, including in pubs and restaurants. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to six people and people should also avoid using public transport where possible. more...

It was conducted by the Department of Defense and United Airlines.
By Gio Benitez and Sam Sweeney

United Airlines says the risk of COVID-19 exposure onboard its aircraft is "virtually non-existent" after a new study finds that when masks are worn there is only a 0.003% chance particles from a passenger can enter the passenger's breathing space who is sitting beside them. The study, conducted by the Department of Defense in partnership with United Airlines, was published Thursday. They ran 300 tests in a little over six months with a mannequin on a United plane.

The mannequin was equipped with an aerosol generator that allowed technicians to reproduce breathing and coughing. Each test released 180 million particles - equivalent to the number of particles that would be produced by thousands of coughs. They studied the way the mannequin's particles moved inside the cabin with a mask on and off. The tests assumed the flight was completely full with technicians placing sensors in seats, galleys, and the jet bridge to represent other passengers on the plane. more...

Noah Higgins-Dunn

Letting the coronavirus rip through the U.S. population unchecked to infect as many people as possible to achieve so-called “herd immunity” would cause a lot of unnecessary deaths and the idea is “nonsense” and “dangerous,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert said Thursday.

“I’ll tell you exactly how I feel about that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said when asked about whether herd immunity is a viable strategy for the U.S. to adopt. “If you let infections rip as it were and say, ‘Let everybody get infected that’s going to be able to get infected and then we’ll have herd immunity.’ Quite frankly that is nonsense, and anybody who knows anything about epidemiology will tell you that that is nonsense and very dangerous,” Fauci told Yahoo! News.

Herd immunity happens when enough of the population is immune to a disease, making it unlikely to spread and protecting the rest of the community, the Mayo Clinic says. It can be achieved through natural infection — when enough people are exposed to the disease and develop antibodies against it — and through vaccinations. Most scientists think 60% to 80% of the population needs to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies to achieve herd immunity, global health experts say. However, the nation’s top health experts have said a majority of Americans remain susceptible to a coronavirus infection. more...

By Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) Joe Biden's campaign is halting the travel of his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, through this weekend after two people -- a flight crew member and Harris' communications director, Liz Allen -- tested positive for coronavirus. Harris was not in what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define as close contact with either person, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said in a statement. Still, Harris' planned trip to North Carolina on Thursday was scrapped, and she will remain off the road until Monday, she said. "Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results," O'Malley Dillon said.

"After being with Senator Harris, both individuals attended personal, non-campaign events in the past week. Under our campaign's strict health protocols, both individuals had to be tested before returning to their work with the campaign from these personal events," she said. "These protocols help protect the campaign, the staff, and anyone who they may have contact with; the importance of having such protocols -- which include testing before resuming duties, regular testing while working in-person, isolation after time off, and masking and distancing while on campaign duties -- have been illustrated once again." Harris has taken two PCR tests for coronavirus since October 8, including a test Wednesday, and has tested negative, O'Malley Dillon said. The Biden campaign's immediate disclosure of the positive results was in stark contrast with how Trump's campaign and White House have handled positive coronavirus tests from Trump himself as well as top campaign officials and aides. Trump's White House still has not disclosed when Trump had most recently tested negative for coronavirus prior to his positive test. more...

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) A vaccine is still the best way to bring an end to the Covid-19 pandemic, health experts say, adding that pursuing herd immunity would be dangerous. The idea of letting the virus run unchecked through communities "misses the basic point that we're all connected," former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Thomas Frieden told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Frieden was responding to recent efforts to promote herd immunity as an answer to Covid-19. The idea is being pushed by those eager to stop the economic damage the pandemic has caused.

The virus has infected more than 7.9 million people and killed 216,872, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. A vaccine could be available to some groups by the end of the year. But some politicians hoping to reverse the economic havoc from the pandemic have embraced the idea of letting the virus spread until enough people have been infected and developed immunity that there is no where for it to spread next. White House senior administration officials, in a call with reporters Monday, discussed a controversial declaration written by scientists that advocates for such an approach. more...

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - Ongoing illness after infection with COVID-19, sometimes called “long COVID”, may not be one syndrome but possibly up to four causing a rollercoaster of symptoms affecting all parts of the body and mind, doctors said on Thursday. In an initial report about long-term COVID-19, Britain’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) said one common theme among ongoing COVID patients - some of whom are seven months or more into their illness - is that symptoms appear in one physiological area, such as the heart or lungs, only to abate and then arise again in a different area.

“This review highlights the detrimental physical and psychological impact that ongoing COVID is having on many people’s lives,” said Dr Elaine Maxwell, who led the report. Many thousands of people worldwide have linked up on social media platforms and online forums to share their experiences of ongoing COVID-19 symptoms. Some call themselves “long haulers” while others have named their condition “long COVID”. According to UK-based patient group LongCovidSOS, data from a King’s College London-devised symptom tracker app shows that 10% of COVID-19 patients remain unwell after three weeks, and up to 5% may continue to be sick for months. more...

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) For months, Tony Green was skeptical that the threat of Covid-19 was real. Then he hosted a small family gathering in June where everyone got sick. Green told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday that he sees himself as example to others. "We have to be the example to, I guess, bring awareness (of what can happen at a small gathering)," he said. After all six people -- Green, his partner and their parents -- at the weekend event got sick, eight more people in their families tested positive, bringing the total to 14.

Green, who lives in Texas, ended up in the hospital and doctors saved him from a having a stroke, he said. He was better in a few days. His father-in-law was hospitalized and seemed to be getting better. But he turned very ill, very quickly and he stayed a ventilator for six weeks. He didn't survive. In an essay for the Washington Post, Green wrote that there was no goodbye.

"He was just gone. It's like the world swallowed him up. We could only have 10 people at the funeral, and I didn't make that list," he wrote.
One of the secondary Covid cases was his father-in-law's mother. She also died in the hospital. Green carries guilt for hosting the get-together. "The feeling that I have is kind of like what, I would say, a drunk driver would have if they killed their family," Green said. "It was unintentional. This was my home. This is where it happened. So, you know there is a sense of responsibility." more...

By Maggie Fox, CNN

(CNN) Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. "Following our guidelines, the participant's illness is being reviewed and evaluated by the ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as well as our internal clinical and safety physicians," the company said in a statement. ENSEMBLE is the name of the study.

"Adverse events -- illnesses, accidents, etc. -- even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies." The pause was first reported by Stat News. Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine arm is developing the shot. The company did not say what the unexplained illness was, but one point of clinical trials is to find out if vaccines cause dangerous side effects. Trials are stopped when they pop up while doctors check to see if the illness can be linked to the vaccine or is a coincidence. more...

Karen Weintraub USA TODAY

An otherwise healthy 25-year-old Nevada man is the first American confirmed to have caught COVID-19 twice, with the second infection worse than the first. He has recovered, but his case raises questions about how long people are protected after being infected with the coronavirus that causes the disease, and potentially how protective a vaccine might be. "It's a yellow caution light," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, who was not involved in the research.

Respiratory infections like COVID-19 don't provide lifelong immunity like a measles infection. So, Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said he's not at all surprised people could get infected twice with the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. It's too soon to know whether the man from Washoe County, Nevada, who had no known health problems other than his double infection, was highly unusual or if many people could easily get infected more than once with SARS-CoV-2, Schaffner said. "There's hardly an infectious disease doctor in the country who hasn't encountered a patient who thinks they've had a second infection," he said. "Whether that's true or not, we don't know. There are lots of respiratory infections out there." more...

By Angie Leventis Lourgos Chicago Tribune

A COVID-19 outbreak that infected 11 people across four states ― including Illinois ― began with a 13-year-old girl who transmitted the virus during a three-week family vacation over the summer, according to a Centers for Disease Control report.

Several family members involved in the case were from suburban Cook County, local public health officials confirmed, but would not give any more information about the individuals due to privacy concerns. A Cook County Department of Public Health spokeswoman added that the community is not currently at risk from this particular outbreak, which occurred months ago.

But the case highlights that kids and teens can contract and spread the virus, public health experts say. It also serves as a cautionary tale before the holiday season, a traditional time for many large family get-togethers. “(The) outbreak highlights several important issues that are good to review before the holidays,” a Cook County Department of Public Health spokeswoman said in an email. more...

*** Why is the GOP fighting mask mandates, are they trying to kill America citizens? ***

Molly Beck, Patrick Marley Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON - A Wisconsin judge on Monday blocked an effort by Republicans to end Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate at a time when coronavirus cases are surging. The conservative group that brought the lawsuit promised to immediately appeal, and Republicans who control the Legislature took an initial step Monday to eliminate a separate COVID-19 order from Evers that limits business occupancy.

St. Croix County Circuit Judge R. Michael Waterman denied a request by those who sued to suspend the mask requirement and ruled the governor has the power to issue multiple health emergency orders in response to the same pandemic. Republican lawmakers hired private attorneys to go to court to support the effort to eliminate the mask requirement instead of taking a vote just weeks before an election to end the order. more...

The Manchester mayor died Monday morning “after a valiant fight against COVID-19,” the mayor’s office said.
By Wilson Wong

The mayor of a small town in Tennessee that hosts the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival died Monday of Covid-19, officials said. Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman was hospitalized earlier this month before dying “after a valiant fight against COVID-19,” the city said in a Facebook post Monday. In August, Norman was elected to his third term as mayor of Manchester, a town with a population of nearly 10,000 people in Coffee County, according to WPLN.

Manchester is home to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which typically brings in more than 80,000 concertgoers annually. The music fest was initially postponed this year before ultimately being cancelled altogether due to the pandemic. "The incredible, Mayor Lonnie Norman, of our hometown Manchester, TN has been hospitalized due to COVID-19," the festival wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "The Bonnaroo family sends him all the love and hopes for a quick and speedy recovery." more...

South China Morning Post video...


The virus responsible for Covid-19 can remain infectious on surfaces such as banknotes, phone screens and stainless steel for 28 days, researchers say. The findings from Australia's national science agency suggest SARS-Cov-2 can survive for far longer than thought. However, the experiment was conducted in the dark. UV light has already been shown to kill the virus. Some experts have also thrown doubt on the actual threat posed by surface transmission in real life. The coronavirus is mostly transmitted when people cough, sneeze or talk.

But there is also evidence that it can also be spread by particles hanging in the air. It is also possible someone could get Covid-19 by touching infected surfaces such as metal or plastic, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. This is believed to be much less common, however.

What does the study say?
Previous laboratory tests have found that SARS-Cov-2 can survive for two to three days on bank notes and glass, and up to six days on plastic and stainless steel, although results vary. However, the research from Australian agency CSIRO found the virus was "extremely robust," surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and both plastic and paper banknotes, when kept at 20C (68F), which is about room temperature, and in the dark. In comparison, the flu virus can survive in the same circumstances for 17 days. more...

LONDON (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization warned against the idea that herd immunity might be a realistic strategy to stop the pandemic, dismissing such proposals as “simply unethical.”

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination. Tedros noted that to obtain herd immunity from a highly infectious disease such as measles, for example, about 95% of the population must be immunized.

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said. Some researchers have argued that allowing COVID-19 to spread in populations that are not obviously vulnerable will help build up herd immunity and is a more realistic way to stop the pandemic, instead of the restrictive lockdowns that have proved economically devastating.  more...

By Jackie Salo

The World Health Organization has warned leaders against relying on COVID-19 lockdowns to tackle outbreaks — after previously saying countries should be careful how quickly they reopen. WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro said such restrictive measures should only be treated as a last resort, the British magazine the Spectator reported in a video interview. “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro said.

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.” Nabarro said tight restrictions cause significant harm, particularly on the global economy. “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said. He added that lockdowns have severely impacted countries that rely on tourism. more...

By Ramy Inocencio

Beijing — China's 56-day coronavirus clean streak has been broken. Six people with symptoms and another six without any have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in one city, prompting a dramatic response.

All of the cases are linked to a single hospital, the Qingdao Chest Hospital, in the city of Qingdao on China's eastern coast. The city's health commission posted the news to Chinese social media site Weibo, and the hospital, about 250 miles southeast of Beijing, has been closed.

Qingdao is home to about 9 million people, more than New York City and twice as many as Los Angeles, and authorities are now in the process of testing every single one of them. They're determined to finish that process by the end of this week — a remarkable feat, but not unexpected in China. more...

By Emma Court

The link between extra pounds and severe Covid-19 grew stronger as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people who are merely overweight, not just the obese, may be at high risk of serious disease from the infection. The warning, posted on the agency’s website Tuesday, means about two-thirds of Americans could face higher risks. Nearly 40% of American adults are obese, which the CDC tied to poor outcomes of the infection in late June, and about 32% are overweight, according to the agency. Obese people are more likely to fall very ill with Covid-19 and be hospitalized, and the risk of death from infection increases along with higher body mass index, the CDC has said. more...

By Cheri Mossburg and Brian Ries, CNN

(CNN) Thousands of mink have died at fur farms in Utah and Wisconsin after a series of coronavirus outbreaks. In Utah, ranchers have lost at least 8,000 mink to Covid-19 among the animals known for their silky, luxurious pelts. The virus first appeared in the creatures in August, shortly after farmworkers fell ill in July, according to Dr. Dean Taylor, State Veterinarian of Utah. Initial research shows the virus was transmitted from humans to animals, and so far has not seen any cases of the opposite.

"Everything we've looked at here in Utah suggests its gone from the humans to the animals," Taylor told CNN. "It feels like a unidirectional path," he said, adding that testing is still underway. Utah's was the first outbreak among mink in the United States. On Friday, Kevin Hoffman, a spokesperson at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, told CNN 2,000 mink have died from the coronavirus at a Wisconsin farm as well.

Officials have quarantined the farm, Hoffman said in a release, meaning no animals or animal products may leave the Taylor County premises.
Dr. Keith Paulson with the UW-Madison Veterinary School Diagnostic Laboratory told CNN affiliate WISN that he noted "significant mortality in the mink" and that three workers there had recovered from the virus after displaying "mild to moderate clinical signs." Other cases have been detected in the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed cases of SAR-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes Covid-19 -- in dozens of other animals, including dozens of dogs, cats, a lion, and a tiger. more..


PARIS (AP) — During a single overnight shift this week, three new COVID-19 patients were rushed into Dr. Karim Debbat’s small intensive care ward in the southern French city of Arles. It now has more virus patients than during the pandemic’s first wave and is scrambling to create new ICU beds elsewhere in the hospital to accommodate the sick. Similar scenes are playing out across France. COVID-19 patients now occupy 40% of ICU beds in the Paris region, and more than a quarter of ICUs nationwide as weeks of growing infections among young people spread to vulnerable populations.

Despite being one of the world’s richest nations — and one of those hardest hit when the pandemic first washed over the world — France hasn’t added significant ICU capacity or the staff needed to manage extra beds, according to national health agency figures and doctors at multiple hospitals. Like in many countries facing resurgent infections, critics say France’s leaders haven’t learned their lessons from the first wave. “It’s very tense, we don’t have any more places,” Debbat told The Associated Press. The Joseph Imbert Hospital in Arles is converting recovery rooms into ICUs, delaying non-urgent surgeries and directing more and more of his staff to high-maintenance COVID-19 patients. Asked about extra medics to help with the new cases, he said simply, “We don’t have them. That’s the problem.” more...

By Rachael Rettner

The new coronavirus can linger on human skin much longer than flu viruses can, according to a new study from researchers in Japan. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remained viable on samples of human skin for about 9 hours, according to the study. In contrast, a strain of the influenza A virus (IAV) remained viable on human skin for about 2 hours. Fortunately, both viruses on skin were rapidly inactivated with hand sanitizer.

The findings underscore the importance of washing your hands or using sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "This study shows that SARS-CoV-2 may have a higher risk of contact transmission [i.e. transmission from direct contact] than IAV because the first is much more stable on human skin [than the latter]" the authors wrote in their paper, which was published online Oct. 3 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. "These findings support the hypothesis that proper hand hygiene is important for the prevention of the spread of SARS-CoV-2." more...

Cory Stieg

The Centers for Disease Control revised its Covid-19 guidelines on Monday to include that the novel coronavirus can be spread through aerosols, which “can linger in the air for minutes to hours” and travel farther than six feet.

Until now it was understood that the coronavirus is spread is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes, and experts still believe that is the main way it is spread. But now experts also agree that airborne transmission is a key piece of the Covid-19 puzzle. “I believe pretty confidently that there is some element [of airborne transmission],” White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. Here’s how to interpret these new guidelines and stay safe:more...

Adeline Fagan tested positive in early July and died in September – as US health workers lost to Covid skew younger and lack protective equipment
Alastair Gee in New York

It took Carrie Wanamaker several days to connect the face she saw on GoFundMe with the young woman she had met a few years before. According to the fundraising site, Adeline Fagan, a 28-year-old resident OB-GYN, had developed a debilitating case of Covid-19 and was on a ventilator in Houston. Scrolling through her phone, Wanamaker found the picture she took of Fagan in 2018, showing the fourth-year medical student at her side in the delivery room, beaming at Wanamaker’s pink, crying, minutes-old daughter. Fagan supported Wanamaker’s leg through the birth because the epidural paralyzed her below the waist, and they joked and laughed since Wanamaker felt loopy from the anesthesia.

“I didn’t expect my delivery to go that way,” Wanamaker, a pediatric dentist in upstate New York, said. “You always hear about it being the woman screaming and cursing at her husband, but it wasn’t like that at all. We just had a really great time. She made it a really special experience for me.” Fagan’s funeral took place on Saturday. The physician tested positive for the virus in early July and died on 19 September after spending over two months in hospital. She had worked in a Houston emergency department, and a family member says she reused personal protective equipment (PPE) day after day due to shortages. more...

By Mary Kekatos Senior Health Reporter For Dailymail.com

Coronavirus cases in Arizona declined by as much as 75 percent during the later summer months after a mask mandate was implemented, a new report finds. From late June to early July state health officials were reporting more than 3,500 daily cases of COVID-19. However, after Gov Doug Ducey (R) ordered that all residents needed to wear face coverings, the seven-day average of infections fell to less than 900 daily by early August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Tuesday.

Additional measures that officials say helped curb the spread include limiting large gatherings and closing businesses in which social distancing is difficult to maintain. For the report, the team looked at data from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) from January 22 to August 7. On March 11, the state declared a public health state of emergency to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Over the next several days, many other measures were implemented including school closures, limiting nursing home visits and eventually stay-at-home orders enacted, which lasted from March 30 to May 15. During that nearly two-month period, cases remained stable and the seven-day moving average of daily cases ranged from 154 per day to 443 per day. However, this trend reversed after Arizona began allowing a phased approach for stores to reopen, restaurants to resume indoor dining and end the stay-at-home orders. more...

By Sarah K. Burris

The chairman of the Craighead County Republican Committee in Arkansas has died from complications while fighting the coronavirus, reported KAIT8 News. Steven Farmer’s GOP committee hosted a social gathering with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who just recovered from COVID-19, in mid-September. The Reagan Day event was photographed extensively, and it showed very few masks being worn and no social distancing. more...

"We see it everywhere, where people are confronting one another and having arguments about not wearing masks," the district attorney said, adding it's unfortunate "this escalated" into a man's dying.
By Tim Fitzsimons

A 65-year-old man in the Buffalo, New York, area faces charges after an 80-year-old man who had confronted him about not wearing a coronavirus face mask died following the dispute. Donald Lewinski of West Seneca, New York, was arrested Monday and is to be arraigned Tuesday evening on a charge of criminally negligent homicide after he allegedly shoved Rocco Sapienza to the ground in a bar, authorities said. Lewinski was walking through Pamp's Red Zone Bar & Grill in West Seneca, about 10 miles southeast of Buffalo, on Sept. 26, when Sapienza confronted him about not wearing a mask, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said at a news conference Monday. Flynn said it appeared that the two men began to argue as soon as they crossed paths at the bar and not just over masks.

"Apparently, the victim didn't like the way the defendant was talking to some of the staff; also there was an incident beforehand that involved a young lady, and the victim didn't like the way the defendant spoke to the young lady," the prosecutor said. "These two were butting heads from minute one." Eventually, the two had had a dispute over Lewinski's not wearing a mask, the district attorney said. Security camera footage shows Sapienza "gets up from his bar stool. He walks around the corner; he confronts the gentleman who wasn't wearing his mask," Flynn said. "The defendant allegedly stood up from the bar stool and pushed him with two hands." The "hard" shove pushed Sapienza to the ground, the district attorney said. He had a seizure, lost consciousness and died from "blunt force trauma to the head" days later. more...

The study also raises questions about the long-term effects of the disease.
By Erika Edwards

Neurological symptoms are extremely common among Covid-19 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, a study published Monday finds. The symptoms range from mild to severe, and can include headaches, dizziness and altered brain function, according to the study in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak The findings highlight the wide-ranging effects the virus can have on the body. What's more, the study found that patients may continue to experience these symptoms long after they recover from the disease.

The news comes on the same day President Donald Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being hospitalized for three days. His physicians have made no indication that the president has experienced any major neurological symptoms. In the study, researchers at Northwestern Medicine looked back at the first 509 patients hospitalized within their network of 10 hospitals and medical centers in Chicago in March and April. Just over a quarter had been put on ventilators. A majority of 509 patients — 82 percent — developed problems stemming from the nervous system. "That means 4 out of 5 hospitalized patients in our hospital system at the beginning of the pandemic had those neurologic problems," said Dr. Igor Koralnik, a co-author of the study and chief of neuro-infectious diseases and global neurology at Northwestern Medicine. more...


Nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus were not entered into the national computer system used for official figures because of a technical glitch, Public Health England has said. Some of the unreported cases were then added to Saturday's figure of 12,872 new cases and Sunday's 22,961 figure. PHE said all of the cases "received their Covid-19 test result as normal". But it means there has been a delay in tracing their contacts, who may have been exposed to the virus.

The BBC's health editor Hugh Pym said daily figures for the end of the week were "actually nearer 11,000", rather than the around 7,000 reported. According to PHE, the cases were missed off daily reports between 25 September and 2 October. However, it has insisted the IT problem has been resolved and all cases have now been handed over to the test and trace system. Labour has described the glitch as "shambolic". more...

Half a million people would be affected by an order to close nonessential businesses and public and private schools.
By Kalhan Rosenblatt

Nine ZIP codes in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs of New York City will most likely shut down Wednesday, if the state approves, because of a recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. The shutdown would mean that nonessential businesses in those ZIP codes, as well as public and private schools, would close because coronavirus cases are being reported above a 3 percent positivity rate over the last seven days, NBC New York reported.

De Blasio said he was calling on the state for assistance in closing the specific ZIP codes as the city tries to bring down the positivity rate. "I'm very aware of challenges it will cause," de Blasio said at a news conference Sunday. "I'm very aware for the people in the nine ZIP codes, there's a tough period ahead, but I know we will overcome." more...

Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for the coronavirus and is out for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, league sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter and Field Yates. "Late last night, we received notice that a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19. The player immediately entered self-quarantine," the Patriots said in a statement Saturday. "Several additional players, coaches and staff who have been in close contact with the player received point of care tests this morning and all were negative for COVID-19."

Veteran Brian Hoyer has served as the Patriots' No. 2 quarterback through the first three weeks of the season, and 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham has been third on the depth chart. The Patriots were scheduled to depart for Kansas City on Saturday afternoon, but plans are now on standby as the club awaits more test results and guidance from the NFL, sources tell Schefter. The expectation is that Sunday's game will not be played as scheduled at 4:25 p.m. ET, a source told Yates. A source told one option being discussed would involve the Patriots leaving for Kansas City on Sunday and playing the game Monday. more...

Bart Jansen USA TODAY

Former Vice President Joe Biden has tested negative for coronavirus, according to his personal doctor, as the Democratic nominee sought to continue campaigning during the month before the Nov. 3 election. Dr. Kevin O'Connor, the primary care physician, said Biden and his wife Jill were each tested and "COVID-19 was not detected." "Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern," Biden said in a tweet. "I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands."

The Democratic nominee's announcement comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive. Trump and Biden were in the same room for nearly two hours Tuesday for the first presidential debate. Trump is quarantining with mild symptoms in the residence portion of the White House. Mark Meadows, the president's chief of staff, said Friday that he was in good spirits. Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager, said previously announced campaign events are being postponed or changed to virtual events. Trump was scheduled to travel Saturday to Wisconsin for events in Janesville and Green Bay. more...

Annie Palmer

Amazon on Thursday released comprehensive data into the spread of the coronavirus among its employees, disclosing for the first time that more than 19,000 workers, or 1.44% of the total, contracted the virus this year. Between March 1 and Sept. 19, Amazon counted 19,816 presumed or confirmed Covid-19 cases across its roughly 1.37 million Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the U.S.

The information comes months after labor groups, politicians and regulators repeatedly pressed Amazon to disclose how many of its workers were infected by Covid-19. Early on in the pandemic, warehouse workers raised concerns that Amazon wasn’t doing enough to protect them from getting sick and called for facilities with confirmed cases to be shut down. Lacking data from Amazon, warehouse workers compiled a crowdsourced database of infections based on notifications of new cases at facilities across the U.S.

Amazon previously declined to share the data, saying it would be misleading and lacked context. In Thursday’s blog post, Amazon said the total number of infections would be “more powerful” if other companies released similar data. “Wide availability of data would allow us to benchmark our progress and share best practices across businesses and industries,” the company said. more...

BBC News

A quarter of the UK's population will be under some sort of local lockdown by this weekend after new restrictions were announced for two million more people in Northern England. video...

By Meredith Wadman

From the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists baffled by the disease’s ferocity have wondered whether the body’s vanguard virus fighter, a molecular messenger called type I interferon, is missing in action in some severe cases. Two papers published online in Science this week confirm that suspicion. They reveal that in a significant minority of patients with serious COVID-19, the interferon response has been crippled by genetic flaws or by rogue antibodies that attack interferon itself. “Together these two papers explain nearly 14% of severe COVID-19 cases. That is quite amazing,” says Qiang Pan- Hammarström, an immunologist at the Karolinska Institute.

Tadatsugu Taniguchi, a pioneering interferon scientist and emeritus professor at the University of Tokyo, calls the discoveries “remarkable.” He says they highlight the “critical” role of type I interferons in SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of potentially lethal COVID-19. Co-author Isabelle Meyts, a pediatric immunologist at the University Hospitals Leuven, was struck by one paper’s finding that rogue antibodies underlie COVID-19 in 10% of gravely ill patients: “There has never been any infectious disease explained at this level by a factor in the human body. And it’s not an isolated cohort of Europeans. Patients are from all over the world, all ethnicities.” Another finding, that 94% of the patients with interferon-attacking antibodies were male, also helps explain why men face higher risk of severe disease. more...

Europe readies rolling reviews of potential jabs as US broadens inquiry into adverse reaction
Donato Paolo Mancini in Rome 6 hours ago

The US Food and Drug Administration has widened its probe into an adverse event involving a patient on a trial for the coronavirus vaccine that AstraZeneca is developing with the University of Oxford, according to people briefed on the matter. The FDA’s move, first reported by Reuters, stems from a trial participant in the UK falling ill with unexplained neurological symptoms, previously believed to be consistent with transverse myelitis, which caused trials to be halted last month.

Trials in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, which were all paused after the adverse event was reported, have been deemed safe to resume, AstraZeneca said on Thursday. “Regulators in each individual country determine when trials can start and they do this in their own timeframe,” said the drugmaker. “We are continuing to work with the FDA to facilitate a review of the information needed to make a decision regarding resumption of the US trial.” more...

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc's MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine’s safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study’s lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview. The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna’s vaccine - 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms - in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older. more...

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