Coronavirus Tidbits #60 6/24/20

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Announcements:

First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting.

Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in it and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that.

News 

Idiocy du jour:

Feds About To Bail On Supporting COVID Testing Sites In Texas And Other States–as cases skyrocket 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/exclusive-feds-about-to-bail-on-supporting-covid-testing-sites-in-texas-and-other-states

Trump: “Slow the testing down please.”

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Watch this dataviz. 

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Ousted Rebekah Jones in Florida explains how they are trying to cook the numbers again

BREAKING: 1 OF 3: Florida announced yesterday they’re not counting the icu bed availability anymore, a key element in keeping things open, so the state can proceed to the next phase by July 4.

2 OF 3 I have multiple sources at DOH who have just told me they have been instructed this week to change the numbers and begin slowly deleting deaths and cases so it looks like Florida is improving next week in the leadup to July 4, like they’ve “made it over the hump.”

3 OF 3 I’ve independently verified they’ve deleted at least 1200 cases in the last week.They’re only reporting all these cases now so they can restrict reporting next week to make everyone think it’s over. I’ve had two DOH employees in different offices confirm

Follow her or FloridaCovidAction.com for real Florida numbers

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75% of US workers can’t work exclusively from home, face greater risks during pandemic

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON 23-JUN-2020

About three-quarters of U.S. workers, or 108 million people, are in jobs that cannot be done from home during a pandemic, putting these workers at increased risk of exposure to disease. This majority of workers are also at higher risk for other job disruptions such as layoffs, furloughs or hours reductions, a University of Washington study shows.

These workers also represent some of the lowest paid workers in the U.S. workforce, Baker emphasized.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-06/uow-7ou062320.php

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China Halts Some Tyson Chicken Shipments Over Covid-19

Tyson on Friday said 481 employees across its northwest Arkansas operations had tested positive for the coronavirus since early June.

Chinese authorities suspended chicken imports from a Tyson Foods Inc. facility due to what Chinese officials said were Covid-19 infections among the plant’s employees.

The suspension issued Sunday covered products that have arrived in China or are about to arrive there, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-halts-some-tyson-chicken-exports-over-covid-19-11592764221&ct=ga&cd=CAEYAioTMTYwMjU3ODcxOTQwNDE5MTEyNzIaNjBlOGIzMzNlNWE4M2JmYzpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNE1hWrGgFe-GNyAOMqq5dJ7kXArMg

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European Union officials are racing to agree on who can visit the bloc as of July 1 based on how countries of origin are faring with new coronavirus cases. Americans, so far, are excluded,

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/world/europe/coronavirus-EU-American-travel-ban.html

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Another reason we need universal health care, not insurance tied to jobs:

An Early Look at the Potential Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Health Insurance Coverage

Commonwealth Fund Health Care Poll: COVID-19, May–June 2020

The Commonwealth Fund, June 23, 2020, Sara R. Collins, et al.

Twenty-one million people in the United States were unemployed in May — more than 13 percent of the U.S. labor force.1 With more than half the U.S. adult population dependent on their employer or a family member’s employer for their health insurance, a key concern is that many of the newly unemployed have lost their health benefits along with their jobs.2

Key Highlight

  • Among people who said they or a spouse or partner lost a job or were furloughed because of the pandemic, two of five had health coverage through the affected job.
    • Among those who previously had coverage through an affected job, one of five said they or a spouse or partner were now uninsured.

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2020/jun/implications-covid-19-pandemic-health-insurance-survey?utm_source=

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Mini organs reveal how the coronavirus ravages the body

The virus can damage lung, liver and kidney tissue grown in the lab, which might explain some severe COVID-19 complications in people.

Nature – Smriti Mallapaty

Researchers are growing miniature organs in the laboratory to study how the new coronavirus ravages the body. Studies in these organoids are revealing the virus’s versatility at invading organs, from the lungs to the liver, kidneys and gut. Researchers are also experimenting with drugs in these mini tissues to see whether such therapies might be candidates to treat people.

Physicians know from hospitalised patients and autopsies that SARS-CoV-2 can have a devastating effect on organs. But it’s unclear whether some of this damage is directly caused by the virus or by secondary complications of the infection. Multiple groups are using organoid studies to show where in the body the virus travels, which cells it infects and what damage it does.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01864-x

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

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Dogs show remarkable prowess at smelling coronavirus: 95% success rate from sweat samples

The dog’s accuracy is better than the PCR tests–faster, too. https://www.zmescience.com/science/dog-sniff-coronavirus-16062020/ ~ ~ ~

Coronavirus Antibody Tests Have a Mathematical Pitfall

The accuracy of screening tests is highly dependent on the infection rate

By Sarah Lewin Frasier | Scientific American July 2020 Issue

Scientists working to quell the COVID-19 pandemic have developed tests that detect antibodies in the blood of people who have previously been infected with the new coronavirus. These serology tests can provide important data on how COVID-19 is spreading through a population. There is also hope that the presence of certain antibodies may signify immunity to future infection—a possibility scientists are still investigating. Antibody tests do have potential shortcomings: they may detect ineffective antibodies, they do not indicate if an infection is still active, and they fail to detect infection if administered before antibodies develop. A new test’s accuracy can also be difficult to determine because of a lack of data.

Still, such tests have been proposed as a way for individuals to find out if they have already been infected with the novel coronavirus. But a mathematical wrinkle makes these tests—and in fact, all screening tests—hard to interpret: even with a very accurate test, the fewer people in a population who have a condition, the more likely it is that an individual’s positive result is wrong. If it is, people might think they have the antibodies (and thus may have immunity), when in fact they do not.

A positive screening test result for other diseases usually prompts follow-up testing to confirm a diagnosis. But for COVID-19 screening, such follow-up has been rare because testing resources are scarce or because other testing methods are prioritized for the sickest patients. Here’s a look at the massive impact infection rates can have on the predictive value of these tests for individuals.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coronavirus-antibody-tests-have-a-mathematical-pitfall/

Drugs:

#CUREID #DrugRepurposing database

and project explained by my daughter, @IDEpiHeather, with the history of project and current use for #COVID19 #NTDs, #Infections. Podcast with the @PharmaPinkSheet

#CPath launches CURE Drug Repurposing Collaboratory w/ @US_FDA and @ncats_nih_gov to accelerate identification of new uses of existing drugs as potential treatments for #infectiousdiseases diseases, including #COVID19. https://bit.ly/2VeEDi2

 

Devices:

Virginia librarian uses drones to drop off books to kids stuck at home because of #coronavirus https://cbsnews.com/news/librarian-uses-drone-to-deliver-books-to-kids-stuck-at-home-due-to-coronavirus/…

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Ability of Fabric Facemasks Materials to Filter Ultrafine Particles at Coughing Velocity – for Home Made and Fabric Face Mask Creation

Eugenia O’Kelly, et al.

Posted June 20, 2020

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

Abstract

Objectives:

We examined the ability of fabrics which might be used to create homemade face masks to filter out ultrafine (0.1μm and smaller in diameter) particles at the velocity of adult human coughing.

Method:

Twenty commonly available fabrics and materials were evaluated for their ability to reduce air concentrations of ultrafine particles at a face velocity of 16.5 m/s. Further assessment was made on the filtration ability of select fabrics while damp and of fabric combinations which might be used to construct homemade masks.

Results:

Single fabric layers blocked a range of ultrafine particles. When fabrics were layered, significantly more ultrafine particles were filtered. Nonwoven fusible interfacing significantly increased filtration.

Conclusions:

The current coronavirus pandemic has left many communities without access N95 facemasks. Our findings suggest that face masks made from layered common fabric can help filter ultrafine particles and provide some protection for the wearer when commercial facemasks are unavailable.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20065375v2?%253fcollection=

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MASKS: Do you live in UTAH?

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Protesters and Covid-19

In Boston, only 2.5% of people who sought testing after taking part in recent protests were found to be infected with the coronavirus.

This mirrors findings from Minneapolis and NYC — in both places the #GeorgeFloydprotest #BLM participants have equal or lower #COVID19 test + results than their general populations. It seems to reflect widespread mask wearing + outdoors activities.

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Interviewed again for the local paper–https://www.times-news.com/news/coronavirus/counties-urged-to-step-up-coronavirus-testing/article_c0981924-ae59-5e81-8f34-7bcba89139f0.html

in which I again show how endearing I can be when so frustrated by the stonewalling and gaslighting we encounter. Local response is woefully inadequate.

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This is driven by Texas, Arizona, and Florida

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

The four countries hardest hit by the coronavirus are all led by authoritarian leaders

The crisis has laid bare the tendencies of authoritarian leaders and their disregard for human life.

https://www.zmescience.com/other/pieces/the-four-countries-hardest-hit-by-the-coronavirus-are-all-led-by-authoritarian-leaders/ ~ ~ ~ I can hardly wait to see the spike in Covid cases from this narcissistic display

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As Covid-19 devastates communities of color, the government’s minority health experts are conspicuously quiet

https://www.statnews.com/2020/06/22/covid-19-minority-health-experts-conspicuously-quiet/? ~ ~ ~

Sheila Buck, a 62 yo Catholic kindergarten teacher was arrested while quietly praying at #Tulsa’s Trump rally.

Long interview w her about her upcoming law suit against Tulsa and Trump campaign here: https://abc7news.com/society/woman-arrested-outside-tulsa-trump-rally-plans-to-file-suit-/6260856/

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“Based on most recent testing numbers, today (June 20) way more Americans were diagnosed with #COVID19 than attended Trump’s campaign rally. Would’ve still been true if the arena was completely full… And the spillover area too… And the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa as well.”

– Dr. Craig Spencer

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Street Medic 101: First Aid, Consent, Military Strategy and More

— As national unrest continues, protest-medicine trainers are adapting to new threats and evolving priorities

https://www.medpagetoday.com/emergencymedicine/emergencymedicine/87164?

Feel good du jour:

https://tucson.com/news/world/watch-now-barcelona-opera-house-reopens-with-concert-for-plants/article_faf6e133-1e9e-5f57-ad47-7134c7a183ce.html?

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Lovely: Beong-Soo Kim and Bonnie Wongtrakool providing concerts for their neighbors.

Comic relief:

Nice interview w Sarah Cooper

US Comic @sarahcpr has gone viral with her lip-synching videos of Donald Trump, which have been so popular the President has even blocked her on Twitter. #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/ptEuNdrZTa

— The Project (@theprojecttv) June 23, 2020

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Perspective

Coronavirus shows how ageism is harmful to health of older adults

https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-shows-how-ageism-is-harmful-to-health-of-older-adults-138249

Bits of beauty:

 

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