Coronavirus Special Coverage

A collection of news posted throughout the week for those that want signal, not noise.

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Key developments for Thursday, July 23, 2020

Welcome to the newly revamped Key Developments, now twice weekly and with non-COVID news. Right now, it’s actually still just COVID news, but we’ll be slowly morphing it into something broader as we go.

The world has over 15.6 million cases.  The rate of global case growth continues to increase. There have been over 635,000 deaths. The US has over 4.1 million cases (up half a million cases since last week) and has had over 147,000 deaths. The US has gained over 64,000 new cases since yesterday. Brazil remains second in daily case growth, followed by India and Russia.

This is probably the right call, but it makes you wonder why schools are being pushed to open:

New York and California grapple with deciding whether chicken wings constitute enough of meal to let an establishment serve alcohol. New York might be leaning towards allowing the wings after all:

Japan declares a recession after many years of economic expansion.

An outbreak at a meat processing plant was much larger than initially reported. Twice as many workers in the Iowa plant were infected than their public health agency revealed. The department is facing multiple accusations of withholding information from the public.

Epidemiologists and other experts think the possibility of reinfection is very small, noting that strong evidence of reinfection has not been concretely demonstrated. It’s not abnormal for antibodies to taper off over time. T- and B-cell-mediated immunity may be more stable than people realize.

The White House is pushing nearly a dozen cities to tackle their COVID-19 problems more aggressively. Dr. Birx purportedly made these recommendations privately, by phone call. It stands to reason that a public, nation-wide call for more stringent measures would probably be useful, too.

More mask mandates:

Alternatives to N95s are being engineered. Silicone masks with removable filters can be autoclaved or sterilized easily and reused. The masks are said to be effective and comfortable, but I wonder how they would feel if the user is sweaty—there’s no fabric to wick away moisture. These are a prototype and have not yet been made to scale for distribution.

CDC test kits might still have PCR primer problems, and they might STILL be producing horribly inaccurate results: 30% false positives, and 20% false negatives. This is awful news, if true.

Our hospitalizations are matching our previous peak:

Case growth is starting to plateau in a number of states:

Fauci’s first pitch wasn’t great, but at least everyone was wearing a mask:


    • Amous

      Silicone, or other thermoplastics, have been used for industrial respirators/particulate masks for years. They are a definite improvement over kn95s, in terms of comfort and seal so long as they are properly fit tested. However, prolonged use caused me to develop contact dermatitis, which has not disappeared even though I haven’t used my respirator in over a year and have been prescribed medication. I cleaned/sanitized my respirator before and after each use.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Amous

        It’s not a particularly breathable material, and the skin doesn’t like that. Sorry you’re still dealing with a prolonged reaction to it. That can happen when immune cells migrate into the skin. They’re still ready for a fight. Maybe ask your health care provider for a topical treatment cream that doesn’t have petroleum products in the formulation. They like to give out steroid creams that use petroleum jelly as the base, and maybe that’s an irritant, too. Just thinking out loud. Ignore if not helpful. 

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    • novech1

      How accurate are the case / mortality numbers given the reported changes in data collection and reporting? 

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    • ReadyPlayer

      I wonder what New York and California would think about tapas.

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    • woodrow

      Chicken wings did not start in Buffalo.  They started as soul food.  Soul food was traditionally composed of items considered unpalatable by white people, but made through artful means into a delicacy.  So, I guess it should not surprise anyone that some white guy says that chicken wings are not substantial food, although it is a bit tone-deaf. I like Governor Cuomo, but on this one he’s full of it. 

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