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, October 29, 2020

The world has nearly 42 million cases.  The world has added over 3.2 million cases since last Thursday. Case growth continues to climb. There have been nearly 1.2 million deaths. The US has over 9.2 million cases. Over 234,000 Americans have died—almost 1,000 in the last 24 hours. The US has gained over 82,000 new cases since yesterday. The US once again leads the world in case growth:

There have been disappointing results with some monoclonal antibody (MAB) trials. The NIH and Eli Lilly have halted their trial because the antibodies appear to offer no benefit to hospitalized patients. They’ve been found to be safe, but not particularly effective. It’s possible that they could be if given earlier in the COVID disease process v. later, and trials with less severely ill patients will continue:

Regeneron’s MAB seems to help reduce need for further medical attention.

A CDC study shows that a large proportion of hospitalized COVID patients (6%) are health care personnel. A quarter of these hospitalized patients require ICU care, and 4% of them die once hospitalized. The largest subgroup impacted are those in the nursing profession:

We’ve been told that flying during the pandemic is relatively safe given proper observation of precautions, and yet:

Don’t fly unless you really must. And if you do, wear an N95 and consider eye protection as well in the form of goggles or a face shield.

More progress has been made to make the vaccine distribution network ready for roll-out. A tiered roll-out system, with priority groups receiving vaccines first, will help the distribution network tolerate the demand.

The elderly are dying because of isolation. Residents of nursing homes are losing weight and failing to thrive. They’re giving up. It’s horrifically sad. It’s happening in nursing homes, but (as we’ve mentioned before) it’s also happening in the community. It might be a good idea to call your elderly loved ones a little more than usual at this time, if at all feasible.

Four Western states plan to add an additional level of vaccine safety screening before rolling vaccines out to the public: California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

A new study found 80% of COVID patients in Spain had a vitamin D deficiency, which was twice the prevalence of vitamin deficiency found in the community. A causal relationship was not found, but it’s an interesting correlation that has been noted previously. Supplemental vitamin D is generally safe to take over the counter (1,000-2,000 IU daily) and is difficult to become toxic on, so it may be a good idea to take some—it may not prevent severe COVID, but it certainly won’t hurt.

The FDA is pledging that safety, fidelity to the safety process, and transparency are paramount and that these values will be upheld as COVID vaccines soon become available. Vaccine programs will fail without public trust.

Autoantibodies in COVID survivors? Sure, why not.

France and Germany are back in lockdown because of out-of-control case growth, hospitalizations, and inability to track and trace cases. Unfortunately, many Europeans have had it with lockdowns.

It will be interesting to see if vaccines help produce more robust immunity to COVID than actual infection:

Interesting COVID graphic of the week.

Positivity rates in the US are pretty scary right now:

A case study of an immunocompromised patient who has had actively replicating SARS-CoV-2 for at least four months.

Useful visuals and communications for understanding aerosol spread:


  • 4 Comments

    • woodrow

      Stephanie, if there are no comments it’s because we’re all a bit stunned. 

      5 |
    • JB

      My family keeps reading and listening to articles and “scientific studies” that say that masks are ineffective and COVID is just as dangerous as the Flu. 

      What do I say to them? I think it is more serious than what they are saying.

      1 |