Coronavirus Special Coverage

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

  • Previous coverage - all of our posts in this ongoing series.
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Key developments for Thursday, September 3, 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 26.4 million cases.  The world has added about 1.8 million cases since last week, as has for nearly two months. There have been over 872,000 deaths. The US has over 6.3 million cases and has had over 190,000 deaths. About 1,000 Americans are dying from COVID-19 each day. US has gained over 39,000 new cases since yesterday. India is first in the world for daily case growth, followed by Brazil.

A Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been found helpful in animal models (Syrian hamsters).  It successfully elicited antibodies and reduced morbidity and mortality with a single dose.

Stat News lays out the criteria for safely green-lighting a vaccine for an accelerated timeline—and it can be done if the criteria are met.

Hunger is a growing problem during the pandemic:

About 1/3 of Big Ten athletes who had been COVID-19-positive suffered from serious cardiac sequela–myocarditis in particular. Myocarditis is a swelling of the heart’s muscle tissue. These kinds of complications are part of the rationale for suspending or postponing sports seasons and conferences.

A super-computer’s data analysis says that bradykinin storms (as opposed to cytokine storms) might be causing leaky blood vessels, among other terrible symptoms. Bradykinin is an inflammatory peptide that plays a role in the complex systems that impact blood pressure. As with computer-data analysis, the quality of the output is only as good as the quality of the data going in. And investigations into real, live cellular and tissue dynamics are very different than digital ones. The bradykinin hypothesis needs to be tested.

Dr. Eric Topol tears the FDA Commissioner, Stephen Hahn, a proverbial new one in an open letter.

The DHHS plans on wasting hundreds of millions of dollars in “feel good” messaging instead of spending it on PPE for essential workers:


Dr. Birx says, “Don’t send the infected kids home from college!” Did nobody think about this prior to pushing for school and college openings?

The NIH recommends randomized, controlled trials of convalescent plasma treatment. Serious, adverse reactions to plasma infusions are not terribly common, so it’s difficult to argue that postponing its use by months or years to wait for more concrete data is the best choice.

Teens’ anxiety levels dropped during lockdown in the UK, counter to expectations.

The CDC wants governors to consider eliminating red tape that would hinder vaccine distribution in the US, and would like distribution facilities to be up and running by November 1st. Just in time for the election…

Two very common steroids are helping to save lives when COVID-19 cases are severe. Studies around the world have confirmed the results.

An horrific super-spreader event happened on a bus:

The mass evictions are coming.

The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has drafted a framework for rolling out vaccines.