Welcome to the newly revamped Key Developments, now twice weekly and with non-COVID news. Right now, it’s still mostly COVID-related news, but we’re slowly morphing these posts into something broader as we go.
There are over 22.2 million global cases of COVID-19. Cases have grown globally by over 1.8 million since last week, which is up from the week before. Global case growth continues to accelerate. There have been over 782,000 deaths around the world. There are over 5.6 million cases in the United States. There have been over 174,000 deaths in the United States, with about 1,000 deaths per day. The US, Brazil, and India continue to lead global case growth. Mexico remains third in the world in number of deaths, with over 57,000. The global death rate is also increasing again:
9,985 coronavirus deaths were reported on Friday, the biggest one-day increase since the pandemic began. This includes 3,658 older deaths which were added to Peru's death toll.
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) August 15, 2020
Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation are elevated from baseline, and some of this can be attributed to the pandemic and its associated stressors. Self-reported rates of anxiety and depression are 2-3 times higher than normal, though it’s hard to know just how elevated they are in each population. Over one-quarter of young Americans thought about suicide in the 30 days prior to this CDC survey:
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) August 13, 2020
The Senate probably won’t push through a pandemic relief bill until September. And there’s still no federal contact-tracing program.
The CDC says immunity probably lasts at least three months. We don’t know for sure how much or how long immunity may last beyond that (but that doesn’t mean it only lasts three months):
New guidance from the CDC suggests immunity following infection lasts approximately three months. This is based on studies in patients who had antibodies after developing Covid-19. https://t.co/iuLybBDwzY
— Aaron Paul Kithcart (@APKithcartMDPhD) August 14, 2020
Saliva tests might be coming, and they’re way more convenient than nasal swabs:
The new test is a much less invasive process than the nasal swabs currently used to test for the virus that causes Covid-19, but one that has so far yielded highly sensitive and similar results. https://t.co/OlKFfmGEE8
— STAT (@statnews) August 15, 2020
Amazon is offering relocation to some of the company’s Seattle employees. This is another example of the way the pandemic is reshaping cities and housing demand.
It’s taking so long for COVID-19 tests to be processed that the information is not particularly helpful in terms of reducing spread. If it takes more than 2-3 days, folks will mingle and spread the disease broadly (generally). One report said 40% of tests are being processed too slowly. Quest Diagnostics is trying to keep results reporting to 1-2 days.
There’s a pepperoni shortage because of pandemic-impacted supply chains. I am not okay with this:
— Rob McNealy (@RobMcNealy) August 18, 2020
It’s crazy hot in California, and millions are experiencing rolling power outages because of excess demand on the system (including this writer, dear readers). This spells inconvenience for millions, but power outages can also be deadly for those on oxygen or those in need of 24/7 medical care at home. For pandemic survivors using oxygen at home, the outages are particularly troubling. Portable oxygen units may be needed, and impacted patients and families should request them ASAP if they don’t already have them.
— Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT (@MikeZaccardi) August 16, 2020
Iowa is still struggling after a very strong derecho, and help is slow in coming. The pandemic has a part to play in stalling relief.
The coronavirus strain with the D614G mutation has reached Malaysia. We’ve known about this strain for a while. It’s more transmissible, but not more deadly.
Tocilizumab shows some promise. It’s being studied in some ongoing RCTs. Its effect is smaller than dexamethasone, though.
We’ve reached the “Forsythia phase” of the current pandemic (watch Contagion to get the reference). Exercise caution whenever you see someone promote an unproven or unregulated supplement as a COVID cure.
UNC ain’t the only one! Many universities are reverting to online-only mode after clusters of hundreds of cases popped up after the first week of face-to-face instruction:
The Daily Tar Heel isn’t holding back this morning. pic.twitter.com/BZmuhAvMQD
— Susan Worley (@TarheelSoup) August 17, 2020
This is fun (read: sarcasm)–
WSJ reports China will tie international vaccine distribution to reciprocal recognition of its territorial claims to the South China Seahttps://t.co/jXJzOEEzhJ
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) August 18, 2020
And, to close, Washington state seems to be stockpiling food.