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.
There are over 13.4 million global cases. Cases have grown by over 1.6 million in the last week. There have been over 618,000 deaths around the globe. There are over 4 million cases in the US. Cases have grown by half a million in the US multiple weeks in a row. There have been almost 145,000 deaths in the US. The US, Brazil, and India continue to lead global case growth.
Our bungled response has given us the worst of all worlds: an out of control pandemic and a terrible economic hit as well. Either a national public mask mandate or widespread state mask mandates are needed if we want any kind of recovery. Congress needs to act if we want to avoid disaster.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force has received a report detailing the need to revert to stronger measures to combat the virus in at least 18 hotspot states. Whether it acts on the report remains to be seen.
Some good news:
Good news from early phase Oxford vaccine trials. Also (early) good news today from the interferon beta clinical trial. (To be published, soon but it's an RCT from a solid team so🤞🧿). Recent T-cell reactivity papers with encouraging findings. A break from the doomscrolling! https://t.co/OU10C5JuzL
— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) July 20, 2020
The Oxford vaccine team is hoping to run “Challenge Trials” soon, which would expose healthy volunteers to the pandemic virus in a controlled, clinical setting. It’s dangerous and ethically problematic, as there’s no cure and no guarantee that volunteers wouldn’t have very bad outcomes. But it’s helpful in speeding phase III trials along and also provides complementary data on optimal dosing and whether the vaccine is protective or not.
The White House has blocked Redfield from testifying before the House on reopening schools:
— Deborah Blum (@deborahblum) July 17, 2020
There are serious neurological manifestations of COVID-19, and many more virus victims have them than previously believed. Sometimes these neurological sequelae are the actual cause of death. It’s not just that virus frenzies the immune system, it can also attack the brain directly.
Trump adviser tells WaPo that when it comes to the pandemic, the president is “not really working this anymore. He doesn’t want to be distracted by it. He’s not calling and asking about data. He’s not worried about cases.” https://t.co/cMaaFvu1rY
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 18, 2020
Older children are perfect vectors for the virus. Children under ten seem to spread it much less than others. Teens and preteens spread it just as effectively as adults do. This data may be useful when it comes time to open the schools back up. From a practical perspective it’s probably somewhat safer for younger children to be in school. But the caveat is that the younger the kid, the less likely that kid is to strictly adhere to social distancing rules. Teens aren’t that great at it either. Also, an observation by one of our contributors, Ari Allyn-Feuer, is that” “this method only deals with symptomatic index cases, which means it will tend to bias downward with populations with low symptomatic rates, unless the sample size is very big. It could be that even the younger children are spreading as much as adults and this study could miss it due to that.”
You can visualize the lag time between hospitalizations and cases. The scary thing is the deaths that follow:
Covid hospitalizations continue to rise nationally, will soon eclipse prior record reached in April. However, admissions to ICUs has declined as percent of total hospital admissions; reflecting earlier diagnosis at time of admission, better treatments, less vulnerable admissions. pic.twitter.com/HFNN91dUpq
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) July 19, 2020
Florida is truly running out of ICU beds:
There are 49 hospitals in Florida with 0% ICU beds available, according to Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration website as of 3 p.m. EST Sunday.
Five of those hospitals are in Broward County, just north of Miami Dade.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) July 19, 2020
It’s not the only one:
ICU beds are already full in parts of Arizona, Florida, Mississippi & Texas. pic.twitter.com/9moE63iNgd
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) July 20, 2020
High school sports in California is postponed until next year. That’s definitely a good thing, because California is not faring well, with total cases nearing 400,000:
California has become the 2nd U.S. state to reach more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus, and is set to overtake New York on Wednesday https://t.co/Qs4encun9f
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) July 21, 2020
Air traffic is falling as cases rise again:
public health is necessary for economic/business health, Vol. XVI https://t.co/mEnROLXbXz
— Daniel Gross (@grossdm) July 20, 2020
The FDA has given emergency approval for pooled COVID-19 sampling, which runs a portion of many samples together. If the result is positive, all samples are run. If the results are negative, the individual samples don’t have to be processed separately. This will save time and help shore up the test results delays Quest Diagnostics and others are experiencing.
This is why family gatherings are a bad idea right now:
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) July 21, 2020
The Navajo Nation is suffering. The Reservation has one of the highest infection rates in the US. Infection and death rates are impacted by a lack of running water on the land and many pre-existing medical conditions in the people. This combination, paired with a lack of access to needed healthcare services, puts the people of the Navajo Nation at higher risk for bad COVID-19 outcomes.
— 🇵🇹Common Raven🇺🇸 (@Bewickwren) July 20, 2020
We’ve mentioned this before. HVAC systems can contribute to the problem:
HVAC professionals: viruses like SARS-2 stay airborne and can travel long distances in rooms & air ducts of ventilation systems. The Assoc. of European HVAC professionals proposes, esp. in ‘hot spots’ to take a set of measures that help to control the airborne route…1/3 pic.twitter.com/AAUgGVgRwK
— Dr. Ali Nouri (@AliNouriPhD) July 21, 2020