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, June 25, 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 9.68 million cases.  Cases have grown globally by over one million in the last week, as they did the week before. The US has nearly 2.5 million cases and has had over 124,000 deaths. The US has gained over 34,000 new cases since yesterday. Case growth is rising in the US and we are surpassing our previous peak daily case counts. The US had its highest one-day total this week.

The CDC says that the estimated attack rate in the US is about 7%. This estimate is based on an integration of serostudies. Total cases are probably vastly underestimated and the true number of infected is probably ten times higher than what normally report—as many as 23 million.

There are increased risks to pregnant women:

Governor Abbott is halting the reopening in Texas:

A two-dose schedule may be more efficacious for the AstraZenica vaccine. There’s a greater increase in neutralizing antibodies in pig studies when two doses are given. We’ll have to see the response in humans, of course.

And this is (additionally) horrifying: COVID-19 may induce type 1 diabetes. The pandemic virus is capable of attacking pancreatic cells and this can result in metabolic dysregulation and alteration in insulin production.

A vaccine alliance might make a global-scaled supply possible. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) estimates that in the long run there is potential for four billion doses of various vaccines to be produced per year. CEPI has invested nearly 1 billion dollars into current COVID-19 vaccine programs.

Remdesivir is really expensive, and could get even more expensive. If dexamethasone becomes a true frontline treatment, then remdesivir is likely to get less expensive. Price-gouging a life-saving treatment is not going to go over well right now, and Gilead is certainly aware of that.

The CDC has increased its COVID-19 death estimate once again–a toll of 150,000 anticipated by mid-July. I believe they’ll be going back to the drawing board on this estimate many more times.

California has a PCR positivity rate of about 5%, which has increased of late:

North Carolina is also pausing its reopening:

Prepare to quarantine if you’re traveling from some states to others:

It’s critically important for people to understand that COVID-19 grows exponentially. There’s a big difference between linear growth and exponential growth, not just in how fast it can burn through a population, but in how fast it can impact hospitals and even local infrastructure. When folks better understand the nature of its spread and the impact of that spread, they’re more likely to support mask-wearing and social distancing.

City and county layoffs are coming. NYC may lay off over 20,000 workers.

Ending Federal funding for COVID-19 testing? It’s possible:

Brazil is in bad, bad way. A worst-case scenario is unfolding there. Cumulative and daily case counts are likely to overtake the US in the next few weeks. Much-needed pop up hospitals are frequently operating without supplies. The death toll is staggering.

Have we mentioned that the coronavirus can damage the testes? It’s not terribly common, but we don’t know what it means for those it affects. It’s possible that fertility could be impacted. This is one more reminder that you don’t want to get this virus if you can prevent it.

It’s difficult to deal with all the medical waste this pandemic is creating:

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