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Coronavirus: US Cases ‘May Have Topped 20 Million’

June 25, 2020

(BBC) – At least 20 million people in the US may already have been infected with Covid-19, according to the latest estimate by health officials. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the true number of cases is likely to be 10 times higher than the reported figure. It comes as the state of Texas halted its reopening as infections and hospitalisations surged. The US has recorded 2.4m confirmed infections and 122,370 deaths.

Coronavirus: ‘Very Significant’ Resurgences in Europe Alarm WHO

June 25, 2020

(BBC) – Europe has seen an increase in weekly cases of Covid-19 for the first time in months as restrictions are eased, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. In 11 places, which include Armenia, Sweden, Moldova and North Macedonia, accelerated transmission has led to “very significant resurgence”, said Regional Director Dr Hans Henri Kluge. His warnings about the risk of resurgence had become reality, he said. If left unchecked, he warned health systems would be “pushed to the brink”.

Mounting Clues Suggest the Coronavirus Might Trigger Diabetes

June 24, 2020

(Nature) – Their hunch is based on a handful of people such as Gnadt, who have spontaneously developed diabetes after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, and on evidence from dozens more people with COVID-19 who have arrived in hospital with extremely high levels of blood sugar and ketones which are produced from fatty deposits in the liver. When the body doesn’t make enough insulin to break down sugar, it uses ketones as an alternative source of fuel. “In science, sometimes you have to start off with very small evidence to chase a hypothesis,” says Zimmet.

First Reported US Case of COVID-19 Linked to Guillain-Barre

June 24, 2020

(Medscape) – The first official US case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) associated with COVID-19 has been reported by neurologists from Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, further supporting a link between the virus and neurologic complications, including GBS. As previously reported by Medscape Medical News, physicians in China reported the first case of COVID-19 that initially presented as acute GBS. The patient was a 61-year-old woman returning home from Wuhan during the pandemic. Subsequently, physicians in Italy reported five cases of GBS in association with COVID-19.

Peru Giving Up on Virus Measures in Face of Sinking Economy

June 24, 2020

(ABC News) – Peru — which has reported the world’s sixth-highest number of cases in a population of just 32 million — has decided to ignore scientific warnings and opened many of the country’s largest shopping malls this week. The government had been following international advice on fighting COVID-19 — enforcing a strict stay-at-home order for three months — but the measures failed to prevent one of the world’s worst outbreaks, and the country now faces one of the region’s deepest recessions on top of rising death rates. 

Inside the U.S.’s Largest Maximum-Security Prison, COVID-19 Raged. Outside, Officials Called Their Fight a Success.

June 24, 2020

(ProPublica) – While the novel coronavirus burned through Angola, as the country’s largest maximum-security prison is known, officials insisted they were testing all inmates who showed symptoms, isolating those who got sick and transferring more serious cases to the hospital in Baton Rouge, about 60 miles to the south. But from inside Angola’s walls, inmates painted a very different picture — one of widespread illness, dysfunctional care and sometimes inexplicable neglect. They said at least four of the 12 prisoners who have died in the pandemic, including Williams, had been denied needed medical help for days because their symptoms were not considered sufficiently serious.

Dexamethasone and the Recovery Trial’s High-Speed Science

June 24, 2020

(Wired) – Last week, a British research team announced that a cheap, safe, widely available drug called dexamethasone makes a huge difference in saving the lives of people severely ill with Covid-19. Perhaps no one was more surprised than the people on the research team. That group, the United Kingdom’s Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy (Recovery) Trial, took just three months to go from spinning up a brand-new kind of drug trial to changing global medical practice.

‘The Future Looks Bleak’: The Pandemic Ravages Medical Tourism

June 24, 2020

(New York Times) – Over the past several years, hospitals began to play innkeeper to open the door to more elective surgery, which is the lifeblood of their revenue. They developed hotels near their operating rooms where patients, who often came from overseas for specialized treatments, could recover comfortably. Expanding into the hospitality business also allowed health care providers to avoid the high costs of being hosts themselves. But as with so much else, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated medical tourism.

South Korea Officials Declare Second Wave of Coronavirus

June 23, 2020

(Newsweek) – Health officials in South Korea declared the country is going through a second wave of coronavirus infections after reporting a number of newly confirmed cases, especially in the Greater Seoul area. On Monday, the director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jung Eun-kyeong, said South Korea’s Children’s Day, a national holiday that took place May 5, marked the beginning of a new wave of infections.

Appeals Court Reduces J&J Talc Verdict But Censures Company

June 23, 2020

(ABC News) – A Missouri appeals court has reduced a talcum powder verdict against Johnson & Johnson by more than half, even while ruling that the company knowingly sold a product that caused cancer. In the ruling announced Tuesday, the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals rejected the company’s request to throw out a St. Louis jury’s verdict in 2018 that awarded 22 plaintiffs $4.7 billion in response to claims that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder causes ovarian cancer.

COVID-19 Harming 600 Million Children in South Asia, UNICEF Says

June 23, 2020

(Voice of America) – The coronavirus is threatening the livelihoods of 600 million children in South Asia, UNICEF said in a report released Tuesday. The report, “Lives Upended,” describes how the pandemic is unraveling decades of progress on the health, education and other advances for children in South Asia, and calls on governments to take immediate action.

In Poor Countries, Many Covid-19 Patients Are Desperate for Oxygen

June 23, 2020

(New York Times) – As the coronavirus pandemic hits more impoverished countries with fragile health care systems, global health authorities are scrambling for supplies of a simple treatment that saves lives: oxygen. Many patients severely ill with Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, require help with breathing at some point. But now the epidemic is spreading rapidly in South Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa, regions of the world where many hospitals are poorly equipped and lack the ventilators, tanks and other equipment necessary to save patients whose lungs are failing.

What a Negative COVID-19 Test Really Means

June 22, 2020

(The Atlantic) – You go out to a bar with friends this week, and you’re planning to visit your elderly relatives in a few days. You feel healthy, and you even get a COVID-19 test out of caution. The result comes back negative. Is it safe to go? Not exactly, experts say. How well COVID-19 tests work in people who feel healthy is still a key unknown of the pandemic. The test may overlook the small but growing amounts of virus in someone who has not yet developed symptoms, who could still go on to spread COVID-19 without knowing it. So as Americans weigh the risks of attending protests, rallies, birthday parties, dinners, and all the social gatherings that make up normal life, they will have to contend with the uncertainty that a negative test result does not rule out infection. “If they go do a risky contact, they can’t get a ‘Get out of jail free’ card. They can’t just get tested and feel fine,” A. Marm Kilpatrick, a disease ecologist at UC Santa Cruz, says.

Telemedicine’s Tipping Point

June 22, 2020

(Knowable Magazine) – Regardless of when the Covid-19 threat dissipates, video visits have crossed a tipping point to become a mainstream way to obtain care, says cardiologist Joe Smith, coauthor of an overview of telemedicine in the Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering. “I don’t think we go back,” he says. “For a long time, hospitals have been the cathedrals of health care where patients have to come. But people are now seeing that they can get their health care in the safety and comfort of their own home.”

Black Men in England Three Times More Likely to Die of Covid-19 Than White Men

June 19, 2020

(The Guardian) – Black men in England and Wales are three times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white men, the Office for National Statistics has found. The study, which covered deaths in hospitals and in the community between 2 March and 15 May, found black men had the highest mortality rate from the disease. Among black men of all ages the death rate was 256 per 100,000 people, compared with 87 deaths per 100,000 for white men.

How Likely Are Kids to Get Covid-19? Scientists See a ‘Huge Puzzle’ Without Easy Answers

June 19, 2020

(STAT News) – In January, when it became clear that a new coronavirus was transmitting with ease among people in central China, one of the top questions scientists who study disease dynamics wanted answered was this: What role are children playing in the spread of the new disease, now known as Covid-19? Five months later, they and the rest of us would still like to know.

South Asians Most Likely to Die in Hospital from COVID-19

June 19, 2020

(Newsweek) – People from South Asian backgrounds are the only group more likely to die from COVID-19 after they’ve been admitted to hospital, according to new research. The study, which is based on data from four in 10 of all hospital patients with COVID-19, showed that those from South Asian backgrounds were 20 percent more likely to die from the virus than white people. Other ethnic minority groups did not have a higher death rate after they had been admitted to hospital.

Italy Sewage Study Suggests COVID-19 Was There in December 2019

June 19, 2020

(Reuters) – Scientists in Italy have found traces of the new coronavirus in wastewater collected from Milan and Turin in December 2019 – suggesting COVID-19 was already circulating in northern Italy before China reported the first cases. The Italian National Institute of Health looked at 40 sewage samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy between October 2019 and February 2020. An analysis released on Thursday said samples taken in Milan and Turin on Dec. 18 showed the presence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

COVID-19 Treatment Trial Approved for Patients Unable to Consent

June 18, 2020

(Sydney Morning Herald) – A NSW tribunal has given the green light for a potential trial of a COVID-19 treatment on critically ill patients who are unable to consent, concluding the trial was in their best interests and involved a low risk. In a decision in April, released publicly this week, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal gave Liverpool Hospital consent to run a clinical trial of a new drug on adult intensive care patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

How–and When–Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?

June 17, 2020

(ProPublica) – These questions and concerns resonate with me. I, too, want a vaccine, but I want reassurance that it’s truly safe and effective. So I talked to a dozen people in the vaccine world: scientists, pediatricians, pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as staff at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Let me tell you this up front: If you’re imagining there’ll be one golden day when a vaccine is approved and the pandemic will be over — Finally! We can all crowd into one another’s living rooms and resume choir practice again — I’m afraid it won’t be quite like that. But it will be the beginning of the end. There’s much to be hopeful about, and enormous challenges lie ahead. Let’s dig in.

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