By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
SATURDAY, Oct. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The United States broke a bleak record on Friday, logging the highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
The tally of over 80,000 new infections eclipses the previous record of 76,533 new cases set on July 17, during a surge in cases across the Sun Belt, the Washington Post reported.
The country could soon be facing its worst stretch of the pandemic, with some hospitals in the West and Midwest already overwhelmed and death counts beginning to rise, the Post reported.
This latest spike in cases is far more widespread than the waves that hit America in the spring and summer. The geographic spread of this latest surge makes it more dangerous, with experts warning it could lead to dire shortages of medical staff and supplies, the Post said. Already, hospitals are reporting shortfalls of basic drugs needed to treat COVID-19 infections.
COVID-19 hospitalizations increased in 38 states over the past week. The number of deaths nationally has crested above 1,000 in recent days, the Post reported.
In July, just four states accounted for more than 40,000 cases: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to a Post analysis. On Friday, 11 states accounted for that same lion’s share of cases.
“One key way we got through previous waves was by moving health care workers around. That’s just not possible when the virus is surging everywhere,” Eleanor Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University, told the Post. And no one knows how high this wave will crest before peaking, she added.
“We are starting this wave much higher than either of the previous waves,” she explained. “And it will simply keep going up until people and officials decide to do something about it.”
The Midwest and Rocky Mountains are struggling to contain major outbreaks, while new hot spots are emerging in other parts of the country, The New York Times reported. Kentucky announced more than 1,470 cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump ever in that state. And Colorado reported more than 1,300 cases, setting another single-day record, the Times said. In Chicago, a nightly curfew started on Friday, after officials reported an average of 645 new cases a day this past week, the newspaper said.
Things are likely to get worse. The country has not even hit the stretch of holidays and cold weather that is coming. More interactions could mean more transmission during celebrations of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. The winter’s cold, dry air will also help the virus stay stable longer, just as people start to spend more time indoors where ventilation may be poor.
Remdesivir gets full FDA approval to treat COVID-19
Remdesivir’s full approval Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration comes after the agency granted it emergency use authorization last spring. It is given intravenously to hospitalized patients.
California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is selling the drug under the brand name Veklury.
Mannequins with face masks and designer clothing fill a window at a Diane Von Furstenberg store in New York City on September 8, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI |
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Los Angeles County swelled significantly this week — the result, officials said, of a sizable backlog in the reporting of test results because of technical glitches.
While the full extent of the problem, and how much it will ultimately affect the county’s COVID-19 case counts, remains to be seen. Public health officials said Thursday that they’ve addressed the issues, though they expect to receive more accumulated results in the coming days.
Of the 3,600 new cases reported in the county Thursday, officials said roughly 2,000 were from the backlog.
“In addition to processing issues in the state’s reporting system that resulted in a large volume of duplicate records being sent to L.A. County, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a real-time build out of reportable disease surveillance systems that were not initially set up for the sheer volume of data nor the real-time demand for highly processed data necessary to respond to COVID-19,” the county Department of Public Health told The Times in a statement. “As we build out additional capacities and solutions while continuing to process, sometimes there are technical issues with one of the numerous functionalities in the pipelines.”
Reporting issues have popped up periodically throughout the pandemic. The most significant snafu came to light in August, when state officials announced that a series of data failures had created a backlog of 250,000 to 300,000 test results in California.
While always essential, access to complete, trustworthy data is all the more vital now as California works to ward off the kinds of coronavirus surges that are striking many other states.
Already, more than 893,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in California — the most of any state — and over 17,200 people have died from the disease.
L.A. County alone accounts for more than 294,000 cases and is nearing 7,000 deaths.
Separate from the data issues, the county has also seen a slight uptick in its daily number of reported cases since mid-September, “and this is a cause for some worry,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said earlier this week.
The latest data logjam comes as L.A. County is looking to relax some coronavirus-related restrictions to bring local rules in line with wider state guidelines.
The changes, expected to be incorporated into a revised health officer order Friday, would eliminate a requirement that customers at wineries and breweries make reservations, remove the food service requirement for wineries, and allow family entertainment centers to reopen outdoor attractions such as go-kart tracks, miniature golf courses and batting cages.
State officials also announced this week that all personal care services — which include hair removal and massage and tattoo parlors — will now be allowed to resume modified indoor operations.
Officials also said that all L.A. County schools will be allowed to bring on campus up to 25% of their
An increase of positive COVID-19 cases prompted a couple of area school districts to shift to remote learning for the next couple of weeks.
On Wednesday, Hart ISD and Silverton ISD joined Lockney ISD in moving students to remote learning over the last month. As of Friday morning, Lockney High School students were expected to return to the classroom on Monday.…
By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The United States on Thursday recorded its second highest daily total of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 75,000 new infections, while eight states broke single-day records of new cases.
Also on Thursday, the antiviral medicine remdesivir became the first drug to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to fight COVID-19.
Such drugs are urgently needed: Adding to bleak national numbers, 13 additional states have added more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch, The New York Times reported.
The Midwest and Rocky Mountains are struggling to contain major outbreaks, while new hot spots are emerging in other parts of the country. Kentucky announced more than 1,470 cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump ever in that state. And Colorado reported more than 1,300 cases, setting another single-day record, the Times reported. In Chicago, a nightly curfew will start on Friday, after officials reported an average of 645 new cases a day this past week, the newspaper said.
The current record for new daily cases was recorded in mid-July, when over 77,000 infections were recorded in one day.
Coronavirus cases have also been climbing on college campuses, where more than 214,000 infections have been diagnosed this year, a Times survey showed. More than 35,000 of those cases have been reported since early October.
While some colleges moved all classes online for the fall, many campuses remained open as positive tests accumulated, the Times reported. Of more than 1,700 institutions surveyed, more than 50 reported at least 1,000 cases while over 375 colleges have reported at least 100 cases.
The 214,000 cases account for 2.5 percent of all known cases in the United States, the Times reported. That tally is likely an undercount because some colleges have refused to provide any case data or have stopped giving updates. Large universities in the South and Midwest reported the highest case totals, including seven campuses where there have been more than 3,000 cases, the Times said.
Remdesivir gets full FDA approval to treat COVID
Remdesivir’s full approval Thursday by the FDA comes after the agency granted it emergency use authorization last spring. It is given intravenously to hospitalized patients.
California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is selling the drug under the brand name Veklury. It cut the time to recovery from COVID-19 by five days — from 15 days to 10, on average — in a large study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the FDA announced in a statement.
“Today’s approval is supported by data from multiple clinical trials that the agency has rigorously assessed and represents an important scientific milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in the news release.
Veklury is approved for people aged 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and are hospitalized for a COVID-19 infection. For patients younger than 12, the FDA will still allow the drug’s use
The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July.
Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News.
The record-breaking daily tally comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with 224,280 deaths. There were 921 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Thursday.
Public health officials warned this week that the number of cases is rising across most of the country.
Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday afternoon that the agency has noted a “distressing trend” in which coronavirus case numbers are “increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country.”
Much of the increase is centered in the Midwest. States like Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin have recorded rises in case numbers in the last two weeks.
Public health officials attribute the spikes, in part, to cooler weather that is forcing people indoors.
“Smaller, more intimate gatherings with family, friends and neighbors may be driving infections,” Butler said, while also acknowledging pandemic fatigue among the public.
“We get tired of wearing masks, but it continues to be as important as it’s ever been,” he said.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ — An entire department in the East Brunswick school district administration building will quarantine after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Superintendent Victor Valeski informed the school community on Thursday.
No information was provided on the department asked to quarantine.
This is the first positive case within the administration building. The case was reported to the district on Wednesday evening. The individual, along with the department will quarantine for 14 days.
“Because of our preplanning, the entire department can work remotely, and district operations will not be impacted,” said Valeski.
Meanwhile, a high school student is quarantining as a “close contact” to a positive COVID case outside of school.
The Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday revised their definition of a “close contact”.
Now, a “close contact” occurs if a person spends a total of 15 minutes within six feet of an infected person over the course of a 24-hour period, starting two days before the onset of illness.
This change was made after a study in Vermont outlined how a correctional officer contracted COVID after multiple brief exposures to COVID-positive individuals over the course of an eight-hour shift.
Valeski said the school district is applying the new CDC guidance standards across all schools.
“Beyond testing and wearing masks, rapid communication reinforces our defense against the spread of COVID within our school community,” Valeski said.
Meanwhile, the district is planning to combine hybrid learning groups in secondary schools, come Nov. 17.
Read More Here: East Brunswick Schools To Combine Hybrid Learning Groups
However, these plans will be put on hold if the school district reports an increase in positive COVID cases among the school population, and in case of any person-to -person transmission within the school communities, two weeks before Nov. 17.
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This article originally appeared on the East Brunswick Patch
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s system for tracing contacts of COVID-19 cases has been overwhelmed by a surge in cases forcing the health service in recent days to advise infected individuals to identify their own close contacts and tell them to get tested, officials said.
The government earlier this year hired hundreds of people to quickly contact those who test positive, identify people they had close contact with in the preceding days, and tell those people to self-isolate and get tested.
But a surge in infections that has almost tripled the five-day case average in Ireland since the start of October to just under 1,200 per day, meant there were no longer enough officials to make the necessary calls, the Health Service Executive said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
“We have seen unprecedented demand on the contact tracing centres with the exponential growth in the number of cases and over the week we simply couldn’t get to everyone,” Niamh O’Beirne, national lead for testing and tracing, told RTE radio.
Most of those who were informed of infections on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be asked to identify and contact their own close contacts and advise them to self-isolate and ask their doctors about arranging a free test, she said.
The Health Service Executive, which plans to add up to 800 people to its current staff of 400 contact tracers, said the normal system resumed for those informed of infections on Monday.
As a result of the surge in cases, Ireland on Monday imposed some of Europe’s toughest COVID-19 constraints, shutting non-essential retail outlets, closing restaurants and limiting non-essential travel.
Ireland on Tuesday had the 13th highest rate among the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, with 253 cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Trudeau debunks COVID-19 ‘internment camp’ misinformation and rumours; Ontario’s daily case count jumps up over 800
For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.
PM addresses disinformation, misinformation around COVID-19
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the amount of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 and the government’s response, including claims that there will be coronavirus internment camps in Canada.
The rumour began during Question Period on October 7, when Ontario MPP Randy Hillier asked if quarantine sites meant for incoming travellers who have no other place to quarantine were to be turned into “internment camps.”
Buzz spread of the false allegation, which was debunked by Trudeau today.
“We’ve seen over the past number of years a rise in concerted efforts around misinformation and disinformation on a broad range of subjects, designed to undermine people’s confidence in their institutions, in their democracies,” Trudeau said. “Some are foreign actors trying to disrupt successful democracies, others are people with extremist agendas.”
“As a government, we need to continue to stand strong, particularly during a public health crisis where the best thing Canadians can do is listen to experts, listen to doctors.”
The prime minister added that there is a “tremendous amount of noise and harmful misinformation” on the internet but Canadians need to continue to look to trusted sources of information, like Canada’s chief public health officer and regional health authorities.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said misinformation and disinformation does not help public health officials and the collective system has tried, through various means, to provide credible information to the public.
“I think there’s a part for almost everyone,” Dr. Tam said. “There’s a part for journalists who are in this room to help reveal the sort of tactics and measures that are at play, including bots and other aspects of what’s actually happening in the social media space.”
She added that there is also a role for social media platforms, who have put some measures in place like directing people to credible sites if people are using certain searches and taking down some “outrageous” disinformation.
Dr. Tam stressed that when individuals are looking at information, they need to ask themselves where it came from and if it’s credible.
“Be media smart as well as science smart,” Canada’s chief public health officer said.
In advance of a viable COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Tam indicated Canada needs to “immunize the population against [misinformation and disinformation] before the vaccine arrives.” This includes providing information on the safety measures and rigorous processes of regulatory authorities.
She added that getting a better understanding of why people spread misinformation and disinformation is also important.
CASES AND OUTBREAKS
Ontario sees spike in daily COVID-19 cases
Ontario reported 821 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest daily total since surpassing 900 cases in early October. The province also identified three more COVID-19 deaths.
Of the new cases, 327 are Toronto, 136 in Peel, 64 in