The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its definition of a close contact with a Covid-19 patient to include multiple, brief exposures, after a Vermont prison worker appears to have been infected that way, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday.
The new definition includes exposures adding up to a total of 15 minutes spent six feet or closer to an infected person. Previously, the CDC defined a close contact as 15 minutes of continuous exposure to an infected individual.
The agency changed the definition after a report from Vermont of a corrections officer who became infected after several brief interactions with coronavirus-positive inmates — none of them lasting 15 minutes, but adding up over time.
The corrections officer never spent much time with any particular inmate, but opened and closed cell doors, collected soiled linen, opened doors to shower and recreation rooms for inmates, conducted health checks and dispensed medication, Julia Pringle, a CDC officer working with the Vermont Department of Health, and colleagues reported.
The six inmates had no symptoms and had traveled from out-of-state facilities while they were awaiting coronavirus test results, Pringle’s team reported in the CDC’s weekly report, the MMWR.
His 22 short encounters added up to about 17 minutes of total exposure, the team calculated.
The data suggests at least one of the six inmates transmitted the virus to the officer during one of these brief encounters. The six inmates wore microfiber cloth masks for some, but not all interactions with the officer. “During all interactions, the correctional officer wore a microfiber cloth mask, gown, and eye protection (goggles),” the team wrote.
Redfield said it’s an example of real-world science informing policy. The CDC has now updated its definition of what constitutes a close contact.
“As we get more data and understand the science of Covid, we are going to incorporate that in our recommendations,” Redfield said at a news conference held at CDC headquarters in Atlanta.
“Originally, contact that was considered to be high risk for potential exposure to Covid was someone within six feet for more than 15 minutes,” Redfield added.
The new data is being incorporated into recommendations, he said.
“In an MMWR published today, CDC and Vermont health officials found that multiple, short and non-consecutive exposures to persons confirmed to have COVID-19 led to transmission,” the CDC said in a statement.
“The CDC website now defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Previous language defined a close contact as someone who spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case.”
The website notes that this is not an exact science
“Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer
Every resident of a Kansas nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 residents have died, according to area health officials.
The Norton County Health Department confirmed on Monday that all 62 residents of the Andbe Home, a privately owned facility, tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 62 individuals, 10 have died, one is hospitalized and the others are being cared for at the facility.
The department also confirmed that “some” staff members at the nursing home in Norton have tested positive for the virus, and others are being tested.
“Norton County Health Department has been working with the Andbe Home, Norton County Hospital and [the Kansas Department of Health and Environment] regarding this outbreak. Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and now allowing outside visitors into the facility,” department officials said in a Monday statement, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of the outbreak.
Posted by Norton County Health Department and Home Health on Monday, October 19, 2020
The department did not reveal how many residents are experiencing symptoms of the disease.
There have been over 250,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in nursing homes across the country, according to federal data, as well as over 143,000 suspected cases and over 59,000 fatalities.
Kansas has reported 74,616 cases of COVID-19 and 872 related deaths. Cases across the state have continued to spike since the summer, and at least 13 new coronavirus deaths and 1,894 cases were reported on Monday.
In a bid to speed up the race to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the U.K. government announced Tuesday morning that it will be launching some controversial vaccine trials known as challenge trials.
The experiment will take place in a quarantine ward of a north London hospital. After inhaling a diluted dose of the virus, the trial participants will be closely monitored, thus enabling scientists and doctors to better understand the disease and how a vaccine can fight it.
“Human challenge studies can increase our understanding of COVID-19 in unique ways and accelerate development of the many potential new COVID-19 treatments and vaccines,” explained Dr Chris Chiu, from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London and lead researcher on the human challenge study.
The 1Day Sooner advocacy group, which has been petitioning the government to allow challenge trials, hailed the announcement. “We are glad the U.K. government is embracing the altruism of the thousands of our British volunteers who want these studies,” the group said.
The advocacy group says these trials “will be key to making multiple safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available for the whole world, including those in low-income countries bearing the brunt of this pandemic.”
It says it believes these trials will not only accelerate research into vaccines but “will also answer essential questions about COVID-19 immunity that are broadly applicable to the development of treatments and public health policy.”
Alastair Fraser-Urquhart, 18, a spokesperson for 1Day Sooner, explained to ABC News his motivation to volunteer for these trials. Brushing aside the fact that he’s putting himself at risk, he said, “I’m convinced that challenge trials will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds, and if I didn’t do something and I wasn’t advocating challenge trials I would regret it.”
Andrew Catchpole, the chief scientist of hVIVO, the company that will be running the trials in conjunction with the British government, Imperial College University and the Royal Free Hospital, stressed to ABC News that as much risk as possible has been removed from the process.
Only people ages 18 to 30, proven to be healthy, will be taken as volunteers, according to Catchpole, and the dose of the virus that they will be exposed to will be very carefully calibrated.
“So just like any other clinical trial, what you would expect is that any product we put into a human needs to undergo very tight regulations, and this is no exception to that,” Catchpole said.
“So the virus, which we would inoculate them with, has been manufactured to the very high standards, a medical grade version of the virus that undergoes very high regulatory
LONDON — British volunteers will be intentionally infected with Covid-19 as part of an experimental trial that could change scientists’ understanding of the virus.
London is hosting the world’s first coronavirus so-called “challenge trials” in which volunteers are injected with a potential vaccine before being given a nasal-spray dose of the potentially deadly pathogen.
Ahead of the announcement by Open Orphan plc on Tuesday, there has been huge controversy within the scientific community.
Supporters say challenge trials can be far quicker than regular vaccine tests, potentially shortening the wait until the world has access to an effective inoculation.
But critics argue that too little is known about Covid-19 to make challenge trials safe. While young people rarely die of the disease, there is increasing evidence they can be left with long-term debilitating illnesses.
Sue Tansey, a pharmaceutical physician who is a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent British watchdog, said that there was still “disagreement among experts” whether it’s appropriate to go ahead with challenge trials. “People are divided because it’s an ethical conundrum,” she said.
There are more than 150 vaccines in development around the world, a handful of which have reached phase 3 tests, where large numbers of people — as many as tens of thousands — are given the vaccine, while others get a placebo.
In ordinary studies volunteers are sent out into the world and regularly tested for Covid-19 in the hope that there will be some noticeable difference between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups. However this can take a long time — many of the participants will take months to get infected if they do at all.
A challenge trial could shorten that timeline: All volunteers get the vaccine, and all of them get the virus too. Researchers say a group of just 40 volunteers would likely tell them a huge amount about any vaccine candidate in just a short space of time. Everyone accepts there are risks.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the U.K.’s chief scientific adviser, said in July that two things needed to happen for challenge trials to be considered safe. Scientists need to know the right dose to administer and to have discovered antiviral drugs that can “rescue” patients who become seriously ill.
Asked what the answers to these questions were, he said, “We don’t yet know.”
Although young people aged 18 to 30 — who typically volunteer for medical trials — rarely die from coronavirus, there is increasing data and anecdotal evidence of young, healthy people crushed by debilitating long-term conditions affecting the heart, brain and lungs.
“The argument against doing it is that we don’t know enough about the cases where some younger people have these long term problems afterwards,” Tansey said. “The other downside is that although we’ve
Evidence is beginning to show that intense, indoor sports can contribute to COVID-19 transmission, per a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which cited an ice hockey game resulting in 14 infected individuals.
The index patient, or believed source of infection, had a fever, cough, sore throat and headache a day after playing in the June 16 game in Tampa Bay, Fla., per the study. Two days later, a nasal swab confirmed the infection, and shortly thereafter 13 other players and a staff member at the ice rink came down with symptoms as well.
Of the 15 total cases, 11 infections were confirmed via PCR testing and two had positive antigen tests, while two were not tested.
“The ice rink provides a venue that is likely well suited to COVID-19 transmission as an indoor environment where deep breathing occurs, and persons are in close proximity to one another,” per the study.
4 CORONAVIRUS TREATMENTS, INCLUDING REMDESIVIR, HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE, FLOP IN LARGE WHO STUDY
More infections cropped up on the index patient’s team, which the CDC said may have been from more exposure in their separate locker room and sitting closely together on the bench.
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The players flouted cloth face masks in the locker room and during the game but wore hockey-related protective face gear like plastic half-shields and metal cages, while still others wore no protective face gear, the health agency wrote.
The two on-ice referees managed to escape symptoms.
The CDC also took the plexiglass surrounding the rink into consideration, which created a “physically segregated playing area.” A sole spectator also managed to escape symptoms, but was not tested.
“The high proportion of infections that occurred in this outbreak provides evidence for SARS-CoV-2 transmission during an indoor sporting activity where intense physical activity is occurring,” the agency wrote. Staff at the Florida Department of Health followed up with isolation and quarantine guidance to those involved, among other steps taken.
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