Tag: infections

 

Anna Del Priore And Helen Guzzone, Sisters Over 100, Survived 1918 Flu And COVID Infections

Two sisters, Anna Del Priore and Helen Guzzone, are over 100-years-old and both survived the deadly flu pandemic in 1918, as well as COVID-19 in 2020. 

Anna, age 108, and Helen, 105, contracted the Spanish flu as children when it was at its peak and lived through it. When the coronavirus flooded through nursing homes around April and May of this year, they both fought their way through that as well after testing positive.

According to the Washington Post, Anna was 107 when she tested positive for the novel coronavirus in May while she was living in a New Jersey nursing home. While she had a fever, cough, and needed some oxygen at times during her fight against the virus, she never needed a ventilator and recovered in six weeks. 

As for her sister Helen, she tested positive for COVID-19 in March when she was 104 while in her nursing home in New York. Unlike Anna, she was healed in just two weeks instead of six. 

The Post explained that the century-old sisters were as active as can be. Anna loves to Tango dance and took daily walks to McDonald’s until she turned 100. Helen did exercises into her 90s and her son, Nick, explained to the outlet that she stays away from dairy products, smoking, and drinking alcohol. 

CNBC released an interview with the two sisters on Thursday and asked them what the secret was to living for so long. Anna said, “Well, to be honest and kind. Believe in God. All the good stuff.” 

When asked how often she exercises to stay healthy, Helen said, “I do it every night before I go to bed. I kick my legs. I go up and down, up and down 10 times.” 

These two sisters celebrated their 108th and 105th birthdays on Sept. 5 (yes, they have the same birthday) and are both healthy after fighting off COVID-19.

covid virus A virus is pictured under a microscope. Photo: National Institutes of Health / Handout

Source Article

CDC Broadens Definition of ‘Close Contact’ in Tracing COVID Infections | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a move that widens the pool of people considered at risk for coronavirus infection, U.S. health officials released new guidance on Wednesday that redefines who’s considered a “close contact” of an infected individual.

The change, issued by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, will likely have the biggest impact in group settings where people are in repeated contact with others for brief periods over the course of a day, such as schools and workplaces, the Washington Post reported.

The CDC had previously defined a “close contact” as someone who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of a confirmed coronavirus case. Now, a close contact will be defined as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. State and local health departments rely on this definition to conduct contact tracing, the Post reported.

The new guidance arrives just as the country is “unfortunately seeing a distressing trend, with cases increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country,” Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, said during a rare media briefing Wednesday at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, the Post reported.

CDC scientists had been discussing the new guidance for several weeks, said an agency official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Post reported. Then came unsettling evidence in a government report published Wednesday: CDC and Vermont health officials had discovered the virus was contracted by a 20-year-old prison employee who in an eight-hour shift had 22 interactions — for a total of over 17 minutes — with individuals who later tested positive for the virus.

“Available data suggests that at least one of the asymptomatic [infectious detainees] transmitted” the virus during these brief encounters over the course of the employee’s workday, the report said.

Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, called the updated guidance an important change.

“It’s easy to accumulate 15 minutes in small increments when you spend all day together — a few minutes at the water cooler, a few minutes in the elevator, and so on,” Rivers told the Post. “I expect this will result in many more people being identified as close contacts.”

At the same time, it’s not clear whether the multiple brief encounters were the only explanation for how the prison employee became infected, Rivers added. Other possibilities might have included airborne or surface transmission of the virus. She also noted that the new guidance “will be difficult for contact tracing programs to implement, and schools and businesses will have a difficult time operating under this guidance.”

Third COVID Surge Spreads Across the Country

Meanwhile, a third surge of coronavirus cases now has a firm grip on the United States, with an average of 59,000 new infections being reported across the country every day.

That tally is

Montgomery County weighs added coronavirus restrictions as infections increase

If numbers continue to increase, the county could reinstate restrictions that were lifted in recent months. The seven-day average in new cases recently has exceeded 10 new infections per 100,000 residents.

“It’s not a good place to be,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) said during a news conference Wednesday.

Contact tracers have found that the virus is spreading at social gatherings, including those among family members, and at religious institutions, officials said.

County Health Officer Travis Gayles urged residents not to “let their guard down” with physical distancing or mask-wearing when gathering with relatives or close friends.

Recent data also shows that an increase in young residents testing positive has plateaued, giving way to a slight uptick in older adults contracting the virus. The trend “gives us pause,” Gayles said, as older adults are susceptible to more serious effects of the virus.

Nursing homes, however, have not seen a resurgence of the virus, he said.

“We don’t want to walk anything back,” Gayles said. “[But] if the numbers don’t improve . . . we’ll likely need to have closures.”

While the county has seen a slight rise in infections, the number of new cases across Maryland, Virginia and D.C. has ticked downward for about a week.

The greater Washington region on Wednesday recorded 1,563 new coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths. Virginia added 1,018 new cases and 30 deaths, Maryland added 492 cases and eight deaths, and D.C. added 53 cases and no deaths.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections across the region stood at 1,692 cases on Wednesday. That’s down from a recent peak of 1,801 average daily cases on Oct. 14.

The number of new reported fatalities across the region tied Tuesday’s death toll — the most in a single day since Sept. 22 — led by statewide increases in Virginia. Virginia Health Department officials this week said the increase isn’t evidence of a surge in new deaths, but rather the result of waiting for death certificates to be prepared and for the data to be entered into a state database.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

Source Article

New Wave of COVID Infections Taking Hold in America | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A third surge of coronavirus cases now has a firm grip on the United States, with an average of 59,000 new infections being reported across the country every day.

That tally is the highest since the beginning of August, and the likelihood is high that the country will soon see the most new COVID-19 infections a day since the pandemic began, The New York Times reported.

This latest surge differs from the previous two: Instead of acute outbreaks in specific regions, such as the Northeast this spring and the South this summer, the virus is now simmering at a worrisome level across nearly the entire country, the Times reported. Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming each set seven-day case records on Tuesday. Even New Jersey, which managed to bring the virus under control last spring, has seen a doubling in cases in the past month, the Times reported.

“It is a really dangerous time,” Dr. Tom Inglesby, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told the newspaper. “The majority of states are on the rise. There are very few places where things are stable and going down.”

Even more troubling is the fact that this latest surge is coming as cooler weather is forcing people indoors and many Americans report they are fatigued by months of social distancing and travel restrictions, the Times reported.

“We’re seeing spread virtually everywhere,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a news conference Tuesday. In his state, 69 of 88 counties are now considered “high incidence,” meaning at least 100 virus cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks, the Times reported.

But instead of imposing new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, Dewine said that, “The fastest way we can do it is not for me to issue some order that you can’t enforce or would be difficult to enforce, but rather for every Ohioan to take this seriously,” he said, grabbing his cloth mask and holding it up, the Times reported.

In North Dakota, which is leading the nation in new coronavirus cases per capita, hospitalizations and deaths are at a high, and just 20 intensive care beds were available statewide.

Luckily, the climbing case count has not yet translated to increased deaths: About 700 people are dying from COVID-19, on average, each day. So far, more than 220,000 Americans have died from the virus.

CDC Recommends Face Masks for Public Transportation

Seeking to slow the spread of coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Monday that face masks be worn by everyone in all public transportation settings.

That includes both passengers and people working in stations, terminals and airports across the country, CBS News reported.

So far, the Trump administration has not issued any national mandate on face coverings, instead leaving that

US is nearing ‘rapid acceleration’ of Covid-19 cases, expert warns, as daily infections top 60,000

A leading health expert says US Covid-19 cases will begin to rapidly accelerate in a week as the country topped 60,000 new infections Tuesday — triple what the daily average was back in June, when restrictions had begun to ease.



a car parked in a parking lot: People in cars wait in line for Covid-19 testing in Reading, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday morning, October 13.


© Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images
People in cars wait in line for Covid-19 testing in Reading, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday morning, October 13.

The prediction comes after several state leaders reimposed some measures to help curb the spread of the virus, fueled by small gatherings increasingly moving indoors with the colder weather, as well as other factors such as college and school reopenings. The national seven-day case average has increased at least 18% since the previous week and is now a staggering 61% higher than what it was five weeks ago. And as multiple experts have warned, things will likely get worse before they get better.

“It’s going to be a difficult fall and winter,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC Monday. “I think we’re about two or three weeks behind Europe — so we’re about a week away from starting to enter a period where we’re going to see a rapid acceleration in cases.”

The difference is many European countries were able to suppress their numbers of new cases over the summer, but the US entered the fall season with a relatively high baseline average of new infections — something experts warned wouldn’t help in containing another surge of cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week European Union countries were able to bring their baseline down because of strict and stringent lockdowns, adding the US did not “shut down nearly as much as our colleagues in Italy and Spain.”

Ahead of bleak outlooks of the coming weeks, hospitalizations in the US have also began to rise, with more than 39,000 Covid-19 patients nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

“We’re seeing hospitalizations go up in 42 states right now, cases are going up in 45 states, and there really is no backstop,” Gottlieb said. “This fall and winter season is when the coronavirus is going to want to spread.”

‘Get ready:’ 70,000 new infections daily

At least 26 US states are reporting more new Covid-19 cases than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And no states are trending in the right direction, according to the data.

By next week or the week after that, the US could be recording up to 70,000 new cases daily, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Tuesday. And the numbers could keep rising after that, he said.

“Look out for your mental health, because the normal response to this is people are going to get sad and upset, and maybe even depressed, so have access to mental health counseling,” Hotez said. “In other words, put those belts and suspenders in and get ready.”

Video: Infectious diseases expert blasts

Florida’s schools shouldn’t shut down because of COVID-19 infections, Gov. DeSantis says

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Closing schools for months at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic was a mistake that won’t be repeated, and only students who develop symptoms should be isolated, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

During a visit to a charter school in Jacksonville, the governor said over 60% of the state’s 2.8 million students in pre-K to 12th grade are getting in-person instruction, and it’s an increasingly popular option because infection risks are low.

“Going forward, whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table,” DeSantis said. “They don’t do anything to mitigate COVID, but they do cause catastrophic damage to the physical, mental and social well being of our youth. Let’s not repeat any mistakes of the past.”

The governor said that after two months of most schools in the state being open, there have not been major outbreaks or causes of concern about the virus spreading among students.

“It’s obviously even more clear now that schools are not drivers of spreading coronavirus, and schools need to be open,” he said. “It is a bad public health policy to have schools closed.”

When asked about schools that have had cases of infected students, DeSantis said it doesn’t make sense to force their classmates to quarantine for two weeks unless they are having virus symptoms.

“You should not be quarantining healthy students,” he said, adding that schools shouldn’t “throw in the towel” and close because of a few sick kids.

Joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, DeSantis did not mention statewide teacher union opposition to school openings, amid concerns about risks to faculty members.

“Now pretty much everyone acknowledges that having schools open is the right thing to do,” he said.

———

©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source Article

COVID-19 infections rising in Georgia since recent lows

ATLANTA (AP) — The number of COVID-19 cases is rising in Georgia, although infections in the state are not climbing as fast as those nationwide.

Even with relatively few infections reported Monday, the state’s seven-day average is close to 1,300, more than 10% above the recent bottom on Oct. 8. The number of people hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has also been rising for a week, crossing back above 1,300 on Monday.

“Things are not going well for Georgia,” Amber Schmidtke, an epidemiologist who writes a daily analysis of Georgia’s number, wrote Monday.


She and other experts fear another jump like the one seen in June, in part because cases and hospitalizations never fell as low as they did in the spring.

One issue is that Georgia is still not including probable cases in its daily reports. Those cases are mostly diagnosed from rapid antigen tests, and many other states are counting them as positives. Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said recently that the state is working on a plan to report probable cases daily.

In numbers released Monday, the state Department of Public Health said Georgia had recorded 1,167 probable cases in the past week.

A ray of light for Georgia in the darkening picture is that the positivity rate has stayed level over the last two weeks at just above 6%, even as the number of DNA-based tests rose modestly, on average.

Georgia’s transmission rates still remain below those being seen nationwide, with the state ranking 35th per capita among states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over the last two weeks, according to data collected by the The Associated Press.

The number of counties that the state lists as “emerging counties of interest,” where the respiratory illness may be spreading the most rapidly, rose from 43 last week to 56 this week. That included an increase in the number of suburban Atlanta counties on the list from six to 11, with Cobb County staying on the list. Fulton County dropped off that list this week, while DeKalb and Gwinnett counties stayed off it. Also on the list are Bibb County including Macon, Lowndes County including Valdosta, Whitfield County including Dalton and Columbia County in suburban Augusta.

Georgia has recorded more than 340,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since March. As of Monday, the state had confirmed 7,657 COVID-19 deaths, remaining on pace for 10,000 this year.

While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

___

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Source Article

COVID-19 Infections Rising in Georgia Since Recent Lows | Georgia News

By JEFF AMY, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The number of COVID-19 cases is rising in Georgia, although infections in the state are not climbing as fast as those nationwide.

Even with relatively few infections reported Monday, the state’s seven-day average is close to 1,300, more than 10% above the recent bottom on Oct. 8. The number of people hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has also been rising for a week, crossing back above 1,300 on Monday.

“Things are not going well for Georgia,” Amber Schmidtke, an epidemiologist who writes a daily analysis of Georgia’s number, wrote Monday.

She and other experts fear another jump like the one seen in June, in part because cases and hospitalizations never fell as low as they did in the spring.

One issue is that Georgia is still not including probable cases in its daily reports. Those cases are mostly diagnosed from rapid antigen tests, and many other states are counting them as positives. Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said recently that the state is working on a plan to report probable cases daily.

In numbers released Monday, the state Department of Public Health said Georgia had recorded 1,167 probable cases in the past week.

A ray of light for Georgia in the darkening picture is that the positivity rate has stayed level over the last two weeks at just above 6%, even as the number of DNA-based tests rose modestly, on average.

Georgia’s transmission rates still remain below those being seen nationwide, with the state ranking 35th per capita among states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over the last two weeks, according to data collected by the The Associated Press.

The number of counties that the state lists as “emerging counties of interest,” where the respiratory illness may be spreading the most rapidly, rose from 43 last week to 56 this week. That included an increase in the number of suburban Atlanta counties on the list from six to 11, with Cobb County staying on the list. Fulton County dropped off that list this week, while DeKalb and Gwinnett counties stayed off it. Also on the list are Bibb County including Macon, Lowndes County including Valdosta, Whitfield County including Dalton and Columbia County in suburban Augusta.

Georgia has recorded more than 340,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since March. As of Monday, the state had confirmed 7,657 COVID-19 deaths, remaining on pace for 10,000 this year.

While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source Article

Gottlieb says “biggest wave” of coronavirus infections still to come

Washington — Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Sunday that the current wave of new coronavirus infections is likely to be the “biggest wave” the nation experiences before a vaccine.



a man wearing a suit and tie: screen-shot-2020-10-18-at-11-14-24-am.png


© CBS News
screen-shot-2020-10-18-at-11-14-24-am.png

“We’re going to have to endure this wave of spread right now,” Gottlieb said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “And it’s probably likely to be the biggest wave that we endure without the benefit of a vaccinated population.”

There have been more than 8.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, and the death toll is approaching 220,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are rising in 42 states, and 45 states have expanding epidemics, Gottlieb said.

“There’s really no backstop against the spread that we’re seeing,” he said, adding that this is the “most difficult phase of this epidemic.”

Gottlieb said the current uptick in coronavirus infections is occurring as states have left measures in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, including requiring masks in public and indoors, encouraging social distancing and limiting the number of people in restaurants and bars.

Gottlieb says “biggest wave” of coronavirus infections still to come

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

“If we weren’t taking those steps, if people weren’t wearing masks generally and some states weren’t adhering to some mitigation tactics and we weren’t testing and tracing, then we’d have much worse spread,” he said.

The latest surge in coronavirus cases comes as millions prepare to go to the polls for early voting or to cast their ballots on November 3, though election officials are encouraging voters to vote by mail or develop a plan to ensure they can cast their votes safely.

Gottlieb said precautions are being taken at polling places and warned the “biggest risks” are settings where people are more comfortable and may let their guards down.

“When you talk to the governors about where the spread is occurring, it’s occurring in congregate settings where people feel more comfortable, a local Elks Club, a large family gathering,” he said. 

While coronavirus infections are rising, President Trump has returned to the campaign trail, holding large rallies with thousands in attendance, many of whom have not worn masks. Mr. Trump himself was diagnosed with the coronavirus this month and spent three days being treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Gottlieb said the actions from the Trump campaign are “problematic” and questioned what the strategy from the White House is to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

“They’ve come out against universal masking. They’ve come out against testing asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people. They say testing should be reserved just to the vulnerable. They want businesses and schools reopened, as we all do, and they’re against targeted mitigation like closing restaurants,” Gottlieb said of the White House. “There was criticism of New York when New York kept the restaurants closed. So it begs the question, what is the strategy? And I think the

Is it safe to go to the dentist? Very few infections tied to reopening, survey finds

Rates of Covid-19 among dentists were low in the late spring as dental practices reopened and patients returned, a report published Thursday by the American Dental Association suggests.

Researchers conducted a nationwide survey June 8 with responses from more than 2,000 dentists from across the country. Just 0.9 percent, they found, had either confirmed or probable cases of Covid-19.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, it was widely believed that dentists would be at high risk of contracting Covid-19, as their work puts them in very close contact with patients and many of their procedures, which involve water and air spray, could generate virus-laden aerosol particles.

The survey also found that virtually all of the dentists — 99.7 percent — were using what was referred to as “enhanced infection control procedures.” They included screening protocols for patients and disinfection practices.

However, while nearly all dentists reported some use of personal protective equipment, only 73 percent of dentists reported wearing protective equipment in accordance with national guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That required the use of surgical masks, gowns, gloves and eye protection during procedures not expected to produce aerosols, as well as the use of N95 respirators for aerosol-generating procedures.

The lead author of the study, Cameron Estrich, a health data analyst at the American Dental Association, or ADA, said she was surprised by two things: the low rate of infection and the extremely high adoption of infection control measures.

“Pretty much all of the dentists that we surveyed had really stepped up their infection control and prevention procedures,” she said. “They had shut down their practices for a few months to get these all in place.”

Dr. Biana Roykh, an associate professor of dental medicine at Columbia University, said that while the findings are encouraging, it’s important to note that the survey was conducted in early June, when many practices may not have been fully operational and were limited to emergency visits only.

“It looks at a time when the pandemic was at its height and the experiences in the dental practices were probably more or less limited in terms of how much aerosols that we’re generating,” said Roykh, who wasn’t involved with the ADA report.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

In New York, for example, dentists weren’t allowed to fully reopen until May 31, just over a week before the survey was sent out.

Roykh said that while the findings are preliminary, they mirror what she has seen in her dental practice.

“Our experience with this specific pandemic shows that when we are compliant with good PPE measures, and health and safety controls are in place, that we are generally able to keep our workforce safe,” she said.

Renee Anthony, a professor of occupational and environmental health at the University of Iowa, said she is looking for data about infection rates of patients who have visited dental offices.

“While