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.
By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter
SATURDAY, Oct. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Sexual assault is common in America, with an attack occurring every 73 seconds. But having supportive care at the emergency department and afterwards can help heal the trauma, Penn State doctors say.
One in five women is raped during their lifetime, yet only 25% report it, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The closer the relationship is between the victim and the offender, the more likely it won’t be reported, says the U.S. Department of Justice. Even when attackers aren’t known, more than half the victims do not report their assaults.
“It’s a very traumatic event,” said Debbie Medley, an assistant nurse manager in the emergency department at Penn State Health Medical Center. “It takes quite a bit of emotional strength for somebody to decide that they want to report it and seek help,” she added in a Penn State news release.
If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911 to request assistance, Medley said. “But there are ways to report the assault other than just picking up the phone and calling 911 or your local police department,” she noted.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network’s national hotline can connect you with trained staff from a local sexual assault service. Victims of sexual assault can also go directly to any local emergency room for treatment.
Medley stressed that in the emergency room it’s important to provide patients with as much control as possible during the forensic exam.
“Among the equipment in our dedicated exam room, we have a clicker that enables the patient to take their own photograph, should they agree to have photographs taken during the exam,” Medley said.
Sexual assault examiners should know the state’s regulations and required documentation and how to report the assault to the police — if that’s what the victim wants.
“Even though the assault will be documented by us, it doesn’t mean that a report must be filed with the police,” Medley said. Pennsylvania law, for example, allows victims to have the sexual assault evidence kit collected and tested anonymously — without their name attached to it, she added.
“They can have that reassurance that they’ll get the medical treatment they need, when they need it. They’ll get connected to support services to help them navigate the emotional trauma of their assault. And they’ll have the peace of mind that while they might not want to report the crime yet, we have the evidence kit if they ever change their mind,” Medley said.
Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
(Reuters) – The United States broke its daily record for new coronavirus infections on Friday as it reported 84,218 new cases due to outbreaks in virtually every part of the country, according to a Reuters tally.
The spike in cases comes less than two weeks before the presidential election on Nov. 3 and is hitting battleground states such as Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. On Thursday, the United States reported a near-record 76,195 new cases.
The previous record was 77,299 new cases on July 16. At the time, hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients hit 47,000 and two weeks later deaths rose to an average of 1,200 per day.
Now, hospitalizations are over 41,000 and deaths average nearly 800 per day. Sixteen states had record one-day increases in new cases on Friday and 11 reported a record number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Health experts have not pinpointed the reason for the rise but have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside, fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students returning to schools and colleges, could promote the spread of the virus.
The United States has the most cases in the world at 8.5 million and the most fatalities with 224,000 lives lost. The United States has reported over the past week an average of 60,000 new cases per day, the highest seven-day average since early August.
The Midwest has been the epicenter of the latest surge but infections are rising nationwide.
The Northeast reported an 83% increase in cases in the past month. New cases have doubled in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New Jersey in the past four weeks as compared to the prior four weeks, according to a Reuters analysis.
Western states including Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming have reported a 200% increase in cases in the past four weeks when compared with the previous four weeks.
(Reporting by Anurag Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
LONDON (Reuters) – More than a half million people in the United States could die from COVID-19 by the end of February, but around 130,000 of those lives could be saved if everybody were to wear masks, according to estimates from a modelling study on Friday.
The estimates by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that with few effective COVID-19 treatment options and no vaccines yet available, the United States faces “a continued COVID-19 public health challenge through the winter.”
“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME Director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.
He said the projections, as well as currently rising infection rates and deaths, showed there is no basis to “the idea that the pandemic is going away,” adding: “We do not believe that is true.”
President Donald Trump said in Thursday’s election debate of the pandemic: “It’s going away.”
The Friday update was the first time the IHME has projected deaths beyond Feb. 1. Its current forecast on its website is for 386,000 deaths as of Feb 1.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 Americans so far, has become the top issue for him and Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election. Polls have shown that Americans trust Biden more than Trump to handle the crisis.
The IHME study forecast that large, populous states such as California, Texas and Florida will likely face particularly high levels of illness, deaths and demands on hospital resources.
“We expect the surge to steadily grow across different states and at the national level, and to continue to increase as we head towards high levels of daily deaths in late December and in January,” Murray said.
The modelling study, which mapped out various scenarios and their projected impact on the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, found that universal mask-wearing could have a major impact on death rates, potentially saving 130,000 lives.
Current mask use in the United States varies widely. While some states, like New York, set strict rules on when to wear masks, others have no requirements. The issue has become political, in which some supporters have taken their cues from Trump, who is often seen without a mask and has repeatedly questioned their usefulness.
“Expanding mask use is one of the easy wins for the United States … and can save many lives,” Murray said.
He added that, just as parts of Europe and some local U.S. areas of high transmission are doing now, many U.S. states would need to re-introduce social distancing measures to curb the winter surge.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland, additional reporting by Caroline Humer, editing by Steve Orlofsky and Cynthia Osterman)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
As the U.S. enters what some experts are calling the third peak of its coronavirus outbreak, a new study predicts a massive death toll by the end of February – more than half a million lives.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine on Friday, was performed by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which produces a well-known coronavirus model.
It found that the current death toll of 224,000 could swell to more than 511,000 by Feb. 28, a little more than four months away. However, universal mask use would reduce that number by almost 130,000. Fewer than half of U.S. residents in September reported “always” wearing a mask in public, according to the study.
“Under all scenarios evaluated here, the United States is likely to face a continued public health challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic through 28 February 2021 and beyond, with populous states in particular potentially facing high levels of illness, deaths and ICU demands as a result of the disease,” the study said.
Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted
The study comes after President Donald Trump at Thursday’s presidential debate repeated his claim that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” on its outbreak. Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said the U.S. is in for a “dark winter.”
IHME said in an update this week that the current surge in the U.S. will likely intensify in November and December and reach its peak in January.
“Many states will face enormous pressure on hospital capacity and will likely have to re-impose some social distancing mandates,” it said. “The best strategy to delay re-imposition of mandates and the associated economic hardship is to expand mask use.”
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mortality forecast, which is an ensemble of models from dozens of groups, predicts the total death toll in the U.S. will reach 235,000 to 247,000 in the next roughly three weeks.
By Dennis Thompson
FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A resurgence of the new coronavirus is bearing down upon the United States, with hundreds of thousands more deaths likely to occur over the next few months, according to one of the nation’s top epidemic modeling teams.
But there’s one thing everyone can do to forestall the surge and save lives — wear a face mask whenever you’re out in public.
The model suggests that total COVID-19 deaths in the United States could exceed 500,000 by the end of February under the most likely scenario, according to findings published online Oct. 23 in the journal Nature Medicine.
However, as many as 130,000 of those deaths could be avoided if some social distancing measures were reinstated and 95% of Americans always don a mask when they’re out and about, the researchers found.
“Expanding mask use can be one of the easy wins for the United States,” said senior researcher Dr. Christopher Murray. He’s director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. “It can both delay the re-imposition of social distancing mandates and can save many, many lives.”
A recent HealthDay/Harris Poll shows there’s reason for hope in that regard. More than nine in 10 U.S. adults (93%) said they sometimes, often or always wear a mask or face covering when they leave their home and are unable to socially distance, including more than seven in 10 (72%) who said they always do so.
The new COVID-19 forecast predicts that a surge in the pandemic is inevitable. This week’s increase in cases likely was “the turn,” Murray said.
“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge. The idea that the pandemic is going away, we do not believe is true,” Murray said. “The turn this week where deaths and cases are now going up at the national level is very much in line with what the paper is suggesting.”
More than 1 million COVID-19 deaths could be expected to occur by late February if no lockdowns or social distancing mandates are re-imposed as infection rates surge, the researchers forecast.
If governors gradually re-impose social distancing mandates, there likely will be more than 511,000 total COVID-19 deaths by the end of February, the model predicts.
This is a more likely scenario, Murray said.
“Governors are going to re-impose mandates when things get quite bad because they’re going to try to avoid hospital systems being overwhelmed,” Murray said, and those mandates will change the trajectory of the pandemic.
“As the reality of this fall/winter surge finally kicks in in the U.S., I think we will shift the discussion to what are the set of less-stringent mandates that could be used to at least put the brakes on transmission more than just expanding mask use,” Murray said.
Under this scenario, the states hardest-hit by infections would be Arizona, New Jersey and Louisiana, the researchers predict.
A scenario in which nearly everyone wears
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa has among the nation’s highest coronavirus infection and death rates and residents should avoid gatherings in most counties, federal health experts say.
Iowa had 238 new cases and 2.8 deaths per 100,000 people last week, about double the national per capita average between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reported.
The task force report of Oct. 18 was released Friday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The grim statistics came as Iowa’s hospitals faced a surge of coronavirus patients. The number hospitalized hit a record 536, according to data released Thursday.
In all, 90% of Iowa’s 99 counties are experiencing high or moderate levels of virus transmission.
The report recommends “mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private and ensuring flu immunizations.”
The state reported a one-day record of 31 deaths on Wednesday and 38 more in the two days since for a total of 1,617.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— France surpasses 1 million coronavirus cases
— WHO says Northern hemisphere at ‘critical juncture’ with rising cases, deaths
— FDA approves first COVID-19 drug: antiviral remdesivir
— UN chief says G-20 leaders must coordinate to fight coronavirus. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is frustrated leaders of 20 major industrialized countries didn’t do it in March as he proposed.
— Schools from New Jersey to California have been hit with teacher and staff layoffs. Urban areas lacking the property wealth of suburban communities are especially vulnerable to budget cuts, with many schools hoping for a new round of federal money.
— An online Japanese-language text messaging service for suicide prevention has grown to 500 volunteers since March.
Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PHOENIX — Arizona health officials on Friday reported an additional 975 known COVID-19 cases and six more deaths, the fourth day this week in which the state’s daily case report topped 900.
The additional cases and deaths reported by the Department of Health Services increased the state’s totals to 235,882 cases and 5,865 deaths.
Arizona in the past month has seen a gradual increase in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations but levels remain well below the thousands of cases reported on some days in June and July when Arizona was a national hot spot. The outbreak diminished in August and September as many local governments imposed mask mandates and the state re-imposed some business restrictions.
According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose over the past two weeks, going from 598 new cases per day on Oct. 8 to 880 new cases per day on Thursday.
PARIS — France has surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach the mark.
The national health agency announced 42,032 new
By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — High levels of a protein that lubricates the knee joint may actually be a harbinger of impending joint disease, a surprising animal study suggests.
The researchers looked at the role of the protein, known as lubricin, in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in dogs because it may also be involved in similar injuries in humans.
“Lubricin is crucial for normal joint function and the lubrication of cartilage,” said researcher Heidi Reesink, an assistant professor in equine health at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. “We know that if a person or animal doesn’t make that protein, they will develop devastating joint disease affecting all the major weight-bearing joints.”
But Reesink found that in dogs that suffered a ligament tear in the knee, lubricin levels increased within the joint, which is the opposite of the conventional assumptions. “The dogma in this field has been that lubricin decreases in joint disease,” Reesink said in a university news release.
The researchers found that in three dogs, lubricin increased in the time between the initial injury but before any signs of arthritis.
“This indicates that the presence of increased lubricin might actually be a biomarker for predicting future osteoarthritis,” Reesink said. “We also saw increased lubricin in dogs months to years after they injured their ACLs, suggesting that lubricin might be an indicator of ongoing joint instability.
“In looking at horses and dogs, we’re seeing the same pattern,” Reesink said. “The strongest piece of data would be to show it in humans as well.” However, findings in animal studies don’t always translate to humans.
Increased lubricin could become a signal for doctors to intervene or try a different treatment, she added.
The study was published recently in the journal Scientific Reports.
Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Kids growing up in poverty show the effects of being poor as early as age 5 — especially those who are Black, a new study suggests.
The research adds to mounting evidence that children of Black parents who are also poor face greater health inequities than whites.
“Our findings underscore the pronounced racialized disparities for young children,” said lead author Dr. Neal Halfon, director of the Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities at the University of California, Los Angeles.
For the study, teachers administered a standardized test to measure physical, social, emotional and language development of kindergarteners in 98 school districts across the United States. More than 185,000 kids took the test from 2010 to 2017.
Analyzing the data, the researchers found that 30% of the poorest children were vulnerable in one or more areas of health development, compared with 17% of children from wealthier areas.
These differences in vulnerability varied among from different ethnic and racial groups. Black children were at the highest risk, followed by Hispanic children. Asian children were at the lowest risk.
The difference between Black children and white children was most striking at the higher socioeconomic levels and tended to narrow for kids from lower-income areas.
The disparities can have a profound effect on kids’ long-term development and lead to higher rates diabetes, heart disease, drug use, mental health disorders and dementia, the researchers said.
“Many other studies have highlighted patterns of income and racial inequality in health and educational outcomes. What this study shows is that these patterns of inequality are clearly evident and measurable before kids start school,” Halfon said in a university news release.
The findings were published in the October issue of the journal Health Affairs.
Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it is preparing guidelines on use of the drug remdesivir for COVID-19 and should be able to release them in three to four weeks.
The United States has given full approval for remdesivir to treat infections, the first COVID-19 treatment to receive regulatory endorsement there.
However, a large WHO study earlier this year on COVID-19 patients in hospital found that the drug probably had no effect on their survival rate.
“We would anticipate that the guidelines will be available within three to four weeks,” Janet Diaz, the WHO’s top official for clinical care responses, told a news conference.
A WHO panel will convene next week to look at all evidence of the effectiveness of the drug, made by Gilead Sciences
, she added. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the U.S. FDA drug regulator does not appear to have taken the results of the global health body’s study into account in giving approval.
“We believe our results are very robust,” Swaminathan said. “We hope that people who are doing treatment guidelines in other countries as well as regulators around the world will take note of our study results, in addition to the other evidence,” she said.
“Because you need to look at the global evidence for a drug, before you make decisions.”
(Reporting by John Miller, Stephanie Nebehay and Michael Shields; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Cawthorne)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.