Tag: Weekly

 

Weekly U.S. COVID-19 deaths up 15%, new cases rise 24%

(Reuters) – The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States last week rose 24% to more than 485,000 while the number of tests performed rose 5.5%, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.

Nationally, over 5,600 people died of the virus in the seven days ended Oct. 25, up 15% from the prior week. Deaths have risen for at least two weeks straight in 16 states, compared with nine states previously.

(Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for state-by-state details)

Deaths more than doubled in seven states — Connecticut, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio and Wyoming — though they remained low compared to Texas, Florida and California, according to the Reuters analysis.

Thirty-six out of 50 states have seen cases increase for at least two weeks in a row, up from 34 the prior week. They include Florida, Ohio and Michigan — all hotly contested states for the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election. New cases doubled last week in Wisconsin, another crucial state.

The United States performed 7.7 million COVID-19 tests last week, of which 6.3% came back positive for the new virus, compared with 5.4% the prior week, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

South Dakota led the nation with the highest positive test rate at 40%, followed by Idaho at 34% and Wyoming at 29%. A total of 14 states had a positive test rate of over 10%.

The World Health Organization considers rates above 5% concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

Since the outbreak started, over 225,000 people in the United States have died and over 8.6 million have become infected with the novel coronavirus.

(Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Graphic by Chris Canipe; Editing by Tiffany Wu)

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Health officials ramp up flu shot efforts, including free vaccines at Audubon Zoo on Oct. 26 | The Latest | Gambit Weekly

Health officials at the Louisiana Department of Health and the City of New Orleans are asking Louisianans to roll up their shirt sleeves and get flu shots as they ramp up efforts to distribute these essential vaccines.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for which there is still no vaccine or cure, health officials say it’s more important than ever to get the shot, especially because COVID-19 and the flu sometimes have similar symptoms and both can be fatal. They have for months warned of a “twin-demic” this fall and are concerned about overwhelmed hospitals, as the flu can also lead to lengthy stays and require medical care around the clock.

Dr. Gina Lagarde, the LDH’s regional medical director for the Northshore, said the health department will be conducting “mass vaccination exercises in each of the state’s regions” over the next several weeks, in partnerships with local pharmacies. The department will be making an extra effort to reach out to historically under-vaccinated populations, including low-income, rural and minority communities that frequently lack access to health care.

On Oct. 26, free vaccines will be available at the Audubon Zoo from 1 to 6 p.m., in partnership with New Orleans Health Department, New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Audubon Zoo. 

 “It is critical,” Lagarde told Gambit. “We worry about the surge to our emergency rooms. With the cold and flu season, we know the impact on our emergency rooms and in our hospitals. We need to get as many people as vaccinated as possible.”

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the LDH have long recommended a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age and note that it’s especially crucial for people at higher risk of serious complications, including babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and citizens aged 65 years and older.

Most seasonal flu activity occurs between October and May, peaking between December and February. The LDH notes that the flu shot will not prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce the burden of the flu illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Though the flu is less fatal than COVID-19, both are highly contagious illnesses that can impact long-term health and require lengthy recovery periods.

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Learning to walk again in the long shadow of COVID-19 | The Latest | Gambit Weekly

Keith Zimmer lay in a hospital bed he’d been confined to for weeks after waking up from a medically induced coma, struggling to relearn how to use a spoon. It was Oct. 4 — the same day President Donald Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center to take a Popemobile-like joy ride to demonstrate how easy COVID-19 is to overcome. 

While Trump’s display of machismo was little more than a self-serving gesture to his own ego, for Zimmer, a master mechanic, husband and father, simply picking up a spoon was a major milestone in his battle against COVID-19: That day he turned 64, and the Gentilly native would be damned if he wasn’t going to sit up and enjoy a few celebratory bites of ice cream.



keith zimmer birthday

Keith Zimmer, hospitalized by COVID-19, recovering on his birthday. 




 “He’s the guy next door; he’s a man’s man — but he loves sweets and decadent desserts,” his wife, Debbie, jokingly says about his determination to indulge his sweet tooth.

It’s been a harrowing journey for him and his family. Before he relocated to Ochsner from St. Tammany Parish Hospital — where he had first been diagnosed and cared for — signs of the illness had erratically improved, worsened and improved again, as friends and his close-knit family worried and prayed. His daughter, Kellie, a 36-year-old teacher and part-time bartender, continues to post daily updates about his condition on social media that further reveal the wide-ranging, fickle symptoms as well as the complex recovery process. 

Kellie says doctors moved her asthmatic father into an intensive care unit shortly after his initial diagnosis, because he needed more oxygen. “Then they called back to say he was being intubated,” she says. “It was like, snap, snap, snap. Nothing, then everything.” 

Then his body didn’t take kindly to the tube. “He was bleeding, and it was just encrusted with this gunk; it just builds up this gunk in your lungs, and the tube was coated,” she says. “It was like he was breathing through a straw.” 


Zimmer is one of the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who’ve experienced long-term, often life-threatening health conditions which were brought on by COVID-19 but have lingered long after the virus has left their systems. Despite claims from Trump and his allies that the virus is like the flu, doctors and public health experts say we are only beginning to understand the long-term consequences of infections, and they warn that victims of the disease could be plagued by complications for years or decades to come.



Keith Zimmer hospital



 “It’s not like being on a roller coaster,” Kellie Zimmer says of her father’s condition over the past several months. “It’s like you’re waiting on the tracks for the roller coaster to pass over you. It’s a nightmare.”

So far in Louisiana, more than 174,000 infections have been reported to the state’s health department. And as of Oct. 17, more than 5,500 people have died from