Connect with us


Coronavirus 2020 Outbreak: Latest Updates

The United States now leads the world in cases of COVID-19. We’ll provide the latest updates on coronavirus cases, government response, impacts to our daily life, and more.

What is the latest news?

Trump Say Worst Coming, 100,000 to 200,000 Deaths Expected

March 31, 8:31 p.m.

President Donald Trump and his top health officials warned that the worst is yet to come for the COVID-19 pandemic and that the next two or three weeks would be difficult.EXPANDED COVERAGELatest News

COVID-19 Death Rate Drops, Still Deadly to Seniors

COVID-19 Testing Hits Second Wall: Lack of Supplies

What Coronavirus Precautions Do You Really Need?

Social Distancing May Need to Last Months: Study

Health Workers Get Creative With Protective Gear

Getting Non-Coronavirus Care a Complicated Effort

The Power of Handwashing to Prevent CoronavirusExpert Opinions

Coronavirus in Context: New series with WebMD Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Whyte

Emory Expert: Allergies vs. COVID, Social Distancing, Is Takeout Safe?

At a White House coronavirus briefing Tuesday, officials unveiled models used that led to the decision to extend the “Stop the Spread” effort another 30 days, through April 30.

Based on several models, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 deaths are expected. “This is a projection,” said Deborah Brix, MD, the White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator. “We really hope we can do better than that.”

The models take mitigation efforts into account. “There’s no magic bullet,” Birx said. “It is communities that will do this.”

Without mitigation, if the country were to just ”ride it out,” the models project that the number of deaths could be 1.5 to 2.2 million and beyond.

“We are really convinced that mitigation is going to be doing the trick for us,” said Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the NIH’s National Institute on Allergy & Infectious Diseases. “The 15 days that we [have] had clearly have had an effect although it is tough to quantitate. It is no time to take your foot off the accelerator.”

Birx acknowledged that social distancing and self-isolation are difficult. “This is tough,” she said. “It’s inconvenient from a social standpoint and an economic to do this but this is going to be the answer to our problem.”

More than 785 deaths were reported in the U.S. Tuesday, the highest single day total of the epidemic. The U.S. has more than 188,000 cases of the disease and more than 3,700 deaths.

Also at the briefing, Vice President Mike Pence said that more than 1.1 million tests for COVID-19 have been done. We are “testing about 100,000 Americans a day.”

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Diagnosed With COVID-19

March 31, 3:37 p.m 

One of CNN’s top anchors, Chris Cuomo, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus but will continue to work from home, he announced on his Twitter feed Tuesday.

“I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills, and shortness of breath,” he wrote. “I just hope I don’t give it to the kids and Christina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!”

Cuomo said he’ll self-quarantine in the basement of his home and continue to do his 9 p.m. weekday program, “Cuomo Prime Time,” from there.

He worked from home on Monday and interviewed his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

32 States Have Issued Stay-at-Home Orders

March 31, 11:28 a.m.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued statewide stay-at-home orders on Monday, becoming the latest governors to take such action because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” Northam said in his order. “Our message to Virginians is clear: Stay home.”

Thirty-two states are now under statewide stay-at-home orders, plus the District of Columbia, according to The New York Times. California was the first state to do so, on March 19.

These states don’t have statewide orders, but some cities and counties have imposed their own stay-at-home orders: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

No stay-at-home orders have been issued in Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota, according to The Times.

Statewide orders have now been issued in:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

FDA OKs Anti-Malaria Drugs for COVID-19

March 31, 10:51 a.m. 

The FDA gave doctors the go-ahead to try two anti-malaria drugs to treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The drugs are called chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says drugmakers have donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate to the strategic national stockpile.

HHS says the government will start shipping the drugs to states that need them.

So far, there aren’t many studies about using the anti-malaria medications as a treatment for COVID-19. But HHS says there are anecdotal reports that the drugs are helpful.

Denise Hinton, chief scientist for the FDA, says based on the scientific evidence available, it’s “reasonable to believe that chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate may be effective for the treatment of COVID-19.”

Clinical trials are underway to see if the drugs can safely treat COVID-19. The FDA says it’s OK for hospitals to use them for people with COVID-19 if they aren’t able to join a clinical trial.

The FDA also put out a warning about the danger of using a version of chloroquine phosphate that is an ingredient in fish tank water. The FDA says one person in the U.S. died and another became seriously ill after using the fish-tank version in an effort to prevent COVID-19.

Trump Details Machine that Decontaminates Respirator Masks

March 30, 7:02 p.m. 

The FDA has approved machinery that disinfects N95 respirator masks, meaning the masks could be reused by health care workers, President Donald Trump said Monday at a White House news briefing.

A shortage of the masks has been a major complaint as hospitals deal with a growing number of coronavirus patients. As of Monday afternoon, there are more than 152,000 cases in the United ­­States and over 2,700 deaths.

There are two disinfecting machines in Ohio and one in New York, with machines to be shipped soon to Seattle and Washington, D.C., Trump said.

The FDA approved the mask-cleaning equipment made by Ohio-based Battelle on Monday. Battelle said masks could be decontaminated up to 20 times “without degrading the mask’s performance.”

Also at the daily White House briefing:

  • Trump said 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said more than 100,000 people are being tested daily — more than any other country has tested. The data-tracking site called The COVID Tracking Project confirms that nearly 1 million tests have been conducted.
  • In response to a reporter’s question, Trump said he thinks any American who needs a ventilator will have access to one within a few weeks. That marks a shift from just last week, when he would not confirm the country’s supply of ventilators would be adequate.
  • Trump said he and his advisers have discussed a national stay-at-home order, similar to the ones issued in many states, but he said, “it’s pretty unlikely at this time.”
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn discussed the rapid-result coronavirus test approved last Friday. The advantage of the test is that patients can find out within 15 minutes if they have coronavirus, and get the answer in a doctor’s office or any other place they’re tested.

Johnson & Johnson to Test COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

March 30, 5:46 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson said Monday that human clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine it has developed will start by September.

There is no approved vaccine for COVID-19 and no treatment for the disease. If the trial starts as planned, it will be the second one testing for a potential vaccine. In March, the National Institutes of Health started a phase 1 trial for a vaccine called mRNA-1273. It was developed by federal scientists and the biotechnology company Moderna Inc.,

Phase 1 trials test if a vaccine is safe. If it is, the potential vaccine then moves to broader testing to see how well it works and the side effects.

Johnson & Johnson says it is working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The company and BARDA have pledged $1 billion for vaccine research, development and clinical testing.

The company said in a news release that its goal is to have the vaccine­ available for emergency use authorization by early 2021.

FDA OKs Ventilator Sharing

Updated March 30, 2:45 p.m. 

The FDA says hospitals may get creative if they get overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients who need lifesaving ventilators.

Agency officials on Friday issued an “Emergency Use Authorization” that lets doctors consider attaching the breathing machines to more than one person at a time. The FDA also says devices like anesthesia gas machines may be modified so they can be used as ventilators.

The New York Times reports that one New York City medical center — New York-Presbyterian — has already started to put two people on one ventilator. The hospital has developed guidelines that can help doctors set up ventilator sharing in other medical centers.

There hasn’t been much research on sharing ventilators. One small study, done in the aftermath of the 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina disasters, shows that it might be possible for four people to use a single ventilator for up to 12 hours. But that study used “simulated” patients, not real people.

Sharing ventilators is controversial among medical experts. Several medical groups, including the Society of Critical Care Medicine, issued a joint statement expressing concern about the procedure.

The groups warn that ventilator sharing is a complex process and might be risky. For example, a single patient who suddenly starts breathing on their own could cause the ventilator to reset the oxygen supply for everyone sharing that device.

How many people have been diagnosed with the virus, and how many have died?

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 803,650 cases and 39,000 deaths worldwide. More than 170,000 people have also recovered. 

Italy, Spain and China have the most deaths. 

For the first time since the outbreak began in December, China — once the epicenter of what would become a global pandemic — reported no new domestic cases last week. The Chinese government is lifting the lockdown on Hubei Province and Wuhan, the capital, where the pandemic originated. There have been more than 82,000 cases in China and more than 3,200 deaths there. 

How many cases of COVID-19 are in the United States?

There are more than 162,000 cases in the U.S. of COVID-19 and almost 3,000 deaths, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project. See a map of cases and deaths by state here. 

New York, New Jersey and Washington are the states with the most deaths.

What travel restrictions are there?

The State Department has urged all U.S. citizens to avoid any international travel due to the global impact of the new coronavirus.

If you are currently overseas, the department wants you to come home, “unless [you] are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period,” according to a statement.

“Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” the agency says.

In addition, the State Department says it will not issue any new passports except for people with a “qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours.” The U.S. is banning all foreign travel to the United States from most of Europe for 30 days beginning midnight Friday, March 13.  American citizens are not included in the ban. 

The U.S. has also temporarily suspended nonessential travel to Mexico and Canada.

clock here to read more on crohnsdigest


Coronavirus: What Happens When You Get Infected?

There are many types of coronaviruses. Some give you the common cold. The new coronavirus behind the 2019-2020 pandemic causes an illness called COVID-19.

How Does Coronavirus Attack Your Body?

virus infects your body by entering healthy cells. There, the invader makes copies of itself and multiplies throughout your body.

The new coronavirus latches its spiky surface proteins to receptors on healthy cells, especially those in your lungs.

Specifically, the viral proteins bust into cells through ACE2 receptors. Once inside, the coronavirus hijacks healthy cells and takes command. Eventually, it kills some of the healthy cells.

How Does Coronavirus Move Through Your Body?

COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, starts with droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. They could be in the air or on a surface that you touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That gives the virus a passage to the mucous membranes in your throat. Within 2 to 14 days, your immune system may respond with symptoms including:CONTINUE READING BELOW

  • Fever
  • A cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Chills, sometimes with shaking
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • A sore throat
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

The virus moves down your respiratory tract. That’s the airway that includes your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. Your lower airways have more ACE2 receptors than the rest of your respiratory tract. So COVID-19 is more likely to go deeper than viruses like the common cold.

Your lungs might become inflamed, making it tough for you to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, an infection of the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) inside your lungs where your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide.

If your doctor does a CT scan of your chest, they’ll probably see shadows or patchy areas called “ground-glass opacity.”

For most people, the symptoms end with a cough and a fever. More than 8 in 10 cases are mild. But for some, the infection gets more severe. About 5 to 8 days after symptoms begin, they have shortness of breath (known as dyspnea). Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) begins a few days later.

ARDS can cause rapid breathing, a fast heart rate, dizziness, and sweating. It damages the tissues and blood vessels in your alveoli, causing debris to collect inside them. This makes it harder or even impossible for you to breathe.

Many people who get ARDS need help breathing from a machine called a ventilator.

As fluid collects in your lungs, they carry less oxygen to your blood. That means your blood may not supply your organs with enough oxygen to survive. This can cause your kidneys, lungs, and liver to shut down and stop working.

Not everyone who has COVID-19 has these serious complications. And not everyone needs medical care. But if your symptoms include trouble breathing, get help right away.NEWSLETTERStay Up-to-Date on COVID-19

What Else Does COVID-19 Do to Your Body?

Some people also have symptoms including:

  • Pinkeye
  • Rashes
  • Liver problems or damage
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Dangerous blood clots, including in their legs, lungs, and arteries. Some clots may cause a stroke.

Researchers are also looking into a few reports of skin rashes, including some reddish-purple spots on fingers or toes.

A few children and teens have been admitted to the hospital with an inflammatory syndrome that may be linked to the new coronavirus. Symptoms include a fever, rash, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems. The syndrome, now being referred to as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C is similar to toxic shock or to Kawasaki disease, a condition in children that causes inflammation in blood vessels. We’re still learning about these cases.

Continue Reading


Screen Time Damaging Your Eye Health?

Protecting your vision is easier than you think, says Nutritional Therapist Kerry O’Connor.

We’ve all experienced tired and strained eyes, be it from time spent watching our favourite Netflix series or from working too many hours in front of the computer. However, if this is becoming the norm for you and you suffer from dry eyes, irritation, blurry vision and tiredness you could be suffering from a condition called digital eye strain.

Most of us are unaware of the amount of blue light we are exposed to and it comes from far more sources than we think. We have smartphones, laptops, computers, tablets, gaming systems and LED TV, so it’s easy to see how blue light exposure can accumulate over the course of a day. Symptoms including red eyes and headaches are thought to be due to overexposure to blue light emitted from digital devices. The waves emitted from these devices can penetrate deep into the eyes and create a glare that leads to irritation and tiredness.

We tend to blink less frequently when looking at devices, your eyes react to images changing and shifting focus and the screens flicker, glare and contrast, which puts a lot of strain on eye muscles. Research shows that between 50-90% of people working in front of a computer suffer from some form of digital eye strain, and as you can imagine it is now greatly affecting children’s eyesight too. Ophthalmologists are seeing a large increase in children with dry eyes and strain due to too much screen time.

It’s very important to make sure you stay hydrated, so remember to drink plenty of water. Taking a good Omega 3 supplement that contains phospholipids and astaxanthin such as Cleanmarine Krill Oil will help with lubrication. Try to spend plenty of time in daylight too.

Many people who suffer from dry eyes or wear contact lenses use a product called Eye Logic, which they find very beneficial. Eye Logic comes in a spray or drops and incorporates a revolutionary delivery system which works immediately on irritated and tired eyes. It helps treat the deficiency in the lipid layer (the oily layer of the tear film) with phospholipid liposomes, which are small bubbles made of the same material as the cell membrane, which can carry nutrients to cells.

Eye Logic is made from natural soy lecithin and is preservative free, safe and easy to use even whilst wearing contact lenses and can be used up to six months after opening. It doesn’t distort your vision and won’t disturb the natural tear mechanism like artificial tear products.

click here to buy Eye Logic

click here to get cleanmarine Krill oil

Continue Reading


Coronavirus 2020 Outbreak: Latest Updates

The United States leads the world in cases of COVID-19. We’ll provide the latest updates on coronavirus cases, government response, impacts to our daily life, and more.

What is the latest news?

Summer Camp Groups Release COVID-19 Guidance

May 18, 6:45 p.m. 

Two of the nation’s largest summer camp organizations — the YMCA of the USA and the American Camp Association — released a “field guide” on Monday to operate safely this summer amid coronavirus concerns. About 14 million people typically attend 8,400 overnight and 5,600 summer day camps, according to the guide.

The 80-page document gives detailed advice for social distancing, transportation, and campers and staff with preexisting medical conditions. The guide also gives specific information about activities such as crafts, swimming and performing arts. The information is meant to supplement the one-page flowchart released by the CDC last week.EXPANDED COVERAGELatest News

COVID-19 May Trigger Rare Complication In Children

States Not Hitting Testing Goals; Feds Promise Aid

100 Days Into COVID-19, Where Do We Stand? As Society Reopens, Not Everyone is Ready

Blood Clots Are Another Dangerous COVID-19 Mystery

The Great Invader: How COVID Attacks Every OrganExpert Opinions

Coronavirus in Context: New series with WebMD Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Whyte

According to the guide, camps shouldn’t open if state and local officials don’t allow it. They should also be in areas that met the third phase of White House guidelines, which call for a two-week decline in COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity to care for new patients.

First, camps should pre-screen all staff and campers for COVID-19 symptoms, according to the guide. During camp, directors and administrators may choose to take temperatures daily and isolate or send home people with symptoms.

The guide suggests that overnight camps operate as a “bubble,” allowing only staff and campers who have tested negative. They may also follow shelter-in-place guidelines for the duration of the camp.

In addition to the “bubble” concept, camps may incorporate “cohort” or “household” rules that keep staff and campers in small groups for daily activities, particularly ones that require close contact. This tactic could limit the spread of a potential outbreak and allow staff to trace contacts.

Other recommendations include frequent disinfection, handwashing procedures and enough equipment, such as life preservers, so campers don’t have to share during the program.

Some of the recommendations could make operating a camp more expensive, NPR reported.

“I am aware of some Y camps that have made basically a business decision that it’s better to forego this summer, cut expenses way back and be prepared for next year,” Paul McEntire, chief operations officer of the YMCA, told NPR.

Some summer camps are planning to reopen, even if delayed, the news outlet reported, including camps in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, New York and Texas. Other have canceled programs entirely.

VA: More Than 1,000 Have Died From COVID-19

More than 1,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, the agency reported on its tracking site. The official tally was 1,015 on Monday afternoon.

Among those, 700 died at one of the agency’s veteran hospitals. The other deaths occurred elsewhere but were reported to the department. The VA has reported more than 12,300 positive cases, with 9,200 recovered and 2,100 still active, according to the tracking site.

The total number of veterans who have died from COVID-19 is even higher, the Washington Post reported. About 550 veterans have died in state-run veterans homes as well, according to Vietnam Veterans of America, and 28 states aren’t reporting veteran deaths. The advocacy group is collecting data for an upcoming report, the newspaper said.

“VA grieves for all of the Veterans and loved ones affected by this heartbreaking situation,” said agency spokeswoman Christina Noel.

The agency’s death toll includes active duty service members, patients with military health care and civilians enrolled in VA care in humanitarian cases. Most cases are likely among the 9.5 million veterans enrolled in VA care, the newspaper reported.

One active duty service member has died from the coronavirus. A sailor on the USS Theodore Roosevelt died in a Naval hospital in Guam in April, the newspaper reported previously. A National Guard soldier died in March before he was mobilized, the newspaper also reported.

The coronavirus has affected VA staffers as well. More than 2,000 have tested positive, and 30 have died, the VA reported on a separate tracking page. Six employees who died were in New Jersey.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in VA care has declined since the beginning of May, the Military Times reported Monday. The decrease could indicate a return to normal operations at some hospitals in coming weeks, the news outlet said.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie was invited to a House Appropriations Committee hearing to give an update on the agency’s coronavirus response. The hearing, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed.

Pro Sports Should Plan to Resume Play: NY Governor

Professional sports teams should start planning to resume play without fans, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

“New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that,” Cuomo said, CBS News reported. “Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen, we’re a ready, willing, and able partner.”

Even if there are no fans at games, they could be televised, Cuomo said.

He made the comments as the state continued to have declines in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, intubations, and deaths, CBS News reported.

Major League Baseball is already making plans to start play.

Texas Reports Biggest 1-Day Increase in New Cases

As Texas moves forward with reopening, the state department of health reported 1,800 new coronavirus cases on Saturday — the largest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic began.

Many of those new cases were reported in counties with meat-packing plants. Gov. Greg Abbott said he’s sending “surge response” teams to hot spots and that increased testing explains the rise in new cases. 

“As Texas continues ramping up its testing capabilities, there will be an increase in positive cases as the state targets the most high-risk areas: nursing homes, meat packing plants and jails,” Abbott said in a news release. “That is exactly why I established surge response teams. By immediately deploying resources and supplies to these high risk areas, we will identify the positive cases, isolate the individuals and ensure any outbreak is quickly contained.”

Abbott also announced the Texas Division of Emergency Management will work with local fire departments to expand testing in nursing homes.

Under relaxed state restrictions, gyms in Texas were allowed to reopen on Monday at 25% capacity, with proper spacing of equipment and gym users, TV station KHOU reported. Nonessential manufacturing and work offices can reopen with 25% capacity as well.     

The state now has more than 47,000 reported cases, with 27,000 people who have recovered, the state department of health said.

First COVID Vaccine Tested on Humans Shows Promise

May 18, 11:20 a.m.

The first coronavirus vaccine tested on humans has yielded positive results, with a small number of people who were tested showing an immunity against the virus, drugmaker Moderna said Monday in a news release.

Moderna, a Massachusetts-based company, said the vaccine called mRNA-1273 “was generally safe and well tolerated.” The company said it plans to move ahead with the next two phases, in which larger numbers of people will be tested this year.

The news release said three different dosage levels — 25, 100 and 250 micrograms — were given to 45 participants, and all of them developed detectable antibodies. 

But the eight people who received doses of 25 and 100 micrograms in March responded best, developing antibodies that were just as high or higher than the antibodies found in people who’d gotten the coronavirus and then recovered, the company said.

The vaccine uses something called the messenger RNA approach. It does not require a virus to make the vaccine.

“I think the totality of science tells us that this is the right antigen and it should be protective,” Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said Monday on a call with journalists to discuss the results, according to Business Insider.

The testing is being done in coordination with the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It has not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. 

There currently is no vaccine against the coronavirus. Moderna and other companies are racing to develop a vaccine against the virus, which has killed 89,000 people in the United States alone.

It’s unclear how soon a vaccine might hit the market. Anthony Fauci, MD, of the White House coronavirus task force, has cited a 12- to 18-month timeline for development.

At least 90 potential COVID-19 vaccines are under study, and six of those are already being tested on humans in clinical trials to determine if they’re safe. 

HHS Secretary: Reopening Requires ‘Very Localized’ Decisions

May 17, 6:40 p.m. 

Communities will ultimately decide whether places where people gather — such as bars, restaurants, and schools — are ready to reopen due to coronavirus concerns, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday.

“These are very localized determinants. There should not be one-size-fits-all approaches to reopening,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Azar said it is safe to reopen the country because half of U.S. counties reporting cases of the coronavirus “haven’t had a single death,” The Washington Post reported.

He also mentioned other health consequences from extending shelter-in-place orders, such as suicides, and delayed heart procedures, cancer screenings, and childhood vaccines.

At the same time, people in crowded bars aren’t wearing masks or practicing social distancing, said CNN host Jake Tapper.

“I think, in any individual instance, you’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible,” Azar said. “That’s part of the freedom that we have here in America.”

Under the first phase of reopening, the White House guidelines state that people should still physically distance themselves from others, stick to social settings with fewer than 10 people, and avoid places where “appropriate distancing may not be practical.”

“We count on local leaders to implement and interpret that, according to the local situation,” Azar said.

In states that are opening, cases haven’t spiked so far, he said, though new case numbers could be delayed. Officials are using surveillance systems to track respiratory diseases to watch for an increase, he said. They’re now testing for asymptomatic cases in places where people are in close quarters, such as nursing homes, prisons, and meatpacking plants.

“We look for early indicators,” Azar said. “Then we use the traditional public health tools to surge in there” with testing, isolation, and contact tracing.

Even still, some states are seeing an increase in cases. During its first weekend without statewide restrictions, Wisconsin received an influx of visitors from Illinois, where stay-at-home orders are still in place, according the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Hundreds of people traveled to Lake Geneva on Saturday, even as Wisconsin reported its highest one-day count of 502 new cases.

And Texas reported its highest one-day count, according to The Texas Tribune. More than 1,800 new cases were recorded on Saturday, including more than 700 from Amarillo, where meatpacking plants have led to a cluster of infections.

Disney: Shopping Area in Florida Reopens Wednesday

Walt Disney Co. will reopen parts of the Disney Springs entertainment and shopping complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on Wednesday, the company announced on Saturday.

The company and unions representing the workers reached an agreement about the safeguards to protect employees, according to Reuters, which has been one of the biggest questions in reopening theme parks.

“While our theme parks and resort hotels remain temporarily closed, the phased reopening of Disney Springs is a welcome milestone as we navigate through this unprecedented time together as responsibly as we can,” Disney Springs Vice President Matt Simon said in the statement.

Some third-party stores will reopen at Disney Springs this week, and on May 27, three venues operated by Disney — World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger and the Marketplace Co-Op — will reopen.

“Rest assured, there is plenty of magic awaiting you at Disney Springs — it just may feel a bit different than before,” Simon said.

To reopen safely, Disney Springs will have several new changes. All guests over age 3, cast members, and third-party employees will be required to wear “appropriate” face coverings that cover the nose and mouth at all times, except when sitting at a dining table.

Temperature screenings will be required at the entrances, and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent to another location for rescreening. People who measure 100.4 or higher again won’t be allowed inside.

Disney Springs will also maintain physical distancing during the reopening phase and limit the number of people allowed in each location. Markings on the ground will show proper distancing in lines. Cashless and contactless payment options will be available, too.

The company also has increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, including high-traffic areas such as elevators, escalators, handrails, benches, tables, and restrooms. Handwashing and hand sanitizer stations will be available.

Cast members are being trained to explain new procedures and answer questions. They’ll also encourage guests to follow the new rules.

“I understand this is a great deal of change to absorb,” Simon said in the statement. “Today’s world is different, and it’s going to require a shared responsibility, with everyone doing their part.”

The latest information about shopping and dining locations, operating hours, and safety procedures will be posted at

More USS Roosevelt Sailors Test Positive Again

May 17, 11:18 am. 

Eight more sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for the coronavirus again, according to The Associated Press. That means 13 now seem to have COVID-19 a second time while working on the ship.

All of these sailors went through 2 weeks of quarantine and isolation and tested negative twice over a couple of days before working again.

On Friday, the Navy said that five sailors tested positive a second time. On Saturday, a Navy official, who requested anonymity, said that eight more tested positive.

Officials discovered the outbreak on the aircraft carrier in March and stopped in Guam. More than 1,000 crew tested positive, and 4,000 of the 4,800 crew members went to shore for quarantine and isolation. In late April, hundreds of sailors returned to the ship in waves to get ready to sail again.

But some sailors began showing symptoms again in early May, such as a cough and fever, according to Politico. Others had body aches and headaches.

The 13 sailors have left the ship and are back in isolation on the U.S. Naval Base Guam, officials told the news outlet.

FDA Authorizes First at-Home COVID-19 Sample Kit

May 16, 4:40 p.m.

A new at-home coronavirus kit will be available to collect a sample and send it to a lab for analysis, the FDA announced on Saturday.

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization to Everlywell Inc. for the Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit. Under separate authorizations, the FDA also allowed two COVID-19 diagnostic tests to be used at the laboratories for the at-home samples.

“The authorization of a COVID-19 at-home collection kit that can be used with multiple tests at multiple labs not only provides increased patient access to tests, but also protects others from potential exposure,” Jeffrey Shuren, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the news release.

People can use the kit at home after completing an online questionnaire, which is reviewed by a doctor. The kit has nasal swabs to collect the sample. Then patients put the swab in a saline tube for transport, which they can ship overnight to a specific lab — either Fulgent Therapeutics or Assurance Scientific Laboratories — that is authorized to test the at-home samples.

Once results are ready, patients can check them through Everlywell’s online portal or the company’s network of doctors.

Although the FDA previously issued two emergency use authorizations for at-home diagnostic tests, the Everlywell collection kit is the first sample kit that can be used with multiple authorized labs, the FDA said. The kit is available by prescription only.

“It is important to note that this is not a general authorization for at-home collection of patient samples using other collection kits, swabs, media, or tests, or for tests fully conducted at home,” according to the news release.

UK Trial Tests Whether Dogs Can Sniff Out Coronavirus

May 16, 3:47 p.m.

A new trial in the United Kingdom will study whether dogs that are trained as medical sniffers can detect the coronavirus in infected humans.

Dogs have been trained to detect malaria, Parkinson’s disease, and some types of cancers, according to Medical Detection Dogs, the UK charity that runs the training program.

“In principle, we’re sure that dogs could detect COVID-19. We are now looking into how we can safely catch the odour of the virus from patients and present it to the dogs,” said Claire Guest, CEO and co-founder of the organization.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University will work with Medical Detection Dogs to do the trial. Dogs would learn to distinguish the scent by sniffing samples during training, which would be collected from patients at London hospitals. The trial has received more than 500,000 pounds in funding, according to Durham University.

Respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 change a human’s body odor, so the researchers believe there is a “high chance” that dogs could detect it. Dogs could potentially detect differences in temperature that could indicate a fever, too.

If successful, dogs could be ready after a 6-week training program, according to the organization. Within 6 months, trained dogs could be deployed to airports and borders to identify infected travelers.

“The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic, and tell us whether they need to be tested,” Guest said.

The dogs could potentially screen up to 250 people per hour, the BBC reported. Called “bio-detection dogs” or “Covid dogs,” the group of six trial participants would include Labradors and cocker spaniels.

CDC Warns Pediatricians About Rare Inflammatory Condition

May 16, 12:08 p.m.

The CDC has updated its coronavirus advisory to pediatricians to warn about a rare and sometimes deadly inflammatory condition that affects children and may be connected COVID-19.

Called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, the condition has caused at least three deaths in the United States, health authorities say.

“Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local, state, or territorial health department,” the CDC advisory says.

Symptoms include a fever, low blood pressure, rashes, red eyes, stomach upset, and inflammation of the heart and its arteries. Some of these symptoms overlap with toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease in children.

Children don’t appear to be as vulnerable to the coronavirus as adults. But in New York, the hot spot for MIS-C in the United States, the state health department said there appeared to be a connection between this new illness and COVID-19 because many of the young patients tested positive for the coronavirus or its antibodies.

MIS-C cases have been reported in 15 states and some European nations. More than 100 cases have been reported in New York state, where three children, aged 5, 7, and 18, have died.

Not many of the children have shown breathing problems, which is a common symptom of the coronavirus.

Tests Show Vaccine Protects Monkeys Against COVID-19

 May 16, 11:29 a.m.

There’s good news about a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University in England.

Tests show that the vaccine provided protection against the virus when given to rhesus macaque monkeys at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a preprint paper posted on the server bioRxiv

Six monkeys received the vaccine 28 days before being infected with the coronavirus. Three other animals served as the control group and did not receive the vaccine, the preprint paper said.

The vaccinated animals didn’t get sick or develop lung problems, the NIH said in a news release. Two of the three control animals developed some form of pneumonia.

Rhesus monkeys are often used in tests because they share about 93% of their genes with humans, according to the National Primates Research Center. 

Based on the research, testing on humans began April 23 in the United Kingdom, the NIH said.

The information has not been peer-reviewed but is shared online to help other researchers in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Oxford scientists are making the vaccine from a weakened version of a common cold viruscalled the adenovirus taken from chimpanzees. The vaccine is combined with genes to trigger antibodies that allow the immune system to destroy the virus

Continue Reading

Most Read