COVID-19 day 114 : 📈 1,390,746 cases; 84,136 deaths : 13 May 2020

One big thing: the possible role of Vitamin D in severity of COVID-19 symptoms; for 20 days, the new case rate in Texas has marched steadily upwards (from 766 to 1,140, seven-day average)

It’s day 114 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States.  The head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, on the current economic situation:

The scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent, significantly worse than any recession since World War II.

And this economic burden is hitting those with the fewest resources hard: in March nearly 40% of wage earners in households with incomes less than $40,000 a year lost the job that they held in February.

“Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,” Powell said. House Democrats unveiled an additional $3 trillion spending proposal this week.

President Trump appointed Powell as head of the Board of Governors in 2018; his term runs until February 2022.

⓵ One big thing

Global research is suggesting that low levels of Vitamin D may increase risk of COVID-19 severity. This preliminary research does not mean you should take mega-doses of Vitamin D! That's not good for you.

But it does suggest you should check with your doctor about your Vitamin D levels. 

🔬 From Ireland - 11 May

… the data suggests that [Vitamin D] is also likely to reduce serious COVID-19 complications.

Association between vitamin D levels and mortality from COVID-19. Trinity College Dublin News, 11 May 2020. Read the journal article.

🔬 From Northwestern University - 07 May

Vitamin D may suppress cytokine storm in COVID19 patients. Data from 10 countries suggest patients with vitamin D deficiency were 2x as likely to experience severe complications, including death.

“Not only does vitamin D enhance our innate immune systems, it also prevents our immune systems from becoming dangerously overactive.” Analysis suggests Vitamin D could reduce the mortality rate by as much as half - researcher Vadim Backman.

The 10 countries: China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States.

Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates. Northwestern University Now, 07 May. Read the submitted journal article at medRxIV.

🔬 India - 05 May

Analysis of 176 elderly (least 60 years) patients for Vitamin D levels

“awareness of Vitamin D benefits in fighting infections, such as COVID-19, should be disseminated especially to the vulnerable elderly population”

Vitamin D Level of Mild and Severe Elderly Cases of COVID-19: A Preliminary Report Read the research report at SSRN.

🔬 Indonesia - 30 April

This was a retrospective cohort study.

“Results revealed that majority of the death cases were male and older and had pre-existing condition and below normal Vitamin D serum level”

Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D: An Indonesian Study. Read the research report at SSRN. Image from LI.

🔬 Louisiana - 28 April

This was an early and small sample. However, it is very suggestive.

  • Vitamin D insufficiency in ICU patients: 84.6%.

  • In floor patients: 57.1%

“This small, retrospective observational study suggests a link between [Vitamin D insufficiency] and severe COVID-19.”

Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19. Read the proposed journal article at medRxIV.

🔬 Philippines - 09 April

“Of 49 patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19 in three hospitals in southern Asian countries, only two had low levels of vitamin D; of 104 patients with critical or severe symptoms, only four did not have low levels of vitamin D.”

Who is at risk from low levels of Vitamin D?

  • dark-skinned people (pigment blocks sunlight)

  • obese people (the vitamin gets sequestered in fat cells)

  • type-2 diabetics (vitamin D improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin);

  • the elderly

  • city dwellers

From Matt Ridley’s May article in The Telegraph (on his blog).
Read the research article at SSRN.

The current research that links Vitamin D with symptom severity rests on a foundation of research that illustrates how Vitamin D supports the immune system.

🔬 Research from February 2017

Researchers reviewed 25 randomized controlled trials (total 11,321 participants, aged 0 to 95 years). They determined that Vitamin D supplementation was “safe”, and it “protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall.”

Read the journal article: Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ, 15 February 2017.

🔬 Research from September 2008

The case for Vitamin D supplements, Harvard Medical School.

⓶ Case count

🦠WednesdayJohns Hopkins reported 1,390,746 (1,369,964) cases and 84,136 (82,387) in the US, an increase of 1.52% and 2.12%, respectively, since Tuesday. A week ago, the daily numbers increased by 2.00% and 5.73%, respectively.

  • The seven-day average: 23,163 (23,641) cases and 1,529 (1,616) deaths 

  • Percent of cases leading to death: 6.05% (6.01%).

  • Today’s case rate is 420.16 per 100,000; the death rate, 25.42 per 100,000.

  • One week ago, the case rate was 371.18 per 100,000; the death rate, 22.18 per 100,000.

Note: numbers in (.) are from the prior day and are provided for context. I include the seven-day average because dailies vary so much in the course of a week, particularly over a weekend.

There is a lag between being contagious and showing symptoms, between having a test and getting its results. The virus was not created in a lab and the weight of evidence is it was not released intentionally. Although early reports tied the outbreak to a seafood (“wet”) market in Wuhan, China, analyses of genomic data in January suggested that the virus might have developed elsewhere.

🌎 13 May 

WHO Situation report, 114

  • Globally: 4 170 424 cases (81 577 - new) with 287 399 deaths (4 245 - new)

  • The Americas: 1 781 564 cases (37 847 - new) with 106 504 deaths 1 955 - new)

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (10.30 pm Pacific)

  • Global confirmed: 4,347,921 (4,262,799 - yesterday) 

  • Total deaths: 297,220 (291,981 - yesterday)

  • Recovered: 1,549,343 (1,493,661 - yesterday) 

🇺🇸 13 May 

  • CDC: 1,364,061 (21,467 - new) cases and 82,246 (1,426 - new) deaths

  • Johns Hopkins*: 1,390,746 (1,369,964) cases and 84,136 (82,387) deaths

  • State data*:  1,382,304 (1,360,705) identified cases and 78,343 (76,617) deaths 

  • Total tested (US, Johns Hopkins): 9,974,831 (9,637,930)

View infographic and data online: total cases and cases and deaths/100,000.

* Johns Hopkins data, ~10.30 pm Pacific.
State data include DC, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

Global data

Where new cases are increasing, flat and decreasing (NY Times illustrations)

(Aside: the optical illusion of this graphic sloping upwards to the right almost gives me vertigo!)

Misleading headlines, take 1,269 🤦‍♀️

Texas sees 1,000 new coronavirus cases 5 days in a row. The Hill, 13 May 2020.

Texas began reporting more than 1,000 new cases daily on 30 April. Only two days in the subsequent 15-day period have dipped below 1,000; six of 15 days, the number has been more than 1,100. Today’s numbers: 1,355 new cases.

The story isn’t Texas data for the past five days.

The story is that steadily increasing seven-day average you can see below, which started on 24 April.

Twenty days ago, on 24 April, the seven-day average for new cases in Texas was 766; on 13 May, 1,140.

Today’s total was 1,355.

Why use a seven-day rolling average? To try to even out the artifacts related to testing reports that have nothing to do with actual new cases, such as paperwork as well as the number of people running testing centers and laboratories.

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