COVID-19 day 201: 📈 56,174 new cases, 1,076 new deaths (US): 08 August 2020

Attacks on scientists must stop; T-cells but no antibodies, another COVID mystery; funerals, church services remain risk vectors; NZ, 100 days, no community spread; US cases passed 5 million

It’s day 201 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. On Sunday, US cases passed 5 million; deaths are at 163,000.

☂︎ What’s going on with Kathy?

In 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 3C invasive lobular carcinoma - the red-headed stepchild of breast cancer. After double mastectomy and six weeks of Proton therapy radiation (trust me, this is not “just” radiation or in any way benign), I developed lymphedema in my left arm (left-side cancer), a not uncommon side-effect of breast cancer treatment. (I had 14 lymph nodes removed from my arm pit as part of my two cancer surgeries. Then, radiation scarring.)

In May 2019, I had micro-surgery to attach lymph vessels directly into veins in my hand and lower forearm. In July 2020, I had a more invasive surgery: transfer lymph nodes from the exterior stomach wall to left forearm, near elbow. The goal of these surgeries is to improve lymph flow in the affected arm to reduce very real risk of infection. There is also cosmetic improvement.

The surgery appears to have triggered a protracted and edge case migraine episode, complete with lots of fainting. I’m better, but I still have a headache and other neurological migraine symptoms. So, I’m slow. 😎 And focus is not my strong suit at the moment. Noise-cancelling AirPods Pro FTW!

Sections (no jump links, sorry!)
1, One big thing; 2, Key metrics; 3, Recommendations; 4, Politics, economics & COVID;
5, Resources

⓵ One big thing - attacks on scientists

After Dr. Deborah Birx backed CDC Chief Redfield on distance-learning, this happened:

Researchers from Stanford and Johns Hopkins universities implored the public and elected official to stop attacking US public health officials in commentary published in JAMA.

At least 27 health officers in 13 states (including Nichole Quick of Orange County in southern California, Ohio Health Director Amy Acton, and West Virginia Health Officer Cathy Slemp) have resigned or been fired since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Across the US, health officers have been subject to doxing (publishing private information to facilitate harassment), angry and armed protesters at their personal residences, vandalism, and harassing telephone calls and social media posts, some threatening bodily harm and necessitating private security details.

The present harassment of health officials for proposing or taking steps to protect communities from COVID-19 is extraordinary in its scope and nature, use of social media, and danger to the ongoing pandemic response. It reflects misunderstanding of the pandemic, biases in human risk perception, and a general decline in public civility.

This is not normal. Sometimes the obvious needs to be said. Out loud.

In a Facebook post in May, Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale (R) called Department of Health Director Amy Acton, who is Jewish, “an unelected Globalist Health Directorafter she extended a stay at home order. “Globalist” is an anti-Semitic slur.

From the JAMA commentary: “These statements are not mere rhetorical flourishes; they become ballast for personal attacks in the midst of the pandemic.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists has tracked more than 150 attacks on science made by this Administration.

According to our counts, it took the Trump administration 2½ years to match the number of attacks on science carried out over an eight year period by the George W. Bush administration, an administration widely regarded as one of the most  antagonistic administrations towards science in modern history…

In the six months that the pandemic has been raging in the US, we’ve already documented 11 times across 9 federal agencies when the Trump administration’s attacks on science have directly undermined the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speak out when you hear or see attacks on public health officials. Share facts and data and your perspective, not because you’ll convince someone who has their eyes and ears closed, but so that you might reach someone who is receptive.

Silence is acceptance.

Share ⚡️COVID-19 Memo from a News Hound

⓶ Key metrics

🦠 SaturdayJohns Hopkins reported 4,997,929 (56,174 new🔻) cases and 162,423 (1,076 new🔻) deaths, an increase of 1.14% and 0.67%, respectively, since Friday. A week ago, the daily numbers increased by 1.28% and 0.74%, respectively.

  • Saturday
    - seven-day average: 54,486 cases🔻and 1,139 deaths🔻 
    - 3.25% cases leading to death
    - case rate, 151 per 10,000; death rate, 5 per 10,000

  • One week ago
    - seven-day average: 63,489 cases and 1,113 deaths 
    - 3.34% cases leading to death
    - case rate, 137 per 10,000; death rate, 5 per 10,000

Note: the seven-day average is important because dailies vary due to factors other than actual case numbers, particularly over a weekend.

🇺🇸 08 August 

  • CDC: 4,920,369 (62,042 new) cases & 160,220 (1,340 new) deaths
    One week ago: 4,542,579 (68,605 new) cases & 152,870 (1,371) deaths

  • State data*:  4,967,586 (53,923 new) cases & 153,904 (1,088 new) deaths
    One week ago: 4,595,871 (60,264 new) cases & 146,619 (1,172 ) deaths
    KS reports only M-W-F; CT and RI report only M-F

  • WHO Situation report, 201
    4 836 930 (55 318 new) cases and & 158 606 (1 249 new) deaths
    One week ago: 4 456 389 (67 823 new) cases & 151 265 (1 211) deaths

🌎 08 August 

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (11.00 pm Pacific)

  • Global: 19,637,506 (259,470 new) cases & 726,781 (5,457 new) deaths
    One week ago:  17,849,853 (257,885 new) cases & 685,054 (5,615) deaths

* Johns Hopkins data, ~11.00 pm Pacific.
State data include DC, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

The virus was not created in a lab and the weight of evidence is that it was not released intentionallyAlthough early reports tied the outbreak to a market in Wuhan, China, analyses of genomic data have suggested that the virus developed elsewhere.

⓷ Recommendations

🤓 Recommended reading

At dinner Sunday, I explained that I had stopped reporting US “recoveries” because the data are so bad. That evolved into a discussion of the variances between states, the days that states drop a big chunk of new cases/deaths into their cumulatives and don’t explain what that individual day’s number might be, the days that “dailies” go backwards without explanation.

Nationally, our daily COVID-19 numbers are only a little better than SWAG. Here’s California’s story. And if the tech capitol of the country is this screwed up …

A breakdown in the electronic collection of coronavirus test data is hampering California’s pandemic response, with some public health officials resorting to counting results by hand and a growing number of counties warning the public that statistics provided by the state on infection rates are unreliable.

Serious breakdown in California systems causes inaccurate coronavirus numbers. LA Times, 05 August 2020.

🔬 Research and medical news

Our study shows that although there is an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission on trains, a person’s seat location and travel time in relation to an infectious person can make a big difference as to whether it is passed on. 

COVID-19 Transmission on Trains Investigated. Technology News, 03 August 2020.

As many as 200 physicians from several countries and dozens of states have participated weekly on Zoom to share their experiences with Covid-19 patients. “If our Zoom conference was yesterday, change in practice is occurring today.”

How a Zoom forum is changing the way ICU doctors treat desperately ill Covid-19 patients. STAT News, 06 August 2020.

The body should produce both protective antibodies, which keep the virus from invading, and killer T cells, which tell virus-infected human cells to destroy themselves to keep the virus from spreading. Normally, these immune responses appear in tandem. But in a subset of those who tested positive for COVID-19, [Soo] Aleman found T cells but no antibodies…

But one thing is becoming clear: antibodies might not be telling the whole story when it comes to COVID-19 immunity. “We shouldn’t just look blindly at antibody tests,” Aleman says.

Why antibodies may not be the key to beating coronavirus. National Geographic, 07 August 2020.

⓸ Politics, economics and COVID-19

✅ New Zealand marks 100 days without community spread

💰 One-third of American renters expect to miss their August payment

🛑 How do I tell somebody — especially a stranger — to step back because that person is just too close to me?

🆘 New York et al are now restricting travel from 35 US states

🦠 States with mandates for mask-wearing in public

❌ In Ohio, 91 people got sick after an infected man attended a church service

🏥 In Minnesota, 30 family members became infected after mid-July funeral

‼️You can’t make this stuff up.

⓹ Resources

👓 See COVID-19 resource collection at WiredPen.
📝 Subscribe to Kathy’s COVID-19 Memo :: COVID-19 Memo archives
🦠 COVID-19 @
📊 Visualizations: USWorld
🌐 Global news (at WiredPen)

👏🏻 Thank you for your time!
📣 Please spread the word about the newsletter.