COVID-19 day 295: 📈 US “case counts never seen before anywhere in the world” : 09 November 2020

US crosses 10,000,000 cases, 125,000 deaths; the US (331 million) is the third most populous nation, behind China (1,440 million) and India (1,380 million). El Paso is running out of morgue space.

Sunday was day 294 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. Apologies for being a day late with this report; we learned of a death in our extended family Sunday evening.

We have good news as well as sobering news: US cases crossed the 10,000,000 threshold Monday morning.

Global cases and deaths on Sunday each passed milestones: 50,395,313 and 1,250,446. US cases set and broke new records on 04 November (102,831), 05 November (121,888), 06 November (126,480) and 07 November (126,742). And 08 November set a record for cases reported on a Sunday (107,597, all Johns Hopkins). Seven-day averages hit records, too.

Hospitalizations follow cases, like winter follows fall. But more quickly.

One Twin Halls, Idaho hospital had to stop admitting new patients this weekend. Cases spiraled out of control in Wisconsin as Republicans continue to block efforts to require masks and limit hours at bars and restaurants. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Hospitals in Illinois, Maine and Michigan have reinstated visitor restrictions.

Since the first spring spike, we have not dipped below 28K hospitalizations per day. That number would have moved close to zero had we had a concerted national effort to control the spread. The good news, a smaller percentage of cases make their way to hospitals today than when the outbreak began; that’s science + experience at play.

Why many White people think COVID-19 is not a big deal, in one infographic.

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

⓵ One big thing - transition news

COVID-19 is one of the four key goals for the Biden-Harris transition team. On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden announced the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board to guide his transition team.

The 13-member Board will have three co-chairs:

  • David Kessler, MD, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner from 1990 to 1997, appointed by President George H.W. Bush and reappointed by President Bill Clinton.

  • Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, associate dean for Health Equity Research at Yale School of Medicine

  • Vivek Murthy, MD, MPH, 19th US Surgeon General and Vice Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

According to the Biden-Harris transition website, the administration will immediately restore its relationship with the WHO. Trump’s announced withdrawal from WHO would not take effect until July 5, 2021, because of the required one-year notice.

From CIDRAP:

The Biden-Harris plan to combat COVID-19 focuses on increased testing, full use of the Defense Production Act to boost production of personal protective equipment, working with governors and local officials to implement mask mandates nationwide, and consistent, evidence-based guidance for how communities should navigate the pandemic.

However, the Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration has refused to authorize the transition, withholding “nearly $10 million to fund the transition, provides the team with government emails and office space at every agency and allows access to senior officials throughout the administration.” 

⓶ Recommendations

🤓 Recommended reading

The United States is experiencing “case counts never seen before anywhere in the world.”

Take last Thursday: Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and a dozen other states hit new daily case records (some of which have already been broken). Florida and Arizona reported their highest daily infections since August that day as well, just one day after Texas did. The country confirmed 120,000 Covid-19 cases, a figure no other country has hit; it was the second day in a row and ever the country had hit 100,000 detected infections in a day…

In states where the virus is raging, however, there seems to be little appetite for those measures. One reason is because Congress and the Trump administration have failed to approve new sources of aid to businesses and workers for months, making it all the less likely that governors or mayors would be willing to shut down restaurants, gyms, theaters, and bars.

‘They’re not really doing anything’: As Covid-19 cases spiral, leaders around the U.S. lose urgency on prevention. STAT News, 09 November 2020.

🔬 Research and medical news

Today’s vaccine news

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the first US trial to have late-stage data.

The companies said an early analysis of the results showed that individuals who received two injections of the vaccine three weeks apart experienced more than 90% fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19 than those who received a placebo. For months, researchers have cautioned that a vaccine that might only be 60% or 70% effective. The Phase 3 study is ongoing and additional data could affect results.

What we don’t know:

  • does the vaccine prevent severe cases that lead to hospitalization and death

  • does the vaccine prevent people from carrying the virus asymptomatically

  • how long might the vaccine offer protection

  • how will it be distributed given it must be stored at “super-cold” temperatures

  • how science news via news release will hold up when we see data

▪️ Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is strongly effective, early data from large trial indicate. STAT News, 09 November 2020.

COVID-19 and mink infections

On Friday, the WHO made a public statement about the mink SARS-CoV-2 variant found in Denmark. Since June, 214 human cases involving mink variants have been identified in Denmark, 12 of them with a unique variant. Minks were initially infected following exposure from infected humans.  Six countries have reported SARS-CoV-2 in farmed minks: Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States.

▪️ SARS-CoV-2 mink-associated variant strain – Denmark. WHO, 06 November 2020.

Not all COVID-19 tests are created equal

In a vast, confusing landscape populated by hundreds of different private companies and labs, some tests are proving problematic, especially when used to screen people who have no symptoms of Covid-19. A STAT investigation found that top officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ended already-minimal oversight of these so-called laboratory developed tests in mid-August, despite being informed that the tests were plagued with quality issues.

▪️ HHS relaxed oversight of problematic Covid-19 tests despite being told of accuracy concerns. STAT News, 02 November 2020.

Hydroxychloroquine no benefit tp adults hospitalized with COVID-19

A National Institutes of Health clinical trial evaluating the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has formally concluded that the drug provides no clinical benefit to hospitalized patients. 

▪️ Hydroxychloroquine does not benefit adults hospitalized with COVID-19. National Institutes of Health, 09 November 2020.

⓷ Politics, economics and COVID-19

🦠 Trump’s White House continues its moniker as super-spreader central. Friday, we learned that chief of staff Mark Meadows and four other staffers tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, we learned that Ben Carson, secretary for Housing and Urban Development, tested positive. Then Trump campaign advisor David Bossie, who had served as deputy campaign manager on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

❌ “An Illinois-based meat manufacturer is suing the state of New Mexico after health officials there ordered a processing plant to close for two weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak.”

El Paso is running out of morgue space.

⓸ Key metrics

🦠 Friday, Johns Hopkins reported xxx (xxx new) cases and xxx (xxx new) deaths, an increase of 1.32% and 0.49%, respectively, since Thursday. A week ago, the daily numbers increased by 1.11% and 0.45%, respectively.

  • Friday
    - cases 🔺28% compared to seven-day average; deaths 🔺26%
    - seven-day average: 🔺98,509cases and 🔺912 deaths 
    - 2.43% cases leading to death
    - 28.4: cases/100K (CDC)
    - 689,561: cases last seven days (JH)

  • One week ago
    - cases 🔺26% compared to seven-day average; deaths 🔺26%
    - seven-day average: 🔺78,971 cases and 🔺816 deaths
    - 2.54% cases leading to death
    - 23.2 cases/100K (CDC)
    - 537,501 cases last seven days (JH)

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

🇺🇸 06 November (Friday)

  • CDC: 9,581,770 (117,988 new) cases & 234,264 (1,135 new) deaths
    One week ago: 8,924,548 (90,155 new) cases & 228,100 (1,055 new) deaths

  • State data*:  9,549,835 (127,314 new) cases & 227,016 (1,184 new) deaths
    One week ago: 8,994,623 (97,808 new) cases & 221,406 (946 new) deaths
    KS reports only M-W-F; CT and RI report only M-F

  • WHO: 9,387,978 (106,050 new) cases & 232,166 (1,132 new) deaths
    One week ago: 8,763,682 (80,384 new) cases & 226,132 (1,059 new) deaths

🌎 06 November  

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (11.00 pm Pacific)

  • Global: 49,322,826 (642,724 new) cases & 1,242,868 (9,555 new) deaths
    One week ago: 45,584,149 (565,797 new) cases & 1,188,866 (7,839 new) 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 virusdeveloped elsewhere.

⓹ Resources

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

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