New research on COVID-19 infections from exercise classes as states weigh whether to reopen gyms.
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New research on COVID-19 infections from exercise classes as states weigh whether to reopen gyms.
“Because of the increased possibility of infection through droplets, vigorous exercise in closely confined spaces should be avoided during the current outbreak, as should public gatherings, even in small groups.”
Unlike other industries (ex: schools, restaurants, places of worship), the CDC has not issued specific reopening guidance for gyms. Check out the CDC's guidance for other industries on our source page.
One of America’s oldest companies will stop selling one of its most iconic products.
“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”
“Today’s victory means that children and families no longer will be endangered by this baby powder.”
Not Just The Powder: Johnson & Johnson says it decided to cut 100 products, including talc-based baby powder, after assessing its product line in light of COVID-19. J&J will continue to sell its cornstarch-based powder, but will keep the talc-based product on market shelves until it is sold out. Will you continue using it?
New Questions About
COVID-19 & Children As a Rare Set of Symptoms Surface
Monday: NYC Health Dept. issued alert after flagging 15 children with similar symptoms hospitalized since mid-April.
Patients: Aged 2-15 years old; some tested positive for COVID-19 (or antibodies) while others tested negative.
Symptoms: Similar to toxic shock and/or “Kawasaki disease” (an illness that causes inflammation), persistent fever.
“We want to reassure parents – this appears to be uncommon.”
This bulletin from NYC is corroborated by reports from doctors in Europe and the U.S, (mainly on the East Coast) and notably in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates.
Health officials have been baffled at the low rates of COVID-19 among children — this raises questions about a more nuanced, rare response in otherwise healthy children.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among U.S. children remains low. However, children are not extensively tested.
According to the most recent CDC data, about 21,000 Americans under 18 tested positive for COVID-19, a small percentage of the 1M+ cases.
For context - the 2019-2020 flu season was particularly deadly for children under the age of 4 (CDC reported 170 deaths), and had historically-high hospitalization rates for those under 18 years old.
The results of a drug trial provide an important clue to treating COVID-19.
Nat’l Inst. of Health’s Dr. Fauci shared the results today of “the first truly high-powered randomized placebo control trial” on a drug used to treat COVID-19.
There are no *proven* therapeutics to specifically treat COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci: “What it’s proven is that a drug can block this virus…We think it’s really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating.”
This will encourage further research, testing, and innovation on remdesivir and other therapeutics.
Remdesivir blocks an enzyme used by the virus to gain strength or replicate.
Administered through an IV.
Interesting to Note: Though tested for treating SARS & MERS (coronaviruses), leading to positive results for shortening disease and symptoms in animals, remdesivir has NOT been approved anywhere in the world.
“It’s active against every coronavirus that we’ve ever tested. It was very hard for the virus to develop resistance to remdesivir. That means the drug would likely be effective over longer term use.”
In a separate study on remdesivir in China, the drug did not lead to shorter recovery times. Patients receiving the drug vs. placebo did not experience any significant benefit.
The study was smaller and ended early. Researchers wanted more than 450 people enrolled, but ended up with just over half of that, due to decreasing number of COVID cases.
Dr. Fauci says the drug's impact on COVID-19 mortality is TBD. Initial data reflects a trend that those treated with remdesivir have lower mortality rates but a lot more information is needed. That said, the FDA says its already working with the drug-maker to secure availability of the treatment *if* approved.
How COVID-19 impacts what you and your family are able to buy, cook & eat.
The U.S. food supply chain is impacted by COVID-19 in these two ways:
Why It Matters: Livestock farmers have too much product & nowhere to send it.
“As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain… Farmers across the country will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation… The food supply chain is breaking.”
“They say, ‘How dare you throw away food when so many people are hungry?.’ They don’t know how farming works. This makes me sick, too.”
Even if individual families buy more at the grocery store, we can’t make up for the large, bulk purchasing power of restaurants, corporate cafeterias, event catering and beyond.
Some economists believe the disruption in the supply chain (lower supply due to closed processing plants) will lead to higher prices for all in the weeks and months ahead.
Currently, meat produced for food-service (like restaurants) cannot be repackaged and sold in grocery stores, or donated easily. The USDA has set up an emergency network to try to coordinate oversupply, funneling it to places of need.
A closer look at the CDC’s newest report on the sickest COVID-19 patients in the U.S.
90% of adults hospitalized had one or more pre-existing condition
African Americans may be disproportionately affected
More than half of adults hospitalized are male
“… the potential impact of both sex and race on COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates, need to be confirmed with additional data. “
Why It Matters: We’re getting a more complete picture of serious cases in America, but we still need more data to understand why certain people are more like to be affected than others.
Why serological surveys are the key to understanding the full scope of the outbreak and opening America back up again.
Current data on COVID-19 is limited.
The U.S. gov’t reports how many people have been tested, how many test positive or negative, and total deaths.
We don’t know how many people have COVID-19 but have minor or no symptoms (asymptomatic).
Bottom Line: We have an incomplete picture of COVID-19 in America.
“We can test people to see if they’ve been exposed, immune, and go back to work. And a combination of that kind of test with the current kind of tests we have now is how America opens back up again.”
Serological (aka “sero”) tests or surveys are blood tests that measure specific antibodies produced by your immune system in response to an infection.
The antibody is evidence that a person has been exposed to an infection (whether or not they ever showed symptoms) – and *may* have immunity.
“…someone who’s recovered from the virus and doesn’t have the virus in their system at all, you can take plasma…that plasma contains the proteins in the blood that have the antibodies against the virus. You can take that, process it, and then give it to someone who’s ill. And so that allows you to transfer that immunity.”
Members of the COVID-19 Task Force have warned about the reliability of sero tests currently on the market.
Dr. Birx warned Americans against purchasing sero tests on the internet.
Admiral Girior referenced a report that the UK purchased millions of tests that may not work.
The FDA granted emergency use authorization to one serological test. Results are available within 15 to 20 min. On Monday, Adm. Giroir M.D. said he expects to have millions of antibody tests available by May, but he wants to ensure the tests are accurate before widespread use.
We’re eating more tree nuts than ever…and they may have FEWER calories than we thought.
“If they’re not digested, then maybe the calorie content is not correct.”
“We can create synthetic DNA and clone animals but we still know incredibly little about the stuff that keeps us alive.”
Kind Bars recently announced it's cutting the calorie counts of its nut bars by 10-30 calories per bar because of the new research. Are chocolate-covered nuts next? DON'T COUNT ON IT! Mars, which owns a share of Kind, isn't planning on lowering its calorie counts for M&M’s with almonds.
How To Stay Healthy
“There really is no need to wear a mask right now…Exactly what you do to protect against influenza, applies to protecting against coronavirus – and that does not include wearing a mask.”
“Wash your hands really well. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door. Use your elbow to touch an elevator button and try not to touch high-traffic surfaces…All those things that help protect us from the flu, will also help protect us from the coronavirus.”
For context: the CDC estimates 10,000 people have died from the flu since October, and 180,000 were hospitalized (comparable to past years). The CDC just announced coronavirus diagnostic test kits are now available to doctors & will provide results in 4 hrs.
A first-of-its-kind case of a deadly virus in America.
“It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.”
“The enemies are in the dark, and we don’t know them.”
The CDC is now screening for the illness in some major U.S. international airports: San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), NY (JFK) and now additionally Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD). The last time such efforts were made? 2014 over concerns for Ebola.
Why the CDC calls this flu season “unusual” as cases spread nationwide.
Flu activity: increasing & “elevated.”
“Activity is being caused mostly by influenza B/Victoria viruses, which is unusual for this time of year.” CDC
“When my kids come home from school I have them take off all of their clothes and wash their hands to their elbows and wash their faces.”
According to CDC forecasting it is more likely the flu will peak in late December instead of January or February. Is this year's vaccine a good "fit" for this year's flu? We'll know in coming weeks. Doctors say early indications point to "yes" but we won't know for sure until AFTER flu season.
An island paradise, an American territory, thousands of miles from “the mainland” in midst of a major measles outbreak.
Samoa: Independent island nation in the South Pacific with population of approx. 200,000. A measles outbreak since mid-October has killed more than 70 (mostly children), infected nearly 4,900.
American Samoa: Neighboring island, a U.S. territory about the size of Washington D.C. with population of around 50,000. Officials recently declared a measles outbreak.
“You have scores of people dying, and the society is paralyzed,”
Why It Matters: America has the highest number of measles cases in more than 25 years - with most cases concentrated in New York State. No deaths have been reported. Samoa/American Samoa serves as an interesting test cases for what can happen to isolated communities with low vaccination rates.