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March-19 Daily Update on COVID-19

Published 03/19/2020 | Reading Time 4 min 11 sec

By Sarah Peterson, contributing writer

“If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID 

Things to give you hope: 

  • China reported zero new cases today for the first time since the start of the outbreak. They will need to report 14 consecutive days of no new cases in order for the lock down to start to lift in Wuhan (Fortune). 
  • Thermo Fisher has been approved to start testing and has the capacity to produce millions of new tests a day starting in April. They distributed 1.5 million tests so far. This will result in a huge spike in the number of positive tests in the upcoming days and weeks. It does not mean that the United States has potentially tens of thousands of new cases a day, it just means that we are behind in testing. I am keeping this update in “Things to give you hope” because in order for epidemiologists to know and track the spread of disease, we need to know accurate testing numbers (CNBC). 
  • Colorado distilleries have switched to making hand sanitizer, and they plan to give it away for free (Denver Post). 
  • Minnesota passed legislation that names grocery store employees as essential workers which makes them eligible for free child care (TheHill). 

Things to be aware of: 

  • The CDC has released data showing that almost 40% of hospitalizations in the United States are for patients between the ages of 20 and 54. This counters the narrative that it is mostly affecting older populations (U.S. News and World Report).
  • After the last few days of case stabilization, Italy reported an increase in cases today. There has not been a clear reason given on why it has happened, so I will look for that answer to include in tomorrow’s update (BNO News). 
  • One in twelve infections in Italy is a healthcare worker. This highlights, again, the critical need for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for all healthcare workers (and those working to keep our hospitals clean) if we have a chance of slowing this pandemic (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota). 
  • Italy has now overtaken China as the center of the outbreak and the nation with the most deaths related to COVID-19. While China was able to rapidly make two new hospitals in the middle of the outbreak, Italy has not had that ability (AP News).
  • COVID-19 has continued to mutate and evolve as it spreads across the world. This is expected, and there has not been an increase in virulence noted as the virus spreads. There has not been evidence of reinfection with the evolved virus so far (Science Magazine). 

Data of the day: 

  • Below is the current number of active cases in the United States. Please note: the number of serious or critical cases is likely higher based on the number of hospitalizations reported out of New York, Washington, and California alone. There is likely not yet a clear reporting mechanism nationwide (Worldmeters.info).

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 6.19.32 PM.png 

  • This chart demonstrates projections for hospital bed availability depending on how well we are able to track infections and social distance (NYTimes). During the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, 20% of the population was infected over the course of a year for context. 

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 6.19.41 PM.png

As always, please let me know if there is anything that you would like to see added to this news update. 

Be safe. Be kind.

 

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