CT announces 2,746 new cases since Thursday: 5 things to know about COVID in CT
Here are the most important things to know about COVID in Connecticut.
This story will be updated regularly with the latest on COVID-19 in Connecticut and beyond. Check back later for more.
CT announces 2,746 new cases since Thursday
State officials announced 2,746 new COVID cases since Thursday, 42 more hospitalizations and 11 deaths. The positivity rate has risen to 6.7 percent after having decreased to 4.3 percent on Thursday.
Rolling seven-day average of positivity rate continues to climb
According to a CT Insider analysis of the state’s data, the rolling seven-day average positivity rate has gradually increased each day this week since Monday. On Monday, the rolling seven-day average positivity rate was 4.0 and by today it climbed to 4.7. Although gradual, this change reflects a steady rise in infections.
Research: Parts of Africa may have a history with COVID-19
Researchers at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kifili, Kenya, found that approximately 4.3 percent of Kenya’s population had a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the journal Nature reported. Antibody studies revealed that by the end of June, 4 percent of Kenya’s population was infected but the death toll remained relatively low in comparison. Their findings suggest that the “sharp contrast between Kenya’s antibody prevalence and its COVID-19 deaths hints that the coronavirus’s effects are dampened in Africa,” according to the article.
Missing school may be linked to a shorter life expectancy, analysis shows
An analytical model published by the JAMA Network examined years of life lost in association with primary school closures in early 2020 and compared them to potential years of life lost had schools remained open. The model estimates that closing public schools during the pandemic can be associated with a decrease in life expectancy for American children because of the adverse effects missed education creates. “We estimated that there is a 98.1% probability that the decisions to close U.S. primary schools in March of 2020 could be associated with more eventual YLL [years of life lost] than would be observed if these schools had remained open, even if schools remaining open had led to a substantial increase in the rate of death observed during the early phase of the pandemic,” the researchers said.
Re-testing should be done carefully, study says
Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection should proceed to get repeated testing, but not in the 90 days following infection, the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported. Not getting re-tested in that time period will help those patients avoid unnecessary quarantines as remnants of the virus may give a false positive if re-tested too soon. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests can “be positive because of nonviable remnants of the virus,” the article says. This means that the test cannot accurately determine whether or not the infection can be transmitted.
COVID hospitalizations surpass 600 in Connecticut
State officials announced 33 more coronavirus hospitalizations since Wednesday raising the total to 617 patients currently hospitalized. In a press conference, Gov. Lamont expressed concern. “We've doubled the number of people in the hospitals in the last two weeks,” he said.
CT reports another 1,158 cases since Wednesday
Connecticut announced 1,158 new COVID cases since Wednesday amounting to a total of 85,899 cases since the onset of the pandemic. The daily positivity rate slightly increased to 4.8 percent. The state announced 10 more deaths for a total of 4,726.
Changes in smell can help predict COVID outbreaks, researchers say
It’s been known for a while that loss of smell and taste are early symptoms of the coronavirus. Now a team from Penn State is showing that self-reports of changes in smell and taste can predict COVID outbreak. “Our research suggests that an increase in the incidence of sudden smell and taste change in the general population may indicate that COVID-19 is spreading,” One researcher said. “This knowledge could help decision-makers take important measures at the local level, either in catching new outbreaks sooner, or in guiding the relaxation of local lockdowns, given the strong impact of lockdown on economic and social activities.”
Poll finds that two-thirds of Americans support a one-month lockdown
Results from a poll conducted by YouGov suggest that nearly two thirds of Americans would support a one-month lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus. About 64 percent of the 13,000 U.S. adults surveyed said they would support a lockdown, while three out of 10 said they would not. Broken down by party, more Democrats — 87 percent — said they would support a lockdown, compared to 30 percent of Republicans.
Yale supervises national rollout of new, cheap COVID test
A team from Yale University is supervising a national rollout of a cheaper coronavirus test. The SalivaDirect retails for about $25, and was developed by Yale’s Anne Wyllie, associate research scientist in epidemiology, and Nathan Grubaugh, assistant professor in epidemiology. The test is also saliva-based, and not nasopharyngeal, which makes it less invasive.
CT now averaging more than 1,000 cases a day
As of Monday, Connecticut is averaging more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day, a level not seen since April 26. There have been more than 1,000 new cases reported by the state every day this week. The highest number of average daily cases since the pandemic began was April 22, when there were an average of 1,102 new cases. It is important to note, however, that many of these cases may be asymptomatic. Early in the pandemic, the state was conducting significantly fewer tests, and then only on patients displaying symptoms consistent with a coronavirus infection. More recently, the state has ramped up testing, which may be identifying a significantly larger number of positive cases.
COVID cases continue to climb in CT: 1,574 new cases reported
The state announced 1,574 new COVID cases Wednesday and 36 new hospitalizations bringing the number of patients currently hospitalized for the virus to a total of 584. Nine more deaths were reported raising the cumulative amount to 4,716 deceased. The positivity rate is 4.7 percent, a decrease from a high of 6.7 percent on Tuesday.
‘Entitled’ people are less likely to comply with COVID guidelines, research says
Are you entitled? If you have a sense of entitlement, you’re less likely to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, according to a survey of three studies conducted by researchers from Cornell University. Not only were “people higher in psychological entitlement” more likely to believe that “the threat of the virus was overblown,” but they “were also more likely to report that they had contracted COVID-19.”
Cell phone data uncovers ‘superspreader’ locations for COVID infections
Using cell phone data, researchers mapped what they called “mobility networks,” tracking and mapping the “hourly movements of 98 million people” from major metro areas across the United States as they went to and from “points of interest” like restaurants and religious establishments. They found that “a small minority of ‘superspreader’ [points of interest) account for a large majority of infections.” The study, published this week in the journal Nature, also suggests that restricting occupancy at specific points of interest would be more effective than “uniformly reducing mobility.”
Researchers find rapid COVID tests to be about 99 percent accurate
Researchers went to a public plaza in San Francisco and tested the Abbott Labs rapid coronavirus test on 878 subjects, and found that it was spot on about 99 percent of the time, producing a false positive only very rarely. Connecticut has been expected to receive thousands of the $5, 15-minute tests, as Gov. Ned Lamont announced in October. The tests were accurate regardless of symptoms, researchers said.
CT positivity rate jumps to 6.7 percent with 1,524 new cases reported
Connecticut announced 1,524 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, substantially raising the one-day positivity rate (the percentage of tests that are positive) to 6.7 percent. There were 52 new hospitalizations, for a total of 548 COVID patients currently in the hospital, and nine more deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the state to 4,707 since the start of the pandemic.
40 percent of COVID-19 patients experience severe ringing in the ears
A sizeable portion of people with COVID-19 experience exacerbated tinnitus (ringing in the ears), according to new research. An international group of researchers found that 40 percent of people with symptomatic COVID-19 said they’re tinnitus got worse. The good news is that 6 percent said their tinnitus got a little better, and 54 percent said there was no change. Lockdowns may have had an effect, too, according to the study: “Pre-existing tinnitus was significantly exacerbated for those self-isolating, experiencing loneliness, sleeping poorly and with reduced levels of exercise. Increased depression, anxiety, irritability, and financial worries further significantly contributed to tinnitus being more bothersome during the pandemic period.”
Respiratory illnesses becoming less common during the pandemic may not be a good thing
There has been a much lower incidence of common respiratory illnesses (like RSV and the flu) during the pandemic, but researchers at Princeton University said that it wasn’t necessarily good news. As NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions, like masks and social distancing) are in place, people could become more susceptible to these common diseases, resulting in a stronger comeback. “While this reduction in cases could be interpreted as a positive side effect of COVID-19 prevention, the reality is much more complex,” study author Rachel Baker said. “Our results suggest that susceptibility to these other diseases, such as RSV and flu, could increase while NPIs are in place, resulting in large outbreaks when they begin circulating again.”
Existing drugs can curb an influx of cytokine that is a factor in COVID-19 deaths
A cytokine storm is the human body’s immune response to infection. It’s when the immune system goes awry, causing all sorts of inflammation — so much so that it is one of the reasons people die from a COVID-19 infection. A new study shows that two chemicals in particular are responsible for generating that cytokine storm, as Science News reported, and that existing drugs might help curb that effect. It’s worked in mice, but immunologist Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti said whether or not it will work in humans is another question. “I know my colleagues have cured mouse COVID,” he told Science News. But “most of the time when you do the trials in people, they turn out to be negative.”
Working from home has potential health benefits
A report from the CDC suggests that working from home has some potential health benefits. The findings suggests that, of the COVID-19 patients sampled, patients were more likely to test positive for a coronavirus infection if they had gone in-person to work or school, suggesting that alternative methods are preferable. “Most community exposures were not associated with teleworking,” the CDC said.
3,338 new cases since Friday and 94 new hospitalizations
Connecticut announced 3,338 new coronavirus cases Monday, raising the positivity rate (the percentage of tests that are positive) to 3.7 percent. There were 94 additional hospitalizations, for a total of 496 COVID patients currently in the hospital, and 27 more deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the state to 4,698 since the start of the pandemic.
Bridgeport and Hartford averaging over 50 new cases a day
Bridgeport and Hartford continue to average a relatively high number of cases per day according to a CT Insider analysis of data. Bridgeport is averaging 59 new cases and Hartford averages 52. Stamford has the third-highest rolling seven-day average of Connecticut’s largest cities, with approximately 42 new cases a day.
58 percent of Europeans would take COVID vaccine
Only 58 percent of people in Europe said they will take a coronavirus vaccine, according to new research, well below the threshold needed to generate herd immunity. That’s a problem, and education is the answer, according to researchers: “Only by educating the general public about the benefits, safety and efficacy of vaccines can we hope to avoid the unnecessary prolongation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Antibodies found in camels used to neutralize COVID virus
Scientists have synthesized so-called nanobodies (very small antibodies) found in camelids (camels and llamas) to create an “ultrapotent” treatment for the coronavirus. The aerosol can actually neutralize the virus, according to researchers.
Air pollution creates higher risk of death for COVID patients
Air pollution may be linked to COVID deaths in the United States, according to new research. “This is the first study that provides some consistent evidence that, if you’re living in a [U.S.] county with a higher level of fine particulate matter, it increases the risk of covid mortality,” Harvard’s Francesca Dominici told the New Scientist. The effect is not insignificant: For every microgram of particulate matter the COVID-19 mortality rate increased by 11 percent, the study says.
Another 1,000 COVID cases in a single day
Connecticut announced Friday an additional 1,065 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with a positivity rate (the percentage of tests that are positive) of 3.6 percent. There were 22 additional hospitalizations, for a total of 402 COVID patients currently in the hospital, and 15 more deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the state to 4,671.
CDC lifts no-sail order for cruise ships (with one caveat)
The CDC has lifted its no-sail order, giving cruise ships the green light to sail again, with one important caveat: No passengers. In April, the CDC issued a no-sail order, and maintains that cruise ships pose a greater threat to disease transmission than other settings. But now the agency has issued a phased approach to resumption of activities, starting with “simulated voyages designed to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19,” followed by a return to passenger operations after certification.
Danish minks could pose COVID threat to humans
A coronavirus mutation found in Danish minks has already infected 214 people in Denmark, according to local news sources. The mutated virus variant reportedly has a lower resistance to antibodies, making potential vaccines less effective, according to the Danish prime minister. “We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well,” Mette Frederiksen said this week.
Masks don’t inhibit oxygen during exercise, research says
Canadian researchers have found that wearing a facemask does not reduce the body’s ability to get oxygen during exercise. In terms of oxygen levels in the blood or muscles, “No differences were evident between wearing or not wearing a mask, according to the study, published this week by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan. “Wearing a face mask during vigorous exercise had no discernable detrimental effect on blood or muscle oxygenation, and exercise performance in young, healthy participants.”
Study says wealthier people were able to socially distance more
A study was published this week in the journal Nature showing that wealthier people are more likely to practice social distancing. “Residents of low-income neighborhoods were more likely to work outside the home, compared to residents in higher-income neighborhoods,” the study says.
CT reports over 1,100 new cases in a single day
Connecticut announced 1,157 new coronavirus cases on Nov. 5, 10 more deaths and six new hospitalizations for a total of 380 patients currently in the hospital. The positivity rate has lowered to 3.7 percent.
Asymptomatic COVID patients may be contagious for longer periods of time
Usually, people who test positive for the coronavirus but do not have any symptoms remain contagious for about eight days. As reported by the journal Cell, one woman was contagious for more than 70 days, raising more questions about how the disease operates. The patient, a woman in her 70s, is a leukemia patient, which is why they kept checking her blood for the virus, and which may have something to do with why she remained infectious for so long. Researchers said they expect to see more cases like this in the future.
Rutgers: Workers in support roles have higher risk of contracting COVID
Hospital workers are at greater risk of catching the coronavirus than the general public, and specifically those in support roles, according to the latest research from the Rutgers School of Public Health. It’s not necessarily those in patient-facing roles who are more at risk: Phlebotomists, maintenance workers and housekeepers, and food services workers were specifically found to be at risk.
COVID corpses show extensive lung damage
A study in the journal Lancet uses postmortem examination of the lungs of COVID-19 patients to show how the disease attacks the body. This kind of study may shed light on so-called “long COVID,” researchers said. “COVID-19 is a unique disease characterized by extensive lung thrombosis,” the study said. “Several of COVID-19 features might be consequent to the persistence of virus-infected cells for the duration of the disease.”
Coronavirus on surfaces can provide warning sign of infection surges, research shows
Research from Tufts University shows that many surfaces carry coronavirus RNA, but not much of it. A team of researchers sampled 33 surfaces in public places, and found that “All samples showed only ‘low-level’ contamination, and the infection risk from touching one of the contaminated surfaces is low,” according to an article in the journal Nature. The authors also found that sampling heavily touched surfaces might provide a warning of a surge of infections.
CT reports 530 new cases, positivity rate slightly lowers
Connecticut announced 530 new coronavirus cases on Nov. 4, 11 more deaths and seven fewer hospitalizations for a total of 374 patients currently in the hospital. The positivity rate has slightly lowered to 4.2 percent.
New Haven sees fewer new cases than other major cities in CT
New Haven has a significantly lower average of new coronavirus cases than other large Connecticut cities. Since September, New Haven has averaged 12 new COVID-19 cases each day, according to a CT Insider analysis of state data. By contrast, Hartford has averaged nearly 30 new cases a day during the same time period. Danbury and Bridgeport are averaging about 22 and 24 new cases each day, respectively, while Stamford is averaging nearly 19 new cases each day.
Was COVID here before March?
COVID may have been circulating locally for longer than we think. This study suggests that the coronavirus was present in New York City long before the first case was identified on March 1. It also shows that the virus is about 10 times more deadly than the flu. The study’s authors found “seropositive samples as early as mid-February” in patients at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
Superspreaders’ impact is ‘outsized,’ study says
How important are superspreading events? Very, according to researchers from MIT. “Superspreaders, infected individuals who result in an outsized number of secondary cases, are believed to underlie a significant fraction of total SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” according to a study published this week. These events have a “fat tail,” the study shows, resulting in the spread of disease long after the events themselves. Researchers suggest that controlling superspreading events should be a focus: “Our findings indicate that large superspreading events should be the targets of interventions that minimize tail exposure.”
Pregnant women more likely to die from COVID: CDC
Pregnant women with the coronavirus are more likely to have a severe infection, according to the CDC. An analysis of 400,000 women with symptomatic COVID-19 infections showed that “intensive care unit admission, invasive ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and death were more likely in pregnant women than in nonpregnant women.” How much more likely? The analysis showed that pregnant women were nearly four times as likely to need invasive ventilation and twice as likely to die as women who were not pregnant.
CT reports 2,651 new COVID cases since Friday
Connecticut announced 2,651 new coronavirus cases on Nov. 2, 11 more deaths and 11 new hospitalizations for a total of 340 patients currently in the hospital. The positivity rate has increased to 3.3 percent.
CDC: People can still vote if sick or quarantining within guidelines
The CDC has released guidelines for in-person voting on Nov. 3. In an email to CNN, the CDC confirmed that someone who is currently recovering from COVID-19 or quarantining from being exposed to the virus, can still vote. Any such voter is encouraged to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet away from others and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after voting. These voters are also urged to notify poll workers of their condition or quarantine status.
Diabetes patients with metabolic syndrome at risk for severe COVID
You are much more likely to die from a COVID-19 infection if you suffer from metabolic syndrome, a disease associated with type 2 diabetes, according to a series of recent research. A study of metabolic syndrome and COVID-19 mortality among a group of adult Black patients found that metabolic syndrome was “significantly associated” with increased mortality, admission to an intensive care unit, invasive mechanical ventilation and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Construction workers at high risk of contracting COVID, research suggests
Construction workers may be at significant risk of catching the coronavirus, specifically if construction work continues during lockdowns. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that “resuming construction work during shelter-in-place orders was associated with increased hospitalization risks in the construction workforce and increased transmission in the surrounding community.” Among the cohort in central Texas researchers studied, construction workers were five times more likely to be hospitalized.
DETECT study: Smartwatches can detect a COVID infection
Early results from research called the DETECT study has found that a computer using information obtained from smartwatches and other wearable technology can accurately detect a COVID-19 infection. The study is a big one — 30,529 people, of whom 3,811 reported coronavirus symptoms. It’s accurate, but not a panacea, as the study itself says: “Such a passive monitoring strategy may be complementary to virus testing, which is generally a one-off, or infrequent, sampling assay.” But it may be an important step, representing “the transitioning of research from a dependence on brick and mortar research centers to a remote, direct-to-participant approach now possible through a range of digital technologies.”
CT positivity rate drops to 2.5 percent and 761 new cases reported
Connecticut announced 761 new coronavirus cases on Friday, seven more deaths and eight new hospitalizations for a total of 329 patients currently in the hospital. The positivity rate has sharply dropped to 2.5 percent after surpassing six percent on Oct. 29.
Study finds 20 percent of grocery employees infected
A study has found a high rate of asymptomatic COVID infections among grocery store workers. Published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, the study found that one out of every five of the grocery store workers tested were positive for coronavirus. Of those who tested positive, 76 percent were asymptomatic, and 91 percent had roles in the store that put them in contact with customers.
Bad air can linger for 5 hours, researchers say
Ventilation matters a lot, according to a study published last week in the British Journal of Anaesthesia. Aerosolized particles can remain in the air for more than five hours in a room with low ventilation rate, suggesting that hospital rooms with COVID-positive patients “should be considered ‘contaminated’ for extended durations after aerosol-generating procedures have been performed,” the study said, “since it has been shown that airborne SARS-CoV-2 remains viable for at least hours.”
One patient at summer camp infects 118 people: CDC
A single COVID-positive patient infected 118 people at a summer camp in Wisconsin, according to the CDC. That patient tested negative a week before attending the camp, but developed symptoms and tested positive shortly after arriving. The result, the CDC said, was 76 percent of the people at the overnight camp, hailing from 21 states and two foreign countries, later tested positive. According to the CDC, this case demonstrates the need for “pre-arrival quarantine and testing, cohorting, symptom monitoring, early identification and isolation of cases, mask use and enhanced hygiene and disinfection practices.”
FDA considering ‘expanded access’ process for COVID vaccines
The FDA announced that it is in “the early stages of considering whether to use expanded access to distribute a potential Covid-19 vaccine,” CNN reported. Expanded access is not an approval process, but rather a method to move along the process of approving an “investigational medical product,” like a vaccine. The process has been used before for vaccines, just not for a massive distribution that would be needed with a COVID-19 vaccine, according to CNN.
CT positivity rate hits six percent and over 1300 new cases reported
Connecticut announced 1,319 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, five more deaths and 12 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate has significantly jumped to 6 percent.
Research suggests schools may not be COVID hot spots
Data from worldwide research is showing that schools may not be COVID hot spots. “Despite fears, COVID-19 infections did not surge when schools and day-care centres reopened after pandemic lockdowns eased. And when outbreaks do occur, they mostly result in only a small number of people becoming ill,” the journal Nature reported. Outbreaks in schools were found to be uncommon, even in places where infections were rising.
Decreased death rates could change if hospitals reach capacity again, a study suggests
Death rates are down, but that could change if hospitals reach capacity again, according to a study from researchers at Britain’s University of Exeter Medical School. “In late March, four in 10 people in intensive care were dying. By the end of June, survival was over 80 percent,” John M. Dennis told The New York Times. Dennis’ research showed that a better understanding for how the disease should be treated has played an important role in declining death rates, but also “a falling critical care burden,” the study said.
Harvard study: Flying in an airplane may be safer than grocery shopping
Flying in an airplane may be safer than grocery shopping or eating out, according to a study published Tuesday from researchers at Harvard University’s school of public health. The risk of COVID transmission on a plane will be “below that found in other routine activities during the pandemic, such as grocery shopping or eating out,” the study said, though with a few caveats. There needs to be a multi-layered approach in order to keep passengers and employees safe, including “wearing face masks, disinfection of surfaces and maintenance of appropriate ventilation gate-to-gate.”
CDC: College students contract COVID because of failure to follow protocols
College students are getting COVID because they are not following standard protocols, according to the CDC. Following an investigation into 17 COVID cases at a Chicago college, the CDC determined that “Colleges and universities are at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks because of shared housing and social gatherings where recommended prevention guidance is not followed.” The Chicago Department of Public Health was notified in August of a cluster of COVID-19 cases among a university’s men’s and women’s soccer teams. That cluster, the CDC said, was the result of several events, including a birthday party and an unsanctioned game between the men’s and women’s teams.
CT reports 17 new hospitalizations, decrease in positivity rate
Connecticut announced 490 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, nine more deaths and 17 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate has decreased to 3.4 percent from the previous high of 4.1 percent announced Tuesday.
New cases in Bridgeport have doubled, on average
In the last three days Bridgeport’s seven-day rolling average of new cases has nearly doubled, according to a CT Insider analysis of state data. The average of 40 new cases is the highest it has been in months. Bridgeport’s rise in cases mirrors the overall surge in the state.
Long-term exposure to air pollution tied to COVID-19 deaths: report
A study from the journal Cardiovascular Research found that long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15 percent of COVID-19 deaths globally, as Aljazeera reported. Evidence suggests that in East Asia 27 percent of COVID-19 deaths could be tied to effects of poor air quality. The deaths linked to COVID-19 and air pollution presented a “potentially avoidable, excess mortality,” researchers said.
Study: Some antibodies attack body instead of COVID-19 virus
Some antibodies produced during a COVID-19 infection attack the body, as opposed to the virus, according to a study published by MicroB-plex, Inc., last week. Some patients’ bodies are producing so-called “autoantibodies,” which happens with diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The research may be helpful in understanding “in the increasingly documented cases of ‘lingering’ COVID-19,” researchers wrote.
Flu shots may help prevent COVID-19 infections, research suggests
A flu shot might help prevent a COVID infection according to new research. The research is preliminary, but scientists at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that health care workers who had received a flu shot were 39 percent less likely to test positive for COVID-19, as Scientific American reported. As of June 1, 2.23 percent of the health care workers studied who did not get vaccinated against the flu tested positive, while 1.33 percent of those who got a flu shot tested positive for COVID.
6 deaths, 538 new cases in a day
Connecticut announced 538 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, six more deaths and 22 new hospitalizations.
CT positivity rate up to 4.1 percent, highest rate since June
Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that the infection rate is up to 4.1 percent. This is the highest Connecticut has had since June. The rolling seven-day average positivity rate has risen every day for the last week, accumulating to an average of 2.5 percent today.
CDC: Six percent of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 are health care providers
Between March and the end of May, 6 percent of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 were health care providers, according to the CDC. Of those health care providers hospitalized with COVID, most, 73 percent, were obese. About 36 percent were nurses, 16 percent of them needed to be mechanically ventilated and 4 percent of those health care providers hospitalized with a COVID infection died.
COVID antibodies providing immunity don’t last, according to a study
Antibodies associated with immunity from the coronavirus don’t last, according to a study from the Imperial College London. Using a finger prick test to detect antibodies in the blood, researchers found that the number of people testing positive dropped by 26.5 percent between June 20 and Sept. 28. These findings suggest that immunity won’t last more than a few months in some cases, but Helen Ward, one of the lead researchers in the study, was reluctant to draw that conclusion explicitly: “We don’t yet know whether this will leave these people at risk of reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others.”
Researcher suggests coronavirus may increase risk for Parkinson’s disease
Coronavirus may increase risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a commentary published last week in the journal Trends in Neurosciences. "Evidence is mounting that the side effects of COVID-19 infection, such as inflammation and damage to the vascular system, could lay the foundation for development of Parkinson's disease,” researcher Patrik Brundin told Science Daily. “COVID-19 is clearly a major and ongoing public health threat, but the consequences of infection may end up being with us for years and decades to come.”
Over 2,000 cases and 37 new hospitalizations in three days
Connecticut announced 2,047 new coronavirus cases Monday, 12 more deaths and 37 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) has decreased to 2.2 percent from 2.9 percent on Oct. 23.
Mayo Clinic: More physically fit patients are less likely to be hospitalized for COVID
Exercise matters, according to research published by the Mayo Clinic. The more physically fit a patient was in the years prior to catching COVID, the less likely they were to be hospitalized, according to the study. As the study concludes, “Maximal exercise capacity is independently and inversely associated with the likelihood of hospitalization due to COVID-19.”
Study: Lockdowns affect health in both good and bad ways
What is being called a first-of-its-kind global study showed that lockdows significantly affected people’s health, in both bad and good ways. People cooked more and often ate healthier, but their mental states were adversely affected by community-wide lockdowns. “The stay-at-home orders did result in one major health positive. Overall, healthy eating increased because we ate out less frequently. However, we snacked more. We got less exercise. We went to bed later and slept more poorly. Our anxiety levels doubled,” said Leanne Redman, PhD, Associate Executive Director for Scientific Education at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Predictions show CT to have 6,000 to 9,000 COVID deaths by February
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, has released predictions for COVID-related deaths by state through the end of February. The most likely trajectory in Connecticut is somewhere between 6,000 and 9,000 deaths from the coronavirus, an increase of more than 1,000 in the next four months at the low-end. Nationwide, if 95 percent of the population wore masks, it would be the difference between 1,053,206 total deaths by the end of February and 381,798 total COVID deaths, according to the IHME.
Non–COVID-19 hospitalizations decrease during pandemic peaks, study says
A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found a “substantial decrease in the number of non–COVID-19 hospitalizations across a range of diagnoses during the peak COVID-19 period.” There were less hospitalizations for injuries, worsening of chronic conditions and medical events requiring inpatient care. The study attributes the decrease to three things: patients avoiding emergency care over fear of COVID-19, loss of health insurance, increased threshold for hospitalization and changes in patient lifestyle because of social distancing.
CT positivity rate increases to 2.9 percent
On Oct. 23, Connecticut announced 679 new cases, eight more deaths and one new hospitalization. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) has increased to 2.9 percent from when it was 2.2 percent on Oct. 22. In the last seven days the positivity rate has fluctuated, but shown a general uptick where on six of those seven days the positivity rate is above two percent.
WHO: No normalcy for at least a year
The World Health Organization’s chief science officer said this week that the world won’t go back to some measure of normalcy for at least a year, even if a vaccine is approved and administered. “We’re looking at 2022, at least, before enough people start getting the vaccine to build immunity,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said during a media briefing. “So, for a long time to come, we have to maintain the same kind of measures that are currently being put in place with physical distancing, the masking and respiratory hygiene.”
Oxford vaccine creates ‘strong response’ to COVID-19
The coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University creates a “strong immunity” response, according to researchers at the University of Bristol, as British news source Metro reported. Vaccines usually inject tiny bits of a pathogen — in this case, the vaccine instructs the body to create the relevant protein itself, and it appears to work. “This is an important study as we are able to confirm that the genetic instructions underpinning this vaccine, which is being developed as fast as safely possible, are correctly followed when they get into a human cell,” said David Matthews, from Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
Researchers: Age does not determine if you contract COVID-19 or not
A group of Japanese researchers have determined that age has nothing to do with susceptibility to the coronavirus, according to research published in the journal Nature. Their mathematical model shows that age does affect severity of infection, but how old you are has nothing to do with whether or not you catch the virus in the first place.
Study: ‘Mismanagement’ of pandemic led to more deaths
A study from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University estimated how many deaths the United States “could have prevented if it had mirrored the policies and responses” in six other high-income nations, namely South Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada and France. In the U.S., the death rate is 66.33 for every 100,000 people. Had The United States adopted strategies similar to those in the other countries studied, at least 130,000 fewer people would have died, according to the study’s authors. “By contrasting the U.S. proportional mortality rate with that of six other high-income countries, this report highlights the stark reality that is the United States’ continued mismanagement of the pandemic response,” the study says.
Connecticut reports 502 new cases
On Oct. 22, Connecticut announced 502 new cases, two more deaths and 19 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) has slightly decreased to 2.2 percent from 2.6 percent on Oct. 21.
Rolling 7-day average of positivity rate is steadily climbing
The rolling seven-day average for the positivity rate in Connecticut is on an uptick. In the last week, the average has steadily increased.
CDC: COVID can be spread during brief encounters
The CDC has said COVID-19 can be passed from one host to another during even brief encounters, as Stat news reported, prompting the agency to redefine terms. The CDC had defined “a close contact” as spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone else. Now it’s cumulative — you just need to spend a total of 15 minutes or more of the course of a 24-hour period within 6 feet of someone who was infectious.
Brazilian health officials: Patient dies in AstraZeneca COVID vaccine trial
Brazilian health officials have said that a patient involved in the vaccine trial run by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. It was not made clear if the patient had been administered the trial vaccine or was in the control group. The patient was reported to be a man in his 20s and was from Rio de Janeiro.
Russia is promoting COVID disinformation: ABC News
An internal U.S. intelligence bulletin reportedly obtained by ABC News says Russia is continuing to actively promote disinformation related to the coronavirus. Dated Oct. 19, the bulletin said those efforts have increased in pace since the start of the month. “Russia continues to spread COVID-19 disinformation and conspiracy theories that have the greatest potential to impact U.S. public health efforts,” the bulletin says, according to ABC News.
State logs 416 new COVID cases
The percent of total coronavirus tests that were positive dropped slightly Wednesday, from 3 percent to 2.6 percent. The state added an additional 416 coronavirus cases, and eight new COVID-associated deaths. Four fewer people were hospitalized with COVID-19 infections Wednesday, according to data released by the state.
Hartford averages twice the new cases seen in other CT cities
The rolling seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in Hartford is double that in other major cities in Connecticut, according to a CT Insider analysis of state data. For the last seven days, Hartford has averaged 43 new cases per day. By comparison, Bridgeport is averaging 23 new cases per day. Danbury, which was considered to be having a coronavirus surge earlier this fall, is averaging 16 new cases per day.
CDC: Over 200,000 excess deaths during pandemic
The CDC said this week that there have been 299,028 so-called “excess deaths” during the course of the pandemic in the United States, significantly more than the 216,000 deaths directly attributed to COVID-19. Excess deaths are the number of deaths above the average for the time period, and are considered a good way to estimate the true loss of life from the pandemic.
Study: 71.5 percent of people open to take a COVID-19 vaccine
Globally, 71.5 percent of people would be “somewhat likely” to take a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature. The research asked 13,426 people in 19 countries their feelings on the subject of vaccines, and found a wide range nation to nation. In China, almost 90 percent of people said they would take a vaccine, compared to only 55 percent in Russia. In the United States, 75.42 percent of people answered “yes to the question, “If a COVID-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective and is available, I will take it.”
American Academy of Pediatrics: CT children have lower COVID-19 infection rates than other states
The percent and number of kids with COVID-19 is lower in Connecticut than in most other states, according to a study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Nationwide, 10.9 percent of all coronavirus cases were among people aged 18 and under. In Wyoming, nearly 30 percent of all cases were among children, compared to about 4.3 percent in New York City and New Jersey. Connecticut saw less than 10 percent of all COVID cases among children, below the 11 percent median.
CT positivity rate leaps to 3.0 percent
On Oct. 20, Connecticut announced 434 new cases, five more deaths and 22 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) has jumped to 3 percent from 1.7 percent on Oct. 19. This is the highest it has been since June.
COVID-19 vaccine may be ready for approval by December
The CEO of pharmaceutical manufacturer Moderna said a coronavirus vaccine should be ready for approval by December. Stéphane Bancel, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said that authorization might not happen until early next year. Moderna is one of four drugmakers in late-stage coronavirus vaccine trials.
Straits Times: University developing COVID-19 breathalyzer test
The National University of Singapore is developing a COVID-19 breathalyzer test, the Straits Times reported. There’s only been a pilot of 180 patients so far, but the test returned results in less than a minute and was shown to be 90 percent accurate. "Results are generated in real time, making it an attractive solution for mass screening, especially in areas with high human traffic,” one researcher said.
Study: Nasal and oral rinses may deactivate coronavirus
Results from a Penn State College of Medicine study suggest that some nasal and oral rinses may inactivate coronaviruses. Listerine, for example, actually reduced the viral load under laboratory conditions, as did CVS Antiseptic Mouth Wash and others. The key may be how long you rinse your mouth, researchers said. One minute or more actually made a significant difference. “Most of the common over‐the‐counter mouth washes/gargles tested demonstrated at least a 90 percent reduction in infectious virus at one minute of contract time with the majority of products showing increasing virucidal activity with longer contact times,” the study said.
UK vaccine trial moves toward ‘human challenge trial’
A UK vaccine trial announced it will begin a COVID-19 “human challenge trial” in January, the journal Nature reported. The trial is aimed at accelerating COVID-19 vaccine development in hopes of potentially ending the pandemic. “But the prospect of deliberately infecting people — even those at low risk of severe disease — with SARS-CoV-2, a deadly pathogen that has few proven treatments, is uncharted medical and bioethical territory,” the journal stated.
CT COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations rise
On Oct. 19, the State of Connecticut announced 1,191 new cases, 12 more deaths and 11 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) has decreased to 1.7. percent from 2.4 percent on Oct. 16.
Study shows organ damage in some hospitalized COVID patients
A new study of patients who have been in the hospital with a COVID infection “suggests a potential link between chronic inflammation and ongoing organ damage among survivors,” as Reuters reports. About 60 percent of patients showed abnormalities of the lungs, 29 percent had kidney issues, 26 percent had heart problems and 10 percent had abnormalities in the liver.
CVS is hiring 15,000 workers to help handle vaccines
CVS is adding 15,000 workers across the United States to handle vaccinations for both the flu and a potential rollout of a coronavirus vaccine, the company said in a statement. “We’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Lisa Bisaccia, CVS’ chief human resources officer.
Notre Dame: Virus-related lockdowns prevent thousands of deaths linked to pollution
A study from researchers at Notre Dame University showed that virus-related lockdowns in China and Europe prevented tens of thousands of deaths related to pollution. Researcher Paola Crippa and her colleagues looked at the average number of deaths associated with pollution, the number of similar deaths that happened during pandemic lockdowns and the decrease in airborne particulate matter. The study estimated that 24,200 deaths associated with particulate matter were prevented in China, and another 2,190 pollution-related deaths were avoided in Europe, compared to the average.
WHO trial finds that COVID-19 associated drugs did not clearly impact patient outcomes
The WHO Solidarity trial found that four drugs — Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir and Interferon — have “have little or no effect,” on hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Research found that none of these drugs clearly reduced mortality, initiation of ventilation or hospitalization duration.
CT Positivity rate drastically jumps to 2.4 percent
On Oct. 16, the State of Connecticut announced 802 new cases, two more deaths and no new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) increased to 2.4 percent from 1.3 percent on Oct. 15.
Rolling seven-day average for positivity rate is at 1.7 percent
The rolling seven-day positivity rate average is at 1.7 percent, its highest in weeks according to a CT Insider analysis of state data. The positivity rate jumped to 2.4 percent on Oct. 16 from previously being at 1.3 percent on Oct. 15. For the past week, the average has varied between 1.3 and 1.5 percent until today.
Large Thanksgiving parties are a risk: Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that families need to reconsider having large Thanksgiving parties. "That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting," Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, told CBS news. "It is unfortunate, because that's such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk."
Politico: Pfizer will not seek vaccine approval until after election
Pfizer, one of four U.S. drug manufacturers in late-stage coronavirus vaccine testing, said that it won’t seek authorization for a vaccine until after the election. "Let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the U.S. soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November," the company’s CEO wrote, as Politico reported.
CDC releases guidelines for COVID testing in schools
The CDC has released interim guidelines for coronavirus testing in schools. The guidance goes into detail on the types of testing, when testing is and is not recommended for students and staff, and which schools (and which people within schools) to prioritize testing. The agency made it clear that these are just guidelines, not mandates: “These considerations are for testing in school settings and are intended for K-12 school administrators working in collaboration with their state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials.”
CT positivity rate decreases to 1.3 percent
On Oct. 15, the State of Connecticut announced 213 new cases, three more deaths and three new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) decreased to 1.3 percent from a high of 2.4 percent on Oct. 13.
Coronavirus strain infecting pigs in China could spread to humans
A related coronavirus that has torn through the pig population in China (It’s called “swine acute diarrhea syndrome,” or SADS) has the potential to jump to humans, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The good news is that, "It is impossible to predict if this virus,” or a relative of it, “could emerge and infect human populations,” as one reseracher said. However, it has been shown to replicate in human cells, which “demonstrates potential risk for future emergence events in human and animal populations."
Research shows coronavirus travels through the air in different ways
Researchers have modelled how the coronavirus is transmitted via droplets and in aerosolized form, and suggest that it moves from host to host in different ways depending on the humidity in the air. UC Santa Barbara researchers say that ability to be transmitted in both droplets and aerosolized form may be why the virus did not abate in the summer as some researchers thought it might. “We found that in most situations, respiratory droplets travel longer distances than the 6-foot social distance recommended by the CDC,” researcher Yanying Zhu said.
Oxford University scientists developed a 5-minute COVID test
Scientists at Oxford University have developed a 5-minute antigen test, as NBC reported. “Our method quickly detects intact virus particles,” said Professor Achilles Kapanidis, at Oxford’s Department of Physics. He said the test, described as “cost-effective,” should have an approved device in the middle of next year.
Israeli scientists identify drugs that can reduce COVID-19 severity
Israeli scientists have engaged in an extensive, systematic analysis of electronic health records to identify drugs that could reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization, according to research published this week. Their results were encouraging: “We identified several drugs and products sold in pharmacies that are significantly associated with reduced odds ratios of SARS-CoV-2 hospitalization and disease severity.”
CT positivity rate decreases to 1.9 percent
On Oct. 14, the State of Connecticut announced 164 new cases, four more deaths and 16 new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) decreased to 1.9 percent, still a relatively high rate, but lower than the previously reported 2.4 percent on Oct. 13.
Dutch woman is first known death from COVID-19 reinfection
An elderly woman in the Netherlands has become the first known person to die from a COVID-19 reinfection, according to Dutch experts. She died nearly two weeks after being infected with the virus a second time. The lady had a rare bone marrow cancer called Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, but researchers said her immune system could have still been “sufficient to eliminate,” the virus.
COVID-19 financial losses amount to about $16 trillion, study says
A pair of researchers from Harvard published a study this week in which they show that “the estimated cumulative financial costs of the COVID-19 pandemic related to the lost output and health reduction” is about $16 trillion in the United States. That’s equal to about 90 percent of the total annual GDP of the United States, translating to an average loss of almost $200 000 for a family of four. Those numbers are not so straightforward. Half of that $16 trillion is “lost income from the COVID-19-induced recession” — the rest is the estimated economic effects “of shorter and less healthy life,” researchers wrote.
Deaths 20% higher because of the pandemic
There were 20 percent more deaths than usual between March and July, according to one recent research letter published by scientists from Yale University and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Those deaths were not all directly related to COVID — only about 67 percent of those 225,530 excess deaths were from a coronavirus infection. The remainder are from pandemic-related issues (like increased poverty or stretched-too-thin hospital resources.
Effects of COVID-19 on mental health ‘will be profound:’ NYU researchers
Three mental health professionals from NYU expressed concerns in a research letter over what the sheer number of pandemic-related deaths might do to the people left behind. “Each COVID-19 death leaves an estimated nine family members bereaved, which projects to an estimated 2 million bereaved individuals in the U.S.,” they wrote. “Thus, the effect of COVID-19 deaths on mental health will be profound.” It’s not just the effects of dealing with death. There is also a significant amount of “stress and social disruption caused by the pandemic,” which has increased rates of depression and anxiety, and substance abuse. “A second wave of devastation is imminent, attributable to mental health consequences of COVID-19,” they wrote. “The magnitude of this second wave is likely to overwhelm the already frayed mental health system, leading to access problems, particularly for the most vulnerable persons.”
CT positivity rate significantly increases to 2.4 percent
On Oct. 13, the State of Connecticut announced 320 new cases, one death and 17 more hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) increased significantly to 2.4 percent.
Pfizer expands vaccine study to include teenagers
Pfizer has altered its vaccine study to include younger participants aged 12 through 15 after getting permission by the Food and Drug Administration. The study originally planned for 30,000 participants, but expanded the participant pool to 44,000 in September.
Johnson & Johnson pauses COVID-19 vaccine trial after unexplained illness
Johnson & Johnson is temporarily pausing its COVID-19 vaccine trial after an “unexplained illness in a study participant.” The company said adverse events, like illnesses, are “an expected part of any clinical study.” The illness is being reviewed by ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board and internal physicians. “It is not always immediately apparent whether a participant received a study treatment or a placebo,” the company said.
COVID-19 reinfection more severe the second time, study says
A study by The Lancet, a medical journal, found that a person re-infected with COVID-19 had more severe symptoms during his second battle with the virus. The patient developed myalgia, a cough, shortness of breath and signs of pneumonia. Researchers speculate that the reinfection may have been more severe for one of the following reasons: the patient may have been exposed to a higher dose of the virus, this version of the virus may be more malicious or antibodies could have been infected and became dependent on the virus.
U.S. experiences more COVID-19 deaths than any country, according to JAMA Network
The medical journal JAMA conducted a study to explain why the U.S.has experienced more COVID-19 deaths than any other country. “After the first peak in early spring, U.S. death rates from COVID-19 and from all causes remained higher than even countries with high COVID-19 mortality,” the study says. JAMA found that these results came from several factors, “including weak public health infrastructure and a decentralized, inconsistent U.S. response to the pandemic.”
Coronavirus can linger on touchscreens for at least 28 days
Coronavirus can live and remain viable for at least 28 days on touchscreens and banknotes, according to newly released research from Australia. The study, from researchers at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, showed that, at 68 degrees fahrenheit, the coronavirus can survive for a month on “common surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and both paper and polymer banknotes.” At 100 degrees fahrenheit, the virus can live less than 24 hours on those surfaces, the study said.
CDC: Infections in younger people happen before spike in infections in older people
A study of infection data by age group released by the CDC showed that in counties considered “hotspots,” including counties in Connecticut, a spike in the number of infections among younger people preceded a spike in infections among older people by several weeks. The dynamic was less profound in Northeast states, but the CDC notes that “addressing transmission among young adults is an urgent public health priority.”
CT projected to average over 16 deaths a day by 2021
Connecticut is currently seeing an average of 1.68 deaths from the coronavirus every day. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation data shows the state hitting 2.3 average daily deaths by Election Day, and more than 16 deaths per day by Jan. 1. The IHME’s predictions don’t go any further than February but, by that point, Connecticut could be looking at 30 deaths per day from the coronavirus, with significant increases in infections and hospital resource use as well.
Hartford is averaging 10 new cases per day
Hartford has been experiencing a steady rise in new COVID-19 cases every day. Data shows that Hartford has reported at least 10 new cases every day since Sept. 28. The rolling seven-day average shows an average 11 new cases each day so far in October.
Trinity College and UNH suspend in-person learning over COVID-19 outbreaks
Trinity College in Hartford and the University of New Haven have experienced outbreaks in the last few days. The University of New Haven announced today that it is suspending in-person learning until Oct. 17 because of the outbreak. Trinity has also paused in-person instruction until it can get a handle on the growing cases.
CT positivity rate increases to 1.68 percent
On Oct. 9, the State of Connecticut announced 290 new cases, three more deaths and six new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) increased to 1.68 percent.
States without mask mandates have 10 times the COVID-19 cases
A study of states’ policies as they reopened showed that those without mask mandates saw 10 times the number of coronavirus cases as those states with mask mandates. “This study contributes to the growing evidence that mask usage is essential for mitigating community transmission of COVID-19,” the study concludes. “States should delay further reopening until mask mandates are fully implemented, and enforcement by local businesses will be critical for preventing potential future closures.”
A serious COVID-19 infection can provide long-lasting immunity
A Harvard study suggests that a serious COVID-19 infection does provide long-lasting immunity. It’s been assumed that catching the virus does grant some measure of immunity, but Harvard researchers may be the first to confirm that severe infections do result in some measure of immunity on a long-term basis. “We showed that key antibody responses to COVID-19 do persist.” the lead researcher said.
Coronavirus can live on human skin for nine hours
Coronavirus can live on human skin for nine hours, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The study shows that this nine-hour window during which the virus lingers creates a higher risk of transmission and underlines the importance of washing your hands or sanitizing.
Trump plans to hold a rally in Florida Saturday, whether infectious or not
President Donald Trump plans to hold a Saturday rally in Florida, an event which his doctors have cleared him for after a COVID diagnosis last week. Depending on the severity of his COVID infection, he may or may not be infectious at that point. According to the CDC, patients with mild to moderate “remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset.” Patients with more severe infections can be contagious for up to 20 days. The New York Times reported that Trump began experiencing symptoms on Wednesday, Sept. 30, exactly 10 days before his planned Saturday rally.
384 cases and 5 COVID deaths as phase 3 begins
Gov. Ned Lamont announced an additional five deaths from COVID-19 Friday, as the state begins phase 3 of reopening, increasing indoor capacity in restaurants and opening up arts venues. The state also logged an additional one-day increase of 384 COVID cases, and a positivity rate of 1.4 percent.
White House chief adviser lays out vaccine approval for after election
A chief adviser to the White House’s Operation Warp Speed this week laid out a timetable for vaccine approval, after Nov. 3. On Tuesday, Moncef Slaoui told a symposium run by Johns Hopkins University that "Nobody can really say when," a vaccine would be approved, "but the expectation would be that this would happen between the month of November and December."
European Union secures 400 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The European Union has secured 400 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson, one of four U.S.-made vaccine candidates currently in late-stage trials. “The contract allows member states to purchase vaccines for 200 million people. They will also have the possibility to purchase vaccines for an additional 200 million people,” the EU commission said in a statement, as was reported by Reuters. The E.U. has already signed similar deals with drugmakers AstraZeneca and Sanofi, which are also working on vaccine candidates.
U.S. ranked nine of 19 for pandemic management
The U.S. ranks ninth of 19 nations in terms of public perception of pandemic management, according to a new tool developed by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and the City University of New York. The U.S. was rated highly in terms of income, food and shelter aid, but did not perform as well, in the view of survey respondents in terms of government cooperation with other nations and global agencies.
500,000 sharks could die for COVID vaccine, conservationists say
A conservationist group says that as many as 500,000 sharks could be killed to provide a coronavirus vaccine to the world’s population. Squalene, used as an emulsifier in many vaccines, is often derived from shark liver oil. California-based Shark Allies has put together a Change.org petition to encourage the world’s drugmakers to use squalene from other sources. The organization estimates that, depending on the vaccine, as many as 500,000 sharks could be killed to provide two vaccine doses globally.
Note: Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday that the state actually administered more than more than 17,700 coronavirus tests Tuesday, instead of 8,200 as he initially reported. That brought the percent positive to 0.7 percent instead of 1.6 percent.
CT positivity rate increases since Oct. 6
On Oct. 7, the State of Connecticut announced 123 new cases, one death and nine more hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) increased to 1.62 percent.
Fauci says the U.S. could have as many as 400,000 deaths before pandemic ends
Anthony Fauci said during an event hosted by American University that the United States could see as many as 400,000 coronavirus deaths before the pandemic is over, as Axios reported. "We could have 300,000-400,000 COVID-19 deaths,” if precautions aren’t taken, he said.
NY locks down on COVID-19 hotspots
New York State is locking down again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, placing restrictions on businesses, churches and schools near COVID-19 hotspots. Cuomo said the rules will be enforced in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Orange and Rockland counties, and that they would take effect no later than Friday.
CT has had a 75 percent increase in COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days
The numbers are small, but the percentage increase in both cases and deaths from the coronavirus is high in Connecticut, according to data maintained by Kaiser Health News. There has been a 75 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state over the last 14 days, the sixth highest in the nation. There has been a 40 percent increase in the number of COVID-related deaths, though the state is still at a rolling seven-day average of two deaths per day, which is relatively low for the United States. There is a seven-day average of about 200 new cases in the state.
One-third of COVID-19 patients experience neurological effects
A study by Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology found that nearly a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients experienced some form of an altered mental capacity. The symptoms are varied, ranging from dizziness to confusion to unresponsiveness. Patients with neurological symptoms experienced worse medical outcomes as a result, reported the New York Times.
No new hospitalizations since Oct. 5
On Oct. 6, the State of Connecticut announced 121 new cases, 4 more deaths and no new hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) decreased to 1.47 percent.
Quest diagnostics releases at-home COVID-19 test kit
Quest Diagnostics has released a new, at-home COVID-19 test kit, WFSB reported. The kit includes a nasal swab PCR test that can be returned in an overnight FedEx envelope. A test kit costs $129 and can be ordered online at the Quest Diagnostics website. Alternatively, someone can complete the at-home test by buying it online and taking the specimen to a drive-thru pharmacy at a nearby Walmart.
White House blocks FDA guidelines preventing vaccine approval before election
The White House has blocked proposed FDA guidelines that would have prevented a vaccine from being approved before the Nov. 3 election, as multiple news organizations have reported. The FDA had instructed vaccine manufacturers to follow patients involved in vaccine trials for two months, a timeline that would have pushed any approvals to after the election.
13-year-old spreads coronavirus to 12 people in four states
The CDC has detailed how a 13-year-old with coronavirus spread the disease to at least 12 other people in four states. Fourteen people stayed in a house with the “index patient,” of whom 12 were infected (none worse masks or practiced social distancing). Six other relatives stayed outside of the hose and none of them caught the virus.
Relaxing social distancing rules contribute to increased transmission rates across U.S.
A study from researchers at the Center for Global Health in Boston showed that the transmission rate across the United States began increasing as soon as social distancing rules were relaxed. “We detected an immediate and significant reversal in SARS-CoV-2 epidemic suppression after relaxation of social distancing measures across the U.S. Premature relaxation of social distancing measures undermined the country’s ability to control the disease burden associated with COVID-19,” researchers said.
Connecticut’s positivity rate increases to 1.6
On Oct. 5, the State of Connecticut announced 823 new cases, four more deaths and 19 more hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) increased to 1.6 percent from the previous 1.3 percent on Oct. 2.
CT transmission rate at its highest since March
Connecticut’s transmission rate is at its highest since March. The transmission rate is 1.11, according to rt.live and Yale’s model pins the rate at 1.15. This number means that an infected person will spread the disease to at least one other person on average, causing COVID-19 to spread.
MIT develops a cheap, new COVID-19 test
MIT has developed a COVID-19 test that is so cheap it could be administered at home every single day. The test returns results in 30 minutes to an hour, and is more than 90 percent accurate. “We need rapid testing to become part of the fabric of this situation so that people can test themselves every day, which will slow down an outbreak,” Omar Abudayyeh, an MIT McGovern Fellow working on the diagnostic, said in a release. The test is still in the research phase.
Coronavirus cases increase as cold front arrives
As the cold weather has arrived, there has been a record number of coronavirus cases in nine states, as Reuters reports. The states seeing the largest increases are those where the cold has taken hold, particularly in the northern Midwest. In Wisconsin, for example, an average of 22 percent of all COVID-19 tests are coming back positive.
CDC updates guidance to confirm COVID-19 can be spread through aerosols
Despite a mountain of other research, the CDC has gone back and forth about whether the virus can spread through aerosols, but a newly updated guidance affirms it can be spread through the air. Small viral particles can linger in the air for minutes or hours after a person has left a space, potentially infecting others. This kind of spread is called airborne transmission.
Connecticut’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb
On Oct. 2, the State of Connecticut announced 460 new cases, two more deaths and three more hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) is at 1.36 percent.
Norwich issued a COVID-19 alert after outbreak of positive cases
The state has issued a COVID-19 alert for the town of Norwich “following a recent spike in cases in the area in the last two weeks,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a tweet early Friday morning. The state Department of Health said that Norwich recorded at least 84 new coronavirus cases in mid-September to raise the daily case rate to 24 per 100,000, the highest rate in the state. “This is a significant increase in cases in Norwich we need to focus everyone’s attention on,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford in a release.
Moderna says vaccine could be ready by March 2021
The CEO of Moderna, one of the leading companies working on a coronavirus vaccine, said this week the company plans to submit its vaccine candidate to the FDA in January 2021, at the earliest, with an expected vaccine ready for public consumption no earlier than March or April of next year.
Kids are efficient virus spreaders, study says
Here’s a little more about superspreaders: A study of 575,071 people who had been exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patients — the largest such study ever — found that children and young adults in particular were good at spreading the virus. “Kids are very efficient transmitters in this setting, which is something that hasn’t been firmly established in previous studies,” said lead researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan.
Blumenthal getting tested after potential exposure at White House
President Trump has tested positive and is experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19. Following his diagnosis, a string of White House officials along with Connecticut’s Sen. Richard Blumenthal, have chosen to get tested. Sen. Chris Murphy stated the White House could now be a “superspreading site,” according to the New Haven Independent.
Positive tests continues to grow in Connecticut
The percent of total tests that were positive in Connecticut continued to grow Thursday — 1.85 percent of all coronavirus tests in the state came back positive, up from 1.78 the previous day. Again, three more deaths from the virus were identified, and another three people were fighting the disease in the hospital, according to the state
Who should get a vaccine first? Health care professionals
A study asked members of the public who they thought should get a vaccine first when one is available. Most people thought health care professionals should get a vaccine first. The goal is not only to better allocate limited resources but to build a little trust. “Public engagement can contribute to resource allocation decisions,” the study’s authors said. “Incorporating public preferences could advance the perceived legitimacy of vaccine allocation guidelines.”
Vaccine trial participants experience symptoms in phase three
Participants in the vaccine trial being managed by Moderna and AstraZenica reported symptoms like fever, body aches, headaches and exhaustion, and while the symptoms were described as intense by some patients, they tended to abate in a single day or less, as CNBC reported. The Moderna vaccine candidate is one of of four currently in phase three trials in the United States.
Fauci says vaccine trials need a diverse group of patients
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci told congress that vaccine trials need to include a diverse group of patients. We need to get a diverse representation of the population in the clinical trials," he told a panel of Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members, as The Hill reported. "So when they are proven to be safe and effective, we can say they are safe and effective in everyone, not only in whites."
FDA looks into a wider scope of side effects from AstraZenica vaccine candidate
The FDA is widening the scope of its investigation into possible side effects from the AstraZenica vaccine candidate, probably resulting in further delays, as Reuters reported. The stage three trial has been on hold since Sept. 8, after a patient in the trial developed a spinal cord illness called transverse myelitis.
Percent positive up in CT
About 1.8 percent of the total number of coronavirus tests in Connecticut were positive, an increase of about .1 percent from the day before. There were a total of 221 new cases announced, and 12 new COVID-19-related hospitalizations. In addition, there were three more coronavirus-related deaths in the state.
COVID-19 may be ramping up in NYC
Coronavirus cases are spiking in New York City. The daily rate of positive coronavirus tests jumped to 3.25 percent on Tuesday from 1.9 the day earlier, though it then dropped back down to below 1 percent. That spike may be centered in the city’s Orthodox Jewish community, but the city did just open up to 25 percent of indoor capacity at restaurants.
Percent positive up in New Jersey
New York’s positivity rate — the percentage of tests that are positive — may be jumping up and down, and Connecticut’s may be inching up, but pay attention to New Jersey. State officials there said Wednesday the positivity rate in that state climbed over 3 percent after being in the 2 percent range for weeks.
Transmission on surfaces unlikely in the real world
Coronavirus transmission on surfaces is unlikely, according to a letter published in the journal Lancet. In laboratory conditions it’s possible, but in the real world it’s far less likely, “provided that standard cleaning procedures and precautions are enforced.” Wash your hands.
Chinese citizens are already getting a vaccine
There has been no coronavirus vaccine yet approved in China, but state media has said that hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens are receiving an unapproved shot under an emergency authorization, as The New Yorker reported. The goal, they said, was to beat the United States to the punch. “Chinese officials are thinking that Donald Trump might approve a U.S. vaccine before the election,” Yiwu He, the chief innovation officer at the University of Hong Kong, told The New Yorker. “So their goal is to have a vaccine approved before that.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations rise
Since Tuesday, the state of Connecticut announced 182 new cases, 2 more deaths and 17 more hospitalizations. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) has decreased to 1.06 percent.
Less than 10 percent of U.S. adults formed antibodies during first COVID-19 wave
A study by The Lancet shows that fewer than 10 percent of the U.S. adult population developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, during the first wave of the pandemic and fewer than 10 percent of those with antibodies were diagnosed. This has a lot of implications when you’re looking at things such as vaccines.
Rapid COVID-19 tests to be used in Connecticut schools
Connecticut is expecting to receive 1 million rapid COVID-19 tests from the federal government. The tests are meant to help keep schools open. Of the 1 million tests, 69,000 will arrive next week, according to Gov. Ned Lamont. The tests will also be used in nursing homes, day care centers, prisons and for the state's rapid-response team to deal with virus outbreaks.
Lawsuit to stop kids from wearing masks in schools goes to court
Parents from five Connecticut towns are arguing that the state lacked the authority to create the mandate and violated the constitutional rights of students by imposing it. A state Superior Court judge is presiding over the lawsuit.
Americans over 30 have been drinking more during the pandemic
Adults over 30 have been drinking more during the pandemic, according to the JAMA Network Open journal. Alcohol consumption has increased 14 percent since 2019, averaging out to one additional drinking day per month by 75 percent of adults.
More cases reported and one less hospitalization since Sept. 25
Since Sept. 25, the State of Connecticut announced 560 new cases, two more deaths and one less hospitalization. The positivity rate (the percentage of total tests that are positive) is at 1.1 percent Monday.
Silent reinfections coming to surface
An article from the journal Nature reports that the reinfection found in two Indian doctors who contracted COVID-19 in May is genetically different the second time around, according to the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi. The evidence indicates that the doctors’ bodies are not harboring leftover virus, but instead being infected all over again. To this extent, it suggests asymptomatic reinfections are underreported.
CDC releases guidelines for a safe Thanksgiving
The Center for Disease Control released guidelines for Thanksgiving plans. One of these guidelines calls for those hosting a dinner to only include people who live in the household or have a virtual dinner.
Long-term care facilities allowing visitors again in Connecticut
The state Department of Public Health announced that long-term care facilities can begin to have visitors again. Visitors will be screened by the facility and are required to wear protective gear, such as masks. There will be limitations on how many visitors a patient can have at a time and how many are allowed in the facility.
The horseshoe crab could be a saving grace against COVID-19
Horseshoe crab blood is a key ingredient in the making of vaccines, even one for COVID-19, according to an article in National Geographic. The blood contains a substance called limulus amebocyte lysate, which helps detect a bacterial toxin that could be deadly if it makes it into vaccines. It just so happens this ingredient might be a saving grace in fighting COVID-19.
Positivity rate in Connecticut is back down below 1 percent
There were 115 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Connecticut Friday afternoon, the lowest single day increase in recent memory. In addition, the state posted a positivity rate (the percentage of coronavirus tests that were positive) of a bit more than 0.8 percent. This news comes a day after Gov. Ned Lamont that the state would begin its phase three opening, allowing for restaurants to go to 75 percent capacity indoors.
Transmission rate remains slightly elevated
The only dark spot on Connecticut’s COVID-19 horizon is the transmission rate (denoted as R0) which, according to rt.live, remained at 1.10 as of Friday evening. An Rt over 1 means the virus is spreading — below 1 and the virus is contained and not spreading through the population.
COVID-19 deaths globally are close to 1 million
The world is expected to cross the threshold of 1 million deaths from COVID-19 within the next few days. According to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there were 985,104 deaths worldwide from COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon. Most estimates suggest that the world will hit 1 million deaths from the coronavirus before MOnday.
Non-COVID hospital admissions up … for some
Hospital admissions dropped considerably during the pandemic, but non-COVID-related hospital admissions bounced back (to 16 percent below normal) in June and July. Not among all cohorts, according to this study in Health Affairs. Hospital admissions in majority Hispanic areas were 32 percent lower, and were 44 percent lower among pneumonia patients and 40 percent down among people with COPD or asthma.
Is there a new way to test for COVID?
There is potentially a new way to diagnose COVID-19 “which could potentially be used to analyse thousands of samples per day on a single instrument,” according to the pre-printed study. The LamPORE test platform, as it’s called, is about as accurate as the current PCR tests being used.