By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell HealthDay Reporters
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Coronavirus outbreaks in the Midwest and Western United States have driven the national case count to its highest level since August, fueling fears of what the coming winter will mean for the country.
COVID-19 cases are starting to climb in 36 states, including parts of the Northeast, which is starting to backslide after months of progress, The New York Times reported. More than 820 new deaths and more than 54,500 new cases were announced across the country on Tuesday, the newspaper said. Idaho and Wisconsin set single-day records for new cases.
About 50,000 new cases are being reported each day in the United States for the week ending Monday, the Times reported. That is still less than in late July, when the country was seeing more than 66,000 cases each day.
But the trajectory is worsening, and experts fear what could happen as cold weather drives people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily, the newspaper said. The latest spike in cases shows up just before the increased mingling of people that comes with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sixteen states each added more new cases in the seven-day period ending Monday than they had in any other weeklong stretch of the pandemic. North Dakota and South Dakota are reporting more new cases per person than any state has previously, the Times reported.
“A lot of the places being hit are Midwest states that were spared in the beginning,” William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher, told the Washington Post. “That’s of particular concern because a lot of these smaller regions don’t have the ICU beds and capacity that the urban centers had.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations have already begun rising in almost a dozen states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, raising the probability that increasing death counts will soon follow, the Post reported.
Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that he hopes the numbers “jolt the American public into a realization that we really can’t let this happen, because it’s on a trajectory of getting worse and worse.” He called the rising numbers “the worst possible thing that could happen as we get into the cooler months.”
It is unclear what is driving the climbing case count, but it could be the long-feared winter effect already taking place, or the reopening of businesses and schools, or just people letting down their guard on social distancing efforts, the Post reported.
Second COVID vaccine trial paused
A second coronavirus vaccine trial was paused this week after an unexplained illness surfaced in one of the trial’s volunteers.
Johnson & Johnson, which only began a phase 3 trial of its vaccine last month, did not offer any more details on the illness and did not say whether the sick participant had received the vaccine or a placebo. The trial pause was first reported by the health news website STAT
And rare as these cases may be, they do indicate that reinfection is possible, said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University, who wrote a commentary accompanying the Nevada case study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The New York Times asked more experts what is known about reinfections with the coronavirus.
It’s impossible to know how widespread the phenomenon is, they told us. To confirm a case, scientists must look for significant differences in the genes of the two coronaviruses causing both illnesses. In the U.S., many people were not tested unless they were sick enough to be hospitalized. Even then, their samples were usually not preserved for genetic analysis, making it impossible to confirm suspected reinfections.
Plus, a resurgence of symptoms doesn’t prove reinfection. More likely, these are people experiencing symptoms connected to the original infection.
But people with a second bout may pass the virus to others. An infection in a patient in Hong Kong was discovered only because of routine screening at the airport, and the man was isolated in a hospital even though he had no symptoms. But his viral load was high enough that he could have passed the virus to others.
Uncontrolled coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Midwest and Mountain West have strained hospitals, pushed the country’s case curve to its highest level since August and heightened fears about what the winter might bring.
Sixteen states each added more new cases in the seven-day period ending Monday than they had in any other weeklong stretch of the pandemic. North Dakota and South Dakota are reporting more new cases per person than any state has previously. And in Wisconsin, home to 10 of the country’s 20 metro areas with the highest rates of recent cases, crews are preparing a field hospital at the state fairgrounds.
“While we are hopeful we can flatten the curve enough to never have to use the facility, Wisconsinites across our state are struggling and they are rightfully scared of this virus,” Gov. Tony Evers wrote to legislative leaders this week in a letter seeking support for his mask order and limits on public gatherings.
About 50,000 new cases are being reported each day on average in the United States for the
Montgomery: Thousands of students across the state who’ve spent the coronavirus pandemic in virtual classrooms are returning to traditional instruction despite safety concerns and continuing school shutdowns linked to COVID-19. Schools in Jefferson County began allowing elementary students to return to class full time Monday, and additional systems that have offered online classes will reopen buildings on a full-time basis through next week. Walter Gonsoulin, the Jefferson County superintendent, said the system planned to stay open unless there is a state or national mandate requiring a shutdown. As public schools reopened Tuesday in Montgomery, a group of teachers and school workers who contend the system lacks an adequate safety plan held a small protest outside the central office. In Tuscaloosa, where classes resume Monday, social distancing won’t always be possible, spokeswoman Lesley Bruinton told WBMA-TV.
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Juneau: The state Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling eliminating witness requirements for absentee ballots for the general election. Last week, Superior Court Judge Dani Crosby ruled enforcement of the witness requirements during the coronavirus pandemic “impermissibly burdens the right to vote.” She waited to put the order into effect, to allow the high court to weigh in. Laura Fox, an attorney for the state, had asked the Alaska Supreme Court to keep in place the witness requirements, arguing that a change in rules, when voting is already underway, “will cause confusion and distrust.” “This is telling the voters, yeah, we know you have all of these printed materials saying that you have to do it one way but … just ignore that,” she said. Justice Susan Carney responded: “Isn’t that the message, ‘Ignore it?’ How hard is that?”
Phoenix: Recent updates showed a decline in new coronavirus cases at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University as of Monday. Meanwhile, Grand Canyon University continued to see cases rise since resuming in-person classes last month. ASU reported 63 new cases among students and two new cases among employees within the past week. Data reflects a 2.4% positivity rate since Aug. 1. A positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread is under control. GCU reports a total of 70 COVID-19 cases within the past two weeks, with 66 students and four employees. Northern Arizona University reported 79 active cases among its on- and off-campus students as of Friday, a decrease of 48 cases from last week. Data shows a steady decrease in positive COVID-19 tests at the University of Arizona and a 0.5% positivity rate.
Little Rock: The number of coronavirus patients in the state’s
The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.
The $12 billion “envelop” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.
The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.
Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.
“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.
“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the statement said.
Development and deployment of vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.
The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.
The funding is meant to also help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — EoS Fitness reopened its doors to members Saturday morning under a reopening agreement with the Arizona Department of Health Services, the company’s CEO Rich Drengberg announced through a letter sent to members via e-mail.
The Arizona Department of Health Services told Arizona’s Family that EoS Fitness submitted a proposal to reopen and it was indeed approved. Another gym, Training for Warriors – Estrella in Goodyear, has been approved to reopen as well.
The Arizona Department of Health Services released the state’s benchmarks on Monday providing guidance for when some businesses can resume operations.
At least a dozen EoS Fitness members, wearing masks, were waiting outside the Tempe location located near Warner Road and McClintock Drive about 10 minutes until doors opened. It’s not clear how many were allowed inside with reduced capacity.
James Chavez was one of the first in line. He lives in Buckeye and drove 45 minutes to workout at the Tempe location. He said it was the only one with a slot available and has been eagerly waiting to get back in the gym.
EoS Fitness reopens in Arizona with apparent approval
“I feel like we can go to the grocery store whenever we want, but we can’t go to the gym. And that’s part of your mental health. It’s part of your physical health. it’s just — Arizona needs that,” he said.
Members are not able to just walk into any EoS location. In order to use any of the 33 Arizona facilities, they must book a workout time slot ahead of time with as much as 24 hours in advance.
The Tempe location is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and goes back to a 24 hour operation Monday.
Drengberg’s letter also states, “Part of the current Reopening Agreement that allows us to reopen immediately is that in-gym capacity will be limited (and enforced) to ensure that social distancing is completely achievable. Based on the current COVID-19 downward trend in Maricopa County, we anticipate being at an increased capacity level within the next few weeks.”
The list of rules on the EoS Fitness website for members include:
Members must wear face coverings
Members are required to sanitize every piece of equipment before and after use
Maintain 6 feet of social distancing
The online list also includes what the gym agreed to:
Limit number of members at one time
Staff continuously circulates to discourage close proximity workouts
Hospital grade/CDC recommended disinfectant and hand sanitizer available in all areas of club
All members must wear a face covering and the issue is “non-negotiable.” If you don’t want to wear one or have health reasons for not wearing one, EoS advises you wear a face shield. If members are not willing to do that, the rule suggests “now is not a good time to hit the gym.”
On Monday, Arizona released benchmarks and guidance for reopening gyms, bars and movie theaters.
Jeane Freeman says cancer screening in Scotland – one of many services suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic – should resume this month.
The health secretary says some areas – for example, bowel screening – are relatively straightforward, whereas treatment that involves close contact, like breast screening, may take longer to re-introduce safely, for patients and staff.
“We need to make sure all mitigating steps are in place,” she tells Politics Scotland. “We can’t have a lot of people in a waiting room waiting for their mammogram, for example.
“So that will take a bit longer, but the intention is to begin the screening programme again this month.”
The coronavirus patient, a 75-year-old man, was dying. No family member was allowed in the room with him, only a young nurse.In full protective gear, she dimmed the lights and put on quiet music. She freshened his pillows, dabbed his lips with moistened swabs, held his hand, spoke softly to him. He wasn’t even her patient, but everyone else was slammed.Finally, she held an iPad close to him so he could see the face and hear the voice of a grief-stricken relative Skyping from the hospital corridor.After the man died, the nurse found a secluded hallway and wept.A few days later, she shared her anguish in a private Facebook message to Dr. Heather Farley, who directs a comprehensive staff-support program at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware. “I’m not the kind of nurse that can act like I’m fine and that something sad didn’t just happen,” she wrote.Medical workers like the young nurse have been celebrated as heroes for their commitment to treating desperately ill coronavirus patients. But the heroes are hurting, badly. Even as applause to honor them swells nightly from city windows, and cookies and thank-you notes arrive at hospitals, the doctors, nurses and emergency responders on the front lines of a pandemic they cannot control are battling a crushing sense of inadequacy and anxiety.Every day they become more susceptible to post-traumatic stress, mental health experts say. And their psychological struggles could impede their ability to keep working with the intensity and focus their jobs require.Although the causes for the suicides last month of Dr. Lorna Breen, medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, and John Mondello, a rookie New York emergency medical technician, are unknown, the tragedies served as a devastating wake-up call about the mental health of medical workers. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, their professions were pockmarked with burnout and even suicide.On Wednesday, the World Health Organization issued a report about the pandemic’s impact on mental health, highlighting health care workers as vulnerable. Recent studies of medical workers in China, Canada and Italy who treated COVID-19 patients found soaring rates of anxiety, depression and insomnia.To address the ballooning problem, therapists who specialize in treating trauma are offering free sessions to medical workers and emergency responders nationwide. New York City has joined with the Defense Department to train 1,000 counselors to address the combatlike stress. Rutgers Health/RWJ Barnabas Health, a New Jersey system, just adopted a “Check You, Check Two” initiative, urging staff to attend to their own needs and touch base with two colleagues daily.”Physicians are often very self-reliant and may not easily ask for help. In this time of crisis, with high workload and many uncertainties, this trait can add to the load that they carry internally,” said Dr. Chantal Brazeau, a psychiatrist at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.Even when new COVID-19 cases and deaths begin to ebb, as they have in some places, mental health experts say the psychological pain of medical workers is likely to
Acts of ordinary courage, of brave compassion that put the health of patients first – these are the everyday heroes of the healthcare profession. Join News24 and Adcock Ingram OTC in celebrating and sharing your stories of pharmacists and healthcare professionals who have gone above and beyond the day-to-day call of duty.
Scranton dentist Dr. Albert Hazzouri loves dropping the name of his friend, President Donald Trump, in the course of doing business.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Hazzouri tried to get the federal government to buy coronavirus test kits from his associates. Hazzouri mentioned his Trump connection when he encountered resistance, the newspaper reported.
Two years ago, Hazzouri alluded to his Trump friendship as he sought a Florida dental license before state regulators.
Repeated efforts to reach Hazzouri on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Citing unnamed sources involved with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s operations, The New York Times reported Hazzouri repeatedly called FEMA officials and a separate team of Trump administration volunteers working on procurement. He wanted to help facilitate the purchase of about 100,000 kits from Mexico.
Hazzouri, 64, also mentioned his friendship with Trump while trying to obtain a license to practice in Florida.
During a May 2018 dental board meeting, Hazzouri said he frequently visits Florida and Trump wanted him to be able to treat the president, his family and guests.
“I’m personal friends, we talk often, I’ll be seeing him next week. He knows I’m here today,” Hazzouri told the dental board, according to a meeting recording available online.
Hazzouri, who specializes in cosmetic dentistry, also told the dental board he wanted to open a practice that also served veterans, Native Americans, pregnant women, children and the less fortunate.
“I didn’t go down there and say ‘change the rules for me,’ ” Hazzouri told a Times-Tribune reporter in May 2018.
A letter to the Florida dental board identified Hazzouri as Trump’s dentist. In an interview with The Times-Tribune, Hazzouri acknowledged he wasn’t the president’s dentist and faulted his staff for mistakenly sending the letter identifying him that way.
The dental board told him he had not taken a required state dental board exam and never provided proof of his dental education and knowledge of CPR.
Hazzouri withdrew his application for the Florida license, and does not have one, online state records show.
Trump and Hazzouri’s friendship pre-dates Trump’s election.
The dentist, his wife, Lauren, and their daughter attended a New Year’s Eve 2015 gala at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. On her Facebook page, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, has highlighted the work of Lauren Hazzouri, a licensed psychologist.
As he ran for president, Trump mentioned his relationship with Hazzouri during a July 27, 2016, rally at Lackawanna College. He noted he knew some of the people present and called out for his friend.
“Stand up, Albert; where the hell are you, Albert? Stand up, Albert,” Mr. Trump shouted.
Hazzouri stood up and waved.
“He’s a good golfer, but I’m actually a better golfer than him, right?” Mr. Trump said.