Lockdown lowered the spread of COVID-19 in New York City by 70 percent, according to a forthcoming study.
For the study, scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene looked at how successful public health interventions — such as school closures, stay-at-home orders and face masks — were on the widespread COVID-19 transmission rates happening in the city from March until its “reopening” in June. The scientists found that these measures were highly effective at reducing coronavirus infection rates.
In fact, the success rate of New York City’s lockdown was even higher than what was seen in Wuhan, China. According to the Columbia University press release, “the new study is in line with previous modeling studies estimating that lockdowns reduced COVID-19 transmission by 58 percent in Wuhan, China, 45 percent in Italy, and 77 in France.”
Parents and children surveyed about the COVID-19 pandemic in late April and early May of 2020 – when most schools and day care providers closed their doors – said they had become more stressed out.
In response to our questions about their feelings and thoughts, these 183 parents in Western states who were between the ages of 18 and 55 years old replied that their mental and physical health and interactions with others have deteriorated. Most of the families who participated were white (66.7%), 21.3% were Latino, 7.1% identified as mixed race or “other” and 4.9% were Black.
Parents who had lost their jobs and other sources of income, were unable to see family or friends, struggled to oversee their children’s schoolwork or had many anxiety and depressive symptoms were more likely to feel stressed, as indicated by responses to 10 items each on a scale of 0-4. They were also more likely to be at risk for abusive parenting.
At the same time, parents said they were finding ways to alleviate stress and its consequences. For example, parents who perceived that they had more control over their lives during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and who felt like they had enough people who they could rely on for comfort, support and encouragement were less likely to feel stressed out or exhibit signs that they were at risk of abusive parenting.
In their latest advice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that people with moderate-to-severe asthma may be at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19.
However, a review of research by scientists at the University of Colorado in Denver has found no evidence of an increased prevalence of asthma among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with the condition’s prevalence in the wider population.
In addition, they found that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had asthma were no more likely to be intubated than other patients.
In a research letter that appears in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, the authors report:
“Despite early concern about disproportionately high morbidity and mortality for those with asthma, data presented here and elsewhere show minimal evidence of a clinically significant relationship.”
Twelve kids who likely caught COVID-19 at three child care centers in Utah went on to spread the virus elsewhere and infected some parents and siblings, according to a new study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The authors of the study note that research had previously shown that kids 10 years and older could spread the virus in schools. The new study is evidence that even younger kids, including an 8-month-old baby, can still spread the virus, despite not getting severely sick from Covid-19, the researchers said.
The study looked at outbreaks that occurred in three child care centers in Salt Lake City, between April and July. Using contact tracing data collected at the time of the outbreaks, the researchers used the data to “retrospectively construct transmission chains” to determine precisely how the virus spread. A total of 83 kids attended the three child care centers included in the study, the researchers said.
Among the three outbreaks, the researchers said 12 kids were infected with Covid-19 at the child care centers, though three of them never developed symptoms and nine developed just mild symptoms. The study says those 12 kids came into contact with 46 people not associated with the child care facilities and appear to have infected 12, or more than a quarter, of them. Those infected by the kids include six mothers, one of whom was hospitalized, three siblings and three others, the study says.
Team led by Houston Methodist addresses need for quick, easy tests to screen plasma donors.
A new study released by Houston Methodist takes researchers a significant step closer to developing a uniform, universal COVID-19 antibody test. The multicenter collaboration tested alternative ways to measure COVID-19 antibody levels that is faster and easier and can inexpensively be used on a larger scale to accurately identify potential donors with the best chance of helping patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus with convalescent plasma therapy.
The findings will also have applications beyond determining who the best plasma donors are. The consensus among the study authors is that, following donor identification, it will most likely next be used in practice to establish target levels of COVID-19 antibodies needed for effective vaccine candidates and passive immune therapies.
Additional uses coming later that are likely to have the biggest societal impact, the researchers say, are to assess relative immunity in those previously infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and identifying asymptomatic individuals with high levels of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
It was also found that donors who experienced shortness of breath (or dyspnea) while infected with COVID-19 and those who were hospitalized or had severe disease were more likely to have a robust immune response and, thus, had higher levels of neutralizing antibodies in all the tests. In the absence of available testing, identifying such donor characteristics may be used as a contingency plan to determine which patients have developed higher antibody levels and inform efforts to recruit plasma donors for therapeutic purposes.
Early findings from researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) show that convalescent plasma appears to be a safe and possibly effective treatment for children with life-threatening cases of COVID-19. The results were published online Friday by the journal Pediatric Blood and Cancer.
To date, no therapies have been proven safe and effective for children who develop life-threatening complications from contracting the SARS-COV-2 virus. One possible treatment that has been explored in adults is the use of convalescent plasma, which is derived from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and can be administered in currently ill patients to generate an antibody response that renders the virus inert. Early positive results were observed in adults who received convalescent plasma, but the treatment had not been studied in children.
“Some children who contract this virus can develop very serious complications, so even with limited data in adults, we believed it was worth exploring the use of convalescent plasma as a possible treatment option,” said David Teachey, MD, senior author of the study and an attending physician, Co-Leader of the Immune Dysregulation Frontier Program, and Director of Clinical Research at the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at CHOP.
A recent study has revealed that an antibody-based blockade might effectively treat cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and alleviate severe cases of COVID-19.
A team of researchers at the Osaka University and Osaka Habikino Medical Center in Japan conducted the recent study. They have now published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The global race to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 continues. In the meantime, researchers are looking for ways to effectively treat COVID-19, testing both existing drugs and new, experimental therapies.
Because scientists do not fully understand the mechanisms behind severe COVID-19, many doctors are treating it by following the sepsis treatment guidelines.
Scientists have designed a rapid, portable COVID-19 test that can provide results on a smartphone. Its developers claim that it could broaden access to affordable testing in regions that lack expertise, infrastructure, and specialized equipment for laboratory-based testing.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Illinois team explained how they developed a prototype test. According to their paper, the test can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in less than 40 minutes by using a hand-held reader, 3D-manufactured cartridge, and a smartphone.
In their paper, the authors propose that the point-of-care test “is designed for accessibility and the potential for scale-up.” They continue:
“This approach could enable the scalable deployment of COVID-19 diagnostics without laboratory-grade infrastructure and resources, especially in settings where a diagnosis is required at the point of collection, such as schools, facilities that care for the elderly or disabled, or sporting events.”
The researchers are now working with Fast Radius Inc., a Chicago-based technology company, to manufacture the microfluidic cartridges.
If the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines aren’t enough to convince you that face shields alone shouldn’t be used to stop the spread of COVID-19, then maybe a new visualization study will.
To increase public awareness about the effectiveness of face shields alone as well as face masks with exhalation valves, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science used qualitative visualizations to test how face shields and masks with valves perform in impeding the spread of aerosol-sized droplets. Widespread public use of these alternatives to regular masks could potentially have an adverse effect on mitigation efforts.
For the study, just published in the journal Physics of Fluids, researchers employed flow visualization in a laboratory setting using a laser light sheet and a mixture of distilled water and glycerin to generate the synthetic fog that made up the content of a cough-jet. They visualized droplets expelled from a mannequin’s mouth while simulating coughing and sneezing. By placing a plastic face shield and an N95-rated face mask with a valve, they were able to map out the paths of droplets and demonstrate how they performed.
Results of the study show that although face shields block the initial forward motion of the jet, the expelled droplets move around the visor with relative ease and spread out over a large area depending on light ambient disturbances. Visualizations for the face mask equipped with an exhalation port indicate that a large number of droplets pass through the exhale valve unfiltered, which significantly reduces its effectiveness as a means of source control.
“From this latest study, we were able to observe that face shields are able to block the initial forward motion of the exhaled jet, however, aerosolized droplets expelled with the jet are able to move around the visor with relative ease,” said Manhar Dhanak, Ph.D., department chair, professor, and director of SeaTech, who co-authored the paper with Siddhartha Verma, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant professor; and John Frankenfeld, a technical professional, all within FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering. “Over time, these droplets can disperse over a wide area in both lateral and longitudinal directions, albeit with decreasing droplet concentration.”
UNIVERSITY’S CONTACT TRACING APP IS PART OF ITS “TEST, TRACE, AND TREAT” STRATEGY IN BATTLING COVID-19
University of Arizona and Non-profit Covid Watch Launch COVID-19 Exposure App that Notifies Others Anonymously
University of Arizona students, faculty and staff can now download and opt in to the Covid Watch exposure notification smartphone app, which allows users who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to anonymously notify others who may have been exposed. After a successful pilot, the goal is for the app to be used statewide.
“The app is a vital part of our [Test-Trace-Treat] plan to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as we return to campus over the coming weeks with our on-ramp approach,” said University of Arizona President Robbins C. Robbins, MD. “I am very proud of our partnership with Covid Watch, which allows us to prioritize privacy while using this incredible technology for exposure alerts. I hope our entire campus community takes advantage of this resource. The more people who use it, the safer we will be.”