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Alabama adds 3,852 COVID cases after influx of backlogged data dating back to June

Alabama added more than 3,800 COVID cases yesterday after a huge influx of backlogged data dating back to June.

The Alabama Department of Public Health showed a total of 180,916 coronavirus cases in the state, up 3,852 from the day before. Of that total, 973 were confirmed cases and 2,879 were probable. Of that 2,879, the 2,565 were antigen tests from a facility in Mobile that dated back to the summer.

The cases “will be classified as probable COVID-19 cases reported on 10/22/20 even though the tests were performed during June through Oct. 18. All laboratories are required by law to report all results (including positive and negative results) for (COVID-19) to ADPH,” the agency said in an announcement.

“Delays in reporting by required reporters is not within control of ADPH. Processing the backlog will not impact the ADPH COVID-19 Risk Indicator Dashboard,” ADPH added.

The state added 16 deaths to bring its total to 2,859.

ADPH reports 864 patients are currently hospitalized due to coronavirus.

Here are the latest county-by-county numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The numbers include both confirmed and probable cases with the overnight increases shown in parenthesis:

Autauga – 2030 (+7)

Baldwin – 6615 (+140)

Barbour – 1012 (+15)

Bibb – 825 (+14)

Blount – 1911 (+13)

Bullock – 639 (+2)

Butler – 1002 (+1)

Calhoun – 4224 (+35)

Chambers – 1343 (+7)

Cherokee – 731 (+5)

Chilton – 1858 (+17)

Choctaw – 390 (+2)

Clarke – 1336 (+36)

Clay – 736 (+7)

Cleburne – 551 (+8)

Coffee – 1732 (+15)

Colbert – 1987 (+20)

Conecuh – 560 (+3)

Coosa – 203 (+1)

Covington – 1714 (+15)

Crenshaw – 603 (+1)

Cullman – 2399 (+42)

Dale – 1665 (+11)

Dallas – 1863 (+1)

DeKalb – 3360 (+58)

Elmore – 3173 (+24)

Escambia – 1722 (+3)

Etowah – 4214 (+27)

Fayette – 569 (+8)

Franklin – 2032 (+11)

Geneva – 861 (+9)

Greene – 342

Hale – 758 (+9)

Henry – 643 (+4)

Houston – 3717 (+25)

Jackson – 2125 (+25)

Jefferson – 22987 (+137)

Lamar – 474 (+8)

Lauderdale – 2180 (+32)

Lawrence – 837 (+16)

Lee – 6517 (+21)

Limestone – 2797 (+32)

Lowndes – 704 (+1)

Macon – 530 (+1)

Madison – 9228 (+78)

Marengo – 1002 (+10)

Marion – 1071 (+9)

Marshall – 4372 (+42)

Mobile – 16,788 (+2,320)

Monroe – 645 (+5)

Montgomery – 9978 (+103)

Morgan – 4071 (+35)

Perry – 585 (+2)

Pickens – 836 (+12)

Pike – 1327 (+4)

Randolph – 820 (+8)

Russell – 1928 (+5)

St. Clair – 2891 (+20)

Shelby – 7274 (+70)

Sumter – 472 (+2)

Talladega – 2636 (+25)

Tallapoosa – 1313 (+8)

Tuscaloosa – 10,235 (+87)

Walker – 2755 (+33)

Washington – 734 (+100)

Wilcox – 564 (+2)

Winston – 919 (+6)

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Analysis: Lack of Antidotes Adds to Ethical Dilemmas for UK COVID-19 Challenge Trials | Top News

LONDON (Reuters) – UK scientists seeking approval to deliberately infect healthy people with COVID-19 in trials must first convince ethics specialists that, among other things, they have potential “rescue therapies” or antidotes to halt the disease.

The problem is that, for the novel coronavirus, there is still no effective treatment or cure.

That means, for now, that the best scientists planning the so-called human challenge studies can offer is Gilead’s remdesivir – an antiviral drug that was found in a large trial to have no impact on COVID-19 death rates.

Chris Chiu, a scientist at Imperial College London co-leading the COVID-19 challenge experiments, said the plan was to give remdesivir to infected volunteers based on a “strong belief” it will be effective if given in the very earliest stages of disease.

Some ethics and medicine experts said that posed problems.

“As an effective rescue therapy does not yet exist for SARS-CoV2, there is a serious ethical dilemma … to address here,” said Stephen Griffin, an associate professor in the school of medicine at Britain’s Leeds University.

Other specialists said the lack of antidotes or rescue therapies was only one of several risks the research team would have to minimise, and trial volunteers would have to accept, if the studies are to gain ethical approval.

Plans to reduce those risks include picking the most robust, healthy, young volunteers to be infected, and using the bare minimum amount of the coronavirus to infect them with COVID-19.

Dominic Wilkinson, a professor of medical ethics at Oxford university, said that, while desirable, having an effective treatment at the ready after deliberately infecting volunteers was “not essential for the ethics of such a trial”.

“The ethical necessity of these trials, and of any trial, is that you assess the risks, you minimise the risks, and you communicate the risks,” he told Reuters. “It’s not the case that you have a situation where there are no risks.”

Human challenge trials are not new. Scientists have used them for decades to learn more detail about – and develop treatments and vaccines against – several other diseases such as malaria, flu, typhoid and cholera.

“Generally with such trials in the past, they were done when you had a specific treatment,” said Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization (WHO), when asked about the planned UK trials using the novel coronavirus.

“You must ensure that everybody involved understands exactly what is at stake … and ensure informed consent is rigorous – that they really do understand all the risks,” she said.

Ohid Yaqub, a science policy expert at Britain’s University of Sussex, pointed to WHO guidelines on the issue, which among other things say human challenge trials “might be considered when the disease an organism causes has an acute onset, can be readily and objectively detected, and existing efficacious treatments … can be administered … to prevent significant morbidity, and eliminate mortality.”

Yaqub warned of a risk to public trust in science and medicine if these criteria

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India adds 61,800 new cases, 1,033 deaths

NEW DELHI — India has added 61,871 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 1,033 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 114,031.

The country is continuing a downward trend in new cases, but virus-related fatalities jumped after recording the lowest daily figure of 680 in nearly three months on Friday.

Some experts say India’s numbers may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.


Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to prepare cold storage chains and distribution network for vaccine delivery along the lines of conducting elections, involving all levels of government and citizen groups.

According to Indian officials, three vaccines are in advanced stages of development.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge

— Trump plays down virus as he steps up pitch for second term

— US resorts adapt to new normal of skiing amid pandemic

— Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases.

— Iran has its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000, in what has been the Mideast region’s worst outbreak.

— Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from what had been the sharpest recession in modern history. A resurgence in coronavirus cases this month is a bitter blow that will likely turn what was meant to be a period of healing for the economy into a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has loosened lockdown restrictions as new and active COVID-19 continue to decline.

From midnight Sunday, Melbourne residents will no longer face limits on the time they can spend away from their homes for education or recreation. Previous restrictions allowing Melburnians to travel only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from home will increase at midnight to 25 kilometers (15 miles).

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households will be allowed and golf and tennis can resume.

Victoria state reported only two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no deaths. The rolling 14-day average of cases dropped to eight, the lowest in four months.

There were only 137 active cases across Victoria state on Sunday with 12 people receiving hospital treatment, none in intensive care.

Regulations will be further loosened on Nov. 2 with the partial reopening

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Rockland Amends Mask Order, Adds Adults, Removes Day Care

NEW CITY, NY — On Friday, Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced amendments to the Commissioner’s Standing Order about coronavirus, masks and educational institutions that was issued Thursday.

To align the local order with New York State Department of Health and New York State Office of Children and Family Services guidance, early childhood day care was removed and adult learning programs were added.

Now the health order requires that all educational institutions, school-age childcare programs, adult learning programs including colleges and universities, and school transportation companies are responsible to require and ensure that all children, students, faculty and staff (who are able to medically tolerate a face covering) cover their noses and mouths with acceptable face coverings at all times, other than during approved mask breaks where students can maintain social distancing.

“It is critical that we do everything within our power to protect the children of our community,” said County Executive Ed Day. “This Order gives our inspectors the ability to issue fines to the businesses and institutions responsible for the safety of our children. While we have long been limited by the Governor in terms of actions that we can take locally related to COVID-19, his recent Executive Order 202.68 clarified the authority of the Health Department to act with respect to his Executive Orders and the New York State Department of Health’s regulations.”

If a child, student, faculty, staff member or visitor is observed without a face covering in any program, school or vehicle regulated under this Commissioner’s Order, that shall constitute a violation. Each violation is subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,000 per violation per day.

“We are in the midst of a deadly Public Health Emergency, and we have seen many recent cases linked to schools, daycares and congregate settings throughout the County. Masks have shown to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Given the recent increases in active cases, we must all redouble our efforts to protect the health of residents and especially children,” said Dr. Ruppert.

Reports of possible violations can be made to the County’s COVID-19 Hotline at (845) 238-1956 on from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday or via email to COVIDCallCenter@co.rockland.ny.us. Staff from the Rockland County Department of Health, Rockland Codes Initiative will respond in a timely manner to complaints and in accord with operating hours of educational institutions and/or buses.

This article originally appeared on the New City Patch

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Maryland adds 781 coronavirus cases, four deaths Friday

Maryland officials reported 781 new coronavirus cases on Friday and four new deaths associated with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

With Friday’s additions, Maryland has confirmed 134,329 cases and 3,887 deaths in total since state officials began tracking the spread of the virus in March. Through Thursday’s data, Maryland had the 29th most cases per capita and the 16th most deaths per capita in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

According to the university, it had conducted the 32nd-most tests per capita in the country. Maryland officials reported a total testing volume of just over 3 million on Friday, up by over 27,000 from Thursday. Officials also reported that nearly 11,000 additional people had tested negative on Friday.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate increased slightly from the previous day, sitting at 3.09% heading into the weekend.

Johns Hopkins, meanwhile, reported the state’s seven-day positivity rate to be 5.53%. Rather than calculate this rate by looking at the percentage of tests conducted that return a positive result — as state officials do — the university uses the percentage of people who test positive for the virus in a weeklong span, meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of results are only counted once in its measure.

This difference is significant because the World Health Organization says governments should wait until their positivity rates measure below 5% for 14 straight days before beginning to ease back virus-related restrictions.

According to state officials, Maryland has been under this threshold since July — the last day the state reported a daily positivity rate higher than 5% was July 28 — but Johns Hopkins hasn’t reported a rate lower than that bench mark for weeks.

After the number of people hospitalized from the virus’s effects dropped slightly on Thursday, this number increased again on Friday. Maryland reported four new COVID-19 patients on Friday, bringing the total to 416. According to state officials, 111 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units, up by two from Thursday.

As of Friday, 7,869 total people had been released from isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

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