Coronavirus spread within households is common, and “substantial transmission” occurs from both children and adults, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Health officials have been warning about virus transmission occurring inside homes. Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, for instance, has warned that coronavirus-related closures of public places won’t stop virus spread in this phase of the pandemic, where at-home gatherings are contributing to cases, reported the Chicago Tribune.
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Also, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said: “In fact where we see the spread of COVID-19 is where we let down our guard, where we literally let down our mask because we feel comfortable with those we love, but the virus is just looking for opportunities to spread.”
In its latest report, the CDC assessed 101 households in Nashville, Tenn., and Marshfield, Wis., from April to September. The households included 101 index patients (or the believed source of infection) and 191 household contacts. These people took self-samples for the virus everyday for two weeks.
Over half (53%) of all household contacts were infected and “secondary infections occurred rapidly, with approximately 75% of infections identified within 5 days of the index patient’s illness onset,” the health agency wrote.
Younger index patients aged 12 to 17 years infected about 38% of household contacts, according to the data.
CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN
To lower the risk of virus spread at home, the CDC recommends isolating immediately upon coronavirus-like symptoms, testing positive, or testing due to high-risk exposure, whichever happens first. Also, everyone should wear masks in shared spaces at home.
Members of the same household should use separate bedrooms and bathrooms if possible, the CDC wrote. Finally, a significant number of infected people in the study were asymptomatic, which further emphasizes the importance of isolation, the agency wrote.
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President Trump’s illness from a coronavirus infection last month was the most significant health crisis for a sitting president in nearly 40 years. Yet little remains known about how the virus arrived at the White House and how it spread.
The administration did not take basic steps to track the outbreak, limiting contact tracing, keeping cases a secret and cutting out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The origin of the infections, a spokesman said, was “unknowable.”
But one standard public health technique may still shed some light: tracking the cluster’s genetic fingerprints.
To better understand the outbreak, The Times worked with prominent geneticists to determine the genetic sequence of viruses that infected two Times journalists believed to been exposed to the coronavirus as part of their work covering the White House.
The study reveals, for the first time, the genetic sequence of the virus that may have infected President Trump and dozens of others, researchers said. That genome is a crucial clue that may allow researchers to identify where the outbreak originated and whether it went on to infect others across the country.
The White House has not disclosed any effort to conduct similar genetic testing, but the study’s results show that it is still possible, even weeks after positive tests. Additional sequencing could help establish the path of the virus through the White House, the role of a possible super-spreading event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and the origin of an outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence in the last week or so.
The journalists, Michael D. Shear and Al Drago, both had significant, separate exposure to White House officials in late September, several days before they developed symptoms. They did not spend any time near each other in the weeks before their positive tests.
Mr. Shear traveled with Mr. Trump and other staff on Air Force One on Sept. 26, when Mr. Trump approached within five or six feet without a mask. Mr. Drago covered the Judge Barrett event that day and a news conference the next day near officials who were not wearing masks and later tested positive.
The viral genomes of the two journalists shared the same distinct pattern of mutations, the research found. Along with their exposure history, the findings suggest that they were infected as part of the broader White House outbreak, said Trevor Bedford, a geneticist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington who led the research team.
“These mutations that are possessed by these viruses are quite rare in the United States,” Dr. Bedford said. “I am highly convinced that these viruses come from the same outbreak or cluster based on their genomes.”
The study, which has been posted online but not yet peer reviewed or published in a science journal, followed academic protocols that require genetic samples to be anonymous. Mr. Shear and Mr. Drago chose to disclose their identities for this article.
Viruses constantly mutate, picking up tiny, accidental alterations
Fact check: No, the media didn’t suddenly change its reporting on coronavirus immunity after Trump got infected
The story goes like this: The media had always said that people who survived a Covid-19 infection would be immune from the virus for life. But once he, Trump, got infected and survived, the media started claiming immunity only lasted for months.
Trump said much the same thing at a Wednesday rally in Bullhead City, Arizona, this time adding that “they’ve changed the whole medical standard” because of his own infection.
Facts First: Trump’s story is false. In the months before Trump tested positive for Covid-19 in early October, numerous major media outlets had reported that scientists were not yet sure how long survivors might have immunity. While we can’t definitively say there was no media report whatsoever from before Trump’s infection that had claimed survivors would get lifetime immunity, it was certainly not widely reported that survivors were immune for life.
Even upbeat media stories about optimistic findings about immunity noted that the facts had not been conclusively settled.
The AAP said 94,555 new child cases were reported from October 8 to October 22.
Severe illness and deaths from Covid-19 are still rare among children. As of October 22, children represented between 1% and 3.6% of total hospitalizations, depending on the state. Between 0.6% and 6.9% of all child Covid-19 cases resulted in hospitalization and in states that reported the information, up to 0.15% of all children with Covid-19 died. Sixteen states reported no child deaths.
The CDC provides a national number of cases by age in its data tracker, but the age data isn’t released on a regular schedule. The AAP reports on numbers of cases among children weekly.
With the CDC numbers it is also hard to know where the cases are coming from, as there are no geographic indicators provided with the CDC’s age data.
The AAP’s count is not totally complete, because not all states report data in the same way. The cases are likely undercounted, according to the organization. These numbers come from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. A smaller subset of states report information about hospitalizations and deaths by age.
The AAP recommends that children wear masks, avoid large crowds and keep a healthy distance from others. It also suggests all children 6 months or older get a flu shot. Pediatricians say it’s even more important than ever to get a flu shot before the end of October.
With two respiratory diseases circulating at the same time –flu and coronavirus — will be confusing to doctors, parents and caregivers. Plus, hospitals and clinics could be overwhelmed with the double burden.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite his exposure to a top aide who tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Saturday.
Pence himself tested negative, his office said. Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the vice president is considered a “close contact” of his chief of staff, Marc Short, but will not quarantine, said spokesman Devin O’Malley.Read More
LONDON—U.K. researchers plan to start infecting healthy volunteers with tightly controlled doses of the coronavirus in early 2021 in what they called a first-of-its-kind effort to more rapidly gauge the effectiveness of multiple vaccines against Covid-19.
The plans for so-called human-challenge trials target 18- to 30-year-olds who have been free of Covid-19 symptoms and show no other risk factors such as heart disease or diabetes, said the researchers, led by infectious-disease experts at Imperial College London, who are overseeing the effort.
The goal of is to test how effective vaccines are in warding off infection and symptoms and to study in detail how participants’ immune systems respond. Plans are to start at a clinical site at London’s Royal Free Hospital, part of the state-funded National Health Service, and eventually expand the study to other sites nationwide, researchers said.
Scientists around the globe for months have debated whether deliberately infecting healthy people with the virus that causes Covid-19 is too high risk and therefore unethical.
The debate over inoculating humans with live, potent viruses has gone on for centuries. In a now-famous experiment in the late 1700s, British doctor Edward Jenner injected a child with the smallpox virus, then recorded details of the boy’s reaction.
The U.K. researchers said Tuesday that independent ethics and health committees will first have to approve the study before volunteers are enrolled, and they will closely monitor every phase, from participant screening to injection, isolation and follow-up.
Initially, trial subjects will be quarantined and compensated for an expected period of two to 2½ weeks, the group of researchers said. Scientists plan to expose the volunteers initially with the smallest dose possible until they find a level that reliably causes infection. The virus will be injected as droplets through the nose.
That first phase of the study doesn’t involve a vaccine, scientists said. After the researchers better understand infection levels and participant responses, they will integrate vaccines to measure their effectiveness when volunteers encounter the virus.
Backers of challenge trials say they are necessary in the pandemic to expedite approval and fine-tuning of vaccines and for better understanding of the disease. Vaccines normally can take eight to 10 years to develop. Covid-19 has spurred accelerated research and testing of experimental vaccines in a fraction of that time in bids to save lives and jump-start economies. Leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates have progressed into late-stage testing and could be available, if granted emergency authorization, as early as December, companies developing them have said.
Researchers in the planned U.K. challenge trials said they haven’t identified which vaccine candidates they will use, and said the challenge study doesn’t replace conventional vaccine clinical trials, which rely on participants to be naturally exposed to the virus.
During the challenge trials, treatments, which will initially include the antiviral drug remdesivir, will be at the ready and administered most likely before the volunteers even show symptoms, in an effort to limit the risk of severe disease, Dr. Chris Chiu, the study’s lead researcher from Imperial
Every resident of a Kansas nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 residents have died, according to area health officials.
The Norton County Health Department confirmed on Monday that all 62 residents of the Andbe Home, a privately owned facility, tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 62 individuals, 10 have died, one is hospitalized and the others are being cared for at the facility.
The department also confirmed that “some” staff members at the nursing home in Norton have tested positive for the virus, and others are being tested.
“Norton County Health Department has been working with the Andbe Home, Norton County Hospital and [the Kansas Department of Health and Environment] regarding this outbreak. Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and now allowing outside visitors into the facility,” department officials said in a Monday statement, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of the outbreak.
Posted by Norton County Health Department and Home Health on Monday, October 19, 2020
The department did not reveal how many residents are experiencing symptoms of the disease.
There have been over 250,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in nursing homes across the country, according to federal data, as well as over 143,000 suspected cases and over 59,000 fatalities.
Kansas has reported 74,616 cases of COVID-19 and 872 related deaths. Cases across the state have continued to spike since the summer, and at least 13 new coronavirus deaths and 1,894 cases were reported on Monday.
In a bid to speed up the race to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the U.K. government announced Tuesday morning that it will be launching some controversial vaccine trials known as challenge trials.
The experiment will take place in a quarantine ward of a north London hospital. After inhaling a diluted dose of the virus, the trial participants will be closely monitored, thus enabling scientists and doctors to better understand the disease and how a vaccine can fight it.
The 1Day Sooner advocacy group, which has been petitioning the government to allow challenge trials, hailed the announcement. “We are glad the U.K. government is embracing the altruism of the thousands of our British volunteers who want these studies,” the group said.
The advocacy group says these trials “will be key to making multiple safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available for the whole world, including those in low-income countries bearing the brunt of this pandemic.”
It says it believes these trials will not only accelerate research into vaccines but “will also answer essential questions about COVID-19 immunity that are broadly applicable to the development of treatments and public health policy.”
Alastair Fraser-Urquhart, 18, a spokesperson for 1Day Sooner, explained to ABC News his motivation to volunteer for these trials. Brushing aside the fact that he’s putting himself at risk, he said, “I’m convinced that challenge trials will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds, and if I didn’t do something and I wasn’t advocating challenge trials I would regret it.”
Andrew Catchpole, the chief scientist of hVIVO, the company that will be running the trials in conjunction with the British government and Imperial College University, stressed to ABC News that as much risk as possible has been removed from the process.
Only people ages 18 to 30, proven to be healthy, will be taken as volunteers, according to Catchpole, and the dose of the virus that they will be exposed to will be very carefully calibrated.
“So just like any other clinical trial, what you would expect is that any product we put into a human needs to undergo very tight regulations, and this is no exception to that,” Catchpole said.
“So the virus, which we would inoculate them with, has been manufactured to the very high standards, a medical grade version of the virus that undergoes very high regulatory scrutiny to make sure that that virus is safe and suitable for use — just like you would expect for any other licensed medicine,” he added.
LONDON — British volunteers will be intentionally infected with Covid-19 as part of an experimental trial that could change scientists’ understanding of the virus.
London is hosting the world’s first coronavirus so-called “challenge trials” in which volunteers are injected with a potential vaccine before being given a nasal-spray dose of the potentially deadly pathogen.
Ahead of the announcement by Open Orphan plc on Tuesday, there has been huge controversy within the scientific community.
Supporters say challenge trials can be far quicker than regular vaccine tests, potentially shortening the wait until the world has access to an effective inoculation.
But critics argue that too little is known about Covid-19 to make challenge trials safe. While young people rarely die of the disease, there is increasing evidence they can be left with long-term debilitating illnesses.
Sue Tansey, a pharmaceutical physician who is a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent British watchdog, said that there was still “disagreement among experts” whether it’s appropriate to go ahead with challenge trials. “People are divided because it’s an ethical conundrum,” she said.
“The funding announced today for these ground-breaking but carefully controlled studies marks an important next step in building on our understanding of the virus and accelerating the development of our most promising vaccines which will ultimately help in beginning our return to normal life,” Alok Sharma, the U.K.’s business secretary, said in a statement distributed by Open Orphan.
There are more than 150 vaccines in development around the world, a handful of which have reached phase 3 tests, where large numbers of people — as many as tens of thousands — are given the vaccine, while others get a placebo.
In ordinary studies volunteers are sent out into the world and regularly tested for Covid-19 in the hope that there will be some noticeable difference between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups. However this can take a long time — many of the participants will take months to get infected if they do at all.
A challenge trial could shorten that timeline: All volunteers get the vaccine, and all of them get the virus too. Researchers say a group of just 40 volunteers would likely tell them a huge amount about any vaccine candidate in just a short space of time. Everyone accepts there are risks.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the U.K.’s chief scientific adviser, said in July that two things needed to happen for challenge trials to be considered safe. Scientists need to know the right dose to administer and to have discovered antiviral drugs that can “rescue” patients who become seriously ill.
Asked what the answers to these questions were, he said, “We don’t yet know.”
Although young people aged 18 to 30 — who typically volunteer for medical trials — rarely