Skip to content

Daily New COVID-19 Cases in the US: 52,228 as of July 5 (or 6) per CDC; 46,042 per Worldometer; 49,093 per OurWorldInData; 45,157 per NYT; 57,186 per WHO. It may already be too late to stop.

2020-07-06

photo by Juraj Varga courtesy of pixabay.com

New cases of coronavirus continue their daily increase  (per New York Times live updates) since mid-June, with different organizations reporting different totals but all showing rises. Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas are seeing the greatest increases, with hospitals filling up and intensive care units (ICU) showing the strain.  Florida has reported more than 10,000 new cases a day for almost a week.  Public testing sites are overwhelmed with patients waiting hours in their cars, only to be turned away when testing supplies run out.  Yet the death rate has not increased, and in fact is much lower than two months ago.

Public health officials warn that the death rate could still increase, as the rise in cases dates only to mid-June, and it takes three weeks for death rates to catch up.  There are indications, though, that deaths may be lower because younger people are getting infected.  In addition, the use of anti-inflammatory steroids like dexamethasone is reducing deaths in seriously ill patients.

Remdesivir is still in short supply, with only 500,000 courses total being distributed by the federal government to the neediest hospitals.  When it is used, remdesivir may reduce the death rate (although the study showing a 1/3 reduction in deaths wasn’t big enough to reach statistical significance.)  Most of the world’s supply from Gilead was snapped up by the US government, although generic companies are beginning to produce it overseas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has downplayed the importance of SARS-COV-2 aerosol transmission, insisting that large droplets (produced by coughs and sneezes) are the main vector.  According to the New York Times, a group of 239 scientists has written an open letter to WHO pleading for the recognition of aerosols as an important factor.  The reason for this: they argue that medical personnel should wear N95 masks whenever they are in the same room with COVID-19 patients; and that air filtering and decontamination for indoor areas where people gather should play a more important role.

The scientists say that WHO’s decision-making is too slow (see also this article from Washington Post on July 5) and conservative to accommodate fast-moving scientific discoveries about the coronavirus.  The WHO didn’t endorse the use of face-masks until early June, partly because of a shortage and partly because they didn’t accept the evidence that aerosol transmission was a major factor.  They still emphasize hand-washing as a primary preventive measure.  They also don’t recognize the fact that asymptomatic patients account for a large proportion of person-to-person transmission events.

WHO has come in for a great deal of criticism, even from its associated scientists, who prefer to remain anonymous to avoid jeopardizing their contracts.  The New York Times story reports complaints by scientists about the bureaucratic nature of WHO’s decision-making.

Contact tracing and isolation, procedures that have been so successful in South Korea and some other countries, are lacking in the US.  San Francisco has a well-organized program, but they are the exception.  States like Florida have not recruited enough contact tracers and the suddenly increased workload has overwhelmed them.  Test results are taking too long, frequently from four days to a week, to make contact tracing useful for interrupting chains of transmission.

There is no place to send people for isolation in most states; empty hotel rooms have not been organized, even though they are widely available.  Isolating at home is impossible for poor people living in overcrowded conditions.  Services like food delivery that make isolation more possible have not been organized either.  Forbes has an article on July 5 explaining why ten simple steps to respond to coronavirus may be impossible for poor and elderly people.

Without well-organized contact tracing and isolation procedures, controlling the spread of the coronavirus is next to impossible.  It may already be too late for the US to stop the virus.

 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 2020-07-07 10:10 AM

    I’m glad you wrote something about WHO. Even before the tRump fiasco re Covid, I had carefully paid attention to what was going on, especially in Asia since we were scheduled to go to the Philippies on vacation on Feb. 15. In early Feb., the Philippines banned flights to and from China, and then I heard the WHO getting displeased with that action. My plane was Eva Airlines, a Taiwan airline company but was included in the ban because of the Philippines’ One-China policy. We were forced to cancel our flight and take Korean Airlines. That was first week of February. In fairness to Duterte, he did make an early call to protect the Filipinos. Why? Because the first Covid death outside of China was a Chinese tourist from Wuhan who travelled to the Philippines. At this point, China still allowed its citizens to travel , even those coming from Wuhan. Fortunately , Filipino health authorities were informed by Taiwan there was human to human infection, and believed Taiwan, unlike WHO who didn’t, when informed by Taiwan in early December.

    You have to understand why I’m so againts China. I don’t know why American media does not report what’s going on around the world, most particularly in Asia. HongKong, the Philippines, Vietnam , Indonesia, India, and 18 countries whose territorities are being grabbed by China. Even North Korea is complaining. They even want to own Mt. Everest. Even Duterte , much as I detest this president, has finally seen the light , and has come back and suspended his own suspension of the military agreement with the US. Why ? Because Chinese vessels have been harassing Filipino fishermen right there on Philippine territorial waters…… months ago, a Filipino fishing vessel was hit by a Chinese vessel, and leaving a dozen or so fishermen to drown. A Vietnamese vessel rescued them. Several weeks ago, another Filipino vessel was rammed bu a Chinese vessel with 40 people on it , the vessel sunk , and rescuers couldn’t find the fishermen, presumed dead. I’m assuming that was the last straw for Duterte.

    I can write more about this, but this is your blog, lol.

    Like

    • 2020-07-07 12:29 PM

      I could write more than a few blog posts about the problems with China! Their government is a big part of the problems (they did some good things, but too many bad.) Our government is losing its ability (due to he-who-must-not-be-named) to influence matters in the area of the South China Sea. It was the admirals who insisted on sending two aircraft carriers to the area– he just went along with it if they even told him. Withdrawing from WHO just leaves China with an opening to infiltrate and take over (news announcement today that the withdrawal was beginning and would finish next year.) I could go on and on. Maybe I will, soon, but right now I’ve got two subjects on my mind: the virus is one. The other is not-the-virus.
      I agree with your assessments of the governments of the various respective countries: hard to say which is worse, but at least the US has a chance to change. China and Filipino gov’ts unlikely to do so.
      One more thing: I wonder why the Chinese didn’t stop their people from travelling from Wuhan in early January? Seems like a lot of soon-to-be-sick people got through, like first known US patient on Jan. 16. Were they still in denial about the incredibly contagious and sneaky nature of the virus?
      PS I try to wear masks that have wires in the nose to pinch and make them stay up– I know it’s uncomfortable, but I breathe through my nose and I know it filters a lot of air. If you breathe through your mouth it’s not so bad.

      Like

      • 2020-07-07 4:17 PM

        I go to supermarkets and I see less people wearing masks, and they clearly have become complacent, especially the younger ones. I still freak out when an unmasked person comes within my 6 feet of security.

        Pres. Duterte has made a 180 degree turn when he suspends his own suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US. Of course this has something to do with China’s aggressive and blatant encroachment on Philippine territorial waters, and on other countries’. Duterte’s regime will end in 2022. 1 1/2 years more. He can wreak more havoc in 1 1/2 years, unfortunately. But so far, he has gotten more aware of the Filipinos’ sentiments about his pro-China stance…. some are now bravely calling him a traitor, brazenly selling the county off to his Chinese allies, besides being a coward, of course.

        In fairness to the Phil. gov’t, I don’t think it’s hiding the real figures of Covid cases.

        Good news to Filipinos. The US has deployed 3 naval ships, a few B -52s (bombers) , together with Japan, and Australia. I heard India will join, as well. Meanwhile, the Philippine gov’t has sent warnings to China that its incursions on Philippine territories will have “serious” consequences. The Philippines has also opened new airstrips and naval bases on the West Philippines Sea for American miltary vessels, and the US itself is making more. ( The Philippines has 7, 662 islands )

        It’s about time.

        Like

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: