Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

Next up in hunt for COVID-19 vaccine: Testing shots in kids

AP - October 22, 2020

The global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine for kids is only just beginning — a lagging start that has some U.S. pediatricians worried they may not know if any shots work for young children in time for the next school year. Older adults may be most vulnerable to the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children, too. Last week, Pfizer Inc. received permission to test its vaccine in U.S. kids as young as 12, one of only a handful of attempts around the world to start exploring if any experimental shots being pushed for adults also can protect children.

For-Profit Nursing Homes’ Pleas For Government Money Brings Scrutiny

NPR - October 22, 2020

Nursing homes have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus. Residents account for more than a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths nationwide. The industry says that facilities have also been overwhelmed by costs, and they're asking for billions in aid from the federal government. But recent studies suggest that for-profit ownership may have endangered residents by skimping on care, while funneling cash to owners and investors.

Daily coronavirus case numbers in the US are at levels not seen since the summer, and 14 states recently have set hospitalization records

CNN - October 21, 2020

Daily coronavirus case numbers in the US are at levels not seen since the summer, and more than a dozen states set record highs for Covid-19 hospitalizations in the past week -- yet more evidence, experts say, of a difficult fall and winter ahead. The country's seven-day average of new daily cases was above 58,300 as of Monday -- a level not seen since the first week of August, and climbing closer to the summer's peak of 67,200 on July 22. Average daily new cases have soared 70% since September 12, when the country was at a two-month low of about 34,300.

Rural U.S. Hospitals Are on Life Support as a Third Wave of COVID-19 Strikes

TIME - October 21, 2020

In rural areas of the country, where hospitals often have enough beds for just a few dozen patients, 15 facilities have shuttered this year as of Oct. 20, including 11 since March, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There may be as many as 18 such closures in 2020, topping last year’s record high. The hospitals in the worst financial shape generally have one thing in common: they serve the country’s most vulnerable people, who rely on Medicare and Medicaid or who are poor and uninsured.

Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates

NPR - October 21, 2020

Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness. … The study, which was of a single health system, finds that mortality has dropped among hospitalized patients by 18 percentage points since the pandemic began. Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance. That's a big improvement, but 7.6% is still a high risk compared with other diseases, and Horwitz and other researchers caution that COVID-19 remains dangerous.

US overdose deaths appear to rise amid coronavirus pandemic

AP - October 21, 2020

Davidson was part of a surge in overdose deaths that hit Kentucky this spring. May was its deadliest month for overdoses in at least five years. At the end of August, the state had seen almost as many overdose deaths as it had in all of 2019. It is not alone. National data is incomplete, but available information suggests U.S. drug overdose deaths are on track to reach an all-time high. Addiction experts blame the pandemic, which has left people stressed and isolated, disrupted treatment and recovery programs, and contributed to an increasingly dangerous illicit drug supply.

AP-NORC/USAFacts poll: US trust in COVID-19 information down

AP - October 21, 2020

The family doctor ranks highest when it comes to whom Americans trust for information about the coronavirus, with 53% saying they trust their health provider a great deal or quite a bit. After their doctors, 36% said they have high trust in federal health officials at agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, 26% in state or local governments, 18% in news media, 17% in family and friends, 16% in Trump, 12% in search engines and just 6% in social media. Experts in health, science and political communication said they see three reasons for the drop in trust: fear, politics and the public watching science messily forming in real time.

Older COVID Patients Battle ‘Brain Fog,’ Weakness and Emotional Turmoil

Kaiser Health News - October 21, 2020

Like other older adults who’ve become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls “brain fog” — difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to remember what happened a short time before. This sudden cognitive dysfunction is a common concern for seniors who’ve survived a serious bout of COVID-19. “.. Other challenges abound: overcoming muscle and nerve damage, improving breathing, adapting to new impairments, regaining strength and stamina, and coping with the emotional toll of unexpected illness.

Curbing COVID Brought Unexpected Benefit for Asthma Patients

HealthDay - October 21, 2020

Measures enacted to slow the spread of the new coronavirus also appeared to reduce hospitalizations for asthma, a new study finds. Researchers compared weekly data on hospitalizations at 272 hospitals in Japan in the first five months of 2020 to the same period in 2017, 2018 and 2019. … Further analysis found a significant decrease in the average number of asthma hospitalizations during weeks nine to 22 of this year compared to 2017-19.

Stress in America 2020 Survey Signals a Growing National Mental Health Crisis

American Psychological Association - October 21, 2020

Stress in AmericaTM 2020: A National Mental Health Crisis, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of APA, found that nearly 8 in 10 adults (78%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives, while 3 in 5 (60%) say the number of issues America faces is overwhelming to them. Gen Z adults, on average, say their stress level during the prior month is 6.1, on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 means “little to no stress” and 10 means “a great deal of stress.” … Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) say their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year.

COVID-19 Shutdowns Have Taken a Massive Toll On Elite Athletes’ Mental Health

TIME - October 21, 2020

According to a study released Tuesday from Stanford University and Strava, a social network of exercise enthusiasts, 22.5% of professional athletes reported feeling down or depressed on more than half of the days of the week in the period between mid-March and August of this year, while COVID-19 restrictions on athletic training and competition were in place, compared to 3.9% of athletes reporting the same struggles earlier this year before the pandemic hit.

As the World Series begins, here’s how baseball pulled off its pandemic season

NBC News - October 21, 2020

Months later, after myriad challenges along the way — from the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals teams battling Covid-19 outbreaks early on in the truncated season to teams undergoing constant testing to playing games in empty stadiums — the upstart Tampa Bay Rays and the talent-loaded Los Angeles Dodgers will begin the World Series Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas to determine who will be crowned the 2020 champion.

Workers are being laid off twice as COVID ripples through the economy

CBS News - October 21, 2020

We already are experiencing a second wave of layoffs," said Danielle Goldfarb, head of research at the polling company RIWI, which specializes in tracking and predicting trends. A high number of these are repeat layoffs, Goldfarb said. A survey from RIWI and Cornell University released last month found that, among an estimated 36 million workers called back to their jobs after a layoff this year, 27% have been laid off again, while another 36% were told they could still be laid off again.

Even The Most Successful Women Pay A Big Price In Pandemic

NPR - October 21, 2020

Millions of working moms [have] sidelined their work in the pandemic, stepping back from hard-earned careers to take care of the overwhelming needs at home. … While working fathers have not been spared in the pandemic, data collected by the Labor Department indicate that it's largely mothers who are dealing with children who are not in school full time this fall. In September, 865,000 women dropped out of the workforce — four times the number of men who did. Countless others like Chen are struggling to get anything done.

Melania Trump Sits Out Campaign Event Due to ‘Lingering Cough’ After Detailing COVID-19 Recovery

PEOPLE - October 21, 2020

Melania Trump is reportedly canceling her return to the campaign trail this week due to continued symptoms after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). A spokeswoman for the 50-year-old first lady said she is still improving despite a "lingering cough," causing her to avoid a rally for her husband's re-election campaign as a precaution, according to the Associated Press.

DC debuts smartphone-based COVID-19 exposure alert system

AP - October 21, 2020

The nation’s capital has become one of the first jurisdictions in the country to employ a new COVID-19 notification system, a joint Google-Apple venture that delivers alerts to people’s phones, notifying them that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus. … The new Exposure Notification Express model is a major tweak to existing Google-Apple contact tracing software that became available earlier this year. But that tool was not readily embraced by health departments around the country, partially because it required jurisdictions to build and maintain their own apps.