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COVID White House hot spot, vaccine progress, flu season fears: Coronavirus pandemic update

Tens of millions of individuals worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, together with US President Donald Trump and a rising checklist of high-ranking Republican officers.


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For probably the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO website.

The White Home is the most recent coronavirus scorching spot. Within the days since President Donald Trump introduced he and first woman Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, a number of Trump administration staff, campaign staff, Republican lawmakers and even some White House reporters have been identified with COVID-19 as properly. Some experts speculate that this sudden burst of infections surrounding the president might be an instance of the kind of superspreader occasion that may be driving the pandemic, probably triggered by the widespread absence of masks and social distancing on the recent nomination of Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett.

Over 1 million people are recognized to have died from the novel coronavirus worldwide, with 20% of these fatalities — over 200,000 — occurring within the US, which has over 7 million of the world’s greater than 34 million energetic circumstances. With the US president hospitalized with COVID problems, many wonder how a developed nation with vastly extra sources than the world’s poorest international locations may find yourself among the many hardest hit.

There are different urgent questions moreover, like when a coronavirus vaccine will be ready and the way the beginning of flu season within the northern hemisphere may speed up and complicate the COVID-19’s unfold. Learn on for every thing we all know now. This story updates typically and is meant to supply background info solely, not medical recommendation.

Coronavirus pandemic: The most recent information

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What is a superspreader event and why is it concerning?

Some health experts have proposed that the main driver of sudden, widespread COVID-19 outbreaks are so-called “superspreader” events, where one infected person ends up infecting dozens and, in some cases, even hundreds of others. During the course of a COVID-19 infection, there’s a relatively short period — about three to four days, according to one doctor — during which infected people are especially contagious. If such a person comes into close contact with a large number of people during that time, say, by attending a wedding, a party or a Supreme Court nomination ceremony.

Usually superspreader events are indoors, but some have been outdoors (the Rose Garden ceremony was both). Although it hasn’t been publicly acknowledged that the Rose Garden gala was a superspreader event, eight of the more than 100 people in attendance have since tested positive for COVID-19.

What’s happening with vaccine development?

Teams of scientists around the world are working on dozens of vaccine candidates, with at least one manufacturer — Pfizer — saying it expects its vaccine to be distributed in the US before the year’s end. But it’s still going to be another few years before life goes back to normal, according to some experts.

Until then, mask use and social distancing are still health experts’ best advice for avoiding the virus. Masks, which science has repeatedly demonstrated have the potential to mute the spread of coronavirus when worn by 95% of the population, continue to only be used by about 49% of Americans

Social distancing is another key factor, but Americans are still socializing about 80% as much as before the pandemic, according to mobile phone location data. Factor in the research suggesting as few as 10% of infected people account for up to 80% of COVID-19 cases (aka superspreaders) and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Why are experts worried about flu season?

Most public health experts — including Drs. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have said they anticipate a big uptick this fall and winter. Even before Trump’s COVID diagnosis, the White House has admitted it’s preparing for the possibility. Part of that prediction was based on the assumption that the virus would slow down over the summer, however, which did not happen.

Closed Parks due to Coronavirus

A yo-yo effect of reopening and closing is possible until a vaccine is distributed.


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Much of the attention aimed at fall has now shifted to concern over the possibility of two potentially lethal viruses circulating at the same time — COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, the latter of which kills around 40,000 people in the US per year. Because of certain overlapping symptoms such as fever and a cough, it may be harder for doctors to immediately determine which infection you have.

“The real risk is that we’re going to have two circulating respiratory pathogens at the same time,” Redfield warned when he spoke to Time Magazine regarding the upcoming flu season. Also, if severe COVID-19 infections continue to push hospitals to the brink of their capacity and capabilities, it may also be harder to care for potentially virulent flu patients.

The CDC is nudging drug manufacturers to produce millions more doses of flu vaccine this year than usual in anticipation of greater demand. Typically, fewer than half of all US adults take the flu vaccine in any given year, but that rate increases to about two out of three for adults over 65, a population the CDC has identified as being at a higher risk for more severe COVID-19 infections

Why do coronavirus case numbers go up and down so much?

“This is like a forest fire, full steam ahead,” said renowned epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “And wherever there’s human wood to burn, it’ll do it. What we see, though, are these spikes in cases where [lockdowns] ended, or they are not adhering to them.”

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Though some have blamed the rise in new circumstances on expanded testing, positivity charges are rising quicker than testing alone can account for.


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At one level, about 90% of everyone in the US was beneath some type of lockdown order and the curve was starting to flatten. However that every one started to alter within the second half of April, when just a few states began loosening lockdown restrictions. By June, a lot of the nation had nearly absolutely reopened. Not lengthy after, new circumstances started to surge as soon as once more.

Epidemiologists have recognized a robust correlation between lockdown and case levels. Principally, wherever you look, circumstances drop when lockdown orders are issued — and shoot again up proper after restrictions begin lifting. The one factor that appears to disrupt the development is how properly an space’s inhabitants adheres to disease prevention measures like wearing face masks and limiting social gatherings.

Vanderbilt epidemiologist Loren Lipworth told The Washington Post again in July, “As we ease up on restrictions, there may be at all times going to be a resurgence in circumstances.” It is a prediction that’s nonetheless bearing out.

For extra on the coronavirus, this is what’s taking place with coronavirus vaccine development, what to do if you happen to or somebody you reside with gets COVID-19 and how to vacation while taking coronavirus precautions this fall.

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Dale Smith