Coronavirus pandemic in the US
When people infected with the novel coronavirus talk, their speech droplets can linger in the air and could potentially trigger new infections.
A new estimate by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania found that talking loudly for one minute in a confined space could generate at least 1,000 speech droplets containing Covid-19 particles.
Those droplets could remain in the air for more than eight minutes, according to the study published Tuesday in the open-access journal PNAS.
According to other research, that could be enough to generate an infection if someone inhaled them.
Bars and restaurants in Wyoming will be allowed to reopen on May 15 under a new order signed by Gov. Mark Gordon.
“We are trying to work our way safely to as normal conditions as we can get,” Gordon said Wednesday.
Tables will be limited to six people, but unlike most states with similar regulations, people from different households will be allowed to sit at the same table. Buffet service is not allowed, and tables must be separated by at least six feet.
All restaurant employees must be screened for Covid-19 symptoms before beginning work.
Movie theaters and salons also are being allowed to open with social distancing, and public gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed.
“The size change for gatherings is significant but does not allow for large events,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Alexia Harrist.
Some context: All of the health orders now in place are set to expire on May 31. Some counties have been given permission to loosen regulations even more.
“This is not a hold-my-beer moment,” Gordon said. “Let’s do this carefully and make sure we don’t lose ground.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he is working with Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam as the region grapples with Covid-19.
Hogan said the areas surrounding DC, including two Maryland counties, are hot spots for Covid-19.
“As I said, 70% of our infection rates are in four counties, I think 50% of it is in the two counties surrounding Washington. And Washington, Prince George’s and Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, right now are the hot spots in the country behind New York,” he said
Hogan said he spoke with both leaders on Friday and took their input into consideration when deciding Maryland’s next steps.
He announced Wednesday that Maryland will enter a partial reopening phase on Friday, lifting the stay-at-home order, and allowing certain businesses and activities to resume. Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, the two counties closest to Washington, will not move ahead with “Stage One” reopening guidelines yet.
Hogan’s announcement came hours after DC officials extended the city’s stay-at-home order through June 8.
Virginia will similarly implement a partial reopening on Friday, with Northern Virginia maintaining firmer restrictions.
“I think we’re all in accord with what���s going on. We’re working together on regional issues,” Hogan said.
Massachusetts reported 1,165 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and 174 new deaths, according to the state's Department of Public Health.
The state now has a total of 80,497 confirmed cases and 5,315 deaths, according to the state health website.
Coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts had been trending down since May 5, with less than 100 deaths reported every day since May 8 – until today.
New coronavirus cases in the state were trending down since May 6 when the state had 1,754 new cases. On May 11, the state hit a low of 669 new cases but that number has risen every day since.
The state had a peak number of 3,079 new coronavirus cases on April 23 and one day later, the state had a peak number of 193 coronavirus deaths.
Parents, hospitals and clinics should expect to see more cases of a mystifying condition that seems to be affecting children after a bout with Covid-19, doctors said Wednesday.
The condition, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, appears to be a post-viral syndrome, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a critical care specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital who has been coordinating a global group of doctors who compare notes on the condition.
It has affected at least 100 children in the United States, most of them in New York. But doctors in Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan and elsewhere have also reported cases.
“This multisystem inflammatory syndrome is not directly caused by the virus,” Burns told CNN. “The leading hypothesis is that it is due to the immune response of the patient.”
Symptoms include persistent fever, inflammation and poor function in organs such as the kidneys or heart. Children may also show evidence of blood vessel inflammation, such as red eyes, a bright red tongue and cracked lips.
Burns believes more cases will turn up as Covid-19 affects more people. It’s a rare condition, but rare consequences of viral infections are seen more often when millions of people are infected.
Most children are not seriously affected by the syndrome, Burns said. Most don’t even need treatment in the intensive care unit, he said, although a very few have died. “We do have proven treatments that we can use and are using,” he said. They include blood thinners and immune modulators.
President Trump said the administration will “go after” public companies that received
that they should not have taken if they don’t return the loan.
“Well we’ll go after them very seriously. If there’s any companies that got loans that they weren’t entitled to, we’ll go after them very seriously. They’ll have big problems,” Trump said.
The deadline for companies to return the loans with amnesty to the Small Business Association is Thursday.
Earlier in the week, a House coronavirus oversight panel asked five companies to return PPP loans.
President Trump said the House Democrats’ proposed $3 trillion coronavirus relief package is “dead on arrival” because it contains provisions he believes are meant to prevent Republicans from winning elections.
“It’s, as they say, 'DOA',” Trump said. “DOA.”
Congressional Republicans swiftly rejected the package, which includes new stimulus payments for families and payments to states.
Trump seemed to fixate on the roughly $3.6 billion contained in the bill that would aid states in addressing voting challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“What they want more than anything else — it’s a voting package,” Trump said. “They want to make sure that Republicans can’t win an election.”
The US Food and Drug Administration said thermal imaging systems shouldn’t be used for “mass fever screening” in crowds, according to guidance published Wednesday.
When used correctly, these devices have certain benefits such as allowing individuals’ temperatures to be taken at a distance, for example, the FDA said.
The agency cautioned that the systems “have not been shown to be accurate when used to take the temperature of multiple people at the same time.”
The effectiveness of the systems, the agency said, depends on their careful set-up and operation, as well as proper evaluation of the person being screened.
For example, people having their temperature taken shouldn’t have any facial obstructions, like masks or glasses. And they need to have waited at least 30 minutes after exercise or other temperature-altering activities.
The FDA also warned that thermal imaging systems alone can’t diagnose coronavirus. People can be contagious with a normal body temperature, for example, and people can have a fever for other reasons.
The FDA also said high body temperatures should be confirmed with other methods, like a clinical grade thermometer. And if someone does have a fever, the FDA recommended additional evaluation – such as a medical interview or laboratory testing.
President Trump said Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments that some schools should not reopen in the fall was not an “acceptable answer” and claimed that Fauci “wants to play all sides of the equation.”
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified on Tuesday on Capitol Hill and suggested that schools open only cautiously, and in some places perhaps not in the fall. Fauci was asked about the risk/benefit ratio between sending kids back to school and having them miss out on education.
“It’s obviously very difficult … the unintended consequences of trying to do something that broadly is important for the public health and the risk of having a return or a resurgence of an outbreak and the unintended deleterious consequences of having children at a school,” Fauci said. “I don't have a good explanation or solution for the problem of what happens when you close schools and it triggers a cascade of events."
Trump reacted to Fauci's remarks saying, “He wants to play all sides of the equation.”
Asked what he meant by that, Trump responded, “I was surprised by this answer actually because you know, it’s just to me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to school.”
Trump has insisted in recent weeks that schools will reopen in the fall, despite schools and universities saying otherwise.
“We’re opening our country. People want it open. The schools are going to be open,” Trump said Wednesday in the Cabinet Room.