Health officials: Covid risk remains high

With holiday weekend approaching, experts fear people will let their guard down and increase risk of COVID-19 transmission. Meantime, chest x-rays may be a new tool to identify infected people.

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Lots of commotion about the reported instruction to states about COVID-19 vaccine distribution “as early as November 1,” with many, including former top government scientists, saying that implementation of a vaccine cannot be done safely before Phase 3 safety and efficacy trials are completed. Watch for much more on this. (Refer to yesterday’s newsletter for the background.)

  • With Labor Day approaching, health experts and others are bracing for COVID-risky activities like we saw over Memorial Day weekend and, in many places, during the July 4th holiday. Large numbers of people traveling to current or potential hot spots have some officials worried, especially as new COVID-19 cases appear to be rising in places where infection-control vigilence may be waning, according to Bloomberg News.

  • Chest x-rays can be used to detect COVID-19. Researchers at Louisiana State University found distinctive markers in chest x-rays of COVID-19 patients that predicted COVID infections in 83% of 400 cases reviewed.

  • Party allegiance affects COVID-19 infection rates. New polling shows that most Democrats are concerned about COVID-19, while most Republicans are not. The public policy impact now is reflected in new infection rates: seven out of every 10 new cases are arising in Republican-led states, according to the Washington Post.

  • Understanding how the USA reacted to prior pandemic threats: An excellent article by Dan Milner, chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, reviews how the USA’s response to COVID-19 compares with responses to similar risks such as SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009 and Ebola in 2014. I worked on the H1N1 response at the medical center where I was working at the time, and the differences between then and now are most troubling. Testing was available within weeks of the first case, enabling rapid containment of H1N1 infections.

Give others space, cover your face, and wash your hands. Always.

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