Keep washing those hands to prevent COVID-19 and other diseases

The COVID-19 infodemic worsens as the USA veers towards new heights of new cases

Hand hygiene does much more than prevent COVID-19, as health experts around the world want people to know on this Global Handwashing Day.

While the focus of this newsletter is COVID-19, there is news about another infectious disease worth noting: The FDA just approved the first treatment for Ebola. Regeneron’s Inmazeb is a combination of three monoclonal antibodies that stimulate the body’s immune system to thwart the often-deadly disease. This adds to the anti-Ebola toolkit that was improved in December, when the FDA approved Merck’s Ebola vaccine. More than 11,000 people in West Africa died during a major Ebola outbreak from 2014-2016.

Meanwhile, back to the USA’s public health emergency:

  • We never got out of the first wave, but the USA is surging towards a third peak — potentially higher than peaks one and two. The most new cases so far occurred on July 19, when the USA recorded 66,690 new cases. The pace now is steeply upward, with 52,156 cases reported on Monday. The New York Times illustrates and explains this well.

  • Beware of misinformation, disinformation and worse: Many people have been incorrectly citing a recent CDC study as justification to not wear face coverings. The study that is (incorrectly) cited looked only at healthcare workers. While it found that most who got COVID-19 had usually worn face coverings, many also had those face coverings off to eat or drink indoors or had other known risks.

  • The gym followed all health recommendations but 61 people still got COVID-19, according to health officials in Canada quoted in the Washington Post.

  • More than two-thirds of players at an ice hockey game in Florida in June got COVID-19, according to the CDC. Although some players wore hockey face masks, face coverings were not worn in locker rooms or other areas. Investigators attribute the spread of the virus to high exertion indoors. The virus survives longer in cool temperatures, too.

  • The CDC’s rapid loss of influence: Non-profit news organization ProPublica has a detailed investigative report on what was going on behind-the-scenes at the CDC starting December 31. Mistakes, political influence, and other missteps account for the once-revered agency’s reputation shift.

Got questions about COVID-19? Leave them in a comment, and we’ll see if there’s a good answer. Next scheduled newsletter will be Monday.

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