Hydroxychloroquine does NOT counter SARS-CoV-2 in Hamsters, High Dose of Favipiravir DOES

GREAT NEWS for hamsters!

A high dose of favipiravir, however, had a potent effect. A few days after the infection, the virologists detected hardly any infectious virus particles in the hamsters that received this dose and that had been infected intranasally. Moreover, hamsters that were in a cage with an infected hamster and had been given the drug did not develop an obvious infection. Those that had not received the drug all became infected after having shared a cage with an infected hamster.

KU Leuven. “Hydroxychloroquine does not counter SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters, high dose of favipiravir does: study.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201009162432.htm.

Hopefully good news for humans.

Favipiravir: A new and emerging antiviral option in COVID-19

Favipiravir was first used against SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan at the very epicenter of the pandemic. Then, as the pandemic spread to Europe, this drug received approval for emergency use in Italy, and currently has been in use in Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Kazakhstan. Approval has also recently been granted in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Thereafter, Turkey, Bangladesh, and most recently Egypt have also seen recent commercial launches. In June 2020, favipiravir received the DCGI approval in India for mild and moderate COVID-19 infections. As of the 23rd of July, 2020; there are 32 studies registered on clinicaltrials.gov to assess the utility of this drug in the management of COVID-19 (3 completed, 12 recruiting).1

Favipiravir: A new and emerging antiviral option in COVID-19 — http://Med J Armed Forces India. 2020 Sep 2 doi: 10.1016/j.mjafi.2020.08.004 [Epub ahead of print]

Yale study reveals which gender is better at social distancing. Take a guess

Researchers headed to the streets in New York City; New Haven, Connecticut; and New Brunswick, New Jersey, and tracked the behaviors of unsuspecting passersby. They also analyzed the movements of 15 million cellphone GPS data points, and surveyed 800 people about their practices. They found that women are far superior at wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing, and are more likely to stay home and limit contact with family and friends. Women also are more likely to rely on advice from medical experts.

Yale study reveals which gender is better at social distancing. Take a guesshttps://www.fastcompany.com/90562466/yale-study-reveals-which-gender-is-better-at-social-distancing-take-a-guess?partner=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner

Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults

Of these 1,567 participants, 400 were assigned to two weekly sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT), 387 were assigned to moderate intensity continuous training (MICT), and 780 to follow the Norwegian guidelines for physical activity (control group), all for five years.

After five years, the overall mortality rate was 4.6% (72 participants).

The researchers found no difference in all cause mortality between the control group (4.7%, 37 participants) and combined HIIT and MICT group (4.5%, 35 participants).

They also found no differences in cardiovascular disease or cancer between the control group and the combined HIIT and MICT group.

BMJ. “Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults, finds trial.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007193656.htm (accessed October 8, 2020). — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007193656.htm

Finally some scientific justification for my lack of exercise.

Not So Tiny Human Disease Vectors (still kids though)

There is increasing evidence that children and adolescents can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (13). During July–August 2020, four state health departments and CDC investigated a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred during a 3-week family gathering of five households in which an adolescent aged 13 years was the index and suspected primary patient; 11 subsequent cases occurred.

Citation for this article: Schwartz NG, Moorman AC, Makaretz A, et al. Adolescent with COVID-19 as the Source of an Outbreak at a 3-Week Family Gathering — Four States, June–July 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 5 October 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6940e2

Sorry folks but you probably need to rethink Thanksgiving this year.

Nearly 39,000 Meat Packers Have COVID-19

As of Sept. 18, there have been at least 39,000 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 419 plants in 40 states, and at least 185 reported worker deaths in at least 51 plants in 27 states.

Tracking Covid-19’s impact on meatpacking workers and industry — https://investigatemidwest.org/2020/04/16/tracking-covid-19s-impact-on-meatpacking-workers-and-industry/

And in case you missed this interesting hypothesis…

Our laboratory work has shown that SARS-CoV-2 can survive the time and temperatures associated with transportation and storage conditions associated with international food trade. When adding SARS-CoV-2 to chicken, salmon and pork pieces there was no decline in infectious virus after 21 days at 4°C (standard refrigeration) and –20°C (standard freezing).

Seeding of outbreaks of COVID-19 by contaminated fresh and frozen food — https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.17.255166 (This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review) — https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.17.255166v1.full#disqus_thread

I will keep an eye open for other studies that either confirm or dismiss the findings of this study.

29 Million Americans Don’t Have Enough to Eat

According to a new report commissioned by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), as of July, the number of people who said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat has skyrocketed to 29 million, or 11 percent of adults in the United States. (By comparison, 8 million adults, or around 4 percent, did not have enough to eat in 2018.) In 38 states and Washington, D.C., more than one in ten adults with children had inadequate amounts of food, with the highest rates of hunger in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas…

Now, new data from the Census Bureau, referenced in the report, shows that even America’s middle class is now reckoning with hunger. Two years ago, only 3 percent of adults earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year said they did not have enough to eat; during the pandemic, that rose to 8 percent. Similarly, 5 percent of adults earning between $35,000 and $50,000 reported that hunger in 2018; now, it is 12 percent. 

https://thecounter.org/covid-19-hunger-food-insecurity-crisis-america/

What a smoky bar can teach us about the ‘6-foot rule’ during the COVID-19 pandemic

How smoke moves inside a bar or outside in fresh air can help in visualizing how the coronavirus spreads. Shironosova/Getty Images Plus

Byron Erath, Clarkson University; Andrea Ferro, Clarkson University; Goodarz Ahmadi, Clarkson University, and Suresh Dhaniyala, Clarkson University

When people envision social distancing, they typically think about the “6-foot rule.”

It’s true that staying 6 feet from other people can reduce the chance of a coronavirus-laden respiratory droplet landing in your eyes, nose or mouth when someone coughs. Most of these droplets are too tiny to see, and people are expelling them into the air all the time – when they shout, talk or even just breathe.

But the 6-foot rule doesn’t account for all risks, particularly indoors.

Think about walking into a room where someone is smoking a cigarette. The closer you are to the cigarette, the stronger the smell – and the more smoke you’re inhaling. That smoke also lingers in the air. Over time, it won’t matter where you are in the room; the smoke will be everywhere.

Cigarette smoke comprises particles that are similar in size to the smaller respiratory droplets expelled by humans – the ones that linger in the air the longest. While it’s not a perfect analogy, picturing how cigarette smoke moves through different environments, both indoors and outdoors, can help in visualizing how virus-laden droplets circulate in the air.

As professors who study fluid dynamics and aerosols, we have been exploring how COVID-19 circulates and the risks it creates. The 6-foot rule is a good benchmark that’s easy to remember, but it’s important to understand its limitations.

Aerosols and an 86-year-old rule

The 6-foot rule goes back to a paper published in 1934 by William F. Wells, who was studying how tuberculosis spreads. Wells estimated that small respiratory droplets evaporate quickly, while large ones rapidly fall to the ground, following a ballistic-like trajectory. He found that the farthest any droplets traveled before either settling or evaporating was about 6 feet.

While that distance can reduce exposure, it does not provide a complete picture of infection risk from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

When people exhale, they expel respiratory droplets with a wide range of sizes. Most are smaller than 10 microns in diameter. These can quickly decrease to approximately 40% of their original diameter, or smaller, due to evaporation.

The droplets will not completely evaporate, however. This is because they consist of both water and organic matter, potentially including the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These tiny droplets stay suspended in the air for minutes to hours, posing a risk to anyone who comes into contact with them. When suspended in the air, these droplets are commonly referred to as aerosols.

Indoors or outdoors: Ventilation matters

Infection risk is highest right next to a person who has the virus and decreases with distance. However, the way respiratory droplets mix in the air and the resulting concentration influence the distance needed to safely avoid exposure.

Outdoors, the combination of physical distancing and face coverings provides excellent protection against virus transmission. Think again of being near a smoker. Smoke can be carried by the wind much farther than 6 feet, but high concentrations of smoke do not usually build up outdoors because the smoke is quickly diluted by the large volume of air. A highly effective strategy to avoid breathing smoke is to avoid being directly downwind of the smoker. This is also true for respiratory droplets.

Indoors, the picture is very different.

Very light room air currents from fans and ventilation units can transport respiratory droplets over distances much greater than 6 feet. However, unlike being outdoors, most indoor spaces have poor ventilation. That allows the concentration of small airborne respiratory droplets to build up over time, reaching all corners of a room.

When indoors, the infection risk depends on variables such as the number of people in the room, the size of the room and the ventilation rate. Speaking loudly, yelling or singing can also generate much larger concentrations of droplets, greatly increasing the associated infection risk.

It’s not surprising that most “superspreader” events that have infected large numbers of people involved indoor gatherings, including business conferences, crowded bars, a funeral and choir practice.

Strategies for staying safe

In pre-COVID-19 times, few people worried about respiratory infection from small virus-laden droplets accumulating indoors because their virus load was usually too low to cause an infection.

With SARS-CoV-2, the situation is different. Studies have shown that COVID-19-positive patients, even those who are asymptomatic, carry a high load of the virus in their oral fluids. When airborne droplets emitted by these patients during conversation, singing and so on are inhaled, respiratory infection is possible.

There is no safe distance in a poorly ventilated room, unfortunately. Good ventilation and filtration strategies that bring in fresh air are critical to reduce aerosol concentration levels, just as opening windows can clear out a smoke-filled room.

In addition, masks or face coverings should be worn at all times in public indoor environments. They both reduce the concentration of respiratory droplets being expelled into the room and provide some protection against inhaling infectious aerosols.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

Finally, because the risk of infection increases with exposure time, limiting the amount of time spent inside public spaces is also important.

The 6-foot social distancing guideline is a critical tool for combating the spread of COVID-19. However, as more activities move indoors with the arrival of cooler weather this fall, implementing safeguards, including those you might use to avoid inhaling cigarette smoke, will be essential.

Byron Erath, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Clarkson University; Andrea Ferro, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University; Goodarz Ahmadi, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Clarkson University, and Suresh Dhaniyala, Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Clarkson University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Spain – a Squatter’s Paradise

For many people, squatting is a desperate last resort, while for some it is a lifestyle choice or a political statement. Barcelona, which is ground zero of Spain’s squatting phenomenon, attracts squatters from all over Europe. In recent years, more and more young locals — including many with jobs — who have been priced out of the rental market or who simply don’t want to pay the inflated rents have also turned to squatting.

https://wolfstreet.com/2020/09/12/how-spain-became-a-squatters-paradise/

If you live in a part of the world that is blessed with a year round moderate climate this phenomenon is coming to your town.

Meanwhile in Argentina…

In Argentina, they have gone beyond just squatting. Lands with no buildings on them are being occupied, houses build on them and people moves there, sometimes in just a few weeks. Once the illegal houses are occupied getting the people out and the houses destroyed is not easy. That already was a problem before quarantine but during quarantine? It has got a lot worse. And of course there is squatting too.

Reader comment on the arttcle

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression

In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression — https://pewrsr.ch/351SVs1

And to think the number of young people living with their parents was based upon data from July. This percentage will go higher since a lot of kids are moving back home from college earlier than expected.

The problem with college during the coronavirus pandemic is not just what’s happening on campuses and in college towns. It’s also that colleges may end up spreading the virus to dozens of other communities. In recent weeks, as students have returned to campus, thousands have become infected. And some colleges have responded by sending students home, including those known to have the virus.

Last week, after hundreds of students came down with the virus, the State University of New York at Oneonta ended in-person classes and sent students home. Colorado College, North Carolina State, James Madison (in Virginia) and Chico State (in California) have taken similar steps. At Illinois State, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, administrators have encouraged some students who have tested positive to leave campus, so they don’t infect other students, and return home.

These decisions to scatter students — rather than quarantine them on campus — have led to widespread criticism. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious-disease expert, said on NBC. “When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.” – Zach Morin, a University of Georgia student, told WXIA, a local television station, “Once it is open and people are there and spreading it, it doesn’t make sense to send it across the nation.” Susan Dynarski, a University of Michigan economist, wrote on Twitter that “unloading students onto home communities” was “deeply unethical.”

There are no easy answers for colleges, because creating on-campus quarantines brings its own challenges. At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, one student who tested positive — Brianna Hayes — said that no employee checked on her during her week in isolation. “Feverish and exhausted from the virus, she made four trips up and down staircases to move her bedding and other belongings to her isolation room,” The Times’s Natasha Singer writes, in a story about campus quarantines.

Still, many experts say that the colleges that chose to reopen their campuses despite the risks, often for financial reasons, have a moral responsibility to do better. “Universities are not taking responsibility for the risks they are creating,” Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, said.

Last spring, the meatpacking industry became a vector for spreading the disease, when it quickly reopened and caused hundreds of new infections. This fall, higher education may end up being a similar vector.

David Leonhardt – The New York Times The Morning newsletter email 09.09.20

Clusterfuck.