CORONAVIRUS --> HE KNEW; HE LIED; & at Least 266,966 HAVE DIED

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Trump pulls the single most dangerous stunt of his presidency after hospital release
BREAKING: Trump just pulled the single most dangerous stunt of his presidency after his release from the hospital.
To charge Trump for recklessly endangering his OWN Secret Service officers, sign here
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People with blood type O may have lower risk of Covid-19 infection and severe illness, two new studies suggest
https://www.cnn.com/profiles/katie-hunt
CNN
By Katie Hunt and
Jacqueline Howard
Wed October 14, 2020


(CNN) - People with blood type O may be less vulnerable to Covid-19 and have a reduced likelihood of getting severely ill, according to two studies published Wednesday. Experts say more research is needed.

The research provides further evidence that blood type (also known as blood group) may play a role in a person's susceptibility to infection and their chance of having a severe bout of the disease. The reasons for this link aren't clear and more research is needed to say what implications, if any, it has for patients.

Studies add to growing evidence
A Danish study found that among 473,654 people who were tested for Covid-19, only 38.4% with blood type O tested positive -- even though, among a group of 2.2 million people who were not tested, that blood type made up 41.7% of the population.

In the other study, researchers in Canada found that among 95 patients critically ill with Covid-19, a higher proportion with blood type A or AB -- 84% -- required mechanical ventilation compared with patients with blood group O or B, which was 61%.

The Canadian study also found those with blood type A or AB had a longer stay in the intensive care unit, a median of 13.5 days, compared with those with blood group O or B, who had a median of nine days.
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No need to worry
Most humans fall into one of four blood groups: A, B, AB or O. In the United States, the most common blood groups are O and A.
It makes very little difference to most people's daily lives unless you have to have a blood transfusion. Nor should people worry unduly about the link between blood type and Covid-19, said Dr. Torben Barington, the senior author of the Danish paper and a clinical professor at Odense University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark.

"We do not know whether this is some kind of protection of group O, or whether it's some kind of vulnerability in the other blood groups," he said.
"I think this has scientific interest, and when we find out what the mechanism is, perhaps we're able to use that proactively in some way in regard to treatment."

In the Danish study, researchers analyzed data on Danish individuals who were tested between February 27 and July 30, and the distribution of blood types among those people was compared with data from people who had not been tested. They found that blood group wasn't a risk factor for hospitalization or death from Covid-19.

Both studies were published in the journal Blood Advances.

While there are several theories, researchers don't yet know what mechanism could explain the link between different blood groups and Covid-19.
Sekhon said it could be explained by people with blood type O having less of a key clotting factor making them less prone to coagulation problems in the blood. Clotting has been a major driver of the severity of Covid-19.

Other possible explanations involve blood group antigens and how they affect the production of infection fighting antibodies. Or it could be linked to genes associated with blood types and their effect on receptors in the immune system.

"It's a repeated, interesting scientific observation that really warrants further mechanistic work," he said.


A separate study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June, found genetic data in some Covid-19 patients and healthy people suggesting that those with Type A blood had a higher risk of becoming infected, and those with type O blood were at a lower risk.
That previous genetic study, paired with the two new studies in Blood Advances, are "suggestive that this is a real phenomenon that we're seeing," said Adalja, whose work is focused on emerging infectious disease.

"While we're not quite to the point where this is ironclad, it's clearly suggestive, and we have not seen anything inconsistent with this. The same pattern has been emerging with O blood type tending to be the one that's standing out," Adalja said.

Adalja said that blood types and their susceptibility to various infections have been studied in the medical literature before. For instance, research suggests that people with blood type O appear to be more susceptible to norovirus infection.
 

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CDC warns of COVID-19 spreading via small household gatherings


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield is warning that the spread of COVID-19 through small household gatherings has become an "increasing threat." Redfield made this warning during a call with governors as new coronavirus cases rise in 36 states.

"In the public square, we're seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions," Redfield said. "But what we're seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings."

With Thanksgiving approaching, the CDC describes a small dinner with members of one household as lower risk, and a small outdoor dinner with local family and friends as moderate risk. It recommends avoiding "large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household."

The U.S. is reporting around 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.


Source: CNN
 

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U.S. sets new single-day coronavirus case record

The United States on Friday recorded more than 85,000 new coronavirus cases, The New York Times reports. That set a new single-day record, breaking the previous mark from mid-July by nearly 10,000 cases.

Hospitalizations have also been rising steadily since the start of October, and while deaths have mostly remained flat, they are often a lagging indicator.

The current surge is most heavily concentrated in the Midwest and West, but it's spread out more widely than the previous waves from the spring and summer, which occurred primarily in the Northeast and Sun Belt, respectively. More than 170 counties across 36 states were designated rapidly rising hotspots, an internal federal report produced Thursday for Department of Health and Human Services officials that was obtained by The Washington Post revealed.

Source: The Washington Post,
The New York Times
 

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HEALTH

Amid pandemic, U.S. has seen 300,000 ‘excess deaths,’ with highest rates among people of color

By ANDREW JOSEPH @DrewQJoseph
OCTOBER 20, 2020


20,000 American Flags
Volunteers with the COVID Memorial Project install 20,000 American flags on the National Mall in Washington on Sept. 20 as the U.S. crosses 200,000 deaths from Covid-19.WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES


When there’s a public health crisis or disaster like the coronavirus pandemic, experts know that the official death tally is going to be an undercount by some extent. Some people who die might never have been tested for the disease, for example, and if people die at home without receiving medical care, they might not make it into the confirmed data.

To address that, researchers often look to what are called excess deaths — the number of deaths overall during a particular period of time compared to how many people die during the stretch in a normal year.

Now, in the most updated count to date, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that nearly 300,000 MORE people in the United States died from late January to early October this year compared the average number of people who died in recent years. Just two-thirds of those deaths were counted as Covid-19 fatalities, highlighting how the official U.S. death count — now standing at about 220,000 — is not fully inclusive [OF THE 300,000 DEATHS].

To be exact, the researchers reported that 299,028 more people died from Jan. 26 to Oct. 3 this year than on average during the same stretch from 2015 to 2019. Excess deaths also occurred at higher rates among Latinx, Asian, American Indian, and Black people than among white people, mirroring the disparities in official U.S. Covid-19 death counts.

Most likely, the excess deaths account for some otherwise untallied Covid-19 deaths — those who may have died without being tested or who died at home and whose deaths were not counted as caused by the coronavirus. But the 300,000 number probably also includes people who died because they were scared to seek out medical care because of the pandemic or had their care interrupted, and because of other causes. One limitation of the study, the researchers noted, was that the U.S. population is growing and getting older, so more deaths might have occurred in 2020 versus recent years without a pandemic, making a direct comparison harder.

MORE:

 

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Fauci criticizes White House over recent pandemic response


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert and White House coronavirus task force member, criticized the Trump administration's recent handling of the pandemic in an interview with The Washington Post published Saturday evening.

Fauci said the U.S. "could not be positioned more poorly" heading into the fall and winter, adding that the task force meets less frequently and he and Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force's coordinator, no longer have regular access to the president.

Meanwhile, he said, Trump is more focused on re-opening the economy while "the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly." Fauci admitted he has "real problems" with Trump's now-favored pandemic adviser, neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, whom he described as a "smart guy who's talking about things that I believe he doesn't have any real insight or knowledge or experience in."


The White House called Fauci's statement "unacceptable."

Source: CNN, The Washington Post
 

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The Worst Day of the Pandemic Since May

COVID-19 hospitalizations are now at an all-time high.


ALEXIS C. MADRIGALERIN KISSANE7:34 PM ET

Doctors wearing PPE surrounding a coronavirus patient.
GO NAKAMURA / GETTY

The United States is experiencing an unprecedented surge of hospitalizations across the country. Today, states reported that 61,964 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, more than at any other time in the pandemic. For context, there are now 40 percent more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than there were two weeks ago.
Seventeen states are at their current peaks for hospitalizations today. According to local news reports, hospitals are already on the brink of being overwhelmed in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, and officials in many other states warn that their health-care systems will be dangerously stressed if cases continue to rise.

Read: A dreadful new peak for the American pandemic

The new hospitalization record underscores that we’ve entered the worst period for the pandemic since the original outbreak in the Northeast. Although the number of detected cases was much lower back then because of test shortages, the large number of hospitalizations (and deaths) indicate that there were many more times the number of infections than our then-embryonic and broken testing system could confirm.
In the following months, some commentators, including government advisers, have played down the large case counts by saying tests were detecting people who weren’t actually sick—or if they were sick, only mildly sick. These hospitalization numbers prove that the current surge of COVID-19 cases is not merely the result of increased screening of asymptomatic people. Rather, the cases we’re detecting are a leading indicator that many people are seriously ill. Although case numbers are heavily influenced by the number of tests accessible in a particular area, hospitalizations are not.

The burst of hospitalizations is primarily located in the Midwest, where cases began to rise weeks ago. We have seen no indication that there is an end in sight to the outbreaks in the region. The outbreaks in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio began spiking more than three weeks after early outlier Wisconsin—and cases and hospitalizations in Wisconsin are still rising.

Read: Wisconsin is on the brink of a major outbreak

What we’re seeing in the Midwest could foreshadow what is in store for the rest of the nation. The current wave of COVID-19 infections stretches across the whole country, and hospitalizations are rising in every region. Per capita, hospitalizations in the Midwest have now outpaced the South’s peak over the summer.
Even the Midwest remains far short of the per-capita hospitalizations in the Northeast’s spring outbreaks, but some low-population Midwest states are posting alarming per-capita numbers. And as noted above, we may have a long way to go before we see these outbreaks peak.
MORE STORIES
In both North and South Dakota, more than 1 in 2,000 state residents are hospitalized with COVID-19 right now. Only New York and New Jersey have seen higher rates of hospitalizations per capita.
Treatments for COVID-19 have improved since the Northeast outbreak. The ratio of hospitalizations to deaths has fallen tremendously since the spring.

But it is also true that wherever we see hospitalizations go up, deaths rise two to three weeks later. We’ve seen it happen in state after state, in region after region, and nationally as well.

Improved outcomes depend on maintaining the highest standard of care. With hospitalization numbers like these, it is not clear that health-care systems in all hard-hit areas will be able to maintain this standard. In North Dakota, so many health-care workers have contracted COVID-19 that the state is now putting asymptomatic—but still infectious—workers back into hospitals to care for patients. Another crucial difference from the spring: When the surge hit New York and New Jersey, thousands of medical workers flew in from all over the country to help treat patients. With so many states experiencing severe outbreaks at the same time, it could be harder to mobilize surges of frontline workers to areas where health-care systems are at risk of failure.

The COVID-19 fatality rate is not a constant that can be permanently improved by better knowledge of the disease and the availability of treatments alone. To recover, patients require attentive, informed, round-the-clock care. Although hospital systems have made emergency calls for federal staffing support, discharged seriously ill patients to die at home, and been forced to send patients to other regional hospitals, the United States has never experienced the kind of widespread health-care collapse and care rationing seen in other parts of the world in the spring.

Throughout the year, hospitals and health-care workers have issued warnings that if we do see hospitals overwhelmed, fatality rates will soar. As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise nationwide, we are poised to enter a new and possibly bleaker phase of the pandemic. We can only hope that if more state officials act quickly to establish effective mitigation measures, their effects will come in time to avoid the worst.

This post appears courtesy of The COVID Tracking Project.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.


ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL is a staff writer at The Atlantic, a co-founder of the COVID Tracking Project, and the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.

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ERIN KISSANE is a co-founder of the The COVID Tracking Project and the former director of content for Knight-Mozilla OpenNews.
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Coronavirus

The US keeps breaking records that no one wants to see broken.
  1. The nation reported more than 144,000 new daily coronavirus cases yesterday, the single highest daily count since the pandemic began.
  2. The country also saw its highest daily death toll since early May.
  3. More people are hospitalized with Covid-19 this week than at any point in the pandemic, and hospitals are running out of health care workers, which could cause some major problems.
    The situation is particularly bad in the Midwest and the Sun Belt, and the Navajo Nation and El Paso, Texas, are also being hit hard.
  4. So, it's probably a good time to recirculate this recent guidance from the CDC: Not only can wearing a mask help protect others, it can also protect you.
 

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HEALTH

It’s Time to Hunker Down

A devastating surge is here. Unless Americans act aggressively, it will get much larger, very quickly.


 

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As Trump ignores deepening coronavirus crisis, Biden calls for urgent response

Analysis by Maeve Reston, CNN
November 15, 2020


article video



(CNN) Joe Biden has spent these early days as President-elect pleading with Americans to pay attention to the relentless surge of Covid-19 -- with deaths averaging more than 1,000 a day in the past week -- as President Donald Trump continues to ignore the deepening crisis and touts the promises of yet-to-be-approved vaccines as his panacea.

The continuing power struggle between two men with diametrically different philosophies on how the US should handle the virus has left the nation rudderless at this critical moment -- forced by Trump into a governing crisis as he refuses to let the transition to the Biden presidency proceed and pass on knowledge that could be critical to slowing the spread of the virus next year.


This past week, some Republicans in Congress finally seemed to take note of how the President's blockade was threatening national security -- as Republican Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, among others, stepped up to say that the President-elect should begin receiving intelligence briefings as is customary during the transition of power.




 

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Pfizer and BioNTech say final analysis shows coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective with no safety concerns
By Maggie Fox and Amanda Sealy, CNN

Updated 7:30 AM ET, Wed November 18, 2020


(CNN) A final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine shows it was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults, and caused no serious safety concerns, the company said Wednesday.

The company counted 170 cases of coronavirus infection among volunteers who took part in the trial.
- It said 162 infections were in people who got placebo, or plain saline shots,
- while eight cases were in participants who got the actual vaccine.
That works out to an efficacy of 95%, Pfizer said.

The data show Pfizer's initial claim of a better than 90% efficacy -- a claim that stunned and pleased health officials and vaccine developers last week -- holds up.

"Efficacy was consistent across age, race and ethnicity demographics. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%," Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said in a joint statement.

- "There were 10 severe cases of Covid-19 observed in the trial,
- with nine of the cases occurring in the placebo group;
- and one in the BNT162b2 vaccinated group." (BNT162b2 is the experimental name for the vaccine)."


An independent group has been keeping an eye on results and side-effects. "To date, the Data Monitoring Committee for the study has not reported any serious safety concerns related to the vaccine," the companies said.

Pfizer said it will seek US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization "within days."

"These data also will be submitted to other regulatory agencies around the world," Pfizer said. They plan to publish the data in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, as well.




The Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine began on July 27. Pfizer said of 43,661 volunteers enrolled, 41,135 have received a second dose of the vaccine or placebo.

The FDA said it wanted at least two months of safety tracking on volunteers after they got their second shots.


The companies also said they have tried to recruit a diverse pool of volunteers, to match more closely the groups most severely affected by the pandemic.


"Approximately 42% of global participants and 30% of U.S. participants have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 41% of global and 45% of U.S. participants are 56-85 years of age," Pfizer said.

The 150 clinical trials sites in United States, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina will continue to collect information about efficacy and safety for two more years.


1.3 billion doses expected in 2021
"Based on current projections, the companies expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021," they said.


 

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U.S. death toll surpasses 250,000 as hospitals strain under the surge



More than a quarter million people in the United States had died of covid-19 as of the latest fatality reports on Thursday. The death toll now surpasses even the White House’s worst predictions from the spring, and it will almost certainly rise much higher as infections accelerate and hospital systems across the country face imminent overloads.
 

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CDC Thanksgiving guidelines:
How to stay safe and coronavirus-free over the holiday


CNN
By Shelby Lin Erdman
Fri October 16, 2020


(CNN) Thanksgiving is right around the corner -- and if public health agencies have their way -- celebrations this year promise to be extremely different from past years, as the coronavirus surges in states across the country.

Infectious disease experts are warning of a convergence of Covid-19 and influenza as the temperature drops and colder weather sets in. The United States is already seeing an uptick in infections.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidance on holiday gatherings and what Americans need to be aware of before traveling, hosting or attending parties -- or just gathering with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The main guidance, according to the CDC, is assessing the levels of Covid-19 infections in communities to determine whether to postpone, cancel or limit the number of people at a celebration or whether to attend certain activities. If there are high infection rates, the agency recommends limited gatherings.


"Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it's going to be, 'You better hold off and maybe just have immediate family, and make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks, and you don't have large crowds of people,' " Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a recent interview with CNN.

"What we're starting to see now -- and we can't run away from it -- we're starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest, an uptick in test positivity, which tends to be a predictor that you're going to have surges," Fauci said.

But if Americans are going to celebrate Thanksgiving, the trick, Fauci said, is to do it as safely as possible.


Low risk holiday activities
The lowest risk for contracting the highly infectious virus or spreading it is simply celebrating Thanksgiving in your own home with members of your household and/or virtually with extended family, the CDC said.

"Understanding that everyone has this traditional, emotional, understandable, warm feeling about the holidays -- and bringing a group of people, friends and family together in their house, indoors -- that's understandable," Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told ABC News during an interview Thursday. "But we really have to be careful this time, and each individual family evaluate the risk/benefit of doing that."

People can prepare holiday food for non-household family members -- especially those at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, and neighbors -- and deliver it without contact. They can also host a virtual dinner as a means of mitigating any risk.

Also shopping online instead of heading to malls and stores for holiday sales the weekend after Thanksgiving is a safer way of grabbing those deals.

The CDC suggests watching sports events, parades or movies from home as another low-risk holiday activity.


Moderate risk holiday activities
If you are going to host a Thanksgiving dinner, the CDC recommends organizing an outdoor event with family and friends from your neighborhood.​
"Gatherings with more preventive measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing ... pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented," the CDC advises.​
Holiday activities with moderate risks for catching the coronavirus include visiting a pumpkin patch or orchard where people are using hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks and social distancing.​
Attending outdoor sports events, even with coronavirus safety measures in place, still poses a moderate risk of infection.​
High risk holiday activities
High risk holiday activities include those where the probability of catching or spreading the coronavirus is greatest, the CDC said.
Large, indoor gatherings, dinners or parties, especially with people from outside your immediate family, pose the highest risk.
"Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings," the agency said. "Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation, such as those with open windows or doors."
Gatherings that last longer are more dangerous than those that are shorter. And the more people, the higher the risk.
"You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you're pretty certain that the people that you're dealing with are not infected. Either they've been very recently tested, or they're living a lifestyle in which they don't have any interaction with anybody except you and your family," Fauci said this week during an interview with CBS News.
Shopping in crowded stores and malls before or after Thanksgiving is another high-risk activity.
Attending crowded public events, such as races or parades, is not recommended.
Using alcohol or drugs can cloud judgment and increase careless behavior as well, the CDC said.
Holiday travel
Traveling during the holidays, on planes or public transportation, increases the chances of catching and spreading Covid-19 because it increases exposure to the virus, the CDC said in its holiday guidelines.

"Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others," the agency said.

But if you do plan to travel, take as many precautions as possible:

- Wear a mask;
- Engage in social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others;
- Wash your hands frequently;
- Avoid anyone who is sick; and
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

"We've got to be careful," Fauci said during a recent discussion at American University. "You've got to take it as an individual case. It depends on where you are and where you are traveling."

The CDC's holiday guidelines are not meant to replace any local or state mandates on the pandemic, the agency said.


 

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UNITED STATES CASES
Updated Nov 26 at 2:04 PM UTC

Confirmed = 12,905,665 (+226,456)
Deaths = 265,740 (+2,215)
Recovered
= 6,406,159 (+54,301)
 
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