COVID-19 New Briefs for Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 30, 2020

 The global death toll from Covid-19 has passed 225,000, led by the US, Italy and Britain

 The WHO reported there are 102 potential Covid-19 vaccines in development around the world and 8 of the potential vaccines are approved for clinical trials. Of the 7 groups approved for clinical trials on humans, 4 are from China, 1 is from England, 1 is American and another is a combined American and European group. The American National Institutes of Health (NIH) trial was the first to start testing in human trial subjects on March 16

 The gases that cause global warming are on pace for an 8% drop this year, owing to an unprecedented decrease in fossil fuel use, according to the International Energy Agency which added that nations under lockdowns are seeing energy demand reduced by up to 25%. While lockdowns have limited the movement of the world’s 4 billion people, fears were expressed that recovery efforts may involve relaxing environmental regulations, allowing emissions to worsen

 Another 3.8 million people sought US unemployment aid, bringing the total to more than 30 million since the virus hit. With more employers cutting payroll to save money, economists have forecast that the unemployment rate could go as high as 20% — that would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the 1930s Great Depression

 Some scientists say analyzing fecal matter could be the key to determining when a community may consider easing health restrictions. Teams of researchers around the world have been ramping up wastewater analyses to track the virus that causes Covid-19. Initial studies show that sewage monitoring, or “wastewater-based epidemiology” could not only tell how much the virus might actually be spreading in a community, but also when the virus has finally gone away

 An urgent appeal for blood donations was made by the US Food & Drug Administration, as fears about the coronavirus have been keeping people from wanting to donate during this time so the need has become more dire

 US alcohol spirit sales increased 75% compared to the same dates in 2019. Beer is the next most popular, with purchases up by 66%, then wine, up 42% compared to last year. Nielsen predicted that this may be the peak of consumer demand for alcohol (week ending March 21) since this was probably consumer “pantry-loading time”

 The pandemic has slowed trade-based money laundering systems that drug trafficking groups use, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency who made 3 seizures of drug proceeds in the last 3 weeks, each netting more than $1 million

 At least 31 states will partially reopen over the next few days as a patchwork of coronavirus response plans that vary from one state to the next goes into effect. As states move ahead with plans to reopen, President Trump indicated that he would not extend federal distancing guidelines, which expire today

 Total deaths in 7 states (New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, and Colorado) are nearly 50% higher than normal for the 5 weeks from March 8 through April 11, according to the CDC. That is 9,000 more deaths than were reported as of April 11, in official counts from Covid-19. This illustrates how the coronavirus is causing a surge in deaths in the places it has struck, probably killing more people than the reported statistics capture and bringing a pattern of deaths unlike anything seen in recent years. In New York City, the home of the biggest outbreak, the number of deaths is more than 3 times the normal number

 As millions of Americans face their second month of stay-at-home orders, scientists and health officials say that physical distancing could take a grave toll on collective mental health. Research suggests that people in quarantine face a greater risk of anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Key stressors include boredom, frustration, inadequate supplies, limited information, and financial loss, and these effects can linger long after life returns to normal. Researchers also suggest a few ways officials can mitigate the psychological impact of quarantine, including keeping the isolation as short as possible, ensuring those in quarantine know why they must stay isolated, thanking them for their sacrifices, making sure everyone has access to the supplies they need, and most important, staying in touch with other people

 Family therapists are reporting that teenagers are feeling especially frustrated and anxious by their lack of social interaction. Many are worried about the future and what that will look like when it comes to school, summer jobs and college. Parents were encouraged to validate those feelings and remind them that this quarantine is temporary. Structure and predictability will also help pass the time and give teens something to look forward to

 Governor Newsom announced a state and federal initiative to connect growers and other food suppliers with food banks around the state — food banks have seen a 73% increase in demand because of the pandemic and produce and other food is being thrown out with the shut-down of restaurants. The partnership will include 130 farmers and ranchers who will provide food commodities to 41 food bank in 58 states. State officials hope to extend the program through the end of the year, providing roughly 21 million pounds of food to local food banks every month and the state has already raised $3.6 million in philanthropic funding for the program, with a goal of $15 million more to help feed needy families and pay farm workers

 Governor Newsom announced a temporary closure on state and local beaches in Orange County, and noted that only about 5% of beaches in the state had an issue with crowding and access is being granted for other outdoor spaces including hiking, golfing, and tennis

 Mayor Garcetti announced that all county residents can now get free coronavirus testing at city-run sites. Until recently, only residents with symptoms as well as essential workers and those in institutional settings like nursing homes could be tested. Priority for the same or next-day will still be given to people with symptoms and testing is by appointment only:

 LA County reported an additional 733 positive cases and 55 deaths. This brings the totals to 23,192 cases and 1,111 deaths in the county. Over 145,000 people have been tested in LA County with 14% reporting positive for Covid-19. City breakouts: LA City 10,863; Long Beach 629; Carson 238; El Segundo 27; Gardena 158; Hawthorne 185; Hermosa Beach 23; Inglewood 315; Lawndale 55; Lomita 34; Manhattan Beach 66; PV Estates 37; Rancho PV 59; Redondo Beach 106; Rolling Hills 1; Rolling Hills Estates 13; Torrance 255

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; CBS Morning News; CNN; KTLA; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases