COVID-19 News Briefs for Monday, July 20, 2020

July 20, 2020

 Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot. British researchers first began testing the vaccine in April in 1,000 people, half of whom got the experimental vaccine. Scientist said that they found their vaccine produced a dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55 and that larger trials evaluating the vaccine’s effectiveness, involving about 10,000 people in the UK as well as South Africa and Brazil are still underway. Another big trial is slated to start in the US soon, aiming to enroll about 30,000 people. How quickly scientists are able to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness will depend largely on how much more transmission
there is, but estimated they might have sufficient data by the end of the year to decide if the vaccine should be adopted for mass vaccination campaigns

 A relatively small trial of an inhaled protein treatment for Covid-19 from UK biotech company Synairgen, has seen startling results. The treatment cuts the odds of hospitalized patients developing severe symptoms by almost 80%. Britain, which has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, has committed to buying 90 million doses of French and German vaccines

 A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday reported that Americans disapprove of the White House handling of the coronavirus crisis by 60% to 38%. This was a marked change from the same poll which showed a majority approving of the administration’s work in March 51% to 45%. Another poll from Quinnipiac University found that by 65% to 26% voters said they trusted information from Dr. Fauci about the coronavirus. The White House ratings were the mirror image — by 67% to 30% voters said they did not trust information from the administration

 Florida is now the US epicenter of the pandemic. Over the last week, it reported 80,000 new coronavirus cases, well ahead of California and Texas, 2 much larger states that are also struggling to contain the virus. Yet in much of Florida, restaurant and shopping malls are crowded even though over the last month, the state has seen its caseload jump from 90,000 to 350,000 and the death toll has climbed from 3,104 to 4,982 with at least 54 hospitals reporting that their ICU wards are full. The governor has blamed the failure to contain the virus on the media, Latino day laborers, expanded testing, young people, and delayed test results. He pledged not to impose new shelter-in-place rules and began pushing for schools to reopen. He refused to issue a statewide order mandating face coverings, leaving it to counties to implement their own guidelines

 The surge in testing in Florida — averaging 98,000 a day — has overwhelmed laboratories and in Orlando, thousands of more tests are being conducted for pro soccer and basketball players who are resuming their seasons this month in Florida. The NBA and MLS have contracted with a private New Jersey lab to rush their test results within hours but this same lab is being used by the Florida Department of Health to assist in public testing where the turnaround time for results there grew to 6 days. It appears the problem is about to get worse when the NFL report to training camps this month in addition to MLB, National Women’s Soccer League, NHL, WNBA, NASCAR, PGA Tour, and 2 leagues operating in Orlando. Professional sports could soon be responsible for 1 out of 110 tests performed in the US each week which would tax an already burdened lab system. And the fear is the leagues will be taking priority with their tests expedited, pushing past hospitals,
schools and drive-through testing sites

 Active-duty US Air Force doctors, nurses, and other medical providers are being sent to California hospitals to assist with a steep rise in coronavirus cases that have strained some healthcare systems across the state. The 100 healthcare professionals began work Friday in 5 hospitals experiencing severe staff shortages and an additional 60 military medical personnel will be deployed in the coming week. The move comes as some officials described hospital staffing, not bed capacity, as the chief stumbling block to scaling up operations to accommodate the surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations

 The start of the high school sports season in California will be delayed until December or January, the CA Interscholastic Federation announced today. In releasing a new sports calendar, the state’s governing body for high school sports might be giving the more the 800,000 athletes their best opportunity to have a sports season in the 2020-21 school year. With a summer surge in coronavirus, most California public and private schools plan to begin the academic year with online classes

 Former guards at San Diego’s Otay Mesa ICE detention center have sued the federal government and other workers and detainees have claimed that the private company that manages the centers did not try to control the coronavirus with an early absence of face coverings and cleaning supplies, with symptomatic detainees mixed with others. The Otay Mesa center would see the first big outbreak among ICE’s 221 detention centers. Overall, 3,596 ICE detainees have tested positive for Covid-19 — 27% of those tested

 Governor Newsom said today that hair salons and barbershops could offer services outdoors during the Covid19 pandemic. The announcement provides some relieve to salons that closed in March, were allowed to reopen in May, and then closed again on July 13

 4 months since Covid-19 halted film and TV shoots, Hollywood has struggled to get back to business. Film sets, known for being crowded and often unclean, have faced a raft of challenges including complying with testing and other rigorous health and safety rules intended to curb new outbreaks, deal with onsite shoots in
unwelcoming local neighborhoods, and extra scrutiny by unions. The problems are expected to intensify as 100-plus teams for major movies and TV series resume filming on the streets of LA

 In LA County, Pacific Islanders suffer the highest infection rate of any racial or ethnic group, more than 2,500 per 100,000 residents, which is 6 times higher than for white people, 5 times higher than Blacks, and 3 times higher than Latinos. Reasons include having a reduced access to healthcare, higher levels of poverty, crowded housing, multigenerational households, as well as working in frontline jobs like food service, hospitality, and healthcare

 LA County officials reported Sunday that 53% of the 2,848 new cases of coronavirus were among people younger than 41. Statewide, people 18 – 34 make up the largest percentage of recent Covid-19 cases, followed by those 35 – 49. Officials believe the virus is hitting younger people who got back to summer socializing or resumed work. Those dying from the virus continue to skew much older, with people older than 80 being the largest group, followed by those 65 – 79

 A rare and serious inflammatory syndrome believed to be associated with Covid-19 has now been identified in 15 children in LA County, with 11 of them Latino. Nationally, 70% of the cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children have been either Latino or Black. Most of the children developed MIS-C after being
infected with coronavirus. As of July 15, the CDC received reports of 342 cases and 6 deaths in the US related to

 LA County Health Officer Dr. Ferrer said that the county has reported the fourth consecutive day of record numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations as well as the highest number of heath care workers and first responders testing positive for Covid-19. LA County reported an additional 3,160 cases and 9 deaths. Totals are now 159,045 cases and 4,104 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 65,145/1,930; Long Beach N/A; Carson 1,033/36; El Segundo 87/0; Gardena 728/34; Hawthorne 1,144/28; Hermosa Beach 134/2; Inglewood 1,628/71; Lawndale 377/8; Lomita 151/7; Manhattan Beach 228/4; PV Estates 63/2; Rancho PV 200/12; Redondo Beach 349/9; Rolling Hills 4/0; Rolling Hills Estates 30/2; Torrance 865/53

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, 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