COVID-19 News Briefs for Wednesday, June 17, 2020

June 17, 2020

 Covid-19 has infected more than 2 million Americans since it arrived on US shores in January, and more than 100,000 have died. A new report from the CDC offered the following findings: +Women and girls had a slightly higher incidence (406 cases per 100,000) than men and boys (401.1 cases) +The number of new cases per day reached its peak on April 12 and deaths peaked 9 days later on April 21 +The risk of infection increased with age: there were 51.1 cases per 100,000 for children under 10, compared with 902 cases per 100,000 adults who were 80 or older. However, the incidence was higher for US residents in their 40s and 50s than for those in their 60s and 70s +Latinos and Blacks are disproportionately affected by the pandemic — Latinos make up 18% of US residents but they account for 33% of cases reported so far. Black people represent 13% of the population but account for 22% of reported cases. In addition 0.7% of the population is Native American or Native Alaskan, yet 1.3% of reported cases have affected them +Among 47% of patients whose symptoms were reported, 7 out of 10 had a least 1 of the core symptoms of Covid-19: fever, cough, or shortness of breath +Another 4% of cases were asymptomatic, however, the true proportion of asymptomatic cases is probably much higher since people without symptoms are less likely to get tested +The overall death rate for Americans of all ages and both sexes was 5.4%, with men (6%) more likely to die than women (4.8%) +Coronavirus infections were 12 times more deadly in patients with underlying health conditions. Among patients who were healthy before the encountered the virus, 1.6% died. But among those who had cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic lung infections, or other ailments, 19.5% of infections resulted in death. Also, the risk of being hospitalized was 6 times higher for patients with underlying health conditions

 A new study found that flushing a toilet can generate a cloud of aerosol droplets that rises nearly 3 feet and may linger in the air long enough to be inhaled by a shared toilet’s next user, or land on surfaces in the bathroom. The research, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, adds to growing evidence that the coronavirus can be passed not only through respiratory droplets, but through virus-laden feces, too. Scientists recommend closing the toilet lid first and then trigger the flushing process, however, they acknowledged this isn’t always possible in public restrooms

 Travel restrictions at the US-Mexico border will remain in place through July 21. Officials announced the 30-day extension to restrict nonessential land travel after reviewing the developments of the Covid-19 spread in both countries. Travel restrictions also were extended at the US-Canada border, according to the US Department of Homeland Security

 The number of Covid-19 cases is rising steeply in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, and North and South Carolina. It’s also up in 20 other states, including California. More than 20,000 people in the US are dying every month from Covid-19

 Health officials said that the public needs to look beyond the rising number of coronavirus cases in California and focus on whether hospitalizations are increasing as a sign that reopening the economy is leading to new outbreaks. LA County once had the worst ICU coronavirus hospital rate on a per capita basis of all California’s 58 counties, but its rate is declining and now reports 5 ICU Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents. Orange County’s rate is now 5.2; Kings County is 6.1; and Imperial County’s ICU patients per 100,000 residents is 9.9. Last week, Ventura County reported an average of 91 people hospitalized with coronavirus, the highest number reported since April and a 75% increase from the previous 2 weeks. Orange County has experienced a 76% jump in coronavirus intensive care hospitalizations in the last 6 weeks

 The Covid-19 pandemic has caused millions of Americans to forego trips to the doctor’s office, creating an economic crisis for physicians who are dependent on the traditional fee-for-service method of payment. Nationwide, nearly half of primary care practices have laid off or furloughed staff. However, a small group of
clinics is thriving — they receive a monthly payment from health plans to care for a defined group of patients versus relying on face-to-face visit payments. These model clinics’ monthly payments vary substantially based on how sick the patients are and often get bonuses if their patients stay healthier and also can lose money if their patients get sicker or end up in the hospital. The model clinics often use health coaches, nurses, and other non-physicians to do jobs, including a shift to more telephone appointments to help improve communications with patients

 Nursing homes and other senior-care facilities have started to allow more visits after a months-long lockdown to protect vulnerable residents from coronavirus infections, even as the pandemic’s US death toll tied to such places surpasses 50,000. A Wall Street Journal tally of state data compiling fatalities from Covid-19 recorded the virus’s heavy cost to those living in long-term care facilities and deaths among senior-care staff and residents appear to represent at least 40% of the overall US fatalities from Covid-19

 According to the Covid Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, people in the US are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years — the survey was conducted in late May when Americans were dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, however, most of the survey’s interviews were
completed before the death of George Floyd touched off nationwide protests. The survey found that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy (down from 31% in 2018). Also 50% said that they often or sometimes felt isolated in recent weeks (up from 23% in 2018). The survey draws on nearly a half-century of
research from the General Social Survey, which has collected data on American attitudes and behaviors at least every other year since 1972 and no less than 29% of Americans have ever called themselves very happy in that survey. One surprising result of the recent survey was that loneliness was not more prevalent considering the Covid-19 stay-at-home order — people seemed to have figured out a way to connect with others and while it’s not satisfactory, people are managing to some extent

 More than 1,500 trademark applications have been filed with the US Patent and Trademark office for variations on the Covid-19 and coronavirus theme. They range from the serious to the silly, and intellectual experts say they’ve never seen so many applications. Dozens of copyright applications also have been filed and interest in patents is up, but those applications aren’t published until months after filing

 The LA Times published a “Back to Work and Worried?” guide regarding employee questions on legal requirements. Here is the link: https://www.latimes.com/business/newsletter/2020-06-16/covid-19-worksafety-business

 A small group of union leaders opposed to Orange County’s relaxed rules on face coverings amid the Covid-19 pandemic was met Tuesday by a much louder crowd intent on drowning out their message. Orange County health officials reported 248 new coronavirus infections and 12 new fatalities, bringing the county’s death toll to 233, with nearly 9,000 positive cases reported over the course of the pandemic. Some cities, including Costa Mesa and Irvine, have mandated stricter mask requirements despite the county’s relaxed order

 LA County recorded an additional 2,129 positive cases and 34 deaths. Totals are now 77,189 cases / 2,991 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 35,053/1,463; Long Beach 2,712/115; Carson 551/26; El Segundo 41/0; Gardena 373/28; Hawthorne 561/20; Hermosa Beach 47/2; Inglewood 785/58; Lawndale 164/6;
Lomita 58/6; Manhattan Beach 91/3; PV Estates 46/1; Rancho PV 112/11; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 18/0; Torrance 466/50

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 Hill.com; 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