Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

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CDC To Adjust 14-Day Quarantine Guidelines To 10 For COVID Exposure

The CDC’s updated recommendations, expected to be released soon, are based on the latest studies regarding the coronavirus’ incubation period. Quarantine guidance for people who get tested will be lowered even further, to seven days.


AP:
CDC To Shorten COVID-19 Quarantine To 10 Days, 7 With Test


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to shorten the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19, as the virus rages across the nation. According to a senior administration official, the new guidelines, which are set to be released as soon as Tuesday evening, will allow people who have come in contact to someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result. That’s down from the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic. (Miller, 12/2)


Sports Illustrated:
New CDC COVID-19 Guidelines A Positive Step For College Athletics


You may not have heard any boom or roar or applause. There weren’t any celebratory social media posts or joyous statements released to the public. But on Tuesday night, high-ranking members in college athletics rejoiced over emerging medical news. The CDC plans to shorten by half its mandatory quarantine time for those who come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive, according to a report from The Associated Press. High-risk contacts who are asymptomatic can now return to normal activity after 10 days or leave quarantine after the seventh day with a negative test. (Dellenger, 12/1)


Tragic Trio: Florida Hits 1M COVID Cases, Joining California And Texas

The United States reported its second-highest day of COVID-19 deaths Tuesday. The only day to top it was April 15.


The Hill:
Florida Becomes The Third State To Cross 1 Million COVID-19 Cases 


Florida on Tuesday became the third state to hit a total of 1 million coronavirus cases as the nation grapples with an alarming spike in infections. The Florida Department of Health tallied 1,008,166 cases for the state after over 8,800 new infections were added to the total Tuesday. Over 18,600 people in the Sunshine State have died. Florida has recorded at least 6,000 new cases every day since Nov. 16, according to the state’s Department of Health. (Axelrod, 12/1)


Los Angeles Times:
California COVID-19 Cases Break Daily Record Again 


Los Angeles County recorded a dramatic one-day rise in coronavirus cases Tuesday, shattering the single-day record and confirming some of the most dire forecasts about infections spreading ferociously as the holiday season gets underway. The surge in cases renewed worries about how the healthcare system will handle a crush of new patients, with some hospitals already approaching capacity. The numbers put more pressure on state and local officials to enact a tougher stay-at-home order in hopes of slowing the spread. Officials feared the Thanksgiving holiday period would bring a flood of new cases, and there are growing concerns the spike is far from over. (Money, Lin II and Oreskes, 12/1)


CNN:
Daily Coronavirus Deaths Near 2,600 — Their Highest Since April — And Are Expected To Get Worse 


The US reported the second highest day of Covid-19 deaths Tuesday, as rising hospitalizations signal even more deaths in the coming weeks. There were 2,597 new deaths reported across the US, bringing the total death toll to 270,642 in a pandemic that has infected more than 13.7 million people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The only day to top it was April 15, when six more deaths were recorded. (Holcombe, 12/2)

In updates from Mississippi, Maine, New York, Michigan and Oklahoma —


Clarion-Ledger:
COVID-19 Cases Stressing Mississippi Health Care System


The state’s hospitals are hitting a peak in hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 in Mississippi, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Tuesday at a news conference. “We are stressing out the health care system,” he warned. “Hospitalizations are hitting their peak. We have 12 major hospitals (that) have zero ICU beds.” (Beveridge, 12/1)


Boston Globe:
COVID Surge Reaches Maine, Which Reports 20 New Deaths


The surge in COVID-19 cases sweeping the country also has reached Maine, where state officials Tuesday reported 20 new deaths, the largest increase in coronavirus-related fatalities since the pandemic began in March. Although the deaths represent the most in any single update by the state, nearly all the fatalities occurred over a week-long span dating to Nov. 23. They had not been reported until Tuesday because of delays connected to the long holiday weekend, state officials said. (MacQuarrie, 12/1)


The Hill:
New York City Urges Adults Over 65 To Stay At Home Amid Surge In COVID-19 Cases 


New York City’s Health Department recommended in a Tuesday advisory that residents 65 and over avoid public spaces and gatherings and limit nonessential activities amid the ongoing coronavirus surge. “To protect yourself, your household members and your communities against the spread of COVID-19, you are hereby advised to limit activities outside your home, except leaving home to travel to work or school, or for essential purposes including medical care, grocery shopping or pharmacy necessities,” the department said. (Budryk, 12/1)


Detroit Free Press:
Doctors Plea To Restaurants: Don’t Rush To Reopen Indoor Dining


A group of Michigan doctors are urging restaurants not to rush to reopen dining rooms as COVID-19 infections continue to surge across the state. The plea from the advocacy group Committee to Protect Medicare specifically targeted a letter from Joe and Rosalie Vicari, owners of Andiamo and other metro Detroit restaurants, that became public this week. The letter urged fellow restaurant owners and vendors across Michigan to band together and reopen on Dec. 9 if a three-week “pause” on indoor dining is extended. (Selasky, 12/2)


AP:
Oklahoma Governor Declares Day Of Prayer As Virus Surges


As the coronavirus surges in Oklahoma, nearing 200,000 total cases on Tuesday, Gov. Kevin Stitt declared Thursday a day of prayer and fasting in the state. “I believe we must continue to ask God to heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19,” the Republican governor said in a Monday statement. (Miller, 12/2)


KHN:
As Hospitals Fill With COVID Patients, Medical Reinforcements Are Hard To Find 


Hospitals in much of the country are trying to cope with unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Monday, 96,039 were hospitalized, an alarming record that far exceeds the two previous peaks in April and July of just under 60,000 inpatients. But beds and space aren’t the main concern. It’s the workforce. Hospitals are worried staffing levels won’t be able to keep up with demand as doctors, nurses and specialists such as respiratory therapists become exhausted or, worse, infected and sick themselves. (Farmer and Feibel, 12/2)

Also —


Hackers And Fraudsters Target COVID Vaccines, Treatments

The Wall Street Journal reports on one scheme in which North Korean hackers launched a cyberattack on at least six pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea. Meanwhile, law enforcement warns about potential for fake coronavirus vaccine sales.


The Wall Street Journal:
North Korean Hackers Are Said To Have Targeted Companies Working On Covid-19 Vaccines 


North Korean hackers have targeted at least six pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea working on Covid-19 treatments, according to people familiar with the matter, as the regime seeks sensitive information it could sell or weaponize. The firms include previously unreported targets in the U.S.: Johnson & Johnson and Maryland-based Novavax Inc., which are both working on experimental vaccines, the people said. The list also includes three South Korean companies with Covid-19 drugs in earlier clinical trials, Genexine Inc., Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Co. and Celltrion Inc., they added. (Jeong, 12/2)


Reuters:
Interpol Warns That COVID-19 Vaccines Could Be Targeted By Criminals 


The Interpol global police co-ordination agency warned on Wednesday that organised criminal networks could be targeting COVID-19 vaccines, and could look to sell fake shots. Interpol, which is headquartered in France, said it had issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries, warning them to prepare for organised crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online. (12/2)


The Washington Post:
With Covid-19 Vaccines Coming, Federal Investigators Grow Wary Of Fraud 


Investigators at the Department of Homeland Security are bracing for a new wave of fraud attempts by criminal groups that officials expect will try to take advantage of the extraordinary demand for doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna, the two drug companies that applied for emergency vaccine approval this week, have said they will produce enough doses for about 20 million people this month. Health-care employees, law enforcement personnel and other front-line workers are expected to be first in line. (Miroff, 12/1)

In related news —


CNN:
Social Media Must Prepare For Flood Of Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation 


Nearly two years ago, public health experts blamed social media platforms for contributing to a measles outbreak by allowing false claims about the risks of vaccines to spread. Facebook pledged to take tougher action on anti-vaccine misinformation, including making it less prominent in the news feed and not recommending related groups. But shortly after, Facebook-owned Instagram continued to serve up posts from anti-vaccine accounts and hashtags to anyone searching for the word “vaccines.” Despite actions against anti-vaccine content since then — some as recent as last month — Facebook has failed to totally quash the movement on its platforms. (Yurieff, 12/1)


CNN:
‘Fake News’ About A Covid-19 Vaccine Has Become A Second Pandemic, Red Cross Chief Says


Covid-19 vaccines are fast approaching, but a second pandemic might impede efforts to recover from the first, according to the president of a global humanitarian aid group. That second pandemic: “fake news” about those very vaccines. Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a virtual briefing to the UN Correspondents Association on Monday that governments and institutions needed to implement measures to combat growing mistrust and misinformation. (Kaur and Thomas, 12/1)



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