Coronavirus

Tiny airborne particles may pose a big coronavirus problem

NEW YORK (AP) — At a University of Maryland lab, people infected with the new coronavirus take turns sitting in a chair and putting their faces into the big end of a large cone. They recite the alphabet and sing or just sit quietly for a half hour. Sometimes they cough.

The cone sucks up everything that comes out of their mouths and noses. It’s part of a device called “Gesundheit II” that is helping scientists study a big question: Just how does the virus that causes COVID-19 spread from one person to another?

It clearly hitchhikes on small liquid particles sprayed out by an infected person. People expel particles while coughing, sneezing, singing, shouting, talking and even breathing. But the drops come in a wide range of sizes, and scientists are trying to pin down how risky the various kinds are.

The answer affects what we should all be

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Weeks into school year, groups pushing for more transparent coronavirus data

For several weeks, the Florida Education Association has been calling on state officials to release more information on COVID-19 in public schools. There isn’t a statewide dashboard, and only about half of Florida’s 67 school districts publicly report cases, the state’s largest teachers union said.

“You can’t make choices and you can’t make decisions if you don’t have information,” FEA President Andrew Spar told ABC News. “You should be informing parents as to what’s happening in their school. You should be informing educators, teachers, if they are being exposed to a serious virus.”

The FEA is pushing for the Florida Department of Health and school districts to release the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the location of the cases and the number of people who have been quarantined. In some school districts, parents might not know if there are cases in their school, or even their child’s classroom, Spar said.

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J&J has started its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial

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Hello,

Today in healthcare news: GoodRx is making its stock-market debut after pricing shares at $33 apiece just after midnight. At that price, the company is valued at $12.7 billion. What a time to be in the digital health/online prescription drug coupon business. 

Also: Johnson & Johnson has started a 60,000-person coronavirus vaccine trial, coronavirus deaths passed 200,000, and your ultimate guide to reading through vaccine data. 

Speaking of vaccines (and when are we not!):  Our biotech reporter Andrew Dunn is moderating a conversation on October 5 at 2 p.m. ET on the coronavirus vaccine race with 3 top experts:

  • Maria Elena Bottazzi, co-director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development

  • Art Caplan, bioethicist and

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Samira Wiley Says Getting a Flu Shot Is ‘So Important’ During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Rachel Murray/Getty

For Samira Wiley, getting an annual flu shot has always been important. But this year, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, she says that it is more critical than ever.

Experts predict an upcoming “twindemic” between the flu and the coronavirus in the fall and winter. “These two things are going to be happening at the same time,” Wiley, 33, tells PEOPLE. “Getting a flu shot is so important because our health care system can’t handle everything that would be happening if everyone didn’t get the flu shot.”

Noting that her family always made sure that she got a flu shot ever since she was little, Wiley says they set an important example.

“It has always been so important for me to get the flu shot to make sure that not only am I safe, but of course, anyone that I come into contact with is safe.”

Dr.

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We need to take advantage of every vaccine this winter to prevent another coronavirus outbreak

Currently, seasonal flu vaccines are designed against specific viral strains
Currently, seasonal flu vaccines are designed against specific viral strains

By extending the annual flu programme and making more people eligible for the free flu vaccine, the government has signaled the importance of keeping people well, not just making them better.

Inevitably, there will be challenges in implementing such a significant expansion of the UK’s immunisation programme. But that shouldn’t dissuade us from grasping a much wider opportunity to protect our precious NHS resources this, and every, winter.

Many of the UK’s most vulnerable adults are eligible for a range of vaccinations against infectious diseases – from pneumonia and shingles for the elderly, to whooping cough for pregnant women. But we’re currently failing to realise the true value of these vaccinations, with uptake falling below what it could be.

Unlocking the full potential of vaccination is an opportunity too important to miss. By ensuring more people take advantage of the

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DC Coronavirus Health Emergency To Be Extended To End Of Year

WASHINGTON, DC — At its Tuesday legislative meeting, the D.C. City Council will be extending Mayor Muriel Bowser’s heath emergency order until the end of the year. Council Chair Phil Mendelson made the announcement during a Monday morning press briefing.

Bowser originally declared the emergency on March 11, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

D.C. Department of Health updated its online coronavirus metrics dashboard Monday to help residents keep track of the District government’s response to the disease.

The new graphic employs a color grid to make it easier for people to understand where the District is in its progress toward a full reopening. D.C. is currently in Phase 2 of its phased reopening, which is represented by the color yellow. The color red shows that a particular metric has not been reached.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of D.C. Health, confirmed during the press briefing that all boxes in this

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Westfield Schools Say Student Coronavirus Cases May Be Connected

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan sent out revised information on Friday about the six confirmed cases of Westfield High School students with coronavirus that were announced Wednesday. Dolan had said Wednesday that WHS would go remote for two weeks, but that the cases were not connected.

On Friday, Dolan released a new letter to the school community saying that she had received more information and that the six WHS cases may be connected — and that a seventh case of a student with the virus had been reported.

None of the district’s other nine public schools are being affected by the two-week closure.

Dolan wrote in a letter Friday evening, “On Wednesday, based on initial reports provided to the Westfield Regional Health Department, the cases of six high school students who were exposed outside of school and tested positive for covid-19 appeared not to be linked. By

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Movie Theaters Cleared To Reopen As Coronavirus Cases Surge

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD — Anne Arundel movie theaters and performance venues can reopen next week, County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Friday afternoon. These businesses may unlock their doors at 9 a.m. on Sept. 25.

Indoor venues may open at 50 percent capacity or 100 people-per-auditorium, whichever is less. This limit is broken down by each hall, not by each building. In theory, the whole movie theater could have more than 100 customers inside. Each auditorium, however, may not exceed 100 viewers at a time.

Outdoor locations also face a capacity cap of 50 percent or 100 patrons, whichever is less. Both indoor and outdoor theaters must institute appropriate health and safety protocols, Pittman’s order mandates.

The announcement comes two weeks after most of the state entered the third and final stage of coronavirus recovery. Gov. Larry Hogan gave jurisdictions permission to move into this last phase starting Sept. 4,

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Post online misstates Sturgis Rally’s coronavirus cases

The claim: A post online attributes 88 positive tests to Sturgis Rally, 0.02% infection rate of attendees

Motorcyclists from around the country converged on Sturgis, South Dakota, for the town’s annual motorcycle rally in August — most unmasked and ignoring social distancing guidelines. Some on social media are claiming the event had little effect on the spread of COVID-19.

“Mass testing of Sturgis workers, residents result in no more positive results % than the rest of the state average,” a screenshot of a post reads. “Actually on the low end of the scale. All positive cases were asymptomatic.”

The post goes on to say the South Dakota Department of Health is allegedly attributing 88 positive tests to the rally, and that with 450,000 rally attendees, that’s a 0.02% infection rate.

The screenshot has been shared by Facebook group Bikers for Trump and multiple individuals. That group did not respond to

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Coronavirus latest news: Hancock expected to announce local restrictions for North East of England

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce local restrictions for the North East of England following a rise in coronavirus cases.

It comes as a former WHO director has retracted his claim that Chris Whitty wants a two-week national lockdown.

Anthony Costello wrote on social media last night that a ” well-connected person” had told him the Chief Medical Officer for England was pushing for the move over fears case rates were much higher than official figures showed.

However, the professor of global health at University College London, has now retracted the claim, posting online: “I’ve been told by another insider I respect that Chris Whitty does not support a 2 week lockdown, so I’m pleased to correct the record.”

The correction came after Health Minister Edward Argar played down reports that the Government is considering a second national lockdown, saying infections can be controlled with local measures.

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