COVID-19 Roundup: Case Tally, School Outbreaks, Flu Shot, Vaccine Wait
We learned some important lessons from Memorial Day July fourth this year after those holidays, there was a surge in Cova cases both times. So as we go into Labour Day public health experts are watching carefully the news on the virus right now is mixed. The number of new cases is going down in the US but there are new hot spots in the mid west NPR's Aubrey is with us she has the latest Morning Alison Good Morning, Noel. So. This is our regular Monday check in where do we stand on this Monday in the US. Well. After weeks of about a thousand deaths a day that number has declined to about eight hundred and fifty deficit. That's still a lot of people dying Noel, but it's an improvement and the number of new cases is about forty thousand per day a significant decline compared to the sixteen thousand cases back in July. But of course, it's Labor Day weekend. So it with people have been out and about in crowds as we saw Memorial Day, this could really set us back and there are already hot spots throughout the Midwest and the south. We're new cases remain high the DAKOTAS. Louisiana and infectious disease experts I talked to say this coming fall people spending more time indoors people back to work or school. There will likely be a bump in cases given how widely the virus has been circulating and the change in seasons. And we have already seen this happen in some schools and on some college campuses students come back have any of them found it possible to contain outbreaks to prevent them. Well. You know there's a range of strategies being used in group settings in schools and daycares. CDC Director Robert Redfield has pointed to evidence from Rhode Island where hundreds of daycare facilities open to this summer. There were some students and teachers who got infected by identifying them and isolating them. They were able to limit community spread there. So he says that's success. Of course, to do this, effectively, you got to identify people quickly. Right? Weiss on college campuses have mandated. Entry testing is booked to Eric Lander, he's the director of the Institute of Mit and Harvard which has kind of overseeing testing program for about one hundred college campuses in new. England. Some of these schools are testing students and faculty two times a week. And so far this seems to be paying off testing is identified already four, hundred, fifty infected people because we know that they're not out there spreading to other people on the campus. That's the case for testing right now, that information is immediately actionable by knowing, we can cut off the sprint. So when students test positive that can be isolated of course to. Prevent outbreaks need more than testing, right everybody's got to do this social distancing in masking and sometimes more stringent measures at University of Illinois where there's a very rigorous testing program. The school announced a temporary lockdown for undergraduates given they were able to quickly detect a rising cases. So the goal here is to quickly turn it around before it gets out of control. Something I've been curious about we obviously don't have a covid nineteen vaccine yet, but there seems to be a big push for people to get the flu vaccine I keep getting mails from my doctor, my pharmacy what's going on? Doctors are concerned because people have put off routine visits during the pandemic. So for instance, child immunizations were way down this spring according to an analysis by Komodo health they've bounced back some but the message from doctors and pediatricians is this come in and get your vaccine. The flu vaccine if you ended up getting flu and Cuvette, which is possible, you could get really sick I spoke to Michael Eisen. He's an infectious disease doctor at Northwestern University, Feinberg, school of Medicine in Chicago. If you get sick with what you think maybe the flu, you can't differentiate that based on symptoms from nineteen and so that'll mean those people are going to be seeing their doctor asking for tests needing healthcare. And this could really overburdened the healthcare system. That's why we're all being asked to keep up the social distancing the masking the handwashing because the same strategies that help prevent it also help prevent the flu. Now in the meantime, we have a presidential election in two months. What's the latest? Guidance on how to vote safely. If you can vote by mail that is a good option, but bottom line polls need to be open on election day for other people who will vote in person. There's a lot of thought being given to big venues to maximize social distancing. For instance, in Baltimore, Camden yards, the baseball stadium has been considered as a possible voting site. Some NBA Arenas may be used as book to Mirror Net. Perez, he's the director of the voting rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. That's at the Nyu School of law. She says another challenge year more poll workers are needed November. Many of our countries poll workers have traditionally been people that are over sixty five, which are at greater risk of covid complications. For that reason, we have people who either don't want to sign up to be a poll worker again or shouldn't be signing up to be a poll worker again, an as such. We need to expand who is serving as a poll worker, which means Roy need a lot of people volunteering hopefully younger people at lower risk of serious illness. So given that the virus is still circulating and we don't yet have a vaccine that could be a good thing to do. Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Last week allison the CDC told states to be ready to distribute vaccine by November. Now, there's some concern over this right people are worried that there's political pressure to get a vaccine done because the election is coming up the trump administration would like to win that election. Let's leave the politics aside and talk about the science. Are we likely to get a vaccine this year? You know if there is any kind of approval or emergency use authorization this year, it would likely start with a very narrow group of people likely healthcare workers or people in nursing homes. Now, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb spoke about the timing yesterday on CBS. I think the likelihood that we're going to have a vaccine for widespread use and twenty twenty is extremely low. I think we need to think of that as largely twenty, twenty, one event, and if we do have a vaccine available twenty twenty s likely to be using a much more targeted fashion almost in a therapeutic says to protect very high risk populations. The current FDA administrators even Hahn has said it is possible the agency May Review a vaccine makers application, and make some kind of determination based on the evidence so far before trials are complete, but again, it will likely be many many months before all of us can be vaccinated. Twenty twenty one event as Scott Gottlieb says Ellison Aubrey. Thanks so much for your reporting. We appreciate it. Thank you, Noel.