August 13, 2020

Marshall had 14 new cases on Tues, but only 1 on Wed. It is likely that this number will go up when recent more intensive local testing results are returned. More than likely, most new positive cases that turn up will be in relatively asymptomatic people. 

click here to enlarge the table

The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients
(J. Harris: My Norwegian vitamin nut enthusiast found this article. I backtracked to the Journal article and her version is much more readable. However, do not take more Vit. D than your doctor recommends or the usual daily dose of Vit. D. Too much D can kill you, as old-time arctic explorers who ate too much polar bear liver found out).


1. More about Sturgis, SD bikers gathering:US MOTORCYCLE RALLY Tens of thousands of motorcycles, recreational vehicles (RVs), and campers arrived in Sturgis, South Dakota (US), for the city’s annual motorcycle rally, which began on August 7. The 10-day event is expected to host 250,000 visitors, likely making it the largest public gathering since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s attendance is expected to only be half of what would be expected in a normal year, but many still fear that the rally will become a “superspreader event.” A survey of local residents found that more than 60% supported postponing the event, but local officials were not able to cancel or suspend the rally, due in part to a large portion of the event taking place on state-licensed campgrounds. 

Local health officials and rally organizers, as well as those for associated concerts and other events, issued COVID-19 guidance for vendors and staff and recommendations for attendees, but there do not appear to be many mandatory precautions. Attendees are encouraged to wear masks, maintain appropriate physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings, and vendors and event staff are implementing enhanced hygiene and sanitization measures, including ensuring hand sanitizer is available. Some media reports indicate that mask use among attendees is very low, with one Associated Press reporter counting fewer than 10 masks out of several thousand people over the course of several hours.

Much like large gatherings earlier in the year, including for holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day, it will likely be several weeks before any associated increase in transmission starts to become evident. Additionally, because event attendees come from across the country, it may be more difficult to link any transmission back to the event.

2. ANTIBODIES & NANOBODIES “…Other researchers are taking a less traditional approach, utilizing “nanobodies” derived from llamas to develop a COVID-19 treatment. “Llamas, alpacas, and other camelids” produce a specialized kind of antibody that are much smaller than traditional antibodies (hence the name), which makes them more able “nestle into the nooks and crannies of proteins” to prevent viruses from attaching to cells. These nanobodies may be “among the most potent anti-coronavirus compounds” identified to date. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF; US) created a synthetic version of these nanobodies that can be formulated as an aerosol to facilitate easier administration (ie, compared to intravenous treatments). The researchers published (preprint) results from in vitro laboratory tests, which demonstrate the nanobodies’ ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins’ from binding to cell ACE2 receptors. The researchers are currently in search of collaborators to support further testing and development.

3. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Involving Residents Receiving Dialysis in a Nursing Home — Maryland, April 2020 (MMWR) Investigation of a COVID-19 outbreak in a Maryland nursing home identified a significantly higher prevalence among residents receiving dialysis (47%) than among those not receiving dialysis (16%); 72% were asymptomatic at the time of testing.

4. Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Secondary Attack Rate (MedRxiv)We identified 40 relevant published studies that report household secondary transmission. The estimated overall household secondary attract rate (SAR0 was 18·8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 15·4%–22·2%), which is higher than previously observed SARs for SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. We observed that household SARs were significantly higher from symptomatic index cases than asymptomatic index cases, to adult contacts than children contacts, to spouses than other family contacts, and in households with one contact than households with three or more contacts.(J. Harris: The potential role of sexual contact could not be determined. Crowded living conditions seemed to be responsible for the high rate of spread. I wonder that the incidence wasn’t even higher than 19%. Spread could have been much worse!)
Precision Public Health as a Key Tool in the COVID-19 Response
(J. Harris: This was not written by George Orwell).

The machine at the coin factory just suddenly stopped working, with no explanation. It doesn’t make any cents.   

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