September 7, 2020

On Friday, there were 4 new COVID cases in Harrison County and 8 in Gregg, and 18 in Smith County. 

1. It appears that the case fatality, both globally and for individual continents, is converging around 3%. However, there remains considerable variation between countries. Six (6) countries continue to report COVID-19 case fatality greater than 10%. Notably, 4 of these countries—Belgium, France, Italy, and the UK—were severely affected early in the pandemic, and all 4 are reporting decreasing trends. Yemen is reporting the world’s highest case fatality (29%)…. Mexico’s case fatality has largely leveled off since early August, holding steady at approximately 11%. A number of other countries around the world are reporting case fatality greater than 5%. The majority of these countries are reporting decreasing trends; however, in addition to Yemen, Iran and Egypt have both reported increasing case fatality since approximately mid-June. As a reminder, the case fatality ratio is determined not just by the virus, but also by case ascertainment and factors related to underlying population health and medical care.


The US CDC reported 6.09 million total cases (41,193 new) and 185,092 deaths (1,009 new). The United States’ average mortality fell below 900 deaths per day for the first time since July 24. In total, 19 states (no change) are reporting more than 100,000 cases, including California with more than 700,000 cases; Florida and Texas with more than 600,000; New York with more than 400,000; and ArizonaGeorgia, and Illinois with more than 200,000.

2. ‘Carnage’ in a Lab Dish Shows How the Coronavirus May Damage the Heart (STAT News) Maybe we should think of Covid-19 as a heart disease. When SARS-CoV-2 virus was added to human heart cells grown in lab dishes, the long muscle fibers that keep hearts beating were diced into short bits, alarming scientists at the San Francisco-based Gladstone Institutes, especially after they saw a similar phenomenon in heart tissue from Covid-19 patients’ autopsies.  Their experiments could potentially explain why some people still feel short of breath after their Covid infections clear and add to worries that survivors may be at risk for future heart failure.

3. Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results (JAMA)  In this cohort study of 489 patients who had a vitamin D level measured in the year before COVID-19 testing, the relative risk of testing positive for COVID-19 was 1.77 times greater for patients with likely deficient vitamin D status compared with patients with likely sufficient vitamin D status, a difference that was statistically significant. These findings appear to support a role of vitamin D status in COVID-19 risk; randomized clinical trials are needed to determine whether broad population interventions and interventions among groups at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 could reduce COVID-19 incidence. (J. Harris: “The Mayo Clinic states that the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for most adults is 600 international units a day (IU). Doctors may prescribe higher doses to treat medical conditions such as vitamin D deficiency, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, for a short period of time. Daily use of high-dose vitamin D supplements for several months is toxic.” If you are taking Vit. D capsules from your doctor, they are usually 5,000-10,000 units each. If you are taking a multivitamine, it probably contains at least 600 units. DON’T TAKE MEGA DOESE OF VIT. D. If in doubt, your doctor can run a simple Vit. D level in your blood. 

In hotel rooms I worry. I can’t be the only guy who sits on the furniture naked.~ Jonathan Katz

Why don’t oysters donate to charity? Because they’re shellfish.

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