Daily COVID-19 Briefing: 4/26/20

Top news, reports and insights for today:

  1. Daily headlines for Sunday:
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm, a must-watch expert, says COVID-19 testing is in crisis right now (NBC News, Meet the press)
  • CDC finally expands case definition, adding 6 new symptoms. This should have been done in early March. (USA Today)
  • All eyes are again on Italy as it starts to re-open. Is it too soon? (Wall Street Journal)
  • New study of 5700 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York City shows only 30% had fever on admission (JAMA Network)
  • Young people with COVID-19 are having strokes, suggesting the virus may be causing dangerous blood clots (Washington Post)
  1. U.S. Cases trending upward, nearing 1 million. Midwest states surging
    The new case graph below shows that infections in the U.S. are trending upward, based on the 7-day moving average curve. Nearly 35,000 new cases were reported yesterday, a cumulative rise of 4%. I’ve tweaked the graph so that Sunday and Monday reports are a darker shade, to emphasize a pattern I pointed out earlier in the week about lagged reporting over the weekend. That is why the 7-day focus is preferred since it balances out weekly variation in ascertainment. It is likely the U.S. will be the first country to pass 1 million cases next week. Globally, the U.S. has more than 3 times more cases than Spain, which ranks second in the world. However, in terms of prevalence (proportion of the population infected) the U.S. at 2,948 per 1 million population ranks behind Spain (4,847), Belgium (3,981), Ireland (3,901), Switzerland (3,358), and Italy (3,269). However, keep in mind that U.S. testing remains lower than most nations (except Belgium and Spain). Seroprevalence studies remind us that there may be 10-times more infections than we are now aware of. The bottom graph shows 1-week growth in cases by state and region. Two midwestern states (Iowa and Nebraska) have doubled cases in that time. Substantial increases were also seen in Kansas (+71%), Minnesota (+56%) and Ohio (+52%), making the Midwest the latest apparent regional hot spot. Notable rises were also seen in the South (Arkansas and Virginia) and the Northeast (Massachussetts, Maryland and Rhode Island). Growth in new cases was less than 20% in New York, Maine and Vermont.

Top pick of the day

These are the 6 new possible symptoms of the coronavirus the CDC added to its list

USA Today article by Susan Miller, posted April 26, 2020.

For months we have known that a larger list of symptoms should be considered when characterizing this new infection. The CDC has however been slow to move past the original three symptoms: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Finally, an additional 6 symptoms have been added. All have been on my symptom checklist since early March. This change comes on the heals of a major JAMA report showing that only a third of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 had a fever on admission.

Today’s bite-sized, handpicked selection of important news, information or science for all who want to know where this epidemic is going and what we should do.