US Confirms Its First Case Of COVID19 Reinfection – Full Daily Update

U.S. Researchers have confirmed the country’s first case of a patient becoming reinfected with the novel coronavirus.  According to the report, an unnamed 25-year-old man, who lives in Washoe County, Nevada, tested positive in mid-April after showing signs of mild illness.  After recovering, and testing negative twice, he started experiencing similar symptoms in late May.  He tested positive again for COVID19, the disease caused by the virus, but this time, his disease progressed to a severe case and he required hospitalization along with oxygen therapy.   The results, which were published in a pre-print study in August, were released by The Lancet Infectious Diseases yesterday.  The team says that, although further research is needed, the findings suggest that contracting the virus does not guarantee total immunity and that everyone should strictly follow guidelines including masks, social distancing and hand-washing.

Ontario Numbers:

You can expect to see a fairly substantial number of COVID19 infections announced later this morning in Ontario. That’s because the province did not report numbers on Thanksgiving. On Sunday there were 649 new cases with 809 more announced on Saturday. Heading into this short work and school week, there are 217 people in the province hospitalized for COVID19. 51 are in Intensive Care and 32 of them are on a ventilator. There have been 3,005 deaths from the coronavirus.

Not a Smooth Rollout of the New COVID19 Benefits:

There were a few technical bumps during the rollout of new federal financial benefits, but the government says they’ve been resolved. The Canada Revenue Agency says it regrets any impact the technical issues may have had on would-be applicants yesterday. Applications for benefits meant for those who have missed work due to the COVID19 pandemic opened yesterday morning. The new Canada Recovery Benefit will pay $500-dollars per week for up to 26-weeks. Another caregiver benefit applies to people forced to miss work to care for children or family members. Women have taken the biggest financial hit from the pandemic, as they more often must shoulder child care and home schooling responsibilities.

Head of the WHO Warns Against Trying to Achieve Herd Immunity:

The head of the World Health Organization says pursuing herd immunity to stop COVID-19 is “simply unethical.” Some researchers have argued that allowing COVID19 to spread in populations that are not obviously vulnerable will help build up herd immunity enough to slow or stop the novel coronavirus. Tedros Ghebreyesus says too little is known about immunity to COVID19 to know if herd immunity is even achievable.

Johnson & Johnson Pauses Its COVID19 Vaccine Study After Unexplained Illness In One Of Its 60,000 Volunteers:

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID19 vaccine study has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.  A document obtained by Stat News which was sent to outside researchers running the 60,000-patient clinical trial states that a “pausing rule” has been met.  It also stated that the online system used to enroll patients in the study has been closed and the data and safety monitoring board would be convened.  Johnson & Johnson confirmed the news to Stat News, saying it was due to “an unexplained illness in a study participant.”  The company declined to provide further details and cited patient privacy.  “Based on our strong commitment to safety, all clinical studies conducted by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson have prespecified guidelines. These ensure our studies may be paused if an unexpected serious adverse event (SAE) that might be related to a vaccine or study drug is reported, so there can be a careful review of all of the medical information before deciding whether to restart the study,” the company said in a statement.  “We must respect this participant’s privacy. We’re also learning more about this participant’s illness, and it’s important to have all the facts before we share additional information,” the company added.  “Serious adverse events are not uncommon in clinical trials, and the number of serious adverse events can reasonably be expected to increase in trials involving large numbers of participants. Further, as many trials are placebo-controlled, it is not always immediately apparent whether a participant received a study.”

New CDC Predictions:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has forecast 233,000 COVID19 deaths by the end of this month with up to 6,800 new fatalities in the last week of October alone.  In a report on its website the CDC writes: “This week’s national ensemble forecast indicates an uncertain trend in new COVID19 deaths reported over the next four weeks and predicts that 2,800 to 6,800 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending October 31, 2020.  The national ensemble predicts that a total of 224,000 to 233,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported by this date.”

Trump Back on the Campaign Trail:

Defiant as ever about the coronavirus US President Donald Trump turned his first campaign rally since contracting COVID19 into a full-throated defence of his handling of the pandemic. Trump joked Monday that he was healthy enough to plunge into the Florida crowd and give voters “a big fat kiss.” Social distancing was non-existent among the thousands gathered, and mask-wearing was spotty at best, during the hour-long event. The pandemic has killed 215,000 Americans.

Trump Deemed Non-Infectious:

President Donald Trump’s physician has said he is no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus – but did not say explicitly whether Trump had tested negative for it.  In a memo released on Saturday night, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said Trump met the CDC criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk.  The diagnosis came as the president prepared to resume campaign rallies and other activities.

The Economic Cost of COVID19:

The coronavirus pandemic will cost the US an estimated $16 trillion – about 90 percent of the annual gross domestic product – in the next year, a new study suggests.  Researchers say about half of the figure, $8.6 trillion, will be due to premature deaths and those who have long-term health implications from contracting COVID19.  Additionally, costs will pile up due to new unemployment claims from those who lost their jobs and those seeking mental health treatment.

Ontario Long Term Care Homes:

Doctors have told an independent inquiry that Ontario neglected its long-term care homes when the pandemic hit and instead focused on preparing hospitals for a surge in COVID19 patients. But they say the surge ended up happening at nursing homes, which were unprepared. The homes had insufficient personal protective equipment and a lack of universal masking policies. And they say some physicians refused to enter facilities over fears of the virus.

New Brunswick Outbreak:

A pair of COVID19 outbreaks in New Brunswick was keeping health officials busy over the holiday long-weekend. The province says it has 76 active cases, and most of them confirmed within the past week. The bulk of the cases are connected to outbreaks in the Campbellton and Moncton regions. Officials also admit that three schools in the province have confirmed cases in the past five days.

Here is yesterday’s New Brunswick Update:

Is a Second Wave Hitting Newfoundland and Labrador?

Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador announced four new cases of COVID19 over the Thanksgiving weekend — three reported on Saturday, and one on Thanksgiving Monday. They say Saturday’s cases were three females under the age of 19, and all are close contacts of a previous case. Monday’s case was a man between 20 and 39 years old who was returning to the province from work in Alberta.

Saskatchewan Politics and COVID19:

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili is criticizing his opponents in this month’s election of speaking of COVID19 in the past tense. Meili says the first page of the Saskatchewan Party’s election platform says, “We faced the pandemic — together.” He says COVID19 is not over, not in Canada and not in Saskatchewan. The NDP says its investments in health care and reducing classroom sizes will bolster the province’s fight against COVID19.

Broadway Shows Will Remain on Pause:

Fans of Broadway will have to wait a little longer for shows to resume – until at least late May.  Although an exact date for various performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through May 30.  The announcement is another blow to the New York City economy, which relies on tourists who come to the area to see shows and also spend money at hotels, restaurants, and stores.  It came as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week re-imposed lockdown measures after COVID19 outbreaks were reported in parts of Brooklyn and Queens as well as suburban counties like Rockland and Orange.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Between Saturday and Sunday there were 38 new COVID19 infections reported in Waterloo Region. Yesterday they added another 9 to the Regional total. The number of active cases in the Region sits at 110. Another person has been hospitalized for a total of 4. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, they don’t report weekend numbers. On Friday they had 9 new cases and now have 46 active in the Region at the moment.

Waterloo Region Infections:

A second Grand River Transit bus driver has tested positive for COVID19. It’s the second GRT infection since Thursday. This driver last worked last Wednesday. Four more students at Wilfrid Laurier University have tested positive for COVID19. All 4 live in residence and all 4 are now self isolating. Public Health is notifying any high-risk contacts who may have been exposed, including those who in live in the affected students’ residence halls.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CDC – Centre for Disease Control

 

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan