CDC Updates Guidance To Say COVID-19 Can Spread in the Air Further Than 6 Feet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating guidance on its website to provide more information on how far COVID-19 spreads through the air. “There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away,” the CDC said in its revised guidelines on Monday. It continued, “These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example, while singing or exercising.” “Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.” Finally, the guidelines added, “Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission.” FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an illustration of a virus outside a regional science centre, as the city and surrounding areas face local restrictions in an effort to avoid a local lockdown being forced upon the region, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Oldham, Britain August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble This is far from the first time the CDC has updated its COVID-19 guidelines, as IJR reported. In August, the agency revised its guidelines to say that people who have been exposed to the virus but are not showing symptoms do not need to be tested for the virus.   Just weeks later, the agency reversed itself and said people who have been exposed to COVID-19 should be tested regardless of whether they were experiencing symptoms. The change in guidance regarding COVID-19 testing parked concerns that health information about the virus has been politicized by administration officials.  The New York Times reported in September that the change in testing guidelines was made over the objections of scientists at the agency. Additionally, they claimed the new guidance was drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the website was updated without a review from the CDC.

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CDC Revises Guidelines on Testing Asymptomatic People for COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reversing course on guidelines for testing asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus. “Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the agency said. It added, “If you have been in close contact, such as within 6 feet of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection for at least 15 minutes and do not have symptoms. You need a test. Please consult with your healthcare provider or public health official. Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection.” The revised guidelines come less than a month after the CDC suggested asymptomatic carriers do not need to be tested, as IJR previously reported. The agency originally indicated they do not need to be tested “unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.” Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Service, released a statement defending the agency’s original guidelines. “This Guidance has been updated to reflect current evidence and best public health practices, and to further emphasize using CDC-approved prevention strategies to protect yourself, your family, and the most vulnerable of all ages,” Giroir said. The number of coronavirus cases remain persistently high across the nation. As of Friday afternoon, more than 6,709,600 Americans have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 197,700 have died. There have been an average of 40,111 cases per day over the past week, which is a 1% decrease from the average two weeks prior. On Thursday, the United States reported at least 849 new coronavirus related deaths and a total of 45,434 new cases.

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Trump Contradicts CDC Director’s Claim That Masks Are Most Effective in Protecting Against COVID-19

President Donald Trump says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield was wrong when he testified that masks are “more guaranteed to protect” against COVID-19 than a vaccine. During a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, Trump was asked about Redfield’s claim, he said, “It’s not more effective by any means than a vaccine.” “And I called him about that,” Trump continued. “I believe that if you ask him, he would probably say that he didn’t understand the question.” Trump went on to say that “masks have problems too” and that “masks have to be handled very gently, very carefully.” He provided an example of servers in restaurants “playing all around with their masks, and their fingers are in their mask, and then they’re serving with plates.” “[A] vaccine is much more effective than the mask,” he added. “The mask is not as important as the vaccine. The mask perhaps helps.” Additionally, he said he had a call with Redfield to ask his comments, and, “[Redfield] said, ‘I think I answered that question incorrectly.'” Watch the video below: President Trump: "The mask is not as important as the vaccine. The mask perhaps helps." pic.twitter.com/NwMyRc6XCd — The Hill (@thehill) September 16, 2020 During testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Redfield encouraged Americans to “embrace” wearing face coverings, as IJR reported. “Face masks, these face masks, are the most important, powerful public health tool we have, and I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings,” he said Redfield also described masks as our “best defense” and said he believes that a national mask-wearing mandate for as long as 12-weeks could “bring this pandemic under control.” He also said that a coronavirus vaccine might not be effective in promoting an immune response to the virus.  “So I do want to keep asking the American public to take the responsibility, particularly the 18-25 years olds, where we’re seeing the outbreak in America continue to go like this because we haven’t got the acceptance, the personal responsibility that we need for all Americans to embrace this face mask,” he added. Redfield has previously expressed his belief that face coverings are the best defense against COVID-19. 

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US COVID-19 Death Analysis Shows Greater Toll on Black, Hispanic Youth: CDC

A disproportionate percentage of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among Black and Hispanic people younger than 21, according to a U.S. study, a reflection of the racial and ethnic make-up of essential workers who have more exposure to COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from Feb. 12 through July 31, there were 121 deaths among people younger than the age of 21 in 27 states. Hispanic, Black, and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native people accounted for about 75% of the deaths in that age group, even though they represent 41% of the U.S. population aged under 21. The researchers looked at data from 47 of 50 states. Among the 121 deaths, 63% were male, 45% were Hispanic and 29% were Black. Deaths among children younger than one accounted for 10% of the total, 20% of the deaths were among one-to-nine-year olds, while those aged between 10 and 20 years accounted for the rest. A quarter of the 121 deaths were in previously healthy individuals with no reported underlying medical condition, while 75% had at least one underlying medical condition, including asthma. The researchers said children from racial and ethnic minority groups, whose parents were likely to be essential workers, could also be overrepresented because of crowded living conditions, food and housing insecurity, wealth and educational gaps and racial discrimination. The study appeared in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The findings of this study could be limited by incomplete testing and delays in reporting COVID-19-associated deaths, among other things, the researchers said. (Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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Gottlieb: ‘White House Leadership Was Failed by Health Officials’ in the Early Days of the Pandemic

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb believes that top U.S. health officials did not provide White House officials with accurate information about COVID-19 in the early days of the outbreak. In the wake of a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, which found that President Donald Trump sought to downplay the threat of COVID-19, Gottlieb was asked if White House officials were given wrong information about the virus. “I think in this respect, the White House leadership was failed by health officials,” Gottlieb said during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.” He continued, “We did not have a diagnostic in the field, so we couldn’t screen for it — we should have. We should have started working on that in January. And we over-relied on a surveillance system that was built for flu and not for coronavirus without recognizing that it wasn’t going to be as sensitive at detecting coronavirus spread as it was for flu because the two viruses spread very differently.” Gottlieb continued to say that people can debate whether Trump was responsible for that failure because he appointed may of those officials. However, he added, “I think ultimately the White House did not have the information they needed to make decisions. The key function of agencies in the government is to provide policymakers with accurate, actionable information. The White House didn’t have it.” Watch the video below: NEWS: @ScottGottliebMD on the Trump Administration’s early #Covid19 response: “White House leadership was failed by health officials""The White House didn't have the information they need to make decisions." pic.twitter.com/zxkMjq631O — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 13, 2020 Additionally, he said that in February, he had conversations with White House officials, and they were confident, based on the information they had received from top health officials, that the virus was not spreading in the country. “I think when history looks back, that’s going to be a key moment,” he added. In an interview with Woodward in February, Trump said the virus was able to spread through the air and that it was “more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” However, Gottlieb suggested that Trump downplayed the virus based on the information he received from top health experts. “What CDC officials were relying on, and telling the coronavirus task force, was that there was no spread of the coronavirus in the United States in February,” Gottlieb said. .@ScottGottliebMD weighs in after revelations that @realDonaldTrump downplayed #COVID19"We had no idea where this was and wasn't spreading..I suspect the president was being told as well this virus wasn't spreading in the U.S…that may have impacted what he did and didn't say" pic.twitter.com/SXZ5pO0eYa — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 13, 2020 He continued, “I suspect the president was being told as well that this virus wasn’t spreading in the United States. And that may have impacted what he did and didn’t say, and his willingness to, you know as he said, talk it down a little bit. Because he was of the perception that this was not spreading here in the United States.”

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CDC Finds Dining Out Is Among the Riskiest Activities That Can Contribute To COVID-19 Spread

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that dining out could be one of the riskiest activities contributing to the spread of the coronavirus. The public health institute released a report on Thursday explaining why dining is such a high risk citing the removal of masks to eat and drink while patronizing restaurants. CDC officials conducted interviews with more than 300 people who experienced coronavirus-related symptoms, roughly half tested positive for COVID-19. Out of all the tests administered, approximately half returned with positive results. “Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the report states. It continued, “Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities.” The latest study comes as the United States braces for the fall and winter months which are projected to be particularly challenging with the existence of COVID-19. Over the summer, most states that shut down during the spring entered some form of phased reopening. Now, many restaurants across the country have also resumed business operations in some capacity. Like the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci and many other public health experts are warning Americans to remain vigilant in adhering to mitigation guidelines to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. Todd Rice, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, also echoed similar sentiments as he stressed the importance of being particularly careful about adhering to mitigation guidelines. “If people are going to eat out, they need to be thoughtful about how they’re going to do it,” Rice told NBC News, adding, “Even if I’m sitting at a table and the food hasn’t arrived yet, I still wear a mask. I won’t sit at a table that’s next to somebody else.”

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Time is Running Out: Australia Secures a COVID Vaccine Deal With Big Pharma

Continue Reading Time is Running Out: Australia Secures a COVID Vaccine Deal With Big Pharma