The number of British Columbians with active COVID-19 infections hit a new high on September 16, with 1,614 people battling the virus that has caused a global pandemic. This is 24 more people than yesterday and 507 more than it was at the start of the month.
Pushing the number of active cases up is consistently high numbers of new infections identified on a daily basis. There were 122 new COVID-19 infections detected overnight in B.C., for a total of 7,498 cases identified since the virus was first confirmed in B.C. on January 28.
The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home, although 60 people are sick enough to be in hospital, and 23 of those individuals are in intensive care units. There has not been more British Columbians in intensive care units with COVID-19 since May 1 – nearly 20 weeks ago.
The good news is that for the second consecutive day, no one has died from the disease in the province. That leaves the death toll from the novel coronavirus at 219.
B.C. set to unveil how it will spend $1.5 billion in pandemic recovery funds
Province has already spent $7.6 billion on COVID response measures since the start of the pandemichttps://www.cbc.ca/n...pt-17-1.5727497
Tofino-area First Nation considering closing doors to visitors again
Swamped with tourists, scared of COVID-19, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more support neededhttps://www.nanaimob...visitors-again/
A top Donald Trump donor who has publicly campaigned against COVID-19 restrictions was granted a special entry exemption into Canada last month, allowing her to skip the country's mandatory 14-day quarantine for foreign travellers, a CBC News investigation has learned.
Liz Uihlein, the 75-year-old president and CEO of Uline Inc., a Wisconsin-based retailer of shipping, packing and janitorial supplies, flew to Toronto on her private jet on Aug. 25, for what her company calls a "facility visit" to its Milton, Ont., office and warehouse. Uihlein was accompanied by two other senior company executives, Phil Hunt and Glenn Quaiver, on the two-day trip.
Through a spokesperson, Uline insisted that the three Americans were granted formal exemptions from the two-week self-isolation period that has been in place since last March. Under a federal order-in-council, only four cabinet members — Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and Minister of Immigration Marco Mendicino — and Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, have the power to issue such free passes. But none of their departments will admit to having signed off on the three quarantine exemptions, and the company refuses to say who approved their applications.
Uihlein, along with her husband, Richard, ranks as the biggest donor to the Republican Party, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, having given more than $40 million US so far in 2019-20. She has been outspoken in her criticism of the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, complaining that government-mandated shutdowns have been costly and disruptive for business.
Scientists already know that this excessive inflammation involves heightened neutrophil recruitment to the airways, but the detailed mechanisms of this reaction are still unclear.
Lee and Park’s analyses found that a group of immune cells called myeloid cells produced excess amounts of neutrophil-recruiting chemicals in severely ill patients, including a cytokine called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and a chemokine called CXCL8.
Further RNA analyses of neutrophils in severely ill patients showed they were less able to recruit very important T cells needed for attacking the virus. At the same time, the neutrophils produced too many extracellular molecules that normally trap pathogens, but damage airway cells when produced in excess.
The researchers additionally found that the airway cells in severely ill patients were not expressing enough glucocorticoid receptors. This was correlated with increased CXCL8 expression and neutrophil recruitment.
Study shows first proof that a safer UV light effectively kills virus causing COVID-19
Researchers offer first proof that Ultraviolet C light with a 222 nm wavelength -- which is safer to use around humans -- effectively kills the SARS-CoV-2 virushttps://www.eurekale...u-ssf091620.php
Potential COVID-19 drug azithromycin may increase risk for cardiac events
Risks exist if drug is taken with other commonly prescribed medicationshttps://www.eurekale...a-pcd091620.php
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute today announced they have released Coronascape (coronascape.org), a customized version of the Metascape bioinformatics platform that removes big-data analysis hurdles for biologists. Coronascape will enable scientists to interpret the growing body of big data related to COVID-19. More than 23,000 papers about COVID-19 have been published since January 2020—and this number continues to rise exponentially.
"A significant number of publications on SARS-CoV-2 contain large-scale OMICs data, which is not readily interpretable and actionable by many researchers, creating a big-data bottleneck," says Sumit Chanda, Ph.D., director of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys and senior member of the Metascape team. "Coronascape provides a central clearinghouse for scientists to laser-focus their OMICs analysis and data-mining efforts to find effective drug targets, therapies and vaccines for COVID-19."
Large-scale studies that map all of the genes, proteins, RNA and more that underlie a biological system—called OMICs studies—are standard tools for a modern biologist. However, interpreting these big-data outputs to generate meaningful, actionable information is far from routine.
"Analyzing results from OMICs studies requires sophisticated tools and highly trained computational scientists," explains Yingyao Zhou, Ph.D., director of data science and data engineering at the GNF, and lead architect of the Metascape platform. "These efforts can be costly and time intensive even for experts—taking anywhere from days to weeks to generate actionable information."
Researchers working on nasal spray to block COVID-19https://medicalxpres...ock-covid-.html
In the first study to examine the binding mechanism between ACE2 and the spike protein in its entirety, researchers in the Crick’s Structural Biology of Disease Processes Laboratory, have characterised ten distinct structures that are associated with different stages of receptor binding and infection.
The team incubated a mixture of spike protein and ACE2 before trapping different forms of the protein by rapid freezing in liquid ethane. They examined these samples using cryo-electron microscopy, obtaining tens of thousands of high-resolution images of the different binding stages.
They observed that the spike protein exists as a mixture of closed and open structures., Following ACE2 binding at a single open site, the spike protein becomes more open, leading to a series of favourable conformational changes, priming it for additional binding. Once the spike is bound to ACE2 at all three of its binding sites, its central core becomes exposed, which may help the virus to fuse to the cell membrane, permitting infection.
“By examining the binding event in its entirety, we’ve been able to characterise spike structures that are unique to SARS-CoV-2,” says Donald Benton, co-lead author and postdoctoral training fellow in the Structural Biology of Disease Processes Laboratory at the Crick.
“We can see that as the spike becomes more open, the stability of the protein will reduce, which may increase the ability of the protein to carry out membrane fusion, allowing infection.”
Their work, published in the Sept. 16, 2020 online issue of Cell, confirms that a multi-layered, virus-specific immune response is important for controlling the virus during the acute phase of the infection and reducing COVID-19 disease severity, with the bulk of the evidence pointing to a much bigger role for T cells than antibodies. A weak or uncoordinated immune response, on the other hand, predicts a poor disease outcome. The findings suggest that vaccine candidates should aim to elicit a broad immune response that include antibodies, helper and killer T cells to ensure protective immunity.
“Our observations could also explain why older COVID-19 patients are much more vulnerable to the disease,” says senior author Shane Crotty, Ph.D., who co-led the study with Alessandro Sette, Dr. Biol.Sci., both professors in LJI’s Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research. “With increasing age, the reservoir of T cells that can be activated against a specific virus declines and the body’s immune response becomes less coordinated, which looks to be one factor making older people drastically more susceptible to severe or fatal COVID-19.”
One in 7 reported COVID-19 infections is among health workers: WHOhttps://www.channeln...avirus-13121336
An official said Wednesday that Mexico City suffered 20,535 'excess deaths' attributable to COVID-19 between April and August, almost double the number reported in the official death toll of 11,318https://medicalxpres...eaths-toll.html
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday warned against "vaccine nationalism" that she said could put lives at risk by depriving the most vulnerable in poorer nations of immunity.
But a study released by Oxfam showed a group of wealthy countries representing just 13 percent of the world population has already secured the lion's share of doses.
"Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn't depend on where you live or how much money you have," said Robert Silverman of Oxfam America.
"Covid-19 anywhere is Covid-19 everywhere."
The five leading vaccine candidates currently in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people, the Oxfam report said.
Some 51 percent of those jabs have been snapped up by the wealthy world, including the United States, Britain, the European Union, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.
The remaining 2.6 billion have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.
But throughout the first and second waves, Vietnamese business people and ordinary citizens have been coming up with innovative ways to respond to the pandemic. For the past year, we have been working on a research project focused on Vietnamese inclusive innovation – meaning innovation that helps the community in some way, with a focus on sharing the benefits with a wide range of people from different socio-economic backgrounds. Through our research, we have observed how the pandemic has unfolded across the country.
Some pandemic innovations have been aimed at preventing further infections. In the centre of the outbreak, Danang, local tech startup BusMap has worked with the authorities to create an infection map to help locals avoid hotspots and to find the nearest medical facility.
Meanwhile, newly designed robots have been given the job of disinfecting hospitals and public spaces, with different models developed by a military hospital in Saigon, students at a private university in Hanoi and students at a public university in Saigon.
Trump says CDC director was 'confused' when he said COVID vaccine won't roll out until mid-2021https://www.cbc.ca/n...cines-1.5726094
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday said that Dr. Robert Redfield, the current director of the Centers for Disease Control, is out of the loop when it comes to developing a vaccine for COVID-19https://www.rawstory...op-on-vaccines/
Barr: Coronavirus lockdowns 'greatest intrusion on civil liberties' since slaveryhttps://thehill.com/...civil-liberties
In his latest effort to politicize the COVID-19 pandemic as the country approaches nearly 200,000 fatalities from the infectious disease, President Trump on Wednesday singled out “blue states” for the country’s jarring COVID-19 death rate.
During a briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Trump attempted to paint a rosy picture of COVID-19 cases in the country by suggesting that if “you take the blue states out” of the equation, the U.S. wouldn’t be experiencing an alarming death toll rate from the novel coronavirus compared to other countries.
“If you take the blue states out, we’re at at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at,” Trump said. “We’re really at a very low level, but some of the states —they were blue states, and blue-state management.”
After Trump singled out Democratic-led states for the country’s increasing COVID-19 fatality rate, without providing specific evidence to support his assertion, he went on to further rail against blue states for not easing up on coronavirus-related restrictions sooner.
“By the way we’d recommend they open up their states,” Trump said. “It’s hurting people far more than the disease itself.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in a wave of worrisome and needless regulatory relaxations that have increased pollution across the United States. Recent reporting by the Associated Press and other outlets has documented more than 3,000 pandemic-based requests from polluters to state agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for waivers of environmental requirements. Numerous state governments, with the tacit encouragement of the EPA, went along with many of those requests. All too often, those waivers — requested, ostensibly, to protect American workers from exposure to the coronavirus — were granted with little or no review, notwithstanding the risks the resulting emissions posed to public health and the environment.
Following the EPA’s lead, numerous states adopted and implemented unduly lax pandemic waiver policies. Texas granted more than 200 waiver requests, but the Lone Star state was not alone:
These regulatory failures have occurred against the backdrop of a steady decline in both federal and state environmental enforcement. The numbers of government scientists and attorneys whose work focuses on enforcing environmental laws has dropped significantly in recent years. There have also been substantial decreases in the numbers of in-person government inspections of pollution sources, the volume of enforcement actions pursued, the number of environmental criminal investigations, and the amount of money that polluters have been compelled to spend on pollution control as a direct result of enforcement activities. EPA has all but abandoned its longstanding oversight of state enforcement work. And the federal agency has cravenly deferred to state enforcement (or nonenforcement) priorities, even though quite a few states lack the resources and/or political will to effectively enforce environmental standards.
- Regulators suspended in-person self-inspections at a nuclear test site in Nevada.
- North Dakota officials granted a request to suspend groundwater sampling at a natural-gas processing plant where 837,000 gallons of liquid natural gas had spilled from a leak over the preceding five years.
- Arkansas granted a long-term blanket waiver of safety testing for abandoned oil and gas wells.
- Wyoming granted (mostly very large) oil and gas companies a pass on air-pollution emission rules.
- Michigan approved requests from several cities to delay testing for lead in drinking water and for replacing the sort of lead pipes that created the horrific public health disaster in Flint.
Howls of protest and a federal lawsuit prompted EPA to terminate its Covid policy as of Aug. 31. But too much damage has already been done.