Depressed Covid Testing Alarms Experts As Another Surge Looms
A recent steep decline in testing is partly due to fewer infections. But efforts to vaccinate have also taken away resources from diagnostic operations at a crucial time.
How Falling Levels Of COVID-19 Tests Could Threaten Pandemic Fight
As the effort to vaccinate Americans intensifies, daily COVID-19 test numbers are falling nationwide, an alarming sign to public health experts who say the tests are still crucial to containing the virus. Testing has been a fraught and highly politicized issue from the beginning of the pandemic, with the first tests rolling out slowly, testing taking a while to ramp up and former President Trump wrongly claiming that an increase in testing was behind the world-leading level of coronavirus cases in the U.S. There have also been issues with testing access and the reliability of certain types of tests. (Vann, 3/2)
Experts Are Warning Of A Potential Covid-19 Surge While Several Governors Are Loosening Restrictions
It's true that cases are down from their January peak and experts were encouraged by a steady decline in Covid-19 case numbers for several weeks. But it's important to note two factors: First, the steep weeks-long decline of cases that was reported in the US seems to have leveled off, according to the CDC director. And that plateau comes at still very high numbers -- with the US averaging more than 65,000 new cases daily for the past week. And second, fewer people appear to be getting tested although Covid-19 testing remains a powerful tool in the country's battle against the virus, according to the CDC. In the week that ended Monday, the US recorded an average of about 1.5 million Covid-19 tests daily, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. (Maxouris, 3/3)
COVID-Spurred Illness Behind Paralysis Of 23-Year-Old Florida Nurse: Report
A 23-year-old nurse from Tampa Bay, Fla., has been left paralyzed after developing an illness that was likely spurred as a result of the novel coronavirus, according to a local report. In July, Desmon Silva suddenly stopped breathing and was rushed to Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor. Silva was left paralyzed from the neck down and was placed on a ventilator. Later, he was transferred to Mass General in Boston where he could be better treated, according to a GoFundMe in his name. (Farber, 3/2)
Children’s Hospitals Grapple With Young Covid ‘Long Haulers’
A slumber party to celebrate Delaney DePue’s 15th birthday last summer marked a new chapter — one defined by illness and uncertainty. The teen from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, tested positive for covid-19 about a week later, said her mother, Sara, leaving her bedridden with flu-like symptoms. However, her expected recovery never came. Delaney — who used to train 20 hours a week for competitive dance and had no diagnosed underlying conditions — now struggles to get through two classes in a row, she said. If she overexerts herself, she becomes bedridden with extreme fatigue. And shortness of breath overcomes her in random places like the grocery store. (Heredia Rodriguez, 3/3)
In updates on the covid variants —
More Contagious Brazilian Virus Variant Emerges In Oregon
A coronavirus variant that was first detected in Brazil has emerged in Oregon, the first known case of the new variant on the contiguous U.S. West Coast, medical authorities said Tuesday. The sample was sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the end of January by medical officials in Douglas County, Oregon. They said they received the results back on Monday night, which showed the P.1 variant. (3/3)
The New York Times:
Why Do Virus Variants Have Such Weird Names?
20H/501Y. V2.VOC 202012/02. B.1.351. Those were the charming names scientists proposed for a new variant of the coronavirus that was identified in South Africa. The convoluted strings of letters, numbers and dots are deeply meaningful for the scientists who devised them, but how was anyone else supposed to keep them straight? Even the easiest to remember, B.1.351, refers to an entirely different lineage of the virus if a single dot is missed or misplaced. (Mandavilli and Mueller, 3/2)