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ASPartOfMe
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31 Aug 2020, 2:35 am

Hundreds of South Carolina college students busted at massive pool party

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Hundreds of raucous party-goers crammed into a pool area near the University of South Carolina over the weekend in violation of coronavirus rules, authorities said.

The Columbia Fire Department said it broke up the massive bash on Saturday at around 6 p.m. after receiving calls from concerned neighbors, The State reported.

“It was almost like Mardi Gras,” Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins told the newspaper.

The pool at The Apartments at Palmetto Compress was packed with revelers, who also crowded the side of the swimming area and even stood on top of the pool house, the fire chief said.

No one was practicing social distancing or wearing a mask, Jenkins said, “but there was lots of drinking going on.”

Even without the raging pandemic, “there still would have been too many people in the pool,” Jenkins said.

When officials ordered the party-goers to scram, the chief said he was shocked that one person told him “I can’t catch COVID. I’m immune to the stuff.”

The pool area at the apartment complex — which advertises as being “just steps from the University of South Carolina” — was shuttered until fire officials can verify it’s capacity.

Jenkins said he would recommend keeping the pool shut for the foreseeable future as a safety precaution during the virus outbreak.

The revelers were let off with a warning, and no fines were issued. Not wearing a mask is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $25 in the city of Columbia.

USC said it was glad that authorities had busted the pool party.

“We’ve done a lot of outreach to try and get the students to do the right thing,” spokesman Jeff Stensland told the newspaper. “Just because a pool is there, you don’t have to swim in it.”

In the week since USC’s fall semester started on Aug. 20, at least 620 students have tested positive for COVID-19, the university said.

Six sorority houses in the school’s Greek Village were quarantined after several people in each house were infected with the virus, according to The State.


Students rack up COVID-19 suspensions across New York
Quote:
Colleges and universities are barely back in session, and already about 100 students have been suspended statewide for COVID-19-related infractions.

Roughly 80 of the suspensions were academic — mostly for illicit partying. The hammer was dropped on at least 23 students from Syracuse University, 15 from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, seven from NYU and a whopping 43 from SUNY Plattsburgh. CUNY, Fordham and St. John’s reported zero suspensions.

Cornell refused to give a number, but an official confirmed the Ivy League school has held students “accountable” for various violations. Columbia University also declined to reveal a number.

Other students have received housing suspensions, including one at Alfred State College, two at SUNY Oneonta, seven at SUNY Binghamton and “less than five” at Stony Brook University on Long Island. SUNY Cortland meted out 35 “disciplinary actions.”

Incoming SUNY chancellor Jim Malatras gave his wholehearted approval to the Plattsburgh crackdown and urged other state schools to throw the book at any rulebreaker.

“Today’s action should send a strong message that irresponsible behavior has serious consequences…,” he said in a statement.

Students returning to NYU had to watch a 7-minute YouTube video that not only outlined the school’s thorough COVID-19 prevention policies but warned of dire consequences to violators. And NYU is encouraging students and staff to tattle on each other anonymously, through the email address. “[email protected]

Besides campus property, NYU has claimed jurisdiction over all unacceptable student behavior anywhere.

One NYU student, for example, was busted for attending a small, rooftop gathering off-campus; the student talked to The Post on the condition of anonymity because the case is being appealed.

“Video footage of the gathering was posted on social media and shared with our office through the University’s anonymous reporting channels,” Craig Jolley, who heads the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, told the student.

Jolley suspended the student for a semester because “proper use of masks and social distancing” hadn’t been followed and warned more violations could lead to expulsion. He also is forcing the student to write a paper on the role that young adults play in spreading COVID-19 — citing “at least five legitimate news sources.”

“Honestly, I am at a loss for words. We didn’t break any NY state laws, any NYU guidelines,” the student told The Post. “This means a lot to me because if I get suspended…. I am on scholarship. It would take away my scholarship and I have a job offer waiting after graduation. If I can’t graduate on time they may take away the job offer.”

Christine Harrington, an NYU political science professor who focuses on public law, thinks the anonymous tattling has a “Stasi” vibe — referring to the secret police in communist East Germany.

“It’s like going into your bedroom. It’s a matter of privacy. We could go and social distance and pull our masks down and somebody could take a video of us,” she told The Post. “You are not free outside.”

The draconian approach from NYU and SUNY isn’t the rule everywhere, however. Fordham has a gentler line of action.

“We’re relying on education, persuasion, and enforcement, in that order,” a Fordham rep told The Post. “There have been no suspensions, expulsions, nor withdrawn offers.”


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31 Aug 2020, 7:51 am

The second confirmed case of reinfection, in this case the second time was worse

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The big question is: how common is this scenario? Researchers still do not know. This case may very well represent a very rare event, but there are many massive questions about SARS-CoV-2 immune responses that researchers are racing to understand. Why do some people develop more severe disease than others? For those who recover, what levels of immune responses will protect them from another infection? How many of the recovered will develop those protective responses? And how long do those protective responses last?

While the new report of a reinfection is an important data point, it—like the reinfection report before it—does not answer any of these big questions.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/08 ... re-severe/


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31 Aug 2020, 8:00 am

94% of COVID-19 Patients who died had Underlying Conditions

The Centers for Disease Control released information showing how many people who died from COVID-19 had comorbidities or underlying conditions as they are sometimes referred to by doctors.

According to the CDC, comorbidity is defined as: " more than one disease or condition is present in the same person at the same time. Conditions described as comorbidities are often chronic or long-term conditions. Other names to describe comorbid conditions are coexisting or co-occurring conditions and sometimes also “multimorbidity” or “multiple chronic conditions."

Comorbidity and underlying conditions can both be used to describe conditions that exist in one person at the same time. These can also contribute to a persons death who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The following are the top underlying medical conditions linked with COVID-19 deaths.

* Influenza and pneumonia
* Respiratory failure
* Hypertensive disease
* Diabetes
* Vascular and unspecified dementia
* Cardiac Arrest
* Heart failure
* Renal failure
* Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events

According to the CDC, 9683 died in the United States with only having COVID-19 listed on their death certificate. In other words, only 6% of the people who died had COVID as the only cause.

Image

Source: 94% of Covid-19 deaths had underlying medical conditions


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31 Aug 2020, 10:36 am

jimmy m wrote:
94% of COVID-19 Patients who died had Underlying Conditions

The Centers for Disease Control released information showing how many people who died from COVID-19 had comorbidities or underlying conditions as they are sometimes referred to by doctors.

According to the CDC, comorbidity is defined as: " more than one disease or condition is present in the same person at the same time. Conditions described as comorbidities are often chronic or long-term conditions. Other names to describe comorbid conditions are coexisting or co-occurring conditions and sometimes also “multimorbidity” or “multiple chronic conditions."

Comorbidity and underlying conditions can both be used to describe conditions that exist in one person at the same time. These can also contribute to a persons death who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The following are the top underlying medical conditions linked with COVID-19 deaths.

* Influenza and pneumonia
* Respiratory failure
* Hypertensive disease
* Diabetes
* Vascular and unspecified dementia
* Cardiac Arrest
* Heart failure
* Renal failure
* Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events

According to the CDC, 9683 died in the United States with only having COVID-19 listed on their death certificate. In other words, only 6% of the people who died had COVID as the only cause.

Image

Source: 94% of Covid-19 deaths had underlying medical conditions

To tie this in with my college outbreak posts, to state the obvious the older you get the more likely you will have underlying conditions. College students most likely are not in danger from more than feeling bad for a while. College students with underlying conditions should not have been sent away to school during the pandemic. The suspensions and quarantine in place are done to protect the older people that live near the colleges.

Off topic rant:
I see a lot of older people moralizing about the reckless youth. Some of these same people were moralizing a few months ago about the snowflake generation. Yes those that partied on maskless are reckless and should have deal with consequences but many of those complaining belong to past generations that were just as if not more reckless. And some of the recklessness put others in danger be it drinking and driving, drug use that required robbing people to pay for it, or “boys being boys”.


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31 Aug 2020, 7:35 pm

They opened up the movie theaters last week, so obviously I had to go. Life is starting to return to normal. I went and saw a film. Going to the theater was really dangerous (sarcasm). There was only me and one other person in the theater and I wore and N95 mask the entire time.


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01 Sep 2020, 8:11 pm

I haven’t seen a movie in a theater in at least 3 years.
I used to really enjoy it. :(


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jimmy m
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01 Sep 2020, 8:38 pm

Today was matinee day at the movie theater. So I saw two films. The first was "The New Mutants" which was part of the X-Men saga. I was the only one in the theater. The second was "Words on a Bathroom Wall". Besides me there was one young couple who sat in the back. This film was about a teenager dealing with Schizophrenia and at the same time stumbling into love and romance. The main character exhibited many Aspie traits.

There was a new film preview. It is timed for release around Halloween. The film is called "Come Play". Who thinks up these plots! The film is a horror movie set to debut in October features a child on the autism spectrum who is haunted by an evil character born out of his iPad. The film, “Come Play,” is about a boy who makes friends with a creature from his tablet that soon starts to spook everyone around him.

One of my passions is films. And in the time of the coronavirus, it is me and my N95.


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02 Sep 2020, 8:04 am

Real Hope for Vaccines

Antibodies that people make to fight the new coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly as some earlier reports suggested, scientists have found.

Tuesday’s report, from tests on more than 30,000 people in Iceland, is the most extensive work yet on the immune system’s response to the virus over time, and is good news for efforts to develop vaccines.

If a vaccine can spur production of long-lasting antibodies as natural infection seems to do, it gives hope that “immunity to this unpredictable and highly contagious virus may not be fleeting,” scientists from Harvard University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health wrote in a commentary published with the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One of the big mysteries of the pandemic is whether having had the coronavirus helps protect against future infection, and for how long. Some smaller studies previously suggested that antibodies may disappear quickly and that some people with few or no symptoms may not make many at all.

The new study was done by Reykjavik-based deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary of the U.S. biotech company Amgen, with several hospitals, universities and health officials in Iceland. The country tested 15% of its population since late February, when its first COVID-19 cases were detected, giving a solid base for comparisons.

Scientists used two different types of coronavirus testing: the kind from nose swabs or other samples that detects bits of the virus, indicating infection, and tests that measure antibodies in the blood, which can show whether someone was infected now or in the past.

Blood samples were analyzed from 30,576 people using various methods, and someone was counted as a case if at least two of the antibody tests were positive. These included a range of people, from those without symptoms to people hospitalized with signs of COVID-19.

In a subgroup who tested positive, further testing found that antibodies rose for two months after their infection initially was diagnosed and then plateaued and remained stable for four months.

Previous studies suggesting antibodies faded quickly may have been just looking at the first wave of antibodies the immune system makes in response to infection; those studies mostly looked 28 days after diagnosis. A second wave of antibodies forms after a month or two into infection, and this seems more stable and long-lasting, the researchers report.

The results don’t necessarily mean that all countries’ populations will be the same, or that every person has this sort of response. Other scientists recently documented at least two cases where people seem to have been reinfected with the coronavirus months after their first bout.

The study also found:

— Testing through the bits-of-virus method that’s commonly done in community settings missed nearly half of people who were found to have had the virus by blood antibody testing. That means the blood tests are far more reliable and better for tracking spread of the disease in a region and for guiding decisions and returning to work or school, researchers say.

— Nearly a third of infections were in people who reported no symptoms.

— Nearly 1% of Iceland’s population was infected in this first wave of the pandemic, meaning the other 99% are still vulnerable to the virus.

— The infection fatality rate was 0.3%. That’s about three times the fatality rate of seasonal flu and in keeping with some other more recent estimates, said Dr. Derek Angus, critical care chief at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The news that natural antibodies don’t quickly disappear “will be encouraging for people working on vaccines,” Angus said.

Source: Large antibody study offers hope for virus vaccine efforts


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02 Sep 2020, 1:25 pm

Covid Flares in New Hot Spots as Americans Let Guard Down

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The U.S. can’t put Covid-19 behind it.

New case counts are declining in some recent hot spots. But they’re spiking in places like Iowa and South Dakota, signaling what may be a new phase in the country’s virus fight as progress in one state is repeatedly offset by infections in others, with little improvement overall.

Politics plays a role, as do events like college reopenings and the Sturgis motorcycle rally. But it’s also a sign of fatigue, the frustration and exhaustion Americans feel after months of masks and hand sanitizer, social isolation, shuttered businesses and closed beaches. People are putting their guard down, experts agree, leaving room for the virus to continue spreading as the country seeks to reopen the economy.

“It’s going to be kind of this rolling fire, with certain flare-ups that occur in different parts of the country at different times,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. “This is a virus that’s established itself into the population.”

On Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, urged that infected college students be kept on campus, as sending them back home would help spread the virus over the holiday.

Overall, U.S. cases this week surpassed 6 million. In the Midwest, positivity rates have reached alarming levels.

In Iowa, for instance, 10.3% of Covid-19 tests came back positive on Monday, slightly below the 14-day average of 11.1%, according to state data. Overall, the state, which currently has no state-wide mask mandate, has recorded 65,478 cases, with new cases rising 50% in the last two weeks.

Iowa State University, in Ames, reported Monday that 28.8% of the students, faculty and staff tested in the most recent week had the virus, although school officials have focused their testing on people showing symptoms or those who have been exposed to someone with the virus. The University of Iowa has reported 922 cases within its campus population.

Iowa Governor
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, acknowledged the jump in cases at a news conference Wednesday.

“For weeks my team has been working on developing a testing strategy with Iowa’s colleges and universities to ensure that they have the testing resources and support that they need to manage the health of their students, staff and communities this academic year,” Reynolds said.

While many of the new cases are among younger people, Reynolds said it’s important to keep elderly residents safe and prevent community spread, adding that aiding long-term care facilities “has been a priority since day one.”

In Ohio, Covid-19 first started as an urban scourge in the cities of Cleveland and Columbus. But the spread is now making waves in rural regions spurred by social gatherings and the return to school, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Tuesday during a news conference in Cedarville.

“The virus is not going away,” DeWine, a Republican, said. “We think a significant part of this is caused by our colleges going back as well as our grade schools going back.”

College Reopenings
Colleges experiencing outbreaks didn’t necessarily reopen too soon, according to Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The problem, he said in an interview Tuesday, was that the schools did not have “the capability of dealing with students who got infected.”

Schools should have tested students before they returned and planned “intermittent surveillance” to watch for rising cases, as well as creating a way to isolate students when they “inevitably” get infected, he said.

On Tuesday, Ohio reported 1,453 cases—the most in more than a month—and the state isn’t seeing signs of the virus relenting. Despite mask mandates, a rule closing bars at 10 p.m., and myriad other health orders, the state’s 21-day average of new cases sits around 1,000.

Per-capita, nine of the top-10 counties for increasing cases are rural, DeWine said. A car-pool trip to a lake led to two businesses closing from an outbreak. A card-game resulted in all family members present contracting the virus, he said.

Social gatherings like this are creating “a real movement into our rural areas,” DeWine said.

Illinois Recurrence
Illinois, too, has seen a resurgence of the virus over the last two months, reversing the progress that had lowered counts in May and June. On Aug. 22, statewide daily cases hit the highest since May, and on Tuesday the death count reached the most since June 26.

“We do not want to be part, here in Chicago, of this surge that we’re seeing broadly across the Midwest,” Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Tuesday.

She noted Iowa, which ranks first in cases per capita, is among the states on the city’s quarantine list and Indiana may be added next week given clusters developing in college towns. In Indiana, the counties in which the University of Notre Dame and Ball State University are located are contributing to a surge in virus cases, according to public health authorities.

“It is not the time to relax your guard,” she said.

But that seems to be happening in Chicago and across Illinois with more cases developing when people at weddings, reunions and other gatherings don’t wear masks, watch their distance or wash hands feequently.

Testing, Tracing
Outbreaks are going to continue to crop up because many states still don’t have the ability to do widespread testing, tracing and isolating, Johns Hopkins’s Adalja said.

“Until they have that capacity, they’re going to always run the risk of these chains of transmission getting started,” he said. “Until we get to the point of being able to do the simple public-health measures in all 50 states, we’re going to have this risk occurring and I do think we will periodically have these flares that occur in different states at different times.”

Even within states, public health officials have struggled to make consistent progress across all of their cities and counties.

California’s Spike
California, for instance, managed to stifle outbreaks in the urban San Francisco and Los Angeles areas only to see cases spike in the rural Central Valley.

Mark Ghaly, secretary of the state Health and Human Services agency, said the outbreak appeared to have been driven in part by the valley’s big farms, which employ large numbers of migrant workers. Those workers, mostly Spanish speakers, weren’t hearing the state’s messages about wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, Ghaly said.

While California is now pouring resources into tamping down the valley outbreak, Ghaly said more may follow, even as the state’s overall virus numbers improve. The number of Californians hospitalized with Covid-19 has now dropped below 4,000, after peaking above 7,000 in July.

We are continuing to learn how to address this broad geography,” Ghaly said. “I’m sure we’ll have some counties that experience increased transmission in the months to come. We feel we’re better prepared than we were in the summer and certainly in the spring.”


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03 Sep 2020, 8:26 am

The Rush for Easy Quick Foods During the Coronavirus

As I noted 9 July 2020 on this thread

jimmy m wrote:
I went to town today and it seems like things are getting back to normal.

I went to Krogers Grocery store. Dramatic improvement. Two weeks ago, there were perhaps 3 varieties of Campbells soup for sale. Today around 20 different varieties. Two weeks ago perhaps 2 varieties of Rice-A-Roni. Today 6 or 7. Disinfectant wipes abound along with toilet paper and paper towels. Most shelves were 80% full.


It was interesting the number of shortages that appeared at the start of the pandemic in the U.S. Most of the easy quick foods disappeared from the store shelves producing vast shortages. People went out and bought up almost every available freezer in the U.S. and filled them with meats and frozen meals such as pizza. Some meat aisles in grocery stores literally became empty overnight.

Although I normally don't eat Campbell's soup. I do like their Beefy Mushroom Soup. It makes an easy meal. Just put a few ground beef patties in a pot and then pour in a can of Beefy Mushroom Soup and it makes a perfect meal of Salisbury Steak.

It was only a few weeks ago that Campbell's Beefy Mushroom Soup returned back into the stores.

So I read the following article today and that is what tripped this thread:

Campbell Soup Co. saw “unprecedented demand” for products in the three months through June as customers loaded up on food and beverages while sheltering at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Soup sales surged 52% in the U.S.

Source: Campbell Soup sees 'unprecedented demand' during coronavirus lockdowns


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03 Sep 2020, 1:55 pm

CLINICAL TRIALS

Researchers are testing 37 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 91 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

As of today, this is the status of various coronavirus vaccine development.

24 Vaccines in Phase 1 trials [Vaccines being tested for safety and dosage]
14 Vaccines in Phase 2 trials [Vaccines in expanded safety trials]
9 Vaccines in Phase 3 trials [Vaccines in large scale efficacy tests]
3 Vaccines in Limited Use [Vaccines approved for early or limited use]
0 Vaccines approved for full use.

The fine details are provided courtesy of the New York Times in the following link:
Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker


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04 Sep 2020, 8:42 am

European vs. American Response to Coronavirus.

I read an article this morning by Alex Berezow on how America and Europe differed in the approach of dealing with the coronavirus. He compared Poland to Seattle, Washington.

The Pandemic in Poland

Like most of Europe, Poland got the coronavirus under control. And the Poles did it in a harsh way. They shut the borders to neighboring countries. Most (maybe all) flights into and out of the country were cancelled. Almost everything was closed, except for truly essential businesses (like grocery stores). Parks were closed. People were told to stay within two kilometers (1.2 miles) of their house unless they had essential business (like going to the grocery store).

After a week or two of this (I can't remember precisely -- it's all a fog) restrictions were slowly lifted. Eventually, after a few more weeks, parks and borders reopened. Flights resumed. And businesses opened back up.

Life essentially went back to normal except for the following noticeable differences: (1) Masks were mandated (backed up with the threat of a fine not only for you but for the business owner) in all indoor public places; (2) Social distancing required that some tables or seats remain vacant; and (3) Mass gatherings were restricted. Sports resumed, but there weren't many fans.

One of the best features of the "new way of living" was that tables came with signs indicating whether or not they had been disinfected. This, in my opinion, should always have been the case, long before the pandemic came around. Coffee shop tables, in particular, are gross.

The Pandemic in Seattle

There are many striking differences in regard to how Seattle (and America as a whole) is navigating the pandemic. There seems to be a general suspicion or fear of getting too close to anyone, even people you know. In the Seattle area, many restaurants are take-out only. (That was the case for a while in Poland, but now things are roughly back to normal.)

Also, a substantial number of people wear masks outside. This makes very little sense. The other extreme is the existence of people -- not generally in Seattle but in the more rural parts of Washington State -- who refuse to wear masks at all because they claim the virus is a hoax. COVID conspiracy theorists are few and far between in Europe.

Another striking difference is the shutting down of entire sports, like college football. This makes little sense, as well, especially given that college students are very unlikely to become extremely sick with coronavirus. The games can be played in empty stadiums.

Finally, it's not at all obvious to me that tables in coffee shops or restaurants (the few that are open, anyway) are being disinfected. There aren't any signs indicating one way or the other.

COVID: Europe vs. America

Of course, the circumstances are different. The number of new cases in Europe is just a fraction of that in America. But it seems to me that the U.S. has a lot to learn from our neighbors across the pond, not just in policy but in attitude.

Source: Coronavirus: Living With COVID In Europe vs. America


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04 Sep 2020, 7:20 pm

The Effect of Vitamin D on COVID-19

A few months ago on this thread I discussed the importance of taking Vitamin D in the time of the coronavirus.

When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health.

Vitamin "D" is not easy to get from food and is widely deficient across populations, including in the U.S. This deficiency is amplified during the winter months because of diminished sunshine and the fact that the cold weather tends to keep people indoors.

And the vitamin D/COVID-19 research bandwagon is certainly moving apace. These are snippets from three different three papers released in April 2020 alone.

* In one study it was found that 100% of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) COVID-19 patients less than 75 years old had vitamin D insufficiency.

* In another, out of 55 patients with higher blood serum levels of vitamin D metabolite (more than 30ng/ml 25-hydroxycholecalciferol), 47 had mild symptoms, 4 had “ordinary” symptoms, 2 had severe symptoms and 2 had critical symptoms. Of the 157 patients with lower vitamin D (less than 30ng/ml 25- hydroxycholecalciferol), 2 had mild symptoms, 55 ordinary symptoms, 54 severe symptoms and 46 critical symptoms.

* The third found that across European countries, there was a strong association between vitamin D levels and per capita COVID-19 cases and mortality.

Nevertheless, the current rush of COVID-19 vitamin D studies didn’t just come out of nowhere. Previous studies have noted that vitamin D deficiency may be a biomarker of sepsis risk, while data has been growing around a potential benefit of the vitamin D in prevention of and mortality from infections.

In particular, a systematic review and meta-analysis collating evidence from 25 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that gave vitamin D supplements to all age groups with acute respiratory infections found protective effects among all participants, but particularly among those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels indicative of deficiency.

---------------------------------------------------

I noticed that another study adds more support for supplementing with Vitamin D.

Low vitamin D levels may increase risk for coronavirus, according to a retrospective study. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine found those who were deficient in vitamin D (< 20ng/ml) and not treated, were nearly twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to those who had sufficient levels.

“The relative risk of testing positive for COVID-19 was 1.77 times greater for patients with likely deficient vitamin D status compared with patients with likely sufficient vitamin D status, a difference that was statistically significant,” the authors stated in the recently published study in JAMA Network Open.

The study looked at 489 patients whose vitamin D levels were measured within the year before being tested for novel coronavirus. Those patients with levels categorized as deficient were found to be more likely to have a positive COVID-19 test result.

“Likely deficient vitamin D status was associated with increased COVID-19 risk, a finding that suggests that randomized trials may be needed to determine whether vitamin D affects COVID-19 risk,” the researchers shared.

Vitamin D affects the metabolism of zinc, which decreases the ability of coronaviruses to replicate. The team of researchers also stated that “higher vitamin D levels correlate with lower interleukin 6 levels, which are a major target for controlling cytokine storm in COVID-19."

Vitamin D may help reduce the spread of the virus given its ability to affect replication of viral cells and accelerate the clearance of the virus cells, the study found.

However, researchers caution that asymptomatic individuals can transmit the novel coronavirus and that “if vitamin D reduces inflammation, it might increase asymptomatic carriage and decrease symptomatic presentations, including cough, making it hard to predict its effect on viral spread."

Fifty percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, with much higher rates seen in Hispanics, African Americans, and individuals living in areas where it is difficult to get sun exposure in winter, according to the study’s press release.

“Understanding whether treating vitamin D deficiency changes COVID-19 risk could be of great importance locally, nationally and globally,” Meltzer said in the release. “Vitamin D is inexpensive, generally very safe to take, and can be widely scaled.”

The research team from Chicago said there is a need for experimental studies to see if vitamin D supplementation can decrease the risk of contracting coronavirus and reduce the severity of the disease if a person becomes infected. Several clinical trials have been initiated at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Source: Vitamin D deficiency may increase coronavirus risk, study says

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As you get old, your body reaches a point where it experiences problems synthesizing vitamins. This generally happens around the age of 70/80. Therefore it is important for the elderly to supplement with vitamins otherwise they will become vitamin deficient and that will lead to major health issues. So in my humble opinion one of the reasons why the elderly are significantly affected by the coronavirus is due to deficiencies of Vitamin D. The other point is that during the winter months, individuals are more likely to be indoors and receive less exposure to sunlight and thereby the general populations is more likely to experience vitamin D deficiencies during the cold winter months.

This may also explain why there is a higher vulnerability to COVID for Hispanics and African Americans, because they experience much higher rates of Vitamin D deficiency than the general population.


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05 Sep 2020, 9:30 am

Raging Campus Outbreaks Send Students Home Across the U.S.

Quote:
(Bloomberg) -- The State University at Oneonta in central New York on Thursday said it’s sending students home amid rising Covid-19 rates. The same day, Temple University in Philadelphia called it quits. So did Colorado College earlier in the week.

At the University of Alabama, 1,200 of 38,500 students are infected, and the University of South Carolina’s positive test rate topped 27%. Even the University of Illinois, one of the pioneers in saliva testing for students, had to beg them to stop partying and increased patrols after finding more than 700 positive cases since classes began.

Weeks into the academic year, colleges are hosting raging clusters of infections, crises that are both medical and political. Administrators are under intense pressure to keep schools functioning, providing a semblance of educational and athletic normality: President Donald Trump has said canceling football games would be a “tragic mistake.” But experts say that virus cases will inevitably emerge and could threaten surrounding communities.

“We’re really watching these mini-experiments happen all across the country,” said Brian Fisher, a researcher with the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has been modeling the spread of Covid-19. “It remains to be seen for some campuses whether they’re going to get their outbreaks under control.”

Plague of Parties
Many schools sit amid hot spots, especially in the Midwest. The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, which has performed almost 200,000 tests on students, faculty and staff in twice-weekly screenings, warned Wednesday of a worrisome increase in virus cases.

Risky behavior by undergraduates was to blame, including partying and ignoring quarantine guidance, the university said. It is disciplining more than 100 students and several organizations.

“The irresponsible and downright dangerous actions of a small number of our students have created the very real possibility of ending an in-person semester,” Chancellor Robert Jones said Wednesday.

At Iowa State University in Ames, the positivity rate during the first week of classes, which started Aug. 17, was 13.6%. In the second week, it shot to 28.8% on the campus of more than 31,000 students.

Large parties and gatherings were the cause, President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement. The university expanded testing and contact tracing, and enacted new requirements such as face coverings. Calls from the community also led Wintersteen to reverse course and not allow any fans to watch the home opener football game Sept. 12 in the stadium. The school had previously planned to allow 25,000 people, less than half the capacity.

At Ohio State University, President Kristina Johnson sent an email to the more than 60,000 students, faculty and staff Thursday urging them all to “act as though you are positive” going into Labor Day weekend.

Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 1, about 1.6% of the public flagship’s student population — 1,052 students — contracted the disease. Deans “can pretty much trace” the spread from party to party, and the ability of the university to provide in-person education will rely on students’ restraint, Governor Mike DeWine said at a news conference.

“No one is telling students to hibernate for nine months or the whole year,” he said. “Look, this is the reality: If the numbers get too high and the spread is too much, these schools are going to have absolutely no choice but to pull back.”

Rocky Mountain Low
As classroom doors close, some students are rushing home. Others are looking for off-campus housing. Many students, parents and administrators are frustrated.

After a flight from New York to Denver and a two-hour car ride, Laurie Meehan and her son Christopher, an 18-year-old freshman, arrived at Colorado College on Aug. 16. He and his two roommates tested negative upon arrival, but his dorm was quarantined Aug. 29. He was told this past week that students had to leave university housing by Sept. 20 and now, he’s quarantining alone in a triple room.

Christopher and his parents would like him to stay in Colorado and take advantage of the outdoor activities.

“He and a number of other students are trying to find housing,” said Laurie Meehan, 52. “Some are looking in mountain towns because there are so many rental properties available.”

The reversals have been predictable, said Robert Kelchen, an associate professor of higher education at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. “Colleges told their students most of the summer that things would be reasonably close to normal,” Kelchen said. “They expected college students to stay to themselves or in very small groups of friends. That’s not how the college experience works.”

In Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama students packed bars last month after sororities chose their members on their Bid Day, an annual spectacle that involves herds of undergraduate women racing and cheering before large crowds of onlookers.

A few days before students had returned Aug. 23, the school said only 237 of them had tested positive. The number is now more than 1,200. The university had 450 housing units reserved to quarantine students, but exceeded that capacity in less than a week.

The school has received 400 reports of students breaking rules about masks and social distancing, and has removed several from class, according to a memo from President Stuart Bell. Officials haven’t suggested sending students home, saying that would spread the virus to their relatives and communities.

Money and Health
State schools in New York are investigating the spread of the virus on several campuses, including Plattsburgh, Cobleskill, Fredonia, and Buffalo.

Closing them, however, would hurt already-strained budgets, said Fred Kowal, president of United University Professions, the union representing State University of New York system employees. The 64-institution system lost as much as $1 billion after closing due to the virus during the spring semester and having to reimburse housing costs and fees, Kowal said.

“In this budget climate, in this economy, to be hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars, let this be the understatement of the year: That’s unsustainable,” he said.

As a biochemist and virologist, Assistant Professor Ron Bishop was “cautiously pessimistic” about in-person classes at SUNY Oneonta this fall.

“I was one of the handful of people here who really wanted to have an in-person component to my courses,” said Bishop. “I love the lab and I have the most fun here with students in the lab. And so, I really, really wanted to keep that going as long as I could.”

But Bishop, whose research background includes working for the National Cancer Institute, was ready for things to go south quickly.

“This all looked like a pretty slow-moving train wreck to me,” he said.

Universities didn’t acknowledge the inevitable risk that college students take, said Gavin Yamey, a physician and professor of global health and public policy at Duke University in North Carolina.

“Shaming young people for risky behavior at a time when we know they are in young adulthood, when risk taking is at its peak, is an ineffective public health strategy,” said Yamey, who directs Duke’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health.


The State University of New York College at Oneonta mentioned at the top of the article is my alma mater. The school did not require mandatory testing before students arrived but an honor system where students were supposed to quarantine for 2 weeks before arrival. It is believed the super spreading event was a large house party held by three sports teams in which first year students were invited. The freshmen then went back to the dorms where with roommates and communal bathrooms social distancing are nearly impossible to pull off. Times have changed, freshmen were hazed or ignored when I went to college not invited to parties.

Two lessons here. This occurred in New York State at a school with mostly New York State residence. The state has had a low positive test rate for months, under one percent for the last four weeks yet 540 cases occurred in a 6,000 student school in a week and half time. There are no hospitalizations proving once again young people with no underlying conditions are at infinitesimal risk of death. That is why the decision to send students(with negative tests) home is being criticized. The fear is they will spread it to their more vulnrable parents and members of their hometowns.


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Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 05 Sep 2020, 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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05 Sep 2020, 10:29 am

As students are returning to school, there are many experimental approaches being used to control the spread of the coronavirus. In the elementary, junior high and high school, students wear mask. If a student runs a fever, they are quarantined at home. The school has adopted a grouping regime. The class is divided into small groups. Those small groups interact with each other. They attend the same classrooms, eat at the same table during lunch but they distance themselves from other groups. If a member of one of these small groups get the fever then the entire group might be placed in home quarantine and then tested for COVID. Instead of 5 day a week classes in high school, they have dropped to 2 days of heavy classes with distant learning filling the other days. Therefore groups are divided by at school learning days. They seem to be doing their best to continue at school education while maintaining the safety of the children. Generally they are not closing schools.

Distant learning has its disadvantages. Some of which are lack of computers or tablets, lack of Internet bandwidth at home, lack of interaction between members of their class.

Also young students are the least at risk for suffering death or bad side effects from the coronavirus.

A friend of my granddaughter came down with a fever. She went into home quarantine and then COVID testing. Then my granddaughter came down with a fever. She stayed home from school and then underwent COVID test. We visited them in their home and ate outside on the patio table. My granddaughter played on the swing set about 50 feet away. She was effectively banished. She was alone and looked miserable. I brought down a spare UVC air sanitizer for my granddaughters room, in the event she had COVID. I also brought down some N95 mask for the family if they needed them. During the meal, my daughter got a phone call and they informed her that the test results from her friend came back negative. I went up to my granddaughter and told her that her friend is not infected and that most likely she was not affected. The next day, my granddaughters test results came back and she was negative. Her fever has broken and she will be returning back to school.


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05 Sep 2020, 11:58 am

jimmy m wrote:
As students are returning to school, there are many experimental approaches being used to control the spread of the coronavirus. In the elementary, junior high and high school, students wear mask. If a student runs a fever, they are quarantined at home. The school has adopted a grouping regime. The class is divided into small groups. Those small groups interact with each other. They attend the same classrooms, eat at the same table during lunch but they distance themselves from other groups. If a member of one of these small groups get the fever then the entire group might be placed in home quarantine and then tested for COVID. Instead of 5 day a week classes in high school, they have dropped to 2 days of heavy classes with distant learning filling the other days. Therefore groups are divided by at school learning days. They seem to be doing their best to continue at school education while maintaining the safety of the children. Generally they are not closing schools.

Distant learning has its disadvantages. Some of which are lack of computers or tablets, lack of Internet bandwidth at home, lack of interaction between members of their class.

Also young students are the least at risk for suffering death or bad side effects from the coronavirus.

A friend of my granddaughter came down with a fever. She went into home quarantine and then COVID testing. Then my granddaughter came down with a fever. She stayed home from school and then underwent COVID test. We visited them in their home and ate outside on the patio table. My granddaughter played on the swing set about 50 feet away. She was effectively banished. She was alone and looked miserable. I brought down a spare UVC air sanitizer for my granddaughters room, in the event she had COVID. I also brought down some N95 mask for the family if they needed them. During the meal, my daughter got a phone call and they informed her that the test results from her friend came back negative. I went up to my granddaughter and told her that her friend is not infected and that most likely she was not affected. The next day, my granddaughters test results came back and she was negative. Her fever has broken and she will be returning back to school.


I am glad your granddaughter and friend are negative

New York City spells out procedure for dealing with Covid-19 cases in schools
Quote:
Positive coronavirus tests in New York City schools this fall will trigger closures of classrooms or entire school buildings while investigators from the city’s Test and Trace Corps probe for evidence of a wider outbreak, officials have announced.

The New York Daily News reports that officials say the new regulations will provide clear ground rules for schools dealing with positive cases. Parents, students and staff can self-report positive coronavirus tests to school officials, who will relay the information to the test and trace corps.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep kids healthy while ensuring they are getting the education they deserve. These rigorous test and trace protocols will keep our students and staff safe as we start off this new school year,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The reopening plan for the school system, the nation's largest, calls for sending students to school in-person on some days and having remote learning on the other days.

If students or staff in the same classroom get sick, that classroom will shut down and transfer to remote learning while disease detectives investigate, and the classroom will remain closed for 14 days after the investigation.

If at least two people in different classes but the same school get sick, the entire building will be shut down for an investigation. The buildings will remain shut for 14 days if investigators can’t pinpoint where and how the cases were transmitted. If they do track down the links, only the classrooms of the infected students or staff will close for two weeks.

Education Department officials say the test and trace investigations usually last between one and three days. Families will be contacted by 6 p.m. each night about whether the school will be open the next day, officials added.

City schools staffers are expected to get a Covid test in the days leading up to the Sept. 10 start of classes, and will get priority at the city’s 34 public hospitals, which offer free testing, officials say.

Each school building will be required to create an “isolation room” for kids or staffers who are feeling sick. Not all city schools have full-time nurses, but officials say the rooms will be staffed either by “health professionals” or a “dedicated staff member.”


New York City Schools have issues with old buildings and poor ventilation.

The public colleges in New York have similar triggers. When SUNY Oneonta went over 100 case all in person classes were ended and students were quarantined in the dorms. One dorm was set up for those whom been in contact with a positive case another for positive cases. With exponential growth of doubling of the amount of cases every 1 to 2 days the decision was made to send everybody home 4 days later. In regards to what you talked about earlier about Americans being suspicious of each other, in other state schools there has been a wave of suspension of students and fraternities and sororities in the wake of the publicity surrounding the Oneonta outbreak. Also this has increased the usual “town gown” tensions with unconfirmed reports of business refusing to serve college students and hostile social media posts. Among the students who followed the rules there is a lot of resentment towards those who party hardied. I suspect there is going to be trouble when the suspended students return(if anybody returns). Too bad because it was a really friendly school when I was there and from what I heard remained so in the decades since.


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman