Archive for May 7th, 2020

8-year-old rushed to hospital due to mystery illness linked to COVID-19 – ABC News

May 7th, 2020
ABC News Corona Virus Health and Science

He is one of at least 64 children with the syndrome in New York state.

Jayden Hardowar, 8, of Richmond Hill, Queens, spiked a mild fever sometime around April 23.

A pediatrician told Jayden’s parents not to worry and to continue taking children’s Tylenol, his father, Roup Hardowar, told ABC News on Thursday.

In three days, his fever went away, but he began feeling weak. Soon, he lost his appetite, and his pediatrician suggested Jayden drink Pedialyte over a video-conferencing call.

Roup said the family wasn’t worried about coronavirus because they were following stay-at-home orders.

“He was doing fairly OK at home,” Roup said. “We were confident. We weren’t concerned, because we know that we’ve been practicing social distancing as a family.”

But on April 29, while watching Pokemon on TV, Jayden called out for his mother and threw his hands up, struggling for air before going into cardiac arrest.

His 15-year-old brother, a Boy Scout, did chest compressions until the ambulance got there.

“He saved his brother’s life,” Roup said. “We managed to get some sort of breathing back.”

Jayden received an electric shock after first responders found an irregular heartbeat. At Cohen’s Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park, he was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit for three days before the staff saw improvement.

He is one of at least 64 children in New York State to come down with what health officials are calling pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19, or “shock syndrome.”

Doctors in the U.K. first warned of the mysterious illness linked to exposure to COVID-19 in April. Cities across the country are reporting cases of the rare illness, from Boston to Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.

An advisory issued Monday by the New York Department of Health names fever, inflammation and single- or multi-organ dysfunction among some of the symptoms of the syndrome. PIMS, the health advisory says, can feature symptoms that “overlap with Kawasaki Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome.”

Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles reported three cases of PIMS, saying Thursday in a statement, “These patients tested positive for antibodies against SARS-Cov-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) but tested negative for the virus by RT-PCR,” suggesting the inflammation is a “late response to a recent past infection with SARS-Cov-2.”

Dr. James Schneider, the chief of pediatric critical care medicine at Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center, said this previous infection causes the immune system in these cases to get hyperactive.

“That overactive immune system leads to this whole systemic inflammation that leads to the cardiovascular system being compromised,” Schneider said.

He added, “There’s a standard treatment for Kawasaki that we’ve known for many years now and is very effective. And so we’re treating these children with that therapy.”

Jayden, too, tested negative for the virus, but positive for COVID-19 antibodies, suggesting he had been previously infected weeks or even months ago.

Today, Jayden is alert, but struggling to speak. For the first time since his hospitalization, he’s allowed one visitor, which Roup said will be his mother.

“I’m so glad she gets to see him,” Roup said.

He hopes his son will be home by the weekend or early next week.

“That’s our hope right now,” he said. “The doctor sort of alluded to that as an option. So we’re looking for that.” But for now, they’re taking it one step at a time.

On Thursday morning, Jayden started eating again on his own — beginning with a bowl of cereal.


COVID-19 antibody tests available through Sonora Quest Laboratories without physician order, insurance – KVOA Tucson News

May 7th, 2020

TUCSON – Sonora Quest Laboratories announced Thursday that people without a physician order or insurance can order COVID-19 antibody testing.

The COVID-19 antibody test is offered through their direct to consumer solution for $99.

You can order the test on any device.

Furthermore, information on how to schedule an appointment and pay for the test will be sent to the user.

Appointments should be scheduled in advance online.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, click here.

According to The Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 antibody testing may indicate that “the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus.”

Sonora Quest expects to perform up to 3,000 tests daily inititally at their core laboratory in Tempe, Ariz.

Sonora Quest Labs will then continue to scale up testing capacity on the antibody platform. 

Depending on demand, Sonora Quest reports antibody test results in three to six days from specimen collection.

To obtain the most reliable result, antibody testing should occur at least 10 to 14 days after symptoms appear.


Tokyo Game Show 2020 canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic – The Verge

May 7th, 2020

MacBook Pro 13 inch review (2020): Great laptop, finally with a decent keyboard. – Engadget

May 7th, 2020

FDA paves way for home testing of coronavirus – Seattle Times

May 7th, 2020

In a move that could significantly expand the nation’s testing capacity, the Food and Drug Administration has posted new guidelines that could pave the way for millions of people to test themselves for the coronavirus at home.

The guidelines allow companies to develop and market testing kits with the tools to swab their noses and mail the specimens to any lab in the country.

Efforts to contain the pandemic have been hobbled by a series of botched screening efforts. Initially, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention shipped flawed test kits to the states, and subsequent regulatory hurdles stymied the rollout of tests produced by private companies and commercial labs.

Access to tests has been improving, but nationwide testing shortages continue to hamper the ability of health authorities to identify and isolate people who are infected.

The FDA said it hoped the new guidelines, posted on its site Wednesday evening, would greatly boost the availability of tests by encouraging manufacturers to mass-produce at-home collection kits.

“We are cutting the red tape to ease and expedite the development and agency review of novel tests,” Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the FDA commissioner, said in statement.


Experts who were not involved with the project said they were optimistic about the prospects for home testing, but questioned whether the country’s commercial labs could process a deluge of self-collected samples.

The FDA acted after it extensively reviewed studies determining the viability of self-collected samples that spent three days in a dry plastic tube and the accuracy of the testing method. The studies were conducted by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s major insurers, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Scientists and public health experts said they hope the new guidelines will speed the production of inexpensive diagnostic kits that could be ordered online or purchased at pharmacies without a doctor’s order. The tests could be administered at the first sign of illness, with results available as quickly as 24 hours after a specimen arrived at a lab, according to those involved with the studies.

The Gates Foundation is moving to jump-start those efforts. It is developing an app that could be used to order test kits, deliver lab results and assist with contact-tracing, and the foundation provided technical support to U.S. Cotton, which will be making millions of polyester swabs. The goal is to produce a kit that costs under $5.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder whose philanthropy has directed $250 million toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic, has expressed frustration in recent weeks with the slow pace of testing in the U.S.

In a statement Thursday, Bill Gates said the new FDA guidance would provide a much-needed alternative to current coronavirus testing, which requires patients to visit a clinic or hospital staffed by health workers who must frequently change protective gear that remains in short supply.


“Soon people should be able to get access to testing swabs just about anywhere and drop their samples in the mail,” Bill Gates said. “This should make it possible for testing to be safer and more accessible for everyone, something that’s especially important for people with underlying conditions who can’t risk going out and others who might not have easy access to health care.”

The approval of the new guidelines was months in the making. It had been repeatedly delayed as agency scientists requested additional data to ensure that at-home test specimens could endure a journey through the postal system or several days in street-side collection bins awaiting pickup by FedEx and other courier companies.

The new testing methods are based on studies that found virus samples could be transported in a dry plastic tube and remain stable for up to three days with temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Until now, commercial labs have required swabs to be placed in tubes with a liquid transport medium, complicating the prospects for large-scale home diagnostics that relied on the Postal Service or private delivery companies.

The FDA last month approved a diagnostic kit by LabCorp, but the test must be ordered by a doctor, and only LabCorp can process the specimens. The kit costs $119, further limiting its potential to address the country’s need for millions of tests a day.

A flurry of other diagnostics have become available in recent weeks, among them a saliva-based test being rolled out in New Jersey, and a cheek swab being used by drive-thru test sites in Southern California. Scientists are working on a rapid test based on gene-editing Crispr technology. Its backers said materials for each test would cost about $6.

The FDA last month forced two companies to withdraw at-home kits they were marketing without authorization. A number of other tests that detect whether a person had been infected with the coronavirus have been plagued by inaccurate results. On Monday, the FDA announced that companies selling antibody tests must submit data proving accuracy within the next 10 days or face removal from the market.

Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, said that inexpensive, mass produced diagnostics could help states that lack the necessary testing capacity to ease shutdowns and social-distancing guidelines, which have choked the American economy. “The only way to get our arms around this pandemic is to enable millions of people to get tested,” he said. “Home testing is really the only way to do it.”

But Topol and other experts questioned how quickly home testing could be ramped up in quantities that would enable Americans to test themselves at the first sign of illness.

Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Center of Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s School of Public Health, said she worried commercial labs could be overwhelmed by millions of specimens. She also wondered whether health authorities have the capacity to act on the results and do labor-intensive contact tracing, notifying people who might have been exposed to the virus and making sure they self-quarantine.

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“Widespread home testing would be a game-changer, but the logistics of this are going to be a huge challenge,” she said.

Increased testing in the U.S. has been hampered by a shortage of sterile swabs, chemical reagents needed to process samples and personal protective gear, which health workers need while swabbing a patient’s nose.

The FDA has in recent weeks moved to address some obstacles. Last month, the agency provided emergency clearance for the use of foam or spun polyester swabs as an alternative to traditional medical-grade swabs. And it also approved new guidelines paving the way for tests to be self-administered with a simple twirl of swabs at the base of each nostril.


Those guidelines, the result of separate studies by UnitedHealth Group and Dr. Yuan-Po Tu of the Everett Clinic in Washington state, will give medical providers an alternative to the intrusive nasopharyngeal probes that sometimes result in false negatives.

The deep probes, long the gold standard for diagnosing respiratory illnesses, require plentiful supplies of protective gear for medical workers. Inserting the probes in the nasal cavity can also be excruciating for patients. And the process sometimes provokes coughing, sneezing and vomiting in patients, which heightens the risks for medical workers.

“It’s really uncomfortable for patients — it feels like getting water up your nose while swimming — and to be honest, a lot of medical workers don’t do it the right way,” said Dr. Deneen Vojta, UnitedHealth’s executive vice president of research and development. “This immediately expands access to testing because we have more types of swabs to use and patients can do it themselves, which greatly reduces the risks for medical workers.”

Though the Gates Foundation has been working with American companies to mass produce affordable test kits, its ultimate goal is to ensure that poorer nations have access to widespread testing.

Dr. Dan Wattendorf, the foundation’s director of Innovative Technology Solutions, said the discovery that coronavirus samples do not need to be kept cool as they travel to a lab had the potential to revolutionize testing in poorer countries that lack temperature-controlled transport. This need has long been a challenge for public health experts seeking to contain outbreaks of diseases in countries with limited infrastructure.

Wattendorf, a geneticist who works on efforts to expand diagnostics in the developing world, said preliminary research suggested those same findings might apply to other respiratory viruses as well.

“If swab samples don’t have to be refrigerated or preserved in liquid transport media, it means that testing can reach more people living in some of the most remote and vulnerable communities in Africa and Asia,” said Wattendorf. “That ultimately benefits everyone because this virus has no respect for boundaries, social or geographic.”


Every New Game Coming Out on Xbox Series X – IGN Daily Fix – IGN

May 7th, 2020

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now playing Animal Crossing. And she’s visiting her followers. – The Washington Post

May 7th, 2020

Plante welcomes Quebec’s decision to delay Montreal reopenings – Montreal Gazette

May 7th, 2020

Article content

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante welcomed the latest delay in reopening Montreal daycares, schools and businesses, saying it will give the city more time to prepare — and public health authorities a chance to ramp up COVID-19 testing.

“I totally agree with that decision, since public health must prevail at all times,” Plante said Thursday, hours after Quebec announced the reopening of the greater Montreal region will be postponed by a week, to May 25.

She said the delay will allow daycares, schools and the city to make preparations for safely reopening.

“Between now and then, the health network and public health have the responsibility of ensuring that we have the sufficient number of tests to make sure we have the information necessary to decide if, yes or no, everything is ready,” Plante said.

The one-week delay came as Montreal’s public health department reported 104 new deaths, raising the death toll to 1,666 in Montreal, Canada’s COVID-19 epicentre. Another 476 people are confirmed to have the disease, for a total of 17,918.

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Breaking Down Xbox’s Smart Delivery – IGN Live – IGN

May 7th, 2020

Wage boosts for essential workers should last beyond COVID-19 pandemic: union leaders – Global News

May 7th, 2020

Union leaders across the country applauded the federal government on Thursday for contributing up to $3 billion to help boost wages for essential workers across the country in the COVID-19 pandemic — but they argue governments should allow those front-line workers to retain that higher pay once the public health crisis has passed.

“Many of these jobs are paid at a rate that is absolutely not commensurate with the value that they give to our community and we see this as a recognition of that,” said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn.

“We think that this should not be a temporary thing. This should be a permanent measure where enhanced funding is permanently provided.”

READ MORE: Feds giving provinces, territories up to $3B to boost essential workers’ wages

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government has reached cost-sharing agreements with almost all Canada’s provinces and territories for the wage boost for essential workers. The deal will see Ottawa put up three-quarters of the cost, with the provincial governments footing the rest.

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A news release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated the government will provide up to $3 billion to support the wage top-ups.

“The bottom line is this: if you’re risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re making minimum wage, you deserve a raise,” Trudeau said during his daily news conference on Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few provinces already announced the details of their respective wage increases for essential workers, ahead of the prime minister’s confirmation of Ottawa’s support on Thursday.

Quebec announced a $4-per-hour pay hike for workers in private long-term care homes, as well as a $24.28-per-hour salary to attract new workers to fill in as attendants at the facilities. Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan have since followed suit with similar programs.

1:49Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec proposes to increase essential workers wages by $400 for 4 months

Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec proposes to increase essential workers wages by $400 for 4 months

Asked whether there’s an expiry date to the cost-sharing agreement, a PMO spokesperson confirmed the deal is related to the pandemic, but noted some provinces who already announced wage top-ups have specified dates until which the increase is effective.

Ontario, for its part, said its $4-per-hour “pandemic pay” increase would be valid between mid-April and mid-August.

The $4 is the start of what the permanent wages of these front-line workers should be,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, a national health care union that represents more than 60,000 front-line workers.

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“They still have a distance to go, in my opinion … $15, $16 an hour is not what kind of a living wage they should be having.”

Asked whether the province of Ontario is exploring extending that time period or making the wage top-up permanent for some essential employees, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Treasury Board president said the provincial government “recognize[s] that this is a rapidly-evolving and dynamic situation.”

“We will continually monitor and consult on the best approaches to supporting all Ontarians, including frontline workers,” press secretary Sebastian Skamski said in an emailed statement.

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“It’s also important to note that this pandemic pay timeline aligns with the federal and provincial declarations of emergency.”

READ MORE: 1 worker dead, 25 COVID-19 cases reported at Maple Lodge Farms poultry plant in Ontario

Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, said he hopes the federal government’s wage boost announcement is the start of a larger “transition” that will result in workers providing “critical services” receiving better compensation.

I think this pandemic has shown us that health-care workers who we count on every day — as well as grocery store workers, delivery drivers, security guards, restaurant workers — all play a vital role in our economy and that they are undervalued and underpaid and something needs to be done about that,” Rebeck said.

I think as we move towards an economic recovery, we need to make this shift and we need to continue it on, both for the recovery in the future.

“We need to do better for these workers who can count on every day.”

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Guidelines for wage boost would be helpful, union leaders say

Several executives of large labour groups also told Global News they would have liked to see Ottawa attach some “standards” for who will qualify for the increase and the amount of support they’ll get.

Trudeau said the federal government is leaving it up to the provinces and territories to make those decisions. When asked by a journalist what guidelines the federal government gave the provinces about spending the federal cash, the prime minister’s response suggested no such guidelines were provided.

“Because of the variance across the country, both of the COVID-19 situation and of delivery of essential services including health care, we felt that it was best that provinces move forward in choosing exactly how they can best help the workers who are doing such important work right across the country,” Trudeau said.

2:05Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 pandemic has revealed weaknesses in Canada’s supply chain, Trudeau says

Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 pandemic has revealed weaknesses in Canada’s supply chain, Trudeau says

Several union executives acknowledged the provinces are all dealing with different circumstances, but argued that federal guidelines could still be helpful.

“For me, the key piece of this is that the $4-billion wage top-up really has to be for those that need it the most,” said Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, Canada’s biggest private-sector union.

“I really think the money should be spent more on the low-wage earners to ensure that they have a decent standard of living.”

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Other executives suggested that “clear parameters” from federal officials might help ensure some “consistency” across the provinces and territories.

I think the intent of this program is to recognize and help those workers out in a financial way.We should do that with some sort of consistency,” Rebeck said.

“I think workers from one region to the other, if they see that some are included there and not here, that’s not good for anyone and that’s not fair.”

“It would make it much clearer for Canadians to know from coast to coast what group of workers would get that money and more importantly, that they would be treated equally across the country,” said Hussan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour of Congress.

Labour issues extend beyond pay, unions say

Part of the objective in proposing a federal wage top-up was to encourage more essential workers to stay on job, even at the risk of their own lives, and to compensate them for recent orders in some provinces banning them from working in multiple facilities.

As more workers in long-term care homes have fallen ill, many facilities have been struggling to provide basic care for residents. Both Quebec and Ontario, where the problem is most acute, have requested help from the military.

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READ MORE: Over 1,000 CAF members sent to Quebec long-term care homes, more to come by mid-May

In addition to the issue of pay, Hahn argued that post-pandemic, the federal government should create standards and give the provinces more money “to provide these services in a way that there is consistency across the country.”

“This isn’t only about pay. It is about the standard of the care that’s being provided in those settings, ensuring that workers have access to full-time hours,” he said.

“Part of the real problem that has been exposed here, that our union and others have talked about for a long time, is the reality of the casualization of work, that people are forced to stitch together two and three jobs just to make ends meet.

“That’s got to end.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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