Archive for May 10th, 2020

Fifth Death Reported at North Texas Federal Prison; 2 More Deaths Reported in Tarrant County – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

May 10th, 2020

Authorities reported three additional deaths due to the coronavirus Sunday in Tarrant County, including one man serving a sentence at a North Texas federal prison.

The deaths reported by Tarrant County Public Health included a Kennedale woman in her 80s and a Bedford man in his 50s. Both had underlying health conditions.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported the third death.

Tarrant County added 485 cases of the coronavirus to its total Sunday, 423 of which it said were from the outbreak at Federal Medical Center Fort Worth.

It was not clear what span of time the cases covered, but health department spokesman Richard Hill said the cases did not all arise overnight.

In total, Tarrant County health officials have 477 confirmed cases from the prison in their data, but said they were aware the prison has 636 COVID-19-positive inmates.

“Those numbers will be added once the reports officially become available to us,” Hill said.

On its website, the Federal Bureau of Prisons states that 619 inmates — about 42% of the prison population — and one staff member at FMC Fort Worth have tested positive for COVID-19. Four inmates have recovered.

On Sunday, Guadalupe Ramos became the fifth inmate at the prison to die of the coronavirus, according to the bureau.

Ramos, 56, tested positive April 23 and was placed in isolation. The next day, health services staff saw Ramos for abdominal pain and shortness of breath.

On April 28, Ramos was placed on a ventilator and his condition deteriorated before his death Sunday. The prison said Ramos had long-term preexisting medical conditions that would have put him at risk for developing a more severe case of the disease.

Ramos was sentenced to more 17 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin. He had been at the Fort Worth facility since Sept. 14, 2017.

The new cases reported by Tarrant County Public Health put the county’s total at 3,695 positive cases and 103 deaths. Of the total, 780 have recovered.

Two cities — Blue Mound and Westover Hills — reported their first cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

Federal Medical Center Carswell, the North Texas federal prison that houses about 1,600 female offenders with medical needs, has reported one case. A 30-year-old inmate, Andrea Circle Bear, died shortly after giving birth to a baby by C-section while on a ventilator.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.


Cuomo’s nursing home reversal is too little, too late for those now dead: Goodwin – New York Post

May 10th, 2020

Gov. Cuomo will never be confused with Fiorello La Guardia. “When I make a mistake, it’s a beaut,” the legendary mayor of New York once confessed.

Unfortunately, Cuomo’s pride and political calculations don’t allow him to admit error even as he finally reverses one of the mostly deadly policy mistakes in New York history.

Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers have tallied more than 5,000 coronavirus deaths, yet the governor accepts zero responsibility despite his March 25th order forcing them to take infected patients from hospitals.

Now he says they no longer have to do that, announcing Sunday that “a hospital cannot discharge a person who is COVID positive to a nursing home.”

Indeed, the initial order denied nursing homes the right even to ask if patients being sent by hospitals had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Now hospitals must do discharge tests and only those who are negative can be referred to nursing homes.

Said one nursing home executive, “It feels at least a month too late.”

The move comes amid growing calls for an independent investigation of the nursing home catastrophe, where the death count dwarfs the total deaths in every other state except New Jersey.

Still, Cuomo claims the reversal is not a reversal, nor is it a recognition of the fatal impact of the initial order.

“Whatever we’re doing has worked, on the facts,” he insisted.

He should try selling that view to Maria Porteus. She lost her father, Carlos Gallegos, to the coronavirus in a Long Island nursing home last month soon after the state forced it to accept infected patients. She watched the governor Sunday and was left steaming.

“I’m still angry and I’m still hurt,” she said. “It’s a slap in the face for him because he’s not taking responsibility for what happened to my father and so many others.”

Porteus said she’s part of a Facebook group that has nearly 250 members who lost loved ones in nursing homes, adding: “The stories are all almost the same. And Cuomo’s still acting like he’s not the one who did this order, like it’s somebody else or it’s the nursing homes’ fault.”

Arlene Mullin, who lost her father under similar circumstances, also was unhappy with Cuomo Sunday. She said in an e-mail:

“In light of how many mothers lost their lives, it was distasteful to use his press conference as a tribute to his mother. He could have called her privately to wish her well on Mother’s Day. It was insensitive to those people whose mothers died in nursing homes due to his cruel policy.”

Cuomo insists the nursing homes “could have resisted” taking COVID-positive patients if they had no ability to care for them. The order, he seemed to be saying, was only meant to ensure that such patients were not discriminated against.

That point, he conceded, “was never really communicated,” as if the March 25 order was not meant to be taken verbatim.

So the only failure is a failure to communicate, though he didn’t specify whose failure that was. Certainly not his.

There are two gaping holes in that argument. First, nursing homes never believed they had any right to deny infected patients, saying the order from the state Department of Health would have included that option if that were the intent. The order’s language did not offer any hint of flexibility.

“No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” it reads. “NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to ­admission or readmission.”

Worse, the order came without warning, took effect immediately and gave the homes no time to set up segregated beds and staff.

All nursing homes, good and bad, large and small, were treated as if they were fit for an influx of coronavirus patients.

The second problem with Cuomo’s claim is the case of the Cobble Hill Health Center, which lost at least 55 patients to the virus. The CEO, Donny Tuchman, showed reporters April emails where he asked state health officials for assistance, and was turned down. He also asked them if COVID-19 patients he had could be sent instead to the Javits Center or the Navy ship Comfort, both of which were far below capacity. He was rejected again.

It’s true there was one way Albany officials did help beleaguered nursing homes. The packages of equipment they sent included body bags.


Synthspace recreates the physical presence of a modular synth in VR – Engadget

May 10th, 2020

Microsoft opens a can of whoop-ass on reply-all email storms in Office 365 – Its Media Lodge

May 10th, 2020

Microsoft opens a can of whoop-ass on reply-all email storms in Office 365 – BetaNews

May 10th, 2020

Animal Crossing New Horizons–Check Out And Download These Player-Created Final Fantasy 7 Outfits – GameSpot

May 10th, 2020

How coronavirus attacks the human body – The Washington Post – The Washington Post

May 10th, 2020

Deborah Coughlin was neither short of breath nor coughing. In those first days after she became infected by the novel coronavirus, her fever never spiked above 100 degrees. It was vomiting and diarrhea that brought her to a Hartford, Conn., emergency room on May 1.

“You would have thought it was a stomach virus,” said her daughter, Catherina Coleman. “She was talking and walking and completely coherent.”

But even as Coughlin, 67, chatted with her daughters on her cellphone, the oxygen level in her blood dropped so low that most patients would be near death. She is on a ventilator and in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital, one more patient with a strange constellation of symptoms that physicians are racing to recognize, explain and treat.

At the beginning, we didn’t know what we were dealing with,” said Valentin Fuster, physician-in-chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. “We were seeing patients dying in front of us. It was all of a sudden, you’re in a different ballgame, and you don’t know why.”

Today, there is widespread recognition the novel coronavirus is far more unpredictable than a simple respiratory virus. Often it attacks the lungs, but it can also strike anywhere from the brain to the toes. Many doctors are focused on treating the inflammatory reactions it triggers and its capacity to cause blood clots, even as they struggle to help patients breathe.

Learning about a new disease on the fly, with more than 78,000 U.S. deaths attributed to the pandemic, they have little solid research to guide them. The World Health Organization’s database already lists more than 14,600 papers on covid-19. Even the world’s premier public health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have constantly altered their advice to keep pace with new developments.

“We don’t know why there are so many disease presentations,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Bottom line, this is just so new that there’s a lot we don’t know.”

More than four months of clinical experience across Asia, Europe and North America has shown the pathogen does much more than invade the lungs. “No one was expecting a disease that would not fit the pattern of pneumonia and respiratory illness,” said David Reich, a cardiac anesthesiologist and president of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

It attacks the heart, weakening its muscles and disrupting its critical rhythm. It savages kidneys so badly some hospitals have run short of dialysis equipment. It crawls along the nervous system, destroying taste and smell and occasionally reaching the brain. It creates blood clots that can kill with sudden efficiency and inflames blood vessels throughout the body.

It can begin with a few symptoms or none at all, then days later, squeeze the air out of the lungs without warning. It picks on the elderly, people weakened by previous disease, and, disproportionately, the obese. It harms men more than women, but there are also signs it complicates pregnancies.

Symptoms of covid-19 appear to include:

  • Symptoms of covid-19 appear to include:

It mostly spares the young. Until it doesn’t: Last week, doctors warned of a rare inflammatory reaction with cardiac complications among children that may be connected to the virus. On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) announced 73 children had fallen severely ill in the state and a 5-year-old boy in New York City had become the first child to die of the syndrome. Two more children had succumbed as of Saturday.

That news has shaken many doctors, who felt they were finally grasping the full dimensions of the disease in adults. “We were all thinking this is a disease that kills old people, not kids,” Reich said.

Mount Sinai has treated five children with the condition. Reich said each started with gastrointestinal symptoms, which turned into inflammatory complications that caused very low blood pressure and expanded their blood vessels. This led to heart failure in the case of the first child who died.

“The pattern of disease was different than anything else with covid,” he said.

“We were all thinking this is a disease that kills old people, not kids,” said David Reich, president of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Of the millions, perhaps billions, of coronaviruses, six were previously known to infect humans.

Four cause colds that spread easily each winter, barely noticed. Another was responsible for the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed 774 people in 2003. Yet another sparked the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012, which kills 34 percent of the people who contract it. But few do.

SARS-CoV-2, the bad seed of the coronavirus family, is the seventh. It has managed to combine the infectiousness of its cold-causing cousins with some of the lethality of SARS and MERS. It can spread before people show symptoms of disease, making it difficult to control, especially without widespread and accurate testing. At the moment, social distancing is the only effective countermeasure.

It has infected 4 million people around the globe, killing more than 280,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. In the United States, 1.3 million have been infected and more than 78,000 have died.

Had SARS or MERS spread as widely as this virus, Rasmussen said, they might have shown the same capacity to attack beyond the lungs. But they were snuffed out quickly, leaving only a small sample of disease and death.

Paramedics bring home a woman with covid-19 who underwent an emergency C-section because she was gravely ill. After extensive care, including time on a ventilator, she was released from a hospital in Stamford, Conn., and she has a healthy newborn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Trying to define a pathogen in the midst of an ever-spreading epidemic is fraught with difficulties. Experts say it will be years until it is understood how the disease damages organs and how medications, genetics, diets, lifestyles and distancing impact its course.

“This is a virus that literally did not exist in humans six months ago,” said Geoffrey Barnes, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan who works in cardiovascular medicine. “We had to rapidly learn how this virus impacts the human body and identify ways to treat it literally in a time-scale of weeks. With many other diseases, we have had decades.”

In the initial days of the outbreak, most efforts focused on the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, eventually working its way deep into the lungs, filling tiny air sacs with cells and fluid that choke off the flow of oxygen.

But many scientists have come to believe that much of the disease’s devastation comes from two intertwined causes.

The first is the harm the virus wreaks on blood vessels, leading to clots that can range from microscopic to sizable. Patients have suffered strokes and pulmonary emboli as clots break loose and travel to the brain and lungs. A study in the Lancet, a British medical journal, showed this may be because the virus directly targets the endothelial cells that line blood vessels.

The second is an exaggerated response from the body’s own immune system, a storm of killer “cytokines” that attack the body’s own cells along with the virus as it seeks to defend the body from an invader.

Research and therapies are focused on these phenomena. Blood thinners are being more widely used in some hospitals. A review of records for 2,733 patients, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, indicates they may help the most seriously ill.

“Things change in science all the time. Theories are made and thrown out. Hypotheses are tweaked. It doesn’t mean we don’t know what we are doing. It means we are learning,” said Deepak Bhatt, executive director of interventional cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Inflammation of those endothelial cells lining blood vessels may help explain why the virus harms so many parts of the body, said Mandeep Mehra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the Lancet study on how covid-19 attacks blood vessels.

That means defeating covid-19 will require more than antiviral therapy, he said.

“What this virus does is it starts as a viral infection and becomes a more global disturbance to the immune system and blood vessels — and what kills is exactly that,” Mehra said. “Our hypothesis is that covid-19 begins as a respiratory virus and kills as a cardiovascular virus.”

The thinking of kidney specialists has evolved along similar lines. Initially, they attributed widespread and severe kidney disease to the damage caused by ventilators and certain medications given to intensive-care patients, said Daniel Batlle, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Then they noticed damage to the waste-filtering kidney cells of patients even before they needed intensive care. And studies out of Wuhan found the pathogen in the kidneys themselves, leading to speculation the virus is harming the organ.

“There was nothing unique at first,” Batlle said. But the new information “shows this is beyond the regular bread-and-butter acute kidney injury that we normally see.”

Like other coronaviruses, SARS-Cov-2 infiltrates the body by attaching to a receptor, ACE2, found on some cells. But the makeup of the spikes that protrude from this virus is somewhat different, allowing the virus to bind more tightly. As a result, fewer virus particles are required to infect the host. This also may help explain why this virus is so much more infectious than SARS, Rasmussen said.

Other factors can’t be ruled out in transmission, she said, including the amount of virus people shed and how strictly they observe social distancing rules.

Once inside a cell, the virus replicates, causing chaos. ACE2 receptors, which help regulate blood pressure, are plentiful in the lungs, kidneys and intestines — organs hit hard by the pathogen in many patients. That also may be why high blood pressure has emerged as one of the most common preexisting conditions in people who become severely ill with covid-19.

A colorized scan of a cell (shown in red) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (shown in yellow), isolated from a patient sample. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

The receptors differ from person to person, leading to speculation that genetics may explain some of the variability in symptoms and how sick some people become.

Those cells “are almost everywhere, so it makes sense that the virus would cause damage throughout the body,” said Mitchell Elkind, a professor of neurology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and president-elect of the American Heart Association.

Inflammation spurs clotting as white blood cells fight off infection. They interact with platelets and activate them in a way that increases the likelihood of clotting, Elkind said.

Such reactions have been seen in severe infections, such as sepsis. But for covid-19, he said, “we are seeing this in a large number of people in a very short time, so it really stands out.”

“The virus can attack a lot of different parts of the body, and we don’t understand why it causes some problems for some people, different problems for others — and no problems at all for a large proportion,” Elkind said.

Coughlin, in critical condition at a hospital in Connecticut, deteriorated quickly after she reached the emergency room. Her fever shot up to 105 and pneumonia developed in her lungs.

On Wednesday, she called her six daughters on FaceTime, telling them doctors advised she go on a ventilator.

“If something happens to me, and I don’t make it, I’m at peace with it,” she told them.

The conversation broke daughter Coleman’s heart.

“I am deciding to help her go on a ventilator, and she may never come off,” she said. “That could have been my last phone conversation with her.”

Illustrations from iStock. Edited by Carol Eisenberg. Photo editing by Nick Kirkpatrick. Copy-edited by Jennifer Anderson and Thomas Floyd. Design and development by Tyler Remmel.

Read more:

Coronavirus destroys lungs. But doctors are finding its damage in kidneys, hearts and elsewhere.

Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes

Children are falling ill with perplexing inflammatory syndrome thought to be linked to covid-19

A mysterious blood-clotting complication is killing coronavirus patients

Frostbite’ toes and other peculiar rashes may be signs of hidden coronavirus infection, especially in the young


No, Gov. Cuomo, no: Please don’t reopen schools last – New York Post

May 10th, 2020

To all the women screaming, “I love you Andrew Cuomo, and I want to have your baby!”: Would you mind asking him where that baby will go to school?

Millions of New York parents would like to know what, exactly, is the plan for the kids.

When Cuomo closed schools in New York for the rest of the academic year, parents mostly understood, even if we now know the coronavirus risk to children is minuscule. But then came the plan to reopen the economy. It would take four phases, the governor said. And there in phase four, after construction, retail and restaurants, sandwiched with “arts and entertainment venues,” we finally reached education.

How could schooling be such an afterthought?

It’s hard not to notice that our government officials are using this time to launch a sustained attack on schooling.

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza actually said we shouldn’t “let a crisis go to waste,” and Mayor de Blasio on Thursday said he has no interest in restoring the pre-virus Gotham and went straight for his pet issue: destroying the best schools. “Certainly,” he bloviated, “the screen schools are ­being re-evaluated.”

Even Cuomo is getting in on the act, saying, “All across the city, all across the state, all these buildings, all these physical classrooms,” he said. “Why? With all the technology you have?”

Wait, come again? Are the state and city chief executives actually pondering an end to physical schooling?

It was a shocking comment. Does the governor really need to have it explained to him that kids need to interact with other kids and that the traditional school model isn’t just about education but also about community, socialization and so much more?

But OK, New York parents figured, school is almost over anyway. Surely, the governor in his mercy will give some direction on summer camp.

We figured wrong.

Rep. Elise Stefanik sent Cuomo a letter co-signed by several state and county representatives asking for guidance on summer camps, since Stefanik’s congressional district is home to many of them. Cuomo’s response was complete nonsense: “What you can say to Rep. Stefanik and all our great Washington representatives: We could provide rental assistance, child care for essential workers, you know what it takes? Money. Funding. Money.”

What in the world does any of that have to do with camp?

Camp in this case is shorthand for summer child-care. When the school year ends, many parents eagerly sign up their kids for camp. The kids get to vent energy. Parents can go to work and, yes, get a little rest.

For many if not all parents, the hang-up isn’t money. It’s about Cuomo giving the order to permit camps to reopen. In Connecticut, camps are set to open at the end of June. What’s our timeline?

How will the parents whose jobs are in Phases One, Two and Three do their jobs when there is no summer child-care option?

All of this doesn’t even take into account how stressful and difficult this time has been for children, something that other countries like Israel and Australia have prioritized by putting schools at the top of their reopening list (and both had strict lockdowns).

“You just care, because you have kids” goes the odd argument at parents when we express concern about the current situation. Well, yes, I care about the well-being of children because I am in close proximity to three of them and daily witness the toll the extreme lockdown is taking on their minds and bodies.

This isn’t about me. The truth is, my work life hasn’t changed all that much. I have always worked from home. Sure, the kids weren’t at home then, but now that my husband works from home, too, we’ve settled into a symbiotic work routine. And my kids, ages 4, 7 and 10, are mostly self-sufficient in the amusement department. Many parents don’t have this privilege, but if we are to avoid societal collapse, we need them to get back to work.

And if the personal is political, then that explains why our elected officials are ignoring child care. Cuomo doesn’t have small children. Nor does Hizzoner. Someone needs to tell them: We can’t open the economy if parents have ­nowhere to send their children. Child care needs to move way up on the priority list — lest we risk the rest of the phases crumbling.

Twitter: @Karol


Gov. Cuomo admits he was wrong to order nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients – New York Post

May 10th, 2020

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has finally admitted — tacitly and partially, anyway — the mistake that was state health chief Howard Zucker’s order that nursing homes must admit coronavirus-positive patients.

On Sunday, Cuomo announced a new regulation: Such patients must now test negative for the virus before hospitals can return them to nursing homes. Yet the gov also admitted that COVID-19 cases might still go to the facilities via other routes, and didn’t explicitly overrule Zucker’s March 25 mandate that homes must accept people despite their testing status — indeed, couldn’t even require a test pre-admission.

The gov’s people say that a home that simply can’t accommodate coronavirus patients never had to take them — though they are obliged to help those people find a place that will, with help available from the state if needed. That is: Zucker’s mandate was never more than a “don’t discriminate” rule.

But Zucker publicly presented it as “must accept” — and Cuomo’s remarks regularly implied there must be something wrong with a home that couldn’t handle corona patients.

So, while the gov’s people imply that some homes simply misunderstood the rules, the real message to operators was that declaring themselves overwhelmed would put their licenses at risk.

Notably, the chief of one Cobble Hill facility not only had his request for PPE denied, he got turned down cold when he then asked to transfer patients.

Then, too, Zucker’s Department of Health has issued other heartless orders during this crisis — the now-rescinded “don’t even try to resuscitate” mandate to EMTs for cardiac-arrest cases, as well as telling at least one home it was OK to keep staffers on the job after they’d tested positive.

Also telling: The gov has ordered an investigation that’s plainly supposed to pin all the blame on nursing and adult-care facilities: It’s led by state Attorney General Tish James, who got her job with Cuomo’s crucial assistance — and it’s only looking at what homes did wrong.

We’re sure James will uncover plenty of real horrors: Everyone (who cared to know) has long been aware that many New York nursing homes leave a lot to be desired. But that was all the more reason for Zucker & Co. to focus on policing and assisting these facilities from the start — rather than issuing edicts that led to repeated and needless tragedies.


Surface Go 2 review roundup: Great device, underwhelming performance – MSPoweruser – MSPoweruser

May 10th, 2020