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Study finds hydroxychloroquine treatment associated with lower mortality rate for COVID-19 patients – FOX 32 Chicago

July 3rd, 2020

A surprising new study found that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine was associated with a significant reduction in mortality among sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

A team at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan studied 2,541 patients hospitalized with a COVID-related admission between March 10 to May 2.

“Our analysis shows that using hydroxychloroquine helped saves lives,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO, Henry Ford Medical Group and Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Henry Ford Health System.

“As doctors and scientists, we look to the data for insight. And the data here is clear that there was benefit to using the drug as a treatment for sick, hospitalized patients,” Kalkanis said.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of hydroxychloroquine therapy alone and in combination with azithromycin in patients with the virus.The study found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone died compared to 26.4% not treated with the drug.

“Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial and immunomodulatory agent and a safer analogue of chloroquine, has demonstrated antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2”, the study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases read.

RELATED: FDA rescinds emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment

All patients observed in the study were at least 18 years old and the majority of patients received the drug soon after admission. Ninety-one percent of said patients received the drug within 48 hours of admission to the hospital.

The study describes how patients were given two 400 mg doses of hydroxychloroquine on the first day, followed by two doses of 200 mg on days 2-5. Patients received one 500 mg dose of azithromycin on the first day of the study, followed by another daily 250 mg dose for the next four days.The combination of the two drugs was reserved for patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms and minimal cardiac risk factors.

“Considered in the context of current studies on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, our results suggest that the drug may have an important role to play in reducing COVID-19 mortality,” Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System said.

RELATED: My ‘decision to make’: Trump defends criticized use of hydroxychloroquine

This study follows other research and reports that have cast doubt over the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine’s benefit when used to treat COVID-19 patients.

In May, President Donald Trump defended himself against criticism from medical experts after he announced he was using hydroxychlorquine to ward off COVID-19 symptoms, as his taking and endorsement of the unproven drug treatment could spark wide misuse by Americans, potentially leading to fatal side effects.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rescinded its emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. “Specifically, FDA has determined that CQ and HCQ are unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA,” the FDA wrote in a June 15 update.

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Apple tries to get users ready to accept the lack of a charger in the 5G iPhone 12 boxes – PhoneArena

July 3rd, 2020

Frat house outbreak leaves 93 infected with coronavirus at University of Washington – New York Post

July 3rd, 2020

A coronavirus outbreak at the University of Washington’s off-campus frat houses has left at least 93 students sickened with the illness, the school announced Friday.

Eighty-nine of the infected students at the Seattle school live on Greek Row, while the other four came into close contact with frat house residents.

“What is occurring north of campus provides lessons for students as they consider their return to campus this fall,” Dr. Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, said Tuesday,  when the outbreak was first reported.

Gottlieb warned that in order to establish some semblance of “normalcy” — with socializing and attending classes — students must wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

“If we don’t, measures such as what are now required on Greek Row will be inevitable,” he said.

While the university’s official coronavirus count related to Greek Row is 93, the school’s student-led interfraternity council said 117 fraternity members residing in 15 separate houses have self-reported testing positive.

The university said it’s working to confirm the increased tally.

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YouTuber Ends Finger on the App Competition After Contestants Last 70 Hours Trying to Win $25K – Gizmodo

July 3rd, 2020

Exclusive: WE Charity offered summer camps up to $25,000 to host volunteers – National Post

July 3rd, 2020

Article content continued

WE co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger speak during WE Day Alberta at Rogers Place in Edmonton, on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/Postmedia

Conservative employment critic Dan Albas said Thursday that he was “incredibly concerned” by the amount of money that would have been tied up in WE Charity paying for recruitment.

“It seems that WE is outsourcing an outsourced program,” Albas said on Thursday, before WE Charity announced that it was pulling out of the program.

During the June 12 call, Kielburger said the idea was to reach the widest audience of volunteers.

“The whole premise here is that the government is seeking to provide this opportunity to as many young people as possible,” the WE Charity co-founder said.

Ilona Dougherty, managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo, worried that the incentive structure laid out by Kielburger would have pushed some organizations to welcome more volunteers than necessary in order to receive the grant.

“Group volunteering is very challenging, particularly for organizations, and it does not help anyone if you need one or two young people for a task and you have 75, and you’re kind of encouraged to have 75. That’s not a great setup,” Dougherty said.

“Should a program be creating volunteer opportunities that may not have a real impact? That doesn’t serve anyone.”

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Patient infected with rare brain-eating amoeba in Florida, health officials say – WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando

July 3rd, 2020

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A patient in Hillsborough County has become infected with a rare and usually deadly brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The amoeba is commonly found in freshwater and infects someone when contaminated water enters that person’s nose.

From there, it travels to the brain and causes primary amebic meningoencepalitis, which causes the patient’s brain tissue to be destroyed. The disease is usually fatal.

Infections are rare with only 37 cases in Florida since 1962. Those infections are mostly likely to occur in July, August and September when the water in lakes, rivers, ponds and canals is warmer.

“Naegleria fowleri is found in many warm freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers in the United States, but is more common in southern states. The low number of infections makes it difficult to know why a few people have been infected compared to the millions of other people that used the same or similar waters across the U.S.,” a news release from the FDOH read.

Health officials urged swimmers to take the following precautions in case the amoeba is present:

  • Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs and thermally polluted water such as water around power plants.
  • Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
  • Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers or hot springs.
  • Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.
  • Please note exposure to the amoeba may also occur when using neti pots to rinse your sinuses of cold/allergy-related congestion or conducting religious rituals with tap water. Use only boiled and cooled, distilled or sterile water for making sinus rinse solutions for neti pots or performing ritual ablutions.

They also suggested contacting a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after swimming:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Loss of balance
  • Hallucinations

The disease is progressive so early intervention is key.

Health officials did not provide any information about the patient, where they were infected or their prognosis.

To read more about the amoeba, click here.

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Exclusive: WE Charity offered camps up to $25K each to recruit volunteers for Liberal grants – National Post

July 3rd, 2020

Article content continued

WE co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger speak during WE Day Alberta at Rogers Place in Edmonton, on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/Postmedia

Conservative employment critic Dan Albas said Thursday that he was “incredibly concerned” by the amount of money that would have been tied up in WE Charity paying for recruitment.

“It seems that WE is outsourcing an outsourced program,” Albas said on Thursday, before WE Charity announced that it was pulling out of the program.

During the June 12 call, Kielburger said the idea was to reach the widest audience of volunteers.

“The whole premise here is that the government is seeking to provide this opportunity to as many young people as possible,” the WE Charity co-founder said.

Ilona Dougherty, managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo, worried that the incentive structure laid out by Kielburger would have pushed some organizations to welcome more volunteers than necessary in order to receive the grant.

“Group volunteering is very challenging, particularly for organizations, and it does not help anyone if you need one or two young people for a task and you have 75, and you’re kind of encouraged to have 75. That’s not a great setup,” Dougherty said.

“Should a program be creating volunteer opportunities that may not have a real impact? That doesn’t serve anyone.”

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How iOS 14 on iPhone will keep you from downloading apps you only use once – CNET

July 3rd, 2020

What is ‘new mutation’? Fauci says it may speed the spread of coronavirus – WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

July 3rd, 2020

LOS ANGELES — The country’s top infectious disease expert said Thursday that the novel coronavirus has mutated in a way that might help it replicate better and spread more easily.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shared this research in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We don’t have a connection to whether an individual does worse with this or not. It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible,” Fauci said.

But, what is a “new mutation,” and should the public be worried?

What is a virus mutation?

The National Cancer Institute defines a ‘“new mutation” as a genetic alteration that is present for the first time in one family member as a result of a mutation in a germ cell of one of the parents.

In layman’s terms, viruses naturally mutate and can replicate, especially those that are considered RNA viruses, like the flu, measles, SARS, and now SARS-CoV-2, better known as the novel coronavirus. RNA viruses are defined by their collection of genetic material packed inside a protein shell.

Are virus mutations rare?

Mark Schleiss, the American Legion Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota Medical School, says viruses constantly undergo evolution at the molecular level, but RNA viruses are particularly prone to mutation. This is why the flu shot and virus strains change often.

Will this mutation make people more susceptible to COVID-19 infection?

“We know now from this mutation that’s being described, that it does seem to lead to increased levels of the virus in the body and an increased ability to infect and probably to transmit,” Schleiss said.

Will more people die from COVID-19 due to the mutation?

Schleiss said that we don’t know yet whether this mutation will translate into more deaths, but it does seem that it will have an impact on the transmissibility of the coronavirus

“The molecular evolution of the virus has gone from some extent from bad to worse, because now we have a virus that’s even more transmissible and more readily infectable for people,” he added.

Will the mutation impact when a vaccine may be available?

Schleiss doesn’t believe this new mutation will make it more difficult for vaccine development, adding that he would be surprised if we had a vaccine by Spring of 2021, but he is optimistic.“There’s a compelling need for a vaccine, and I’m very excited about the progress that’s being made,” he said. “I think we need to be cautious that we don’t rush to judgment and release a vaccine before it’s been fully evaluated.”

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Uptick in ICU numbers, confirmed COVID-19 cases continues in Minnesota – Minneapolis Star Tribune

July 3rd, 2020

The number of Minnesotans receiving intensive hospital care for COVID-19 jumped by nine Friday, the largest single-day increase in more than a month.

But state health officials were more concerned about what the overall testing and ICU numbers show after the July 4th holiday weekend, when more people travel and socialize in large groups, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.

Dr. John Hick, an emergency-medicine doctor advising the state on COVID-19, said one of the first signs of increased transmission will be accelerating case counts.

“I would be surprised if we are not seeing a significant uptick here in the next couple weeks,” Hick said Friday of the Minnesota numbers. “If we don’t, it’s going to be a blessing. But we’ll see what happens. …

“Generally speaking, we’re going to look for an increase in cases, then an increase in hospitalizations and ICU use, and then the deaths will increase later.”

Minnesota’s seven-day average for COVID-19 case counts has been steadily climbing since mid-June, according to Minnesota Department of Health data. While the number of patients in ICU also rose Friday, the number hospitalized with the virus who were not in ICU declined.

The rate of death from the virus remains largely flat.

The uptick in COVID-19 case counts in Minnesota and the number of patients in ICU beds comes as government leaders across the country take steps to prevent new transmissions and curb a national spike in lab-confirmed cases, which have been surpassing 50,000 a day in the U.S. for the first time since the outbreak began.

This week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mandated the wearing of masks in most counties in his state, which is adding more cases per day than most other states. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio indefinitely delayed the reopening of indoor dining in restaurants and bars in his city as a precautionary step after seeing the sharp rise in cases elsewhere.

“This is a very patient virus,” Hick said. “Once you lose control of this in a community, in a state, it is too late. Putting this thing back in a box is not just as easy as saying, ‘Oh, well now I’ll start wearing a mask.’ We’ve got to be proactive.”

Minnesota added 423 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to its statewide tally Friday and eight additional deaths caused by the viral respiratory condition.

The state has reported 37,624 confirmed cases of the illness since March 5. Of those, roughly 32,000 people have since been released from self-isolation.

The slow increase in the average number of new daily diagnoses since mid-June is driven by people in their 20s and teens contracting the virus, state data show.

The nine additional COVID-19 cases that required intensive care as of Friday represent the largest single-day increase in ICU care since May 29. All told, 132 people are receiving ICU care for COVID-19 in Minnesota, Health Department data showed. The number of people in regular hospital beds for COVID-19 care dropped by 13, to 138.

The rate of death from COVID-19 has remained much unchanged in Minnesota. Seven of the eight people whose deaths were recorded Friday lived in long-term care facilities, and all were at least 60 years old.

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