COVID-19 News


Wear a Mask, Damnit
Confirmed coronavirus cases are rising faster than ever
By Emma Reynolds and Henrik Pettersson, CNN

Updated 10:54 AM ET, Fri June 5, 2020

(CNN)New cases of the novel coronavirus are rising faster than ever worldwide, at a rate of more than 100,000 a day over a seven-day average.
In April, new cases never topped 100,000 in one day, but since May 21, there have only been less than 100,000 on five days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Newly reported cases reached a high of 130,400 on June 3.
The increase in case rates may be partially explained by increases in testing capacity, but there's still not enough testing to capture an accurate picture in many countries.

Different nations' epidemics have followed different trajectories. The number of new cases has slowed in many of the countries that were hit hard earlier on in the pandemic, including China, the US, UK, Italy, Spain and France.
But many countries, particularly in South America, the Middle East and Africa, the rate of transmission still appears to be accelerating, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

In Libya, Iraq, Uganda, Mozambique and Haiti, the data shows the number of known cases is doubling every week. In Brazil, India, Chile, Colombia and South Africa, cases are doubling every two weeks.

"The Americas continues to account for the most cases. For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together," said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday.

"We are especially worried about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics."
Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of Health Emergencies Program, said he did not think Central and South America had reached their peak in transmission.

The share of global deaths is also still rising in South America and the Caribbean.
Brazil recorded more than 30,000 new cases on Thursday, bringing it to almost 615,000 in total, along with 1,473 new deaths, taking its total fatalities to more than 34,000.

Its case numbers are second only to the US, where just under 1.9 million cases have been reported and 108,211 deaths. At its peak, the US was seeing an increase of more than 30,000 new cases a day; as of Friday it was registering about 21,000 news cases and 942 daily death per day over a seven-day average.

A number of countries that passed their initial peak -- such as South Korea, Germany and China -- have since seen new clusters of infections after restrictions on movement were eased, raising fears of a second wave.

Authorities in 214 countries and territories have reported about 6.6 million Covid-19 cases and 391,000 deaths since China reported its first cases to the WHO in December.

The true toll of the virus is likely to be worse than the numbers show, as mild or asymptomatic infections often go undiagnosed.


Wear a Mask, Damnit
Roberts Upholds COVID-19 Restrictions on Churches, Scolds Kavanaugh

By Mark Joseph Stern
May 30, 20209:45 AM

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts arrive to hear President Donald Trump deliver the State of the Union address in the House chamber on February 4, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts arrive to hear President Donald Trump deliver the State of the Union address in the House chamber on Feb. 4 in Washington.

Friday at midnight, the Supreme Court rejected a church’s challenge to California’s COVID-19 restrictions by a 5–4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals. In a pointed opinion, Roberts indicated that he will not join conservative judges’ escalating efforts to override public health measures in the name of religious freedom. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent, by contrast, falsely accused the state of religious discrimination in an extremely misleading opinion that omits the most important facts of the case. Roberts went out of his way to scold Kavanaugh’s dishonest vilification of the state.

SCOTUS’s late-night order in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom divided the justices into two camps: those who acknowledge reality and those who ignore it to score ideological points. The case began when a California church accused Gov. Gavin Newsom of violating its religious freedom. Newsom’s current COVID-19 policy limits attendance at houses of worship to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. At the same time, it allows certain secular businesses, like grocery stores, to operate under looser guidelines, allowing more people to enter. The church claimed this disparate treatment between churches and commercial establishments runs afoul of the First Amendment.

As Roberts noted, however, California does not impose uniform rules on all places where people assemble. The state does strictly limit church attendance. But it applies “similar or more severe restrictions” to “lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances.” So the question for the court is less constitutional than scientific: From an epidemiological perspective, are churches more like grocery stores or concerts? And that, the chief justice concluded, is a question for lawmakers, not federal judges.

“The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic,” Roberts declared, “is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement.” The Constitution leaves such decisions “to the politically accountable officials of the state,” whose decisions “should not be subject to second-guessing” by judges who lack “background, competence, and expertise to assess public health.” Multiple coronavirus outbreaks in California have been traced back to religious services. California has good reason to treat churches more like concerts—where people “congregate in large groups” and “remain in close proximity for extended periods”—than grocery stores, where they can maintain social distance. For courts, that should be the end of the matter.

Kavanaugh, in dissent, viewed the case through a different lens. Whereas Roberts began by noting that COVID-19 has “killed thousands of people in California and more than 100,000 nationwide,” Kavanaugh crafted a narrative of invidious religious discrimination. His dissent reads like a brief by the church, not a judicial opinion. Kavanaugh alleged that Newsom’s order “indisputably discriminates against religion” in violation of the free exercise clause. For support, the justice insisted that “comparable secular businesses,” like grocery stores and pharmacies, “are not subject” to the same restrictions imposed on churches. California must have a “compelling justification” for this disparate treatment, and he saw none.

But Kavanaugh’s assertion that California treats churches and “comparable secular businesses” differently raises the question: What is a comparable secular business? When it comes to the spread of infectious disease, is a church really just like a grocery store, where people spend as little time as possible, separated by aisles and shopping carts, rarely speaking to one another? Or is it more like a concert, where people congregate for lengthy periods, shoulder to shoulder, often speaking or singing and thereby spreading droplets that may contain the coronavirus?

What is genuinely shocking about Kavanaugh’s dissent is that he does not even address this question. The dispute lies at the heart of the case, and Kavanaugh ignores it. He simply takes it as a given that churches are “comparable” to grocery stores when it comes to risk of spreading COVID-19. By warping the facts, Kavanaugh paints California’s rules as irrationally discriminatory, when in fact they are based on medical advice Newsom has right now. If the justice wants to override public health measures during a pandemic, shouldn’t he at least admit that he’s substituting his own scientific judgment for that of a democratically elected lawmaker’s?

Roberts seems to think so. His opinion ends with a clear swipe at Kavanaugh: “The notion that it is ‘indisputably clear’ that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional,” the chief justice wrote, “seems quite improbable.” Roberts went out of his way to telegraph his displeasure with the raft of lawsuits contesting COVID-19 restrictions as unconstitutional burdens on religious liberty. Even in borderline cases, he suggested, courts must defer to the people’s representatives if they decide the health crisis requires limitations on public assemblies.

While all four far-right justices dissented from Friday’s order, only Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch joined Kavanaugh’s dissent. Justice Samuel Alito declined to join Kavanaugh’s opinion and did not explain why. It’s possible Alito was so perturbed by his colleague’s deceptive recitation of the facts that he could not sign in good faith. Meanwhile, though the four liberals joined Roberts in turning away the church’s challenge, the chief justice wrote only for himself. His opinion reads like an official statement from the head of the judicial branch, reminding lower courts not to overstep constitutional boundaries when assessing COVID-19 orders. As long as Roberts has anything to say about it, the Supreme Court will not facilitate the spread of a deadly virus in the name of the First Amendment.

Shit Snacks

Yeah as soon as they opened up the beaches in California, along with the other relaxed restrictions now, I knew cases would be rising afterwards... Especially on top of everything else going on, I feel like it's going to push us right back into lockdown so I've been maintaining my own lockdown regardless! I hardly leave the house lol


Wear a Mask, Damnit
Those of us who are older especially must take care of ourselves. Younger people are just as exposed to getting the virus, but have a MUCH greater chance of surviving it, or even staying out of the hospital. While there is certainly a chance there will be an abeyance as people spend more time outside, the virus is NOT going anywhere and will certainly re surge as we go back inside. I will/would be very surprised if rehab and elderly care facilities actually reduce their lock down rules dramatically.
I worry a lot for the restaurants (particularly independents) trying to reopen. If they rely on tabletop service and are forced by circumstances to shut down again, after the expense of reopening, they will never recover and will end up closing permanently.


Take My Money Dammit!
Yeah as soon as they opened up the beaches in California, along with the other relaxed restrictions now, I knew cases would be rising afterwards... Especially on top of everything else going on, I feel like it's going to push us right back into lockdown so I've been maintaining my own lockdown regardless! I hardly leave the house lol
The article said cases in the United States have been slowing.

Mono Loco

Well-Known Member
If a powerhouse country like US has difficulties (to say the least), how can the poorer countries in South American and beyond be able to overcome this pandemic - poor Brazil. This, on top of the current social unrest and protests ... it's so stressful. I wish I could relax with some calming herb, but Connecticut ain't legal yet. But, I haven't lost any loved ones to Covid nor violence, so I feel like a shit for even complaining about not being able to enjoy cannabis. Poor me, eh? Not hardly - I am inconvenienced, but I'll survive! Actually, I am a High-Risk due to major heart history and have been self-quarantined for ... I don't know ... seems like months. Oh well ... we pray for all.


Well-Known Member
Without a link to a credible source with data, I don't believe anything coming out of the MSM anymore concerning the Wuhan Virus.
NYT cites all their data, and it is looking more and more obvious that the US reopened too soon and too fast. Just see how your state is doing: Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

The recent progress the BLM movement has made is long overdue, and I strongly support it, but I also worry the protests are going to cause a massive increase in the number of cases... The virus has a 2 week incubation and we are at day 12.


Well-Known Member
Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is 'very rare,' WHO says

"Preliminary evidence from the earliest outbreaks indicated that the virus could spread from person-to-person contact, even if the carrier didn’t have symptoms. But WHO officials now say that while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is not the main way it’s being transmitted.

“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said at a news briefing from the United Nations agency’s Geneva headquarters. “It’s very rare.”

Government responses should focus on detecting and isolating infected people with symptoms, and tracking anyone who might have come into contact with them, Van Kerkhove said. She acknowledged that some studies have indicated asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread in nursing homes and in household settings.

Stay home if you have symptoms. Wearing a mask if you don't have symptoms helps others very rarely. At least if you believe the data.


Wear a Mask, Damnit
Gee, than I guess all the examples of hotspots from parties and church services and meat packing plants are all made up.

Who is it this time, the Chinese or Soros?


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Well-Known Member
It’s funny that today the WHO said you can’t get it from asymptomatic people. And then a few hours later published another document stating that you can and they are not 100% sure regarding the spread from asymptomatic.


Well-Known Member
It’s funny that today the WHO said you can’t get it from asymptomatic people. And then a few hours later published another document stating that you can and they are not 100% sure regarding the spread from asymptomatic.
Yes, funny.
"Dr. Van Kerkhove said that the estimates of transmission from people without symptoms come primarily from models, which may not provide an accurate representation. "

And here's what she said yesterday:
“We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,” she said. “They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.

What makes it even funnier, is that we all are filtering the "experts" through our own political perspectives.
Tribalism Comes for Pandemic Science
"The virus is novel, so our understanding of what responding to it might require of us has had to be built on the fly. But the polarized culture war that pervades so much of our national life has made this kind of learning very difficult. Views developed in response to provisional assessments of incomplete evidence quickly rigidify as they are transformed into tribal markers and then cultural weapons. Soon there are left-wing and right-wing views on whether to wear masks, whether particular drugs are effective, or how to think about social distancing. New evidence is taken as an assault on these tribal commitments, and policy adjustments in response are seen as forms of surrender to the enemy. Every new piece of information gets filtered through partisan sieves, implicitly examined to see whose interest it serves, and then embraced or rejected on that basis. We all do this. You’re probably doing it right now — skimming quickly to the end of this piece to see if I’m criticizing you or only those other people who behave so irresponsibly."


Wear a Mask, Damnit
WHO clarifies comments on asymptomatic spread of coronavirus: 'There's much unknown'

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

Updated 2:26 PM ET, Tue June 9, 2020

(CNN)The World Health Organization tried on Tuesday to clear up confusing comments about how often people can spread the coronavirus when they do not have symptoms.
Coronavirus spread by asymptomatic people 'appears to be rare,' WHO official says

Coronavirus spread by asymptomatic people 'appears to be rare,' WHO official says

The organization held a live Q&A on its social media pages to address questions about comments made by a WHO official that suggested asymptomatic people only rarely spread Covid-19.
The comments appeared to directly contradict guidance from public health organizations, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have said about a third of coronavirus infections may be asymptomatic. The CDC also estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick, meaning they are presymptomatic.
But it may boil down to how one defines "asymptomatic."
'There are so many unknowns'
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday that "it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual."
But then on Tuesday, during the live Q&A, she clarified "this is a major unknown."
2 studies show many people who tested positive for Covid-19 displayed no symptoms

2 studies show many people who tested positive for Covid-19 displayed no symptoms

"The majority of transmission that we know about is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets -- but there are a subset of people who don't develop symptoms, and to truly understand how many people don't have symptoms, we don't actually have that answered yet," Van Kerkhove said.
"We do know that some people who are asymptomatic, or some people who don't have symptoms, can transmit the virus on," she said. "So what we need to better understand is how many of the people in the population don't have symptoms and separately how many of those individuals go on to transmit to others."
On Monday, Van Kerkhove had said that what appear to be asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 often turn out to be cases of mild disease.
Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of coronavirus more than we realized

Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of coronavirus more than we realized

"When we actually go back and we say how many of them were truly asymptomatic, we find out that many have really mild disease," Van Kerkhove said on Monday.
"They're not quote-unquote Covid symptoms -- meaning they may not have developed fever yet, they may not have had a significant cough, or they may not have shortness of breath -- but some may have mild disease," Van Kerkhove said. "Having said that, we do know that there can be people who are truly asymptomatic."
Van Kerkhove added that she was referring to reports from WHO member states when she made her comments on Monday.

Study: Coronavirus carriers may be most infectious before showing symptoms

Study: Coronavirus carriers may be most infectious before showing symptoms 07:52
"What I was referring to yesterday in the press conference were very few studies -- some two or three studies that had been published that actually try to follow asymptomatic cases, so people who are infected, over time, and then look at all of their contacts and see how many additional people were infected," Van Kerkhove said.
"And that's a very small subset of studies. So I was responding to a question at the press conference. I wasn't stating a policy of WHO or anything like that," she said. "Because this is a major unknown, because there are so many unknowns around this, some modeling groups have tried to estimate what is the proportion of asymptomatic people that may transmit."
How the virus spreads
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, also said during the live Q&A that there is still much to learn about the possible asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus.
How coronavirus spread from one member to 87% of the singers at a Washington choir practice

How coronavirus spread from one member to 87% of the singers at a Washington choir practice

"Whatever proportion of disease is transmitting from asymptomatic individuals, as Maria said, that is unknown," Ryan said.
"I'm absolutely convinced that that is occurring. The question is how much," he said. "There's much to be answered on this. There's much that is unknown."
'Trying to slice the salami very fine'
Whether someone is presymptomatic or or simply experiencing very mild symptoms is not of importance to the person on the receiving end of the transmission, said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and longtime adviser to the CDC.
"I thought they were getting very prissy and trying to slice the salami very fine," Schaffner said about WHO's comments on Monday on asymptomatic spread.
"You can be vertical and feel 100% or virtually 100% and going about your daily business and unaware that you're infected and perfectly capable transmitting the virus," Schaffner said. "How do we inhibit transmission of the virus by these people who are doing their full range of normal activities? The answer is social distancing and wearing masks and good hand hygiene and stay away from crowds. That's the formula."
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Liam Smeeth, professor of clinical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that he was "quite surprised" by Van Kerkhove's original comments.
"It goes against my impressions from the science so far that suggest asymptomatic (people who never get symptoms) and pre-symptomatic people are an important source of infection to others," Smeeth said In a written statement distributed by the UK-based Science Media Centre on Tuesday.
"This is the main basis for steps such as self-isolation and lockdown -- steps we know, from yesterday's two Nature papers have massively reduced the numbers of people infected and have prevented millions of deaths globally," he said. He was referring to research that estimates shutdown measures through early April prevented more than 500 million coronavirus infections across six countries.
"There remains scientific uncertainty, but asymptomatic infection could be around 30% to 50% of cases," Smeeth said. "The best scientific studies to date suggest that up to half of cases became infected from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people."


Gregarious Misanthrope
Staff member
Sugar coating locks and loads coronavirus for infection

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. But the human immune system does just that when it comes to finding and attacking harmful microbes such as the coronavirus. It relies on being able to recognize foreign intruders and generate antibodies to destroy them. Unfortunately, the coronavirus uses a sugary coating of molecules called glycans to camouflage itself as harmless from the defending antibodies.


Well-Known Member
Professionals that make models claim forecasting for COVID-19 has failed.

Forecasting for COVID-19 has failed - International Institute of Forecasters

After the discussion of the specifics of what it failed at and why:
Let’s be clear: even if millions of deaths did not happen this season, they may happen in the next wave, next season, or with some new virus in the future. A doomsday forecast may come handy to protect civilization, when and if calamity hits. However, even then, we have little evidence that aggressive measures which focus only on few dimensions of impact actually reduce death toll and do more good than harm. We need models which incorporate multicriteria objective functions. Isolating infectious impact, from all other health, economy and social impacts is dangerously narrow-minded. More importantly, with epidemics becoming easier to detect, opportunities for declaring global emergencies will escalate. Erroneous models can become powerful, recurrent disruptors of life on this planet. Civilization is threatened from epidemic incidentalomas.

Cirillo and Taleb thoughtfully argue [14] that when it comes to contagious risk, we should take doomsday predictions seriously: major epidemics follow a fat-tail pattern and extreme value theory becomes relevant. Examining 72 major epidemics recorded through history, they demonstrate a fat-tailed mortality impact. However, they analyze only the 72 most noticed outbreaks, a sample with astounding selection bias. The most famous outbreaks in human history are preferentially selected from the extreme tail of the distribution of all outbreaks. Tens of millions of outbreaks with a couple deaths must have happened throughout time. Probably hundreds of thousands might have claimed dozens of fatalities. Thousands of outbreaks might have exceeded 1,000 fatalities. Most eluded the historical record. The four garden variety coronaviruses may be causing such outbreaks every year [15,16]. One of them, OC43 seems to have been introduced in humans as recently as 1890, probably causing a “bad influenza year” with over a million deaths [17]. Based on what we know now, SARS-CoV-2 may be closer to OC43 than SARS-CoV-1. This does not mean it is not serious: its initial human introduction can be highly lethal, unless we protect those at risk.

Blindly acting based on extreme value theory alone would be sensible if we lived in the times of the Antonine plague or even in 1890, with no science to identify the pathogen, elucidate its true prevalence, estimate accurately its lethality, and carry out good epidemiology to identify which people and settings are at risk. Until we accrue this information, immediate better-safe-than-sorry responses are legitimate, trusting extreme forecasts as possible (not necessarily likely) scenarios. However, caveats of these forecasts should not be ignored [1,18] and new evidence on the ground truth needs continuous reassessment. Upon acquiring solid evidence about the epidemiological features of new outbreaks, implausible, exaggerated forecasts [19] should be abandoned. Otherwise, they may cause more harm than the virus itself.


Wear a Mask, Damnit
And the feeling I get in that line is that those choosing NOT to wear a mask are showing disrespect to everyone around them. It may very well be that you don't have Covid, but you don't know it for certain, and wearing the mask in case you do is the right thing to do. At the very least it is an act of respect.
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