The WorkSTEPS team continues to carefully track what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Message on COVID-19 from WorkSTEPS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ben Hoffman:
Today’s brief features some hopeful news about the development of vaccines, the potential efficacy of some treatment regimens, and the supplies of respirators to protect health care personnel.
These hopeful items meet their match in numbers that highlight the scope of the challenge before us. Specifically, health officials in Italy reported nearly 800 deaths on Saturday alone. Italy’s numbers are particularly relevant for the US, where we’ve experienced a similar rate of infection. New York is now considered the US epicenter, with nearly 21,000 cases and 157 deaths so far.
What is increasingly clear is that to slow the spread of the virus we need to reduce human contact, including contact with infected surfaces. Companies have a role to play. Some recommendations:
Flattening the curve will require more than some of us doing some of the right things; it will require all of us, working together with urgency. All. Together. Now.
Dr. Ben Hoffman, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, WorkSTEPS
On Saturday, Italian officials reported 793 additional deaths, by far the largest single-day increase so far. Italy has surpassed China as the country with the highest death toll, becoming the epicenter of a shifting pandemic. New York has become the epicenter in the US with 20,875 cases and 157 deaths. US Coronavirus Cases
The first vaccine trial has begun just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the virus was shared by China. WHO and its partners are organizing a large international study, called the Solidarity Trial, in many countries to compare different treatments. WHO Situation Report-60
Researchers have cloned and identified SARS-CoV-2 human proteins as targets for drug therapy. Sixty-six protein targets and sixty-nine existing FDA medications specific to the targets were identified. These ranged from metformin to antivirals. The difficulty now is to identify which drugs work the best at combating the virus. SARS-CoV-2 Study
John’s Hopkins University researchers are advocating Passive Antibody Therapy (PAT) to prevent infection and treat COVID-19 patients. PAT uses serum containing antibodies to the virus from recovered patients to infuse into people to prevent and to treat the population. JCI Study
Despite its small sample size, their data shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin.
Doctor groups are recommending testing and isolation for people who lose their ability to smell and taste, even if they have no other symptoms. Anosmia, the loss of sense of smell, and ageusia, an accompanying diminished sense of taste, have emerged as peculiar telltale signs of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and possible markers of infection.
US borders with Canada and Mexico are now closed to nonessential travel.
Public health departments/CDC no longer recommend testing for mildly symptomatic persons in the community. Tests are being limited to high risk individuals: >60 years old, immunocompromised, health care workers. These patients are now considered “presumptive positive” if they have an upper respiratory infection and negative Flu test.
Priorities for testing may include:
Here’s how long the COVID-19 virus adheres on varied surfaces:
Take away message: Consistent frequent decontamination of frequently used common areas, workspaces, like work equipment, entry ways, doorknobs, railings, counter-tops, bathrooms, electronic equipment, etc. Thoroughly wash your hands after touching surfaces that anyone else might have touched or don’t touch them in the first place. STAT Article
3M CEO announces 500,000 respirators are being shipped to critically impacted areas. 3M has increased its production capacity and expanded its global capacity anticipating 2 billion respirators within the next 12 months. 3M Press Release
The weight of the evidence suggests that only under very limited conditions can the new coronavirus exist as an aerosol — a physics term meaning a liquid or solid (the virus) suspended in a gas (like air). Therefore, researchers conclude that aerosol transmission is not likely driving the pandemic.
The CDC contradicts aerosolization as a major transmission route. The fact still remains that we are uncertain of the primary transmission route of COVID-19.
President Trump elected to not use his authority to commandeer private industry to produce medical supplies, counting instead on a market-driven response.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York appealed on Sunday for the federal government to take over distribution of critical goods.
Just released by PwC, COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey: What finance leaders are focused on reveals how chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance executives in the US and Mexico plan to react to the COVID-19 outbreak and what business and economic impacts they anticipate in the coming weeks and months. Fifty finance leaders weighed in:
The potential for COVID-19 to lead to a global economic downturn is the top concern for finance leaders in the US and Mexico. However, 90% of finance leaders say their business would return to normal in less than three months if COVID-19 were to end immediately.
Other key findings include: