Coronavirus Alert: Flushing Toilets May Spread Virus, Blood Supplies Critically Low. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center maintains an ongoing count of the COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States and worldwide. As of June 17, the tally is:
• Total cases worldwide: 8,278,166 (up from 8,096,403 Tuesday)
• Total deaths worldwide: 446,257 (up from 438,843 Tuesday)
• Total recoveries: 4,025,153 (up from 3,918,359 Tuesday)
• Total cases in the United States: 2,157,768 (up from 2,130,569 Tuesday)
• Total deaths in the United States: 117,622 (up from 116,726 Tuesday)
• Total test results in the United States: 24,449,307 (up from 23,984,592 Tuesday)
Vice President Pence called fears of a second wave overblown as U.S. cases rise. Vice President Mike Pence published an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal this week saying that panic over a second wave of coronavirus infections is “overblown.” Meanwhile, a Washington Post analysis showed that Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas reported either new single-day highs or set a record for seven-day new coronavirus case averages on Tuesday. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows the infection tally nationally trending back upward after having declined.
One night in a Florida bar infected at least 13 as state cases climb. ActionNews Jax in Jacksonville, Florida, reported that a group of 15 friends tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Lynch’s Irish Pub on June 6. The friends said they were all not wearing masks. Seven employees also have found out that they had been infected. Workers will quarantine for two weeks before returning to the job. The bar reopened after taking a couple of days to deep clean. Action News found at least five other bars in the area closed for cleaning.
Rajiv Bahl, MD, an emergency medicine physician in Orlando, Florida, told Everyday Health that deep cleanings may not offer customers much protection. “Despite cleaning surfaces and doing temperature checks, this virus is respiratory in nature, so anyone that is within close proximity to an infected individual can spread the virus to others. A clean surface is only clean until someone who is sick comes in contact with it — these are merely temporary measures.”
Florida has been seeing record numbers of new daily cases as it reopens. The Mayor of Miami announced Monday that the city will not move into the next phase of reopening because of rising numbers, according to ABC News.
“Although Florida is starting to open more facilities to the public, it still may be too early for social events as just a simple night out for friends turned into people getting infected with the virus,” says Dr. Bahl.
More than one-third of inmates tested are found positive. Data from the Bureau of Prisons shows that of 16,839 inmates tested so far, 6,060 have tested positive for coronavirus, reported ABC News on Tuesday. Several states, including Texas, say that prisons are one of the key factors leading to a new rise in infections and hospitalizations, according to the Texas Tribune.
Toilet flushing may send up a cloud of coronavirus-carrying particles. A study published this week in the journal Physics of Fluids indicated that toilets may promote viral transmission if users do not close the lids when flushing. Scientists in China discovered that flushing a toilet with the lid open can send forth a cloud of aerosol droplets containing infected fecal matter that may linger in the air long enough to be inhaled by the next person who uses to toilet. Droplets with the virus may also land on surfaces and infect bathroom users.
The research authors offer these three tips to help prevent transmission. Put the toilet lid down before flushing, which can basically prevent virus transmission. Clean the toilet seat before using it, since floating virus particles could have settled on its surface.
Wash hands carefully after flushing, since virus particles may be present on the flush button and door handle.
A low-dose steroid has been shown to help prevent COVID-19 deaths. The University of Oxford announced Tuesday that researchers there have found the first medication that reduced deaths in hospitalized patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19. The results, which are yet to be published, are based on 2,104 patients who were randomized to receive 6 milligrams of the low-dose steroid dexamethasone once per day (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for 10 days and were compared with 4,321 patients randomized to receive usual care alone. Deaths were one-third lower among patients on a ventilator receiving the dexamethasone, and one-fifth lower for the dexamethasone patients who were on oxygen. The scientists noted no benefit among those who did not require respiratory support.
Dexamethasone is available through any pharmacy and is commonly used to relieve inflammation. MedlinePlus says that it is used to treat certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders; severe allergies; and asthma, along with certain types of cancer.
Thomas McGinn, MD, deputy physician in chief at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York, told Everyday Health that dexamethasone is not standard of care within the Northwell Health system, but an option physicians can use in treating patients suffering from adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and the inflammation of the lungs.
“The numbers that were released while seeming impressive have not been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal,” says Dr. McGinn. “While the results seem encouraging, there is a need for further review and additional clinical trials to determine its efficacy and safety.”
Blood supplies are critically low. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday warned that U.S. blood reserves have dropped to critically low levels, and that the majority of the nation’s blood banks have a one-day supply or less of type O blood. Thousands of blood drives had been canceled due to the pandemic. The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) has a blood site donation locator tool that can help identify the donation center closest to you.
Written By Don Rauf
Source & Credits: EveryDay Health