🦠 COVID-19| Worrying situation in Western and Southern US states

📊 Daily Data Brief: June 21, 2020, 00:07 GMT (❗️Previous data: June 19, 2020, 07:19 GMT)

Cumulative case: 8,906,519 (+319,801cumulative cases 

Active cases:  3,707,500 (+114,296) (this is the number of currently infected patients)

Total Deaths:  466,253 (+9,785)

Serious/Critical Cases: 54,479 (-87)

Recovered:  4,732,766 (+196,720)

Source: Worldometers

1) Seven-day rolling average of new deaths (ECDC data)

Showing a chart from the FT today highlighting the worrying situation in Brazil, Mexico, India and Russia and Iran (NEW❗️). Also the FT comparative charts now allow up to 6 countries.

2) Rt estimate per State (US) and per country (NEW❗️). This is a new resource link in the data section from a team which has led accuracy in modelling fatalities in the US for the past few weeks. (Link)

The video of the day is the Trump rally in Tulsa Oklahoma which might become a super-spreading event for COVID-19 particularly as most attendees are unmasked and Oklahoma epidemic is worsening.

Two twitter threads walking us through the seriousness of the epidemic in the South and West of the US, with Florida reaching today its highest new daily case ever.

NPR updates its assessment of states’ readiness with their contact tracing programme.

Spain, most likely under pressure to revive its tourism industry, is re-opening its borders to Britons without any quarantine obligation.

An article reminding us of the importance of trust and confidence in public health to successfully fight a pandemic.

Finally, CT Bergstrom puts forward the use of batch testing to allow for safe reopening of colleges and universities in the fall.

🇺🇸Video of the Day: The Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with most attendees appearing unmasked.

The state is classified as “trending poorly” from “How We Reopen Safely” tracking website:

Threads of the day:

Thread 1: Epidemic accelerating in South and West of US by The Covid Tracking Project (Twitter Thread)

The COVID Tracking Project is a great data source and Twitter account. It was started by Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic. Their objective:

“The public deserves the most complete data available about COVID-19 in the US. No official source is providing it, so we are.”

The Tread provides an update on the US situation starting with the only good news: the US did 583,940 tests yesterday, an all-time high.

Then it is only bad news. Highest number of daily new cases since May 1 at 32,325.

The most interesting tweet in the thread is the one below showing regional differences in the US, where the Southern and Western regions are seeing both increases in number of daily cases and test positivity rate:

The surge of hospitalisation in a number of states is equally worrying:

Thread 2: “Now I’ll fly” weekly roundup by Bob Wachter (Chair of Medicine at UCSF). (Twitter Thread)

This is a great weekly roundup on COVID-19 echoing the thread above on the state of the epidemic in the US, but also commenting on dexamethanose and how politics is intersecting with the virus spread:

The politicisation of public health and science is detrimental to creating the needed deep engagement with communities to effectively fight the virus and have citizens apply state wide recommendation (previously with lockdown and now with universal masking).

Wachter is also updating his readiness to fly in light of a better toolbox to treat COVID-19 but also new rules mandating universal masking. He shares why he is now ready to fly given his calculated odds of getting infected:

An interesting analysis and how each of us should assess risk of engaging in certain activity for as long as the virus is circulating.

🦠 Simmons-Duffin writes “As States Reopen, Do They Have The Workforce They Need To Stop Coronavirus Outbreaks?” for NPR. (Link)

This is an update of a tracking project started by NPR six weeks ago of contact tracing across US states. As can be seen from the map and passage below extracted from the article whilst contact tracers numbers have increased, capacity falls short in most states:

“An NPR survey of state health departments shows that the national coronavirus contact tracing workforce has tripled in the past six weeks, from 11,142 workers to 37,110. Yet given their current case counts, only seven states and the District of Columbia are staffed to the level that public health researchers say is needed to contain outbreaks.”

🇪🇸 “Coronavirus: Spain to allow UK tourists without quarantine” for BBC News. Spain has announced its decision ‘out of respect’ for the 400,000 British citizens who have home in Spain. How about not doing it out of respect for the 47 million Spaniards who have suffered the hardship of lockdown, contained their pandemic and are now risking outbreaks by allowing travellers from the EU country with the most active epidemic. It is likely that similar policy relaxation will happen in other countries with large tourism sectors such as Italy or France. (Link)

🤝 Ranu Dhillon (Former Special advisor on Ebola to the President of Guinea) tweets on the importance of community trust in fighting COVID-19 and shares a paper showing how distrust can hamper public health efforts based on an example in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak.

The article in the New England Journal of Medicine Dhillon co-authored (“Community Trust and the Ebola Endgame”) discuss how a grandmother and her neighbours initially prevented her granddaughter to be tested for Ebola in West Africa.

As Dhillon points out in an earlier tweet:

“ Let's cut thru the noise: the central issue in addressing Covid in US is figuring out how to engage communities who currently don't follow PH guidance especially around masks”

The level of politicisation of public health guidance in the US has surprised many but is hampering the adoption of universal masking and also creating roadblocks for contact tracers (as noted in yesterday’s edition) who are already in insufficient numbers in a number of US states as reported above.

It is urgent for public messaging to improve significantly to built confidence and adoption of public health guidelines throughout the US. The challenge is exacerbated given the waning trust in governments and the media around the world pre-COVID-19.

🏫 Carl T Bergstrom and his father Theodore C Bergstrom write “With Batch Testing we can reopen college and universities” in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The article is behind a paywall but CT Bergstrom shared the manuscript in full. The Bergstoms suggest using batch testing to affordably test college students at high frequency within college, and monitor and control the spread amongst themselves but also to the entire campus community:

📊 A picture is worth a thousand words:  Global (🌎) and local (with relevant flag) visualisation and forecasting tool

  1. 💉 (❗️NEW) “Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker” by Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmerfrom the New York Times.

    “The status of all the vaccines that have reached trials in humans, along with a selection of promising vaccines still being tested in cells or animals.”


  2. 🇺🇸 (NEW❗️) “The COVID Racial Data Tracker

    “The COVID Racial Data Tracker is a collaboration between the COVID Tracking Project and the Antiracist Research & Policy Center. Together, we're gathering the most complete race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 in the United States.”


  3. 🦠  “Science Forum: SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by the numbers” (Link)

    “The COVID-19 pandemic is a harsh reminder of the fact that, whether in a single human host or a wave of infection across continents, viral dynamics is often a story about the numbers. In this article we provide a one-stop, curated graphical source for the key numbers (based mostly on the peer-reviewed literature) about the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is responsible for the pandemic. The discussion is framed around two broad themes: i) the biology of the virus itself; ii) the characteristics of the infection of a single human host.”

  4. 🇺🇸🌎 This model has led accuracy for several weeks in the US. It also does projection for Europe and Rest of the World. (Link)

  5. 🇺🇸  “Is your community ready to reopen?”: A map of the US (50 states and 2,100+ counties) looking at reopening risks with metrics around 3 criteria: 1. Is COVID in retreat? 2. Are we testing enough? 3. Are our hospitals ready? (Link)

  6. 🌎 The Financial Times (visualisation) has a data tracking page which is in front of the paywall, looking at cases and fatality curves for selective countries and metropolitan areas/region. It is not as extensive as the Madlag link below, where you can see static as well as animated images for a greater number of individual countries. (Link)

  7. 🇺🇸  The Johns Hopkins University resource center was the first one I used back in January they have now made available in their latest iteration a county by county dashboard in the US including information about health capacity, insurance coverage, ethnicity and age breakdown of the populatio (Link)

  8. 💊 The "Map of Hope" provides a geographical overview of planned, ongoing and completed clinical trials. It is put together with data from WHO Clinical Trials Search Portal by the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation technology. (Link)