New mosquito leaving its mark on residents of Kern County – Bakersfield Now

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Scientists warn of potential wave of COVID-linked brain damage – Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.

FILE PHOTO: A human brain, part of a collection of more than 3,000 brains that could provide insight into psychiatric diseases, is seen at the psychiatric hospital in Duffel, Belgium, July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

A study by researchers at University College London (UCL)described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.

The research adds to recent studies which also found the disease can damage the brain.

“Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic – perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic – remains to be seen,” said Michael Zandi, from UCL’s Institute of Neurology, who co-led the study.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is largely a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, but neuroscientists and specialist brain doctors say emerging evidence of its impact on the brain is concerning.

“My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits … then that’s going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living,” Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University in Canada, told Reuters in an interview.

In the UCL study, published in the journal Brain, nine patients who had brain inflammation were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) which is more usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections.

The team said it would normally see about one adult patient with ADEM per month at their specialist London clinic, but this had risen to at least one a week during the study period, something they described as “a concerning increase”.

“Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”

Owen said the emerging evidence underlined the need for large, detailed studies and global data collection to assess how common such neurological and psychiatric complications were.

He is running a international research project at where patients can sign up to complete a series of cognitive tests to see whether their brain functions have altered since getting COVID-19.

“This disease is affecting an enormous number of people,” Owen said. “That’s why it’s so important to collect this information now.”

Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Alison Williams


Complaints about Allegheny County bars, restaurants flouting face-mask rules skyrocket – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Coronavirus: Airborne transmission cannot be ruled out, WHO says – BBC News

A woman sits in a bench while walking her dogs in Mexico CityImage copyright

Image caption

Scientists have accused the WHO of underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission

The World Organization has acknowledged there is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by tiny particles suspended in the air.

The airborne transmission could not be ruled out in crowded, closed or poorly ventilated settings, an official said.

If the evidence is confirmed, it may affect guidelines for indoor spaces.

An open letter from more than 200 scientists had accused the WHO of underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission.

The WHO has so far said that the virus is transmitted through droplets when people cough or sneeze.

“We wanted them to acknowledge the evidence,” Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado who signed the paper, told the Reuters news agency.

“This is definitely not an attack on the WHO. It’s a scientific debate, but we felt we needed to go public because they were refusing to hear the evidence after many conversations with them,” he said.

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Media captionBBC Reality Check explains what “excess deaths” reveal about

WHO officials have cautioned the evidence is preliminary and requires further assessment.

Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control, said that evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus in “crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out”.

A shifting position?

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News in Geneva

For months, the WHO has insisted that is transmitted via droplets emitted when people cough or sneeze. Droplets that do not linger in the air, but fall onto surfaces – that’s why handwashing has been identified as a key prevention measure.

But 239 scientists from 32 countries don’t agree: they say there is strong evidence to suggest the virus can also spread in the air: through much tinier particles that float around for hours after people talk, or breathe out.

Today the WHO admitted there was evidence to suggest this was possible in specific settings, such as enclosed and crowded spaces.

That evidence will have to be thoroughly evaluated, but if it is confirmed, the advice on how to prevent the virus spreading may have to change, and could lead to more widespread use of masks, and more rigorous distancing, especially in bars, restaurants, and on public transport.

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Media caption The health claims that won’t go away

Can your blood type predict whether you’re more or less susceptible to the coronavirus? – Yahoo Lifestyle

There could be a connection between a person’s blood type and their <a href="" data-ylk="slk:coronavirus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">coronavirus</a> risk. (Photo: Getty Images)
There could be a connection between a person’s blood type and their coronavirus risk. (Photo: Getty Images)

Recent studies suggest there may be a link between a person’s blood type and their risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus.

A June 17 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine focused on potential genetic factors in severe cases of COVID-19 with respiratory failure. The study involved nearly 2,000 patients with COVID-19 at seven hospitals located in Spain and Italy. Researchers observed that type O blood was associated with slightly more protection from the virus, while those with type A blood may be more vulnerable to the disease.

According to the study’s authors: “Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring COVID-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups.”

Dean Winslow, MD, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Care, tells Yahoo Life that the study results are “very interesting,” adding: “I think the association they came up with is real. They found that patients with blood type O seem to be slightly protected from infections — period. And folks with blood type A were basically not protected from infection at all; they had a trend that was statistically significant of requiring oxygen supplementation or mechanical ventilation.” 

This isn’t the first study to find correlations between blood types and the risk of COVID-19. Another study, conducted by Chinese researchers in March, found that “blood group A was associated with a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 compared with non-A blood groups, whereas blood group O was associated with a lower risk for the infection compared with non-O blood groups,” according to the study’s authors.

Iahn Gonsenhauser, MD, chief quality and patient safety officer at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Life that, while there are a handful of studies that have found type O blood appears to correlate with lower risk and better outcomes for COVID-19 and type A blood with a higher risk and poorer outcomes, “it’s really important to understand that these are observational studies. They can show us a correlation, but they can’t show us a cause. They’re showing us there’s a pattern and they’ve identified a pattern and not whether they are [the cause] or are incidental.”

However, Gonsenhauser notes that the study is a “reasonable observation,” adding: “There are other related scientific findings and evidence that would suggest that this relationship may, in fact, be causal.”

Winslow says blood type might be “just one more factor” that may explain why certain individuals respond differently to this virus. 

But this doesn’t mean that people with type O blood should be less worried about the coronavirus in general. “They have a decreased risk to get infected and to develop severe disease,” one of the study’s co-authors, Andre Franke, a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Kiel in Germany, told NBC News. “However, this is only a relative risk reduction, i.e. there is no full protection. Among our patients who died there were also many with blood group O.” (Yahoo Life reached out to Franke, who was unavailable for comment.)

Adds Gonsenhauser: “These findings should not change anybody’s behavior. We still need to be social distancing and wearing masks. Those are our best tools.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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Minnesota cities set their own mask rules to fight the novel coronavirus – Minneapolis Star Tribune

In the absence of any state or federal order, mayors and city councils around Minnesota are passing local requirements to wear masks while indoors to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Already this week, the cities of Winona, Rochester, Mankato and Edina have enacted mask requirements, and similar mandates will be debated this month in Duluth and St. Cloud.

Minneapolis, St. Paul and the 63,000-student University of Minnesota require mask-wearing indoors, and the state Supreme Court mandated masks in all court facilities starting July 13.

In Rochester, home of Mayo Clinic, Mayor Kim Norton said Tuesday that she decided to support the city’s requirement to wear masks in public in part because so few people seemed to be wearing them. Olmsted County’s two-week average of new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 is higher than a month ago, putting the county at an elevated “orange” level of alert.

“I didn’t want to move into the red, and then have this huge issue like we’re seeing in Florida, Texas, Alabama and everywhere else,” Norton said. “I know it’s not 100 percent [effective at preventing the spread of the virus]. I’m the first one to admit that. But a solution to slow the spread that is so easy, so inexpensive — why wouldn’t we do it?”

In Edina, Mayor Jim Hovland signed an order that went into effect Monday requiring masks covering the mouth and nose while inside most public places in the city. The City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday to decide whether to extend the policy.

“If we want our kids to go back to school in the fall, we’ve got to keep them practicing these important habits,” Hovland said in a Facebook post, advocating cloth masks in public, frequent hand-washing and social distancing.

Gov. Tim Walz has acknowledged that he’s considering whether to impose a statewide order. The Minnesota Medical Association, the state Department of and the Minnesota Nurses Association are each urging a statewide order.

On the other hand, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has said a flexible policy around masking could help reopen the state economy.

Non-medical-grade fabric masks that can be bought in stores or made at home are widely thought to trap the microscopic droplets in a person’s breath that can spread the virus to the people around them.

Similar to a surgical mask worn by a doctor in an operation, a fabric mask worn during a coronavirus pandemic does not protect the wearer, but rather, the people nearby. The tight-fitting N95 respirators worn by doctors and nurses do protect the wearers, but they’re in such short supply that they’re generally reserved for on-the-job health care workers.

Supporters of wearing cloth masks in public say there’s widespread scientific support.

The Minnesota Medical Association noted that a recent non-peer-reviewed paper in the medRxiv preprint service had examined infection rates and mask-wearing and found ample support for masks. Countries with societal norms or government policies supporting mask wearing had mortality increases of 8% in April and May, compared with 54% in the remaining countries, the observational study found.

Support for mask-wearing is not universal, but some critics are coming around. On Feb. 29, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams tweeted that Americans should “STOP BUYING MASKS” because they don’t prevent people from catching the virus. As of Tuesday, Adams was tweeting in favor of wearing face coverings “to help protect yourself and others around you.”

President Donald Trump, one of the most prominent skeptics of masks in the U.S., last week changed his message and said he supported people wearing masks if they feel good about doing so. But on Monday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox News that a national masking mandate is not in the works.

The mask requirements in Minnesota cities bear broad similarities, but each is different in where, when and how it applies.

In Winona, Mayor Mark Peterson on Tuesday announced a 30-day citywide masking order that requires all residents and visitors to wear face coverings indoors in public buildings and “anywhere where physical distancing is difficult.” The city’s existing emergency declaration gave him the power to unilaterally impose the order, but the City Council can amend or end it at any point.

“The single most important action any Winonan can take to prevent the spread of COVID is to wear a mask,” Peterson said in a statement.

In Mankato, the City Council debated and ultimately passed an ordinance Monday night that lasts for 61 days and requires most people over the age of 12 to wear a mask in public indoors, and for employers to require public-facing employees to wear masks. The measure passed 5-2 after a two-hour debate.

Mankato Mayor Najwa Massad said in e-mail that she voted in favor as a member of the council: “After talking with our citizens that are in the medical field and getting their perspective, it was plain to me how we had to proceed.”

Mankato City Council Member Mark Frost voted against the ordinance, even after its proposed $1,000 fines were reduced to $200 for businesses, because of the skepticism he heard from Michael Osterholm, who Frost called the state’s top epidemiologist.

“He is the one who came out and just said they don’t work,” Frost said, because cloth masks “randomly allow air in, up the sides, or around your cheeks. … I would love to support this. But I think he’s right, that they’re not that great a deal.”

Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, has advocated social distancing as the most important risk-reduction tactic and said advocates of masks may be overselling the strength of their scientific evidence.

Even so, Osterholm supports wearing cloth masks, which are not harmful and can be beneficial, even if they don’t provide complete protection.


DuPage County Health Department Encourages Self-Quarantine for Travelers – NBC Chicago

The DuPage County Department is encouraging anyone who travels out of Illinois to quarantine to 14 days, but it stopped short of issuing an emergency order like the one that began in Chicago this week.

The health department warned that such “recommendations are critical in assuring that our community members continue to reduce the risk of spreading.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.”

For those who do travel, DuPage health officials said they should:

  • Wear a mask in public and when around people who don’t live in your household
  • Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Watch distance in order to maintain at least 6 feet from others as much as possible

In addition, those who do travel, especially to states currently seeing increase coronavirus transmission, are “encouraged to self-quarantine” for 14 days and monitor their health.

Chicago issued an emergency travel order that took effect Monday morning, directing anyone who visits one of 15 states in the U.S. currently experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases to quarantine for 14 days.

States included in the order are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

The move comes as states across the U.S. see surges of coronavirus cases, many shutting down bars and restaurants in an effort to quell or prevent a spike.

New cases have surged in several states across the nation, setting new records almost daily, driven mostly by expanding outbreaks in the American South and West. Florida, Texas, California and Arizona are just some of the states that reported record-high counts of daily new cases last week.

New York and New Jersey are also asking visitors from 16 states from the Carolinas to California to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

“Cases all over the country on fire,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday. “Record numbers of new cases and deaths from across the country and all around Chicago- that’s not going to be our story.”

It remains unclear if the rest of Illinois will follow suit.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said guidance from health officials and scientists has not yet indicated such a move is required.

“That’s not something that we are looking at implementing right now,” he said last month. “Going forward, if we got the advice to do it we might.”


Portland-area health officials watching for potential COVID-19 case spike after July 4 weekend –

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Its not going to be over soon: Snohomish County braces for long battle with coronavirus –

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Christian County Health Department releases list of possible community exposures – KY3

OZARK, Mo. (Edited News Release) — The Christian County Department announced several potential COVID-19 related community exposures.

The health department is asking anyone who was at the locations listed
below to monitor for symptoms. There is no need to self-quarantine or isolate unless symptoms develop. Anyone who visited the locations during the timeframes listed is considered to be at low-risk for contracting COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and
seek medical attention.

• June 26: ALDI in Nixa from Noon- – 12:15 p.m. (infections, no symptoms, and no mask)
• June 27: Lowe’s in Ozark from 9 a.m. – 6 p. m. (infectious, no symptoms, and masked)
• June 27: Century Lanes in Nixa from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. (infectious, no symptoms, and no
• June 28: Prima’s Mexican Kitchen in Ozark from 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. (infectious, symptomatic,
and no mask)
• June 29: Handyman Rentals in Nixa from 7 a.m. – 7:20 a.m. (symptomatic and no mask)
• June 29: Nixa Live Stock Café’ in Nixa from 7:30 a.m. – 8 a.m. (symptomatic and no mask)
• June 30: Lowe’s in Ozark from 2 p.m. – 11 p.m. (symptomatic and masked)
• July 1: Ozark Christian County Day of Prayer at the Ozark Square around 7:30 a.m. (exact length of time unknown) (infectious, symptomatic, and no mask)

The health department continues to remind all residents to practice social distancing while out in public areas, wear a face mask or other face covering if social distancing is not possible, practice good hand hygiene, and avoid crowded areas or large gatherings.