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Coronavirus update: 7 million U.S. cases, children less likely to get the virus

Researchers have found a way to safely recycle N95 masks

Photo (c) Ahmed Zaggoudi - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 7,122,754(7,089,611)

Total U.S. deaths: 204,825 (204,566)

Total global cases: 33,173,176 (32,919,487)

Total global deaths: 998,867 (995,352)

Cases in the U.S. cross the 7 million mark

Over the weekend, the U.S. reached a significant milestone, recording coronavirus (COVID-19) cases that pushed the total over the 7 million mark. At the same time, the world came close to 1 million deaths from the virus.

Cases of the virus began to rise in June and have not let up, especially after college students returned to campus. A Reuters analysis shows that outbreaks are particularly bad in the Midwest, with 25 percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients set records last week in Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Children less likely to get the virus

Does the virus causing COVID-19 discriminate? Apparently it does. Researchers at Britain’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health report that the chance of a child getting the virus is 44 percent lower than an adult’s. However, that protection only lasts up to a certain age.

“There is preliminary evidence that those younger than 10 to 14 years have lower susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection than adults, with adolescents appearing to have similar susceptibility to adults,” the researchers wrote in their analysis.

Researchers find a way to recycle N95 masks

While there are plenty of face coverings available for consumers, professional-grade N95 masks are still in limited supply. Researchers at Stanford and the University of Texas say they have found a way to effectively clean the masks so they can be reused.

Using a combination of moderate heat and high relative humidity, the team was able to disinfect N95 mask materials without reducing their ability to filter out viruses. They say it may be possible for the cleaning process to be automated.

“This is really an issue, so if you can find a way to recycle the masks a few dozen times, the shortage goes way down,” said Stanford physicist Steven Chu, a senior author on the new paper.

Old life-support treatment saves lives

A study shows an existing life-support option known as ECMO, used in lung-damaging pandemics in the past, is helping severely ill COVID-19 patients survive.

The study followed the cases of 1,035 patients who were given little chance to survive because ventilators and other treatments were ineffective. But after they were placed on ECMO, their actual death rate was less than 40 percent, researchers said. 

ECMO is a process that channels blood out of the body and into a circuit of equipment that adds oxygen directly to the blood before pumping it back into regular circulation. Small studies published early in the pandemic had cast doubt on the technique’s usefulness.

NFL investigating team over safety protocols

The Las Vegas Raiders are under investigation by the NFL for allegedly breaking the league’s COVID-19 safety rules. The alleged infraction goes back to last Monday night’s victory over the New Orleans Saints.

According to media reports, an unauthorized employee was able to enter the team’s locker room after the game without the required credentials. League rules limit the number of people who can be in the locker room in order to reduce potential exposure to the virus.

This isn’t the first time the Raiders have been under NFL scrutiny for a pandemic-related issue. Head Coach Jon Gruden and the team were fined the previous week for failing to wear masks on the sidelines.

Around the nation

  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning residents in his state that the coronavirus is “still a force to be reckoned with.” Cuomo has voiced concern over New York City’s recent increase in new cases of the virus.

  • Arizona: Pima County has reported a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases, which health officials say is not that surprising. “I attribute the uptick in Pima County to the situation on the University of Arizona (UA) campus,” said Dr. Joe Gerald, an associate professor with the UA’s Zuckerman College of Public Health. “Our mitigation efforts didn’t work as well as we had hoped.”

  • Michigan: It’s prime apple harvesting time throughout the state, but agriculture officials worry that the coronavirus can pose a serious problem. They say an outbreak among the apple picking labor force would disrupt the industry.

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