Daily COVID-19 Briefing: 3/5/20

  1. A dog tested “weakly positive” for COVID-19 in Hong Kong. This was unexpected. It is not known if human–pet or pet–human transmission has to be added to the list of challenges.
  2. Newsweek reports that Chinese scientists announced the virus has evolved and now comes in two forms: type S (less severe) and type L (more severe). Further viral mutation happened in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and increases likelihood of severe scenario. Evidence suggests strain circulating in Italy is significantly more virulent than in other countries.
  3. Preprint of new Chinese study finds that children “as likely as adults” to be infected in households with an infected family member. This is unexpected and portends the need for future school closings. This would translate into significant pressure on healthcare workers to stay on duty, given the large proportion of nurses who are single parents.
  4. Survey shows half of Americans have no savings.
  5. WHO raised case fatality estimate yesterday from 2% to 3.4%. While that appears small (and is controversial and overly simplistic), it would mean an increase in total U.S. deaths from 1.9 million to 3.4 million, assuming a 30% infection rate.
  6. 14 tests pending in Maryland. Still no lab-confirmed cases.
  7. The Street reports U.S. will fail to test one million by end of week as promised by Trump. Testing remains the biggest hangup. Testing kit availability and accuracy remains unclear.
  8. Tennessee reports first case. New York reports doubling of cases in one day to 22. This shows how increased testing leads directly to sharply-rising cases.
  9. The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed an $8.3 billion bill to combat the outbreak.
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