Your Coronavirus update for March 31, 2020
As of Tuesday evening more than 785,000 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed, including nearly 38,000 deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 140,000 positive COVID-19 patients and more than 2,400 deaths. Although there is some proofs that social distancing and government-mandated orders to stay at home are said to be showing signs of effectiveness, the U.S. has officially been named as the new epicenter of the virus.1
Tracker Reveals Best & Worst Social Distancing States
A daily-updated set of social distancing data has been released by the company Unacast as a way to empower organizations to measure and understand the efficacy of social distancing initiatives at the local level, according to company officials.2
More than 1.3 million people have reportedly used the scoreboard, which claims that Washington, DC, Hawaii, Nevada, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have been the best “social distancers” while North Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, and Wyoming have been the worst. Methodology and insight on how to read the tracker can be found here.3
Seattle Seeing Decrease In New Patients
After many weeks, the Seattle region, which is widely reported as having the first known coronavirus patient in the United States, is reportedly seeing evidence that deaths are not rising as fast as they currently are in other states. According to a recent report by the New York Times, declines in street traffic have shown that people are obeying stay-at-home restrictions and that hospitals report not being overwhelmed. The virus spread has also reportedly slowed in recent days per preliminary statistical models provided to public officials.
While the findings are being seen as a positive, officials still reportedly intend to keep in place expansive social distancing policies for weeks. Concern about a rise in positive test results across Washington (23 deaths on March 27, the most in one day since the outbreak began) and new cases in rural areas remain for a state that enacted some of the earliest containment policies in the country. More than 4,300 cases had been confirmed in the state as of March 29.
Johnson & Johnson Announces Vaccine Progress
More than 1 billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine could be available early in 2021, according to officials at Johnson & Johnson, where a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been identified. Human clinical studies are anticipated to begin no later than this coming September with emergency-use authorization potentially slated during winter. Through a partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than $1 billion of investments have co-funded vaccine research, development, and clinical testing, according to a recent report,4 Johnson & Johnson is also reportedly expanding its global manufacturing capacity, including through the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in multiple countries.
“The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible,” said Alex Gorsky, chairman and chief executive officer with Johnson & Johnson. “Johnson & Johnson is well positioned through our combination of scientific expertise, operational scale, and financial strength to bring our resources in collaboration with others to accelerate the fight against this pandemic.”
Under an accelerated timeline, the company is aiming to initiate a Phase 1 clinical study in September, with clinical data on safety and efficacy expected to be available by the end of the year.
Sunlight Does Not Kill Virus, WHO Warns
Officials with the World Health Organization are claiming that there is no evidence that proves COVID-19 does not spread in areas with hot and humid climates.5
While it may be true that the virus could see decline as weather gets warmer, this does not equate to sunlight being able to improve one’s chances of avoiding infection. Similarly, the WHO has said that cold weather is not a preventive element either.
Restrictions On Out-Of-State Drivers Curbing Spread?
A few states across the country are practicing measures that are expected to help minimalize the spread of COVID-19 by out-of-state travel. According to a report released on Monday, non-residents of Rhode Island, for example, are being pulled over as they enter the state and are being instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days if they plan to remain.6
They also are reportedly required to provide proof of address so that law enforcement can check on compliancy. Officials in Florida are also imposing self-quarantine rules for 14 days among out-of-state drivers after previously doing the same for for airline passengers. Roads to the Keys have also been closed and residents have been instructed to leave. Executive orders in Texas are targeting vehicles driving in from varying states as well, with people likewise being told that self-quarantining is mandatory for 14 days.
Got Questions About COVID-19?
As the cases of coronavirus escalate, so too does the insight into the condition. That said, each passing day also brings with it new questions. What are your coronavirus-related questions? Send your questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll get answers and post them in upcoming newsletters. We hope you have enjoyed your coronavirus update for March 31; please join us again next week to stay updated! If you missed last week’s coronavirus update for March 25, please feel free to take a look in case there’s anything you missed.
1. McNeil Jr DG. The U.S. Now Leads the World in Confirmed Coronavirus Cases. New York Times. 2020 Accessed online: www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/health/usa-coronavirus-cases.html
2. COVID-19 Location Data Toolkit. Unacast. 2020. Accessed online: www.unacast.com/covid19
3. Walle T. The Unacast Social Distancing Scoreboard. Unacast. 2020. Accessed online: www.unacast.com/post/the-unacast-social-distancing-scoreboard
4. Johnson & Johnson Announces a Lead Vaccine Candidate for COVID-19; Landmark New Partnership with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; and Commitment to Supply One Billion Vaccines Worldwide for Emergency Pandemic Use. Johnson & Johnson. 2020. Accessed online: www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-announces-a-lead-vaccine-candidate-for-covid-19-landmark-new-partnership-with-u-s-department-of-health-human-services-and-commitment-to-supply-one-billion-vaccines-worldwide-for-emergency-pandemic-use
5. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters. WHO. 2020. Accessed online: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
6. Lorio J. Fearing coronavirus, states rolls out the unwelcome mat for out-of-state drivers. Autoblog. 2020. Accessed online: https://autos.yahoo.com/fearing-coronavirus-states-rolls-unwelcome-164500879.html