Coronavirus Newsletter Links - November
Month eight of Covid, and it is hard not to agree with President Trump that we are tired of Covid. Tired or not, it is still killing people and we need to improve the response, science and thought behind combating the spread. In Europe we are seeing a resurgence of the virus to such an extent that questions are being asked as to whether we learned anything at all.
That, dear reader, is down to you. Another month of some of the best, practical links that we could find from the tens of thousands that are generated. Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance, so find some of the documents that have an impact on your life and job and try and apply them.
Top Tips –
“Known unknowns” will be a webinar worth the layman listening to https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CBJIXWzwSp-EyWLyQ0mIow. Personally I am interested in the “Talking to the population about Covid statistics” final session, but there is a lot of other good stuff.
I think we can all agree that 2020 has sucked. What with death and economic destruction more people are finding the need for religion in their life, as we get closer to a number of significant religious ceremonies this app helps combine faith communities into the response. https://www.disastersandreligionsapp.org/
One to keep an eye on, the Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security has started a webinar series. The first one looked at “forum to discuss new topics, technologies, and ideas that could improve domestic health security now and in the future.” While the second on the 17th November looks at the future of diagnostic technology. The forum is sponsored and managed by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, four United States Senators serve as Honorary Senate Co-Chairs and three former federal government public health leaders serve as Honorary Founding Members. See if you can get your oar stuck in on your own experience of biological detection and identification! https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/CapitolHillSteeringCommittee/index.html
‘Stick to the science’: when science gets political. A three-part podcast series explores the intimate relationship between politics and science. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03067-w
Topic Collection: Bioterrorism and High Consequence Biological Threats https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/technical-resources/41/bioterrorism-and-high-consequence-biological-threats/27
The White House Coronavirus Task Force issues reports to Governors about the state of the Pandemic that it does not make public. The Centre for Public Integrity is squirreling them out - https://publicintegrity.org/health/coronavirus-and-inequality/white-house-coronavirus-red-zone-reports-covid/
“Dog tired… boss.” PPE fatigue is a real occurrence and happens to the best of us. NETEC have a series of tools to help manage this. https://repository.netecweb.org/exhibits/show/exercise-templates/item/1319
Nobody likes them, but Canadian research suggests that masks indoors could have reduced their infectivity rate by 25%. https://www.nber.org/papers/w27891
“So, you learned nothing from the previous surge… this might help.” WHO provides a 28 page tool that can help health centers prepare for the Winter surge. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-HCF_assessment-Products-2020.1
Civil unrest can show itself in a number of ways. This four page document offers some tips on protecting health facilities from mob surge attacks - http://insecurityinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Security-Challenge-Mob-attacks-Recommendations-for-protection-of-medical-facilities-against-a-mob-attack-September-2020.pdf
One of the bits of PPE that ran out quickly in the last surge was isolation gowns. Useful piece from the CDC on managing this likely shortage https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/isolation-gowns.html
Anger against Covid takes many forms, including, apparently, violence against the people that have their best interests at heart. The National Governors Association has produced a document aiming to educate state leaders about what can be done to mitigate targeted violence. https://www.nga.org/memos/prevention-targeted-violence-against-public-health-personnel/
Covid is as much about behavioural science keeping people safe as PPE. The ASPR CRAFT database has a lot of information, but we’d like to highlight their work on communication toolkits for a wide variety of communities. There are some good ideas in here for your office, state and country - https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/technical-resources/152/covid-19-and-outreach-efforts-resources-for-communication-tools-and-social-media-assets-in-a-covid-19-environment
Really nice research paper from CESER/EPA looking at all dispersion modelling software that can be used in Covid/Homeland Security responses and offering analysis of pros and cons. https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm
If you are more interested in individual rooms, rather than cities, the proceedings of this workshop will float your boat
A fact sheet on the significant known and potential risks and benefits of emergency use decontaminated, compatible N95 respirators. https://www.fda.gov/media/143150/download
Webinar from the National Volunteer Fire Council on Personal Protective Equipment Preservation and N95 Respirator Decontamination and Reuse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwS7np350fM&t=14s
Wastewater epidemiology is massively helpful in spotting a rise in cases in a location, especially if they are asymptomatic. CDC is providing some tips - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/wastewater-surveillance.html
Lessons from applied large-scale pooling of 133,816 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.16.20213405v1
From more testing to smart testing: data-guided SARS-CoV-2 testing choices https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.13.20211524v2
Detecting Covid through a tweet analysis app. Epitweetr allows users to automatically monitor trends of tweets by time, place and topic, with the aim of detecting public health threats early through signals, such as an unusual increase in the number of tweets. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/epitweetr-tool
Spanish flu redux. It seems like the prevalence of the strain of SARS-COV-2 that was found in Spain in early Summer is now the most common in Europe. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.25.20219063v1?fbclid=IwAR2_DuOMFJndVwPANlWL-h8SDd9AQFuxsULhjtpaa7bKwIxnt-usmur2UUA
Largest trial of Remdesivir shows positive response against Covid. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2007764?
“Get to da Heliobactor!” A drug designed for Heliobactor Pylori has shown to have efficacy against Covid. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-00802-x
CDC launches PanVax tool for Covid 19. This is a Microsoft Excel-based instrument that guides jurisdictional planning and outreach efforts during preparedness activities. The tool helps local planners understand how their vaccine providers (i.e., pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, employers, schools, points of dispensing) might contribute to the community’s vaccination response during a severe pandemic. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/tools/panvax-tool.htm
Meanwhile WHO trials of Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir (fixed-dose combination with Ritonavir) and Interferon-β1a. Sadly all of them appear to have little or no effect on hospitalized COVID-19. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.15.20209817v1
Do lockdown’s work? Kind of… A retrospective model of the UK finds that lockdowns are good for not flooding hospitals, but might cause an increase in deaths. https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m3588
And then what… So we have a vaccine in Europe and the UK, what then? This paper from ECDC goes some way to answering that. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/key-aspects-regarding-introduction-and-prioritisation-covid-19-vaccination
A rose by any other name… James Martin Center attempts to put forward some pointers to help decide in future pandemics whether it is man made/released or a natural response - https://nonproliferation.org/op-49-a-guide-to-investigating-outbreak-origins/
Age-specific mortality and immunity patterns of SARS-CoV-2 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2918-0
The role of environmental factors on transmission rates of the COVID-19 outbreak https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74089-7
Free webinars providing the EMS community with a unique opportunity to learn more about Federal EMS efforts and programs, including Covid-19 https://www.ems.gov/ems-focus.html
Winter is coming… The government of Canada’s document on dealing with mass fatalities either caused by, or in addition to, Covid. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/guidance-documents/management-mass-fatalities.html
Well, something seems to be working. Two models showed 206,000 excess deaths mainly in Europe (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1112-0) and 225,000 excess deaths in the US (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771761). This allows comparison between countries that have done well (Canada) and near neighbours that have not (US). That said, population density clearly plays a role, as shown in yet another study.
In case you were wondering how many of those excess deaths were preventable, this study suggests at least 130,000 with better response/leadership. https://ncdp.columbia.edu/custom-content/uploads/2020/10/Avoidable-COVID-19-Deaths-US-NCDP.pdf
With winter coming there is another Covid related tragedy on the way, in the shape of weather respite centers not being opened to prevent prevalence. This document helps encourage other ways of business to stop exposure related deaths - https://files.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/COVID-19-Homeless-System-Response-Alternative-Approaches-to-Winter-Sheltering-During-COVID-19.pdf
Hospital resources collection https://files.asprtracie.hhs.gov/documents/covid-19-hospital-resource-package-document.pdf
Coronavirus Emergency Management Best Practices resources https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/best-practices
DHS have updated their Master List Question - https://www.dhs.gov/publication/st-master-question-list-covid-19. Sounds dull, but it provides answer to some of the fundamental questions people ask, for example: How much agent will make a healthy individual ill?