Unemployment, Loud talkers, and other COVID 19 updates


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday (May 14th) released an edited version of their delayed guidance for reopening from coronavirus shutdowns. Posted were six one-page "decision tool" documents for schools, workplaces, camps, childcare centers, mass transit systems, and bars and restaurants that tell them what they should consider before reopening. AP reported last week that the CDC drafted the guidance more than a month ago, but it was initially been shelved by the administration. Additionally, the original guidance was much more extensive, running to some 57 pages more, which haven't been posted. 

A government vaccine scientist who filed a whistleblower complaint after his ouster last month as head of a Health and Human Services biodefense agency testified before a House committee yesterday (May 14th), charging that the U.S. still doesn't have a comprehensive plan against the coronavirus in critical areas including masks, testing, treatments and vaccines.Rick Bright said, "Our window of opportunity is closing," and warned that the U.S. could face, quote, "the darkest winter in modern history" if there's a second wave. Bright claims he was removed from his job after repeatedly warning those above him that the coronavirus outbreak was going to be worse than the public was being told, and after he opposed a White House directive to allow widespread access to hydroxychloroquine, a drug President Trump was pushing to treat the virus, which the Food and Drug Administration has recently warned against using. Bright also spoke about his repeated attempts without success to get the production of respirator masks ramped up.President Trump yesterday called Bright an "angry, disgruntled employee." 

The Labor Department reported Thursday that 2.98 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, bringing the total to more than 36 million people over the past two months due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The weekly number has been steadily falling in recent weeks, even as the total number is historically high. 

In other developments:

Death and Case Count : As of last night, there have been more than 85,900 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University's count, and more than 1,417,000 confirmed cases. 

CDC Alerts Doctors About Syndrome in Children:After several days of warnings from New York state officials about a mysterious inflammatory condition being seen in children that's believed to be linked to the coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors Thursday about the rare condition, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome. It's been reported in at least 110 children in New York, and three have died. The syndrome affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms including persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting. 

Talking Loudly Can Transmit Virus:A new study found that talking loudly produces enough droplets to transmit the coronavirus to someone else, and that the droplets can remain in the air for eight minutes or longer. The researchers also said that there's a "substantial probability" that speaking at a normal volume can also cause transmission of the virus "in confined environments."