July 9 coronavirus news

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8:06 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Study finds evidence coronavirus can spread across the placenta to the fetus

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A new study from Italy suggests that coronavirus can cross the placenta from a pregnant woman to her fetus. 

Two babies born to women infected with Covid-19 were born infected themselves, Claudio Fenizia of the University of Milan and colleagues reported at a conference organized by the International AIDS Society.

They studied 31 women infected with coronavirus who were in late pregnancy during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. They thoroughly tested the women, their babies once they were born, the placenta, the umbilical cord, the mother’s vaginal fluids and breast milk. 

Two of the newborns had positive tests at birth, they reported.

“Our result strongly suggest and support that vertical transmission occurred in two cases out of the 31 studied,” Fenizia told a news conference.

“The virus was found in an at-term placenta and in the umbilical cord blood, in the vagina of a pregnant woman and in milk,” the researchers wrote in a summary of their work.

“This is the first ringing bell that should raise awareness about a topic that is not really well studied,” Fenizia said.

The placentas were inflamed, as well — a sign of infection. The umbilical cord blood of one of the newborns had antibodies indicating a recent infection. These antibody types are not usually transmitted from mother to baby, so they indicate the fetus was directly infected, Fenizia said.

Luckily, the women were infected late in pregnancy so it is unlikely the virus would have affected the babies’ development, he said. The Zika virus can pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn child, sometimes causing severe brain damage and a condition called microcephaly. HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — can also be transmitted at birth.

 

7:49 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

USC to provide in-person classes to international students for free to keep their visa status

From CNN's Jenn Selva

In response to the Trump administration's guidance to not allow foreign students to take online-only courses in the US this fall, the University of Southern California (USC) will let international students add an in-person class for free to keep their visa status.

The USC Office of the Provost tweeted today, “To our international students: If you need to add an in-person course to your schedule to maintain visa status this Fall, it will be provided at no additional cost to you.” 

On Wednesday, USC joined Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a suit against what they called "deeply troubling" guidance by the Trump administration.

The university said this is a time when universities need the autonomy and flexibility to adapt their teaching models to protect their health of their campus.

There are more than 1 million international students in the United States.

7:45 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Records show another 11-year-child died from Covid-19 in Florida

From CNN's Denise Royal

An 11-year-old girl from Broward County died from Covid-19 complications, according to data released from the Florida Department of Health. 

According to the latest health records, this is the fourth minor in Florida to die of complication from the virus. 

Last week, an 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade county, with severe underlying health conditions, died from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County. 

7:52 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

New Mexico governor prohibits indoor seating at restaurants

From CNN’s Laurie Ure

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she is once again prohibiting indoor seating at restaurants and breweries, saying Covid-19 trends in the state are "going in the wrong direction." 

Gyms, however, can remain open at current capacities. 

Lujan Grisham is also restricting the state's parks in New Mexico to residents only.

Some context: The amended public health order comes as Lujan Grisham announced 238 new positive cases Thursday. 

"We're beginning to see the kind of community spread that is creating spikes around the country," Lujan Grisham said. 

Indoor dining at restaurants is now prohibited, but outdoor dining can continue to operate at 50% capacity, while continuing to provide carryout and delivery service, she said. Breweries may continue to provide curbside pickup services, Lujan Grisham said. 

"New data is emerging that with face coverings, and the limited number of folks participating in gyms, and they're social distancing while they do that, seems to have the right mitigating impacts, Lujan Grisham said. 

To note: These figures were released by the state of New Mexico and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

 

7:44 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Fauci says there's no proof of airborne spread of coronavirus, but better to assume it's happening

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

There’s no proof that the new coronavirus spreads via an airborne route, but it’s better to assume it does, just to be safe, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

The World Health Organization said earlier Thursday that it’s possible the virus spreads in aerosols in health care settings. Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s a confusing question because of differing definitions of airborne droplets and aerosols.

It’s known the virus spreads on larger droplets that fly out of a person’s nose and mouth. More worrying is the idea that particles containing virus might remain suspended in the air for longer than a few minutes.

“There is no solid evidence that type of transmission is occurring, but you cannot rule that out completely,” Fauci told a news conference about coronavirus research organized by the International AIDS Society.

People should assume there is some airborne transmission, and act accordingly, he said. That’s why health experts want people to wear masks.

“Obviously, we are, in the United States … we have a real difficult situation, almost like a division, of those who swear by masks and those who don’t want to put masks on,” Fauci said. But he said the evidence is clear that mask use can slow the spread of the virus.

7:38 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Death rate is low among Covid-19 patients under the age of 50 in Oklahoma, governor says

From CNN's Alta D. Spells 

Gov. Kevin Stitt
Gov. Kevin Stitt Oklahoma Governor's office

Only six people under the age of 50 have died since Oklahoma reopened, said Gov. Kevin Stitt during a Covid-19 news briefing today.

"I don't want to minimize any deaths. But just want to continue to give the transparent data to Oklahoman's. That means a death rate under the age of 50 of .06%," Stitt said.

According to the governor, 72% of new cases since the state reopened were people who were age 50 and below. This group accounted for 10,000 new cases.

Speaking about hospitalizations, Stitt said the number has only gone up by 181 since the state began reopening, even though there have been 15,000 new cases. 

There were 560 hospitalizations at the peak on March 30, Stitt said. When the state began reopening on April 24, there were 306 hospitalization. As of Thursday, there were 487 hospitalizations, the governor said.

"Our fight is not over. In order to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans and continue to mitigate the impacts to our economy. We need all Oklahomans to do their part," Stitt said.

7:35 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Mississippi governor orders mask mandate for 13 counties

From CNN's Slover Morrison and Jamiel Lynch

Gov. Tate Reeves
Gov. Tate Reeves Mississippi Governor's office

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves ordered a mask mandate for 13 counties with the greatest spikes of Covid-19.

The mask mandate was ordered for Hinds, DeSoto, Harrison, Rankin, Jackson, Washington, Sunflower, Grenada, Madison, Claiborne, Jefferson, Wayne and Quitman counties. This also includes the cities of Jackson, Biloxi and Gulfport.

Reeves said the counties have seen either 200 new cases within the last 14 days or have had an average of 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days.

He is also adding social distancing requirements in the counties but not requiring businesses to shut down, he said. Everyone must wear masks when in public, Reeves said.

“Our numbers are getting worse,” Reeves said. “No orders will be effective if we don’t have the participation of our people.”

“Mississippi is in a fight for our lives,” he added.
7:15 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Coronavirus may cause fatigue syndrome, Fauci says

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

There is evidence that some people develop a long-term fatigue syndrome from coronavirus infections, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

“There may well be a post-viral syndrome associated with Covid-19,” Fauci told a news conference organized by the International AIDS Society. The group is holding a Covid-19 conference as an add-on to its every-other-year AIDS meeting.

Fauci said the symptoms resemble those seen in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, once known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

“If you look anecdotally, there is no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a post-viral syndrome that in many respects incapacitates them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery,” Fauci said.

“There are chat groups that you just click on and see people who recovered that really do not get back to normal,” Fauci added. They report symptoms such as brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue that resemble the symptoms of ME, he said.

7:17 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Hepatitis drugs may help coronavirus patients recover, study says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A two-drug cocktail used to treat hepatitis C may also help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus, researchers reported Thursday.

Three small studies involving 176 patients show the combination of the two drugs, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir, may have hastened the recovery of patients hospitalized with coronavirus, Andrew Hill of Liverpool University told the International AIDS Society’s Covid-19 Conference.

After two weeks of treatment, 94% of the patients given the two-drug combination were significantly better on a seven-point scale, compared to 70% of those not given the drugs, Hill said at a news conference.

The studies were conducted in Iran, where the drug combination is widely used to treat hepatitis C patients. Hill said the studies were not the carefully controlled trials that doctors prefer to see before they adopt a new treatment.

“These results need to be seen as preliminary unless confirmed with larger randomized, controlled trials,” Hill said. 

Hill added that the drugs have been widely used.

“Millions of people have been cured of hepatitis C using this treatment,” he said.

Studies involving 2,000 people are under way and Hill said results should be available by October.

Some context: Currently, remdesivir is the only antiviral drug that has emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections.

Teams of doctors are testing a variety of antiviral drugs developed to treat hepatitis, HIV and other viral infections.