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The latest on the coronavirus pandemic
As an Indiana school district welcomed students to the 2020-21 academic year, one of their students tested positive for Covid-19 on the first day of class, according to a letter sent to parents.
The Hancock County Health Department notified Greenfield-Central Junior High School Thursday afternoon that one of their students, who had attended part of the school day, tested positive for Covid-19, Superintendent Harold Olin said in a letter.
Olin said the school enacted its "Positive COVID-19 Test Protocol" once school officials became aware of the positive result.
School officials immediately isolated the student within the school's clinic, and they examined the student's schedule, including transportation and extracurricular activities, to determine who had come in close contact.
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About 7% of participants in a British study tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, according to results from the first month of the nationwide study.
The test results, which indicate previous infection with coronavirus, ranged from 10.4% of Londoners to about 4.4% of people living in the southwest of England and Scotland.
The widespread United Kingdom serology, or antibody, study uses volunteers for a much larger, ongoing health study called the UK Biobank. UK Biobank has collected samples and health information from 500,000 volunteers for research.
The researchers have recruited more than 20,000 volunteers from regions across the UK for the coronavirus antibody study. They are being asked to provide monthly blood samples that the Oxford University-based Target Discovery Institute will test for the antibodies.
The first round of results focused on 17,776 participant samples, taken in May and June. Nationally, 7.1% were positive for Covid-19 antibodies, the researchers reported on the Biobank website. Just under 11% of people under 30 had antibodies, compared to 5.4% of those over 70.
The results confirm other studies that indicate Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups appeared to be hardest hit by Covid-19, which is consistent with findings from the United States.
Among Black participants, about 11.3% tested positive for antibodies, as opposed to 6.9% of White participants. Researchers noted that the differences between ethnic groups could not be fully explained by age or place of residence. But previous infection was also higher among those living in lower socioeconomic areas.
The team says that their continued research will provide insight into the way antibody levels change over time, hopefully answering questions about immunity, reinfection and the impact of stay-at-home orders.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed two executive orders extending existing Covid-19 safety measures and extending the Public Health State of Emergency, he said today in a press release.
The Public Health State of Emergency now runs through Sept. 10.
The executive order extending existing Covid-19 safety measures requires social distancing, bans gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is six feet between each person, requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile, and outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, among other provisions. The order runs through Aug. 15.
In the release, Kemp encouraged Georgians to wear a mask, wash their hands often and practice social distancing to help flatten the curve.
There is no mask requirement in Georgia. Earlier this month Kemp rescinded local mask mandates and sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over her the mask requirement for the city.
Mexico recorded a new daily record of 8,458 new coronavirus cases on Friday bringing the total number of infections to 424,637, its health ministry announced.
The ministry also recorded 688 new coronavirus related deaths, raising the total death toll to 46,688.
Mexico surpassed the United Kingdom's total number of coronavirus deaths, becoming the country with third highest number of Covid-19 fatalities globally, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations for the first two Covid-19 serology tests that can tell not only whether someone has antibodies to the virus, but can give some idea of how much antibody is there.
“Being able to measure a patient’s relative level of antibodies in response to a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may be useful as we continue to learn more about the virus and what the existence of antibodies may mean,” Dr. Tim Stenzel, the director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a news release Friday.
The tests, the ADVIA Centaur COV2G and Attelica COV2G, are both from Siemens, the FDA said. Like other serology tests, these tests detect the body's immune response to the infection caused by the virus rather than detecting the virus itself.
“There are still many unknowns about what the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies may tell us about potential immunity, but today’s authorizations give us additional tools to evaluate those antibodies as we continue to research and study this virus,” Stenzel said.
“Patients should not interpret results as telling them they are immune, or have any level of immunity, from the virus,” he added.
There are not nearly enough Americans using masks to bend the curve on the coronavirus infection rate, the head of one of the main teams forecasting the pandemic said Friday.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) revised its forecast this week for coronavirus deaths because of rising infection rates and because too few Americans were using face masks regularly, IHME’s Dr. Chris Murray told CNN.
This week’s IHME forecast of 230,822 US deaths from the virus by November is up about 11,000 from last week’s projection of 219,864 deaths.
“There's daily data that comes in on mask-wearing in each state in the US, and that's showing a small bump — maybe about a five percentage point increase in mask wearing,” Murray said. “So we're getting close to about 55% of Americans wearing a mask. That's good news, but of course it's a long way to go before we get to the levels like Singapore has at 95%, which would really save a lot of lives in this country.”
The model projects that if almost all Americans wore face masks, the number of deaths by November would drop by around 32,000, to just below 199,000 deaths.
Murray says the “good news” is that cases are peaking in Florida, Texas, California and somewhat in Arizona, which is bringing their numbers down a bit.
“But we're seeing numbers going up faster in a whole series of states in the Midwest. And that's driving up our numbers. Places, also, like Georgia and North Carolina are going up faster than we expected,” he said.
A source within the Miami Marlins has told CNN that the team has a total of 21 members who have tested positive for Covid-19 over the last week. The breakdown in total is 18 players and three coaches.
The source told CNN those members who have tested positive for coronavirus are currently traveling on several sleeper buses headed for South Florida for additional screening and testing. Major League Baseball health officials approved the move.
The Marlins have been isolating and quarantining in a team hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since Sunday. Members of the team who have not tested positive remain in Philadelphia.
Colombia recorded 295 new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, raising the total death toll to 10,105, the country's health ministry said.
The ministry also reported 9,488 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 295,508.
Colombia’s capital Bogota is the biggest hotspot in the country with more than 101,000 cases of infection so far.
Some context: President Ivan Duque recently extended the country's coronavirus lockdown through Aug. 30, but said the cities with low Covid-19 rates would continue to partially reopen various economic sectors.