COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Blog

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Slow the Spread

April 4, 2020 CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Link to CDC page on face covering:

See Cases in Real Time--Johns Hopkins University

This website is tracking cases in real time using arcgis technology. Each time you access the site, the data is updated. Excellent resource being widely used by scientists and the media to keep us up-to-date on the coronavirus pandemic.

Link to Johns Hopkins:

Everyone Thinks They're Right About Masks

April 1, 2020 As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many people are now overthinking things they never used to think about at all. Can you go outside? What if you’re walking downwind of another person? What if you’re stuck waiting at a crosswalk and someone is there? What if you’re going for a run, and another runner is heading toward you, and the sidewalk is narrow? Suddenly, daily mundanities seem to demand strategy.

Link to full article:

Homemade personal protective equipment

March 30, 2020 The article contains specific instructions on how to construct a handmade mask, which was tested against an aerosol challenge with some measurable benefit.

Link to article on CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy).

Stephen Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci | COVID-19 Q&A

March 26, 2020 Stephen Curry is joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to talk all about COVID-19.

Link to You Tube interview:

The Chain of Infection

March 25, 2020 The very nature of healthcare settings makes them vulnerable to the spread of infections because they serve patients who are ill and are therefore susceptible hosts. Patients with altered immunity such as people with cancer or HIV/AIDS are at high risk for infection. Surgical patients are at risk because any incision creates a new portal of entry for pathogens. Elderly patients may have weakened immunity simply because of their age. Healthcare workers are themselves at risk of infection because of their close daily contact with patients who may harbor pathogens. Thus, infection control (and breaking the chain of infection) is a primary component of safe, effective patient care.

We are offering this course at 50% off. Normally $10, we've cut the price to just $5.00. Take this opportunity to brush up on the chain: pathogen, susceptible host, portal of entry, mode of transmission, portal of exit, and reservoir. Go to Chain of Infection ►

CDC Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Masks

March 23, 2020 Supplies of N95 respirators can become depleted during an influenza pandemic or wide-spread outbreaks of other infectious respiratory illnesses. Existing CDC guidelines recommend a combination of approaches to conserve supplies while safeguarding health care workers in such circumstances. These existing guidelines recommend that health care institutions:

  • Minimize the number of individuals who need to use respiratory protection through the preferential use of engineering and administrative controls;
  • Use alternatives to N95 respirators (e.g., other classes of filtering facepiece respirators, elastomeric half-mask and full facepiece air purifying respirators, powered air purifying respirators) where feasible;
  • Implement practices allowing extended use and/or limited reuse of N95 respirators, when acceptable; and
  • Prioritize the use of N95 respirators for those personnel at the highest risk of contracting or experiencing complications of infection.

Link to full Guidance:

Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

March 22, 2020 This interim guidance is for clinicians caring for patients with confirmed infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This update includes additional information from recent reports including:

  • Characteristics of patients with confirmed COVID-19 based on recent epidemiologic data from China, including characteristics of patients with COVID-19 admitted to the intensive care unit and data on pediatric cases
  • Data regarding SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding among asymptomatic persons, and data from a recent report of viable SARS-CoV-2 isolation from stool
  • Accessibility of investigational drug therapies for COVID-19 treatment through clinical trial enrollment in the United States
  • Recently published pediatric surviving sepsis guidance

Link to full Guidance:

Rampant Lies, Fake Cures and Not Enough Beds: What the Spanish Flu Debacle Can Teach Us About Coronavirus

March 17, 2020 Lasting just over a year, the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic stands as a lasting reminder of what happens when governments and their citizens fail to meet a crisis head on. From our perch today, as we brace for the coronavirus’ inevitable spread, the missteps of 1918 seem eerily prescient: A lack of leadership from Washington, with the gaps filled unevenly at the state and local levels.

Public officials who either lied, dissembled or made up facts. Hucksters who used popular media to misinform the public and make a quick buck in the process. Public health infrastructure that was inadequate to the challenge. And ordinary citizens who often refused to heed the warning of experts.

Joshua Zeitz
Politico magazine, March 17, 2020

Link to full article:

Covid-19--Navigating the Uncharted

March 26, 2020 In this New England Journal of Medicine article, Anthony Fauci, Clifford Lane, and Robert Redfield discuss a study by Li and colleagues that provides a detailed clinical and epidemiologic description of the first 425 cases reported in the epicenter of the outbreak in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, China. The article provides a case definition, case fatality rate, and discusses Covid-19's efficiency of transmission. 

Link to full article:

The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming
Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who warned of pandemic in 2006, says we can beat the novel coronavirus—but first, we need lots more testing.

March 19, 2020 In this fascinating interview in Wired magazine with Dr. Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist talks about novel viruses, flattening the curve, the effectiveness of N95 masks, and the "gold ring"--an eventual vaccine and eventual herd immunity. Brilliant shares his experience and knowledge in a straightforward and engaging manner.

Link to full article:

Pandemic by Lynn Unger

March 23, 2020

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to  whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know  that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has become clear.)
Do  not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise the world your love—
for better or worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we both shall live.

The Rev. Dr. Lynn Unger leads the Church of the Larger Fellowship, about which you can find more at their website, Quest for Meaning. She gave permission for ATrain Education to publish her poem “with all my best wishes to those who are on the front lines of this crisis.” March 23, 2020.