COVID-19 cases rise in 25 states; Trump may resume public events Oct. 10 — 8 updates

Twenty-five states saw rising COVID-19 cases in the last week, while only three recorded a decline, reports CNN

Hawaii, Iowa and South Carolina were the only states to report declining case numbers in the past week, while at least four states — Utah, Indiana, Oregon and Wisconsin — reported a record increase in daily COVID-19 cases Oct. 8. Utah reported 1,501 new infections, Indiana had 1,488 new cases, Oregon recorded 484 cases and Wisconsin confirmed 3,132.

Seven other updates:

1. Some Northeastern states are showing "troubling signs" that they may become hotspots as COVID-19 spreads rapidly within families and social groups, said Deborah Birx, MD, according to ABC News. "What we did in the spring is not going to work in the fall," Dr. Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said at an Oct. 8 news conference following a roundtable discussion at Hartford-based University of Connecticut. "What we're seeing in the community is much more spread occurring in households and in social occasions, small gatherings where people have come inside, taken off their mask to eat or drink or socialize," Dr. Birx said.

2. The New England Journal of Medicine has taken an unprecedented political stand, calling the U.S. response to the pandemic a "massive public health failure," reports The Washington Post. The Oct. 8 editorial marks the first time the journal has strayed from its nonpartisan position since publishing its first issue in 1812. Signed by 34 editors, the article claims U.S. leaders have "failed at every step" and "taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy."

3. The CDC is playing a limited role in helping control the White House COVID-19 outbreak, with two agency epidemiologists conducting contact tracing, CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald said Oct. 8, according to The Washington Post. To date, at least 34 cases have been tied to the White House, with officials claiming contact tracing was completed Oct. 6. The CDC offered its help Oct. 2 after President Donald Trump announced his positive test results, but was repeatedly denied, according to an agency official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. On Oct. 7, an arrangement was made for "some limited CDC involvement," the CDC official said. White House officials denied the claim that they refused help, pointing to the CDC epidemiologist already at the White House. 

4. President Trump could make a "safe return" to public events Oct. 10, less than two weeks after the president announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, White House physician Sean Conley, DO, said Oct. 8, according to The Hill.  

5. Former CDC Director and epidemiologist Bill Foege, MD, said "there will be many, many problems" with mass distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to STAT. Some foreseeable challenges include defining who are "high-risk" healthcare workers or essential workers; knowing who has a high-risk medical condition that qualifies them to receive the vaccine earlier and how to vaccinate special populations — like children — when little safety and efficacy data exists for these groups. 

6. The FDA is recommending healthcare providers share written or video instructions — alongside verbal cues — for patients self-collecting nasal swab for COVID-19 testing. Without clear instructions, patients may not collect an adequate sample for testing, which can decrease test sensitivity, the agency said.

7. Ninety-six percent of Ohioans live in a county with moderate or high COVID-19 activity, Gov. Mike DeWine said Oct. 8, according to local Fox affiliate WJW

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 7,609,505
Deaths: 212,805
Recovered: 3,021,252

Counts reflect data available as of 9 a.m. CDT Oct. 9.

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Oct. 9
26 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Oct. 9
Praising Arizona: Quick public health action stopped summer coronavirus surge, CDC says

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