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Coronavirus: Majority of patients don’t know source of infection – The Mercury News

Of patients who knew the source of their illness, 45% were infected by a family member, 34% by a work colleague and 10% by a friend.

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COVID to hospitalise hundreds: Vic Health – Tenterfield Star

Victoria has recorded 270 new coronavirus cases, with hundreds of people expected to be hospitalised with the virus over the next two weeks. Premier Daniel An…

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Victoria has recorded 270 new coronavirus cases, with hundreds of people expected to be hospitalised with the virus over the next two weeks.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday confirmed just 28 of the cases were linked to known outbreaks, while 242 remain under investigation.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the jump from Monday’s 177 cases proved there was some way to go before the outbreak reaches its peak.
“It’s not as high as our biggest single day, but we haven’t turned the corner yet,” Professor Sutton said.
“I hope to see that this week, but there are no guarantees.”
The state now has a total of 4224 cases, of which 1803 remain active.
“That’s a really significant number of people with coronavirus and it does mean that in the next fortnight, we’re going to see a number of people who will require hospital,” Prof Sutton said, noting about 10 per cent to 20 per cent of people with the virus require hospitalisation.
“A couple of hundred individuals at least will require hospitalisation in the next couple of weeks.”
Currently 85 infected people are in hospital in Victoria, with 26 in intensive care, an increase of nine from Monday.
Twenty-one people are on ventilators.
Some residents of Menarock Aged Care in Essendon have been transferred to hospital after 28 staff and residents contracted the virus.
Prof Sutton said not all residents need to be transferred to hospital.
It is the largest aged-care cluster of coronavirus in Victoria.
Some 80 staff and residents across aged care facilities have tested positive to COVID-19, Prof Sutton said.
Meanwhile, further restrictions may be considered to curb the spread of community transmission.
“We would do the minimum required, because we know how much of an imposition it is on businesses and people’s lives, but if it’s required to reduce transmission, then it has to be in play,” Prof Sutton said.
The premier said it was “too early” to decide on further restrictions, noting metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire was just one week into a six-week lockdown.
“It’ll take as long as it takes, but it will be a shorter lockdown if everyone comes forward and gets tested when they’re ill, follows the rules, only go out of your house for a lawful purpose and when you need to,” Mr Andrews said.
The premier said paramedics and a number of staff from Jetstar, Medibank, Telstra and Qantas will joining the public health team to help with the massive task of contact tracing.
“It makes sense for us to call upon them as our task gets bigger and bigger,” he said, adding a number of staff from banks also would receive training if required.
About 1000 Australian Defence Force personnel are also heading to Victoria to help enforce the state’s lockdown and testing.
Australian Associated Press

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Ex-Harvard Medical School faculty member warns COVID-19 herd immunity is ‘wishful thinking’ – Fox News

A Washington D.C.-based internist and former Harvard Medical School faculty member has claimed the idea that herd immunity may slow the coronavirus pandemic is “wishful thinking” after a 50-year-old patient was infected for a second time with COVID-19.

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A Washington D.C.-based internist and former Harvard Medical School faculty member has claimed the idea that herd immunity may slow the coronavirus pandemic is “wishful thinking” after a 50-year-old patient was infected for a second time with COVID-19.
“During his first infection, my patient experienced a mild cough and sore throat,” Dr. Clay Ackerly explained in an opinion piece for Vox. “His second infection, in contrast, was marked by a high fever, shortness of breath, and hypoxia, resulting in multiple trips to the hospital.
“It is possible, but unlikely, that my patient had a single infection that lasted three months,” Dr. Ackerly added. “Some Covid-19 patients (now dubbed ‘long haulers’) do appear to suffer persistent infections and symptoms.
“My patient, however, cleared his infection — he had two negative PCR tests after his first infection — and felt healthy for nearly six weeks.”
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Typically, experts estimate that between 70 and 90 percent of a population must be immune to a contagious disease to achieve herd immunity — whether through vaccination or other exposure to an infection.
However, a recent study in Spain, one of the countries hardest-hit by the pandemic, found just five percent of those surveyed had coronavirus antibodies. On a regional basis, the percentage varied from fewer than three percent in coastal regions to more than 10 percent in areas around Madrid.
Herd immunity is when a virus can no longer spread easily because enough people are immune to it. That lowers the chances of the virus jumping from person to person and reaching those who haven’t been infected yet.
People can become immune to certain viruses after surviving infection or being vaccinated. Typically, at least 70 percent of a population must be immune to achieve herd immunity. But how long immunity lasts varies depending on the virus, and it’s not yet known how long COVID-19 survivors might have that protection.
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In the  United Kingdom, a study by a team at King’s College London found coronavirus antibody levels decline dramatically in patients three months after they were infected.
“Infection tends to give you the best-case scenario for an antibody response, so if your infection is giving you antibody levels that wane in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same thing,” Dr. Katie Doores, who authored the study, told the Guardian. “People may need boosting and one shot might not be sufficient.”
Ackerly concluded his piece by warning that if his patient is not … an exception but instead proves the rule, then many people could catch Covid-19 more than once, and with unpredictable severity.”
“Natural herd immunity is almost certainly beyond our grasp,” he warned. “We cannot place our hopes on it.

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Winter wave of coronavirus ‘could be worse than first’ – BBC News

Modelling suggests there could be a deadly second peak, killing more than 100,000 people in the UK.

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The UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter, scientists say.
Asked to model a “reasonable” worst-case scenario, they suggest a range between 24,500 and 251,000 of virus-related deaths in hospitals alone, peaking in January and February.
To date, there have been 44,830 official deaths in the UK, but this has slowed with only 1,100 in July.
The estimate does not take into account any lockdowns, treatments or vaccines.
And the scientists say: “The risk… could be reduced if we take action immediately”.
The report, requested by the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, stresses there is still a high degree of uncertainty over how the coronavirus pandemic will play out this winter.
But research suggests the virus can survive longer in colder conditions and is more likely to spread when people spend more time indoors.
And experts are concerned the NHS will be under extreme pressure, not just from a resurgence of coronavirus but also from seasonal flu and a backlog of regular, non-coronavirus workload.
The health service is already severely disrupted in the aftermath of the first pandemic wave, with a waiting list that could stand at 10 million by the end of this year, the report says.
Prof Stephen Holgate, a respiratory specialist from University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, who chaired the report, said: “This is not a prediction – but it is a possibility.
“The modelling suggests that deaths could be higher with a new wave of Covid-19 this winter.
“But the risk of this happening could be reduced if we take action immediately.”
With relatively low numbers of coronavirus cases at the moment, “this is a critical window of opportunity to help us prepare for the worst that winter can throw at us”, he added.
Less pessimistic winter scenarios are also possible, with coronavirus deaths in the thousands.
The report makes it clear there is a high degree of uncertainty in the projected death figures.
It is not a prediction of what will happen, rather what might.
Researchers can model likely scenarios. But simulations rest on assumptions that do not always play out in real life.
Change any of the parameters slightly, and you get very different projections.
The overall message, however, is clear – prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Currently, coronavirus deaths and cases in the UK are down, which gives the nation a chance to reflect and plan for a second wave.
Keeping infection rates low as Britain emerges from lockdown will be critical in controlling the disease.
The virus has not gone away. And we do not have a vaccine for it yet.
But there are things we can all do, including isolating and getting tested if we develop symptoms.
Co-author Prof Dame Anne Johnson, from the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “Faced with these potential challenges, and after an already tough year, it would be easy to feel hopeless and powerless.
“But this report shows that we can act now to change things for the better.”
It recommends:

  • increasing capacity of the test-and-trace programme, to cope with the overlapping symptoms of coronavirus, flu and other winter infections
  • getting more people vaccinated against flu
  • ensuring hospitals and care homes have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • creating coronavirus-free zones in hospitals and care homes, to halt infections

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said planning was already under way for dealing with the expected surge in demand on the NHS this winter.
The government had procured enough flu vaccine to roll out the “biggest flu vaccine programme in history” and was working on setting up a coronavirus vaccination programme should a successful vaccine be found, he added.
A government statement said: “We remain vigilant and the government will ensure the necessary resources are in place to avoid a second peak that would overwhelm our NHS.”

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