Today’s update will start with a reminder that Legal Insurrection reported that it’s suspected that California had been dealing with coronavirus infections far earlier that originally reported, perhaps as early as November, 2019.

This week, a team of Stanford researchers has determined that in Santa Clara county, infections may actually be up to 85 times higher than health officials have tallied. The analysis plays a critical role in determining the mortality rate associated with COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Stanford University-led researchers tested 3,330 adults and children in Santa Clara County, who were recruited using Facebook ads, for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and found that the population prevalence of COVID-19 in Santa Clara ranged from 2.49 percent to 4.16 percent.

“The most important implication of these findings is that the number of infections is much greater than the reported number of cases,” the researchers wrote, in a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study. “Our data imply that, by April 1 (three days prior to the end of our survey) between 48,000 and 81,000 people had been infected in Santa Clara County. The reported number of confirmed positive cases in the county on April 1 was 956, 50-85-fold lower than the number of infectious predicted by this study.”

Asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus have long been a concern for health officials and others who are looking to get a grasp on how prevalent the virus is. The researchers also concluded that detecting previously unreported coronavirus cases could also lead to a “better estimation of the fatality rate from COVID-19.”

“Many estimates of fatality rate use a ratio of deaths to lagged cases (because of duration from case confirmation to death), with an infections-to-cases ratio in the 1-5 fold range as an estimate of under-ascertainment,” the researchers wrote. “Our study suggests that adjustments for under-ascertainment may need to be much higher.”

Fauci says coronavirus testing isn’t everything when it comes to reopening states

As states look to reopen, one concern is how important testing will play in the determination of the reopen date and its success. During Friday’s briefing, Vice President Mike Pence said, “We believe today that we have the capacity in the United States to do a sufficient amount of testing for states to move into phase one in the time and manner that they deem appropriate.”

Despite press doubts, Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci supported the assertion and indicated that testing “isn’t everything.”

Fauci, who enjoys broad respect among Democrats for his willingness to contradict President Trump, said testing concerns are over-hyped as Trump proposes that states pursue a phased reopening.

“The emphasis that we’ve been hearing is essentially ‘testing is everything’ and it isn’t,” Fauci said Friday night at a White House press conference.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke after Democrats spent Friday slamming Trump for pushing a reopening of states as reckless without broader testing.

…Fauci likened new coronavirus infections to his experience with HIV/AIDS. He said people don’t contract the virus without risky behavior. For COVID-19, Fauci said that risk mitigation such as social distancing reduces the likelihood of catching the virus.

“It’s the kinds of things that we’ve been doing, the mitigation strategies that are an important part,” Fauci said.

“What we really needed for for Phase One is to be able to identify, isolate [and] contact trace,” Fauci said. “A very important part of when you’re pulling back gradually and slowly on the mitigation, and you have people who might be infected, you want to know they’re infected, you want to put them in care.”

Sunlight destroys virus quickly, new govt. tests find, as does heat and high humidity

Department of Homeland Security testing on the coronavirus indicates that the pathogen can be destroyed quickly in sunshine and is sensitive to high temperature and humidity.

Preliminary results from government lab experiments show that the coronavirus does not survive long in high temperatures and high humidity, and is quickly destroyed by sunlight, providing evidence from controlled tests of what scientists believed — but had not yet proved — to be true.

A briefing on the preliminary results, marked for official use only and obtained by Yahoo News, offers hope that summertime may offer conditions less hospitable for the virus, though experts caution it will by no means eliminate, or even necessarily decrease, new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The results, however, do add an important piece of knowledge that the White House’s science advisers have been seeking as they scramble to respond to the spreading pandemic.

The study found that the risk of “transmission from surfaces outdoors is lower during daylight” and under higher temperature and humidity conditions. “Sunlight destroys the virus quickly,” reads the briefing.

Beaches in Florida Reopen

Hopefully, the success of the DHS test showing that the virus is sensitive to high humidity and sunshine is about to be confirmed.

Crowds of beachgoers have charged on to the beaches in Jacksonville, Florida after the shores reopened to the public despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Jacksonville beaches reopened at 5pm on Friday under limited hours and use restrictions, even as Florida recorded its highest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Photos and video from the scene show enthusiastic residents cheering as they ran out onto the sand after weeks of closures.

Florida Department of Health said confirmed cases in the state rose by 1,421 Friday, the highest one-day number yet. The total number of cases in Florida is now 24,753. The number of deaths has reached 726, an increase of 58 in the last 24 hours.

Jacksonville’s beaches will be open daily from 6am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm for exercise such as walking and swimming only. Banned are sunbathing, chairs, towels, or loitering on the shore, and beachgoers are required to remain six feet apart.

Demonstrators gather in Huntington Beach to protest California’s stay-at-home order

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, protesters are demanding that the Golden State start to reopen.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered in Huntington Beach Friday, defying social distancing guidelines, to protest California’s stay-at-home order.

The rally comes a day after the city announced that it was closing off all metered parking along the Pacific Coast Highway to limit beach visitations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

…“We’re here in defiance of Gavin Newsom and his socialist agenda to ruin our economy,” said a man hosting a livestream of the event on Facebook. “We’re definitely not practicing social distancing, which is all right in my book. Believe in Jesus — you won’t fear death.”

Demonstrators could be seen holding up signs that read, “Liberate Huntington Beach,” “Open Cali Now,” “Let us work,” “Pandemics does not cancel our constitutional rights!!” and “COVID-19 is a lie.”

 

 
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