Today’s update will focus on science and medicine, beginning with a report out of California that autopsy results show the first coronavirus deaths in this country took place weeks before the first official death recorded in Washington state.

The first American to die of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has become a global pandemic, succumbed weeks earlier than initially believed, officials in California said late Tuesday.

The Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner said autopsies on two people who died in early and mid-February showed they had been infected by the virus. Samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested positive on Tuesday.

Until the new revelations, the first COVID-19 death had been identified as a man in his 50s in Washington state who died Feb. 29.

The two people died at home on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, making them the earliest-known victims of the coronavirus in the United States, the Santa Clara County public health department confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

Subsequently, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered medical examiners and coroners across the state to review autopsies dating back to December to clarify when and where the virus might have first hit California. Given that the number of actual cases in this state may be 85 times higher than the official record, it is quite likely California peaked before infections occurred elsewhere.

The findings will be significant. California was having a “bad flu season,” and none of its hospitals were overwhelmed. If it is found that the state “peaked” before the first social distancing guidelines, this will likely be an important consideration in how much longer the instructions will continue. The information will also be useful for handling other pandemics on a national scale.

Trump Pushes Back Against the CDC Director’s Warning About Coronavirus Second Wave.

On Tuesday, the media was pushing the dire warnings from the CDC Director that the second wave of coronavirus deaths in the fall would be worse than the one currently being experienced.

During Wednesday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing, the director clarified those remarks.

President Trump brought Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield to the podium on Wednesday to clarify a statement he made saying that a second wave of the coronavirus this winter could actually be worse than the first one.

Redfield, who made his original comment to the Washington Post, said during the daily coronavirus task force briefing that while he was not misquoted by the newspaper he did feel the need to clarify his comment.

“I didn’t say it was going to be worse, I said it would be more difficult,” Redfield said. “The issue I was talking about was that it will be more difficult in that we will have two viruses circulating at one time.”

Redfield said he wanted to urge Americans to get the flu shot next season in order to help minimize the number of flu infections in case of a recurrence of COVID-19.

Trump Says He ‘Totally Disagrees’ With Georgia Gov. Kemp’s Decision to Reopen Businesses.

Also, during Wednesday’s briefing, Trump addressed the decision by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to reopen the state.

Trump said Kemp’s decision violates the phase 1 guidelines the White House announced last week that recommends states wait to ease social distancing restrictions until there’s widespread testing and a low level of community transmission. Trump said he respects Kemp’s right as a governor to make his own decision.

Kemp is allowing tattoo parlors, spas, hair salons or barbershops, movie theaters and bowling alleys to reopen this week so long as they, and their patrons, follow physical distancing orders and other guidelines, Kemp announced on Monday.

“Maybe you wait a little bit longer until you get to a phase 2. So do I agree with him? No, but I respect him and I will let him make his decision,” Trump said at a White House press conference.

I applaud Kemp for staying the course in the wake of such disagreements. Given the fact that coronavirus was making its way through the state of California undetected for several weeks and was explained away as a “bad flu” until scientists identified the pathogen, it seems that Georgia is ready to handle the “bad flu season” numbers. People are now informed about the virus and can take the appropriate precautions, including staying home or not opening their businesses.

One could argue that Trump “threw Kemp under the bus.” However, considering how much the press attacked hydroxychloroquine because the President mentioned it, perhaps Trump was simply distancing himself from Kemp to give the Georgia governor the maximum amount of cover from the wolf pack that is the American press.

FDA Authorizes First At-Home Coronavirus Test

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first at-home coronavirus test.

It will be made available first to health care workers and first responders, and is expected to go on sale to consumers in most states within weeks.

The test, called Pixel, is a nasal swab kit developed and sold by LabCorp. Patients will collect their own samples using a special sterile swab provided in the kit and then send it in to one of the company’s labs for analysis.

The FDA said it granted the company emergency authorization to get the tests out sooner.

“With this action, there is now a convenient and reliable option for patient sample collection from the comfort and safety of their home,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

Hospital Analysis Reports Show Nearly Half Of Coronavirus Patients Are Obese

A new report shows that obesity may play a significant role in who the Wuhan Coronovirus affects an infected person.

A recent analysis of hospital network data found that nearly half of patients being treated for the coronavirus were obese.

The COVID-NET report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that of the patients who’d contracted coronavirus, 9 out of 10 of them had an underlying health condition. Of those patients, 48.3% were obese.

The report looked at 1,482 patients in 99 counties across the country. The data was collected between March 1 and March 31.

Obesity may not be an independent risk factor for many patients, but when it occurs in conjunction with an underlying medical condition it can aggravate the severity of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus…

 

 
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