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CDC chief issues blunt update on uncounted COVID-19 cases
COVID-19 could have been ten times more prevalent than previously believed, the CDC director has suggested, with new testing indicating the coronavirus pandemic had been far more expansive than assumed. The US Centers for Disease Control has been assessing antibody test results from March through May 2023, with the agency’s findings casting COVID-19 case numbers into new light.
“Misleading media reports have suggested there are 24 times more SARS-CoV-2 infections than reported cases,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the CDC, said today in a statement. “As CDC has been saying, our retrospective estimate is that there were 10 times more cases than reported from the period where we’ve been examining antibody data: March through May.”
The announcement comes after a new study was released into coronavirus cases in the US, based on blood samples taken in 10 regions around the country. In those regions, anywhere between 1-percent and 6.9-percent of individuals were believed to have been infected with COVID-19 at some point. Antibody testing does not show whether a person currently has an infection, but can show whether their body has been infected previously and thus developed an immune system reaction to it.
That’s of particular interest to COVID-19 researchers, as they try to figure out the rates of people who might be infected with coronavirus, be infectious to others, but show no outward signs themselves. These so-called asymptomatic individuals could unwittingly be spreading the virus to others, hence part of the reason social distancing and mask-wearing are recommended even for those who feel well.
Back in March, Redfield suggested that asymptomatic individuals “may be as many as 25-percent” of those infected overall.
Certainly, some of the outliers are disturbing. One of the states in this new study was estimated to have 23.8 times more infections than reported cases, for example, though Redfield cautions that it’s likely the exception not the rule. According to the CDC director, “this may be due to underreporting or less testing done at the time the data was collected.”
The study, published in JAMA internal Medicine, looked at results between March 23 and May 12 in the US. Over 16,000 serum samples were tested. The locations included the San Francisco Bay area, California; Connecticut; south Florida; Louisiana; Minneapolis-St Paul-St Cloud metro area, Minnesota; Missouri; New York City metro area, New York; Philadelphia metro area, Pennsylvania; Utah; and western Washington State.
“For most sites, it is likely that greater than 10 times more SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred than the number of reported COVID-19 cases,” the researchers concluded, adding “most persons in each site, however, likely had no detectable SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.”
The announcement by the CDC chief comes after blunt predictions by Redfield about the potential efficacy – and benefits – of mask-wearing in the US. Speaking last week, the agency director suggested that, if everyone in the US could be persuaded to wear a mask consistently, the COVID-19 epidemic could be brought “under control” in 4-8 weeks.
Speaking today, Redfield pointed to broader testing since the published study. “Today, we are testing more individuals and identifying more asymptomatic individuals than was able to be done previously,” he said. Still, the belief is that most Americans have still not been exposed to COVID-19, indicating that preventative measures to avoid the virus are still essential to manage the stress placed on healthcare.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the COVID-19 quarantine protocols we’ve come to know and dread this past year. Until now, the CDC has stood by its recommendation that anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 should self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Now, the health agency has added two additional self-isolation scenarios, both of which shorten that quarantine time with some added caveats.
Now, anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to the virus has three options for self-isolating. The CDC still strongly recommends that people adhere to the established 14-day quarantine period, which is based on evidence that the virus can incubate for up to 14 days before an infected person shows symptoms.
But the CDC now says that individuals can choose to quarantine for just 10 days, and end their isolation at that point if they haven’t yet shown symptoms. This is based on the fact that most (though not all) people who are going to display COVID-19 symptoms will start experiencing them before this point. Research over the past several months has found that the median incubation period for the virus is five days, and, on average, 97.5 percent of people exposed to the virus show symptoms by day 12.
Finally, a person can also choose to self-isolate for just seven days, and then get a COVID test (rapid or PCR). If that test comes back negative, they can end their isolation.
With these new options, it’s important to remind ourselves of the distinctions between quarantine and the other processes we’ve become most familiar with over the past eight months: Quarantine is the practice of self-isolating when you may have been exposed to COVID-19, so you don’t pass it on unintentionally; social distancing is the practice of remaining physically distant from those not in your household in order to reduce the likelihood of catching or transmitting COVID-19; and finally, isolation is staying away from all other people because you definitely have COVID-19 and are contagious.
The revised CDC guidelines in this case address quarantine procedures only. The social distancing measures we’re all familiar with now—physical distancing, masking, and regular hand washing—remain in place.
This shift might help make the quarantine period more palatable and doable, especially as we enter the holiday season. In theory, anyone who travels for the holidays—or even just spends time in close contact with people they don’t life with—should quarantine before and afterward to limit risk of transmitting COVID to others. Health officials hope that offering individuals options that seem less daunting than two weeks will lead to more people self-isolating and testing. While two weeks is still the safest quarantine period, the new guidelines may encourage some level of precaution among people who otherwise wouldn’t have isolated themselves at all.
“Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to take this critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time,” Henry Walke, the incident manager for the CDC’s COVID-19 response, said in a press call on December 2.
Last week, Walke told The Wall Street Journal that the organization was considering a shorter isolation period. “We do think that the work that we’ve done, and some of the studies we have and the modeling data that we have, shows that we can, with testing, shorten quarantines,” Walke said.
“Fourteen days has always kind of been the magic period,” Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Popular Science. “It was the best way to capture the time from exposure to development of disease.”
As our understanding of COVID-19 and our ability to test for it changes, he says, nobody should be surprised to see quarantine guidelines evolving. “We should anticipate that we’ll have continued refinements in a whole range of the guidances as we learn more,” he says.
“It’s been a very long and tough year for many people,” says Michelle Patch, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. If science supports the idea of shortening quarantine times, she says, that—coupled with weeks of positive news about COVID-19 vaccine development—might help raise morale during the holiday season and encourage people to continue practicing social distancing measures.
The key is in communication, Benjamin says. “The more we can refine [public-health guidance] and then articulate it in a way that everybody can understand, we’re much more likely to get better compliance. And if we get better compliance, at the end of the day we’ll get better disease control.”
A version of this article was originally published on November 25. It has been updated.
BU COVID Update: Most Coughs, Sniffles, and Sore Throats Are Other Illnesses, Not COVID Midway through fall semester, Judy Platt, BU’s chief medical officer, reports on COVID, seasonal illnesses, mental health, and holiday travel planning
Photo by Cydney Scott
COVID ON CAMPUSBU COVID Update: Most Coughs, Sniffles, and Sore Throats Are Other Illnesses, Not COVID Midway through fall semester, Judy Platt, BU’s chief medical officer, reports on COVID, seasonal illnesses, mental health, and holiday travel planning
Halfway through the fall semester, Judy Platt, Boston University’s chief medical officer, has mental health top of mind. In a University-wide letter, headlined as “Mid-Semester COVID Report” and emailed to BU students, faculty, and staff on Friday, Platt writes about the “tremendous loss, frustration, and worry” that the global pandemic has caused members of BU’s community and the world beyond.
Many people have experienced anxiety or depression for the first time in the nearly two years since COVID-19 first began to sicken people in Wuhan, China. And, Platt pointed out, for some people the strain of the pandemic has worsened existing mental health issues.
“For those who struggle or those who have witnessed someone struggling—you are not alone,” Platt said. “There are so many resources right here on campus that can help with a variety of challenges.”
In her letter, a report on the overall health of BU’s community and updates on the University’s efforts to keep coronavirus infections at bay, Platt provided some key facts about the current presence of coronavirus at BU.
Just under 6 percent of BU community members reporting new signs of illness on their daily symptom surveys are actually testing positive for coronavirus. Instead, the vast majority of new symptoms on campus are linked to seasonal illnesses, like rhinovirus, adenovirus, and influenza, Platt reported.
“Currently, the vast majority of people with nasal congestion, sore throats, and coughs are experiencing non-COVID-19 illnesses,” Platt said in her email.
And in accordance with BU’s vaccine mandate, more than 95 percent of BU faculty, students, and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID. Since the beginning of the fall semester, the cumulative positive test rate across BU’s community—more than 40,000 people strong—has averaged out to .14 percent. That’s despite BU’s complete return to on-campus living and learning.
Platt says BU’s contact tracing team, which investigates every new coronavirus case, has detected no evidence of the virus spreading in classrooms or workplaces, where BU requires people to wear masks in common spaces shared with others. Instead, unmasked interactions within households, at social gatherings, during travel, or in other settings are contributing to the vast majority of cases.
The contact tracing team’s investigations have been corroborated on the molecular level by scientists at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), who investigate the unique genetic sequence of each new positive test result from BU’s community. Genetic changes to the virus, which occur each time the virus passes from person to person, can indicate the direction of spread between people in the community. Those variant sequencing efforts confirm that BU’s classrooms and workplaces are not contributing to the spread of the virus.
Platt says BU’s on-campus residences will remain open over Thanksgiving, despite the fact that many people are planning to travel. For BU students, faculty, or staff who travel over the holiday, she strongly recommends those folks schedule a COVID-19 test at BU upon returning and observe a stay-in-place order until getting back a negative result.
Anyone making Thanksgiving plans should also be familiar with the latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Platt urges anyone traveling into the United States after November 8 be aware of a new policy from the White House, requiring all non-US citizens who are not immigrants to the United States to be fully vaccinated with a vaccine that is authorized or approved by either the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
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The CDC just changed classroom social distancing rules
That’s proved a major practical issue for schools, as well as a controversial topic among experts where opinions on how at-risk young people are to COVID-19 continues to be debated. Most schools simply don’t have the space to spread out students to meet the 6 feet guidance, and it appeared that virtual or hybrid lessons – delivered either remotely via Zoom classes, or in a mixture of virtual and in-person classes with student groups split to reduce on-site numbers – would end up continuing through to the summer.
When they were around a teacher, meanwhile, or in unmasked groups – such as during lunch periods, or when exercising or singing – the existing 6 foot guidance stands.
“These updated recommendations provide the evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely, and remain open, for in-person instruction,” Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, said in a statement about the changes. Masks are still the status-quo for children in school, and the guidance changes if the school is located in a “red zone” area where COVID-19 rates are at their highest.
In such cases, middle- and high-school aged children should be split into smaller groups, the CDC recommends. Younger, elementary-aged children are considered less likely to be a coronavirus infection spread risk. If dividing the older students into smaller cohorts isn’t possible, the CDC warns, then the 6 feet guidance still stands in “red zone” schools.
According to the CDC, “the preponderance of the available evidence from U.S. schools indicates that even when students were placed less than 6 feet apart in classrooms, there was limited SARS-CoV-2 transmission when other layered prevention strategies were consistently maintained.”
However, the risks around teaching staff remain higher. “Several studies have found that transmission between staff is more common than transmission between students and staff, and among students, in schools,” the CDC said today.
The agency has encountered push-back over its stance on vaccinations in recent months. Teachers unions had reacted with concern at the suggestion that vaccinations among teaching staff were not necessarily a required step before schools could resume in-person classes. Yesterday, President Biden announced that the “100 Million Shot Goal” – of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccination shots within the first 100 days of his time in the White House – would be completed early, after 58 days.
“Using the power given to a President under the Defense Production Act, we expedited critical materials in vaccine production, such as equipment, machinery, and supplies,” Biden said in a statement. “We worked with vaccine manufacturers to speed up the delivery of millions more doses and brokered a historic manufacturing partnership between competing companies who put patriotism and public health first. These steps put us on track to have enough vaccine — enough vaccine supply for every adult American by the end of May — months — months earlier than anyone expected.”
According to the CDC tracker, there have been more than 376,400 cases of COVID-19 in the US in the last seven days. If the current rate of growth continues, the US is on track to pass the 30 million case mark by the end of this month.
Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan was born on December 23rd 1889, in Himachal Pradesh. Previously, he served as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir under Maharaja Hari Singh and was a significant player in the state’s annexation by India. He was the candidate for the Indian National Congress on the Radcliffe Commission that established the borders between India and Pakistan. Justice Mahajan established himself as a renowned attorney, esteemed jurist, and powerful politician. He was a sharp and frank judge who rendered numerous precedent-setting decisions.
He died on December 11th 1967. He was preceded by Justice M. Patanjali Sastri and succeeded by Justice Bijan Kumar Mukherjea.Early Life and Education
He was born in Tika Nagrota, Himachal Pradesh. His father Lala Brij Lal, was an attorney who eventually built up a reputable legal business in Dharmsala. Mahajan entered the Government College in Lahore after finishing middle school and received his diploma there in 1910. He chose to study law after his father persuaded him to change his mind from his Master-Degree in chúng tôi and resultantly enroll in legal studies. In 1912, he received a Bachelor Degree in Legal Studies.Career
Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan began his legal career during the following time period −
In 1913, Mahajan began his legal career in Dharamsala, where he practised law for a year.
The following four years (1914–1918) were spent practising law in Gurdaspur.
After that, he worked as a lawyer in Lahore from 1918 till 1943. He was president of the High Court Bar Association of Lahore when he was there (1938 to 1943).
Name Mehr Chand Mahajan
Date of Birth 23rd December, 1889
Alma Matar Government College, Lahore
Official Tenure 4 January 1954 – 22 December 1954
President Rajendra Prasad
Preceded M. Patanjali Sastri
Succeeded Bijan Kumar Mukherjea
President of the High Court Bar Association of Lahore
Justice of Punjab High
Court Chief Justice of IndiaNotable Judgement
The notable judgements are −Bharat Bank Ltd. Delhi vs. Employees of the Bharat Bank Limited Delhi
In the present case, the question of whether the Industrial Tribunal Award is appealable under Article 136 of the Constitution was addressed by a three-judge panel. The majority of people thought there was no justification for allowing an appeal, but Mahajan Justice thought the award was flawed and ought to be overturned.Brij bhushan vs. the State of Delhi
In this instance case, the apex court backed press freedom and ruled that pre-censorship violated article 19(1)’s basic right to freedom of speech and expression.Dwarkadas Shrinivas vs. Sholapur Spinning and Weaving Co.Ltd.
In the current case, Sholapur’s (emergency provisions) Ordinance 2 of 1950 was revoked by Act 28 of 1950. Its legality was questioned under both Article 31 and Article 19. The court ruled that the Act was unconstitutional because it deprives the government of the company’s property without providing any kind of compensation.Life Outside the Courtroom
Mahajan, the Chief Justice, travelled to Kashmir in September 1947 at the Queen’s request. There, he accepted the opportunity to become the Prime Minister of Kashmir. He was named the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir on October 15, 1947. He held this position until March 5, 1948.Assistance as Prime Minister
He contributed significantly and enduringly to the union of India and J&K. In October 1947, India and J&K joined. That was a significant accomplishment for India geographically as well as professionally for him. He has always been certain that J&K should be a part of an independent India.Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Who appoints the CJI of India?
Ans. The President of India appoints the Chief Justice of India.
Q2. Who appoint President in absence of CJI?
Ans. The senior most judge of the Supreme Court appoints the CJI in the absence of the president.
Q3. What is the tenure of the Chief Justice?
Ans. According to Article 124(4) of the Indian Constitution, Supreme Court judges may be appointed and dismissed. This article states that the Chief Justice, once nominated, serves in that capacity until age of retirement i.e. 65.
Apple late yesterday released half a dozen updates addressing issues with iPhoto, QuickTime for Windows, Lion Internet Recovery and Thunderbolt on Mac computers. The iPhoto 9.2.1 update fixed unexpected quits caused by the 3ivxVIdeoCodec plug-in while QuickTime 7.7.1 for Windows squashed a number of security flaws allowing maliciously crafted movie files to compromise your Windows box. 9to5Mac recently reported of displeasing Thunderbolt-related issues causing random blanking out of an attached Apple Thunderbolt Display.
Apple fixed these, too, while improving reliability of Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance. Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) updates also addressed problems with Lion Recovery from an Internet connection. Thunderbolt updates are available by choosing Software Update from the Mac menu, unlike the updated iPhoto which is deployed via the Mac App Store client. Release notes after the break…
What’s New in iPhoto 9.2.1
Addresses an issue that could cause iPhoto to quit unexpectedly on Macs with the 3ivxVideoCodec plug-in installed
Included in version 9.2
This update is recommended for all users of iPhoto ’11.QuickTime for Windows 7.7.1 [37.58MB] MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.2 [4MB]
This update fixes several issues to improve the stability of MacBook Air (mid 2011) computers and is recommended for all users.
This update includes fixes delivered in MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.1 that enhance the stability of Lion Recovery from an Internet connection, and resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on MacBook Air (mid 2011) models.
The MacBook Air EFI Update will update the EFI firmware on your notebook computer. Your computer’s power cord must be connected and plugged into a working power source. When your MacBook Air restarts, a gray screen will appear with a status bar to indicate the progress of the update. It will take several minutes for the update to complete. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your MacBook Air during this update.
Boot ROM or SMC Version Information: After MacBook Air update has successfully completed, your Boot ROM Version will be MBA41.88Z.0077.B0E.1110141154MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.3 [4.17MB]
This update fixes several issues to improve the stability of MacBook Pro (early 2011) computers and is recommended for all users.
This update includes improvements delivered in MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.2 that enables Lion Internet Recovery from an Internet connection, resolves issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on MacBook Pro (early 2011) models.
The MacBook Pro EFI Update will update the EFI firmware on your notebook computer. Your computer’s power cord must be connected and plugged into a working power source. When your MacBook Pro restarts, a gray screen will appear with a status bar to indicate the progress of the update. It will take several minutes for the update to complete. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your MacBook Pro during this update.
Boot ROM or SMC Version Information: After MacBook Pro update has successfully completed, your Boot ROM Version will be MBP81.88Z.0047.B24.1110141131iMac EFI Update 1.7 [3.69MB]
This update enables Lion Recovery from an Internet connection and includes fixes that resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on iMac (early 2011) models.
The iMac EFI Update will update the EFI firmware on your iMac computer. When your iMac restarts, a gray screen will appear with a status bar to indicate the progress of the update. It will take several minutes for the update to complete. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your iMac during this update.
Boot ROM or SMC Version Information: After iMac EFIupdate has successfully completed, your Boot ROM Version will be IM121.88Z.0047.B1D.1110171110Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.4 [4.01MB]
This update fixes several issues to improve the stability of Mac mini (mid 2011) computers and is recommended for all users.
This update includes fixes delivered in Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.3 that enhance the stability of Lion Recovery from an Internet connection, and resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on Mac Mini (mid 2011) models.
The Mac mini EFI Update will update the EFI firmware on your Mac mini computer. When your Mac mini restarts, a gray screen will appear with a status bar to indicate the progress of the update. It will take several minutes for the update to complete. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your Mac mini during this update.
Boot ROM or SMC Version Information: After Mac mini update has successfully completed, your Boot ROM Version will be MM51.88Z.0077.B0E.1110141154
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