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Coronavirus 2020 Outbreak: Latest Updates

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This article was last updated Oct. 30 at 5:53 p.m. ET.

The United States leads the world in cases of COVID-19. We'll provide the latest updates on coronavirus cases, government response, impacts to our daily life, and more.

What is the latest news?

COVID-19 Charity Fraud is Increasing, FBI Says

Oct. 30, 5:53 p.m. 

Charity fraud tends to spike during the holidays, and this year could be even worse as scammers target people for help due to the pandemic, according to Yahoo! Life.

The FBI and law enforcement agencies across the country have received reports of scammers asking for donations to aid people, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.

“Many Americans want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic by contributing to charities, but the FBI is warning that scammers also want to help — they want to help themselves to your money,” according to an FBI statement released in mid-October.

“They are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information or both. Don’t let them,” the FBI wrote.

Scammers may spoof the names, emails, or phone numbers of real organizations, the FBI warns, so be careful about calls that ask for donations, particularly if they mention a “donation pledge” that you don’t remember making. Instead, call the charity itself and verify.

Importantly, scammers may pressure or rush a donation, which is a warning sign. Emails with links and attachments may contain computer viruses as well.

In a recent scam, an email with the subject line: “URGENT: Coronavirus, can we count on your support today?” claimed to be from the Department of Health, but it wasn’t, Yahoo! Life reported. Other recent emails have contained documents and audio files with malware.

“When you get contacted by a charity, it could be legitimate. But if you want to be safe, go directly to the website of the charity,” Adam Levin, a cybersecurity specialist, told the news outlet.

The FBI also recommends searching for the charity on the Better Business Bureau, Give.org, Charity Navigator or Charity Watch. The FBI provides additional tips about charity fraud on its website and has an online form to report potential fraud.

Some Grocery Stores Will Remain Open on Thanksgiving

Oct. 30, 5:50 p.m. 

Several major grocery chains — such as Publix, Target, and Walmart — are closing on Thanksgiving Day this year, but others — such as Kroger, Safeway, and Wegmans — will be open, according to Prevention.

The CDC advises against shopping just before, on, or after Thanksgiving to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Shopping in crowded stores is considered a “higher risk activity” for virus transmission.

Grocery delivery or pick-up services could help customers to avoid large crowds. Those who shop inside should stay 6 feet away from others, wear a face mask, and sanitize their hands. It also helps to prepare ahead of time and shop early this year, Prevention reported.

“Avoid the last-minute runs to the grocery store,” Amira Roess, an infectious diseases specialist and professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University, told the magazine.

“Reduce the risk of infection to yourself, the grocery store workers, and others in your community,” she said.

More than a dozen stores will be closed on Thanksgiving this year, including Aldi, Bi-Lo, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Publix, Sam’s Club, Target, Trader’s Joe’s, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie.

More than 30 stores have decided to remain open, but some may have reduced hours. This includes CVS, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Food Lion, The Fresh Market, Giant, Harris Teeter, Ingles, Kroger, Ralphs, Rite Aid, Safeway, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.

Others may be closed based on location, so customers should check ahead of time for the hours. For additional details, call the stores or check the lists published by Prevention and Delish.

Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Oct. 30, 5:42 p.m.

Trevor Lawrence, a junior quarterback for the No. 1-ranked Clemson Tigers, won’t play in Saturday’s game after testing positive for COVID-19, the team announced Thursday evening.

“He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College,” Dabo Swinney, the head coach for Clemson, said in a statement.

“While we certainly will miss Trevor, this is an opportunity for other guys to step up and we’re excited about competing against a very good [Boston College] team on Saturday,” he said.

Lawrence is in self-isolation, he wrote in a post on Twitter following Swinney’s statement. He’s following protocols from Clemson and the ACC, he added.

According to ACC protocols for the coronavirus, players who test positive should isolate for “at least 10 days” after their first positive test. Clemson tests players on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, according to USA Today Sports.

Lawrence was tested on Wednesday, received the positive result on Thursday, and then went into isolation on Thursday, according to ESPN.

No other players will be quarantined, Swinney told reporters, based on their contact-tracing protocols that focused on teammates who came into contact with him during Clemson’s most recent game against Syracuse.

Lawrence tested negative on Sunday and practiced with his team this week before receiving the positive result. Clemson’s current practice regimen limits direct contact, particularly for the quarterback position, ESPN reported. Lawrence also doesn’t live with teammates, so no players were marked as contacts inside or outside of practice.

Clemson tested players again on Friday, so more teammates may receive positive results this weekend, ESPN reported.

Patients Testing Positive for Both COVID-19 and Flu

Oct. 30, 1:24 p.m.  

Following national public health warnings about a possible “twindemic,” reports are surfacing of patients testing positive for both the coronavirus and influenza.

The Solano County, CA, government said in a news release that a patient under 65 tested positive for both conditions. This is the first dual diagnosis for the county in the Bay Area.

Solano County Health Officer Bela T. Matyas, MD, said the conditions share some symptoms.

“Symptoms of the flu can be like early symptoms of COVID-19, meaning people with flu symptoms may require a COVID-19 test and need to stay home from work and isolate while awaiting their results,” Matyas said.

“It is also important to note that flu is not COVID-19, which is caused by a different virus, and that the flu is not the same as the common cold, which is also caused by different viruses,” he said.

In Tennessee, the person with a double diagnosis was a patient at Maury Regional Medical Center south of Nashville, reported TV station WKRN.

“When you get influenza, which is a respiratory illness, and you get COVID, which also impacts the respiratory tract, it only makes sense that those individuals are going to have a serious respiratory component with shortness of breath, potential for respiratory failure is very high in co-infection,” said Maury Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Martin Chaney, MD.

Health officials generally say the coronavirus is about 10 times deadlier than the flu.

Both health officials urged people to get flu shots as a protection.

"Vaccination not only reduces the risk of catching the flu, it also reduces the chance that you'll be hospitalized,” Matyas said. “In other words, the flu vaccine will provide some protection and reduce your chances of needing to be hospitalized if you do get sick.”

In an interview with WebMD earlier this year, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said the United States could be facing the “worst fall” that “we've ever had” because of the overlap between the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season.

Other health authorities said they hoped measures designed to curb the coronavirus would help prevent the spread of the flu.

Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said last month that the Southern Hemisphere has had a very light flu season, probably because measures to curb the coronavirus, such as social distancing and mask-wearing, have limited the spread of the flu.

Shipping Container of Medical Gloves Stolen in Florida

Oct. 29, 6:19 p.m. 

A shipping container holding medical gloves intended for first responders was stolen Sunday night, Oct. 25, from a warehouse in South Florida.

The theft occurred around 11 p.m. Sunday at the Coral Springs headquarters for Medgluv, a company that supplies the gloves nationwide. Surveillance video showed two men arriving at the loading dock in a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, Cox Media Group reported.

“The tractor-trailer truck backed up to the container that was still holding the gloves, and within a matter of moments, he detached that product. Another gentleman came in from the pickup truck to assist in the loading of that product onto the tractor trailer,” Medgluv's vice president of sales and marketing Richard Grimes said at a news conference. “They pulled away, and I would say, in 3 to 4 minutes, they had taken off with nearly a million dollars' worth of product.”

There were differing reports on how many gloves were stolen.

Cox Media Group and other news organizations quoted Grimes as saying about 5 to 6 million gloves were taken. But the Sun-Sentinel newspaper cited Coral Springs police saying 53,000 pairs worth $217,000 were taken.

The medical gloves arrived Friday from the manufacturer in Malaysia and were supposed to be distributed on Monday to hospitals in Florida, Ohio, and Illinois, theNew York Times reported.

Police found the truck empty on Tuesday afternoon, Grimes said.

COVID-19 Infection Fatality Ratio is About 1.15%, Study Says

Oct. 29, 6:05 p.m. 

A new study conducted by researchers at Imperial College London found the COVID-19 infection fatality ratio is about 1.15% of infected people in high-income nations and 0.23% in low-income nations.

The infection fatality ratio (IFR) represents the proportion of deaths among all infected individuals. It is “a key statistic for estimating the burden of COVID-19 and has been continuously debated throughout the current pandemic,” the Imperial College London said in a news release.

Researchers screened 175 studies and identified 10 antibody surveys to obtain estimates of the infection fatality ratio, the news release said.  

The new study confirms that the coronavirus is deadlier for older people, with the risk of death doubling for every 8 years of aging and ranging from 0.1% for people under 40 and 5% among people over 80 years old.

“Although the elderly are by far at the highest risk of dying due to COVID-19, the risk in middle age is still high,” said co-author Dr. Lucy Okell.For example, we estimate that around 1 in 260 people aged 50-55 years die if infected. We calculated COVID-19 fatality largely based on the first wave of the epidemic in a number of countries, and we hope and expect to see some reduction in fatality now due to new clinical knowledge and treatment, but this remains a dangerous virus.”

While other recent studies have shown that COVID-19 antibodies tend to wane over time, the Imperial College London study did not take that into account, the news release said, adding that “it will become increasingly important to account for potential declines in antibody levels to avoid overestimating the IFR in future.”

“We know that antibody tests are not perfect, and there may be a considerable number of people who do not mount a detectable antibody response to SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr. Robert Verity, a study co-author.

“However, even when this uncertainty is taken into account, we still find that COVID-19 has a high fatality rate -- on the order of 1% for a typical high-income country. This risk is concentrated in older ages, with the probability of dying from COVID-19 doubling approximately every eight years.”

The study doesn't compare the deadliness of the coronavirus to seasonal influenza. The World Health Organization has estimated seasonal flu has a mortality rate of about 0.1%. That's about 10 times less than the infection fatality ratio that Imperial College of London scientists found for COVID-19 in high-income nations.

The WHO cautioned that access to and the quality of health care is also a major factor in flu mortality.

How many people have been diagnosed with the virus, and how many have died?

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 45.42 million cases and more than 1.18 million deaths worldwide. More than 30.39 million people have recovered.

How many cases of COVID-19 are in the United States?

There are more than 9.01 million cases in the U.S. of COVID-19, and more than 229,300 deaths. More than 3.55 million Americans have recovered from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

WebMD Health News



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