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Data Snapshot

UW Medicine Hospitals:

COVID-19 Positive Inpatients Data May 28

King County: The county reported 35 new positive cases and 5 new deaths since yesterday.

Washington: The state reported 20,406 cases and 1,095 deaths as of May 26. A total of 335,801 people have been tested and 6.1% of those tests have been positive.

United States: The CDC reports 1,678,843 cases and 99,031 deaths as of May 27.

Global: WHO reports 5,593,631 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 353,334 deaths as of May 28.

*Numbers are updated frequently, please follow links for the most up-to-date numbers.

Need to Know

UW Medicine Work-Related Travel Restrictions Extended Through June 30

UW Medicine leadership has decided to extend the current work-related travel restrictions for all employees through June 30, 2020. This includes all travel for conferences and meetings related to professional membership societies/associations and meetings or gatherings related to grants.

UW Medicine in the News

Masks Seem to be Working to Fight the Virus, Even as Some Refuse Them and US Deaths Near 100,000 – CNN

Even as the number of deaths reaches such a grim milestone, Americans are at odds over whether it’s necessary to keep taking protective measures, including wearing a face covering. A leading researcher says the data is clear: The path ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic is being shaped by masks. “We now have really clear evidence that wearing masks works — it’s probably a 50% protection against transmission,” Dr. Chris Murray, chair of the Department of Health Metrics Sciences at the UW School of Medicine, told CNN late Tuesday. “And so, what happens in the next month or two is very much in the hands of how people respond.”

A Third of All Coronavirus Deaths are in Nursing Homes – MSNBC

Does symptom screening work to keep cases down for long-term care facilities? Dr. Alison Roxby, physician at Harborview and UW Medical Center – Roosevelt, says that it can act as a bottom-line defense but is ineffective in getting ahead of the disease. Testing has been the best management tool for communicable disease, and in this outbreak, testing is the keystone strategy. In the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they found that broad testing, combined with strict hygiene and social distancing measures, is successful at preventing an outbreak where coronavirus has already been found, even in long-term care facilities.

Research Update

United World Antiviral Research Network Funded

The University of Washington, among other collaborators, were awarded a National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases grant for $8.75 million for five years to form the United World for Antiviral Research Network (UWARN). UWARN will provide surveillance for emerging pandemic viruses, develop urgently needed diagnostics and therapeutics and expand understanding of viral immune responses, which is key to vaccine development.

Hot Topics in the Media

A New Entry in the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine: Hope – The New York Times

Scientists are increasingly optimistic that a vaccine can be produced in record time, but getting it manufactured and distributed will pose huge challenges.

Gilead Study Shows Shorter Five-Day Course of Remdesivir Works as Well as 10-Day One – Reuters

Gilead Sciences Inc., which has suggested that a shorter treatment duration could extend limited supplies of its drug remdesivir, on Wednesday published results of a study showing no significant difference in outcomes between 5- and 10-day courses of the drug for patients with severe COVID-19. Gilead announced “top-line” findings from the trial on April 29. The full results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Half of Newly Diagnosed Coronavirus Cases in Washington are in People Under 40 – The Seattle Times

Half of new coronavirus infections in Washington are now occurring in people under the age of 40, a marked shift from earlier in the epidemic when more than two-thirds of those testing positive were in older age groups. A new analysis finds that by early May, 39% of confirmed cases statewide were among people age 20 to 39, while those 19 and younger accounted for 11%. The trend is concerning and should be kept in mind as more counties begin to ease restrictions and reopen businesses, said Seattle epidemiologist Judith Malmgren, PhD, who is affiliated with the University of Washington’s Department of Epidemiology and is lead author of the report.

AP-NORC Poll: Half of Americans Would Get a COVID-19 Vaccine – The Associated Press

Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, a number that’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another one in five said they’d refuse.

Can You Get the Virus From a Surface? – The New York Times

As lockdowns lift, many more Americans are going to come in contact with surfaces that other people have touched: doorknobs, tabletops, shopping bags and more. Many people find these situations confusing. The early scientific advice seemed to encourage people to treat surface contact with utmost seriousness. More recently, research has suggested that few people get the virus this way. The main transmission mechanism instead appears to be close contact with someone who has the virus, like talking face-to-face or sitting nearby in an indoor setting. Those situations expose people to enough of a “viral load” to become infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently tried to clarify its guidance on the subject: “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” So how should you think about surface transmission? It doesn’t seem to be common, but it does seem possible.

US Coronavirus Deaths Top 100,000 as Country Reopens – Reuters 

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 people in the United States, according to a Reuters tally on Wednesday, even as the slowdown in deaths encouraged businesses to reopen and Americans to emerge from more than two months of lockdowns. About 1,400 Americans have died on average each day in May, down from a peak of 2,000 in April, according to the tally of state and county data on COVID-19 deaths. In about three months, more Americans have died from COVID-19 than during the Korean War, Vietnam War and the U.S. conflict in Iraq from 2003-2011 combined. The new respiratory disease has also killed more people than the AIDS epidemic did from 1981 through 1989, and it is far deadlier than the seasonal flu has been in decades. The last time the flu killed as many people in the United States was in the 1957-1958 season, when 116,000 died.

The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus – The New York Times

The coronavirus still has a long way to go. That’s the message from a crop of new studies across the world that are trying to quantify how many people have been infected. Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But even in results from a new set of studies that test the population more broadly to estimate everyone who has been infected, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits. The numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely. The precise herd immunity threshold for the novel coronavirus is not yet clear; but several experts said they believed it would be higher than 60 percent.