Thu. Sep 24th, 2020
Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today



7 months into the coronavirus crisis, scientists have confirmed the efficacy of a effective weapon in the battle towards Covid-19. In worldwide trials published nowadays, low cost, broadly offered steroid medication have been proven to decrease the threat of death in critically unwell sufferers. Till now, the only other drug proven to support critically unwell sufferers, and only modestly, was remdesivir.

Numerous sufferers who are contaminated do not die from the virus, but from the body’s overreaction to the infection. The new exploration contains 3 scientific studies and an evaluation of pooled information from 7 randomized clinical trials, which confirmed that steroids like dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone can tamp down the body’s immune method and decrease the threat of death.

The strongest outcomes have been from dexamethasone, which created a 36 % drop in deaths hydrocortisone appeared to decrease deaths by 31 % and a modest trial of methylprednisolone showed a 9 % drop. The outcomes have been so powerful that the Planet Well being Organization issued new remedy advice and strongly suggested the use of steroids to deal with severely and critically unwell sufferers.

The W.H.O. warned towards utilizing steroids indiscriminately, noting that sufferers who are not severely unwell are unlikely to advantage and may perhaps endure side results. Steroids, in particular in older sufferers, can trigger confusion or even delirium, and may perhaps depart them vulnerable to other infections. Even more, broad use could deplete international supplies, depriving sufferers who genuinely need to have the prescription drugs.

But taken with each other, the scientific studies “are like the 2nd punch of a 1-two punch,” explained Dr. Derek C. Angus, an writer of 1 of the new scientific studies and the evaluation. “I had a massive smile on my encounter when I noticed the outcomes.”


It is maybe the toughest selection that dad and mom encounter this fall: Do you send your youngsters to college or retain them residence? In-man or woman understanding carries a lot of educational and social gains and can be essential for very low-earnings, Black and Latino college students who lack the sources for remote understanding. But several dad and mom worry that their youngsters will select up the virus at college and fall unwell or spread it to many others.

Our colleague Apoorva Mandavilli, a science reporter who has been covering the pandemic, wrote about the method she went by way of in grappling with this choice for her two youngsters. The specialists she consulted manufactured 1 point clear: Colleges ought to reopen only if much less than five % of the men and women examined in a local community are beneficial for the coronavirus.

In New York City, the positivity price has remained about .six % in current days — far reduce than the nationwide normal. Apoorva and her husband eventually made a decision to send their youngsters back for the two days a week they competent for.

The choice to have a hybrid training model in New York City, the nation’s greatest college district and the only significant 1 to hold onto programs to return to classrooms this fall, has proved difficult. Beneath escalating strain from the city’s teachers’ union and dealing with threats of a strike, Mayor Bill de Blasio this week pushed back the 1st day of college ten days, to Sept. 21, to make it possible for a lot more time to put together.

The city will call for month to month, random testing of ten to twenty % of college students and workers members in all city colleges, with outcomes inside 48 hrs. Far more nurses are staying employed, ventilation programs are having upgraded and hundreds of thousands of masks and bottles of hand sanitizer will be doled out.

College students will discover a incredibly unique college landscape: fewer men and women in lessons to accommodate spaced-apart desks windows that keep open, even in cold and rain and hallways marked for social distancing.


Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.



My neighbors and I are sharing the labors of our kitchens. We just send a text in the morning to say what we’re cooking that day, and whoever likes that will allow us know. We carry the meals in containers and hang them at their door. We phone these “Doorknob Dinners.”

— Eva Bueno, San Antonio

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