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Thursday, March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Update for Thursday, March 26, 2020

An empty Main Street in Franklin, NC on the morning of March 21, 2020, as most residents heed requests from public health and local government to practice social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the local area. Photo by Bobby Coggins.

Since the COVID-19 Updates have grown ever larger, Macon Media has decided to begin posting them as a separate article so people who do not want to wade through several dozen links and videos, don't have to do do. Several curated videos and links to articles are posted below to allow you to follow the course of humanity's response to this global pandemic. To start us off, Wikipedia has a list of known pandemics throughout history. [LINK]


Macon Media is being underwritten today by Franklin Health & Fitness, home of #ResultsForEveryone and the FREE 7-Day Guest Pass.

During this public health emergency, Franklin Health and Fitness has made the difficult decision to temporarily close due to the continued risk surrounding COVID-19. To see updates related to COVID-19, please click:

There are also On-Demand Fitness Videos located on their website. [LINK]

COVID-19 Update 

North Carolina has reported the first deaths from the coronavirus. A 70-plus-year-old Cabarrus County resident and a 60-plus-year-old person from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina died on Tuesday of complications from COVID-19, the illness associated with the virus. The travelling Virginian will be recorded as a death in Virginia, not North Carolina. [WRAL-TV]

The CDC website [LINK] reports 504 people in North Carolina are infected with one death and that the infection has reached community spread and there are widespread infections in the state, the NCDHHS website [LINK] also reports 504 cases and one death in the state. The Johns Hopkins Dashboard [LINK] reports 625 people infected and 2 deaths.

Resources for Reliable Information about the Corona Virus (COVID-19) [LINK]

World Health Organization Briefing

White House Task Force Briefing

North Carolina COVID-19 Briefing



Governor closes K-12 schools for in-person instruction until May 15th [LINK]

NC local governments enact piecemeal stay-at-home orders [LINK]


Can We Really Ban In-Person Attendance at Board Meetings During the Coronavirus Emergency? [LINK

Should You Hike? [LINK]

Getting Off The Trail - Coronavirus & The Hiking Community

ATC Statement [LINK]

PCTA Statement [LINK]

CDTC Statement [LINK

ATA Statement [LINK]

On Dec. 1, 2019, a patient in Wuhan, China, started showing symptoms of what doctors determined was a new coronavirus. Since then, the virus has spread to infect more than 100,000 people. Here’s how the virus grew to a global pandemic.

Atlanta mayor says ICU units are at "full capacity" [LINK]

NYU offers early graduation to senior med students in bid to fight coronavirus [LINK]

What happens if New York hospitals run out of ventilators? State officials are considering different options to help in that grim scenario. WSJ’s Jason Bellini spoke to experts familiar with the discussions.

About COVID-19

From Neural Academy:

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses that cause sicknesses like the common cold, as well as more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain – one that hasn’t previously been recognized in humans.

Coronaviruses cause diseases in mammals and birds. A zoonotic virus is one that is transmitted between animals and people. When a virus circulating in animal populations infects people, this is termed a “spillover event”.
How does CoVID-19 affect the body? The virus is fitted with protein spikes sticking out of the envelope that forms the surface and houses a core of genetic material. Any virus that enters your body looks for cells with compatible receptors – ones that allow it to invade the cell. Once they find the right cell, they enter and use the cell’s replication machinery to create copies of themselves. It is likely that COVID-19 uses the same receptor as SARS – found in both lungs and small intestines.

It is thought that CoVID-19 shares many similarities with SARS, which has three phases of attack: viral replication, hyper-reactivity of the immune system, and finally pulmonary destruction. Early on in infection, the coronavirus invades two types of cells in the lungs – mucus and cilia cells. Mucus keeps your lungs from drying out and protects them from pathogens. Cilia beat the mucus towards the exterior of your body, clearing debris – including viruses! – out of your lungs. Cilia cells were the preferred hosts of SARS-CoV, and are likely the preferred hosts of the new coronavirus. When these cells die, they slough off into your airways, filling them with debris and fluid. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. Many of those infected get pneumonia in both their lungs.

Enter the immune system. Immune cells recognize the virus and flood into the lungs. The lung tissue becomes inflamed. During normal immune function, the inflammatory process is highly regulated and is confined to infected areas. However, sometimes the immune system overreacts, and this results in damage to healthy tissue. More cells die and slough off into the lungs, further clogging them and worsening the pneumonia.
As damage to the lungs increases, stage three begins, potentially resulting in respiratory failure. Patients that reach this stage of infection can incur permanent lung damage or even die. We see the same lesions in the lungs of those infected by the novel coronavirus as those with SARS. SARS creates holes in the lungs, so they look honeycomb-like. This is probably due to the aforementioned over-reactive immune response, which affects tissue both infected and healthy and creates scars that stiffen the lungs. As such, some patients may require ventilators to aid breathing.

The inflammation also results in more permeable alveoli. This is the location of the thin interface of gas exchange, where your lungs replace carbon dioxide in your blood with fresh oxygen you just inhaled. Increased permeability causes fluid to leak into the lungs. This decreases the lungs’ ability to oxygenate blood, and in severe cases, floods them so that you become unable to breathe. Sometimes, this can be fatal.

The immune system’s over-reaction can also cause another kind of damage. Proteins called cytokines are the immune system’s alarm system, recruiting immune cells to the infection site. Over-production of cytokines can result in a cytokine storm, where there is large-scale inflammation in the body. Blood vessels become more permeable and fluid seeps out. This makes it difficult for blood and oxygen to reach the rest of the body and can result in multi-organ failure. This has happened in the most severe cases of CoVid-19. Although there are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, symptoms can be treated through supportive care. Also, vaccines are currently in development.

What can you do to protect yourself from CoVid-19? Basic protocol comes down to regular hand washing, avoiding close contact with anyone coughing or sneezing, avoiding unnecessary contact with animals, washing hands after contact with animals, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs prior to consumption, and covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Respiratory viruses are typically transmitted via droplets in sneezes or coughs of those infected, so preventing their travel stops the spread of disease.

How Pandemics Spread

Ted-Ed Lesson by Mark Honigsbaum, directed by Patrick Blower. Published on March 12, 2012

Dig into the history of pandemics to learn how viruses and disease spreads and what we can do to stop future outbreaks.

In our increasingly globalized world, a single infected person can board a plane and spread a virus across continents. Mark Honigsbaum describes the history of pandemics and how that knowledge can help halt future outbreaks.

The Pandemic in Italy

It’s Europe’s coronavirus epicentre with cases of infected rising by up to a thousand daily. Hospitals are full. Patients, young and old, are dying. To control the outbreak, Italy is in lockdown but is it too little too late?

In the province of Lodi, half an hour from northern Italy’s capital Milan, it’s day 23 of the lockdown.

A young couple - Isabella and Roberto - are stuck inside with their 3-year-old daughter Eleonora. They’re wondering when they will be able to resume normal life.

The northern Lombardy region has been dubbed the ground zero of Italy’s corona crisis. So far, over two thousand people have died there and nearly thirty thousand have been infected.

After Lombardy, the virus spread through the north, then nationwide.
At first, doctors mistook it for the flu. Precious time was lost and now Italy, known for its warm embraces and kisses on both cheeks, has more cases than any country apart from China.

Hospitals have been swamped. All non-corona related patients’ care has been sidelined. Doctors have been issued with protocols about which patients to prioritise and which not to – a form of disaster medicine.

Desperate to bring the virus under control, Italy has finally taken strong action, declaring a nationwide lockdown. Schools and universities have shut. Shops, cafes and restaurants have closed. Apart from buying groceries, people need official authorisation to move around or else face a fine.

Reporter Emma Alberici can’t travel to Italy but she has relatives and friends there.

For this special report, Emma taps into her network of family and friends as well as doctors and businesspeople, to tell an intimate story about how families, communities and the country are dealing with this unprecedented health emergency.

We use skype calls, phone diaries, photos and home video to bring you a picture of Italy in lockdown.

In Milan, we meet the head surgeon at one of the city’s major hospitals. He’s isolated at home after contracting the Coronavirus from one of his patients. He explains how he’s being treated for the infection and his fears for his wife, who’s working as an obstetrician.

There’s 7-year-old Zoe, who doing school from her home in Milan. She skypes her Australian friend Livia and they chat and giggle about the virus and hand washing.

We meet Emma’s 90-year-old aunt recently hospitalised with influenza, and her cousin – also Emma Alberici – who’s looking after her mother while holding down a job as CFO of a big pharmaceutical company in Milan – an industry which has special exemption from the lockdown.

We hear from Isabella and Roberto about the meals they’re cooking and the bread they’re baking.

And we interview virologist Prof Roberto Burioni who warns Australia that this virus is dangerous and must be taken with the utmost seriousness.

This is an intimate insight into an extraordinary moment in history.

Read more here:

COVID-19 Around the World

March 25th Message from Dr John Campbell in the UK

Russian President Putin declares next week a holiday and tells everyone to stay at home [LINK]

Homeless man who tested positive for COVID-19 left to wander Montreal streets after screening [LINK]

Coronavirus: Iceland’s mass testing finds half of carriers show no symptoms [LINK]


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Published at 3:45am on Thursday, March 26, 2020