The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Narrow corridors pose a higher risk of infection
A non-masked person infected with coronavirus and walking quickly down a narrow corridor leaves behind a long stream of virus-laden droplets, a new computer simulation suggests. Even if social distancing guidelines are followed, following someone down a narrow corridor can still be risky, advised researchers in a report published Tuesday in Physics of Fluids. “The transmission of Covid-19 is greatly affected by airflow,” said co-author Xiaolei Yang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. “A slight change in airflow can significantly change the way the virus spreads,” he said. Such changes can be caused by slight differences in corridor width, walking speed, indoor architectural structure, temperature, humidity, or other factors. Staying six feet behind the person in front of you is not enough for narrow corridors and wearing a face mask is recommended even if you don’t see people nearby, he said. Also, the viral droplets behind people walking tend to hover at waist height, putting young children at higher risk than adults, he added, “When you are with a child you may want to hold them in your arms. “
COVID-19 patients in the hospital often need readmission
Soon after leaving hospital, Covid-19 survivors are at greater risk of being readmitted or dying than survivors of other high-risk conditions. The researchers looked at patients admitted to 132 U.S. Veterans Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country from March to May, including 2,179 admitted for Covid-19. Another 1,799 had pneumonia unrelated to Covid-19 and 3,505 had heart failure, which was linked to high readmission rates. Within 10 days of being discharged, approximately 14% of COVID-19 patients had been readmitted or died, compared with approximately 10% of other patients, researchers reported in JAMA on Monday. By day 60 after discharge, roughly every fourth COVID-19 patient had been readmitted or died, but the rate was slightly higher for the other patients. “Recovery can be a bumpy road,” said co-author Dr. Hallie Prescott of the University of Michigan Health System told Reuters. But a lot has changed since June, she added. “We have better treatments so it can be … we will see fewer cases where patients have late worsening symptoms that require readmission.”
US Black Communities Missing COVID-19 Tests
COVID-19 testing is essential for identifying and isolating infected people. However, tests are less common among US blacks than whites, according to a study from Missouri. Nearly one million COVID-19 tests were performed in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas between March and September. In the first three months of this period, areas (identified by postcodes) with a higher proportion of black residents without insurance and with lower median incomes accounted for 25% of COVID-19 cases, but only 9% to 12% of those carried out for the virus Tests found the researchers. “Even within the same zip codes, black residents had lower test rates than white residents,” said Dr. Aaloke Mody from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The differences persisted all summer, he said. “Studies have repeatedly shown that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and mortality are more burdened in minority communities,” Mody and colleagues wrote in Clinical Infectious Diseases Monday. “Disparity testing can be an important factor in determining disparities in disease burden,” Mody said. “We need proactive public health strategies that really help ensure equitable testing, such as providing community-based testing. This can also be extended to thinking about equitable distribution of vaccines,” he said .