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100-Plus Active COVID Cases After ‘Superspreader’ Event

WEST LONG BRANCH – More than 100 active cases were reported at Monmouth University after a “superspreader” event, the university announced this weekend.

Since first reporting a notable increase in COVID-19 cases on campus, the university has learned – through extensive contact tracing efforts – about the likely origin, said President Patrick F. Leahy.

The increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago, Leahy said.

“An overwhelming majority of the recent cases we have seen can be traced back to this isolated superspreader event,” he said. He did not provide further details.

Moving forward, Leahy said, the college needs 100 percent cooperation from the campus community “in order to resume our fall semester as planned.”

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and state of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community,” Leahy wrote in a letter to the community. “The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.”

Leahy provided the news as he updated the college community on the number of people in isolation or quarantine on and off campus.

The university’s dashboard, he says, reflects the total number of active cases as well as the total number of recovered cases.

The distinction between active and recovered cases is an important one, he says. Active cases reflect individuals who have tested positive for the virus, and are required to isolate for a 10-day period.

Recovered cases represent individuals who have completed and been released from the mandatory 10-day isolation period, freeing up capacity on campus to manage future cases.

“While we are still seeing new cases, almost exclusively among our undergraduate students, the dashboard suggests that the positivity rate is slowing,” he said.

Since Aug. 24, Monmouth has reported 291 cumulative cases. Of these, 166 are active cases, and another 125 are recently recovered cases, he said.

In addition, there are 206 students who – through contact tracing – have been deemed at high-risk for the virus, and are required to quarantine as a precaution for a 14-day period.

“Fortunately, symptoms have been mild, but we continue to closely monitor our students in isolation and quarantine,” Leahy said

Beyond the recent changes to operations and health and safety protocols, Monmouth will be increasing testing efforts on campus, he said. The college will be increasing its testing capacity and is now able to provide free testing to students and employees.

Members of the Monmouth University community can be tested Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with no appointment needed. All specimens are being sent to the state lab, which reports a 24-48 hour test turnaround time.

This article originally appeared on the Long Branch-Eatontown Patch

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Fauci calls Amy Coney Barrett ceremony in Rose Garden ‘superspreader event’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Friday called President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony last month announcing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court a “superspreader event.”

Fauci, who was interviewed by CBS News Radio’s White House correspondent Steven Portnoy, defended the efficacy of wearing masks to slow the spread of Covid-19 and used the ceremony as an example.

“Well, I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks,” he said. “So the data speak for themselves.”

This is not the first time Fauci has been at odds with Trump, who has had a cavalier attitude toward Covid-19 since being released from the hospital Monday after being infected with the virus, and has boasted about his apparent recovery and given mixed messaging around wearing masks.

Fauci survived a previous White House attempt to discredit him after he contradicted the president’s more optimistic assessment of the progress of the pandemic and corrected the president’s claim that the virus is the same as the flu.

Trump announced Barrett, a federal appeals judge, as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Supreme Court justice at an outdoor ceremony Sept. 26, attended by more than 150 people, many of whom did not wear masks or practice social distancing.

In addition to the president and the first lady, several other people who were at the ceremony have been confirmed to have Covid-19: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins and a White House journalist.

Following that event, the number of people in Trump’s orbit who have tested positive for the coronavirus is growing, including more than a dozen aides at the White House and on the Trump campaign.

Fauci also contradicted the president, but did not mention his name, when asked about references to cures for Covid-19, saying it “leads to a lot of confusion,” noting there are promising treatments but no known cure. Trump has called the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals drug he received a miracle “cure” for the virus.

Fauci also said he is worried Americans might not take the virus seriously as the president touts his apparent recovery.

“I think a misperception on the part of some is that this isn’t a particularly serious situation and because so many people do well, that you don’t really have to take it seriously,” he said. “And that’s a misperception we have to overcome because you don’t want to trivialize the disease because it has the capability of seriously making an individual seriously ill and also killing individuals, usually the elderly, and usually those who have underlying medical conditions.”

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Trump to Hold White House Rally as Fauci Says Superspreader Event Occurred There | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

SATURDAY, Oct. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Even as the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Friday that the White House experienced a “superspreader” event in the Rose Garden last month, President Donald Trump announced he will hold his first public event at the White House since testing positive for the coronavirus a week ago.

The Saturday event, which will have Trump speaking from a balcony to a crowd of supporters on the South Lawn, has already caused concern among some officials in the White House, which has been rocked by an outbreak following Trump’s diagnosis, the Washington Post reported.

Trump’s medical team has not yet released the results of Trump’s latest COVID-19 test, so it was unclear whether Trump is still contagious, the Post reported. But Trump has ignored his advisers’ calls for caution, the newspaper reported, instead playing down the virus and using his own battle with it to argue that the nation has already overcome the pandemic.

“I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet, but I’ve been retested,” he said. “And I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.” He added that he has been tested for the virus “every couple of days or so.”

The lack of a negative test did not stop Trump from claiming to be cured and working from the Oval Office on Friday afternoon. Trump has been eager to escape the confines of the White House and return to his crowded rallies with the election just over three weeks away, the Post reported.

Despite Trump’s defiant stance, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News Friday night that, “I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

Upper Midwest hit hard by coronavirus

Meanwhile, the new coronavirus is striking the Upper Midwest with a vengeance, as Wisconsin and the Dakotas became COVID-19 hotspots and health officials scrambled for hospital beds on Thursday.

After months where residents of those states downplayed the virus and rejected mask requirements, all three now lead all other states in new cases per capita, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Melissa Resch, a nurse at Wisconsin’s Aspirus Wausau Hospital, which is working to add beds and reassign staff to keep up with a rising caseload of seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

“Just yesterday I had a patient say, ‘It’s OK, you guys took good care of me, but it’s OK to let me go,'” Resch told the AP. “I’ve cried with the respiratory unit, I’ve cried with managers. I cry at home. I’ve seen nurses crying openly in the hallway.”

What is unfolding in the Upper Midwest mirrors what has happened in other parts of the country since the pandemic began. In the spring, New York City hastily built field hospitals as

Fauci calls White House outbreak a coronavirus superspreader event

More than 150 people gathered in the White House’s Rose Garden on September 26 to see President Donald Trump officially nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Most of them were maskless. Many hugged or shook hands as they mingled in close proximity.

Some attendees even celebrated inside the White House, without masks.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nomination ceremony was a coronavirus superspreader event. The term refers to a circumstance in which one person infects a disproportionately large number of others, often during a large gathering.

“The data speak for themselves,” Fauci told CBS News in a radio interview on Friday.

Within five days of the event, both the president and the first lady, Melania Trump, were diagnosed with COVID-19. The outbreak has hit at least 34 people in the president’s orbit, including White House staffers, bodyguards, and family members, as well as pastors, journalists, GOP senators, and advisors.

The identity of the person or people who were first infected, however, is unknown.

Defining a superspreader

rose garden barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks in the White House’s Rose Garden on September 26 after President Donald Trump nominated her to the Supreme Court.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty


The term superspreader refers to an infected person who transmits the virus to more people than the average patient does. For the coronavirus, that average number, known as R0 (pronounced “R-naught”), has seemed to hover between 2 and 2.5. So anyone who passes the virus to three people or more could be considered a superspreader.

A superspreader event, then, is a set of circumstances that facilitates excessive transmission. In one well-known example, a person transmitted the virus to 52 others during a choir practice in March in Mount Vernon, Washington.

A superspreader event in Arkansas that month involved a pastor and his wife who attended church events a few days before they developed symptoms. Of the 92 people there, 35 got sick. Seven had to be hospitalized, and three died.

In that sense, it’s not so much that individual people are innate superspreaders — it’s the type of activity that enables a person to pass the virus to lots of people.

Those activities generally involve large gatherings — often indoors — in which lots of people from different households come into close, extended contact, such as religious services or parties.

“You can’t have a superspreading event unless there are a lot of people around, so you have to be very careful still about gatherings of people of any size,” William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at Vanderbilt University, previously told Business Insider.

rose garden barrett

Attorney General William Barr, right, says goodbye to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the Rose Garden event on September 26.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty


Rachel Graham, an assistant epidemiology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said most Rose Garden ceremony attendees weren’t doing anything to mitigate virus transmission.

“They’re doing pretty

Dr. Fauci Is Convinced the White House Hosted a ‘Superspreader Event’

Dr. Anthony Fauci echoed what many Americans have already concluded: Donald Trump’s recent Rose Garden ceremony was a “superspreader” event.

Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, made the assertion during an interview with CBS News’ Steven Portnoy on Friday, about a week after the president confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19. The event in question was held for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump nominated to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Photos and videos taken during the ceremony showed high-profile figures and administration members without proper face coverings and in clear defiance of social distancing guidelines.

Since the event, at least 34 people within the president’s orbit have tested positive for the disease.

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said. “It was in a situation where people were crowded together, not wearing masks. We had a superspreader event at the White House. So the data speak for themselves.”

CBS News Radio · CBS News Radio Interview: Dr. Anthony Fauci

Fauci, who is also the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, then addressed Trump’s use of the word “cure” while touting the benefits of an antibody cocktail by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

“We don’t have any indication — I think you really have to depend on what you mean by a ‘cure,’ because that’s a word that leads to a lot of confusion,” Fauci said. “We have good treatments for people with advanced disease who are in the hospital.”

Just two days after Trump was released from Walter Reed Medical Center, he released a video insisting he was feeling “like perfect.” The president recently said he might hold a couple of in-person events this weekend; However, Fauci told CBS News that those are unlikely to happen if Trump doesn’t undergo further testing.

“I can tell you, they are going to be testing him to determine the trajectory and whether he gets to the point where he’s not infected,” Fauci said. “I don’t know all the other stuff you were just saying. But I can guarantee you that they will be testing him before they let him go out.”

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Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 during policy-focused debate Eric Trump claims his father ‘literally saved Christianity’ Overnight Health Care: Trump works from Oval Office after COVID-19 diagnosis | GOP frustrated by Trump’s messages on aid | Eli Lilly asks for emergency authorization of antibody treatment MORE, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that there was a “superspreader event” at the White House late last month, a stark assessment of the string of positive coronavirus cases among the president and top aides.

“Well, I think the data speak for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks,” Fauci told CBS News Radio.

His remarks came in response to a question about the lack of mask-wearing at the White House, and whether testing alone could stop the virus from spreading.

At least 34 White House staffers and contacts have been infected, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.

The string of cases has included President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpDeadline accidentally publishes story about Pence being diagnosed with COVID-19 Karen Pence’s office defends her appearing without a mask at debate Surgeon general cited for taking pictures in Hawaii park closed to prevent virus spread MORE, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and top advisers like Stephen MillerStephen MillerTrump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis Deadline accidentally publishes story about Pence being diagnosed with COVID-19 Overnight Defense: Pentagon retracing steps of top officials after positive coronavirus case | Trump suggests Gold Star families could have infected him | VP debate brings up military topics MORE and Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis Deadline accidentally publishes story about Pence being diagnosed with COVID-19 Overnight Defense: Pentagon retracing steps of top officials after positive coronavirus case | Trump suggests Gold Star families could have infected him | VP debate brings up military topics MORE.

Many of the individuals who have tested positive attended a Sept. 26 event at the White House where Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The event featured a crowd of people sitting close together in the White House Rose Garden, with many not wearing masks, as well as indoor activities.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that after an initial delay, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now playing a limited role in helping with contact tracing for the White House outbreak.

The D.C. health department, as well jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, on Thursday issued

What Do We Know About Superspreader Events in the Pandemic? | Health News

What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

We’re still learning, but it seems that much of the spread of the coronavirus has been caused by what disease trackers call superspreader events.

That’s when a single person infects a large number of other people, or when a gathering is linked to a large number of cases.

There’s no rule for when a cluster of cases is big enough to be called a superspreader event. But these are not instances of spread within one household. Instead, these are large clusters of cases where infection occurs in settings such as churches, restaurants or bars.

In the United States, for instance, a choir member with symptoms attended a rehearsal in March. Of 60 others who attended, 52 got sick with COVID-19, including two who died.

In Hong Kong, an outbreak at four bars infected 39 customers, 20 staff members and 14 musicians before ballooning further to infect 33 family members and other contacts. Disease trackers discovered that bands played at all four bars, so musicians may have spread the virus to more than 100 people all told.

Scientists studying three months of contact tracing data from Hong Kong estimated that 19% of people infected were responsible for 80% of the spread of coronavirus infections.

To prevent superspreader events, we need to better understand them, said Anne Rimoin, an infectious diseases expert at the University of California, Los Angeles.

She has called for detailed contact tracing of the infections around President Donald Trump, including those who attended a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony and indoor White House reception for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

The timing of the event and the number of people infected suggests the possibility of superspreading, she said.

“Contact tracing is the way you get to the bottom of a superspreader event,” Rimoin said. “That’s how you break chains of transmission.”

Unlike many contact tracing investigations, where it can be difficult to find everybody involved, the White House investigation would have “exquisite records and video about who was where and when,” Rimoin said. “It’s an opportunity to learn about superspreader events that could save thousands of lives, if not millions of lives, in the long run.”

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White House not contact tracing Rose Garden event considered possible ‘superspreader’: report

The White House is not contact tracing guests and staff who attended a Rose Garden event for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite many viewing it as a possible spreader of the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The celebration, which took place 10 days ago, is viewed by some as the potential epicenter or “superspreader” of the White House’s coronavirus outbreak because it has been followed by at least 11 attendees testing positive for COVID-19, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGOP lawmaker calls on Pelosi to apologize for response to Trump contracting coronavirus White House gave New Jersey officials list of 206 people at Trump’s Thursday fundraiser events Photo of Mark Meadows rubbing his head during update on Trump’s health goes viral MORE, adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayBarr reverses, will quarantine for several days after potential coronavirus exposure White House gave New Jersey officials list of 206 people at Trump’s Thursday fundraiser events Pence tests negative for COVID-19 for third time since Trump’s diagnosis MORE, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, at least three Republican senators and other White House staff.

An unnamed White House official told the Times on Monday that officials were not contact tracing those connected to the event.

Contact tracing includes public health workers trying to stop COVID-19 transmission by reaching out to people who have tested positive for the disease and asking them to both self-isolate and provide a list of people they had contact with 48 hours before becoming sick, who will, in turn, also get a call. In this way, health officials are able to stop the potential spread of the virus before it can be passed on to someone else.

The White House is still technically following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that require contact tracing for the 48 hours leading up to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the official told the Times. 

Public health experts have criticized the decision not to contact trace the Rose Garden event, however.

“This is a total abdication of responsibility by the Trump administration,” Boston University public health expert Joshua Barocas told the Times. 

Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday, shortly after it was revealed his close aide Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksWhite House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms Trump sought to keep COVID-19 diagnosis secret Thursday as he awaited second test result: WSJ What we know and don’t know about the president’s health MORE had tested positive. In the following days, several others announced positive diagnoses. 

On Monday, Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after three days of treatment.

Trump Is a Super-Spreader of Disinformation

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also got the coronavirus, but the story played out differently. Johnson was hospitalized. Afterward, he did seem to take the pandemic more seriously than before. He gave an emotional address, thanking the doctors and nurses who had cared for him. He adopted a more somber tone. At least temporarily, he too seemed to win some sympathy, and people were more willing to listen to his government’s rules about lockdown and quarantine. Maybe Trump’s illness will persuade him to treat the disease more seriously, and maybe it will persuade people to view him more sympathetically too.

I don’t know what direction Trump’s illness will take, I don’t know whether it will persuade him to take the disease more or less seriously, and I don’t know how it will affect his political fortunes. But in one sense, it is too late to matter, because Trump’s super-spreading of disinformation has already changed America. Just a few days ago, Cornell University published a study showing that 38 percent of media stories containing misinformation about the virus refer to the president: Trump is literally, not metaphorically, the single most important reason so many Americans distrust information they receive about the disease. He is literally, not metaphorically, the reason so many Americans distrust our electoral system too. He is literally, not metaphorically, the reason so many Americans distrust one another.

The president and everyone around him will spin and manipulate his illness too; indeed, they are already doing it. During a strangely evasive press conference today, the head of Trump’s medical team, Sean Conley, declared that the president was in “exceptionally good spirits” but also implied that Trump might have been diagnosed and received treatment before the public was informed, that he might have been put on oxygen, even that he might have attended public events knowing he was ill. Minutes later, an “anonymous administration source,” who might have been the White House chief of staff, informed pool reporters that the “president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning” and that “the next 48 hours will be critical,” a message far more serious than the one delivered in public. Another anonymous official then sought to clarify the timeline, contradicting Conley and other doctors.

And we are all … unsurprised. This kind of obfuscation, this level of confusion, is exactly what we have come to expect from our national leader. Trump has destroyed our trust with wanton abandon—trust in our political system, trust in our institutions, trust in science, trust in America itself—simply because it benefits him, personally, to do so. Whatever happens to Trump over the next few weeks, that is the legacy that will outlast his presidency. It has already distorted and changed and altered the country just as profoundly as the coronavirus itself.

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Anne Applebaum is a staff writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow of