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Nevada COVID-19 director confirms he tested positive

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Caleb Cage, Nevada’s pandemic response director, said Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 last week after developing flu-like symptoms during the prior weekend.

“I share my story with all of you now in hopes to remind Nevadans that the mitigation measures can work. The faster we can identify and contain cases, the more we can minimize spread to our friends, family, coworkers and loved ones,” Cage told reporters.

Following Cage’s diagnosis, which was first reported by the Nevada Independent last Friday, Gov. Steve Sisolak and members of his staff who had interacted with Cage were tested. The entire office transitioned to working from home and all of those tested received negative results.

Cage, who was heard coughing throughout an Oct. 7 call with reporters, said his symptoms had subsided and that he is continuing to work from home in line with the 14-day quarantine period recommended by public health professionals.

He said his diagnosis offered the governor’s office a hands-on opportunity to use the COVID Trace mobile app that Nevada rolled out in August to determine possible contacts and recommend individuals for testing. After Cage’s diagnosis, the governor’s spokesperson, Meghin Delaney, announced that Sisolak had tested negative.

Cage isn’t sure where he contracted the virus, but on an earlier press call, said his work schedule had precluded him from visiting businesses the state has gradually allowed to reopen. Cage said he and his family adhere to guidelines recommending social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

Nevada officials reported 569 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 3 new deaths on Monday. The number of new cases and the state’s positivity rate remain higher than in early September — before Sisolak announced plans to relax restrictions on gatherings and before the state task force loosened thresholds for “high risk” counties.

Nevada’s test positivity rate, as measured by a seven-day rolling average, is much higher than the World Health Organization’s 5% reopening threshold.

Officials reported the rate had increased to 10.4%, up from 6.6% on Sept. 18, but that level is below the 15.8% reported on July 8. The number of cases, averaged over the past week, has risen by about 559 per day. By comparison, during the last week in July, new cases rose by an average of 1,037 daily.

During the summer, a corresponding uptick in deaths followed an uptick in daily reported cases, but the current spike underway has yet to translate to an increase in deaths throughout Nevada.

Cage said, in general, health officials expect an increase in deaths and hospitalizations to be followed in four to five weeks by an increase in confirmed cases. It’s still too soon to draw conclusions about the apparent lack of a correlation between recent confirmed cases and deaths in Nevada, he said.


Sam Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.


Coronavirus live updates: Mexico confirms 1st case of someone with both COVID-19 and influenza

There were 44,614 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily tally is down by more than 10,000 from the previous day and falls well under the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.

An additional 400 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Sunday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 7,762,809 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 214,771 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then but has started to climb again in recent weeks.

Week-over-week comparisons show the number of new cases reported across the nation continues to go up, as does the usage of intensive care units, but the number of new deaths are down, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News last week.

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A New Study Confirms Remdesivir’s Effectiveness as a Coronavirus Treatment

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In a report published Oct. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers confirmed the benefits of remdesivir for treating people hospitalized for COVID-19.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, has emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating anyone hospitalized for COVID-19. That authorization means that doctors can prescribe the intravenous (IV) drug for people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and have been hospitalized. While the drug was initially authorized only for those who needed supplemental oxygen or ventilators to breathe, an expanded EUA from the FDA in late August reflects the growing belief among doctors that treating people who aren’t as sick might provide even more benefit—so now includes people with evidence of respiratory infections but don’t yet need supplemental oxygen or help from a ventilator.

Remdesivir works by stymieing the virus’s ability to make more copies of itself, and in trials has helped both patients with early-stage COVID-19 as well as those with more advanced symptoms.

In the latest report, researchers led by a team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provide the final data on a study they first released in May. In the final analysis, which included 1,062 people who were randomly assigned to receive IV remdesivir or a placebo for up to 10 days while in the hospital, the researchers provide more detailed data on how the drug affected metrics including how long people needed to be given supplemental oxygen or put on ventilators. All of the participants showed evidence of respiratory infection, mostly pneumonia, and 85% were considered to have severe disease, which meant that they had at least one of three symptoms: their blood oxygen levels were below 94% while breathing room air; they required supplemental oxygen; or they needed a ventilator to breathe. Among all the participants—both with severe COVID-19 and with more mild symptoms—those given remdesivir were able to be discharged from the hospital on average five days sooner than those receiving placebo.

“These data reinforce the value of remdesivir in hospitalized patients,” says Dr. John Beigel, associate director of clinical research in the division of microbiology and infectious disease at NIAID. While the preliminary study provided mortality data after 15 days, the full study followed study participants for 28 days and found that among those receiving remdesivir compared, 11% passed away compared to 15% among the placebo group. While that is not a statistically significant difference (the study wasn’t large enough to include a statistically sufficient number of deaths in each group) “it is still a significant improvement,” says Beigel. He notes that the mortality rates, taken together with other metrics including the fact that people on remdesivir spent less time on oxygen and fewer days in the hospital, support the overall benefit of the drug.

In addition, notes Beigel, the drug seemed to help not only those people who’d had symptoms for more than 10 days, but also whose who’d shown symptoms for less than

Novartis says data confirms benefit of Zolgensma gene therapy for babies

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Accused Gangster Charged With Ambush Shooting of L.A. Deputies

After a three-week manhunt, a Los Angeles man was arrested and charged Wednesday with attempting to murder two sheriff’s deputies who were ambushed as they sat in their car.Deonte Lee Murray, 36, is facing two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm for allegedly walking up to the squad car parked outside a Metro station on Sept. 12 and opening fire, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.“They became victims of a violent crime for one reason: They wear a badge,” L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a press conference.‘Cowardly’: Video Shows Gunman Ambushing Two L.A. Deputies in Patrol CarMurray, who faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, was recently charged with attempted murder for a carjacking in Compton two weeks before the shooting. He allegedly used the stolen car as a getaway vehicle in the ambush.He faces further charges of being part of a criminal street gang, discharging a rifle inflicting great bodily injury, and personal use of a rifle in the carjacking incident.The two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, identified in media reports as 31-year-old Claudia Apolinar and a 24-year-old man, were sitting in their car in Compton when Murray allegedly approached the front passenger side and opened fire.A security video showed a man in dark clothing approaching the patrol car before raising his handgun and firing several rounds through the window. One deputy is then seen emerging from the car and stumbling for several seconds.“Despite being critically injured, deputies valiantly cared for each other’s wounds and safety, communicated their location and plight to others and tactically prepared for another attack,” the sheriff’s department said in an earlier statement, adding that the suspect fled the scene in dark a Mercedes-Benz.Apolinar was shot in the jaw while her partner was shot in the head—and both are now at home recovering.The shooting was seized on by President Donald Trump, who claimed it was part of ongoing attacks on law enforcement by anti-police brutality protesters.While authorities on Wednesday wouldn’t comment on Murray’s motive, Kent Wegener, captain of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, said the 36-year-old “obviously hates policemen and he wants them dead, not specifically.”“These acts and that day, I will not forget it, and it represents the worst in humanity, and it shocked the whole nation,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva added during the press conference. “And that evening I said we’ll find this man, and I can report today we have found our suspect.”“That worst of humanity was followed by the best of humanity,” he added. “Our entire department rallied together.”Murray was charged earlier this month over the Sept. 1 carjacking. He allegedly confronted another man in Compton, shot him in the leg then stole his car. He was found and arrested on Sept. 15 after a lengthy standoff in Lynwood. Speculation was rife after the Sept. 15 standoff that Murray was the same person who