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31 states have growing rates of new Covid-19 cases, and ‘we know what’s coming next’

Once again, most of the country is in trouble.



a person standing in front of a car: A man performs a self-swab at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Eastern Florida State College on October 9, 2020 in Palm Bay, Florida. The Florida Department of Health reports that COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are on the rise while U.S President Donald Trump plans to hold a rally in Sanford, Florida after contracting the disease. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


© Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images
A man performs a self-swab at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Eastern Florida State College on October 9, 2020 in Palm Bay, Florida. The Florida Department of Health reports that COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are on the rise while U.S President Donald Trump plans to hold a rally in Sanford, Florida after contracting the disease. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As of Monday, 31 states have reported more new Covid-19 cases this past week compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

And nine states reported record-high Covid-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

“These are extremely alarming trends, and there should be warning bells going off around the country,” emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said.

“Some will say, ‘Well look, we are having increasing numbers of cases because we’re testing more.’ But we also know that in more than 15 states, the test positivity rate is over 10% — which means that we’re not doing nearly enough testing.”

On top of that, many people have no idea where they caught the virus.

“Many parts of the country are reporting that 50% or more of their cases cannot be traced back to any single infectious source — which also means that there is a high level of community spread,” Wen said.

“We know what’s coming next … we’re going to get increasing numbers of hospitalizations,” she said.

“Hospitals could again become overwhelmed. And then we’re not just talking about patients with coronavirus who might be in trouble. It’s also about other patients who might be coming in for heart attacks and strokes and car accidents who may find a situation that’s really untenable.”

The states headed in the wrong direction

Five states are grappling with a 50% increase in new cases this past week compared to the previous week: Montana, New Mexico, Tennessee, North Carolina and Vermont.

Video: Arkansas Gov.: spike in hospitalizations ‘concerns me’ (CNN)

Arkansas Gov.: spike in hospitalizations ‘concerns me’

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Another 26 states had increases between 10% and 50%: Arkansas, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Only three states — Maine, Texas and Washington — had fewer new cases compared to the previous week. The remaining 16 states are relatively steady.

No one is off the hook — not even states that have improved

Several states, especially in the Northeast, have enjoyed much better success at fighting coronavirus after implementing strict and innovative ways to limit the virus’ spread.

But those residents can’t let their guard down, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said.

“We’re seeing those early suggestions here in the Northeast and what we wanted

Understanding Mortality Rates for Black Newborns

Research published late this summer suggests that “newborn–physician racial concordance is associated with a significant improvement in mortality for Black infants,” i.e., when they received care from Black physicians.

Lead author Brad N. Greenwood, PhD, an associate professor at George Mason University School of Business, took time to answer questions about this research.

Did you determine why Black babies have a better chance of survival?

Greenwood: I want to emphasize how cautious we need to be about speculating about the “why” question because it is speculative. This is secondary data so nailing down the exact mechanism is difficult, even if we do see the effect get larger in some places — hospitals that deliver more Black newborns — and smaller in others — Black newborns without comorbidities. But there are several possible explanations:

  • We want to be careful not to pathologize Black newborns, but there is evidence that Black newborns can be more medically challenging to treat due to social risk factors and cumulative racial and socioeconomic disadvantages of Black pregnant women. As a result, it may be that Black physicians are more aware and attuned to these challenges than white physicians.
  • Issues of spontaneous racial bias, which research does suggest manifest towards both adults and children, could also be at play. As a result, it is conceivable that the newborns are treated differently.
  • There may also be challenges accessing preferred caretakers for Black mothers, or an inefficient process of allocating physicians at the hospital level.
  • There is evidence in the literature that racial concordance increases trust and communication between patients and providers. While the newborn obviously won’t be speaking to the pediatrician, the mother may be, and this might have an effect.

All of these are possible so we want to be very careful about the interpretation, since we cannot come down firmly on one mechanism or another. Likely, it is a mix of all these things and potentially more.

What we do know is that the effect is persistent under a lot of conditions and gets bigger when Black newborns are born in hospitals that deliver many Black babies, which suggests part of the explanation may be institutional.

Your findings state that it doesn’t matter if the birth mothers share the same race as the physician. So if a white mom gives birth to a Black baby, the chances of the baby surviving are increased here as well if the doctor is Black?

Greenwood: When we are investigating the mother, the physician changes from being the pediatrician to being the obstetrician (the two physicians are almost always different). There is no spillover examination where we look at the effect of the mother’s physician on the newborn.

Why the effect doesn’t manifest for mothers is also speculative. While absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it could simply be that maternal mortality is an order of magnitude lower than newborn mortality. It is also possible that there is no effect of concordance in these situations.

According to the

Testing positive: New York has among lowest state rates of new COVID-19 cases

New York continues to have one of the nation’s lowest rates of people testing positive for the coronavirus, but experts say recent outbreaks and cooler weather could push those numbers up.

The state had the second-lowest positive test rate in the country, according to Covid Act Now, a nonprofit website run by epidemiologists, public health experts, data scientists and others that analyzes COVID-19 data. In the latest analysis, from Saturday, only Maine, at 0.5%,had a lower rate than New York, which was tied with Vermont for the second-lowest positivity rate of 1.2%. Idaho, with 23.9% of people testing positive, had the highest. The group uses a 7-day rolling average of test results.

In March and April, New York was the epicenter for the pandemic in the United States, with hundreds of residents dying of COVID-19 every day.

“We got from where we were in April because we distanced, we isolated, we masked, and the virus ran its course,” said Dr. David Battinelli, chief medical officer of New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, the state’s largest health system.

New Yorkers take the pandemic more seriously than many other Americans because they lived through the surge in cases that overloaded area hospitals with COVID-19 patients, and they’re more likely to know people who got sick or died from the disease, he said.

“The question about whether this is real, whether it’s a conspiracy, ‘Is it really what they say?,’ ‘I know somebody who didn’t get that sick’ — all that’s been answered locally,” he said.

“There is more fear,” said Sean Clouston, an associate professor of public health at Stony Brook University.

Clouston said he recently viewed live cams in several states and noticed that in New York most or all people were wearing face coverings, while in states like South Carolina, North Dakota and Louisiana, most of those with masks were seniors or people with visible disabilities, and others typically didn’t wear them.

“I think the culture around mask use is very different — the idea you should protect yourself versus the idea you should wear masks to protect everybody,” he said.

Masks both help prevent people from spreading the coronavirus and from being exposed to it themselves. They become even more important as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors, where the virus is much more likely to spread, Clouston said.

New York also took a more gradual approach to reopening its economy, in comparison to mass reopenings in other states, said Dr. Leonard Krilov, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola and chairman of pediatrics.

“We’ve been more careful,” he said.

He contrasted his 10-year-old daughter’s Long Island school, with strict social-distancing and other restrictions, with the images he’s seen in other states of students crowded together in hallways.

New York also had the sixth-lowest number of daily new cases per 100,000, according to Covid Act Now.

The state’s 7.4 daily new cases per 100,000 residents was much lower than states experiencing surges, such

Why Black women face high rates of breast cancer

This story originally ran on Today.com.

The day before she turned 30 and had planned to leave for a celebratory vacation, Sharonda Vincent felt a lump on her left breast while in the shower. She scheduled a last-minute appointment with a doctor at Planned Parenthood, who told her to enjoy her trip because she doubted it was cancerous.

After Vincent returned home to Philadelphia, the mother of one decided to see her primary care provider, just in case. This led to a series of tests, including a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. In the summer of 2005, she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer.

“I was numb, hurt, confused, upset, questioning God,” she told TODAY. “It was a complete shock.”

Vincent, now 45, has been cancer-free for 15 years, thanks to the surgery, chemo and radiation she underwent that summer. She’s among the millions of Black women who’ve survived breast cancer, even though the odds are unjustly stacked against them.

Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Black women are also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage or at a younger age. Death rates for white women with breast cancer are improving more rapidly than for Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research into the reason for these disparities is ongoing, but it’s likely “multifactorial,” Dr. Vivian Bea, chief of breast surgical oncology at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, told TODAY.

What’s more, Bea expects breast cancer outcomes for Black women to only get worse due to COVID-19. A recent survey, conducted by the cancer information platform SurvivorNet, found that 1 in 3 women has delayed getting a mammogram because of the coronavirus.

A doctor who looks like you

As a physician and Black woman, Bea believes that a main inhibitor for the Black community to seeking health care is the absence of doctors who can relate to their life experiences. Only 5 percent of U.S. doctors are Black, and even fewer are Black women, per 2018 data.

“When I take care of my Black patients … I can’t tell you how often I hear, ‘I trust you because you look like me,” she said. “I hear stories of, ‘I talked to this doctor, and I told them I had a mass, and they told me it was nothing,’ or ‘I had a pain, and they said it was in my head.’ Unfortunately (Black) women are sometimes not taken seriously.”

While Vincent doesn’t feel her care team approached her differently because of her race, she said she leaned heavily on the only Black medical professional she encountered during her treatment.

In Vincent’s initial appointments, she recalled, staff struggled to draw her blood, and she had to be pricked by multiple techs each time, especially uncomfortable given her fear of needles. So the Black medical assistant planned her future visits so the one tech who could draw Vincent’s blood on the first try

Study: Kids’ hospitalizations accompany rising unemployment rates

COVID-19 has led to widespread job loss in the United States. And now a new study reports that when unemployment rates rise, so do hospitalizations of children.

For the study, researchers analyzed 12 years of data — 2002 to 2014 — from 14 states. They found that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there was a 2% increase in child hospitalizations for all causes, among them diabetes and poisonings.

Specifically, every 1% bump in unemployment was associated with a 5% increase in hospitalizations for substance abuse and a 4% jump for diabetes. The researchers also found a 2% increase for poisoning and burns, and a 2% rise for children with medical complexity — a high need for prescriptions, medical equipment or services.

For children with diabetes and other forms of medical complexity, reduced family income could mean they’re less likely to receive medical services. This could raise their risk of hospitalizations, the study authors suggested.

It’s also possible that poor housing conditions brought on by slimmer wallets could increase children’s risk of poisonings and burns. And higher household stress due to unemployment might increase alcohol and drug use.

Further research is needed to understand how to prevent declining health in children during economic downturns, said study author Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and his colleagues.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study was published in the October issue of the journal Health Affairs.

The study relied on data from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on children’s health.

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Pregnancy rates hit new lows for women 24 and younger, new highs for women 35 and older: study

Pregnancy rates among women aged 24 or younger hit record lows in 2016, while rates for women aged 35 and older reached new highs, according to a new analysis published Thursday by Guttmacher, a sexual and reproductive health research organization.

Meanwhile, abortion rates have also declined for young people over the past 25 years, partially due to a decline in the number of people in that age group who became pregnant.

“Pregnancy rates for young people have reached their lowest recorded levels, and both birth and abortion rates among young people are continuing a longstanding decline over the past two-and-a-half decades,” said Guttmacher Senior Research Associate Isaac Maddow-Zimet.

“Conversely, pregnancy rates among older age groups have reached historic highs, with abortion rates remaining fairly constant.”

Guttmacher’s count of pregnancies includes ones that end in births, abortions, miscarriages and stillbirths.

In 2016, the latest year for which comprehensive data is available, there were 115 pregnancies per 1,000 women between the ages of 20 and 24, according to the report, the lowest levels recorded since the peak in 1990 of 202 pregnancies per 1,000 women in that age group.

Teen pregnancies have once again hit record lows, according to the analysis, with 15 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-17, down from a peak of 75 per 1,000 women in that age group in 1989.

In 2016, there were 60 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 18-19, from a peak of 175 women per 1,000 in that age group in 1991.

While state trends generally mirror national trends, pregnancy rates in 2016 were higher in young people in the South and Southwest, according to the analysis. For example, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and other states had higher than average pregnancy rates among teenagers.

Meanwhile, pregnancy rates for those aged 35-39 and 40 or older reached historic highs. In 2016, there were 73 pregnancies per 1,000 women between the ages of 35 and 39, and 18 per 1,000 women aged 40 or older. 

Pregnancy rates were higher for older age groups in the Northwest and Northeast states, including New York and New Jersey, according to the analysis.

The analysis also found that the abortion rate among young people is also declining, reaching 4 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 17 in 2017; 14 abortions per 1,000 women aged 18 and 19; and 24 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 20 and 24.

Among women over age 30, the abortion rate has stayed relatively stable since the late 1970s, at about 14 abortions per 100,000 women between the ages of 30 and 34; 9 abortions per 100,000 women between the ages of 35 and 39; and less than 5 abortions per 100,000 women aged 40 and older. 

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Wilmington Coronavirus Rates Rise, Town Upgraded To Yellow

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington was newly designated a moderate risk, yellow, community in the state’s latest town-by-town coronavirus update, Wednesday. The town has 20 active positives, the Board of Health said Wednesday.

Towns were labeled yellow if they reported more than four confirmed cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. Wilmington reported 14 new cases, bringing it to 4.1 per 100,000.

According to data released by the Board of Health, 13 of the town’s 20 current coronavirus patients are 30 or under and none are over 60. But the Boarded reported 11 cases at the Care One nursing home, Tuesday, separate from the community count.

Forty communities were labeled high-risk, Wednesday. State rules mean that high-risk communities, plus others that were high-risk in the last two updates, cannot move on to the next phase of reopening. Towns were marked high-risk, or red, if they reported more than eight confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks.

>>MA Town-By-Town Coronavirus Stats: 40 High-Risk Communities

The latest data showed the positive test rate over the last two weeks increased in 176 of the 351 communities in the state. The rate fell in 68 communities and held steady in the remaining 148.

The town’s percent positive rate over the last two weeks rose to 2.03 percent. Health officials say positive test results need to stay below 5 percent for two weeks or longer and, preferably, be closer to 2 percent, for states to safely ease restrictions.

View the state’s interactive COVID-19 map.

Christopher Huffaker can be reached at 412-265-8353 or [email protected]

This article originally appeared on the Wilmington Patch

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Baltimore officials fear the coronavirus pandemic will exacerbate another public health issue: STD rates

At first glance, the numbers look promising.

During the first seven months of 2020, according to preliminary data provided by the Baltimore Health Department, reports of sexually transmitted diseases were down in the city. Compared to last year, reports of chlamydia decreased by 20%. Reports of gonorrhea and HIV dropped, too.

But these numbers may be deceiving, thanks in large part to complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, warned Dr. Adena Greenbaum, assistant commissioner of clinical services at the city’s health department. In fact, she and other sexual health experts are bracing for STD rates to get worse.

“That’s just STDs that were reported — it doesn’t mean that they weren’t there,” she said of the preliminary data, which has yet to be finalized. “I don’t think the actual decrease in STDs was that severe during that time. I just think it really shows what happens when the reporting system closes down, or really gets reduced capacity.”

The pandemic has forced clinics and health care providers to cut back on in-person testing services and outreach efforts. With a new infectious disease to track, Baltimore City has also had to divert its contact tracing manpower from STDs.

Even before COVID-19 hit, STDs were at an all-time high across the U.S. According to an analysis done by a health services research group on data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Baltimore City had the highest STD rate in the country, with 2,004 cases per 100,000 people as of 2018.

Still, the concerns of Baltimore experts are echoed nationwide. A National Coalition of STD Directors survey at the start of the pandemic found that 83% of STD programs reported deferring services or field visits as a direct result of the coronavirus, and 66% of clinics reported a drop in sexual health screening and testing. All jurisdictions surveyed expressed concern about how the service restrictions would impact the vulnerable populations they serve.

In Baltimore, before the pandemic, no appointment was necessary to visit one of the two sexual health clinics run by the city’s health department. Now walk-ins aren’t permitted, and the city is only offering limited testing to those who are symptomatic — encouraging others to request a personal test kit from a program run out of Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, the city has yet to send its mobile outreach vans back out into the community.

Chase Brexton Health Care, however, has continued offering HIV testing on a walk-in basis. The health network’s social workers have also “intensified” outreach to their existing patients with HIV, reaching quite a few who had fallen out of care, said Dr. Sebastian Ruhs, chief medical officer for Chase Brexton. Perhaps as a result, he said, the number of patients who have an undetectable viral load has improved slightly during the pandemic.

However, the network hasn’t been able to continue offering testing for other types of STDs for those who aren’t Chase Brexton patients, due to COVID-19 restrictions and staffing issues.

Typically, during

10 States With Greatest and Least Uninsured Rates | Best States

The Supreme Court is poised to debate the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – a law that has helped some 20 million Americans gain health care coverage – in November. If struck down, fluctuations in the rates of uninsured adults across all 50 states are likely to follow. But in a year where the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged societal strata from the working class to the presidency, health insurance is a safety net most can’t afford to do without.

According to a recent WalletHub survey of uninsured rates by state, places in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions perform in the low single digits for percentages of uninsured adults, while states in the South tend to have rates in the double digits. The national average uninsured rate for adults is just over 10%.

The study cites overall uninsurance rates according to 2019 U.S. Census data in order to determine these rankings, as well as providing state data based on race, age and income. In general, Black and Latino residents tended to have higher rates of uninsurance by state. This disparity grew especially stark at the bottom of the list in Texas, where some 28% of Hispanic residents were uninsured, compared to about 10% for whites.

Here are the 10 best states for health coverage:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Hawaii
  4. Vermont
  5. Minnesota
  6. Iowa
  7. New York
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Michigan

Massachusetts topped the list for best health coverage, with only 3% of adults uninsured. And in 10th place, Michigan had 6% of adults uninsured. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s uninsurance rate for adults was nearly 13%, putting it in 41st place. Texas ranked last in terms of uninsurance rates, with as many as 20% of adults lacking health coverage.

Here are the 10 worst states for health coverage:

50. Texas
49. Oklahoma
48. Georgia
47. Florida
46. Mississippi
45. Wyoming
44. Alaska
43. Nevada
42. Arizona
41. North Carolina

Even in states with higher percentages of uninsured adults, overall uninsurance rates have been dropping since 2010. In Massachusetts, the rate decreased by roughly 1%, suggesting an already high insured rate there 10 years ago. Texas’ overall uninsurance rate dropped by more than 5% since 2010, while the same metric decreased nationally by more than 6%.

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COVID rates in Manchester and Liverpool continue to surge

Shoppers wearing face coverings pass beneath an electronic sign reminding pedestrians to 'act now to avoid a local lockdown' outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester. (Getty)
Shoppers wearing face coverings pass beneath an electronic sign reminding pedestrians to ‘act now to avoid a local lockdown’ outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester. (Getty)

COVID rates in some northern cities have almost doubled in a week, despite local lockdowns coming into force last Wednesday.

The Manchester COVID rate grew to 3,105 new cases recorded in the seven days to 3 October 3 – the equivalent of 561.6 cases per 100,000 people.

The Liverpool COVID rate also increased sharply, from 325.1 to 516.0 with 2,570 new cases, just a week after the north-west local lockdown restricted social mixing for almost two million people.

But leaders in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds have warned health secretary Matt Hancock that they would not support further “economic lockdowns” and called for new powers to tackle the resurgence.

People queuing outside a walk-in coronavirus test centre at Allerton Library in Liverpool amid rising cases across parts of England. (PA)
People queuing outside a walk-in coronavirus test centre at Allerton Library in Liverpool amid rising cases across parts of England. (PA)

The leaders of Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle city councils – Judith Blake, Sir Richard Leese and Nick Forbes – joined Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson to write to the health secretary to say they are “extremely concerned” with the rise in cases, but hit out at the “confusing” regulations.

“The existing restrictions are not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm rule, are counter-productive,” the Labour politicians wrote.

They called for additional powers to punish those who break rules, for new restrictions to be developed by police, council and public health experts and for a locally-controlled test and trace system.

Watch: What is a local lockdown?

“We want to be clear however that we do not support further economic lockdowns,” the leaders added.

Health officials are also expecting Nottingham to be placed in lockdown after a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Professor John Edmunds, who is advising the government’s coronavirus response, joined the criticism of local measures on Tuesday, arguing that new national restrictions were needed immediately to bring the pandemic under control.

“These local restrictions that have been put in place in much of the north of England really haven’t been very effective,” he told BBC Newsnight.

“We need to take much more stringent measures, not just in the north of England, we need to do it countrywide, and bring the epidemic back under control.”

He said the government’s current “light touch” measures are just “delaying the inevitable”.

Local leaders wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock about 'confusing' local lockdowns. (Getty)
Local leaders wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock about ‘confusing’ local lockdowns. (Getty)

“We will at some point put very stringent measures in place because we will have to when hospitals start to really fill up,” he said. “Frankly, the better strategy is to put them in place now.”

The calls came as the UK-wide seven-day rate increased to 125.7 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people from 63.8 a week ago, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

Daily figures showed there were 14,542 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, as of 9am on Tuesday.

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a sign asking pedestrians to 'Do Your Bit' in Manchester. (Getty)
A woman wearing a face mask