SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report

995

As of April 9, 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had resulted in 1,521,252 cases and 92,798 deaths worldwide, including 459,165 cases and 16,570 deaths in the United States (1,2). Health care personnel (HCP) are essential workers defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials (3). During February 12-April 9, among 315,531 COVID-19 cases reported to CDC using a standardized form, 49,370 (16%) included data on whether the patient was a health care worker in the United States; including 9,282 (19%) who were identified as HCP. Among HCP patients with data available, the median age was 42 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 32-54 years), 6,603 (73%) were female, and 1,779 (38%) reported at least one underlying health condition. Among HCP patients with data on health care, household, and community exposures, 780 (55%) reported contact with a COVID-19 patient only in health care settings. Although 4,336 (92%) HCP patients reported having at least one symptom among fever, cough, or shortness of breath, the remaining 8% did not report any of these symptoms. Most HCP with COVID-19 (6,760, 90%) were not hospitalized; however, severe outcomes, including 27 deaths, occurred across all age groups; deaths most frequently occurred in HCP aged ≥65 years. These preliminary findings highlight that whether HCP acquire infection at work or in the community, it is necessary to protect the health and safety of this essential national workforce.

948

Since SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), was first detected in December 2019 (1), approximately 1.3 million cases have been reported worldwide (2), including approximately 330,000 in the United States (3). To conduct population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in the United States, the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) was created using the existing infrastructure of the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) (4) and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RSV-NET). This report presents age-stratified COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates for patients admitted during March 1-28, 2020, and clinical data on patients admitted during March 1-30, 2020, the first month of U.S. surveillance. Among 1,482 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 74.5% were aged ≥50 years, and 54.4% were male. The hospitalization rate among patients identified through COVID-NET during this 4-week period was 4.6 per 100,000 population. Rates were highest (13.8) among adults aged ≥65 years. Among 178 (12%) adult patients with data on underlying conditions as of March 30, 2020, 89.3% had one or more underlying conditions; the most common were hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). These findings suggest that older adults have elevated rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalization and the majority of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying medical conditions. These findings underscore the importance of preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and wearing face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain)† to protect older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions, as well as the general public. In addition, older adults and persons with serious underlying medical conditions should avoid contact with persons who are ill and immediately contact their health care provider(s) if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) (5). Ongoing monitoring of hospitalization rates, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of hospitalized patients will be important to better understand the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States and the clinical spectrum of disease, and to help guide planning and prioritization of health care system resources.

897

On January 19, 2020, the state of Washington reported the first U.S. laboratory-confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2 (1). As of April 19, a total of 720,630 COVID-19 cases and 37,202 associated deaths* had been reported to CDC from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories (2). CDC recommends, with precautions, the proper cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (3). To assess whether there might be a possible association between COVID-19 cleaning recommendations from public health agencies and the media and the number of chemical exposures reported to the National Poison Data System (NPDS), CDC and the American Association of Poison Control Centers surveillance team compared the number of exposures reported for the period January-March 2020 with the number of reports during the same 3-month period in 2018 and 2019. Fifty-five poison centers in the United States provide free, 24-hour professional advice and medical management information regarding exposures to poisons, chemicals, drugs, and medications. Call data from poison centers are uploaded in near real-time to NPDS. During January-March 2020, poison centers received 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners (28,158) and disinfectants (17,392), representing overall increases of 20.4% and 16.4% from January-March 2019 (37,822) and January-March 2018 (39,122), respectively. Although NPDS data do not provide information showing a definite link between exposures and COVID-19 cleaning efforts, there appears to be a clear temporal association with increased use of these products.

848

An outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019, and has spread throughout China and to 31 other countries and territories, including the United States (1). As of February 23, 2020, there were 76,936 reported cases in mainland China and 1,875 cases in locations outside mainland China (1). There have been 2,462 associated deaths worldwide; no deaths have been reported in the United States. Fourteen cases have been diagnosed in the United States, and an additional 39 cases have occurred among repatriated persons from high-risk settings, for a current total of 53 cases within the United States. This report summarizes the aggressive measures (2,3) that CDC, state and local health departments, multiple other federal agencies, and other partners are implementing to slow and try to contain transmission of COVID-19 in the United States. These measures require the identification of cases and contacts of persons with COVID-19 in the United States and the recommended assessment, monitoring, and care of travelers arriving from areas with substantial COVID-19 transmission. Although these measures might not prevent widespread transmission of the virus in the United States, they are being implemented to 1) slow the spread of illness; 2) provide time to better prepare state and local health departments, health care systems, businesses, educational organizations, and the general public in the event that widespread transmission occurs; and 3) better characterize COVID-19 to guide public health recommendations and the development and deployment of medical countermeasures, including diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. U.S. public health authorities are monitoring the situation closely, and CDC is coordinating efforts with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global partners. Interim guidance is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html. As more is learned about this novel virus and this outbreak, CDC will rapidly incorporate new knowledge into guidance for action by CDC, state and local health departments, health care providers, and communities.

774

The U.S. opioid epidemic is continuing, and drug overdose deaths nearly tripled during 1999-2014. Among 47,055 drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2014 in the United States, 28,647 (60.9%) involved an opioid (1). Illicit opioids are contributing to the increase in opioid overdose deaths (2,3). In an effort to target prevention strategies to address the rapidly changing epidemic, CDC examined overall drug overdose death rates during 2010-2015 and opioid overdose death rates during 2014-2015 by subcategories (natural/semisynthetic opioids, methadone, heroin, and synthetic opioids other than methadone).* Rates were stratified by demographics, region, and by 28 states with high quality reporting on death certificates of specific drugs involved in overdose deaths. During 2015, drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 U.S. deaths, including 33,091 (63.1%) that involved an opioid. There has been progress in preventing methadone deaths, and death rates declined by 9.1%. However, rates of deaths involving other opioids, specifically heroin and synthetic opioids other than methadone (likely driven primarily by illicitly manufactured fentanyl) (2,3), increased sharply overall and across many states. A multifaceted, collaborative public health and law enforcement approach is urgently needed. Response efforts include implementing the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (4), improving access to and use of prescription drug monitoring programs, enhancing naloxone distribution and other harm reduction approaches, increasing opioid use disorder treatment capacity, improving linkage into treatment, and supporting law enforcement strategies to reduce the illicit opioid supply.

Concepts: United States, Drugs, Opioid, Morphine, Heroin, Naloxone, Drug overdose, Opioid overdose

743

A recent report described a sharp increase in calls to poison centers related to exposures to cleaners and disinfectants since the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (1). However, data describing cleaning and disinfection practices within household settings in the United States are limited, particularly concerning those practices intended to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. To provide contextual and behavioral insight into the reported increase in poison center calls and to inform timely and relevant prevention strategies, an opt-in Internet panel survey of 502 U.S. adults was conducted in May 2020 to characterize knowledge and practices regarding household cleaning and disinfection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowledge gaps were identified in several areas, including safe preparation of cleaning and disinfectant solutions, use of recommended personal protective equipment when using cleaners and disinfectants, and safe storage of hand sanitizers, cleaners, and disinfectants. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported engaging in nonrecommended high-risk practices with the intent of preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, such as washing food products with bleach, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin, and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products. Respondents who engaged in high-risk practices more frequently reported an adverse health effect that they believed was a result of using cleaners or disinfectants than did those who did not report engaging in these practices. Public messaging should continue to emphasize evidence-based, safe practices such as hand hygiene and recommended cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in household settings (2). Messaging should also emphasize avoidance of high-risk practices such as unsafe preparation of cleaning and disinfectant solutions, use of bleach on food products, application of household cleaning and disinfectant products to skin, and inhalation or ingestion of cleaners and disinfectants.

704

To promote optimal health and well-being, adults aged 18-60 years are recommended to sleep at least 7 hours each night (1). Sleeping <7 hours per night is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality (2-4). Insufficient sleep impairs cognitive performance, which can increase the likelihood of motor vehicle and other transportation accidents, industrial accidents, medical errors, and loss of work productivity that could affect the wider community (5). CDC analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to determine the prevalence of a healthy sleep duration (≥7 hours) among 444,306 adult respondents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A total of 65.2% of respondents reported a healthy sleep duration; the age-adjusted prevalence of healthy sleep was lower among non-Hispanic blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and multiracial respondents, compared with non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and Asians. State-based estimates of healthy sleep duration prevalence ranged from 56.1% in Hawaii to 71.6% in South Dakota. Geographic clustering of the lowest prevalence of healthy sleep duration was observed in the southeastern United States and in states along the Appalachian Mountains, and the highest prevalence was observed in the Great Plains states. More than one third of U.S. respondents reported typically sleeping <7 hours in a 24-hour period, suggesting an ongoing need for public awareness and public education about sleep health; worksite shift policies that ensure healthy sleep duration for shift workers, particularly medical professionals, emergency response personnel, and transportation industry personnel; and opportunities for health care providers to discuss the importance of healthy sleep duration with patients and address reasons for poor sleep health.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Hypertension, United States, Native Americans in the United States, Great Plains, South Dakota

693

Congregate work and residential locations are at increased risk for infectious disease transmission including respiratory illness outbreaks. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is primarily spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Nationwide, the meat and poultry processing industry, an essential component of the U.S. food infrastructure, employs approximately 500,000 persons, many of whom work in proximity to other workers (1). Because of reports of initial cases of COVID-19, in some meat processing facilities, states were asked to provide aggregated data concerning the number of meat and poultry processing facilities affected by COVID-19 and the number of workers with COVID-19 in these facilities, including COVID-19-related deaths. Qualitative data gathered by CDC during on-site and remote assessments were analyzed and summarized. During April 9-27, aggregate data on COVID-19 cases among 115 meat or poultry processing facilities in 19 states were reported to CDC. Among these facilities, COVID-19 was diagnosed in 4,913 (approximately 3%) workers, and 20 COVID-19-related deaths were reported. Facility barriers to effective prevention and control of COVID-19 included difficulty distancing workers at least 6 feet (2 meters) from one another (2) and in implementing COVID-19-specific disinfection guidelines.* Among workers, socioeconomic challenges might contribute to working while feeling ill, particularly if there are management practices such as bonuses that incentivize attendance. Methods to decrease transmission within the facility include worker symptom screening programs, policies to discourage working while experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19, and social distancing by workers. Source control measures (e.g., the use of cloth face covers) as well as increased disinfection of high-touch surfaces are also important means of preventing SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Mitigation efforts to reduce transmission in the community should also be considered. Many of these measures might also reduce asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission (3). Implementation of these public health strategies will help protect workers from COVID-19 in this industry and assist in preserving the critical meat and poultry production infrastructure (4).

677

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has spread rapidly around the world since it was first recognized in late 2019. Most early reports of person-to-person SARS-CoV-2 transmission have been among household contacts, where the secondary attack rate has been estimated to exceed 10% (1), in health care facilities (2), and in congregate settings (3). However, widespread community transmission, as is currently being observed in the United States, requires more expansive transmission events between nonhousehold contacts. In February and March 2020, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) investigated a large, multifamily cluster of COVID-19. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 and their close contacts were interviewed to better understand nonhousehold, community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. This report describes the cluster of 16 cases of confirmed or probable COVID-19, including three deaths, likely resulting from transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at two family gatherings (a funeral and a birthday party). These data support current CDC social distancing recommendations intended to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. U.S residents should follow stay-at-home orders when required by state or local authorities.

656

Older adults are susceptible to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes as a consequence of their age and, in some cases, underlying health conditions (1). A COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care skilled nursing facility (SNF) in King County, Washington that was first identified on February 28, 2020, highlighted the potential for rapid spread among residents of these types of facilities (2). On March 1, a health care provider at a second long-term care skilled nursing facility (facility A) in King County, Washington, had a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, after working while symptomatic on February 26 and 28. By March 6, seven residents of this second facility were symptomatic and had positive test results for SARS-CoV-2. On March 13, CDC performed symptom assessments and SARS-CoV-2 testing for 76 (93%) of the 82 facility A residents to evaluate the utility of symptom screening for identification of COVID-19 in SNF residents. Residents were categorized as asymptomatic or symptomatic at the time of testing, based on the absence or presence of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms on the day of testing or during the preceding 14 days. Among 23 (30%) residents with positive test results, 10 (43%) had symptoms on the date of testing, and 13 (57%) were asymptomatic. Seven days after testing, 10 of these 13 previously asymptomatic residents had developed symptoms and were recategorized as presymptomatic at the time of testing. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing cycle threshold (Ct) values indicated large quantities of viral RNA in asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and symptomatic residents, suggesting the potential for transmission regardless of symptoms. Symptom-based screening in SNFs could fail to identify approximately half of residents with COVID-19. Long-term care facilities should take proactive steps to prevent introduction of SARS-CoV-2 (3). Once a confirmed case is identified in an SNF, all residents should be placed on isolation precautions if possible (3), with considerations for extended use or reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed (4).