NC IS NOW TESTING 5,000-7,000 FOR COVID 19 EACH DAY: At least 14,931 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 564 have died as of Monday morning, according to state and county health departments. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 404 new cases of the virus on Sunday, down from 492 reported the day before. At least 442 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, a drop from the 513 reported Saturday. The state was averaging 506 daily hospitalizations over the last seven days on Sunday. Only one of North Carolina’s 100 counties has not reported a case of the virus. At least one death has been reported in 72 counties. Overall, North Carolina had completed 192,135 tests as of Sunday afternoon, 8% of which have come back positive.
TYSON CHICKEN PROCESSING PLANT CLOSES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: A Tyson Foods poultry plant in North Carolina is closing temporarily for deep cleaning after a coronavirus outbreak there. News outlets report that one of two Tyson plants in Wilkesboro closed Saturday and will reopen on Tuesday. The plant is normally closed on Sundays anyway. Tyson employs about 3,000 people at its two Wilkesboro plants. A spokesman for the plant wouldn't say how many employees had contracted COVID-19. But officials in Wilkes County said Friday that an outbreak at the plant is responsible for a majority of the county's 194 coronavirus cases. Meat processing plants across the country have seen outbreaks of coronavirus.
BERGER'S ANTIBODY TESTS ARE OFF TO A SLOW START: As of Friday, 1,475 antibody test kits have been sent to participants and results have come back for 676 of them, according to results posted by Sen. Phil Berger and the study’s lead researcher, Dr. John Sanders of Wake Forest. The initial enrollment of 7,194 people in the overall study has skewed toward white women. The subset of participants for the antibody testing will be selected to be representative of their counties of residence, according to Berger’s post. Atrium is working “to explicitly target recruitment of underrepresented populations.” Antibodies for the coronavirus are present in 2.2% of the 676 participants with results so far. “This figure (2.2%) is preliminary and should not be fully extrapolated to the broader population at this time, but certainly suggests a low seroprevalence in the Triad region,” Berger’s post said. Seroprevalence refers to how much of the population has been infected.
CORONAVIRUS IS NOT JUST A RESPIRATORY DISEASE: Today, there is widespread recognition the novel coronavirus is far more unpredictable than a simple respiratory virus. Often it attacks the lungs, but it can also strike anywhere from the brain to the toes. Many doctors are focused on treating the inflammatory reactions it triggers and its capacity to cause blood clots, even as they struggle to help patients breathe. More than four months of clinical experience across Asia, Europe and North America has shown the pathogen does much more than invade the lungs. “No one was expecting a disease that would not fit the pattern of pneumonia and respiratory illness,” said David Reich, a cardiac anesthesiologist and president of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. It attacks the heart, weakening its muscles and disrupting its critical rhythm. It savages kidneys so badly some hospitals have run short of dialysis equipment. It crawls along the nervous system, destroying taste and smell and occasionally reaching the brain. It creates blood clots that can kill with sudden efficiency and inflames blood vessels throughout the body. It can begin with a few symptoms or none at all, then days later, squeeze the air out of the lungs without warning. It picks on the elderly, people weakened by previous disease, and, disproportionately, the obese. It harms men more than women, but there are also signs it complicates pregnancies.
THE WHITE HOUSE IS ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING AN OUTBREAK ZONE: Three top officials leading the White House response to the pandemic began to quarantine themselves over the weekend after two Trump administration staff members — a valet to President Trump; and Katie Miller, the press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence — tested positive for the virus. Late Sunday, responding to scattered news reports that the vice president was isolating himself, the White House issued a statement saying that Mr. Pence would not alter his routine or self-quarantine. The vice president “has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow,” said Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Mr. Pence. Among those who will be sequestered for two weeks is Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert. So will Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. The Navy’s top admiral, Michael M. Gilday, will also quarantine himself for one week after coming into contact with a family member who has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Pentagon said in a statement on Sunday night. A second member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, but a subsequent test that day was negative, according to the same Pentagon statement on Sunday. General Lengyel will undergo a third test on Monday to confirm his negative status, the statement said.