COVID19 update, July 14, 2020: Israel’s second wave exceeds first; possible drug breakthrough; aerosol transmission; link dump

(1) Israel’s second wave seems to be exceeding its first wave in documented infections, but so far (thank G-d) not in mortality. Yesterday’s number of newly diagnosed cases was an all-time high. Still, with 22,324 active documented cases as of the time of writing, we have 114 moderate cases (0.5%) and 183 severe cases (0.8%), with just 56 patients on respirators. Testing capacity did increase: we now routinely reach up to 30,000 tests per day, in a country of 8+ million people. 

The Health Ministry gives the impression of being at the same time overwhelmed and unwilling to let any others help out. Prof. Siegal Sadetski resigned some days ago with a blistering resignation letter; today the head of the emergency corona commission during the first wave,Prof. Eli Waxman (a well-known physicist from the Weizmann Institute), gave a pretty outspoken assessment.

Own-goals like over 12,000 people being mistakenly told to go into quarantine as tracking apps on their phones supposedly had identified them as being exposed do not exactly inspire great confidence. (To be fair, the domestic security service did not want this mass tracking job, but it was dumped upon them.)

Nobody (in their right mind) wants another lockdown as the economic consequences would be terrible, but the lack of self-discipline on the part of especially the younger public may push the country into a corner where it has no other option. We’re not even talking about severe social distance here, just refraining from hugging, kissing, and back-slapping with casual buddies. 

(2) This is big if it pans out: Hebrew U. Scientist and his Mount Sinai collaborator (that sounds odd) claim to have found that already-approved drug Fenofibrate (Tricor), a hypolipidemic used in the treatment of metabolic disorders, impedes SARS-CoV-2  infestation of the lungs to such a degree that it will reduce  COVID-19 to an unpleasant nuisance rather than potentially life-threatening.

The preprint of the paper is at

(3) Link roundup:

* Jeff Duntemann brought this older paper to my attention:

It deals with aerosol transmission of influenza viruses, but should be directly relevant to COVID19

* When discussing covid19 morbidity and mortality in younger people, the following numbers for other causes of death(e,gf, traffic accidents) may serve as a sanity check

Chemical and Engineering News wonders if Europe could develop its own electric car battery industry and wean itself off dependence on Chinese suppliers.

* multiple sources report that in a major reversal by Boris Johnson, the UK bars Huawei from supplying the new 5G network  

*  (Via Instapundit.) And just what  testing numbers from Florida can you trust? Why having multiple labs turn in 100% positive test results did not raise red flags is beyond me.

* Also via Instapundit: Meanwhile in India, a new drug was approved:

INDIA: Biocon’s Itolizumab approved for COVID-19 treatment: All you need to know. “The company has received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to market Itolizumab injection 25mg/5mL solution for emergency use in India for the treatment of cytokine release syndrome in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to COVID-19. Biocon says Itolizumab is the first novel biologic therapy to be approved anywhere in the world for treating patients with such complications.”

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