COVID19 mini-update, August 17, 2020: Canada and an unusual super-spreader; a physician reports from Stockholm; herd immunity redux; viricidal coatings for hospital and household objects

(1) Dr. John Campbell’s latest update contains some news about Canada, which I haven’t devoted much attention to here.

A few highlights:

  • Canada so far seems to have dodged a second wave. Looking at worldometers, daily new cases are holding steady in the about 400 range, and daily deaths in the 5-6 range.
  • A super-spreader event took place at a “gentlemen’s club” in Toronto, where one of the “employees” (not clear whether it was a “performer”, waitstaff, or a bouncer) appears to have infected 550 people over a period of 4 days

(2) (h/t: masgramondou) How bad is COVID19 really? A Swedish doctor’s perspective. These are first-person observations from an ER doctor in Stockholm:

Covid hit Stockholm like a storm in mid-March. One day I was seeing people with appendicitis and kidney stones, the usual things you see in the emergency room. The next day all those patients were gone and the only thing coming in to the hospital was covid. Practically everyone who was tested had covid, regardless of what the presenting symtom was. People came in with a nose bleed and they had covid. They came in with stomach pain and they had covid.

Then, after a few months, all the covid patients disappeared. It is now four months since the start of the pandemic, and I haven’t seen a single covid patient in over a month. When I do test someone because they have a cough or a fever, the test invariably comes back negative. At the peak three months back, a hundred people were dying a day of covid in Sweden, a country with a population of ten million. We are now down to around five people dying per day in the whole country, and that number continues to drop. Since people generally die around three weeks after infection, that means virtually no-one is getting infected any more. […]Basically, covid is in all practical senses over and done with in Sweden. After four months.

Read the whole thing. A bunch of other excellent posts on that blog, such as:

Related to the last point: (h/t David Bernstein): a surprisingly balanced piece from the NYT on whether perhaps “herd immunity” is closer than we thought? (Archive link http://archive.is/Ditgw ) He wonders if the author will now be “canceled” from the NYT staff 😉

(3) From an ACS Journals roundup of COVID19-related papers, two that caught my eye:

  • https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c05229 “Mechanisms of Airborne Infection via Evaporating and Sedimenting Droplets Produced by Speaking” by Roland R. Netz from Free U. Berlin.
  • https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c11425 about antiviral coatings for doorknobs and other objects. “We have fabricated and tested a coating that is designed to reduce the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 on solids. The coating consists of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) particles bound with polyurethane. After 1 h on coated glass or stainless steel, the viral titer was reduced by about 99.9% on average compared to the uncoated sample. An advantage of a polyurethane-based coating is that polyurethane is already used to coat a large number of everyday objects. Our coating adheres well to glass and stainless steel as well as everyday items that people may fear to touch during a pandemic, such as a doorknob, a pen, and a credit card keypad button. The coating performs well in the cross-hatch durability test and remains intact and active after 13 days of being immersed in water or after exposure to multiple cycles of exposure to the virus and disinfection.”

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