This week in pandemic news, cases continue to surge in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, as well as in Solano County to the north; the CDC is cowing to President Trump's anger over guidelines around the reopening of schools; and a new study out of the UK points to serious, lasting brain disorders in recovered COVID-19 patients.
Alameda County adds 1,100 cases in one week; Contra Costa adds 1,000. New cases have been fast on the rise in the East Bay counties of Alameda and Contra Costa since mid-June. But just since July 1 the two counties have added more than 2,000 cases to the Bay Area cumulative tally, accounting for 40 percent of the regional uptick during that one-week period. Since Friday before the July 4th holiday, Alameda County has gone from 6,851 cases to 7,245 cases, but hospitalizations have gone from 157 to 141 during the same five days.
The state is looking to counties to keep patient count upticks below 10 percent, as the LA Times reports, and so far, Alameda County has avoided landing on the state's watch list of 23 counties, while Contra Costa County is on that list — and Contra Costa's hospitalizations rose Wednesday from 49 to 57, an increase of 16 percent. The state is also holding counties to a threshold of 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period — and county officials today said the average number of cases per 100,000 residents rose from 63.2 to 71.1 over the past seven days. Nonetheless, the county is pausing its reopening of businesses as a precaution.
Napa County gets definitive orders to roll back reopenings. As the county was warned late Monday, the state is adding Napa County to its watch list due to rising case numbers there. Therefore indoor restaurants, bars, breweries, winery tasting rooms, and other businesses in the county which reopened last month will have to close starting Thursday for at least three weeks. [KRON4]
Solano County adds 350 cases in two days. Since the end of the holiday weekend, Solano County has added 350 new cases to its cumulative total, bringing it to 1,826. Cases rose 5 percent in the county between Monday and Tuesday, and hospializations ticked up nearly 30 percent, with 35 patients now hospitalized. [SFist]
The CDC says it will issue new guidelines on reopening schools to make Trump happy. After President Trump assailed new CDC guidelines for the reopening of schools, vowing to withhold funding from schools that don't reopen, Mike Pence announced Wednesday that the agency would be issuing new guidelines next week. The president for some reason — probably because of Fox News — has taken this on as his cause du jour this week in his ongoing, spiraling denial of the realities of the pandemic. And on Twitter early this morning he called the CDC's initial guidelines "impractical" and "very tough & expensive," leading to this afternoon's announcement. CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield subsequently said that the guidelines should not be used "as a rationale to keep schools closed." And he added in a statement, "We are prepared to work with each school, each jurisdiction to help them use the different strategies that we proposed that help do this safely so they come up with the optimal strategy for those schools." Curiously, Trump reasons that Democrats "think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election," and he crowed about how European countries where the virus is far more under control have reopened schools "WITH NO PROBLEMS." [New York Times / CNN]
A new study suggests serious and severe brain disorders and lasting effects of COVID-19 among recovered patients, some with mild symptoms previously. Furthering evidence of the complex web of complications caused by what scientists now see as a vascular, rather than a respiratory, disease, a new study out of the UK published in the journal Brain describes neurological damage and other problems in recovered patients. The researchers saw a disturbing rise in case of a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem) during the first wave of COVID infections in Britain. These cases presented with delirium, brain inflammation, and even stroke, and in some cases these were patients' first and only symptom of the coronavirus. The study tells the story of one patient, a 55-year-old woman with no history of psychiatric illness, who began exhibiting odd behaviors and having hallucinations the day after being discharged from the hospital following a COVID-19 diagnosis, and she had to be treated with anti-psychotic medications. In some cases, these brain disorders have been fatal. [Guardian]