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Lake of the Ozarks Memorial Day partygoer tests positive for COVID-19 - ABC News
Health officials in Missouri are alerting those who attended Memorial Day weekend parties at the Lake of the Ozarks that a partygoer there has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. "Camden County Health Department has been notified of a Boone County resident who has tested positive for COVID-19 after being in the Lake area on May 23 and 24," according to a statement issued on Friday. Over the holiday weekend, photographs and videos were posted on social media that showed dozens of people in public pools and inside businesses not practicing social distancing or wearing masks or gloves. The St. Louis County Department of Health issued an advisory on Tuesday urging anyone who did not practice COVID-19 safety guidelines to self-quarantine for 14 days or until they test negative for the virus. The patient arrived the area on May 23 around 1 p.m. and went to Backwater Jacks twice and to Shady Gators and Lazy Gators Pool until 10 p.m., officials said. The following day, the patient started his day around 1 p.m., where he went to Buffalo Wild Wings for an hour then Shady Gators until 7 p.m., from which he took a taxi to a private residence. "The public who may have been in these places is asked to please monitor for symptoms. ... If you develop symptoms, please contact your physician and isolate until test results are known," officials said. As of Saturday, Missouri has recorded 12,795 confirmed case and at least 738 deaths, according to the state's health department. No new coronavirus cases were reported among Camden County residents this week, officials said. What to know about Coronavirus:
CDC and WHO offer conflicting advice on masks. An expert tells us why. - MSN Money
The World Health Organization issued new guidance this week that may seem confusing to Americans, who have been advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear cloth face masks in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19," the newly updated WHO guidelines read. Both organizations are considered to be reliable, authoritative sources of public health information. So why are they offering conflicting guidance on wearing masks during the pandemic? The answer may come down to practicality, according to Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. At this point in the United States' outbreak, nearly everyone can find a mask or make one, Schaffner explained, which may not be true in every country around the world, especially countries with fewer resources than the U.S. Advising universal mask wearing in a place where it's impossible to adhere to that guidance could hurt the WHO's reputation in those countries, he explained. Another possible risk in places where masks aren't universally available is the potential for health care workers to be unable to get them, leaving them unprotected while caring for sick patients. Earlier in the U.S. outbreak, when masks were scarcer, Surgeon General Jerome Adams told everyday Americans to stop buying masks for this very reason. "A lot of public heath is how can we take the theory and the science and bring it down the the average person," Schaffner said. "Public health has to be practical. Otherwise it doesn't work."
Coronavirus updates: Houston receives some 300 social distancing complaints over Memorial Day weekend - ABC News
A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 345,000 people worldwide. Over 5.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations' outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 97,724 deaths. Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis. Today's biggest developments:
Ohio governor says his face mask order went 'too far' - ABC News
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday that a statewide order mandating face masks be worn in stores went "too far." "It became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far. People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do," he said on ABC's This Week." Appearing from Cedarville, Ohio, Dewine told Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz, "that was just one (order) that went too far." While DeWine was one of the first governors to implement statewide closures amid the novel coronavirus outbreak -- closing schools on March 12 and postponing state primaries on March 17 -- he rescinded a statewide order on Tuesday requiring face masks be worn in stores, writing on Twitter that it became clear to him some Ohioans found it offensive. Despite cancelling the order, he still urged his constituents to wear masks. This week, the governor announced a phased approach to reopening Ohio, allowing manufacturing and construction businesses to resume work Monday. On May 11, consumer and retail stores will also be allowed to reopen. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, March 3, 2020, to announce impacts on the Arnold Sports Festival of the coronavirus. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, March 3, 2020, to announce impacts on the Arnold Sports Festival of the coronavirus.Julie Carr Smyth/AP, FILE The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services announced Thursday that unemployment claims had passed a million over the last six weeks amid COVID-19. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state has over 19,000 cases of coronavirus with over 1,000 deaths. This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.
Trump economic adviser's wife applies for small business loan amid rollout chaos - ABC News
President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has revealed that his wife has had an easy time applying through the the small business loan program to help keep her art business afloat amid the coronavirus crisis, despite others reporting big problems. My wife Judy she is a self-employed artist-painter, very distinguished one, some renowned, she could use some help for her operation, Kudlow said during an interview with POLITICO last week. Kudlow, whose personal assets are valued at a maximum net worth of $2 million according to a 2018 Bloomberg report, touted how simple it was for his wife to take out a loan for her business under the Small Business Administration loan program. 'She went to a local, community bank up by our place in Connecticut and apparently it's just a one-page form, that's all it is. It couldn't be easier,' Kudlow said. Judith Kudlow and Larry Kudlow attend the New York City Ballet's Spring 2013 Gala at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, May 8, 2013, in New York City. Judith Kudlow and Larry Kudlow attend the New York City Ballet's Spring 2013 Gala at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, May 8, 2013, in New York City.Jennifer Graylock/FilmMagic/Getty Images, FILE Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis. While there is no indication Kudlow's wife got special treatment, other small business owners have complained in recent days that the process hasnt been that simple. The Paycheck Protection Program, created under the $2 trillion stimulus package Congress approved last month, offers small business owners federally-backed loans that will be forgiven if the money is used to keep employees on payroll. But the program, initially funded at $367 billion, hasnt worked as planned. Small business owners reported quick rejections from banks if they didnt already have an existing relationship. And banks, for their part, were unprepared for the massive onslaught of small businesses seeking loans. In an interview with Fox Business on Friday, Kudlow said more than 660,000 loans have been approved for a total of $168 billion, meaning nearly half the money in the program has already been obligated. He warned the money in the program was forecast to run out on April 17. Those are enormous numbers, Kudlow said. Thats why we would like the Congress to help us with an additional $250 billion. Congress is actively seeking to add additional funds to the small business loan program, but Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate remain at a stalemate. Late last week, Senate Republicans attempted to pass $250 billion in additional funds for the struggling program, but their efforts were blocked by Democrats who wanted to secure $500 billion in the legislation that would go towards not only small businesses, but also to local and state governments and hospitals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a joint statement Saturday morning saying they would not agree to Democrats demands. Republicans reject Democrats reckless threat to continue blocking job-saving funding unless we renegotiate unrelated programs which are not in similar peril, the joint statement said. This will not be Congresss last word on COVID-19, but this crucial program needs funding now. American workers cannot be used as political hostages. McConnell and McCarthy claimed in their statement that the program burned through roughly half of its initial funding in the first week. The $2 trillion stimulus package prohibits lawmakers, Cabinet officials, and President Trumps family from benefiting from loans or investments from the Treasury Department. Its unclear how Mrs. Kudlow plans to use the funds granted to her business through the program and if she has any employees. ABC News has reached out to the White House for comment. The Paycheck Protection Program does allow business owners to take out a loan if they are sole proprietors. According to her website, Judith Kudlow "divides her time between New York City - where she received her art training - Washington D.C. and Redding, CT." Her painting method, according to her biography, is "based on precise drawing, careful modeling to produce the three-dimensional illusion, harmonious and accurate colors and values, and compositions based on time-honored rules." She charges between $10,000 and $20,000 for commissioned paintings, according to her website. Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that while Larry Kudlow's has applied for a loan through the program, it's unclear whether she has been approved for a loan or received any funds. What to know about coronavirus:
Questions remain over whether COVID-19 recovery will guarantee immunity: Is reinfection still possible? - ABC News
It has been only 101 days since a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, were reported to the World Health Organization, and already our understanding of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic seems extraordinary. But even with over 1.6 million people infected worldwide it's unclear whether recovery will make patients immune going forward. "The canvas that we call COVID-19 was absolutely blank [at the start], it's so remarkable, inside this many weeks, you think of how many pixels we put on that canvas, it is astounding," said Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "However, there are a lot of blanks on that canvas -- immunity and reinfection is one of those." Understanding whether people who have already been sick are immune to the virus is crucial, because experts say it could help get economies back up and running by allowing some people to safely go back to work. When your body is exposed to a virus, the immune system kicks into gear. White blood cells, antibodies and other responses work together to try to get rid of the invader. This war typically teaches the body how to attack the same invader later on. "COVID-19 has emerged so recently, we know very little about whether or not an initial infection 'teaches' the immune system how to protect against a future infection," explained Mary Carol Jennings, a physician and vaccine scientist for the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A small study out of Shanghai, which did not go through the traditional scientific peer review process, looked at blood samples from 175 patients who recovered from mild COVID-19. Nearly a third developed low levels of antibodies, and in some patients they could not be detected at all. They also observed that elderly patients were more likely to induce higher concentrations of the antibodies than younger patients. The study raised concerns in the scientific community that a lack of antibody production observed in these patients in China could mean a lack of immunity. "Higher levels of antibody tend to go together with higher levels of protection against a target pathogen, but there's no antibody rule that diseases have to follow," said Jennings. "Could someone develop an immunity that prevents them from reinfection? Yes. Can someone develop partial or weak immunity that doesn't protect them from infection but could protect them from severe disease? It could, and both would be valuable," said Poland. Antibody levels may be our best bet for now, even if they don't guarantee immunity. For the time being, they are being relied on heavily for proposed return-to-work initiatives. In a White House briefing Thursday, President Donald Trump said while it would be impractical to test the entire population before reopening the country, it would be "a nice thing to do." "If antibody testing can tell us if a person is immune, and if a person can infect others, it might be a useful tool," Jennings said. "But the logistics of making tests widely and fairly available are fraught, and we shouldn't pin our hopes to a single strategy." New reports may add another concern: the potential for reinfection. There have been case reports of patients testing negative for COVID-19, but subsequently testing positive. This has led to some head scratching among the scientific community. Are these patients being reinfected? Or could it be that the initial infection is "reactivated" in some people? One other explanation highlights concerns that tests are entering the market too rapidly, before sensitivity and specificity are fully assessed. People may think they had a positive test result, but it may be a false positive -- indicating the infection is there when it is not. For now, we don't have a clear picture. Drawing from knowledge of other types of coronaviruses that infect humans, Poland said, "Immunity to those last months only, and you become susceptible again. No one has a clear understanding of why that is." Although scientists are still studying immunity among people who have recovered from COVID-19, current evidence suggests that previously being infected may not be a guarantee that you won't get sick again. One possible explanation for this could be that the virus does not elicit a strong enough response to "imprint" a memory on the cells of the body's immune system: white blood cells called B cells and T cells. Poland explains that the short incubation period, "on average four days," means that "the infection may not be strong enough to lead to the development of memory B cells and the depth of T cell immunity that protects against future infection." He said, however, there may be partial or weak immunity even with seemingly low responses. Poland and Jennings each highlighted the urgent need to develop effective treatments or vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 infection, but emphasized how important it is not to rush a vaccine and skip critical safety measures. "At the end of the day, you are injecting a biological substance in healthy people, so even though it is needed, it must be done carefully," Poland said. "It took six years with Ebola [and] SARS had a lot of [vaccine] candidates, but they never left phase one," he added. Vaccines also rely on the body's production of antibodies. If a successful vaccine is developed, the virus may undergo a mutation or a concept referred to as drifting, making the vaccine ineffective next year. This happens with the influenza vaccine, but coronaviruses typically mutate at a slower rate. On the other hand, Poland said, "It could act like Hepatitis B [vaccine] where even though antibody levels are undetectable, you still have immunity due to cellular memory." With the scientific community racing to understand immunity, experts caution that everyone -- including people who have already recovered from COVID-19 -- continue to practice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's safety and sanitation recommendations. Delaram J. Taghipour, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., is a preventive medicine resident at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and is a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.