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Mexico reverses some openings as virus cases continue high

Mexico’s coronavirus outbreak rose by about 6,740 newly confirmed cases Friday for a second straight day, while 654 more deaths raised the country’s total to 29,843.

The number of deaths is the sixth-highest highest in the world, and Mexico is just a few dozen from overtaking France for the fifth-highest death toll, though Mexico’s population is about double that of France.

The continued increase in cases and deaths has stalled Mexico’s planned re-opening. The northern border state of Nuevo Leon, home to the city of Monterrey, declared a weekend curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Given the spike in cases in the United States, several Mexican border states announced they would establish temperature checks for visitors coming from the U.S., or require they show have hotel reservations or are engaged in some essential business or work activity.

The Mexico City government said Friday it will re-close some of the streets and businesses allowed to open during the week in the capital’s historic colonial-era downtown, after crowding and a lack of sanitary measures were reported at some stores. While most customers and clients wore some form of face mask, many stores didn’t reduce the number of clients allowed in, provide foot-wiping pads or sanitizer gel.




Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the re-closing of the Centro area “is not a punishment, it is simply a pause in the voyage.”

The joint plan required the active participation of the government, the public and store owners, and Sheinbaum said it will now be rethought.

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Dylan Dreyer Pumps While Filming ‘Today’: ‘Mama’s Got to Make Some Milk’

Multitasking at its best! Dylan Dreyer opened up about how she’s adapted to filming the Today show at home — and revealed she’s been pumping while working.

“I got some work done on my maternity leave,” the meteorologist, 38, joked during the Thursday, June 2, show, as she moved her camera down and turned to the side. “I have to pump! Mama’s gotta make some milk.”

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Dreyer and husband Brian Fichera welcomed their second child, son Oliver, in January 2020. The duo also share 3-year-old son Calvin.

“I have to feed Oliver, and this is taking a little longer than I planned for, so I’ve got portable pumps and I’m all hooked up and ready to go!” she told cohosts Craig Melvin, Al Roker and Sheinelle Jones, sharing that she was using a breast pump underneath her jacket. “Multitasking!”

Melvin, 41, was shocked by her actions and had a lot of questions, asking if the hands-free pumps are “as strong” as other types of pumps.

“Yes, they are just as powerful — sometimes better than the plug-in, old-fashioned ones,” the New Jersey native shared, noting it takes her about 20 minutes. “I had so much to do today and four times, I would’ve had to stop to pump, but instead I put these on. So now it’s not like, ‘Guys, I gotta go.’ … I cook dinner, I was cleaning the floors today ’cause we had a little construction done in our house so everything was dusty. I packed for vacation, I feed Calvin breakfast. Everything is just hands-free.”

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She also added that she enjoys the hands-free pump because it allows her to entertain Calvin.

“Calvin knows I can play with him with these on, and I can’t play with him when I’m on the stationary one. So he’ll be like, ‘Are you putting your walking pumps on?’ And I’m like, ‘Yep, we’ll do walking pumps so we can play.’ And then he goes, ‘Pump, pump, pump, pump,’” Dreyer shared. “It’s just become a normal thing.”

On Thursday, Dreyer also shared multiple photos of her home, to show her followers what isn’t shown on TV.

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“Working on TV from home is all about hiding the mess,” the Earth Odyssey with Dylan Dreyer host captioned the photos via Instagram. “Here’s what you see and what’s hiding in the wings #notimetoclean.”

The pics show off her dining room, kitchen and living area — all in which toys are scattered around the room. In the kitchen, there’s even a play kitchen used by the kids.

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Some say allow family access to dying patients with COVID-19

(HealthDay)—Allowing adult family member presence at the bedside of dying patients during COVID-19 is feasible, and could have multiple benefits, according to an editorial published online June 8 in Intensive Care Medicine.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in provision of intensive and end-of-life care for patients and their families, and that front-line physicians may feel unprepared and overwhelmed with the accompanying emotional responsibilities, Martha A.Q. Curley, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and colleagues discuss an alternative pathway to prevent patients from dying alone.

The authors note that infection control, public health concerns, and family-centered care can coexist and urge reconsideration of adult family member presence at the bedside of patients, which can be accomplished safely. Family members would likely be motivated, grateful, and capable of involvement in their loved one’s care with careful screening, preparation, and support; furthermore, family members would likely experience more positive grief resolution and less posttraumatic stress. Patients could be calmed by the presence of a familiar person, and family members could assist with comforting and care activities. This planning necessitates consideration of issues such as infection status, capability of upholding safe practices, and perceived benefit to the patient. Families that meet these criteria should be given this option.

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Residents of some cities unwilling to comply with COVID-19 prevention behaviors

Several U.S. cities may be at increased risk of surges in COVID-19 cases as they reopen their economies because their residents are unwilling to follow practices that reduce the spread of the disease, according to Penn State researchers.

Dr. Robert Lennon, an associate professor of family and community medicine at Penn State College of Medicine, and his colleagues, including Dr. Lauren Van Scoy, co-director of the Qualitative Mixed Methods Core at the College of Medicine, developed a survey in collaboration with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) to determine whether people were willing to follow key recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Lennon says the preliminary findings, which are in press and will be published by SLACK Incorporated in an upcoming issue of HLRP: Health, Literacy, Research and Practice, should cause concern for public health experts and government officials in certain regions.

“Our data indicate that there is a public lack of intent to comply with certain CDC recommendations in several parts of the United States,” said Lennon, principal investigator of the study. “As a result, these areas might be at increased risk for a surge in COVID-19 cases as quarantine restrictions ease.”

Study participants reported demographic information as well as their knowledge of and intent to comply with the CDC’s five recommendations for preventing COVID-19. The recommendations are:

  • Wash your hands often (for 20 seconds or more);
  • Maintain social distancing/social isolation even if you have no symptoms;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (avoid touching your face);
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow; and
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical attention and call in advance.

The global survey, available online in more than 23 languages, assesses public perceptions and compliance with COVID-19 health safety recommendations. Lennon and fellow investigators at Penn State College of Medicine developed the questionnaire and CHIME provided the infrastructure for the survey and has helped distribute it globally.

“It is important that we have accurate data from around the world to address the pandemic,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell. “We have the ability to examine data at the city level or expand to the country level and beyond to assess what precautions are being followed. This will help health organizations proactively revise their public education programs, which is key to keeping their communities healthy and safe.”

Lennon and colleagues analyzed responses from more than 5,000 U.S. adults who completed the survey between April 9 and 15. They used three-digit zip code prefix areas to determine where the participants lived.

Respondents showed substantial, significant differences in their intent to comply with CDC recommendations across different cities. Lennon says that as compliance falls below 80%, the behaviors are less likely to be effective. The team documented a particularly low intent to comply with the recommendation they said is the most important—avoid touching your face. Half or fewer of respondents from Atlanta, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Seattle said they intend to comply with that one measure. (See table below.)

While respondents indicated fairly high intent to comply with other recommendations, all of the cities investigated had compliance near 80% for at least some of the other behaviors. Lennon cautions that the actions of even one individual might undo the work of the majority of people who are following recommendations carefully. For example, an individual leaving home when they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may put others at risk for exposure.

The anonymous survey, which has been completed in every state in the U.S. and 70 countries, will remain open until July 9. It takes about five minutes to complete and is available at https://COVIDsurvey.psu.edu/c/beatcovid. Lennon says that the data may be used to help get people appropriate information from sources they trust to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Beijing lifts some lockdowns as virus cases drop

Beijing lifted several lockdowns imposed to control a fresh coronavirus outbreak and reported just three new cases in the city on Wednesday, raising hopes that the cluster had been brought under control.

The Chinese capital had closed off dozens of residential compounds and carried out mass testing last month after hundreds of infections raised fears of a virus resurgence.

But five residential communities that have had no new virus cases during a control period were released from lockdown on Tuesday, state media reported, as the city relaxed curbs.

Seven other Beijing communities saw their lockdowns lifted last Friday.

The vast majority of cases have been linked to the sprawling Xinfadi market that supplies about 80 percent of Beijing’s fresh produce and meat, sparking concern about food safety.

State media outlet China News reported that the lockdown of five communities in the hard-hit Fengtai district was lifted, and disease control experts would propose a plan for removing restrictions on another seven in the area surrounding the market.

But the report said even the communities freed from lockdown would have to “strictly implement closed management”, with non-residents unable to enter the compounds.

Communities will also issue entry passes for residents.

China had largely brought the deadly outbreak under control before the new Beijing cluster was detected.

The government has since imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in neighbouring Hebei province to contain a fresh cluster there, adopting the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the epicentre of Wuhan city earlier this year.

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Some doctors think face shields protect against the coronavirus as well as masks

Now that we’ve gotten used to the idea of wearing masks or bandannas when we go out in public, some doctors are proposing an alternative.

They think that face shields—curved sheets of clear plastic that cover the entire face—are as good as masks on some measures of infection control while allowing for better breathing and communication.

Three University of Iowa infectious disease doctors and hospital epidemiologists recently suggested in a Journal of the American Medical Association article, that face shields may be a better option than masks for the general public in community settings, and some of their peers agree with them.

For example, Ravina Kullar, a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and an infectious disease consultant to Los Angeles nursing homes, recently bought a face shield for forays into her Santa Monica neighborhood. “I would say a face shield alone is better than a face mask,” she said, referring to people who are not in health care settings. “You don’t need both.”

Daniel McQuillan, an infectious disease doctor at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and IDSA vice president, also recently bought a shield after a hockey supply company started making them. He finds it more comfortable to wear and says he doesn’t touch his face as much as when he’s wearing a mask. Plus the shield covers his eyes, an entry point for the virus that is not protected by masks. “I think this is something that can be pushed out to lots of people and have a reasonable public health impact in addition to people wearing masks,” he said.

The division of infectious diseases and PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this month recommended that certain teachers opt for shields when schools reopen. It’s particularly important, the group said, for students who are deaf or hearing impaired or have autism spectrum disorder to be able to see the teacher’s entire face.

There are holdouts. Gregory Poland, a prominent infectious diseases and vaccine specialist at the Mayo Clinic, is one of them. “All of the air that you breathe with a shield is unfiltered,” he said. The author of a study the Iowa doctors use to bolster their argument also worries that small virus-laden droplets could bypass a shield through the sides or bottom. “I wear a mask,” said the author, William Lindsley, a research biomedical engineer at NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety) in Morgantown, W. Va.

The debate hinges on how the coronavirus spreads. Shield supporters say it travels primarily through large respiratory droplets that infect the body through mucus membranes in the nose, mouth and eyes. These generally fall quickly to the ground after, say, a cough and could be stopped almost completely by a shield. Like some other infectious disease doctors, Eli Perencevich, the lead author of the JAMA paper, noted that someone with a true airborne disease like measles can infect many more people than someone with COVID-19. Measles and chicken pox typically infect 90% of household members while the coronavirus infects 10 to 15 percent.

But Poland and Lindsley say there’s reason to think the virus can also spread through smaller droplets or aerosols that could travel farther before falling or even float. In that case, the gaps behind and under shields are weak points. Of course, most cloth and medical masks—the blue kind you see people wearing in medical settings—also have gaps, but they fit closer to the face. They are likely better at what’s called “source control,” or stopping viral spread when the mask wearer coughs.

Everyone agrees that nothing available to the general public is perfect, which is why we’re also told to stay six feet away from each other and wash our hands frequently. “There is no safe,” Poland said. “There’s only mitigation.”

The best protection is N95 masks, which fit snugly and can filter out most viruses. These are still in short supply and experts say they should be reserved for medical personnel. Within hospitals, medical workers wear N95s covered by shields during procedures that aerosolize virus, such as inserting or removing breathing tubes.

Public mask wearing has become highly politicized, with some arguing that masks are dehumanizing or impair breathing. Even Lindsley says shields are probably better than nothing for people who can’t or won’t wear a face mask, but adds that he personally would not wear a shield alone.

Robert Bettiker, an infectious disease doctor at Temple University Hospital, said he’s not sure whether he would recommend a shield alone. “I would give it a qualified maybe,” he said. “We think it’s much better than nothing. It’s probably as good as a mask, but we just don’t have the data to support that.”

Stopping large droplets, he said, would probably greatly reduce spread on a societal scale. He has been wearing a mask on shopping trips. He’ll likely add a shield now.

Neither the Philadelphia nor Pennsylvania health departments address shields in their guidance to the public. They just recommend that people cover their faces in public. James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia department, said officials there believe people are more likely to accept masks than shields. “There are situations—like for servers in restaurants—where face shields used in combination with masks can be beneficial and protective.,” he said. The New Jersey health department encourages face coverings, but not shields alone.

Perencevich said shields have multiple practical advantages over masks, which are often worn incorrectly. They cover the eyes and are easily cleaned with soap and water. People are less likely to touch their faces—another way of spreading the virus—while wearing them. They’re cooler and don’t make glasses fog. It’s easier to breathe while wearing them. People can see you smile and read your lips. Unlike masks, they are impermeable, at least in the plastic parts. (A good shield should cover your whole face, extending to the ears on the side and below the chin on the bottom. There should be no gap at the forehead.)

Lindsley’s study in 2014 used flu virus and breathing and coughing simulators to measure the effectiveness of masks and shields. It found that face shields blocked 96% of flu virus in large droplets from reaching a simulator wearing a shield a foot and a half away and 68% of small droplets. The study did not look at whether it would protect others for the cougher to wear a shield. Lindsley is studying that now.

“A face shield is not going to be nearly as good as a mask at source control,” he said. The mask is more likely to absorb droplets, while a shield can deflect them and send them sideways or down. He said the shields are best at protecting you from someone who is sneezing or coughing right at you.

Perencevich said that, when someone wearing a shield coughs, the droplets are likely to either stop at the shield or bounce back onto the mask wearer. “It’s not a trampoline for a droplet,” he said.

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