Our Response to COVID-19: Information
Good evening,

October 16, 2020 -- As I complete this report, 9 major metro areas of France, including the city of Paris and surrounding suburbs have just entered a 4 to 6-week curfew with many industry-specific restrictions and fines for offenders. A few hours before the curfew started, a lone Islamic extremist terrorist savagely attacked and decapitated a history teacher, for teaching tolerance in a western suburb of Paris. The murderer was chased and eventually gunned down by police. Yesterday, France was the first European nation to publish a daily report of over 30,000 new covid-19 infections (and 25,086 today). Also yesterday, the world exploded with new cases topping the symbolic 400,000 mark for the first time, ending the day with the staggering number of 423,920 of new daily cases. Today the global report is only slightly lower (416,186), which is still well above the 353,524 daily average of this week (up from 324,974 the previous week). The US has topped any country’s daily reports for the last two days, recording over 70,000 cases – today - for the first time since July. Here is the long list of countries with new daily records set today: Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Portugal, Czechia, Morocco, Lebanon, and Slovakia. Near peak countries include Argentina, Spain, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Iraq, Indonesia, Poland, India, Mexico. Israel ended its third week of national lock down, with measurable results: Israel peaked with 11,316 single-day cases on September 23 down to 1,695 new cases today. It appears other geographies will likely end up considering similar restrictions to bend their raging viral spread.

This week, the coronavirus infected 2,474,665 new patients while killing 36,477 people globally.

COVID-19 in the world today:

  • COVID-19 Global cases: 39,572,699 (+416,186)
  • COVID-19 Global deaths: 1,109,036 (+6,507)
  • COVID-19 Global death rate: 2.80%
  • COVID-19 Global testing*: 729,554,657 confirmed tests (+5,325,835)
  • COVID-19 Global positivity rate: 5.42%
  • COVID-19 Global single-day positivity rate: 7.75%

*:incomplete data set.
Tip: click on any of the graphs for larger and clearer images and click on READ MORE to view the complete articles. Also, please forgive the occasional typos.
Italy COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 16
  • 391,611 cases (+10,010) peak
  • 36,427 deaths (+55)
  • 13,228,204 tests (+150,377)
  • positivity rate 2.96%
Belgium COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 28
  • 191,959 cases (+10,448) peak
  • 10,327 deaths (+49)
  • 3,916,417 tests (+70,441)
  • positivity rate 4.90%
Czechia COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 31
  • 160,112 cases (+11,102) peak
  • 1,283 deaths (+53)
  • 1,726,678 tests (+33,564)
  • positivity rate 9.27%
Romania COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 29
  • 172,516 cases (+4,026) peak
  • 5,749 deaths (+75)
  • 2,800,912 tests (+30,431)
  • positivity rate 6.16%
Remdesivir has ‘little or no effect’ in reducing coronavirus deaths, WHO says | cnbc.com
A study coordinated by the World Health Organization has indicated that remdesivir, along with three other potential drug treatments for the coronavirus, has “little or no effect” on death rates among hospitalized patients.

The interim results from the WHO’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, said to be the world’s largest randomized control trial of coronavirus treatments, were published Thursday.

The results indicated that the remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon drug treatment regimens “appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.”

Remdesivir is one of the drugs given to U.S. President Donald Trump after he tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago.

The randomized study by the WHO was conducted in 405 hospitals across 30 countries on 11,266 patients, with 2750 given remdesivir.

“No study drug definitely reduced mortality (in unventilated patients or any other subgroup of entry characteristics), initiation of ventilation or hospitalisation duration,” the authors of the study wrote.

Randomized controlled trials are considered the “gold standard” of clinical studies because they more effectively eliminate bias. However, the WHO study has not yet been peer reviewed, which means it has not been independently evaluated by other experts.

The WHO’s findings come a week after drugmaker Gilead Sciences published the final data on its own large-scale trial of remdesivir. Gilead originally developed remdesivir to treat the Ebola virus.

Scientists mobilize against herd immunity approach

An international group of scientists has written a response to a push for a "herd immunity" approach to managing the pandemic, which would involve letting the virus spread.

The WHO last week denounced the herd approach—a term used for vaccines—as "scientifically and ethically problematic," because it could greatly boost deaths and expose more people to a virus that may have long-term health consequences. However, a document, known as the Great Barrington declaration, with a list of supporters of the approach was reportedly embraced by the White House.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America has denounced the document, and pushback gained more steam today with the publication in The Lancet of the John Snow Memorandum, which includes scientific references and has now been signed by more than 2,000 scientists, researchers, and health professionals.
In the US
The bad days of July are back: the US (+70,402 at 6:00pm PDT) has confirmed more cases today than it had since July 31, and its daily totals have been higher than any other country, including India, two days in a row. As the map below illustrates, many states are breaking their daily records: Illinois (now ranked 5th ahead of Georgia), North Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota. Other states have peaked earlier this week and published numbers that are only slightly lower than their days old peaks: Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Kansas, South Dakota, and Iowa. Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Mississippi are also showing troubling activity.
Wisconsin COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 15
  • 166,186 cases (+6,861) peak
  • 1,574 deaths (+21)
  • 1,756,755 tests (+14,586)
  • positivity rate 9.46%
Minnesota COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 23
  • 119,396 cases (+2,290) peak
  • 2,265 deaths (+13)
  • 2,448,315 tests (+44,504)
  • positivity rate 4.88%
Indiana COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 20
  • 143,495 cases (+2,283) peak
  • 3,887 deaths (+23)
  • 2,451,285 tests (+30,420)
  • positivity rate 5.85%
Nebraska COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 35
  • 56,714 cases (+1,286) peak
  • 547 deaths (+12)
  • 535,661 tests (+6,080)
  • positivity rate 10.59%
COVID-19 cases climb in the US and Europe | cidrap.com
A third COVID-19 spike in the United States continues to intensify, as several European countries take more steps to reverse steep case rises, some of which are at record levels.

In other developments, a large international group of scientists pushed back against calls for a herd immunity approach to managing the pandemic. The global total today reached 38,744,784 cases, and 1,094,979 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

US rise prompts holiday gathering caution
Yesterday, the United States added 59,494 new cases and 985 deaths to its totals, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker. The trend shows the start of a third rise in infections, which is coming as the weather cools and more people are gathering indoors. In another key statistic, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to 898,000 last week, signaling a hiring slowdown as the economy struggles with the pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

Tony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and member of the White House coronavirus task force, in a CBS Evening News interview last night urged Americans to be cautious during the Thanksgiving holiday, especially with out-of-town visitors who could pose a risk to older relatives or those with underlying health conditions.

"Namely, you may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering unless you're pretty certain that the people that you're dealing with are not infected," said Fauci, who is 79 and said his three children living in other states have decided not to come home for the holiday, due to concerns about putting him at risk.

The cautious recommendation for the holidays tracks with two new polls that indicate Americans are wary of traveling during the pandemic, USA Today reported. An AAA Travel survey found that 67% of respondents are uncertain about taking a vacation, and a Travelocity survey revealed that 57% wouldn't travel this year for year-end holidays.

COVID-19 spread impacted the presidential campaign again today, with the Biden campaign announcing that vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris would not travel over the weekend after two people from the campaign tested positive—her communications director and a flight crew member, CNN reported.

Virus activity also continues to impact the sports world, with the University of Alabama announcing that football coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating at their homes.

On a positive note, Los Angeles officials are linking a dramatic decline in COVID-19 deaths and cases among blacks and Latinos over the past 2 months to aggressive workplace enforcement and opening tip lines to report violations, Kaiser Health News reported.

COVID-19 in the USA

  • Cases: 8,286,993 (+70,402)
  • Deaths: 223,627 (+911)
  • Death rate: 2.70%
  • Testing: 123,736,879 individual tests (+1,041,531)
  • Positivity rate: 6.70%
  • Single-day positivity date: 6.76%
US top 5 infected states:

  1. California: 871,676 COVID-19 cases, 16,905 deaths
  2. Texas: 863,169 COVID-19 cases, 17,491 deaths
  3. Florida: 748,437 COVID-19 cases, 15,832 deaths
  4. New York: 516,752 COVID-19 cases, 33,451 deaths
  5. Illinois: 339,761 COVID-19 cases, 9,425 deaths
In California
12 people died in a California nursing home Covid-19 outbreak. Other facilities across the US are reporting infections | cnn.com
Twelve residents at a northern California nursing home have died from Covid-19, the facility announced this week.

The Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center said in a news release Thursday 75 residents and 54 employees have tested positive for the virus throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sixty-three residents and 53 employees have since recovered, it said.
It's unclear from the news release when the infections and deaths occurred.

"To add an additional level of protection we are committed to facility wide testing on all residents and staff in collaboration with local public health departments," the center said in a statement.

"We understand the importance of knowing the status of our residents, employees, and essential health care providers. In this new world of COVID-19, rest assured we are aggressively treating and responding to potential community exposures by conducting routine testing of all our residents and staff until such time as a vaccine becomes available or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instructs otherwise."

Since the start of the pandemic, Covid-19 has taken a devastating toll on nursing home residents, with facilities across the country becoming hotspots for the virus and reporting dozens of deaths and infections.

  • COVID-19 California cases: 871,676 (+3,107)
  • COVID-19 California deaths: 16,905 (+65)
  • COVID-19 California death rate: 1.94%
  • COVID-19 California testing: 16,621,956 individual tests (+104,144)
  • COVID-19 California positivity rate: 5.24%
  • COVID-19 California single-day positivity rate: 2.98%
In the Central Valley
The Madera County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Update:

10/16/2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Reporting 14 cases from the public bringing the total number of reported cases to 4,836.
Of the 4,836:
  • 329 active cases (including 8 Madera County residents hospitalized in Madera County) 
  • 4,434 recovered (5 released from isolation) 
  • 73 deceased
Madera County is averaging 14 new cases per 100,000 residents, with 194 new cases revealed over the last 14 days. We need to get down to an average of 11 cases per day or 154 cases over 14 days to switch from purple to red.

Today, the seven local counties together confirmed 253 new infections and 8 new coronavirus deaths. In the combined 7 counties, COVID-19 has infected 102,426 and has killed 1,422 residents of our region since it claimed its first central valley victim, in Madera, on March 26, 2020. Our friends and neighbors are needlessly dying, many families are suffering. Science and the courage to follow its logic will solve this pandemic, any other discourse is inadequate.
Weekly Report -- Over the last week, the 31st week since our first novel coronavirus cases were revealed in the area, the numbers of new cases for the 7 counties was slightly lower (-3.5%), but the new deaths were significantly up (+66.7%). As the nation observes a sharp rise in cases and California has been plateauing between 3,100 and 3,300 new daily cases, for the last 4 weeks, we know we still have to keep being vigilant in our behavior to reduce our new daily cases totals so we can safely reopen our schools and our businesses.
COVID-19 in Madera + 6 local counties (+% is the positivity rate)

  • Mariposa: 77 cases, 2 deaths, 6,545 tests, 1.18+%
  • Merced: 9,314 cases (+12), 152 deaths, 59,115 tests, 15.76+%
  • Madera: 4,836 cases (+14), 73 deaths, 65,775 tests, 7.35+%
  • Fresno: 29,667 ,cases (+107), 429 deaths (+5), 321,731 tests, 9.22+%
  • Tulare: 17,120 cases (+48), 275 deaths (+1), est. 142,667 tests, 12.00+%
  • Kings: 8,126 cases (+82), 83 deaths, 98,298 tests, 8.27+%
  • Kern: 33,286 cases (+61), 408 deaths (+2), 207,536 tests, 16.04+%

COVID-19 in the 7 counties together

  • 7 counties cases: 102,426 (+253)
  • 7 counties deaths: 1,422 (+8)
  • 7 counties death rate: 1.39%
  • 7 Counties tests: 901,667 (est.)
  • 7 Counties positivity rate: 11.36%
Keep observing the simple yet proven safety habits of physical-distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand-washing, that will help drive down new infections and new deaths numbers, to a level low enough so as to give us a chance to reopen our schools for onsite education and thus, reopen our economy. Nothing else will work until we have a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
From our hearts to yours,

Fredo and Renee Martin
Workingarts Marketing, inc.

PS: We welcome comments and questions. If you wish to review previous reports, we now host past issues here.