Sucks to be a meat worker with Coronavirus cases everywhere at work

Persons in congregate work and residential locations are at increased risk for transmission and acquisition of respiratory infections.

COVID-19 cases among U.S. workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities were reported by 19 states. Among approximately 130,000 workers at these facilities, 4,913 cases and 20 deaths occurred. Factors potentially affecting risk for infection include difficulties with workplace physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions.

Improving physical distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and medical leave policies, and providing educational materials in languages spoken by workers might help reduce COVID-19 in these settings and help preserve the function of this critical infrastructure industry.

COVID-19 among workers in meat and poultry processing facilities—19 States, April 2020, 08 May 2020

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report pp. 557-561d

Jonathan W. Dyal, MD1,2; Michael P. Grant, ScD1; Kendra Broadwater, MPH1; Adam Bjork, PhD1; Michelle A. Waltenburg, DVM1,2; John D. Gibbins, DVM1; Christa Hale, DVM1; Maggie Silver, MPH1; Marc Fischer, MD1; Jonathan Steinberg, MPH1,2,3; Colin A. Basler, DVM1; Jesica R. Jacobs, PhD1,4; Erin D. Kennedy, DVM1; Suzanne Tomasi, DVM1; Douglas Trout, MD1; Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS1; Nadia L. Oussayef, JD1; Lisa J. Delaney, MS1; Ketki Patel, MD, PhD5; Varun Shetty, MD1,2,5; Kelly E. Kline, MPH6; Betsy Schroeder, DVM6; Rachel K. Herlihy, MD7; Jennifer House, DVM7; Rachel Jervis, MPH7; Joshua L. Clayton, PhD3; Dustin Ortbahn, MPH3; Connie Austin, DVM, PhD8; Erica Berl, DVM9; Zack Moore, MD9; Bryan F. Buss, DVM10,11; Derry Stover, MPH10; Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD12; Ian Pray, PhD2,12; Meghan DeBolt, MPH13; Amy Person, MD14; Julie Gabel, DVM15; Theresa S. Kittle, MPH16; Pamela Hendren17; Charles Rhea, MPH17; Caroline Holsinger, DrPH18; John Dunn19; George Turabelidze20; Farah S. Ahmed, PhD21; Siestke deFijter, MS22; Caitlin S. Pedati, MD23; Karyl Rattay, MD24; Erica E. Smith, PhD24; Carolina Luna-Pinto, MPH1; Laura A. Cooley, MD1; Sharon Saydah, PhD1; Nykiconia D. Preacely, DrPH1; Ryan A. Maddox, PhD1; Elizabeth Lundeen, PhD1; Bradley Goodwin, PhD1; Sandor E. Karpathy, PhD1; Sean Griffing, PhD1; Mary M. Jenkins, PhD1; Garry Lowry, MPH1; Rachel D. Schwarz, MPH1; Jonathan Yoder, MPH1; Georgina Peacock, MD1; Henry T. Walke, MD1; Dale A. Rose, PhD1; Margaret A. Honein, PhD

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6918e3.htm?s_cid=mm6918e3_e&deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM27591

Coronavirus communication and trust

The global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has already had an enormous impact and will surely have profound consequences for many years to come.

The authors reflect on three risk communication themes related to the pandemic: trust, tradeoffs, and preparedness. Trust is critically important during such a rapidly evolving event characterized by scientific uncertainty. Reflections focus on uncertainty communication, transparency, and long-term implications for trust in government and science. On tradeoffs, the positive and unintended negative effects of three key risk communication messages are considered (1) stay at home, (2) some groups are at higher risk, and (3) daily infections and deaths.

The authors argue that greater attention to message ‘tradeoffs’ over ‘effectiveness’ and ‘evaluation’ over ‘intuition’ would help guide risk communicators under pressure. On preparedness, past infectious disease outbreak recommendations are examined. Although COVID-19 was inevitably ‘unexpected’, important preparedness actions were largely overlooked such as building key risk communication capacities.

COVID-19: Reflections on trust, tradeoffs, and preparedness, April 2020

Journal of Risk Research

Dominic HP Balog-Way and Katherine A McComas

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340958173_COVID-19_Reflections_on_trust_tradeoffs_and_preparedness/references?utm_medium=email&utm_source=researchgate&utm_campaign=re413&loginT=iZBjE6QqKQDtgm9mIth3elm18k_fuz-NWD_VJXbuMq0_VSlbSUu0QyWSAb06_bTWyEX92MLG8X_6SgQ&pli=1&utm_term=re413_p_pb&utm_content=re413_p_pb_p4&cp=re413_p_pb_p4&uid=nL3zUTnj0PdkgYxg8hJW1mCbrq7iJZlhMSga&ch=reg

When our eldest daughter was about six-weeks-old in 1987, my ex and I took her to a Grateful Dead concert at an outdoor amphitheater north of Toronto. We sat at the back. The dead did this Buddy Holly song as part of their encore and it was fabulous.

Don’t drink hand sanitizer or bleach: Poison center calls up 20% during pandemic, CDC says

A preschool-aged girl was taken to the hospital after she drank an unknown amount of hand sanitizer out of a 64-ounce bottle, fell and hit her head, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said.

Her blood alcohol level was .27% — over 3 times the legal limit in most states, according to the CDC. The little girl recovered and was released 48 hours later, but her case illustrates the sharp increase in poisoning reported during the rise of the coronavirus in the United States.

Between January and March there were 45,550 poisonings reported to U.S. poison control centers , which is a 20% increase from years passed, the CDC reported. The rise in cases directly correlates with increased media coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Children ages 5 and younger, who were poisoned by disinfectants like hand sanitizer, made up nearly half of calls involving disinfecetants in that time period, the CDC reported. Over 80% of calls involved people ingesting disinfectants, according to the CDC.

In response, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is calling on the manufacturers to add a bitter ingredient to sanitizers so people will be less likely to drink them.

People are also calling more to report poisonings involving cleaners like bleach — more than 28,000 calls in that three-month period involved cleaners, News 4 San Antonio reported. The CDC cited a case where an adult woman soaked her produce in bleach, vinegar and hot water, and ended up in the hospital because she inhaled the toxic fumes.

The CDC says people should not wash produce with anything other than water, not even soap.

Researchers say they can’t show a direct link between chemical exposures and the coronavirus pandemic yet, but the correlation is alarming, Science Alert reported. The biggest surge in calls to poison control centers occurred at the beginning of March this year, according to Science Alert.

In Oregon, one of the most reported issues was people mixing bleach with water in a random container, like a soda can or water bottle, and leave it out in the open, KOIN 6 reported. Another household member will drink the solution, thinking it’s just water, according to KOIN 6.

After President Trump’s suggestion that ingesting cleaning products or applying a “very powerful light” to the body to kill the coronavirus, Lysol, the Centers for Disease Control, lawmakers, doctors, and Twitter users warned people not to do so. 

“I see the disinfectant where it knocks [the coronavirus] out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during a daily White House coronavirus briefing last week. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that.” 

No, it wouldn’t. And by Friday, Lysol, the CDC, and others stepped in to emphasize that you should not drink or inject disinfectant. 

The CDC tweeted, “Household cleaners and disinfectants can cause health problems when not used properly.” While Lysol took a more firm stance in response to “recent speculation and social media activity.” 

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion, or any other route.)” 

When pressed about the remark during a bill signing last Friday, Trump claimed, “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”

Kids bored during the coronavirus lockdown have been warned to steer clear of the toxic TikTok “nutmeg challenge”.

Just a teaspoon of the cooking spice can “cause significant stomach pain, vomiting, racing heart, confusion, drowsiness, agitation and hallucinations,” say poison experts.

One girl who filmed herself swigging 12g of nutmeg from a cup said it “didn’t taste bad”.

In an update “three hours later” on its effects she claimed: “I can’t move my head.

“It’s like superglued to the wall; I’m so confused, oh my God.”

The New South Wales Poisons Centre in Australia warned parents about kids ingesting the potentially lethal spice on TikTok and social media.

On Facebook, it described the video sharing service’s nutmeg challenge as a “dangerous game”.

And in Ireland, a warning has been issued on fly infestations ahead of the summer months. Due to the current lockdown restrictions, many buildings, such as offices, shops and some homes, may be empty, allowing pests to proliferate.

Don’t eat dogs: China finally agrees

China signaled that it is planning to officially ban the eating of dogs after the species was omitted from a list of animals approved for human consumption.

The Ministry of Agriculture published a draft version of the list on Wednesday, which lays out what animals will be allowed to be bred for meat, fur and medical use, and includes species such as deer, ostriches and foxes.

The ministry is seeking public feedback on the draft list until May 8, it said.

In its statement, the ministry specifically noted the omission of dogs, saying that public concern about the issue and a growing awareness of animal protection had contributed to the species being left off.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the wet market that spawned the pandemic which has brought the world to its knees now slumbers quietly behind a tidy-looking blue-and-white partition.

The eating of dogs has become an increasingly controversial issue in China as pet ownership has surged. 

It has been further brought to the fore by the coronavirus, which was first identified in patients linked to market in the city of Wuhan where non-traditional animals were sold for food.

John Prine, Who Chronicled the Human Condition in Song, Dies at 73

John Prine, the raspy-voiced country-folk singer whose ingenious lyrics to songs by turns poignant, angry and comic made him a favorite of Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and others, died Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. He was 73.

The cause was complications from Covid-19, his family said.

Human-to-cat COVID-19 virus transmission: Belgium

My Guelph (that’s in Canada) friend, hockey buddy and veterinarian, Scott Weese, has done an admirable job of updating the world on pets and coronavirus through his Worms and Germs Blog.

He notes that a cat in Belgium, owned by a person with COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus. The cat developed diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory difficulty about 1 week after the owner got sick, and SARS-CoV-2 was found in the cat’s feces. It’s not clear whether the test used was PCR (which can detected live or dead virus) or virus isolation (which only detects live virus), or if other samples were also tested. It’s also not clear whether the cat was sick because of the infection with SARS-CoV-2 or whether it had some other co-incidental problem (or whether the cat is still alive or not).  They were clear that this is another suspected case of human-to-animal transmission, and not the other way around.

Is this surprising?

Not really. We’ve been saying there’s likely going to be some human-to-pet transmission, and cats have been a concern because they are theoretically a susceptible species based on analysis of the virus and cell receptors.

Is this concerning?

I don’t have any more concern today than I did before this report, since it was likely that this was going to happen, and animals (still) presumably pose very limited risk. An infected cat isn’t a big concern in the household since the person who exposed the cat in the first place is the main risk. This virus is being transmitted very effectively person-person, so animals likely play little role, if any in the grand scheme of things.  But we still want to take basic steps to keep the risk as low as possible.

So, what do we do?

The same thing we’ve been saying all along. If you’re sick, stay away from animals just like you would other people. If you have COVID-19 and have been around your pets, keep your pets inside and away from other people. While the risk of transmission to or from a pet is low, we don’t want an exposed pet tracking this virus out of the household (just like we don’t want an infected person doing that).

This is completely unsurprising. It doesn’t mean things are changing or that we have more risk today than yesterday. It just emphasizes again the importance of paying attention to basic infection control measures.

If you’re worried about getting COVID-19, worry about your human contacts, not your pets. Keep pets away from high risk people, but otherwise, your risk is from exposure to people, not your pet.

Proper handwashing requires proper tools: Alton Brown’s handwashing tutorial is funny, informative, and a little bit gory

Everyone says wash your hands in the wake of Coronavirus.

But proper handwashing requires proper tools.

I go to my local grocery store (when I’m let out of the house, and usually only with a carerer) and the bathroom for the shops has these stupid Dysan machines that just blow microbes around.

I got my job at Kansas State in 2005 because their handwashing thingies just blew stuff around, I wrote something up, they hired me, I did enough work to become full professor, and then they fired me.

Whatever.

Every time there is some weird outbreak at a local school, the first thing I do is check out the bathrooms – that’s right, I’m the creepy guy watching you kids wash their hands – and invariably they have no soap and no paper towel (the later is required for the friction).

Even the 20 seconds is probably overstating things: Can you imagine working in food service and having to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds every time you did something food safety risky?

You can keep imagining because you wouldn’t be working long.

Yes, wash your hands, my daughters have all had this engrained in them, but keep the messaging on a level people might actually follow.

Good Eats host Alton Brown is here to explain it in a 4-plus minute video that illustrates why soap is a solid line of defense against viruses, that demonstrates how to wash every square inch of your mitts, and that wraps up with one of the most surprising endings you’ll see outside of an M. Night Shyamalan flick.

“I’m happy that someone finally wants to talk about handwashing,” he says within the first minute. “I’ve been wanting to do a handwashing video for twenty years, but everybody was like ‘Oh no, hygiene’s boring, do cheese pulls.’ What do you think is going to save us now? Cheese pulls, nanorobots, lasers, hot yoga? I don’t think so.”

We did one 20 years ago.

So yeah, what might give us a shot at getting through… all of this is a bar of soap. (Regular soap, Brown emphasizes, not hand sanitizer. “Not the stuff you’ve been fighting over in drugstore parking lots,” he adds.)

Brown says that he actually travels with his own bar of soap, carrying it with him in a small tin. He also keeps his own zip-sealed bag of paper towels handy, to ensure that he can dry his hands properly too. (So take that, Dyson Airblade!) His handwashing technique takes a full 30 seconds to complete, and he adds a few ticks to the 20-second-minimum wash that has previously been suggested. He goes through a number of steps, for the front and backs of the hands, in-between the fingers, and under the nails. There are a lot of five-counts, but it works. And if that fails to do the job? Well, that’s where Brown’s sense of humor takes a darker turn.

I carry a tip-sensitive digital thermometer wherever I go.

We’re all hosts on a viral planet, coronavirus edition

As cases of coronavirus skyrocket — a World Health Organisation adviser has warned that as much as two-thirds of the world’s population could catch the disease — we can have faith that televangelist Jim Bakker claims his magic “Silver Solution” will kill the coronavirus within 12 hours.

Bakker, the disgraced and infamous Trump-loving televangelist who spent time in prison after bilking his followers out of $158 million, made the claim that his magic “Silver Solution” would cure the coronavirus within 12 hours while discussing the product with Dr. Sherrill Sellman, a supposed naturopath, on his television program earlier this week:

Jim Bakker says if you mock Jim Bakker, God’s going to punish you!

Welcome to 21st century hucksterism.

I haven’t written much about coronavirus because there has been no confirmed food-link, but it is transmissible, and spreading fast.

Globally:

  • 63,851 infected
  • 1115 deaths
  • 4846 recoveries
  • 15 cases in Australia 
  • 12 Australians infected on Diamond Princess cruise ship
  • Of the 4 Victorian cases, 3 have recovered and one person is stable and expected to be discharged this week.