Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
University of Michigan students given immediate stay-at-home order amid a spike in Covid-19 cases
All University of Michigan undergraduate students are now under an emergency stay-in-place order, after data shows that Covid-19 cases among Michigan students represents more than 60% of all local cases.

... With the order, undergraduate students have to stay in their homes, unless they're attending class, getting food or participating in "approved work that cannot be done remotely," a news release from the health department said.

"Students who wish to return to a primary residence may do so only if they have completed the U-M's procedures for leaving campus safely," the release said.

The news comes after two new studies -- one from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the other from the North Carolina Department of Health -- found that cases of Covid-19 surged among college-age individuals in August and September, right when schools were opening across the country.

Many colleges and universities have attempted to control the spread, but as of September 14, more than 45,000 Covid-19 cases had been reported at colleges and universities across the US.

A Texas woman died on a plane of Covid-19 in July
A Dallas-area woman died due to Covid-19 while on a flight in Arizona in July, a Dallas County official said.

The woman was in her 30s and had "underlying high risk health conditions," Dallas County said in a news release.

While some studies, including two published last month, have suggested the coronavirus can spread on airplanes, a Department of Defense study released last week showed that airplanes' ventilation systems filter the air efficiently and take out particles that could transmit viruses.

Boston suspended in-person learning in public schools, citing the city’s rising tide of cases.
Boston’s decision to walk back its plans came after the city’s seven-day average positivity rate for coronavirus testing increased to 5.7 percent.

The city said that it would welcome back high-needs students when the positivity rate declined to 5 percent or below for two consecutive weeks, and that it would begin the phased return of other students when it declined to 4 percent or below for two consecutive weeks.

Experts said that closing schools might have been the right decision, but questioned why the city was not closing anything else.

Why would you ever have restaurants open for indoor dining while you’re closing schools? It’s wrong on so many levels,” said Dr. Benjamin P. Linas, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University.

“The evidence now is that restaurants drive transmission and schools do not,” he said

N.J.’s governor, Philip Murphy, is quarantining. Two members of his senior staff have tested positive.
The coronavirus reached into the upper levels of New Jersey’s government on Wednesday: Two members of Gov. Philip D. Murphy’s senior staff tested positive and the governor announced that he would quarantine himself through the end of the weekend after recently being exposed to at least one of them.

Mr. Murphy made the abrupt announcement about his quarantine in the middle of a news conference, saying he had learned just minutes before about one of the staff members’ positive test results. The governor said he had been in “close proximity” to that staff member on Saturday before the individual tested positive, adding that he had not experienced any symptoms of Covid-19.

Mr. Murphy tested negative for the virus on Monday and Wednesday, according to a statement from his office that did not specify the kind of tests he took. The statement also said that both Mr. Murphy and his wife, Tammy Murphy, would cancel their in-person events and quarantine through the end of the weekend and take another test “before they resume any in-person engagements.”

The negative virus test results so far do not rule out the possibility that Mr. Murphy was infected, as levels of the virus can take days to build in the body. Symptoms of Covid-19 may take up to 14 days to appear.

A court rules that a California prison ravaged by the virus must reduce its number of inmates.
A California appellate court has ordered San Quentin State Prison, California’s oldest penitentiary, to reduce the number of inmates it holds by 50 percent, after the coronavirus tore through the facility this summer, infecting more than 2,200 inmates and killing 28.

The state prison system showed “deliberate indifference” to the safety and health of San Quentin inmates by taking inadequate steps to protect them from the coronavirus, the First District Court of Appeal said Tuesday in a unanimous opinion.

The ruling requires San Quentin to reduce its population by half — to about 1,700 inmates — as a way to protect prisoners from infection. But because nearly all of the state’s prisons are overcrowded, it remains unclear where San Quentin inmates could be sent.

No, mouthwash will not save you from the coronavirus, despite that study going around.
A rash of provocative headlines this week flooded social media platforms with a tantalizing idea: that mouthwash can “inactivate” coronaviruses and help curb their spread.

The idea came from a new study that found that a coronavirus that causes common colds — not the one that causes Covid-19 — could be killed in a laboratory by dousing virus-infected cells with mouthwash. The study’s authors concluded that the products they tested “may provide an additional level of protection against” the new coronavirus.

But outside experts warned against overinterpreting the study’s results, which might not have practical relevance to the new coronavirus that has killed more than 220,000 Americans. Not only did the study not investigate this deadly new virus, but it also did not test whether mouthwash affects how viruses spread from person to person.

“I don’t have a problem with using Listerine,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University. “But it’s not an antiviral.

The study, which was published last month in the Journal of Medical Virology, looked only at a coronavirus called 229E, which causes common colds — not the new coronavirus.