A key member of U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force says the nation is entering a “deadly phase” of the nearly year-long COVID-19 pandemic.
News outlets say Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force’s coordinator, issued a memo Monday urging administration officials to undertake “an aggressive balanced approach” between lockdowns and taking steps to control the virus, including urging Americans to wear masks, observe social distancing and launch an aggressive testing program.
Dr. Birx’s memo contradicts President Trump’s assertions during his re-election campaign speeches that the country is “rounding the corner” of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 230,000 lives and sickened more than 9.2 million citizens, including 84,089 new cases and 557 deaths on Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Pregnant women at greater risk
Pregnant women are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than nonpregnant women, according to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC found that expectant women infected with the novel coronavirus are more likely than non-pregnant women to require intensive care and are at increased risk of death. They are also most likely to need the use of a mechanical ventilator to help them breathe and to be connected to a specialized heart-lung bypass machine.
The CDC study also discovered that minority pregnant women were at greater risk of being infected and falling seriously ill to COVID-19.
A separate CDC study also found that COVID-19 positive pregnant women were at increased risk of delivering premature babies.
Dr. Denise Jamieson, the head of the gynecology and obstetrics department at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said the studies show that pregnant women need to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to the virus, such as wearing maks and practicing social distancing, and even going so far as to avoid social gatherings.
Meanwhile, British scientists have discovered that cellular immunity to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is likely to be present in most patients for six months after they were first infected, suggesting they could be protected from a second bout of the virus.
The scientists made the discovery after analyzing blood samples of 100 non-hospitalized patients who were asymptomatic or had mild COVID-19 symptoms. While some of the patients’ antibody levels had declined, the response of their so-called “T-cells,” a type of white blood cell that makes up the human body’s immune system, were still detectable.