Wearing masks is a CDC-recommended* approach to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by reducing the spread of respira- tory droplets into the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks and by reducing the inhalation of these droplets by the wearer. On July 2, 2020, the governor of Kansas issued an executive order† (state mandate), effective July 3, requiring masks or other face coverings in public spaces. CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment analyzed trends in county-level COVID-19 incidence before (June 1–July 2) and after (July 3–August 23) the governor’s executive order among counties that ultimately had a mask mandate in place and those that did not. As of August 11, 24 of Kansas’s 105 counties did not opt out of the state mandate§ or adopted their own mask mandate shortly before or after the state mandate was issued; 81 counties opted out of the state mandate, as permit- ted by state law, and did not adopt their own mask mandate.

After the governor’s executive order, COVID-19 incidence (calculated as the 7-day rolling average number of new daily cases per 100,000 population) decreased (mean decrease of 0.08 cases per 100,000 per day; net decrease of 6%) among counties with a mask mandate (mandated counties) but con- tinued to increase (mean increase of 0.11 cases per 100,000 per day; net increase of 100%) among counties without a mask mandate (nonmandated counties). The decrease in cases among mandated counties and the continued increase in cases in nonmandated counties adds to the evidence supporting the importance of wearing masks and implementing policies requiring their use to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (1–6). Community-level mitigation strategies emphasizing wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, staying at home when ill, and enhancing hygiene practices can help reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Here is the full story : https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6947e2-H.pdf

During August 7–16, 2020, a motorcycle rally was held in western South Dakota that attracted approximately 460,000 persons from across the United States to numerous indoor and outdoor events over a 10-day period. During August–September 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) investigated a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak associated with the rally in Minnesota residents. Fifty-one primary event-associated cases were identified, and 35 secondary or tertiary cases occurred among household, social, and workplace contacts, for a total of 86 cases; four patients were hospitalized, and one died. Approximately one third (34%) of 87 counties in Minnesota had at least one primary, secondary, or tertiary case associated with this rally. Genomic sequencing supported the associations with the motorcycle rally. These findings support current recommendations for mask use, physical distancing, reducing the number of attendees at gatherings, isolation for patients with COVID-19, and quarantine for close contacts to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (1). Furthermore, although these findings did not capture the impact of the motorcycle rally on residents of other states, they demonstrate the rationale for consistent mitigation measures across states.  Here is the full article – https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6947e1-H.pdf

the CDC’s MMWR reports that contracting COVID-19 was twice as likely after eating in a restaurant.  According to the CDC:

In this investigation, participants with and without COVID-19 reported generally similar community exposures, with the exception of going to locations with on-site eating and drinking options. Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill. In addition to dining at a restaurant, case-patients were more likely to report going to a bar/coffee shop, but only when the analysis was restricted to participants without close contact with persons with known COVID-19 before illness onset. Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation. Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance. Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.

Officials in the Chinese city of Shenzhen said on Thursday that a batch of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus, sparking fresh concerns about contamination on frozen food packaging and following a scare in June surrounding salmon in Beijing, but World Health Organization officials said later in the day that there’s no evidence that the disease is being spread by food or food packaging.

In addition to well-established safety guarantees like social distancing and face mask use, hand hygiene is an integral component of the response to the emergence of COVID. Practicing hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, is a simple and effective way to decrease the spread of pathogens and infections, but, if soap and water are not readily available, the CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products that contain at least 60% alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol) in community settings; alcohol-based hand sanitizers used in health care settings should contain 60%–95% alcohol (≥60% ethanol or ≥70% isopropanol).

In order to meet the sudden and significant demand for hand sanitizer, however, some manufacturers opted to use a non-traditional ingredient: methanol. Methanol, per the FDA’s regulation of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as an over the counter drug, is not an acceptable ingredient for use in hand sanitizers. Although methanol can be absorbed through the skin, methanol poisoning through that avenue (otherwise known as transcutaneous transmission) is rare and has been reported under unusual circumstances. The extent and rate of transcutaneous methanol absorption depends on variables such as its form (e.g., vapors, liquid, or solution), contact time, dose, concentration, and size of the exposure area.

That said, inadvertent and/or unintentional ingestion by children and older individuals can occur. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

Unfortunately, it appears that the use of sanitizer containing methanol has already had an impact. On June 30, 2020, CDC received notification from public health partners in Arizona and New Mexico of cases of methanol poisoning associated with ingestion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The case reports followed an FDA consumer alert issued on June 19, 2020, warning about specific hand sanitizers that contain methanol.

CDC and state partners established a case definition of alcohol-based hand sanitizer–associated methanol poisoning and reviewed 62 poison center call records from May 1 through June 30, 2020, to characterize reported cases. Medical records were reviewed to abstract details missing from poison center call records. During this period, 15 adult patients met the case definition. All had ingested an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and were subsequently admitted to a hospital. Four patients died and three were discharged with vision impairment.

Persons should never ingest alcohol-based hand sanitizer and should also avoid use of specific imported products found to contain methanol. As of July 15, 2020, FDA had tested and identified 67 Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products that contain methanol.

As of June 29, the FDA’s list of sanitizers to avoid due to the use of methanol is as follows:

  • UVT hand sanitizer labeled with lot number 0530 and an expiration date of 04/2022.
  • Saniderm Products hand sanitizer labeled with lot number 53131626 and “Manufactured on April/1/20.”
  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

The CDC advises that, if consumers have any of the products on the list, they should discontinue use immediately, and the product should be disposed of in hazardous waste containers. The products should not be flushed down a toilet or poured down a drain.

The products are being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor in the United States and the FDA investigation is ongoing.






STURGIS, SD – AUGUST 07: Motorcyclists ride down Main Street during the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 7, 2020 in Sturgis, South Dakota. While the rally usually attracts around 500,000 people, officials estimate that more than 250,000 people may still show up to this year’s festival despite the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

What possibly could go wrong?

Thousands of bikers gathered in the small town of Sturgis, South Dakota today, for the opening day of what is expected to be one of the largest events since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each year, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws hundreds of thousands of bikers from all over the country for “10 days and nights of riding, food, and music,” according to the event’s website. This year, the organizers are expecting 250,000 attendees from around the country despite fears that the large-scale gathering could lead to an equally large outbreak of coronavirus.

But while a majority of local residents are worried that the crowds could create a “super-spreader” event, others remain unfazed. When asked about the potential dangers of the Rally, Bob Davis, a lifelong Sturgis resident, replied, “Freedom, God, and Donald Trump.”

Unfortunately, many Rally attendees share Davis’s sentiment. On Friday, street vendors hawked “Screw COVID I came to Sturgis” T-shirts, and, according to an Associated Press reporter, motorcycles were everywhere, but masks were almost nowhere to be seen; the reporter counted fewer than 10 masked individuals in a crowd of thousands over a period of several hours.

Laura Armstrong, the city council president for the largest town near Sturgis, forewarned, “[t]hey’re not going to be able to handle any kind of social distancing; there’s a significant amount of alcohol involved, it’s a huge party. They can infect our Native American population, our law enforcement, potentially our bar staff, our tourist attractions, our hotels and motels, and even our grocery stores.” In contrast, Surgis’s own city council never even considered whether or not to approve the Rally; the question simply did not come up.