United Church of Christ

Daily COVID-19 Briefing April 3, 2020

United Church of Christ – Wider Church Ministries
Humanitarian Development Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Daily Briefing
Barbara T. Baylor, MPH – Temporary Health Liaison

April 3, 2020

Updates from the week

The world saw the largest single-day increase of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on Thursday, as the number of cases of the disease worldwide surged past 1 million. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, there were 80,600 new COVID-19 cases, with 30,100 of those cases coming from the United States, The Wall Street Journal reports. The United States is the new epicenter of the virus with more than 245,000 confirmed cases, more than any other country in the world and over 6,000 deaths. 


"Silent Carriers"

As Americans try to understand why this disease is spreading so quickly, public health experts and researchers say that the number of cases of COVID-19 is higher than has been reported due to “silent carriers.” Silent carriers are those individuals who are unwittingly spreading the disease. Out of highest caution, everyone should act as if they are carrying the virus. CDC and WHO say that silent carriers fall into two categories:

  1. Asymptomatic people who never have any symptoms during their infections at all. As many as 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 may not show symptoms, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns. Even if testing was available, people this category would probably not get tested and would never be counted.

  2. Presymptomatic people have been infected and don’t feel any symptoms at the time they get tested but will develop them later. They may be symptom-free and test positive for the disease but later develop symptoms. The virus’ incubation period - the time between getting infected and showing symptoms - is about five days. CDC says that presymptomatic transmission underscores the importance of social distancing, including the avoidance of congregate settings.

The probability that people can unknowingly spread the virus and the high level of symptom-free cases is leading the CDC to consider broader guidelines on who should wear masks. Yesterday, President Trump suggested, but did not declare, an official policy recommending that people wear cloth face masks in public, even if they have no symptoms. 

Update on Stimulus Checks

Treasury Department and IRS officials have told the House Ways and Means Committee that it expects to start sending an initial wave of economic stimulus payments to those taxpayers who have direct deposit information on file with the IRS from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns the week of April 13, 2020. Paper checks would start going out in May to people who don't have direct deposit information on file with the IRS. Source: Politico.

Social Security beneficiaries will not have to file tax forms in order to receive the one-time stimulus check under the new economic recovery program. According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action and will receive their payment directly to their bank account.”

Maintaining your calm

As we close out another harrowing and stressful week, I leave you with these five tips that may help you regain your calm:

  1. Plan ahead to feel more in control.
  2. Unplug. Learn to be in the moment.
  3. Prioritize good sleep.
  4. Exercise and eat well.
  5. Wash your hands often and thoroughly.

 

References

CDC Director On Models For The Months To Come: 'This Virus Is Going To Be With Us'

How to get $1,200 check if you don't file taxes

How much are symptom-free people spreading coronavirus? More clues from new data and a CDC report

Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 — Singapore, January 23–March 16, 2020  

Infected but Feeling Fine: The Unwitting Coronavirus Spreaders

Coronavirus cases globally see largest-ever daily increase


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