Story Tips From Johns Hopkins Experts on COVID-19

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Newswise — Frontline Worker Story — Lolita Moore — “I like that I can still be out helping people during the pandemic.”

Video: Right Here, Right Now | Lolita Moore, Safety and Security Officer, SPO, Sibley Memorial Hospital

It seems there will never be enough “thank-yous” for the incredible doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff members who are working around the clock to help patients who have COVID-19, the dangerous coronavirus disease. Their dedication, determination and spirit enable Johns Hopkins to deliver the promise of medicine.

As the mother of a 2-year-old, with responsibilities that sometimes require escorting COVID-19 patients at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Safety and Security Officer, SPO, Lolita Moore says she takes the necessary steps to protect herself and her family against the virus and prays daily. “I like that I can still be out helping people during the pandemic,” she says.

Lolita is available for interviews about how she’s continuing to help our patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Patient Recovers After 46 Days Battling COVID-19 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

One Saturday, back in March, 56-year-old Theirrien “Tee” Clark felt tired and slept all day. He and his wife, Marcy Myles-Clark, thought it might have just been another busy week at work. Then, a cough developed; then a fever. Both Tee and Marcy were eventually diagnosed with COVID-19.

Marcy, who had a milder case, started to feel better. However, Tee’s condition continued to get worse. He went to Howard County General Hospital, where an X-ray showed he had COVID-19-related pneumonia. He was admitted, placed on a ventilator, and soon transferred to The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Tee spent a total of 28 days on a ventilator in an intensive care unit (ICU). Marcy says there were several tough moments during that time. Tee’s condition was so grave at one point, she was allowed to don protective gear to safely visit him in the hospital. Fortunately, he made it through. Marcy believes that a 100-plus person international prayer group she formed, called the “TC Prayer Warriors,” made all the difference in getting them through the ordeal.

Both during and after Tee’s ICU stay, a team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation physicians and psychologists provided intensive rehabilitation services to rebuild his muscles and improve his endurance, swallowing and voice — all of which were severely affected by COVID-19 —as well as help with anxiety that developed as a result of his illness.

After 46 days, Tee left the hospital on May 6. He lost 40 pounds and had muscle weakness, but both he and Marcy were happy and thankful they could still celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, which was the day before his hospital release. Marcy says his doctors called him a “walking miracle.”

Tee and Marcy Clark as well as Johns Hopkins Medicine physicians and staff are available for media interviews.

 

Have You Heard? Middle Ear, Mastoid Harbor Sars-Cov-2 and May Pose Risk for Medical Staffs

A team of otolaryngologists and pathologists at Johns Hopkins Medicine has confirmed that SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind the current COVID-19 pandemic, can colonize the middle ear and mastoid region of the head behind the ear. Based on this, the team recommends that physicians, surgeons, nurses and other health care professionals — especially otolaryngologists — should practice recommended protective procedures against SARS-CoV-2 when dealing with examination, sample collecting, treatment and surgery of these two connected areas.

The physicians reported their findings in a research letter posted online on July 23, 2020, in JAMA Otolaryngology.

“Previously, medical personnel in the otolaryngology world only had a theoretical risk on which to base a decision whether or not to follow guidelines against SARS-CoV-2,” says C. Matthew Stewart, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the letter. “Now that we have proven the virus can survive in the middle ear and mastoid, professionals in our community know the threat is real and can guard against it with appropriate procedures and protective equipment.”

The mastoid bone, located in the temporal region of the skull, contains a number of hollowed spaces known as mastoid air cells. These are believed to cushion the area against trauma, protect the delicate structures of the middle and inner ear, and regulate ear pressure. In humans, the middle ear contains the three tiny bones called the ossicles — more commonly known individually as the anvil, hammer and stirrup — that direct sound waves from the outside into the inner ear for processing.

In their study, the Johns Hopkins researchers autopsied three patients who had tested positively for SARS-CoV-2 and were symptomatic for COVID-19 prior to death. Stewart says that using powered instruments during the autopsies would have posed a dangerous risk for creating infectious droplets and aerosols, so the team relied on hand tools and techniques from the early 1900s to take bone and mucosal specimens from the left and right mastoids, as well as swabs of the left and right middle ears. These samples were analyzed to see if the novel coronavirus could be isolated from them.

One patient was negative for virus in both mastoids and both middle ears. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from the targeted regions of the other two people — the first in the right middle ear only and the second in all four sampled sites. The researchers believe that, despite the variation in virus recovery seen in the three patients (possibly related, they say, to different time intervals between death and autopsy), the conclusive finding of virus in the middle ear and mastoid warrants more caution and protective measures by health care professionals working in these two areas, especially during ear surgery.

Stewart is available for interviews by the media.

 

Johns Hopkins Launches K-12 School Reopening Policy Tracker

Interactive map compares and analyzes school reopening plans nationwide

To guide the discussions around reopening schools, a multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers launched a website that provides a range of tools dedicated to assessing K-12 school reopening plans across the United States from an equity lens, including a School Reopening Policy Tracker that provides real-time analysis of the latest guidance from every state.   

The COVID-19 School Reopening School Checklist poses questions about continuity of learning, student engagement, food security, health, supervision and housing. The checklist is designed to help schools evaluate the status of their students and families following school closures during spring 2020 and guide school leaders as they think through how to equitably meet the needs of students from disadvantaged groups as schools consider reopening plans.

“Schools are a nexus of health and well-being for children, particularly in less resourced communities where the burdens of the pandemic are being borne disproportionately,” says Megan Collins, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions. “While schools will be monitoring the COVID-19 ‘learning slide’ (the loss of learning experienced by a student when they are not engaged in regular academic activities), what is missing is an eye on equity for disadvantaged groups. Even as education and public health leaders advocate for making classroom-based education a priority for those children most at risk for missing school, there is no clear guidance from school districts about how structural justice problems should be addressed. By creating the eSchool+ Initiative, we hope to contribute to ongoing discussions about narrowing health and academic equity gaps for disadvantaged students.”

Johns Hopkins experts working on this topic are available for interviews on school reopenings. Please contact rbutch1@jhmi.edu

Megan Collins, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Wilmer Eye Institute and Associate Faculty at the Berman Institute of Bioethics 

Katherine Connor, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

Sara Johnson, M.P.H., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

 

The Importance of Wearing a Mask

Perhaps one of the most striking lifestyle changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is the mandatory use of face masks in grocery stores, restaurants and other public places. Wearing a mask, especially when in close proximity to others, is imperative to slowing the spread of COVID-19. But one look outside of your “safe-at-home” haven and you might find people wearing masks in a variety of different styles: dangling from one ear, pulled down below the nose or resting below the chin. These common mistakes decrease the effectiveness of masking and increase the wearer’s risk of catching and spreading the disease.

Many people who have COVID-19 don’t show symptoms but can still spread the virus through droplets that escape from the mouth when speaking, sneezing and coughing. Scientists have proven that masking lowers COVID-19 cases, even in the long term. As we approach back-to-school season, public knowledge of proper masking technique is now more important than ever.

Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds before and after touching a mask. Wearing a mask might feel uncomfortable at first, so it is important to adjust the mask to make sure it properly fits over the nose, mouth and chin and allows for comfortable breathing and speaking. To avoid common mistakes, remember these five don’ts:

  1. Don’t touch your or your child’s mask while it is being worn.
  2. Don’t wear the mask under your chin with your nose and/or mouth exposed.
  3. Don’t leave your nose and/or mouth uncovered.
  4. Don’t remove the mask while around others in public.
  5. Don’t share your mask with family members or friends.

Director of Operations for Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (HEIC) at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Polly Trexler, M.S., C.I.C., is available to speak about how to wear a mask properly and the importance of masking in slowing the spread in the future.

 

For information from Johns Hopkins Medicine about the coronavirus pandemic, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus. For information on the coronavirus from throughout the Johns Hopkins enterprise, including the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Johns Hopkins University, visit coronavirus.jhu.edu.

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Released: 14-Aug-2020 4:55 PM EDT
Managing your child’s diabetes during COVID-19
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

These days it’s hard not to worry about whether a quick outing to the grocery store will result in catching COVID-19. But for parents with children who have preexisting health conditions such as diabetes, it can be especially hard not to worry about whether their child is at a higher risk of becoming severely ill from the virus.

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Released: 14-Aug-2020 3:35 PM EDT
Gaiters do no harm: WVU toxicologists find coverings help contain the spread of exhaled droplets
West Virginia University

Experts with the West Virginia University Center for Inhalation Toxicology found that – assuming it’s a good fit - a gaiter will, despite recent reports, provide a respiratory containment of exhaled droplets comparable to a common over-the-ear cloth mask.

Newswise: AI software enables real-time 3D printing quality assessment
Released: 14-Aug-2020 3:05 PM EDT
AI software enables real-time 3D printing quality assessment
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed artificial intelligence software for powder bed 3D printers that assesses the quality of parts in real time, without the need for expensive characterization equipment.

Newswise: Is the COVID-19 virus pathogenic because it depletes specific host microRNAs?
Released: 14-Aug-2020 3:05 PM EDT
Is the COVID-19 virus pathogenic because it depletes specific host microRNAs?
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Why is the COVID-19 virus deadly, compared to cold-causing coronaviruses? Analysis current literature and bioinformatic study of seven coronaviruses, suggests that SARS-CoV-2 acts as a microRNA “sponge,” leading to better viral replication and blockage of the host immune response.

Released: 14-Aug-2020 2:30 PM EDT
UW team developing model to help lower COVID-19 infections in Seattle, other major cities
University of Washington

A UW team has received a grant to develop a model that uses local data to generate policy recommendations that could help lower COVID-19 infections in King County, which includes Seattle.

Newswise: Cardiovascular risk factors tied to COVID-19 complications and death
12-Aug-2020 7:05 PM EDT
Cardiovascular risk factors tied to COVID-19 complications and death
PLOS

COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular comorbidities or risk factors are more likely to develop cardiovascular complications while hospitalized, and more likely to die from COVID-19 infection, according to a new study published August 14, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jolanda Sabatino of Universita degli Studi Magna Graecia di Catanzaro, Italy, and colleagues.

Newswise: Study shows frequently used serology test may not detect antibodies that could confirm protection against reinfection of COVID-19
Released: 14-Aug-2020 1:55 PM EDT
Study shows frequently used serology test may not detect antibodies that could confirm protection against reinfection of COVID-19
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Two different types of detectable antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) tell very different stories and may indicate ways to enhance public health efforts against the disease, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (S-RBD) are speculated to neutralize virus infection, while the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) antibody may often only indicate exposure to the virus, not protections against reinfection.

Released: 14-Aug-2020 1:50 PM EDT
USC scientists identify the order of COVID-19's symptoms
University of Southern California (USC)

USC researchers have found the likely order in which COVID-19 symptoms first appear: fever, cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Released: 14-Aug-2020 1:45 PM EDT
Stay the Course with Personal Finances during Pandemic, Johns Hopkins Expert Advises
Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School

Keeping on a careful and steady path is the wisest approach to personal money management during the uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis, says Associate Professor Yuval Bar-Or of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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