United States reopens amid new protocol and shortage

WASHINGTON: Two major scientific findings related to the fact that, amid a declining death toll from the pandemic, indicates that the worst may be behind us, although experts caution that removing the misplaced mitigation measures will lead to a peak or a second wave of infections.

In an advance, researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) reported discovering a mutation in the coronavirus that reflected a genetically similar change in the SARS virus in 2003, eventually making it less potent and ending its virulent spread five months later. In another advance, scientists in Europe said they discovered that an antibody could block infection by the new coronavirus.

In an article titled An 81-nucleotide Deletion in SARS-CoV-2 ORF7a Identified by Sentinel Surveillance in Arizona, published in the Journal of Virology, ASU researchers said of the 382 nasal swab samples they examined from patients with In the state coronavirus, a sample was missing a significant part of its genome: 81 of the letters were permanently deleted, in the same way, it happened in the 2003 SARS outbreak that led to its eventual disappearance.

Scientists say it is still too early to say whether deleting such a small sequence will make Covid-19 less lethal, but it is the first time such an event has been observed in the 16,000 genomes that have been sequenced to date. date. As the sequence expands, similar deletions can be detected elsewhere.

In a separate advance, scientists at Utretch University said they discovered an antibody known as 47D11 that targets the infamous 'spike protein' of the coronavirus, which it uses to latch on to cells and insert their genetic material. Tests on mouse cells showed that 47D11 binds to this protein and prevents it from binding, effectively neutralizing it.

These incremental advances occurred even when the daily count of deaths in the US USA The pandemic halved to its peak of 2,500 deaths per day, even though the overall number crossed 70,000 on Tuesday and infections continued to rise by more than 2% per day. Health experts also warn of the resurgence or a second wave of deaths if mitigation measures are relaxed too soon or too recklessly, as is happening in some parts of the country, including new projections from the University of California and the assessment of forecast 134,000 virus deaths in August, almost double its previous prediction.

Although the daily death toll has once again fallen below 2000, a leaked FEMA estimate warned it could rise to 3,000 per day in June. But the president dismissed it as fake news, while supporting protesters seeking a return to normal transactions and a reopening of America for business, even though its own experts continue to call for caution.

“Exciting to see our Country starting to open up again!” the US President tweeted on Tuesday morning as he headed out for his first cross country trip in over a month to Arizona, where he will be visiting a Honeywell International Inc. plant that makes medical masks. All eyes will be on whether he will himself wear a mask and follow personal protocols experts have recommended for America ns, including abjuring handshakes and observing social distancing.

Much of America is following these protocols in what now appears to be the new normal. An ophthalmology appointment this correspondent went for on Monday involved wearing a mandatory face mask, temperature check at the door of the clinic, co-payment and other transaction made through a sneeze guard, a re-arranged waiting room with wide spaces between seats, and other protocol. A grocery store stopover following that involved regulated entry leading to a long queue outside, the now-familiar rationing or shortage of disinfectants, toilet paper, meats, flour etc., and glass or plastic shields at the checkout counter between cashiers and customers.

Shopping malls and restaurants are reopening in several states, but the footprint has been modest, and many establishments are still working to institute new standards for distance in terms of aisle space, seating, etc. tables forced by distance requirements. Disposable menus and single-use items and condiments are now the norm. Offices across the country are now grappling with the reorientation of spaces with the expected demise of open floor design.