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The new study, conducted by a government-backed research center in Japan, found that face shields do not stop the spread of COVID-19 without a mask covering underneath.

face shield

The use of plastic face shields without a face mask covering underneath is largely ineffective at stopping the spread of COVID-19, a new study shows.

Riken, a government-backed researcher center in Kobe, Japan, conducted the study by using Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, according to the New York Times and the Guardian.

Results from the study reportedly proved that nearly 100 percent of airborne droplets less than 5 micrometers in size escaped through the plastic shields. In addition, about half of larger droplets measuring 50 micrometers found their way into the air, the Guardian reported.

Makoto Tsubokura, a team leader at Riken, strongly recommended that regular face masks be used instead of plastic face shields for protection from the virus.

“Judging from the results of the simulation, unfortunately the effectiveness of face guards in preventing droplets from spreading from an infected person’s mouth is limited compared with masks,” he told the Guardian.

face shield

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Tsubokura also said that those who have been advised to not wear face masks, such as people with respiratory issues or young children, can use face shields instead — but only outdoors or in properly ventilated indoor areas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended wearing cloth facial coverings as opposed to face shields to help stop the spread of the virus.

Paris Covid

XINHUA/GAO JING VIA GETTY

While the United States has reported the most confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19, many states have reported declining cases due in part to local mask mandates.

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control officials reported in August that areas where mask mandates are in place have “seen an overall decrease of 15.1 percent of total cases,” while cases in areas without a mask mandate rose by up to 30.4 percent.

Health officials in Kansas have reported similar findings, sharing that while new cases had dropped in counties with a mask mandate in place, there had been no decrease in areas without one.

“All improvements in case development comes from those counties wearing masks” Dr. Lee Norman said at a press conference last month, according to the Associated Press.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 23, there are at least 6.9 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., while over 200,000 people in the country have died from coronavirus-related illnesses, accoding to the NYT‘s database.

Source: https://www.health.com/syndication/plastic-face-shields-ineffective-stopping-spread-coronavirus

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Studies on COVID-19 patients have revealed that aggressive immune responses to the coronavirus can cause serious inflammation.
Image: REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare
  • While access to healthcare, occupational exposure and environmental risks such as pollution all affect survival rate, for many at-risk groups, the key factor is inflammation.
  • Cytokines, a key player in the immune response, can help stop viruses reproducing.
  • Yet when too many are produced at once, this causes inflammation which can severely damage the lungs.

The severity of COVID-19 can vary hugely. In some it causes no symptoms at all and in others it’s life threatening, with some people particularly vulnerable to its very severe impacts.

The virus disproportionately affects men and people who are older and who have conditions such as diabetes and obesity. In the UK and other western countries, ethnic minorities have also been disproportionately affected.

While many factors contribute to how severely people are affected, including access to healthcareoccupational exposure and environmental risks such as pollution, it’s becoming clear that for some of these at-risk groups, it’s the response of their immune system – inflammation – that explains why they get so sick.

Specifically, we’re seeing that the risks associated with diabetes, obesity, age and sex are all related to the immune system functioning irregularly when confronted by the virus.

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Inflammation can go too far

A common feature for many patients that get severe COVID is serious lung damage caused by an overly vigorous immune response. This is characterised by the creation of lots of inflammatory products called cytokines – the so-called cytokine storm.

Cytokines can be really powerful tools in the immune response: they can stop viruses reproducing, for example. However, some cytokine actions – such as helping bring in other immune cells to fight an infection or enhancing the ability of these recruited cells to get across blood vessels – can cause real damage if they are not controlled. This is exactly what happens in a cytokine storm.

Many white blood cells create cytokines, but specialised cells called monocytes and macrophages seem to be some of the biggest culprits in generating cytokine storms. When properly controlled, these cells are a force for good that can detect and destroy threats, clear and repair damaged tissue, and bring in other immune cells to help.

However, in severe COVID the way monocytes and macrophages work misfires. And this is particularly true in patients with diabetes and obesity.

Glucose fuels damage

Diabetes, if not controlled well, can result in high levels of glucose in the body. A recent study showed that, in COVID, macrophages and monocytes respond to high levels of glucose with worrying consequences.

The virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2, needs a target to latch onto in order to invade our cells. Its choice is a protein on the cell surface called ACE2. Glucose increases the levels of ACE2 present on macrophages and monocytes, helping the virus infect the very cells that should be helping to kill it.

immune response coronavirus covid19 health hospital medicine doctor patient pandemic cytokine inflamation
Cytokines, small proteins released by a number of immune cells, play a key role in directing the immune response.Image: scientificanimations.com

Once the virus is safely inside these cells, it causes them to start making lots of inflammatory cytokines – effectively kick-starting the cytokine storm. And the higher the levels of glucose, the more successful the virus is at replicating inside the cells – essentially the glucose fuels the virus.

But the virus isn’t done yet. It also causes the virally infected immune cells to make products that are very damaging to the lung, such as reactive oxygen species. And on top of this, the virus reduces the ability of other immune cells – lymphocytes – to kill it.

Obesity also causes high levels of glucose in the body and, similar to diabetes, affects macrophage and monocyte activation. Research has shown that macrophages from obese individuals are an ideal place for SARS-CoV-2 to thrive.

Other risks tied to inflammation

The same sort of inflammatory profile that diabetes and obesity cause is also seen in some older people (those over 60 years). This is due to a phenomenon known as inflammageing.

Inflammageing is characterised by having high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It’s influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, the microbiome (the bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live inside and on you) and obesity.

Many older people also have fewer lymphocytes – the very cells that can specifically target and destroy viruses.

This all means that for some older people, their immune system is not only poorly equipped to fight off an infection, but it is also more likely to lead to a damaging immune response. Having fewer lymphocytes also means vaccines may not work as well, which is crucial to consider when planning a future COVID vaccine campaign.

immune response coronavirus covid19 health hospital medicine doctor patient pandemic cytokine inflamation
Irregular inflammatory responses are emerging as a common theme across the different risk factors for severe COVID.Image: EPA-EFE

Another puzzle that has been worrying researchers is why men seem so much more vulnerable to COVID. One reason is that cells in men seem to be more readily infected by SARS-CoV-2 than women. The ACE2 receptor that the virus uses to latch onto and infect cells is expressed much more highly in men than women. Men also have higher levels of an enzyme called TMPRSS2 that promotes the ability of the virus to enter the cells.

Immunology is also offering some clues on the sex difference. It’s long been known that men and women differ in their immune responses, and this is true in COVID.

recent pre-print (research that has not yet been reviewed) has tracked and compared the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in men and women over time. It found that men were more likely to develop atypical monocytes that were profoundly pro-inflammatory and capable of making cytokines typical of a cytokine storm. Women also tended to have a more robust T cell response, which is needed for effective virus killing. However, increased age and having a higher body mass index reversed the protective immune effect in women.

Studies like these highlight how different people are. The more we understand about these differences and vulnerabilities, the more we can consider how best to treat each patient. Data like these also highlight the need to consider variation in immune function and include people of varied demographics in drug and vaccine trials.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/inflammation-key-factor-vulnerability-severe-covid19?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social_scheduler&utm_term=COVID-19&utm_content=27/09/2020+07:30&fbclid=IwAR32iW07Udw-Y93OHiVDTKo0oVvDZV4VHuZiN5VVjiNt3ES_dMB4cQxX3nA

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Millions of us have long suffered from sleeplessness, and COVID has only made matters worse. An uncontrolled pandemic, civil unrest, and political tension don’t exactly sound like a lullaby, and research confirms that people around the world, from Europe to China to Morocco, have experienced worse sleep quality since lockdowns began.

The global restlessness is caused at least in part by anxiety, sadness, and anger from the day carrying over into the evening. But Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep and sleep disorders, has a few other theories on why we aren’t sleeping like we used to. His insomnia triggers are much easier to solve for than stress, which at this point is pretty inevitable.

Here, the sleep doc shares three habits many of us have fallen into during this unique time that could be messing with our sleep, and what to do about them:

1. A poor diet and too much time indoors.

Even in non-pandemic times, the first thing Breus does when consulting with new patients is to rule out any potential deficiencies.

He’ll test levels of vitamin D, ferritin (which signals potential iron deficiencies), melatonin, and magnesium.* Magnesium, in particular, is a mineral that the vast majority of people are deficient in, in part because industrial agriculture strips a lot of our food of the essential nutrient.

In an age when nutrient-dense food can be hard to come by, magnesium supplements are now popular and something that Breus himself takes daily.* Magnesium helps regulate many body functions—including our relaxation response—so if it’s low, levels will need to be brought back up to normal before you can really gauge sleep quality.*

Vitamin D levels also might be teeter-tottering during COVID since so many of us are spending more time indoors and out of the sun. A vitamin D deficiency can affect sleep quality in addition to thyroid health, gut health, and immunity, so it’s something to pay attention to.ADVERTISEMENT

2. A more stagnant routine.

These days, there are fewer places to be and fewer opportunities to get moving. Smartwatch owners have probably seen this reflected in daily step count: Worldwide, there’s been a sharp decline in physical activity since the pandemic began.

Breus says this is bad news for sleep: “Sleep is recovery. If you haven’t done anything you need to recover from, you’re not going to sleep particularly well,” he tells mbg.

To correct for this, think about how you could safely introduce more movement into your daily routine to tire yourself out before bed. If you’re not comfortable going outside for longer walks or runs, indoor workouts are still an option. Here are a few at-home routines that don’t require any gym equipment. It’s making me tired just looking at them.

3. Lots of caffeine and booze.

Besides causing jitters and hangovers, Breus says these two increasingly popular vices can mess with sleep quality. Alcohol in particular “obliterates” sleep stages 3 and 4, he explains, which is where most of our dreaming happens. Breus has an interesting perspective on why skipping these stages can be harmful, beyond just making us more tired in the mornings.

He subscribes to the theory that the dream world is where we go to safely process our waking lives. “It’s where people who are upset about something can go to work through those emotions,” he says.

From this perspective, “quarandreaming” is important because it helps us cope with this emotionally loaded time. “It’s kind of like releasing the pressure valve a little in the middle of the night and allowing you to process some of it,” Breus adds. “If you can’t process the emotions you’re having, they become fears, they become phobias, they become irregular behaviors and anxieties.”

To set the stage for dreaming, cut back on the booze and caffeine (especially within the hours leading up to bedtime) and give yourself permission to sleep in every once in a while. REM sleep is extended in the second half of our sleep schedules, so we tend to get more of it when we sleep in for a little longer.

The bottom line.

If your sleep has suffered since COVID began, you’re not alone. In addition to reducing the stress triggers that are in your control, paying attention to key nutrients, prioritizing movement, and cutting back on caffeine and booze may help you sleep more soundly—even through times that couldn’t be any less relaxing.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/3-unique-ways-covid-triggers-sleep-issues-from-sleep-doctor?mbg_mcid=777:5f6e6035ce2951585907e20a:ot:5c22b3f39799ec3cc6aecb97:1&mbg_hash=57103be3843e0e1cb6615f5efa797221&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_v2_20200926

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