New CDC report shows 94% of COVID-19 deaths in US had contributing conditions

ATLANTA, Ga. (WJW) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data last week that depicts how many Americans who have died from COVID-19 also had contributing conditions.

According to the report, only 6% of deaths have COVID-19 as the only cause mentioned, revealing that 94% of patients who died from coronavirus also had other “health conditions and contributing causes.”

The report reads in part:

Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.

Table 3. Conditions contributing to deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by age group, United States. Week ending 2/1/2020 to 8/22/2020.* (Courtesy: CDC)

The CDC listed the following as the top underlying medical conditions linked to coronavirus deaths:

  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Hypertensive disease
  • Diabetes
  • Vascular and unspecified dementia
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart failure
  • Renal failure
  • Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events
  • Other medical conditions

The CDC explains that their data uses provisional death counts to “deliver the most complete and accurate picture of lives lost to COVID-19.”

These numbers are based on death certificates, which the organization says are the most reliable source of data. Death certificates reportedly contain information that is not available anywhere else and includes comorbid conditions, race and ethnicity and place of death.

The CDC says provisional death counts may not match counts from other sources, such as numbers from county health departments, because death certificates take time to be completed, states report at different rates, it takes officials extra time to code COVID-19 deaths, and because other reporting systems use different definitions or methods for counting deaths.

The organization adds that provisional data is not yet complete, provisional counts are not final and are subject to change, and that death counts should not be compared across states.

Editor’s note: We’ve updated the language of this article to read “contributing conditions” when noting COVID-19 death percentages. In a previous version, those contributing conditions were labeled “underlying health conditions.”

from KRON4

U.S. COVID-19 recoveries surpass 2 million, according to Johns Hopkins

DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — Recoveries from COVID-19 in the United States have now surpassed 2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Though the U.S. leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, it ranks third in overall recoveries.

Brazil has 3.1 million recoveries from its 3.8 million confirmed cases while India has 2.6 million recoveries out of 3.4 million cases.

From that perspective, the U.S.’s figures of 2.1 million recoveries out of nearly 6 million cases don’t look so good.

So why the big gap in recovery numbers for the U.S.? It boils down to disparities in reporting. Because there aren’t nationwide guidelines for reporting, recovery figures are all over the place.

California, which leads the nation in cases, has no recovery figures, according to Johns Hopkins data. The same is true for Florida and Illinois.

Meanwhile, Texas is reporting nearly 500,000 recoveries out of its more than 600,000 confirmed cases.

Johns Hopkins researchers acknowledged their recovery figures are “substantially lower than the true number” due to the discrepancies in data. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not reporting recoveries at the national level, states and local health departments have the flexibility to report recoveries if and how they wish.

One reason they aren’t always tracked is that there’s isn’t a clear definition of what a recovery looks like. While the CDC has guidelines for stopping self quaranteening, that doesn’t necessarily mean the patient has recovered.

CDC guidelines say a person must be free of a fever without the help of medication, show improvement in respiratory conditions and receive negative results from two separate tests performed at least 24 hours apart to be considered free of the virus.

As has been reported, many people who have had COVID-19 face long-term heath challenges.

“When you think of someone as having recovered from something, to most people, that means that they’re well,” said  Dr. Beth Kassanoff, an internal medicine physician with North Texas Preferred Health in an interview with “And there can be some long-term significant health consequences from COVID, especially from people that have been hospitalized. Lung issues, kidney issues, some of those things can happen with COVID-19 and they might not be recovered from those at the time those 30 days are up, if that’s what the measure is.”

Some medical experts note the focus in the United States wasn’t put on recoveries because all resources were put into obtaining testing.

“People are recovering from this, absolutely,” said Casey Kelley of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in an interview with U.S. News & World Report. “They absolutely are, and most people will. We just don’t have the data because we don’t have the manpower to monitor that right now.”

from KRON4

Spare the Air Alert extended through Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is extending the Spare the Air Alert for wildfire smoke in the Bay Area through Tuesday, September 1st.

It’s illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices during a Spare the Air Alert.

The extension of the alert is a result of various wildfires still burning across the Bay Area.

To find out you current air quality conditions, click here.


from KRON4

Healdsburg man ‘having a bad day’ arrested for arson

HEALDSBURG, Calif. (KRON) – A 37-year-old Healdsburg man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of starting a grass fire by U.S. Highway 101 in Healdsburg, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

A deputy driving on Highway 101 spotted the fire near Lytton
Springs Road and detained a man walking nearby.

Wesley James Bergman admitted setting the fire “because he was
having a bad day,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He was arrested for arson and causing a fire to forestland and is being held at the Sonoma County Jail with bail set at $40,000

Copyright © 2020 by Bay City News, Inc.

from KRON4

Hair salons and malls allowed to reopen in Sonoma County

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Barbershops, hair salons and malls will be allowed to reopen with precautions on Monday in Sonoma County.

This decision comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom revised health orders in a press conference on Friday.

Blueprint for a Safer Economy is a new blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in California. The new framework still restricts indoor operations at restaurants, gyms, and museums.

“We feel comfortable in opening up this sector of our economy as the data show we’ve had only a handful of cases from indoor salons,” said Dr. Sundarai Mase.

“But we still have a ways to go before we will be able to move to the next tier and allow more activities to reopen under the state’s blueprint,” Dr. Mase added. 

Community members are encouraged to go to to track where their county stands with COVID-19 restrictions.

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from KRON4

Chrissy Teigen buys teachers’ Amazon wishlists

(KRON) – Chrissy Teigen is making the school year a little bit better for some lucky teachers who reached out to her on Twitter.

As students prepare for learning in a COVID-19 era, many teachers don’t have the appropriate school supplies to be successful. Teigen wanted to help.

The cookbook icon posted a photo of the room she set up for homeschooling her children, Luna and Miles. She asked teachers to send her their Amazon wishlists.

“If you are a teacher in need of supplies for the upcoming school year, please drop your Amazon wishlist here, I will do as many as I can!”

Teigen reached thousands of people, so she wasn’t able to get to everyone. Some generous followers of Chrissy’s helped out too.

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from KRON4


from Boren Kelsey Live

Baylor University quarantines students amid COVID-19 outbreak

Baylor University has quarantined students on the third and fourth floors of Martin Hall because of an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

The number of cases has gone from five to 21 since Thursday.

The university hopes this will give them time to complete contact tracing and institute daily COVID-19 rapid testing and rigorous assessment of any virus symptoms.

It also allows Baylor to tailor its response to the specific situation in Martin Hall without an immediate full quarantine. 

Baylor will evaluate the need for a more extensive quarantine if evidence suggests it is necessary.

According to Baylor’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are 366 currently active COVID-19 cases on campus.

Since August 1st, the university has conducted 20,941 tests and has a positivity rate of 11.4%.

In the last seven days, Baylor has conducted 2,780 tests with 319 coming back positive.

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from KRON4

Elon Musk unveils ‘Fitbit in your skull’ brain chip, demonstrates on pig

AUSTIN (KXAN) — “It actually fits quite nicely under your skull. It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a Friday webcast.

Elon Musk unveils NeuraLink’s latest prototype (NeuraLink)

It was at this webcast that Musk unveiled the latest version of his company NeuraLink’s latest prototype, the Link VO.9 — a chip that would allow humans to control devices with their brains.

Musk said this could eventually help cure people with conditions like memory loss, hearing loss, paralysis, blindness, brain damage, depression and anxiety.

Viewers of the webcast met Gertrude, a pig that had the chip implanted in her brain two months ago. A graph shown onscreen showed the waves inside Gertrude’s brain, which fired when her brain communicated with her snout while she was eating.

“This is a healthy, happy pig,” said Musk. “Indistinguishable from a normal pig.”

The chip can read signals from all of Gertrude’s limbs, Musk said.

NeuraLink previously unveiled a more complicated device that sat behind the ear which was visible from the outside.

The Link VO.9, Musk said, simplifies that device.

The coin-sized device would go into the skull and would actually replace a piece of skull. The scotch tape-looking flap (pictured below) is not part of the device, but is used to protect fine wires that would connect to the brain once implanted.

The Link VO.9 (NeuraLink)

“It’s a lot more complicated than this, but a simplified version is it’s kind of like a Fitbit in your brain with tiny wires,” Musk said.

Link VO.9 would be able to connect to and communicate with a person’s mobile phone.

The company is currently working toward human trials — which should be ready soon, pending required approvals, NeuraLink said. The FDA has also designated the prototype as a “Breakthrough Device” and Musk says the company is working closely with the association.

The CEO says the VO.9 is about 100 times better than the most similar device that’s currently available.

Getting a link put into your brain would involve an out-patient procedure done without general anesthesia — it would take less than an hour and would have to be performed by a robot.

“If the electrodes are inserted very carefully, there’s no bleeding,” he said.

Another pig, Dorothy, was shown during the presentation. This pig had a chip put in and then removed, which Musk said proves removal would allow a patient to still be healthy afterwards.

NeuraLink was founded by Musk in 2016 with the aim to explore and research connecting human brains to computer technology. In a 2019 Q&A, Musk said the device had been tested on monkeys and that the test subjects were able to control computers with their brains.

Readings of Gertrude the pig’s brainwaves, which are shown to have been predicted by the VO.9 chip (NeuraLink)

Current medical research, according to the Friday presentation, is currently cumbersome, requires medical expertise and involves skull protrusions — increasing risk of infection.

“It’s literally a bed of rigid spikes inserted with an air hammer,” Musk explained. “There’s wires and a box on your head. And it looks weird if you walk around with a box on your head.”

Despite the crude implementation, however, Musk says these procedures prove the technology is possible.

Currently available technology includes something called “Deep Brain Stimulation,” Musk says. These implants put a small amount of electrodes into your brain but they can’t read or write a large amount of information, he explained.

“It’s a bit like kicking the TV,” he said. “Which sometimes works. But not always.”

He says the tech has helped more than 150,000 people, however.

Despite his enthusiasm for the technology, Musk previously expressed his belief that artificial intelligence could wipe out the human race, saying: “Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind.”

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from KRON4

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