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Roundup: COVID-19 on Surfaces — CDC Clarifies; Risk of Enlarged Heart Ventricle; and No Sales Tax on Hurricane Supplies

CDC Clarifies Advice on Cleaning, Disinfecting Surfaces to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

The primary mode of COVID-19 spread is through respiratory droplets from an infected person who coughs, sneezes or talks in close proximity to another person, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reiterating after some confusion in the news media regarding a slight change in the CDC’s webpage wording about preventing viral infection.

The confusion had to do with the likelihood of a person contracting the coronavirus by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. “Our transmission language has not changed,” CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes told NPR.org.

“After media reports appeared that suggested a change in CDC’s view on transmissibility, it became clear that these edits were confusing,” the CDC states in a press release [1]. “Therefore, we have once again edited the page to provide clarity.”

“COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person,” Haynes told NPR. “While it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

The CDC says that everyone should continue to clean and disinfect dirty surfaces that could have been exposed to the virus.

Transmission of COVID-19 “to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented,” the agency explains on its webpage [2] about cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. However, “current evidence suggests that (COVID-19) may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.”

The CDC adds that the cleaning of “visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.”


Enlargement of Heart’s Right Ventricle in COVID-19 Patients Can Be Indicator of High-Risk Cases

Enlargement of the right ventricle, one of the heart’s four chambers, is a good indicator of which patients with severe COVID-19 were more likely to die, according to a study by doctors from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

The team of doctors reviewed health records of 105 Covid patients hospitalized at Mount Sinai Morningside in New York City between March 26th and April 22nd and published its findings in The Journal of Invasive Cardiology [3].

The doctors found that 32 of those patients had enlarged right ventricles, based on an echocardiogram, the study says. Thirteen of the patients (41 percent) with right ventricle enlargement died. Only eight patients (11 percent) without right ventricle dilation died. he average age of the patients was 66, with 38 of the patients being female.

None of the patients with right ventricle enlargement had “significant differences in the prevalence of major comorbidities” such as hypertension, diabetes or known heart disease, the journal said.

“Echocardiography is a readily available bedside tool that yields essential diagnostic and prognostic information in these patients,” explains Edgar Argulian, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and a lead author on the study. “Clinicians can use bedside echocardiography as a readily available tool to identify patients with COVID-19 infection at the highest risk of adverse hospital outcomes.”


Pay No State Sales Tax on Certain Hurricane Prepareness Supplies, May 29-June 4

With the 2020 hurricane season officially starting June 1, it is time to stock up on supplies. Beginning Friday, May 29, through through Thursday, June 4, qualifying items related to hurricane or storm preparedness are exempt from the Florida sales tax, according to the Florida Department of Revenue [4].

The 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday includes certain disaster preparedness supplies, including:

For a full list of qualifying items, see this document [5]. The sales tax holiday does not apply to the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items.