Major racial disparities appear to be present in many states. In fact, data from Illinois shows that only 13.2% of individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 were African-Americans, yet they made up 38.1% of deaths and 24.2% of confirmed cases, which is disproportionate to their population size. In Kansas, Latinos are infected at over twice the rate of non-Latinos and are also tested at a lower rate.

COVID-19 can worsen outcomes within racial minorities because they have poorer access to healthcare, a high incidence of chronic illness and are sometimes wary of the healthcare system.

Ronald J. Daniels and Marc H. Morial. The Covid-19 Racial Disparities Could Be Even Worse Than We Think. Washington Post. April 23, 2020.

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Many research groups around the globe are in a race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, but a laboratory at The Jenner Institute at Oxford University is ahead of others. In fact, they had already proven last year that a similar vaccine against another coronavirus was safe for humans. They can now move on to the next phase to prove its effectiveness. The team estimates that the first batch of vaccines could be available around September.

David D. Kirkpatrick. In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead. New York Times. April 27, 2020.

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Different complications affecting multiple organs are being described with COVID-19. In fact, there is a higher risk of blood clotting when a patient has the virus. Other manifestations include arrhythmias, unsteady blood pressure, liver and kidney infections, and skin manifestations, especially on the fingers and toes. Also, severe cases can ultimately require ventilators, dialysis and even extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), devices that can potentially cause infections.

Victoria Ahearn. Amputations, organ failure, blood clotting: The range of complications in COVID-19 cases. CTV News. April 22, 2020.

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Opioid overdose admissions are rising in number in St-Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver since the COVID-19 outbreak according to Dr. Daniel Kalla, the head of emergency medicine. The main reason is the restructuring of the health system, causing opioid user services to be transferred to fight COVID-19. Also, loneliness tends to raise opioid consumption. Certain doctors think that the U.S. should adapt their regulations regarding methadone usage.

In addition, over 20% of Canadians are drinking more regularly than usual, according to a research poll from the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction. The results show that anxiety and stress can cause an increase in substance use.

Ben Cousins. B.C. Emergency Doctor Worries of Possible Rise in Opioid Deaths Due to COVID-19. CTV News. April 22, 2020.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in emergency room (ER) visits. In Montreal, 18 of the 21 ER have an occupancy rate under 100%. In fact, the average occupancy rate in the city is 71% and in the province of Quebec, this number is about 61%.

The Canadian Press. Quebec  Emergency Room Visits Down Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. CTV News. April 27, 2020.

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Several cases of young COVID-19 patients diagnosed with strokes have been described, though they had a mild disease and no pre-existing health conditions. Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, reported that the incidence of stroke in young individuals has increased sevenfold

Maggie Fox. COVID-19 causing blood clots, sudden strokes in young adults, doctors say. CTV News. April 24, 2020.

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Health professionals are seeing more frequent skin manifestations on the toes and fingers of COVID-19 patients. From a clinical point of view, this symptom manifests itself as blueish-red, purple bumps on the toes or fingers associated with pain and warmth to touch. This mainly affects the younger population and appears prior to other COVID-19 manifestations, or can be the only symptom. Physicians say that it looks like pernio.

“For people who have these lesions, even without pulmonary symptoms, it is probably a reasonable idea to self-isolate,”

ー Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine

Brooklyn Neustaeter. What are ‘COVID toes’? Doctors discover new symptoms of possible infection. CTV News. April 22, 2020.

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Mathematical modelling is broadly used to justify restrictive measures implemented to prevent infection transmission and ultimately death. Some studies recently published show insufficient data, forgetting to include the sudden rise in the number of infections expected after the lifting of measures.

“Once transmission rates return to normal, the epidemic will proceed largely as it would have without mitigations, unless a significant fraction of the population is immune (either because they have recovered from the infection or because an effective vaccine has been developed), or the infectious agent has been completely eliminated, without risk of reintroduction.”

– Wesley Pegden, associate professor, Department of mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University

Maria Chikina, Wesley Pegden, A call to honesty in pandemic modeling, Medium Magazine, March 29, 2020

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