U.S. reports more than 83,000 coronavirus cases, record daily total, as experts warn of difficult winter

PUBLISHED SAT, OCT 24 202010:22 AM EDTUPDATED 2 HOURS AGONoah Higgins-Dunn@HIGGINSDUNNNate Rattner@NATERATTNERKEY POINTS

  • The U.S. reported more than 83,700 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, passing the last record of roughly 77,300 cases seen in mid-July, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Amid the growing trend in cases, health experts are warning that the U.S. could be in for a difficult winter.
  • The increase in cases in several states are leading to more hospitalizations and will ultimately lead to more deaths, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
U.S. National Guard Cpl. Kyle Zahn of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, physician assistant (PA) Harrison Pham, and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) Jermaine LeFlare and Shameka Johnson process nasal swab samples at a drive-thru testing site

U.S. National Guard Cpl. Kyle Zahn of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, physician assistant (PA) Harrison Pham, and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) Jermaine LeFlare and Shameka Johnson process nasal swab samples at a drive-thru testing site outside the Southside Health Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 21, 2020.Bing Guan | Reuters

The U.S. reported a record-breaking number of new coronavirus cases on Friday, continuing an alarming surge and stoking concerns from health experts that the nation could be in for a difficult winter.

The country reported more than 83,700 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, passing the last record of roughly 77,300 cases seen on July 16 as the U.S. grappled with outbreaks in Sun Belt states, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“I think we’re in for a very hard stretch here,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told CNBC on Friday evening. “I think the winter is going to be very difficult.”

Chart showing daily new coronavirus cases in the U.S. with data through October 24, 2020.

Coronavirus cases grew by 5% or more over the past week in 37 states as of Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data that uses a weekly average to smooth out fluctuations in daily reporting.

Some states, like California and Alabama, have been working through a backlog of tests that were added to Friday’s count, pushing the nation’s total higher, according to their data dashboards. However, the nation is now reporting roughly 63,200 daily new cases based on a weekly average, a more than 14% increase compared with a week ago.

While Covid-19 testing is up nearly 13% from Oct. 1, new cases have risen at a much faster rate. The seven-day average of new infections is up 51% over that same period, according to Johns Hopkins data.

“I think we’re going to bear a lot more infection … and the health-care system is going to have to bear the brunt of this burden, because I don’t think you have the popular will for stay-at-home orders or broad mitigation,” Gottlieb said, adding that the virus’ spread would slow “if everyone would just wear masks.”WATCH NOWVIDEO00:58Daily death statistics from Covid this winter could be staggering: Dr. Scott Gottlieb

The recent surge is a “distressing trend” that is likely due to “smaller, more intimate gatherings of family, friends and neighbors” that are moving indoors as the weather cools, Jay Butler, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s deputy director for infectious diseases, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

The outbreaks are building throughout the country with particular areas of concern in the Midwest, Butler said. As of Friday, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin continue to report the highest number of new cases per capita.

Chart showing daily new coronavirus cases per capita in U.S. states with data as of October 23, 2020.

The increase in cases in several states are leading to more hospitalizations and will ultimately lead to more deaths, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Friday.

Thirteen states reached record high hospitalizations on Friday, based on a weekly average. Many of them are in the West and Midwest, including Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a CNBC analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.WATCH NOWVIDEO03:22Here are the chances you’ll get another $1,200 stimulus check

Coronavirus deaths have remained relatively flat in the U.S., though health experts warn fatalities typically lag infections by a few weeks. 

“When you enter the season of the cooler months of the fall and the colder months of the winter, where a lot of activity, out of necessity, is going to be inside as opposed to outside, that’s a difficult and challenging situation to be in because you have a couple of factors against you,” Fauci said.

Chart showing daily new coronavirus cases in the U.S. with data through October 24, 2020.

— CNBC’s Kevin S

Wisconsin reports 1,165 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, another single-day record

Natalie BrophyAppleton Post-Crescent0:001:33https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.400.1_en.html#goog_1674849591

https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2020/08/08/wisconsin-coronavirus-1-165-new-covid-19-cases-another-record/3326419001/

Wisconsin health officials reported an additional 1,165 people have tested positive for COVID-19, another single-day record. 

Those positive cases made up 8.9% of the 13,162 test results reported by the Department of Health Services on Saturday. The seven-day average for positive tests stands at 6.1% as of Saturday. 

The state health department also reported Saturday that six more people have died, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 996. Those who have died as a result of COVID-19 make up 1.7% of all those diagnosed, according to DHS. The majority of deaths are among those 70 and older. https://www.usatodaynetworkservice.com/tangstatic/html/papn/sf-q1a2z32fe45021.min.html

RELATED: Small businesses say masks, distancing are key to protecting and reviving local economies

RELATED: UW-Oshkosh football players, coach deal with canceled season

In total, 59,933 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin. According to the state health department, around 16% of those cases remain active. DHS defines an active case as someone who is still alive, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 30 days, and still has symptoms or has not been released from isolation. https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Recent research from those studying the virus have found that even after someone has recovered from COVID-19 and no longer has symptoms, it’s possible for the virus to flare up again in some patients and symptoms can return. 

As of Saturday morning, 311 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, 96 of them in intensive care. An additional 152 patients were hospitalized awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. 

Coronavirus: ‘Wake-up call’ for how we treat wild animals

2 Aug 20202 August 2020Last updated at 23:03View Comments (25)Baboon in a cageGETTY IMAGESAnimals like this baboon are caught in the wild and then sold

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/53519296

Animal campaigners say the coronavirus pandemic is a “wake-up call” about how wild animals are treated across the world.

It’s thought the virus, known as Covid-19, might have originally come from animals at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China.

The pandemic has highlighted some of the problems around the way people treat wild animals and the impact that this can then have on humans.

So how does a disease pass from animals to humans, and what can be done to help stop it happening again?

What is a zoonotic disease?

Covid-19 is what scientists call a zoonotic disease – that means it starts off in animals and then humans catch it.

Diseases like this have been around forever – you may have heard of others like Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Ebola and Malaria.

Because of how quickly Covid-19 has spread around the world, we’ve heard much more about it and the problems it can cause for people.https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.32.16/iframe.htmlWATCH: World Animal Protection’s Sonul Badiani-Hamment explains what the global wildlife trade isHow does a disease pass from animals to humans?

Animals can carry bacteria and viruses that cause disease, and these may be passed on to – or even jump to – other animal species, including humans. The other species’ body tries to fight the bacteria and virus but, if it can’t, it can become ill.

When wild animals are in unnatural conditions, they can become stressed or weak which makes it more likely that they will pass on the bacteria or viruses they have.

It also makes the wild animal more likely to catch them from others.

If a place isn’t clean enough for the animal, or if they’re near species that they wouldn’t normally meet in the wild, disease is more likely to spread as well.Why does a disease pass from wild animals to humans?

It can happen when wild animals come into contact with humans.

This occurs more often when their habitat is reduced, for example through deforestation and the impacts of climate change.

It means wild animals don’t always have the most suitable or right types of places to live, and some might come into cities instead to find food. This then means they can have much closer contact with humans than they naturally would.Flying macaws in tropical forestGETTY IMAGESIf tropical forests like this get smaller then animals, like these birds, won’t have a place to live

Most wild animals live in the wild where they can find their own food, make their own home and live in the conditions that their bodies were designed for.

However around the world, millions of wild animals such as parrots, iguanas, lizards, tortoises, pangolins and chimpanzees are taken from the wild.

They’re then bought and sold for lots of different reasons, for example to be kept as pets, to be eaten, to provide entertainment, to be used in traditional medicines, or parts of their body, like their scales or nails, might be used for ornaments.https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.32.16/iframe.htmlWATCH: Pangolins are often caught and sold for their scales

More on wild animal protection

Wildlife groups want animal markets to be shut down

Can tech help protect global wildlife?What’s being done about it?Conservationist and chimpanzeeGETTY IMAGESConservationists around the world work to get animals, like this chimpanzee, back to living in the wild

Conservationists around the world work really hard to make sure wild animals, and the places where they live, are protected – so that the animals can live their life as naturally as possible.

Following the first outbreak of Covid-19 the city of Wuhan, in China is banning the farming and eating of live wildlife. Thousands of wildlife farms raising animals such as porcupines, civets and turtles have been shut down.

But it’s a worldwide problem. Professor Cunningham from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) told the BBC: “It’s easy to finger point, but it’s not just happening in China, it’s happening in many other countries and even in the western world. We like to have exotic pets and many of those are wild caught and we ought to be putting our own house in order too.”

But tackling the problem is tricky as there are many poor people in parts of the world who depend on the wildlife trade for their jobs.

Professor Cunningham added: “The people who are providing them, whether that’s farmed wild animals or animals from the wild, that’s an important source of income for them.”

Over 10,000 Tyson Employees Reportedly Test Positive For Covid

Jul 30, 2020,05:16pm EDT

Alexandra SternlichtForbes StaffBusinessI cover breaking news

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandrasternlicht/2020/07/30/over-10000-tyson-employees-reportedly-test-positive-for-covid/#3db1ce676da4

TOPLINE

Over 10,000 Tyson Foods meat processing employees have contracted Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to a study by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, which was released today as the company announced it would implement weekly Covid-19 testing at a number of plants.

Tyson Foods Makes Offer For Hillshire Brands
Tyson Foods’ brands include Tyson, Hillshire Farm and Jimmy Dean. JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES

KEY FACTS

At least 49,369 U.S. meatpacking, food processing and farmworkers have contracted Covid-19 since March, 10,104 of whom were meatpackers at Tyson foods, according to a July 30 report by the FERN.

Also July 30, Tyson Foods announced they would hire a chief medical officer, 200 nurses and implement weekly Covid-19 testing for employees at 140 meat production factories.

Second quarter revenue dropped 15% for the meat giant whose brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Sara Lee.

“While the protective measures we’ve implemented in our facilities are working well, we remain vigilant about keeping our team members safe and are always evaluating ways to do more,” Donnie King, Tyson Foods group president and chief administrative officer said in the announcement.

Other meatpacking companies JBS and Smithfield Foods have 2,000-plus workers who have tested positive for Covid-19.

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BIG NUMBER

100,000. That’s roughly the number of Tyson Foods employees, according to CNN.

KEY BACKGROUND

In April, Tyson said that “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from grocery store shelves with closures of meat processing facilities due to Covid-19 outbreaks among workers. At that point, Tyson employees told CNN they were being pressured to come to work, though they did not feel working conditions were safe.

TANGENT

On April 16, Smithfield Foods’ meat processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota became the largest Covid-19 hotspot in the U.S. with 735 Covid-19 cases among workers, according to Forbes.

FURTHER READING

Mapping Covid-19 outbreaks in the food system (FERN)

Tyson Foods Launches New, Nationwide COVID Monitoring Strategy; Expands Health Staff (Tyson)

‘The food supply chain is breaking,’ Tyson says as plants close (CNN)

Smithfield Foods Becomes Largest Coronavirus Hotbed In United States, South Dakota Governor Yet To Mandate Stay Home Order (Forbes)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

Risk of coronavirus among pets remains low, health officials say

A Humane WorldKitty Block’s Blog
July 30, 2020The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that so far fewer than two dozen companion animals have tested positive, with no infections reported among birds, reptiles and fish. Photo by iStock.comWe received the sad news today that Buddy, the first dog in the United States known to have contracted the novel coronavirus, passed away on July 11. We share in the grief Buddy’s family is no doubt feeling over the loss of their beloved companion during what already is an extremely stressful time. A human family member had also tested positive for the virus and is believed to have passed it on to Buddy.We are also mindful of the concerns of millions of pet owners who must be understandably worried, upon hearing this news, about keeping their pets and themselves safe during the pandemic. While there is still much to learn about the coronavirus, and its transmissibility between pets and people, experts believe that the risks are low.It’s important to note that the National Geographic article that broke the news revealed that Buddy’s bloodwork showed he had lymphoma, a type of cancer. “It’s unclear whether cancer made him more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, or if the virus made him ill, or if it was just a case of coincidental timing,” the article reported.It is also important to remember that while there are now 17 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in humans worldwide, including more than 4.5 million people in the United States, there are just a handful of documented instances of companion animals contracting the disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture keeps track of those numbers and so far fewer than two dozen companionanimals have tested positive, with no infections reported among birds, reptiles and fish.In late April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA announced the first confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in two pet cats in New York state. The cats had mild respiratory illness and were the first pets in the United States to test positive for the virus.The first case of the virus in a companion animal worldwide was recorded in February, when a dog in Hong Kong tested positive, most likely after contracting the virus from his owner. The 17-year-old dog later tested negative for the virus but died in July from other existing health issues, authorities believe.The CDCUSDA and the World Organization for Animal Health have issued advisories saying that at this time there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. It also appears to be the case that the virus cannot sustain itself in pet fur for very long, so the CDC and the veterinary community have taken the position that there is no evidence that a person could contract the coronavirus by touching a pet.  That said, we are closely monitoring the evidence with both animal welfare and the human-animal bond in mind. With Buddy and his family in our thoughts, I’d like to share some tips developed by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) for keeping yourself and your pets safe during the pandemic:If you are confirmed to have COVID-19 (or if you are symptomatic or believe you may have been exposed) you should avoid contact with other people as well as with pets, and you should also avoid sharing any food.Have a plan in place for someone to help care for your pet(s) in the event you get sick or are hospitalized.If you must provide care for your pet or be around other animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.    Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household. Keep cats indoors whenever possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people. Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least six feet (two meters) from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks or public places in which large number of people and dogs gather. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. Dr. Gail Hansen of HSVMA says it is critically important that pet owners keep matters in perspective and not make rash decisions concerning their pets. “All of the known cases in pets were in households with a person infected with COVID-19. The key point is that pets should be treated the same as any other family member,” she adds.That’s our view too. The welfare of companion animals in the midst of this pandemic is inextricably connected to our own. We’ll continue to deliver the message that people should exercise the greatest caution with their pets, and avoid unnecessary risks, while also reinforcing the widely shared sentiment that they depend upon our mercy and care, now more than ever.The post Risk of coronavirus among pets remains low, health officials say appeared first on A Humane World.Related StoriesMore than 100 dogs rescued from Korean dog meat farms arrive in the U.S. for adoptionMore than 100 dogs rescued from Korean dog meat farms arrive in the U.S. for adoption – EnclosurePup paralyzed after brutal beating demonstrates urgency for Iowa to make animal torture a felony

U.S. coronavirus deaths top 1,000 for four straight days as California, Florida and Texas report record averages

HEALTH AND SCIENCE

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/25/us-coronavirus-deaths-top-1000-for-four-straight-days.html

PUBLISHED SAT, JUL 25 202010:53 AM EDTUPDATED 5 HOURS AGONoah Higgins-Dunn@HIGGINSDUNNKEY POINTS

  • The U.S. reported more than 1,100 coronavirus deaths on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 
  • Friday marked the first time since late May the daily death toll totaled above 1,000 for four consecutive days. 
  • There were 10 states across the U.S. that reported record daily coronavirus deaths based on a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins.
Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck serving as make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center on April 09, 2020 in New York City.

Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck serving as make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center on April 09, 2020 in New York City.Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 1,100 coronavirus deaths on Friday, marking the first time since May the morbid daily death toll rose above 1,000 for four consecutive days, according to Johns Hopkins University data. close dialogStream live CNBC TV from around the world.START FREE TRIAL

There were 10 states across the U.S. that reported record daily coronavirus deaths based on a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins. CNBC uses a seven-day trailing average to smooth out spikes in data reporting to identify where cases and deaths are rising and falling. 

Covid-19 cases across the country remained steady, however, with the nation’s seven-day average growing by less than 1% compared with a week ago, according to Hopkins data. Deaths and hospitalizations typically lag behind an increase in cases because it can take a while after someone is diagnosed to become seriously ill and potentially die, epidemiologists say. 

Some states that have reported climbing cases for weeks, including California, Texas and Florida, are now seeing record daily coronavirus deaths based on a seven-day moving average. 

Texas had an average of 138 new deaths on Friday, which is more than 29% higher compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. California had an average of 104 new deaths, which is more than 13% higher compared with a week ago. Florida reported an average of 121 daily deaths, a near 21% increase compared with a week ago. 

On Thursday, Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that the rate of deaths from the coronavirus in the United States should begin to fall in the “next couple of weeks.” WATCH NOWVIDEO05:17How to stay financially sound during the coronavirus pandemic

The seven-day rolling average of coronavirus infections is beginning to drop, and U.S. health officials predict hospitalizations will go down next week and mortality rates will follow in about two weeks, he said during a press briefing with reporters.

Giroir’s prediction differs from forecasts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National and state-level forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths in the U.S. over the next four weeks will likely exceed the number reported over the previous four weeks, according to the CDC. 

“Nobody’s letting up their foot from the gas,” he added. “If we throw caution to the wind, go back to the bars, this will all go into reverse.” 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told CNBC Friday that the state has not yet “conquered” the coronavirus and it’s “going to take a little while” to eliminate, although the state has made some strides. State officials and funeral home directors are ordering extra body bags and refrigerated trucks as they prepare for an increase in deaths from Covid-19, which has already killed at least 4,717 people in the state.

“I feel like we have reached a plateau where we’ve contained the exponential growth of Covid at this particular time, but we have a lot more work to do in the coming weeks,” Abbott said. “We don’t have Covid conquered right now.” 

Spain orders cull of nearly 100,000 farmed mink after animals test positive for Covid-19

By Laura Pérez Maestro and Sara Spary, CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/17/europe/spain-culls-mink-scli-intl/index.html

Updated 6:19 AM ET, Fri July 17, 2020Almost 100,000 mink on the farm are to be culled after 78 out of 90 animals tested -- equivalent to 87% of the sample -- tested positive for coronavirus.Almost 100,000 mink on the farm are to be culled after 78 out of 90 animals tested — equivalent to 87% of the sample — tested positive for coronavirus.

(CNN)Spanish authorities have ordered the culling of almost 100,000 mink following an outbreak at a farm, where the animals are bred for fur,after a number tested positive for the novel coronavirus.The Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment of Spain’s Aragon region said in a statement on Thursday that it had ordered the slaughter of the 92,700 mink after seven workers on the farm tested positive for Covid-19 and the animals were found to be infected with the coronavirus.

A mink may have infected a human with Covid-19, Dutch authorities believe

A mink may have infected a human with Covid-19, Dutch authorities believeAs a precaution the department shut down the farm, in Teruel, eastern Spain, on May 22, for monitoring before conducting a number of tests at random, which initially returned a negative result.However, subsequent tests, the most recent of which was July 7, confirmed 78 out of 90 animals tested — equivalent to 87% of the sample — had become infected with the coronavirus.Content by CNN UnderscoredThe best deals in Apple’s Amazon storeYes, Apple has set up shop on Amazon. That means you can get official Apple products with free Prime shipping.In the statement, the department said no conclusions could be drawn as to whether “there is human-to-animal transmission or vice versa,” and that “no abnormal behavior has been detected in the animals nor has there been an increase in mortality in them.”However, it said all mink on the farm would be slaughtered as a preventative measure.

Can animals spread Covid-19 to humans?

This is not the first mink farm to have seen a coronavirus outbreak. In May, Dutch authorities introduced mandatory testing at all mink farms in the Netherlands after they said they believed a mink might have infected a human with Covid-19.The testing has led to the culling of up to one million mink in the country at two dozen farms, according to animal welfare charity Humane Society International.”On the basis of new research results from the ongoing research into Covid-19 infections at mink farms, it is plausible that an infection took place from mink to human,” the Dutch government said in a statement at the time. “It also appears from this research that minks can have Covid-19 without displaying symptoms.”

The virus hunters who search bat caves to predict the next pandemic

The virus hunters who search bat caves to predict the next pandemicThe Dutch government also said it believed cats may play a role in the spread of the virus between farms. “Ongoing research shows the viruses at two of the infected farms are very similar,” the statement said. Covid-19 was found in three out of 11 cats at one mink farm, it said.The virus has been seen in a variety of other animals, including a number of tigers in New York’s Bronx Zoo in April and a dog in Hong Kong.According to the World Health Organization, while it is not possible to determine precisely the source of the virus, it most likely originated in bats. However, more research needs to be conducted to determine how the virus potentially spreads from animals to humans as the role animals play in the spread of the virus remains unclear.

CNN’s Mick Krever, Rob Picheta and Julia Hollingsworth contributed to this story.

Researchers look into cannabis as a potential COVID-19 treatment

BY NATACHA LARNAUD

JULY 18, 2020 / 11:41 AM / CBS NEWS

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cannabis-treatment-potential-cbd-covid-19/

As new daily coronavirus infections continue to break records in the U.S., researchers are considering whether the cannabis plant has the potential to be used in the treatment of COVID-19.

Experts from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are recommending that scientists study the anti-inflammatory properties in CBD as a potential treatment for lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus.

There is no scientific evidence that cannabis or its compounds can help with COVID-19 specifically, but in a peer-reviewed article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the authors said further research is needed to understand if CBD can help patients infected by the virus.

Emily Earlenbaugh, a Forbes contributor and co-founder of Mindful Cannabis Consulting, joined CBSN to discuss the study. She explained that in severe cases of COVID-19, the body’s immune system overreacts and releases too many cytokines, which is called a “cytokine storm.”

“Cytokines will normally help to create inflammation to fight off infections,” Earlenbaugh said. “But in these extreme cases, you see so much cytokines being released into the system that it creates a cytokine storm. You might see high fever, inflammation, severe fatigue and nausea, and in serious cases, it can lead to death through organ failure.”

Earlenbaugh said CBD is known from previous research as an IL-6 cytokine inhibitor, meaning it helps reduce the production of cytokines.

Coronavirus: The Race To Respond 

The authors of the study wrote that one drug, Tocilizumab, resulted in the “clearance of lung consolidation and recovery” in 90% of the 21 treated patients. The drug, however, resulted in adverse side effects like pancreas inflammation and hypertriglyceridemia.

Researchers then turned to cannabis, specifically CBD. The authors said that several cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties. They said CBD “has shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in pre-clinical models of various chronic inflammatory diseases” and noted that the FDA approved one CBD product to treat certain forms of epilepsy.

“CBD has very few side effects, so it’s something that’s being looked at as a much more mild treatment that still has a lot of anti-inflammatory powers,” Earlenbaugh told CBSN. 

The authors of the study said that CBD can help reduce anxiety in patients and increase the production of interferons, a protein that helps that body fight infections.

But given the very early stages of this research, Earlenbaugh warns that people should “definitely express caution” against using cannabis to fight COVID-19. She said some researchers have warned using the drug early on in the infection stages could cause negative side effects.

“We’re very pretty far away from human research that could really definitively answer those questions for us,” Earlenbaugh says. “The other reason for caution is that cytokines are important in fighting off infections. So, we don’t want to reduce them as a preventative measure or in early stages of the infection.”