COVID-19 Diary – Day 244

Translink Launches Pilot Copper Project

Translink has just announced a pilot project to test the natural anti-microbial effects of copper on their transit system. Copper will be added to high-touch areas on 2 buses and 2 SkyTrain cars and swabbed twice weekly to determine how effective they are at preventing bacterial and viral buildup. At the end of a one-month period, the areas will be assessed for durability to determine their long-term viability. This is the first project like this in Canada, and public transit systems across Canada have their eye on its results to come.

While the anti-microbial effect of copper is well known within the scientific community, it remains to be seen if the effects will work quickly enough to make a significant difference in risk. It is also unclear what the current risk level of fomite transmission is within public transit, but public health authorities frequently downplay fomite transmission as a likely source of infection.

Canada Approves More Rapid Tests

Canada has now approved its fourth rapid testing method, the BD Veritor Plus. This system is made by BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), and can produce results in 15mins from nasal swab samples. No specific claims of specificity or sensitivity are made on the company’s webpage for the system, but a comparison study was recently published showing mixed results (although it met the US FDA’s minimum requirement of at least 80% accuracy).

Including this new system, Canada has now made the following rapid test purchases:

  • BD Veritor – 7.6 million tests, and up to 2,172 analyzers
  • Abbott ID Now – Up to 7.9 million tests
  • Abbott Panbio – Up to 20.5 million tests
  • Biomérieux RP2.1 – Up to 699,750 test kits
  • Inter Medico GeneXpert – Up to 1.2 million Tests

Study Links COVID-19 with Mental Illness

A recent study published on November 9th shows a concerning trend linking an increase in mental illness in recovered COVID-19 patients. According to the study, approximately 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients develops at least one mental illness within 90 days of infection. The types of mental illness ranged between anxiety, depression or insomnia, but even dementia was noted as occurring. The study followed the health of over 60k patients within the US.

This fuels further speculation that COVID-19 could have a significant long term effect on the well being of those who contract it and those effects could be physical or psychological in form. Also concerning is the fact that the study found that people with pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those without a pre-existing diagnosis.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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