Coronavirus

Analysis: When Is a Coronavirus Test Not a Coronavirus Test?

Desperate to continue the tradition of a family beach week, I hatched a plan that would allow some mask- and sanitizer-enhanced semblance of normality.

We hadn’t seen my two 20-something children in months. They’d spent the lockdown in Brooklyn; one of them most likely had the disease in late March, before testing was widely available. My mother had died of COVID-19 in May.

So a few weeks ago, I rented a cute house on the Delaware shore. It had a screened-in front porch and a little cottage out back, in case someone needed to quarantine.

I asked my son, who had participated in several protests and had been at a small outdoor July Fourth gathering, to get tested before he came. Testing had been recommended by the governor and the mayor, and many centers were offering an anticipated 48-hour turnaround.

He got one and downloaded the app for results. And

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Essential and in Danger: Coronavirus Sickens, Even Kills Public Health Workers

As a veteran public health worker, Chantee Mack knew the coronavirus could kill. She already faced health challenges and didn’t want to take any chances during the pandemic. So she asked — twice — for permission to work from home.

She was deemed essential and told no.

Eight weeks later, she was dead.

Mack, a 44-year-old disease intervention specialist, lost her life this spring after COVID-19 struck the Prince George’s County Health Department in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. The coronavirus infected at least 20 department employees, some of whom had attended a staff meeting where they sat close together, union leaders said.

The spread of COVID-19 underscores the stark dangers facing the nation’s public health army — the very people charged with leading the pandemic response.

“We’re the ones called to the fire to do this during an emergency. We are essential. People don’t look at us as

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As Coronavirus Patients Skew Younger, Tracing Task Seems All But Impossible

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Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Fly Free as Health Departments Focus on Coronavirus

Bug spray, swollen welts, citronella. It’s mosquito season.

And in a normal year, the health department serving Ohio’s Delaware County would be setting out more than 90 mosquito traps a week — black tubs of stagnant water with nets designed to ensnare the little buggers.

But this year, because of COVID-19, the mosquitoes will fly free.

The coronavirus has pulled the staffers away, so they haven’t set a single trap yet this year, according to Dustin Kent, the program manager of the residential services unit. Even if workers had the time, the state lab that typically tests the insects for viruses that infect humans isn’t able to take the samples because it also is too busy with COVID-19.

That means the surrounding community, just north of Columbus, Ohio, has to wait until potentially deadly mosquito-borne illnesses such as that caused by the West Nile virus sicken humans to find out

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