Week ends with no more COVID-19 positives

| 17/07/2020 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service
CMO Dr John Lee at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS): Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee revealed Friday that there were no positive samples of COVID-19 from a batch of 270 tests processed over the last 24 hours. With just two active cases now in Cayman in asymptomatic patients, the CMO said that he had asked UK officials to speak with the World Health Authority to downgrade Cayman’s status from ‘clusters’ of infection to sporadic and then hopefully to ‘none’.

Reluctant to say exactly when he could declare the Cayman Islands COVID-19 free, Dr Lee said that cases continue to pop up. Despite the obvious trend that points towards the country having run the virus to ground, even when the current two active cases are declared recovered and there are no more new infections, Cayman’s status at ‘none’ will not last long, given the plan to start the phased reopening of the borders on 1 September.

“When we open our borders, I suspect that will not remain the case as there will probably be one or two infections,” Dr Lee said.

However, with just two positive results among the 3,440 tests run since the 1 July, until those borders begin to open and the system of quarantining changes, Cayman appears to have all but eliminated the virus. As a result, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed further relaxations in the COVID-19 suppression regulations from this Sunday.

As of 19 July until the end of August, unless anything happens to cause things to change, McLaughlin said social gatherings can now increase to 50, contact sports can resume with up to 50 spectators plus players, social distance dancing and karaoke can resume and nightclubs are also allowed to open with up to 50 customers at a time.

People will also be able to visit the Pines Retirement Home but visitors must be tested and show a negative result beforehand, given the continued concerns around the vulnerability of the elderly to the virus.

Boat travel to the Sister Islands is now permitted and people can fly to both Cayman Brac or Little Cayman from Grand Cayman without getting tested so long as they have been on the islands for at least two weeks.

However, Star Fish Point, Rum Point and the Sandbar will remain closed to all but commercial operators with Wildlife Interaction Zone licences. The premier said government is taking the opportunity to review how these attractions are monitored and managed before they are reopened.

“There has been a long standing concern within the community about how these areas of natural beauty have been managed,” McLaughlin said at government’s first COVID-19 briefing for two weeks.

“Government is taking this opportunity to consult with the Department of Environment as well as the Coast Guard and the Department of Commerce to discuss how management of these areas can be better monitored and better enforced to provide a better experience for wildlife, residents of the area and visitors.”

Over recent weeks DoE officials and residents have reported a significant increase in starfish at the much loved area in Cayman Kai, as the COVID-19 lockdown and decreased human activity gave the creatures a break.

Cayman’s starfish are protected under the National Conservation Law and it is an offence to lift them out of the water, but it is not uncommon to see pictures on social media of people holding these endangered marine animals aloft.

See the press briefing on CIGTV below:

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier – you call the shots – please don’t make these greedy sharks around you convince you to open our borders. Look around the world and see what is happening. Moses you should be ashamed of yourself x 2. You guys are making a BIG MISTAKE.
    You want to be productive???? And gain recognition? Then get these freeloaders gone. Ease the burden you have taken on!

    • Anonymous says:

      Free loaders? Really? This from a Civil service hide away with full pay moron? Unfortunately for you the Premier is tasked with keep all of Cayman islands working and functional and without the outside world Cayman is just a swamp in the ocean with nothing to sell.

  2. The enigmatic T cells❤️ says:

    “While the latest research suggests that antibodies against Covid-19 could be lost in just three months, a new hope has appeared on the horizon: the enigmatic T cell.”
    “Most bizarrely of all, when researchers tested blood samples taken years before the pandemic started, they found T cells which were specifically tailored to detect proteins on the surface of Covid-19. This suggests that some people already had a pre-existing degree of resistance against the virus before it ever infected a human.”
    (BBC article https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200716-the-people-with-hidden-protection-from-covid-19)

    The enigmatic T cells❤️!!!!!!
    Unknown to allopathic doctors compound called LDN most commonly being used for chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myalgic encephalopathy, autoimmune thyroid diseases, and various cancers.

    This is a wide range of diseases, and many clinicians will find it difficult to understand how one drug can have a positive effect on all these pathologies.
    Here is where enigmatic T cells❤️!!!!!! come into play.

    Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)—Review of Therapeutic Utilization https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313374/

    • Anonymous says:

      God at work. Or if you don’t believe, a big coincidence. I wonder who he would choose to survive a pandemic that he made and why. I was never afraid of covid. I am concerned what those with no faith will do with their fear.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am not religious. But I agree with you, faith is very powerful. Fear kills.

        Our bodies are magnificent self-regulating, self-healing WONDER no scientist would ever figure out.
        Human body as a whole not only knows, but has “ammunition” ready to fight all kind of “invaders” (as you can see from the article). But fear trumps this ability.
        Have you noticed that after a diagnosis was made, fear settles in and a body loses its ability to fight?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great weekend for boating, 10 per boat of course. Right Dr. Lee? Wink, wink.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Face masks. 😷

    The results of a preprint* published today that provides some insights into how dangerous the indoor air is, and, indirectly, how useful masks might be in protecting against transmission.

    Underlying this analysis is the question of how many virus particles need to be inhaled to cause an infection. To be sure of this we would need volunteers to be inoculated with the virus. We don’t have that. However, animal studies suggest the median dose required is 280 “plaque-forming units,” (PFU) while 10 percent of people could get infected with as little as 43 PFU.

    The authors of today’s preprint estimate that it takes 10 virus particles to make one PFU, so this would mean that 10% of people could be infected by 430 particles while the median infectious dose would be 2800 particles. These authors, however, use data from the first SARS virus and the flu to estimate that the infectious dose would be between 100 and 1000 particles.

    This preprint, released by physicists, virologists, and physicians from Amsterdam, used healthy people in an experiment to model how speaking and coughing release large droplets and aerosols in a closed environment.

    98% of the spray from a cough goes into large droplets that are 100 to 1000 micrometers. The remaining 2% goes into smaller microdroplets. The smaller the microdroplet, the longer it can stay in the air, and it is very small microdroplets that aerosolize and become airborne.

    Using the typical concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva and sputum, they estimated that if a single person coughed once in a small enclosed space that was 2x2x2 cubic meters (one meter is 3.3 feet), airborne virus particles would be so few and far between that one would have to spend 12 minutes in the environment to risk getting infected, and that the maximal number of viral particles one could inhale from that single cough would be 120, which is unlikely to be sufficient to get most people sick, but might infect a small proportion of people.

    With lots of people in a closed environment, the probability of there being more than one cough, and perhaps many coughs, goes up. Limiting the number of people who enter an enclosed environment per unit time would decrease that probability. Ventilating the room would decrease the probability by increasing the likelihood that the few aerosolized droplets released from a given cough are removed from the room.

    Saying the words “stay healthy” 230 times produces the same volume of aerosolized liquid as coughing once. So, people speaking for great lengths indoors can transmit as effectively as people occasionally coughing.

    These results suggest that, while open air is quite safe (unless you are close enough for someone to cough on you), enclosed environments can be dangerous IF‼️ people are coughing frequently or constantly speaking. To minimize transmission in such a closed environment you would want each cough that takes place in a 2x2x2 cubic meter environment to be matched by fewer than 12 person-minutes (the number of people times the number of minutes spent).

    It would be silly to micromanage this on such modeling, but it supports the general principle that in enclosed environments you would want to keep out people who know they are coughing, while limiting the number of people to prevent overcrowding as well as the length of time for which people are staying indoors.

    How protective would masks be? At a minimum, they would likely stop most of the 98% of liquid that yields large droplets of 100 to 1000 micrometers. I would have to do more research to estimate whether they might also prevent some aerosolization, as I imagine this depends on whether droplet sizes are finalized before they exit the mouth, or whether many aerosolized microdroplets are formed from larger droplets after exiting the mouth.


    * The term “preprint” is often used in these updates. Preprints are studies destined for peer-reviewed journals that have yet to be peer-reviewed. Because COVID-19 is such a rapidly evolving disease and peer-review takes so long, most of the information circulating about the disease comes from preprints.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile: Eighty-five babies under the age of 1 have tested positive for the coronavirus in Nueces County, Texas, the county’s public health director has said. 18 states, amounting to over 30% of the USA, are now declared “red zones” with over 100/100,000 per week. Single day new case records being reset daily, and Moses thinks it’s not only realistic, but “conservative” to reopen to inbound passengers in less than 45 days.

    • Anonymous says:

      We all understand the CIvil Service way of hiding away while on full pay and why you think everyone else should just stay home and starve. When you show no respect or empathy to everyone else what do you expect in return?

    • Anonymous says:

      What is your alternative? Under the proposed plan you will need to really want to come to Cayman. As there is still screening (TravelTime has to let you in), testing and isolation but it will at least let Caymanians who are stuck aboard come home, second home owners come back for extended stays and a host of other benefits.

      It is not realistic to stay closed forever. So I would say the plan is to open conservatively to inbound passengers.

      I don’t expect to see thousands of Americans rolling in here on a Saturday under this plan.

      We have to start somewhere and the main point is that they are communicating a phased re-opening to the market so we might be able to have a 2021 tourist season. If we wait to communicate that Cayman will be open at some point in the future we will lose another year of tourism.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about we start with Quarantine?

      • Anonymous says:

        How about if we are healthy and can prove we are and wear our masks , we can come? Why does that make us any different than you or your family? Most of us have been locked down just like all of you.

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree at 6:15am. Some are unrealistic. There are Caymanians who want to come home even if there isn’t much to do. Those on the inside need to be quiet and if you have a problem with Caymanians and second owners returning, just stay in your house.

  6. Anonymous says:

    👩‍🔬 👨‍🔬 🧑‍⚕️ 👨‍⚕️
    COVID-19 Antibodies Stay High But Lose Effectiveness Over Time

    Today, researchers and physicians from the Mount Sinai Health System and its associated Icahn School of Medicine released a preprint* titled “SARS-CoV-2 infection induces robust, neutralizing antibody responses that are stable for at least three months.” The title of the paper suggests that there is antibody-mediated immunity to COVID-19 lasting at least three months after the onset of infection. Seen in the light of a a preprint released by Kings College London on July 11, however, this conclusion seems doubtful. Instead, it appears that the antibodies remain at high levels in most people for three months, but start losing their effectiveness in as little as two months.

    The Mount Sinai Health System is in New York City. They used their own in-house antibody test to screen confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases for antibodies that could be donated to treat critically ill patients in what is known as “convalescent plasma” treatments. They also allowed all employees to get tested if they chose to. Overall they screened 51,829 individuals, and 19,763 of them tested positive. These were overwhelmingly mild or moderate cases, as only about 5% required hospitalization or emergency room evaluation.

    They acknowledged that they could be missing mild to moderate cases that did not develop antibodies, but they cited other studies showing that 99% of 568 PCR-confirmed cases developed antibodies and 95% of 2,347 patients who self-reported being PCR-positive developed antibodies. They concluded from this that they weren’t missing very large portions of the mild-to-moderate cases.

    While the Mount Sinai paper included 19,763 cases, only 121 of them were tested at two time points, day 30 after symptom onset and day 82 after symptom onset. In this subset, overall antibody titers remained nearly identical between day 30 and day 82.

    In those with very high titers, they tended to decline somewhat. In those with very low titers, they tended to increase somewhat. They suggest this is because those with mild cases take longer to maximize their antibody response. While it could represent something physiological like that, it could also easily reflect the statistical artifact known as regression to the mean.

    Now, the title of the paper says these are “robust, neutralizing antibody responses that are stable for at least three months.” I suppose they derive “three months” from 82 days plus some incubation period. But how do they know the neutralization lasts three months? They don’t.

    They claim it as follows. 120 samples, presumably all from the first timepoint though this is not clearly stated, were tested for their ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 replication in isolated cells. The concentration of antibodies correlated with the ability to neutralize the virus with a value of r=0.87. The square of this value tells you the percentage of variation in one variable explained by the other. This means that the concentration of antibodies could explain 76% of their ability to neutralize the virus.

    From this, they then assume that this correlation persists across time points and assume that because antibody titers remained stable from day 30 to day 82 that neutralization ability also remained stable.

    But did it?

    If we consider this paper in the light of the Kings College paper, probably not.

    The Kings College paper used sequential samples from 65 individuals with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and 31 healthcare workers with positive antibodies up to 94 days after the onset of symptoms.

    Like Mount Sinai, Kings College used their own in-house antibody assay. Somewhat differently, they tested the ability of the serum samples to neutralize the virus using a synthetic virus based on HIV that incorporates the spike protein into its membrane. The spike protein is the protein on the viral surface that it uses to bind to and infect cells. Since the neutralizing antibodies are all to the spike protein or to part of the spike protein, this assay should accurately reflect neutralization potential and is somewhat safer to perform since it does not involve handling live SARS-CoV-2 virus.

    The most important antibodies for long-term immunity are IgG antibodies to the spike protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD), which is the portion of the spike protein that binds to ACE2 on the human cell surface.

    The Bottom Line
    While antibodies seem to persist at high levels over three months, they appear to begin losing effectiveness, on average, by day 50, and to lose most of their effectiveness by the three-month point.

    While more studies with larger samples, longer followup, and comparisons between different antibody assays and virus-neutralization assays will be needed to come to firm conclusions, we should tentatively conclude as follows:

    High antibody levels suggest a high probability of immunity in the short-term, but they become much less reliable indicators of immunity after two months.
    As we covered two days ago, there may be a long-lasting T cell response that provides immunity even when the effectiveness of the antibodies wanes. We cannot assume that low neutralization at 94 days means low immunity at 94 days. However, we also cannot assume the opposite. These results are bearish for the possibility of herd immunity and vaccine effectiveness. It remains within the realm of possibility that COVID-19 could recur as easily as common cold viruses do, and we desperately need to study exactly what constitutes immunity and what can be used as reliable markers of immunity.
    This is not a message of despair. Good nutrition and proper precautions to avoid the virus go a long way towards protecting us. This is instead a message that it is not yet time to stop taking this seriously. In particular, long-lasting antibodies cannot be used to dismiss the need to continue taking COVID-19 seriously. The hope lies in continuing to learn how to protect ourselves and each other, building constantly on what we have already learned.

  7. Keeping data safe says:

    What I would like to know is, how safe is my information that I send to Travel Time? Yesterday’s press briefing stated that, travelers will need to submit A copy of the Covid medical in addition to a memoir of yourself. Take a look at the form and you will see it is seriously overreaching.

    How do I know my data will be protected and not leaked? Everything else gets leaked out so what safeguarding mechanisms are in place at the Travel Time and the people behind the unanswered phone line? I’m not being difficult here or putting the team down, but everything in Government is leaked and in more recent times have picked up greater pace. Before it was just the verbal leak now you see employees leaking out actually documents to social platforms. I’m yet to see it being addressed or anyone being held accountable for the leak. Dear Mr Deputy Governor, a leak is really not that difficult to trace

    CNS please put the fire 🔥 to Government on this very conceding matter. They’ve deferred a lot of questions posed to them in Fridays press briefing and spoke nothing about protection of data.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is Cayman Island. Your info will never be safe but is part of the taxes from living here. Just do what they do here and make up a good story.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is a disgrace that CIG is opening borders. I understand the need to get the economy back, but to do so in this manner lacks all leadership. Sept/Oct are normally slow months for toursim so why not just keep borders closed for another 60 days. This action will pose to be a serious detriment to Cayman and will undermine all efforts seen thus far. Keep the young, vulnerable and elderly at home Cayman. Wave #2 is coming and it is coming with a vengance.

    • Runway 08; cleared for takeoff. Left turn, heading 025 says:

      Let us not forget that the peak of hurricane season starts latter part of next month and goes into September. So could we have that to deal with as well. But I agree with your sentiments, stupid move at this time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Opinions from the hide away while on full pay tribe do not count in the world wide tribe of get out there and work or starve tribe. Good to know that you would throw everyone else under the bus to save yourself. We will keep our eyes on the bus.

    • Anonymous says:

      You realize we have hundred of citizens still overseas. I think they might want to be able to get back home.

      We have people who need to go abroad for medical treatment and other reasons.

      Some people still need to travel. Being able to come back and self-isolate at home is a big win.

      This is not going to open the flood-gates to visitors. It is not convenient and a number of our competitors have already opened to tourists on much easier terms.

    • Hubert says:

      Bahamas has just announced a full ban on all Americans coming to their country.

  9. Anonymous says:

    When did government start the quarantine facilities? How many cases were there at the time? How many have we had since? How many imported and from where? How about the CIG providing some stats regarding the effectiveness of quarantine so that people can understand the system? There are too many idiots posting who claim to know why it is necessary and how untrustworthy returning Caymanians are. I thought Caymanians were good Christians and honest people. We are so proud of ourselves, everyone else is dishonest, especially some of our neighbors. But why is it Caymanians cannot be trusted to quarantine in their homes? Did they catch Covid AND dishonesty while abroad? For good Christian people we can be such hypocrites, even to our own kind.

  10. John says:

    What I would like to know as well, will locals be able to travel and leave the island once it opens in September or maybe October?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but you must quarantine in a government facility upon your return. You see, we cannot trust you, or anyone else to quarantine at home. It is presumed you have Covid and that you are incapable of obeying the quarantine laws and thus the going to infect many of us. While you will survive, you can potentially kill 800 of us. Simple put, you are deemed a potential murderer and absolutely dishonest. Please ignore the fact that the virus has been with us for several months and no one has died.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well that has been the situation, but it is changing Sept 1st…Moses is saying that incoming post-Sept 1 will have had to have had negative PCR test 3 days before flight, be approved via advance application before boarding, be issued a geotagged bio sticker on arrival for home quarantine, until released by second negative test result, or positive into a Gov’t quarantine facility. All of that presumably supervised by the new COVID monitoring gestapo (whoever they are, and whatever budget and means they have at their disposal to monitor any of it).

    • Anonymous says:

      Locals can leave now. Just register on TravelTime.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. The borders will be open.

    • Anonymous says:

      It will not happen. Locals will be tagged and monitored just like everyone else.
      The plan is pure genius, deserving of the luciferian one.
      If you criticize government, you are some kind of death wish maniac.
      When the dust has settled, the 0.1% will have a total stranglehold on society.
      We are so brainwashed and weak that we desire to be complicit in our own social, mental and financial incarceration.

      I am so shocked that the Christian community has so little to say about this seeing as these times are widely alluded to. We are not reading our Bibles, friends.

      May God Himself expose and crush the lies and corruption in all the echelons of Cayman.

      All decent people want is a quiet life and the chance to enjoy and be thankful for the fact that they exist. Why do some make existence miserable for others?

      The worst perpetrators are those in authority and those with the ability to influence. If you have nothing helpful to contribute, shut up and go away.

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