Indiana Study Sheds Light On Coronavirus Prevalence In State

A masked customer waits in line next to a sign outlining the rules to enter at the Long's Bakery Shop in Indianapolis on May 1, 2020 after the bakery reopened after closing it doors due to COVID-19.

A masked customer waits in line next to a sign outlining the rules to enter at the Long's Bakery Shop in Indianapolis on May 1, 2020 after the bakery reopened after closing it doors due to COVID-19. AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Kentucky leaders call for FBI review of police shooting probe .... Pennsylvania could allow drinks to go … Mississippi capital announces coronavirus curfew.

An Indiana University study of state residents suggests that 11 times more people have likely been infected with the coronavirus as are captured in the state’s official testing tally. The tests of a randomly selected group of 4,600 people found that not quite 3% of residents had contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That would equal about 186,000 people as of the beginning of this month when the state’s testing at that time showed just 17,000 cases. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box called the study “absolutely fascinating,” adding that it can be used to help the state as they look to reopen. In a column in the New York Times, however, Aaron E. Carroll, an op-ed contributor and pediatrics professor at Indiana University, noted that there might be disappointment about the results, as some have actually hoped that the prevalence of asymptomatic patients could mean an even wider spread. In theory, the disease spreading widely among people who didn't get very sick would bolster the possibility of the country eventually achieving “herd immunity.” But a 3% prevalence isn’t anywhere near what is needed to achieve herd immunity. Experts have said that 70 to 90% immunity in a population is what is needed to stop spread without other measures, which is why vaccines are so important in combating diseases. Nir Menachemi, the lead scientist on the study and a public health professor, said the results suggest the state’s stay-at-home order was successful in curbing the spread of the deadly disease, which was responsible for 1,508 deaths as of Thursday. “The good news is by slowing the spread of the virus, we now have bought some time to determine the best way forward. As we slowly phase back and reopen the economy, we need to be extra-vigilant,” he said. [Indiana University; Indianapolis Star; WPTA]

KENTUCKY POLICE SHOOTING | Both Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called on the FBI to review the local investigation of the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, in March. Taylor was shot eight times as plainclothes police raided her apartment. Police allege her boyfriend, a registered gun owner, fired first, wounding an officer. "The public reports concerning the death of Breonna Taylor are troubling," said Beshear on Twitter. Attorneys for Taylor’s family have said police fired their shots from outside the house, through the windows. [Courier Journal; The Guardian]

DRINKS TO GO | The Pennsylvania state Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow taverns and restaurants to sell cocktails and other mixed drinks to-go for the duration of the state’s stay-at-home order. The measure already passed the state House and now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf, who has not indicated whether or not he will sign the bill into law. [FOX 43]

CITYWIDE CURFEW | The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi announced that the city would start lifting restrictions on retail stores, dine-in restaurants, and hair salons and barbershops on May 16. But the city will implement a curfew from 11:00 p.m until 5:00 a.m., when non-essential travel will be forbidden. Some other cities in the south, like Birmingham, Alabama, have implemented curfews and then revoked them, opting for face mask requirements in public instead. [WJTV; WBRC]

HAWAII CASES | The first cases of coronavirus in a Hawaii public housing complex have been confirmed by the state Department of Health. Department director Bruce Anderson said that the housing complex is crowded and many residents don’t speak English, making outreach more challenging for local officials. “This is not an intractable situation, but a very difficult one to work with, one of our most challenging situations I’ve run into since we started this outbreak,” he said. [Honolulu Civil Beat]