More Covid-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.” 

  1. AstraZeneca and Oxford University to further develop a vaccine

Q: The federal government has funded over $1 billion to get a new vaccine in just 5 months.  How can this happen?

A:  On May 22, 2020, The New York Times reported that British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca was given “up to 1.2 billion dollars” to develop a potential vaccine for coronavirus-19.  This is the fourth (and largest) disclosed agreement reached by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a vaccine.  It will pay for a combined Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trial in America of a potential vaccine.  The vaccine being developed by Oxford University in England is now licensed by AstraZeneca and will be used for this clinical trial.

The Phase 1 trial last month in Britain was run by Oxford University.  It demonstrated the trial vaccine was safe in that it did not infect any participant with the disease. The combined Phase 2 and Phase 3 trial that now follows will evaluate if it generates antibodies that then rapidly reacts to overcome the virus when a person becomes infected.  What lies ahead involves a much larger number of healthy volunteers – about 30,000 – half of whom will receive the trial vaccination.  The other half will receive a harmless saline injection.  No individual will know which injection they get.  At the same time of this trial, a different clinical trial in England is planned to involve another 5,000 volunteers.  Months later, after the volunteers return to their populations, the number of people in each group who develop COVOID-9 will be identified.   If the trial vaccine is effective, any antibodies generated will prove to make the person receiving it immune.  It will also turn up any negative effects not previously reported.  The results will lead to a judgement of its effectiveness and authorize approval for the launch of production of doses for mass distribution – or the decision to continue to research other alternatives that can lead to future trials.

Many scientists warn that president Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” is unlikely to succeed that rapidly – in just a few months.  It is noted that for most viral infections, vaccines take up to four years to develop, if at all.  After many years, there still is no vaccine for the viral infection causing HIV.  Many factors are cited that can delay development of a coronavirus-19 vaccine:

  • Currently, public perception is moving toward the false perception that the disease is diminishing in its prevalence. This may make it difficult to obtain the required number of volunteers to be available right away.
  • If the start of the trial is delayed, to meet a date-certain deadline the trial might not allow for examining the variabilities of effectiveness by age, gender, race and co-morbidity (other medical conditions).
  • It is anticipated there may be political pressure applied to shorten the trial period. This would further inhibit the ability to identify the variabilities in outcomes.
  • During the trial, if serious complications emerge such as the vaccine causing serious side effects, the trial will stop and new trials for other vaccines canl begin.
  • If the trial ends with no significant immunity demonstrated, this failure will also cause new vaccines to be developed.

A previous example was the Salk oral polio vaccine.  After it was approved for use, it was found in 1955 that several people receiving the vaccine became paralyzed.

Conflicting with the universal desire “right now!” develop a coronavirus-19 vaccine is the growing number of people who are against vaccinations of any kind.  These “anti-vaccers” cannot be given any reason to distrust this vaccine by having even a hint of adverse effects reported after it is approved and used world-wide.

Perhaps the best approach will be to let the scientists develop a vaccine without political or social pressure being applied.  This may actually take another year if done right.  (Shared expectations can lead to a more predictable outcome!”)


  1. CDC is conflating data – a report

Q: “How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?”

A: On May 21, 220, the Atlantic Magazine published an article written by Alexis C. Madrigal and Robinson Meyer with this question as its title. It is reported that CDC “is conflating viral and antibody tests, compromising a few crucial metrics that governors depend on to reopen their economies.” “…the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19.  …States have set quantitative guidelines for reopening their economies based on these flawed data points.”  It is also reported that each separate data source serves different functions in the epidemiology of the disease.  By merging these together, accurate study and evaluation of COVID-19 will be seriously hampered.

One can be certain more media coverage will be reported in the future.  Note: Connecticut previously decided to base its decisions on opening the economy on the number of hospitalized COVID patients – not on the number of people tested.  Connecticut controls the reporting of hospitalizations, so this CDC move will not affect Connecticut!


  1. Considerations for Summer Camps

Q:  What should I know before I send my child to summer camp?

A:  There are 8,400 sleep-in camps in the United states.  There are also 5.600 day camps as well.  Many parents send their children to one of these camps each summer. For many who have been there in past years, campers eagerly look forward to this “time away from home.”  Especially after spending so much time at home long before summer arrives because of school closures.  On May 19, the CDC updated their “Guidance for Youth and Summer Camps.  Earlier, the American Camp Association, an accreditation group collaborated with the National YMCA to hire a consulting firm to develop a health-related guide for opening summer camps during the coronavirus-19 pandemic.  Environmental Health and Engineering. Inc. of Newton, Massachusetts released its 80-page “Field Guide for Camps for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance.”   A copy can be found at:

Any parent exploring a summer camp experience might first ask if the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA).  It is important to note that compliance with the above-mentioned Field Guide is not used for ACA accreditation.  Questions need to be asked of camp leaders about the specific actions and policies outlined that they have implemented. General guidance offered in the field guide includes:

  • Staff and campers to self-monitor their temperature and other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days before coming to camp – in place of being quarantined.
  • The camp will divide its staff and campers into separate groups or cohorts of no more than 50. These cohorts will remain together throughout, and will be separated from other cohorts by at least 6 feet during any collective meetings.
  • If any camper or staff shows signs of COVID-19 during the summer, they will be either isolated in a separate area at the camp, transported to a medical facility, or returned home.
  • Everyone should wear face cloth coverings when indoors and space is limited.
  • Increased hand washing, social distancing and other measures will be enforced.
  • Sleeping and housing arrangements need to be modified to provide greater spacing. Physical barriers should be placed between cots
  • Meals and other activities should be done in shifts. Buffet and family-style meals are not to be served.
  • All shared equipment such as baseball bats, bows and arrows, paddle boards, etc. need to be frequently disinfected.
  • Field trips and travel outside the camp should be cancelled

It is noted that Camp Courant has already cancelled their summer day camp season.

  1. Schools opening this Fall

Q: Hasn’t the CDC provided guidelines for opening schools next fall?  What’s the problem?

A: On May 19, 2020- the CDC issued an updated version of their “Considerations for Schools.”  The title is significant because the White House sent this document back to the CDC for revisions because the one ready to release earlier was “too restrictive.”  This new “guidance” now offers “considerations” that school authorities can review.  News media reports that the White House is about to embark on a campaign late May or early June to get the schools opened immediately.  With schools closed and children staying at home, many parents are not free to go to work, thus restricting the economy from opening up to a greater extent.

“Schools may consider implementing strategies to encourage behavior that reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

  • Staying home when appropriate, including when students become sick, have close contact with an infected person, or are tested positive.
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be taught and reinforced.
  • Cloth face coverings are to be used whenever possible, especially when in close contact with others.
  • Adequate supplies will be available including soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues disinfectant wipes, cloth face coverings and trash cans.
  • Signs and messages are visibly displayed as reminders of safe behavior.

Considerations for maintaining a healthy environment include:

  • Frequent, specified cleaning and disinfecting activities.
  • Discourage use of shared objects.
  • Adequate ventilation and air exchange.
  • Students and staff to bring their own water
  • Modified layout – seating and desks are at least 6 feet apart, and have children in buses will sit at least 6 feet apart.
  • Physical barriers and guides including sneeze guards and partitions are in congested areas.
  • Communal areas are closed, including cafeterias, playgrounds, gym areas OR Stagger their use to keep people are at least 6 feet apart.
  • Food Service is modified by having students bring in their own lunch OR serve individually bagged meals delivered to classrooms,

Considerations for maintaining healthy operations include:

  • Offer options (e.g. virtual education, etc.) for those at higher risk of infection including staff over age 65, children with chronic medical conditions, etc.
  • Regulatory awareness by knowing what activities or events may be restricted by the locality or state.
  • Restrict visitors, limit field trips, limit or stop having sports events, and not hold events where large groups may gather, use virtual methods as substitutes.
  • Stagger scheduling for arrivals and departures from school perhaps also flexible use of alternative spaces or schedules to reduce the number of participants in each session.
  • Modify time off (vacation and sick leave) policies.

Obviously, each school district has to examine how they will adopt these considerations.  Perhaps each parent might want to communicate early with their local school board to find out what to expect as plans emerge.  And to communicate back with constructive ideas on ways to move forward.  Several officials have repeated the obvious – “This is not going to be easy.”