The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVD-19 Update

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • Gilead Sciences, the maker of the drug, remdesivir, that has been shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries.

The price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.

  • In a May report, Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer rights advocacy group, estimated that U.S. taxpayers contributed at least $70.5 million to the development of remdesivir.
  • The Trump administration has secured 500,000 doses of remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective at treating hospitalized coronavirus patients.
  • Global monitoring of the coronavirus shows that it has not mutated, a good sign for vaccine research and development.
  • A new University of Virginia School of Medicine study has shown that doctors can identify, via blood samples, those at greater risk of severe illness after being diagnosed with coronavirus, including those who may need a ventilator.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. AAP “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

AAP argues that remote learning is likely to result in severe learning loss and increased social isolation. Social isolation, in turn, can breed serious social, emotional and health issues: “child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.” Furthermore, these impacts will be visited more severely on Black and brown children, as well as low-income children and those with learning disabilities.

  • Coronavirus cases linked to crowds who visited a Michigan bar after it reopened have risen to 85, according to health officials.

The Ingham County Health Department is asking anyone who visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub, outside of Michigan State University in East Lansing, between June 12 and 20, to self-quarantine for two weeks.

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday appeared to blame a rise in coronavirus cases across several U.S. states on a lack of “personal responsibility” during an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

Azar, in a response to a question over whether some U.S. states reopened too quickly, said that Americans must practice smart procedures to stop the virus from spreading, including social distancing and wearing masks.

  • Health officials in Allegheny County, PA, say a surge in novel coronavirus cases recently reported around Pittsburgh has been tied to bars, not protests. 
  • The Broadway League has announced that all productions will remain closed through at least January 3, 2021.
  • “We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said calling people to wear face masks as outbreaks spread. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.”
  • More than 10 million people across the globe have tested positive for the coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, nearly 180,000 of whom tested positive in the last 24 hours.

“The reality is this is not close to being over,” Tedros told reporters. “Globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.”

About half the cases, and nearly half the deaths across the globe, have come in the Americas. The United States, which accounts for about 4 percent of the global population, has nearly a quarter of the total confirmed cases, 2.4 million.

  • India reported close to 20,000 fresh novel coronavirus cases for the second day running on Monday, as the financial hub of Mumbai extended its lockdown by a month.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “disaster” for Britain. “This has been a disaster,” Johnson acknowledged Monday. “Let’s not mince our words. I mean, this has been an absolute nightmare for the country and the country’s gone through a profound shock.” 
  • Scotland has recorded no new deaths from coronavirus for the fourth day running.
  • The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to bring it under control, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

The U.S. has set records for daily new infections in recent days as outbreaks surge mostly across the South and West.

  • GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the closure of bars and gyms, a ban on mass gatherings and has delayed the start of in-person schooling as the state faces record-breaking cases in coronavirus ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
  • A group of bar owners in Texas is suing after the governor ordered closures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state, which is facing one of the toughest outbreaks in the country. In the lawsuit, restaurants accuse Gov. Greg Abbott of acting “like a king,” and “unilaterally destroying our economy and trampling on our constitutional rights.”
  • Just minutes after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors closed local beaches for the long holiday weekend, a somber Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to his podium.

He then announced that, along with the beach closures, Fourth of July firework displays would be prohibited in hope of keeping Angelenos from gathering in groups.

Also, he said, “Gatherings of people you do not live with are not allowed.”

  • Effective Tuesday, Riverside County, CA is ordering all bars to close down again to help slow a new surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Officials warn hospital beds in Los Angeles County may not meet demand in coming weeks as coronavirus cases surge.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she will issue an executive order mandating the use of masks in public spaces starting Friday to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The evidence could not be clearer — wearing a mask is not only safe, but it is necessary to avoid another shutdown.

  • The Monongalia County (West Virginia) Health Department warned more than 200 Planet Fitness users that they could have been exposed to the coronavirus if they visited the gym last Wednesday.
  • In a statement, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said, “Keeping Oregonians safe is my top priority. Over the last month, COVID-19 spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties. That’s why I’m requiring face coverings in indoor public places in ALL counties, effective 7/1. We can and must reduce the spread of this disease.”
  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Tweeted: “Masks are required in Pennsylvania businesses. No mask = no service.

The importance of mask-wearing to reduce the spread of #COVID19 and protect people and businesses cannot be overstated.”

  • Jacksonville, Florida created rules requiring face masks both indoors and in public as the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout the state, creating a serious question as to whether President Trump and GOP voters will wear a mask and follow guidelines when the Republican convention is held in the city in August.

Trump has specifically expressed a desire to hold the convention without masks or social distancing.

  • Experts and officials in Florida are warning that house parties are the “largest problem” driving the spike in coronavirus cases in the greater metropolitan area of Miami, with private gatherings leading to the rapid spreading of the virus.

“The law does not enable us to enforce the rules we use on public spaces on private property. So, our current option is to appeal to the common sense and decency of our citizens. This danger comes directly from within.”

  • An IRS watchdog says in a new report that coronavirus has led to major delays in the processing of tax filings this year, warning there is a backlog of 4.7 million paper filings that could result in those who filed paper tax returns waiting a considerable amount of time for their refunds. The report also reveals a slew of other problems facing taxpayers due to coronavirus-related delays and errors.
  • Americans say they trust information on the coronavirus pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the most — and President Trump the least — according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday. 

The majority of respondents to the survey, 64 percent, said the CDC and other public health organizations get the facts right almost or most of the time regarding COVID-19. Only 30 percent said the same about Trump and his administration.

  • A strain of flu that has become prevalent in pigs in China that can be passed to humans could become another pandemic and needs to be closely monitored, according to researchers behind a new study.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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