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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The number of confirmed U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus is substantially lower than the true tally, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
  • Under the Senate bill unveiled Wednesday, the additional $600 a week that jobless workers have been receiving during the economic crisis would be phased out in stages in each state as its unemployment rate drops below 11 percent.
  • The House on Wednesday unanimously passed an extension to the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program less than a day after the program expired. 

The Senate passed the extension on Tuesday, and the House vote sends the bill to President Trump’s desk.

  • House Majority Whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn said that his Republican colleagues on the House Select Committee must show up wearing masks for the meeting on Thursday or they won’t be allowed in.
  • President Trump said Wednesday that he believed the virus was “going to sort of just disappear,” even as cases are rapidly rising nationwide — and added that he was “all for masks,” even though he has rarely worn one himself, mocked people who do, and has questioned the benefits and even the political meaning of face coverings.

“I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Wednesday with the Fox Business Network.

  • Asked whether Americans should be required to wear masks, Mr. Trump said: “Well, I don’t know if you need mandatory because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks. I think masks are good. I would wear one if I were in a group of people and I was close.”
  • After long resisting wearing a mask in public, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he thinks it makes him look like the Lone Ranger — and he likes it.

“I’m all for masks. I think masks are good,” Trump told Fox Business in an interview. “People have seen me wearing one.”

  • House republicans are calling for the White House to support a new policy that would require the Transportation Security Administration to check the temperatures of all airline passengers at security checkpoints.
  • The main TSA checkpoint closed at Atlanta’s airport for cleaning because of coronavirus after an employee tested positive.
  • Congress is investigating about a dozen medical laboratories and emergency rooms for potential virus test price gouging.
  • The Trump administration plans to adopt a decades-old testing strategy that will vastly increase the number of coronavirus tests performed in the United States and permit widespread tracking of the virus as it surges across the country.

The method, called pooled testing, signals a paradigm shift. Instead of carefully rationing tests to only those with symptoms, pooled testing would enable frequent surveillance of asymptomatic people. Mass identification of coronavirus infections could hasten the reopening of schools, offices and factories.

Adm. Brett Giroir, deputy secretary of health and human services, said he expected the program to be up and running by the end of the summer.

  • Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing czar, said Wednesday that the United States’ coronavirus testing capacity is at risk of being overwhelmed in some states by a surge in new infections and increased surveillance efforts in nursing homes and jails.

“It is absolutely correct that some labs across the country are reaching or near capacity,” Giroir said. “Recent data from several states indicate rising infections and now an uptick in hospitalizations and death, even as other states and the great majority of counties are maintaining a low infection burden.”

  • The US reported more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours Wednesday, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed, a new one-day record as infections surge around the country.
  • Pfizer announced that they have seen success in the early stages of human trials for a coronavirus vaccine. 

If the vaccine proves effective, the pharmaceutical company said they could manufacture 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and another 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

  • Myrtle Beach, SC has been linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases across several states, as it braces for a stream of July Fourth tourists this weekend.

Scores of people have flocked to  as the area reopened in mid-May, packing hotels, the beach and the boardwalk, with few wearing face masks or practicing social distancing. 

The recent uptick has prompted the governors of West Virginia and Kentucky to publicly warn residents to avoid the popular beach destination.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is delaying the planned resumption of indoor dining at restaurants in the city out of fear it would ignite a spike in coronavirus infections.
  • Officials in New York’s Rockland County said Wednesday they are being forced to issue subpoenas to compel people to speak to contact tracers about a coronavirus outbreak because they are not speaking voluntarily.
  • Coronavirus cases in Arizona continue to skyrocket as the state set another new record for daily cases on Wednesday with 4,878 new cases. The state also  reported 88 COVID deaths – another record. The percent positive rate of tests was 28.3%.
  • Arizona has requested 500 additional medical personnel from the federal government to assist with a surge in coronavirus cases, Vice President Pence said Wednesday.

Pence flew to Arizona to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and state health officials as coronavirus cases and positivity rates spike in the state.

  • Alabama officials will extend the state’s “safer at home” order amid reports that Tuscaloosa students have attended parties in the area despite knowing they had the novel coronavirus.

Tuscaloosa council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance requiring face masks in public spaces, set to take effect July 6 with a fine of $25 for violations.

  • Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) urged Alabamians to wear masks to stem the spread of the coronavirus in a campaign ad released Wednesday.
  • Pennsylvania’s highest court found in favor of Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday, ruling the Republican-controlled state legislature did not have the power to end his coronavirus disaster declaration for the state.
  • In Pennsylvania, the governor announced Wednesday that the state would now require people to wear masks whenever they leave home, taking effect immediately.
  • A group of four Palm Beach County residents on Wednesday filed a lawsuit challenging a county policy that requires people to wear masks in public to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The suit, filed in Florida state court, alleges that the county policy infringes on the plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected rights by forcing them to wear “harmful medical devices like masks” and asks the court to issue an injunction blocking its enforcement.

  • As Florida coronavirus cases have been surging, the governor just claimed “by and large, the virus does not like sunshine, heat, and humidity.”
  • Miami-Dade county Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Wednesday night that facial coverings are now mandatory in all public spaces, inside and out.
  • More than 8,000 new cases were announced across Texas on Wednesday, surpassing the previous daily record set on Tuesday.
  • A record-high 2946 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the last 24 hours in the state of Georgia.
  • Current hospitalizations due to coronavirus in the state of Georgia are now at their highest since this data was made available to the public.
  • More than 1,500 new cases were announced Wednesday in Tennessee, a single-day record.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced that he was closing down bars and indoor dining in 19 counties in California, pulling back reopening for more than 70 percent of the population in the state. He also ordered closed indoor operations in wineries and tasting rooms, zoos, museums and card rooms. The closures, he said, would remain in place for at least three weeks.
  • More than 40 school principals in the South Bay are in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 during an in-person meeting held by the Santa Clara County California Unified School District.

A pre-symptomatic individual at the school reopening planning meeting on June 19 tested positive for the coronavirus just a few days after school administrators congregated.

  • A month after announcing a return to an in-person fall semester, the University of Southern California has reverted back to mostly online classes.

Undergraduate students will primarily take courses online come August and on-campus housing and activities will be limited

  • A wedding that took place on June 15 has been called a COVID-19 “super-spreader” after at least 80 guests tested positive for the virus following the event in Patna, India. The groom, who was displaying symptoms at the wedding, died two days later.
  • On Wednesday, as infections surged, hospitals filled and the death toll climbed, Iranian officials announced new shutdown measures in cities across 11 provinces.
  • In Israel, the Health Ministry announced that it recorded 773 cases on Tuesday — the highest daily case count since the virus first emerged in Israel.

Sources:  ABC News, The Atlantic, 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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