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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • More than 5,000 people died from COVID-19 from July 6 to July 12, up 46% from the prior week.
  • Adm. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing czar, rejected President Donald Trump’s suggestion that his own public health officials are liars.

“Look, we may occasionally make mistakes based on the information we have, but none of us lie. We are completely transparent with the American people,” Giroir told NBC’s “Today” show.

  • U.S. school districts hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, under pressure from President Donald Trump to resume classes, should decide for themselves whether to reopen based on their circumstances, leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said.
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro sharply criticized Anthony Fauci, in an op-ed published in USA Today. Navarro asserted that Fauci was “wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”

The economic adviser pointed to Fauci’s past remarks on using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, comments about the falling mortality rate in the country and other remarks.

“So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution,”

  • First lady Melania Trump urged Americans to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting a photo of herself in a mask.
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield said that if everyone in the U.S. wore a mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic could be under control within weeks. 

“If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.”

  • Redfield also urged the president and vice president to wear masks to set an example for the public. Trump has previously argued he doesn’t need to wear a face-covering because he is routinely tested for COVID-19.
  • President Trump has instructed hospitals to begin sending coronavirus-related information directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, not the CDC, in a move that could manipulate or change the information the CDC had been tracking, including how many beds are available, the number of ventilators available and how many COVID-19 patients the hospitals have.
  • Emerging evidence that the body’s immune defense against COVID-19 may be short-lived makes it even harder for vaccine developers to come up with shots fully able to protect people in future waves of infection.
  • An experimental vaccine to treat COVID-19 manufactured by Moderna was able to induce an immune response in all of the volunteers in an early-stage trial, according to data published online in a medical journal. It showed the vaccine was generally safe and well-tolerated in 45 volunteers, with no serious adverse events.
  • The U.S. economy will recover more slowly than expected amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the country, and a broad second wave of the disease could cause economic pain to deepen again, Federal Reserve officials warned.
  • Three of the largest U.S. banks said they had set aside a whopping $28 billion for loan losses, in a stark reminder that much of the economic pain from the coronavirus pandemic is still to come.
  • Iowa-based seed companies owned by billionaire Harry Stine won approval for at least six loans – totaling $2.55 million to $6.35 million – in the first round of the federal government’s pandemic aid program aimed to assist small businesses.
  • The federal government may not have the capacity to supply medical professionals with personal protective equipment amid the latest surge in coronavirus cases, according to internal administration documents obtained by NBC News.
  • “[Trump] hasn’t mentioned one thing — not one thing — about the risks he’s putting on the good people that walk into that school building,” the president of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen García, told The Hill.
  • Hillary Clinton joined in on criticism of President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as they pressure schools to reopen for in-person learning in the fall despite outbreaks in coronavirus. 

“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to choose between their lives and their jobs.” Clinton Tweeted.

  • “Hospitalizations and deaths, two of the most concerning indicators of Trump’s failed response, are already unacceptably high and they are rising,” Joe Biden said during a speech unveiling his coronavirus response plan. “It’s gotten bad enough that even Donald Trump finally decided to wear a mask in public. I’m glad he made the shift.”
  • Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities, the Trump administration rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the pandemic.
  • U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA) has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said, making him at least the 10th member of Congress with a COVID-19 infection either confirmed or presumed by doctors.
  • The border between the United States and Canada will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21 due to the ongoing rise of COVID-19 cases stateside.
  • U.S. coronavirus cases rose in 46 of 50 states last week and the number of deaths rose nationally last week for the first time since mid-April and about six weeks after cases began to increase, according to a Reuters analysis.
  • New Jersey announced 28 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 423 additional positive tests.

Along with Vermont and New Hampshire, the Garden State is one of only three states on track to control the virus.

  • New York state plans to reopen its schools in areas where the daily infection rate is below 5% of all COVID tests. The state has averaged an infection rate of about 1% for several weeks.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo added Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin to the state’s quarantine list. Travelers arriving in New York from a total of 22 U.S. states are now required to quarantine for 14 days.
  • If the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles play their seasons in 2020, they will do so without fans in the stands because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The city of Philadelphia announced Tuesday a ban on large events for six months.

  • A coalition including the Maryland State Education Association, the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Maryland PTA called on state officials Tuesday to start the academic year in an online-only setting as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
  • Teachers in Loudoun County, Virginia, protested outside school headquarters with one woman fully enclosed in a white lab suit and face shield holding a sign that read, “Our new school uniform.” To keep physically distant, the teachers honked their car horns in unison.
  • Florida reported a record increase on Tuesday of 133 COVID-19 deaths, raising the state’s death toll to more than 4,500.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said, “There’ll be articles saying, ‘Oh, my gosh. They’re at 90 percent.’ Well, that’s how hospitals normally run.”

Characterizing the surge of COVID-19 new cases as a “blip,” DeSantis also noted that Florida has had “a lot of different blips.” 

“We’re now at a higher blip than where we were in May and the beginning of June,” he added.

Physicians and nurses in Florida’s besieged health-care system paint a much darker picture as they struggle to keep up with a tidal wave of new cases. 

“The past two weeks [have] been crazier than at the beginning of the pandemic,” a nurse at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines outside Miami, told The Daily Beast. “Everybody is exhausted. I have never seen it like that before.”

  • Alabama reported a record increase of 40 deaths, bringing that state’s total to over 1,100.
  • Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) announced Tuesday morning that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and would as a result not meet Vice President Mike Pence. 
  • Hazelwood School District in Missouri is requiring parents to sign a waiver in case children who participate in sports or other activities become infected with COVID-19 and die.

The school district said, “Like all districts, we have a sports waiver that we issue to parents who want their kids to play sports.”

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s state of emergency through Aug. 11.
  • A Michigan man who stabbed a fellow customer at an area store following an argument over face masks was shot and killed by police after threatening a sheriff’s deputy with a knife, according to Michigan State Police (MSP).

The MSP’s First District said that a 77-year-old man, who was wearing a mask, and 43-year-old Sean Ruis, who was not, got into an altercation over the face coverings Tuesday morning at the Quality Dairy Store in Eaton County. 

Ruis was refused service by the store because he was not wearing a face mask, and he allegedly stabbed the 77-year-old man outside before fleeing the establishment in a car.

  • Schools from Milwaukee, WI, and Fort Bend County, Texas, joined California’s two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, in announcing plans to keep teachers and students from the close contact that classrooms demand.
  • The county Board of Education in Orange County, CA voted to approve school reopening recommendations that do not require masks for students or social distancing in schools.

The board’s recommendations reads. “Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult —if not impossible to implement — but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not recommended.”

  • France held a scaled-down Bastille Day celebration, with none of the usual tanks and troops parading down Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue, in a concession to the COVID-19 epidemic still affecting Europe.
  • France will make it compulsory for people to wear masks in shops and other enclosed public spaces from next month to stop a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak, President Emmanuel Macron said.
  • Belgium, which has reined in the coronavirus after becoming the worst-hit mid-sized country in the world, reported zero new coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time since March 10.

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

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