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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The U.S. recorded 1,042 deaths Tuesday, the first time deaths exceeded 1,000 since June 2.
  • A study published in the journal, PLoS Medicine, determined that if people washed their hands regularly, wore masks, and kept their social distance from each other, these three simple behaviors could stop most all of the Covid-19 pandemic, even without a vaccine or additional treatments.
  • According to Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, a vaccine may not become widely available before 2021.

“I would not assume there are any vaccines before next year. There will be some vaccines, if everything goes right, potentially at the end of this year, but that is not something I’d be going to the bank on in terms of everyone can get vaccinated by Christmas,” Bingham said.

  • President Trump receives multiple coronavirus tests every day, the White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
  • President Trump said he doesn’t know of a time he’s taken more than one coronavirus test in a day, directly contradicting his press secretary in the first question of his press briefing Tuesday. 
  • Trump appeared by himself in the first White House coronavirus update in three months.

Trump struck a more concerned tone about the virus. His remarks represented a notable shift in tone. Until Tuesday, he had largely downplayed the rise in cases in states like Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, and for weeks he had declined to urge the use of face masks. “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” he said.

He urged Americans to wear masks, practice physical distancing and wash their hands, and he instructed young Americans to avoid bars.

“We’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask,” Trump said. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect, and we need everything we can get.”

He also called the virus “the China virus” and repeated his false claim that the United States has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. He said again that the virus “will disappear,” which there is no scientific evidence for, even if there is a vaccine.

He refused to acknowledge widespread problems with testing in the United States, like test shortages and slow turnaround times for results.

“We’ll be doing these quite often,” Trump said on his way out the door. 

  • Researchers at the MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a face mask they say is as effective as the N95 respirator. 

A typical N95 mask can be worn no more than five times in hospital settings. But the researchers announced earlier this month that the newly-designed mask could be “easily sterilized and used many times.”

  • Representatives from various pharmaceutical and biotech companies were asked during a congressional hearing whether their companies plan to sell their vaccines at cost.

– Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, “We will not sell it at cost.” 

NOTE: Moderna received $483 million in federal funding to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

– Mene Pangalos, executive vice president for AstraZeneca, said that “under the agreement we have with BARDA for the 300 million doses, we are selling that to the government at no profit.” 

NOTE: AstraZeneca Received $1 billion from the U.S. government to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

– Julie Gerberding, executive vice president at Merck, “No, we will not be selling vaccine at cost”

NOTE: Merck received $38 million from the U.S. government to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

– Macaya Douoguih, head of clinical development for Johnson & Johnson, “We will be providing vaccine at a not-for-profit price during the emergency pandemic phase.”

NOTE: Johnson & Johnson received $456 million from the U.S. government to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

  • Only a tiny fraction of the population in the United States have antibodies to the coronavirus, indicating most people remain highly susceptible to the pathogen, according to new data from the CDC.

The agency also said the number of actual coronavirus infections is probably 10 times higher than reported cases. There are about 3.8 million reported cases. CDC data suggests the actual number of infections could be 38 million.

  • The CDC had previously recommended people who test positive isolate until they had two negative swabs for the coronavirus — but that turned out to be impractical given the shortage of tests. It now advises most people with active cases of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, to isolate for 10 days after symptoms begin and 24 hours after their fever has broken. After that, they are free to leave isolation.
  • NYC public health official, Jennifer Rakeman, said that the lack of a national coronavirus testing strategy amid supply shortages and increasing demand for testing has contributed to the delay in test results across the nation.

“[A] test that takes two weeks to get a result back was a test that shouldn’t have been done,” said Rakeman. “Really anything much longer than outwards of 48 hours is not a useful test.”

  • Anthony Fauci responded to President Trump’s characterization of him as “a little bit of an alarmist” on the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “I consider myself a realist, as opposed to an alarmist.”
  • Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan and Chip Roy clashed with House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney at a closed-door GOP meeting described by one source in the room as “a war zone” over her public support of Anthony Fauci and for previously backing a primary challenger to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie.
  • Lawmakers discussed the next stimulus bill with many Republicans raising concerns about the debt and deficit, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said.

Specifically, some Republicans pushed back on including direct stimulus checks in the next bill.

According to Cramer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also made it clear it’s still his goal to keep this GOP proposal under $1 trillion.

  • US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said that the country needs to lower the transmission rate of Covid-19 in order to reopen schools.
  • Vice President Mike Pence said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to send his kids back to school if they were younger. 

“Children without a serious underlying condition have a very low risk of serious outcome of the coronavirus,” Pence said.

  • Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) wants schools open, but said that his grandchildren will be distance learning. 

“My daughters are going to be more focused on distance learning right now to make sure their children are safe,” Scott said. He said “some parents are going to do it because it’s a way for their children to get a subsidized meal, things like that.”

  • Marriott Hotels will require guests to use facial coverings in its 7,300 hotels worldwide, chief executive Arne Sorenson announced.
  • Maine reported the first death in the state of someone in his 20s.
  • New Jersey state health officials reported 22 new confirmed deaths and 424 new cases.
  • New Jersey and New York added 10 states and removed Minnesota from their coronavirus quarantine travel advisory, bringing the list to 31 states that qualify as COVID-19 hotspots.

People traveling from those states — including New Jersey and New York residents returning home — are being asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for two weeks and to seek a coronavirus test in an effort to prevent a resurgence.

  • The daily Covid-19 indicators are all under desired thresholds, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The daily number of people admitted to hospitals is at 52, under the 200 threshold. 

The daily number of people in ICUs is at 297, under the 375 threshold. 

The percent of people who tested positive is at 2% under the 15% threshold.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said a surge of coronavirus infections in the central part of the state does not justify rolling back his reopening plan, despite mounting pressure from local officials to do so.
  • Georgia reported 3,413 new cases and 78 new deaths.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) reiterated a recommendation that residents “commit to wearing a mask,” even as he sues Atlanta officials for mandating them.
  • Florida reported 9,440 new cases of Covid-19 and 134 additional deaths.
  • Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said that the city would assign 39 police officers to a new unit that enforces mask violations.
  • City of Miami summer camps will close this week after at least three children contracted Covid-19.
  • Less than 16% of Florida’s ICU beds are available. 54 hospitals in 27 different counties are now at 0% capacity — meaning they have no ICU beds available.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) blasted the state’s Republican attorney general for his attempts to block the governor’s coronavirus emergency orders, including a mask mandate. 

“Our entire business community supports this facial covering requirement, and sadly, our attorney general isn’t just opposing that — he recently went to court to try to overturn every single rule and restriction that we have, and to prevent me from putting any into place in the future,” Beshear said.

  • A Missouri high school has reported that 19 students and two guests have tested positive after attending a recent outdoor graduation and off-site prom.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) reported Tuesday a new high of 488 total patients hospitalized because of coronavirus. The state reported 728 new cases.
  • Mississippi reported 1,635 new cases, a record number for the second day in a row. 
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said, because of the resurgence of coronavirus, the state will remain in its phase two plan for another two weeks.
  • All public schools in New Orleans will begin the school year with virtual learning.
  • Texas reported 9,305 new Covid-19 cases and 131 new Covid-19-related fatalities.
  • 509 inmates and 3 staff members at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  • A Clay County nine-month-old has died from the novel coronavirus, the first death of anyone under 20 due to COVID-19 in Minnesota and among the youngest people dead due to the virus in the U.S.
  • California reported at least 9,231 new coronavirus cases. The hospitalization rate of 1.9% and 0.7% of patients in the ICU are reaching concerning highs.
  • The University of California, Berkeley will begin fall semester with “fully remote instruction.

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

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