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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • There were 64,534 new cases and 1,082 reported deaths reported in the United States.
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases reported worldwide reached 15,000,424, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The global Covid-19 death toll rose to 617,832. 

The United States leads the world in total confirmed cases, nearing 4 million.

  • The first reported COVID-19 case in the U.S. came on January 21. After 99 days, on April 28, 1 million Americans became infected. It took just 43 days after that to reach 2 million cases on June 11. 28 days later, on July 8, the US reached 3 million cases. The 4 millionth case could come just two weeks after that.

NOTE: Testing volume has increased, but not to a level that would justify the large increase in positive results.

  • During a live-streamed event, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he doesn’t think COVID-19 will ever be fully eradicated, but noted it can be controlled. “I don’t see this disappearing the way SARS 1 did,” contradicting President Trump, who reiterated his claim Tuesday evening that the virus would disappear.
  • Dr. Deborah Birx said the statistic she watches closest is the test positivity rate because it is “the most sensitive indicator” of how the coronavirus situation is unfolding at any particular time and place.

The recommended test positivity rate is 5% or below. Wednesday’s test positivity rate for the U.S. was 8.8%, an increase of 0.215 over 7 days and 0.426 over 13 days. (The numbers were misreported for July 8)  

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic saying, “I don’t think it’s been a great example for the world to see America.”
  • A federal judge denied a motion to release families in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Members of a national nurses’ union laid pairs of shoes on the lawn of the US Capitol to honor 164 colleagues who have died while treating coronavirus patients.

“We are calling on the Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which will fully invoke the Defense Production Act to mass produce personal protective equipment, and will also create an emergency temporary standard to protect essential workers on the frontlines of this deadly pandemic.”

  • Dr. Robert Redfield said Americans should embrace “personal responsibility” and wear masks. “We’re not defenseless. We have powerful tools. Probably the most powerful tool that we have is a simple face mask,” Redfield said.
  • FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor acknowledged testing capacity is “stressed” in some places during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.

He said there is no shortage of swabs or media for coronavirus testing, the items his agency is responsible for overseeing, but added that testing is “stressed in locations that have increased cases, increased hospitalizations.”

  • Despite shortages in coronavirus testing supplies and lags in results, the Trump administration is still sitting on billions of dollars in unused funding that Congress allocated months ago. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questions about why the money has not been used as testing continues to fall well short of the national need. 

“It’s probably a logistical problem as much as anything else, but yeah, it’s a concern,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

  • The White House and a key group of Senate GOP negotiators struck a deal on Wednesday for new coronavirus testing funds.
  • The forthcoming proposal, text of which is expected to be released Thursday, will provide $16 billion in new funding for coronavirus testing
  • U.S. labs won’t be able to cope with a surge in demand for Covid-19 tests in the fall during flu season, and time lags to process the tests will likely worsen, James Davis, an executive vice president at Quest Diagnostics, told the Financial Times.
  • The U.S. government has ordered 100 million doses of Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for $1.95 billion with the option for 500 million more orders.
  • President Trump said that he would be comfortable sending his school-age son and grandchildren to school in person this fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The president suggested children do not transmit the coronavirus, though early evidence suggests children between 10 and 19 years old may transmit coronavirus just as much as adults. He attributed the recent rise in cases in part to racial justice protests, though early evidence suggests the protests did not cause a spike, and in part to migration from Mexico, though there is no evidence for this either.

  • The surge in coronavirus cases seen across the South and Southwest can be linked back to the traveling people did around Memorial Day, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said.
  • Citing safety concerns for their staff, Lowe’s will not require employees to enforce customer mask mandate.
  • United Airlines is expanding its mask requirements for passengers, requiring that its fliers wear a face covering in all 360 airports United serves, at every step from check-in to baggage claim.
  • Southwest Airlines says its planes will carry only masked passengers. 
  • The president of the Olympic organizing committee says the 2021 Games may not be possible if current coronavirus conditions continue: “Whether the Olympics can be done or not is about whether humanity can beat the coronavirus.”
  • Fans attending NFL games will be required to wear masks in stadiums this season. On June 23, the league said it would let individual teams set their own capacity limits based on orders from state and local officials.
  • Two cafeterias used by White House staff members were closed and contact tracing was conducted after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said his state’s positivity rate is lower than it was prior to reopening.

Baker reported 143 new cases of coronavirus.The seven-day average for positive tests remains at about 1.7%, he added. 

Baker praised “the work that’s continued to be done by the people of Massachusetts to do the things that we know are most successful in containing the virus and reducing the spread.”

  • Connecticut reported 127 new Covid-19 cases today and no new deaths.
  • New Jersey reported 390 new cases.
  • Baltimore City Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young (D) signed an Executive Order suspending indoor dining at restaurants and bars effective Friday. 
  • Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia, one of the largest public schools systems in the nation, has announced it will begin the school year virtually on Sept. 8.
  • Georgia’s largest school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, announced that it will start the school year next month with full virtual instruction. 
  • Florida reported 9,785 new cases and 139 additional deaths

Included among the deaths is a  9-year-old girl from Putnam County, FL — the youngest patient to die in the state related to the coronavirus.

  • 47% of all Covid-19 deaths in Florida are linked to long-term care facilities.
  • In Florida, 53 hospitals have reached intensive care unit capacity and show zero ICU beds available.

Another 45 hospitals in the state have 10% or less ICU capacity available.

15% of all ICU beds are available across the state.

  • Broward County, FL, Mayor Dale Holness (D) said during a news conference today that ICU beds in the county are 90% filled.
  • Louisiana recorded 2,802 new cases and 60 deaths. Its highest daily death total since May 1.
  • Tulane University in New Orleans is planning for a full-campus reopening. But at least one official at Tulane — which is often ranked as one of the country’s top party schools — warned that partiers will be punished.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) extended his mask order to include all counties in the state.

All Ohio residents will be required to wear masks while in public.

  • DeWine issued a travel advisory for all individuals who come into Ohio from states with a Covid-19 positivity rate of 15% or higher. The state is recommending that those individuals self-quarantine at a hotel or at home for 14 days.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced a statewide mask mandate to go into effect on Monday. 
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said that the state reported 1,598 new cases, its highest one-day total in the month of July.
  • Missouri reported a record single-day increase of 1,301 new cases.
  • Texas reported 9,879 new cases and a single day record 197 fatalities and a new record number of hospitalizations in the state, with 10,893.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that he signed an executive order that requires residents to wear face coverings in indoor businesses and indoor public settings.
  • The Kansas State Board of Education has rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) executive order to delay the start of schools across the state. 
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced a new mandate for the next 30 days that “last call” for alcohol in bars will be at 10 p.m. He encouraged people, instead, to get drunk at home with a small group of friends.

    “If you want to get drunk…Have three or four people over in your home, and a small event with them, not 40 people in your home.”
  • The superintendent of Seattle Public Schools is recommending that the district start the 2020-21 school year remotely.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said she will be rolling back a number of the state’s reopening measures in response to a growing number of coronavirus cases.
  • California has surpassed New York as the state with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States.
  • California added 12,807 coronavirus cases over the past day, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced.

The positivity rate remains steady at 7.4% over the past two weeks, but the one week rate is climbing and currently holds at 7.6%.

“Every decimal point causes some concern,” Newsom said.

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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