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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • There have been at least 4,005,414 cases of coronavirus in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and at least 143,820 people have died across the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • The CDC projects more than 164,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 15. The new projections have a possible range of 158,490 to 173,431 deaths.
  • White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told a group of state and local health officials about a concerning rise in coronavirus cases in 12 cities as President Donald Trump continues to tout progress amid the coronavirus pandemic at scripted, on-message briefings this week.

“There are cities that are lagging behind and we have new increases in Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Jose, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Baltimore, so we’re tracking this very closely. We’re working with the state officials to make sure we’re responding together, but when you first see that increased test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts,” Birx said during the call.

  • More than 150 prominent US medical experts, scientists, teachers, nurses and others have signed a letter to political leaders urging them to shut down the country and start over to contain the surging coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now we are on a path to lose more than 200,000 American lives by November 1st. Yet, in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage, and do myriad other normal, pleasant, but non-essential activities,” the letter said.

  • Cloth face coverings should have at least two layers, preferably three, to be most effective, according to new research.
  • 41% of U.S. adults have at least one underlying medical condition that may put them at a higher risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes, according to a new report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, looked at five conditions that put people at risk for more severe disease from the coronavirus: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and obesity.

  • New CDC guidelines favor opening schools, saying children don’t suffer much from coronavirus, are less likely than adults to spread it, and suffer from being out of school.

The new guidelines, which come after demands from President Trump that the agency alter its recommendations, do recommend that local officials should consider closing schools, or keeping them closed, if there is substantial, uncontrolled transmission of the virus.

Testing of students is not recommended. 

  • President Trump called on Congress to allocate $105 billion for schools as part of the next coronavirus relief bill.

He said the money would be used to support measures like smaller class sizes, teachers aides, rearranging spaces for social distancing and masks.

Trump said “If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious or home school of their choice.”

  • A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the use of hydroxychloroquine – given either alone or in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin – did not improve the conditions of hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19.
  • U.S. Senate Republican leaders and White House officials tried to hammer out a proposal for a fresh round of coronavirus aid on Thursday, which officials said will not include a payroll tax cut and could reduce an enhanced unemployment benefit. The text of the GOP proposal is expected to be released Monday.
  • President Trump sought to blame Democrats after Senate Republicans rejected a payroll-tax cut in the coronavirus relief package that they’re crafting with the White House. Trump has been pushing for a payroll-tax cut throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and said in a recent Fox News interview that he might not sign a relief package that doesn’t include one.

“The Democrats have stated strongly that they won’t approve a Payroll Tax Cut (too bad!). It would be great for workers.”

  • By unanimous consent, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that would protect coronavirus relief payments from being garnished by banks and debt collectors.
  • A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 53 percent of registered voters who participated in the survey strongly supported statewide mask mandates that would fine or even jail individuals who refused to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Anthony Fauci revealed that he and his family, including his wife and daughters, have received “serious threats.”

“As much as people inappropriately, I think, make me somewhat of a hero… there are people who get really angry at thinking I’m interfering with their life because I’m pushing a public health agenda,” Fauci said in a new interview.

  • A resurgence in infections and a rollback of reopening plans in several states is making it difficult for people to re-enter the labor force following the pandemic lockdown. 

Thursday’s Department of Labor report indicates the jobless crisis is still at critical levels. Another 1.4 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, marking the first increase in initial claims in 16 weeks.

  • AMC Theatres, the world’s biggest movie theater chain, is delaying its opening once to “mid-to-late August,” the company said.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state is monitoring rising coronavirus rates among younger people. 

A graphic presented during his press conference showed a 13.2% test positivity rate for individuals between the ages of 21 to 30, compared to 9.9% a week earlier. Cuomo called the statistic “a significant increase in a short period of time.”

Channeling The Beasties Boys, Cuomo said, “This is not the time to fight for your right to party.”

  • NJ had 344 new cases and 23 deaths. The positivity rate is at a comfortable 2.88%.
  • At least 20 teenagers in New Jersey have tested positive for coronavirus after they allegedly attended a house party earlier this month.

The Middletown Township Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the cluster of cases linked to a group of teens between the ages of 15 and 19.

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a $6 million lease emergency assistance grant program to assist small businesses with up to $10,000 in direct help to pay their rents.
  • Georgia reported 4,286 new cases and 25 new coronavirus-related deaths. 3,360. Georgians have now succumbed to the virus. Hospitalizations grew by 431.
  • Florida reported 10,249 new cases and 173 additional deaths, breaking the previous record of 156 deaths on July 16
  • The City of Miami issued 115 tickets for face mask violations this week, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “We have written 115 tickets,” Suarez said. 

The breakdown for tickets issues includes, “59 warnings, 41 $50 tickets, 15 $100 tickets and we have closed 15 businesses, 10 for 24 hours and five for 10 hours,” Suarez added.

  • Tennessee reported 37 new coronavirus deaths, a record single-day total for the state. The state also added 2,570 new coronavirus cases. Its highest one-day total in 10 days.
  • Arkansas reported 1,013 new positive cases.
  • Ten hospitals in Mississippi have no ICU beds available, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said. 
  • Louisiana reported 2,408 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state total to over 100,000 cases for the pandemic. There were 16 new fatalities.
  • Louisiana hospitals have paused elective surgeries as Covid-19 hospitalizations increase.
  • Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) mandated bars and nightclubs in Indianapolis to close through August 12.

Social gatherings, including wedding receptions, banquets, and club meetings, won’t be allowed to exceed 50 individuals.

  • Illinois announced 1,624 new cases – the highest daily total of cases since May 25. The state’s seven-day positivity rate of 3.4% remains promising.

There were 20 new deaths. The state also reported that 1,473 people are hospitalized with 309 in intensive care units and 135 on ventilators – below concerning levels.

  • Missouri reported 1,637 new cases, a record single-day increase, and  20 new deaths. 
  • Texas reported 9,507 new cases and 173 deaths.
  • New Mexico recorded an all-time high number of 343 new cases.
  • New Mexico will delay in-person classes through at least Labor Day, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said.

Schools may begin online learning in August. After Labor Day, New Mexico will phase in a hybrid model bringing the youngest students back to school first.

  • Arizona reported at least 89 new Covid-19 related deaths. The state has now lost over 3,000 people to Covid-19.

Arizona is currently seeing a 42.61 death rate per 100,000 people and an alarmingly high 12.5% positivity rate.

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an order extending the closure of bars, gyms and water parks for another two weeks.
  • Ducey said classes need to begin on time this year, even if they start with learning from home.
  • Arizona emergency rooms are rationing coronavirus tests as cases surge. Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an ER physician, said doctors are rationing Covid-19 tests due to testing problems.  

“We’re overwhelmed with regard to testing.” Many labs have a nine-day wait for testing results, which is “kind of ridiculous,” he said. 

“Sometimes there’s no swabs, sometimes there’s no reagent, sometimes the lab is backed up.”  “…Our country did not prioritize testing; our country did not streamline this. Other countries that streamlined testing did a little bit better.”

  • California reported its highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began with 157 deaths. The state added 12,040 more confirmed cases. This is the second highest daily uptick, following only yesterday’s reported high of 12,807.

The positivity rate in the Golden State over the past two weeks stands at 7.6% – over 50% higher than desired. 

  • A Claremont, CA 13-year-old boy, who had tested negative and had been isolating in his room after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, died. An autopsy report to determine Maxx’s cause of death, and whether he had COVID-19, is expected

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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