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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The U.S. has passed the grim milestone of 150,000 coronavirus related deaths. 
  • The U.S. recorded 66,211 new cases and 1,418 additional deaths. 
  • California, Florida and North Carolina set new records for daily coronavirus deaths Wednesday.
  • The U.S. needs to reset its response at the federal, state and local levels to get control of the Covid-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security said in a new report. 

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic,” the report says. “It is time to reset.”

  • With current Covid-19 testing results delayed, Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said the federal government needs to step in and distribute faster antigen tests to power through the backlog of testing and get ahead of outbreaks.

If health officials can’t quickly determine who has the virus and where it is, they can’t prevent the spread, Jha wrote in an op-ed.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of a coronavirus resurgence moving into Midwestern states. 

In Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, an increase in the percentage of positive coronavirus tests signaled a resurgence. “We’re starting to see that in some of the states now, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and other states,” Fauci said. .

The White House coronavirus task force warned the governors that they need to get out ahead of the curve.

  • Vice President Mike Pence met with some of the doctors who were featured in a video which was shared by President Trump and was later removed from social media for misinformation.

The video claimed that masks aren’t necessary and promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure. Both claims are contradicted by scientific studies. The most prominent person featured in the video, Stella Immanuel – who has said in the past that DNA from space aliens is being used in medicine – did not meet with Pence.

The group is backed by Tea Party Patriots. 

  • President Trump defended his retweet of a video containing false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, saying that he was “very impressed” with one of the doctors in the video due to her statements about hydroxychloroquine, despite a report revealing she has made controversial claims about aliens, reptilians running the government and demon sex.

“I think she made sense, but I know nothing about it,” Trump said. “With hydroxy, all I want to do is save lives. All I want to do is save lives.”

  • Dr. Fauci dismissed a viral video that President Trump retweeted that makes false claims about the coronavirus and features a doctor who has raised concerns about alien DNA and sex with demons: “When there’s a video out there from a bunch of people spouting something that isn’t true, the only recourse you have is to be very, very clear in presenting the scientific data that essentially contradicts that.”
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said both the White House and Republicans were “very far apart” from Democrats on negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package.
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who frequently refused to wear a mask, tested positive for COVID-19. Gohmert declared he had probably gotten the “Wuhan virus” because he had started wearing a mask — not despite it.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced all members and staff will be required to wear face coverings in the House.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges chief scientific officer Dr. Ross McKinney Jr. said the U.S. could see deaths skyrocket “well into the multiple hundreds of thousands” if there is not a course correction.
  • School closures due to the pandemic were associated with a significant decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

States that closed schools earlier, when incidences of Covid-19 was lowest, saw the greatest declines per week, compared to states that were slowest to close schools and had the highest incidences.

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos argued against the need for national leadership on reopening schools.

“You know, there’s not a national superintendent nor should there be, therefore there’s not a national plan for reopening.” 

  • The House passed two bills aimed at easing the financial burden for child care amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Georgetown University will begin the fall semester completely online. Earlier this month the university had planned on welcoming back about 2,000 undergraduate students to campus.
  • The shuttering of Rutgers football workouts due to six recent positive cases among players has been tied to athletes from various Rutgers sports programs, including the football team, gathering for a recent on-campus party.
  • The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that its football season will begin play during the week of Sept. 7.. ACC teams — plus partial league member Notre Dame — will play 11 games, including 10 ACC contests and one non-conference game against an opponent that resides in the home state of league members.
  • Penn State University announced that eight student-athletes tested as part of the school’s return to campus protocol have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The outbreak on the Miami Marlins may be tied to, according to USA Today baseball insider Bob Nightengale, “at least” one Marlins player, possibly more, leaving the team hotel and going out while in Atlanta, days before the season began.
  • The US Open Championship will be held without fans at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, on Sept. 14 to 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
  • The NBA and players’ union announced that none of the 344 players tested since July 20 tested positive.
  • The NBA has unveiled a new community testing program, which will provide thousands of no-cost Covid-19 tests in Orlando and in team markets nationwide.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said her state “cannot move forward to phase four” due to the spread of coronavirus from parties. She said contacting tracing shows “we’re partying too much, social gatherings are too large.”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said, “all the news on numbers and our status is all very good.” The state conducted 62,276 tests Tuesday with an infection rate of 1.1%. There were 5five deaths. 
  • There are 619 New Yorkers hospitalized, the lowest number since March 15.
  • Vice President Mike Pence visited an Apex, NC private school that Pence said was “in the forefront of reopening schools in America.”

North Carolina public schools are set to reopen on Aug. 17, with most students in remote learning.

Pence said,“if we’re going to open up America, we’ve got to open up schools.”

  • North Carolina reported 1,763 new cases and a single day record for deaths of 45. 
  • The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced,starting Monday, face masks must be worn in all state government offices and buildings.
  • For the second day in a row, Florida set another new record for Covid-19 deaths. The state reported 216 deaths and 9,446 new cases of Covid-19.

At least 54 hospitals have reached ICU capacity. Another 44 hospitals have 10% or less ICU capacity available. About 16% ICU beds are available for the entire state.

  • Florida will shutter all its state-run coronavirus testing sites from Friday to Monday due to the storm system Isaias, which is expected to become a tropical storm.
  • With cases in Indiana on the rise, the Indianapolis Public Schools administration is recommending that the upcoming school year begin with 100% remote learning for all students when school starts on August 17.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) encouraged school districts to return to in-class instruction.
  • Minnesota has 310 people who are currently hospitalized due to Covid-19, nearly half in the ICU. 
  • Oklahoma reported 848 new cases and 14 new deaths.
  • Texas reported 9,042 new cases. Texas has now surpassed New York in total coronavirus cases. 
  • Denver Public Schools will “extend 100% remote instruction” from the start of the school year until the end of the first quarter.
  • Arizona’s top emergency preparedness director, Wendy Smith-Reeve, quit in protest of the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “I could no longer support the direction that the governor [Doug Ducey (R)] was going in.”
  • California added 8,755 new cases and broke the state single-day record for deaths with  197 fatalities. Though higher than desired, the positivity rate remained steady at 7.4% over the past 14 days.

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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