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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 61,520 new cases and 1,333 additional deaths.
  • The U.S. response to the novel coronavirus ranked as 31st out of 36 ranked countries in the world as assessed by Foreign Policy Magazine.

The U.S. got the lowest score for “fact-based communication” as the magazine specifically noted President Trump for “amplifying misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus” while highlighting his remarks during the July 4 celebration in which he claimed 99% of the cases are “harmless.”  

The US also got low marks for its lack of testing and for how little it has spent on emergency healthcare, compared to other countries.

  • Mobility data collected from cell phones shows people in many parts of the country are moving around as much as they did before the pandemic started. More movement predicts more spread of the virus.

“We’re almost back to pre-Covid levels of mobility, so we’re just not being as cautious as other people are in other countries,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

Murray said that when cases start to come down, people tend to start interacting more, resulting in the up and down phenomenon many states have experienced with Covid-19 cases.

  • Consistently wearing masks could save the lives of nearly 70,000 people projected to die of the virus by December 1.

“It’s rare that you see something so simple, so inexpensive, so easy for everybody to participate in can have such an extraordinary impact in the US and also all over the world,” Murray said.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said states should look closely at their percent positive rates to gauge how their state is doing.

“When you have a percent positive that clicks up even [slightly], it almost never turns around spontaneously, unless you do something different than you’re doing,” Fauci said.

  • The Covid-19 pandemic is moving into younger populations with cases skyrocketing among children, teens and young adults.
  • The CDC has closed several buildings it leases because Legionella bacteria, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease, have been found in their water systems.

The plumbing in buildings that have been closed for months could provide a perfect breeding ground for Legionella and other waterborne pathogens. 

  • Negotiations over the next stimulus package stalled on Capitol Hill with Democrats and Trump administration officials walking away after talks broke down on Friday and devolved into partisan finger-pointing. 

Lead White House negotiators Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said they were recommending Trump move ahead with a series of executive orders.

Democrats warn that executive action taken will be insufficient to address the extent of the economic and public health crisis faced by Americans during the pandemic.

  • The economic downturn could accelerate the Social Security and Medicare trust funds running out of money. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, in 2029 beneficiaries could see retirement payments cut by a third.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the program’s trustees had projected funds would be depleted in 2035.

President Trump’s push for a payroll tax suspension could leave Social Security and Medicare on shakier ground.

  • The U.S. economy added another 1.8 million jobs in July, a sharp slowdown from June and a small step for an economy that’s still down 12.9 million jobs during the pandemic.
  • Dozens of mostly maskless guests gathered at President Trump’s private club in Bedminster, NJ to watch his Friday evening news conference, flouting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
  • Princeton University will not offer on-campus learning for its undergraduates for the fall semester. The university had previously said it would stagger its semesters, with freshmen and juniors returning in the fall and sophomores and seniors in the spring.
  • Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick said in a statement that the upcoming fall semester will be fully online.
  • Six football players, including three starters from last season, at the University of Maryland have opted out of the upcoming season.
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said his administration is working with the Vermont Principals Association, the Superintendent’s Association of School Athletic Directors and Coaches, “with a goal that will allow for all [high school and rec] sports to move forward in some fashion.”
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) indefinitely postponed the state’s reopening plan and decreased the limits on gatherings after a “slight uptick in positive cases.”. He also authorized state and local police to enforce shutdown orders. 
  • Schools in New York can reopen for in-person instruction this fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Friday. It is now up to local politicians and superintendents to decide whether to reopen, and how to do so. Their in-person reopening plans must also be approved by the state’s education and health departments in the coming weeks.
  • Georgia reported 4,177 new cases and 92 additional deaths. 
  • At least 260 students and eight teachers from a suburban school district in Atlanta, Georgia, were quarantined after multiple students and teachers tested positive for Covid-19 during the first week of school.
  • Florida reported 7,686 new cases and 180 additional deaths.
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced new rules designed to better enforce mask requirements and give local authorities guidelines for issuing warnings and fines for non-compliance. 
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed an executive order that will allow people with “COVID-related concerns about going to the polls in November” to qualify for absentee ballots.
  • Las Vegas fined the Ahern Hotel for hosting a religious campaign event for President Trump that broke Nevada’s restrictions on large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gatherings of more than 50 people in either indoor and outdoor areas are prohibited. 

The group, Evangelicals for Trump, held an event, headlined by the president’s personal pastor Paula White, with more than 500 attendees.

  • California reported 142 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the statewide total to 10,011. 
  • California colleges and universities reopening this fall will need to follow guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health, which include the use of face coverings, social distancing, and cleaning protocols.

While indoor lectures are currently prohibited in counties on the state’s monitoring list, courses offered in specialized indoor settings like labs and studio arts will be permitted as long as substantial physical distancing measures are in place.

Many campuses in the state have announced they will start the school year with mostly online classes.

  • Public schools on the Hawaiian island of Oahu will move to distance learning for the first four weeks of the academic year.

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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