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

Read Time:6 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 55,594 new cases and 1,326 additional deaths – breaking the 1,000 death mark after two consecutive days below that threshold. .
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million on Tuesday, more than half of them from the U.S., India, and Brazil.

Health officials believe the actual number is much higher than that tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, given testing limitations and the fact that as many as 40% of those who are infected have no symptoms.

It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double.

  • The American Medical Association and other health organizations urged US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to update Covid-19 testing prioritization guidelines, as resources are still limited and many patients are still waiting over a week to receive their results.
  • Obesity is linked with higher odds of having severe Covid-19 symptoms that require hospitalization –– and the higher the body mass index, the higher that risk of hospitalization, according to a new study. 
  • The Trump administration is considering a measure to block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from returning home if they are suspected of being infected with the coronavirus.
  • Researchers from Harvard University and University College London found that every state in the U.S. that enacted at least one physical distancing measure in March in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic were successful..

Policies were so effective, physical distancing resulted in the reduction of more than 600,000 cases within just three weeks, according to the study.

  • The U.S. has entered into an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to acquire 100 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for around $1.5 billion, the company and White House said.
  • Johnson & Johnson could produce 1 billion doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine next year if it proves successful and would consider injecting healthy volunteers with the novel coronavirus if there are not enough patients for final trials, a company executive said.
  • President Putin said Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move Moscow likened to its success in the Cold War-era space race.

NOTE: Russia has yet to conduct large-scale trials that would produce data to show whether it works – something immunologists and infectious disease experts say could be a ‘reckless’ step.

  • U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar reacted to the announcement from Russia that it has approved a “world first” Covid-19 vaccine.

“The point is not to be first with the vaccine,” Azar said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” today. “The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.”

  • Facebook said it removed seven million posts in the second quarter for sharing false information about the novel coronavirus, including content that promoted fake preventative measures and exaggerated cures.
  • President Trump insisted once again that colleges should play football and made the dubious claim that student athletes are strong enough to withstand coronavirus.
  • Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) advocated for college sports to play in the fall. 
  • The Big 10 conference canceled its fall football season. It hopes to play in the spring.
  • The Pac-12 conference canceled the fall sports season including football. The conference says it would consider a “return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.”
  • Old Dominion University canceled all of its fall athletic season. 
  • The University of Massachusetts canceled the school’s 2020 football season.
  • New Zealand announced it was shutting down its largest city, Auckland, after four new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in the city, the first evidence of domestic transmission after being coronavirus-free for 102 days.
  • Many U.S. universities are revamping campuses to resume in-person classes despite COVID-19, requiring students to be tested, wear masks and socially distance, but some college town residents and critics say schools are putting profits before public safety.
  • Anyone attending a gathering of more than 100 people in New Hampshire will be required to wear a face covering, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) pushed for schools to reopen for in-person learning during a news conference, saying he knows the state can bring students back safely.

“If Connecticut can’t get their kids back into the classroom safely, no state can,” the governor said, citing the state’s diligence in wearing masks and social distancing.

  • The Bellmawr, NJ borough council voted to rescind the business license of Atilis Gym that has repeatedly defied a state order to close its doors under coronavirus restrictions.
  • North Carolina reported their first case in a dog in the state. On Aug. 3, an owner took their pet to the NC State Veterinary Hospital. The dog had signs of respiratory distress and died from his illness.
  • Cherokee County School District in Georgia is temporarily closing Etowah High School to in-person learning after 14 students tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The North Georgia State Fair scheduled for Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 has been canceled. 
  • Florida reported  5,831 new cases and 276 additional deaths – a record number of coronavirus-related deaths for the state.
  • There has been a 137% increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in children in the past month in Florida.

On July 9, Florida reported 16,797 cases in children. By August 9, that number increased to 39,735 infections. 

  • Marion County, FL Sheriff Billy Woods prohibited his deputies from wearing masks at work.

“We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t,” Woods wrote in an email.

The city council plans to meet Wednesday to consider overriding the veto.

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that 325 of Ohio’s school districts are planning to return to full-time in-person learning, making up about 590,000, or 38%, of public school students.
  • Roughly 100 students were sent home from a southern Mississippi high school on Tuesday after coming into contact with a teacher who was exhibiting mild COVID-19 symptoms. The only time students did not have their faces covered was during lunch, otherwise, they were required to wear masks in classes.
  • Tony Green, from Texas, thought coronavirus was a hoax and just a “rebranded flu” until a small gathering in June resulted in 14 of his family members becoming ill.

“It seems that the White House, the communication was really broken down … It seemed like it was being downplayed, ‘don’t panic, don’t worry,’ to the point where you just think, ‘OK, well, you know, if the President is not worried, if the White House isn’t worried … let’s go on with life,’” Green said.

  • California reported 12,807 new cases and 109 additional deaths. The high number of cases is due in part to a backlog caused by issues with the state’s electronic laboratory system. 
  • A California fitness trainer who had coronavirus and needed to be hospitalized and put into a medically induced coma for five days says he at first dismissed the virus and was skeptical of its severity. “I didn’t think it was real. I thought it was something that was made up.” 

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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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