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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 

  • The U.S. reported 46,436 new cases and 1,356 additional deaths. Test Positivity Rate has increased every day this week – from 5.531% on Sunday to 6.802% on Thursday.
  • Thanks to safety protocols like masks and social distancing, new case trends are now “going in the right direction,” said Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration official overseeing US coronavirus testing.

Despite the hopeful signs, now isn’t a time to let up or ease measures, he cautioned.

“This could turn around very quickly if we’re not careful,” Giroir said. “We saw that early on after Memorial Day and the couple weeks afterward that sort of started the current outbreak.”

  • Superspreading events – when one or a few infected people cause a cascade of transmissions – may be especially important in driving the coronavirus pandemic in rural areas.

Health officials across the country have reported superspreading events related to birthday parties, funerals, conferences and other large gatherings. “About 2% of cases were directly responsible for 20% of all infections,” researchers wrote in their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • The Trump administration appears to be reversing course and giving COVID-19 hospital data collection duties back to the the CDC, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing comments from White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx.

Last month, the administration abruptly informed hospitals that they were to stop submitting COVID-19 data to the CDC, and instead begin logging it with TeleTracking, a private firm based in Pittsburgh, rather than the CDC. The rapid change and lack of clear communication from the administration led to weeks of chaos.

  • Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research who will help decide the fate of a coronavirus vaccine has vowed to resign if the Trump administration approves a vaccine before it is shown to be safe and effective.
  • At a campaign stop in Old Forge, PA, Trump criticized the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) for not having already totally reopened the state, “You’re governor has you in a shutdown. Like, what’s going on? Shutdown Wolf – he’s gonna destroy your soul.” He then claimed that public health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus are “more dangerous than the virus”
  • Trump again compared the U.S. to New Zealand saying, “They had a massive breakout yesterday.” New Zealand reported 5 new cases Wednesday – bringing their total active cases to 101. The U.S. had over 45,000 new cases. 
  • U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tested positive for coronavirus and has decided to self-quarantine for 14 days. The senator is contacting those with whom he may have had contact. 
  • The White House has formally declared that teachers are essential workers as part of its effort to encourage schools around the country to reopen for in-person learning.

The move is just the latest in the administration’s campaign to pressure districts into bringing back students this fall. The essential worker designation provides guidance for educators that is only voluntary; it calls on teachers to return to the classroom even after potential exposure.

  • MLB announced that because of two positive tests for Covid-19 in the New York Mets’ organization, Thursday’s Mets game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park has been postponed.

Additionally, Friday’s scheduled game between the Mets and New York Yankees at Citi Field has been postponed “out of an abundance of caution.”

  • East Carolina University has paused football activities indefinitely. A news alert on the university’s website said the school has identified a cluster of Covid-19 cases within the university’s football team and Clement Hall, which is a university residence hall.
  • North Carolina State University will move all undergraduate classes online starting Monday because of Covid-19 clusters from large parties.

University officials have received “reports of large parties in off-campus apartments,” and identified “three Covid-19 clusters in off-campus and greek village houses” in the last two days.

  • Florida State University has confirmed 42 students on campus have tested positive for COVID-19 over a two-week period.
  • Boston University issued a new policy that allows students who die while attending the school to receive their degree posthumously. 
  •  Laurie Santos, head of Yale University’s Silliman College, has warned students to “emotionally prepare” for people to die from COVID-19 when in-person classes begin this month.

In an email, Santos wrote, “We all should be emotionally prepared for widespread infections — and possibly deaths — in our community. You should emotionally prepare for the fact that your residential college life will look more like a hospital unit than a residential college.”

  • Just over one week into the school year, more than 300 students and teachers have had to quarantine in Martin County, Florida. 
  • Connecticut is currently trending at a 0.8% positivity rate for Covid-19 and is well within the self-imposed metrics to reopen schools in two weeks, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said. 
  • New York City teachers threatened to strike or bring legal action unless the largest U.S. school district implements a more rigorous COVID-19 testing plan and other safety measures before reopening schools next month.
  • Philadelphia will permit indoor dining to resume Sept. 8, under specific restrictions.

Restaurants cannot be filled to more than 25% capacity and no more than four diners are allowed per table. There will be no bar service and alcohol can only be served with a meal.

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said there has been a significant decrease in coronavirus cases in urban areas, but the state has experienced an increase in cases in rural areas.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has issued social distancing measures for college and university outdoor stadiums and game day events. 

Everyone 6 years old and up must wear a mask. Everyone must practice social distancing with people not in their household. Stadium capacity is limited to 25%. No pregame tailgating or rallies outside the stadium are permitted.

  • A teenage girl in Southern California has died from the coronavirus, Orange County health officials announced. 

The girl had “significant underlying medical conditions,” officials said in a news release without providing further details about the child or her health conditions.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, MSNBC, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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