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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 42,401 new cases and 1,032 additional deaths.
  • At least 37 states are reporting positive cases at colleges or universities – infecting more than 25,000 students and campus staff.
  • As the White House coronavirus task force privately warned state officials that they faced dire outbreaks over the summer, Trump and his administration publicly downplayed the threat of Covid-19, documents released Monday by the House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus show.

The subcommittee published eight weeks of internal White House coronavirus reports, which are prepared by the task force and sent privately to governors. The newly published reports begin on June 23 and the most recent report that’s published is from Aug. 9. The White House has declined to make all the reports public.

“Rather than being straight with the American people and creating a national plan to fix the problem, the President and his enablers kept these alarming reports private while publicly downplaying the threat to millions of Americans,” subcommittee Chairman James Clyburn (D-SC) said in a statement.

  • A panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health said that there is no evidence that a treatment for coronavirus touted by President Trump works. 

The treatment in question, known as convalescent plasma, was issued an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA in August, a move highlighted by Trump at a White House press conference.  

  • The Trump administration said it will not join a global effort to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine, in part because the World Health Organization is involved, a decision that could shape the course of the pandemic and the country’s role in health diplomacy.

More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, which aims to speed vaccine development and secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk segment of each population.

  • Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is calling on Americans to follow public health guidelines during Labor Day weekend festivities, urging people to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in the coming weeks resulting from large parties and gatherings for the holiday. He cautioned it could determine the fate of a resurgence of the virus this fall.
  • Admiral Brett Giroir said that if Americans do what they are supposed to during the Labor Day weekend, the U.S. should be in “really good shape going into the fall.”

“Labor Day is coming up and we need to stress personal responsibility,” said Giroir, who is leading the Trump administration’s Covid-19 diagnostic testing efforts. “So avoiding crowds, outdoors for family gathers are much — much better than indoors —wearing the mask and protecting the vulnerable.”

  • The CDC issued an order banning landlords from evicting tenants from properties they can no longer afford to rent due to income lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

The order would make it illegal to evict any individual who expects to make less than $99,000 or a joint-filing couple that expects to make less than $198,000 in 2020.

  • More than $3 billion in loans issued through the coronavirus emergency relief program for small businesses may have gone to firms that already received support or should have been excluded from the program.

The report from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis examined the Trump administration’s dissemination of more than 5.2 million PPP loans totaling $525 billion since April. It found that:

– Some 10,000 loans totaling more than $1 billion went to companies that received more than one PPP loan, a violation of the program.

– More than 600 loans totaling about $96 million were given to firms that have been excluded from doing business with the government because they’ve been “debarred or suspended” from receiving federal contracts.

– More than 350 loans totaling $195 million were awarded to businesses that have been flagged for “significant performance and integrity issues.”

– More than 11,000 loans totaling about $3 billion were given to companies that did not include complete information from applicants.

  • FEMA officials said the agency will end federal funding for cloth face masks in schools around the country because they do not apply to direct emergency protective measures.
  • Nurses across the country are still struggling to get the personal protective equipment they need to safely treat patients during the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey shows. Many are still re-using PPE, even though it’s not safe to do so,
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing criticism from Republicans over her recent visit to a San Francisco hair salon, whose owner claimed the visit violated citywide COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting indoor service at the establishments.
  • People who regularly watch Fox News or listen to conservative talk radio are significantly less likely to wear face masks than the population at large, a new poll from the University of New Hampshire found.
  • A study from West Health and Gallup found that half of all U.S. adults are concerned that a major health event among those in their household could lead to bankruptcy.
  • The number of jobless people saying that unemployment insurance does not cover basic expenses including food, clothing, and housing nearly doubled after key benefits expired in July. According to a new poll, 50 percent of unemployed people said their benefits fell short of them covering basic expenses, up from 27 percent in July.
  • Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt blasted the “failure of leadership” in America’s coronavirus response and warned of more hardship to come, unless dramatic steps are taken to crush the virus.

“People have died unnecessarily because government was slow to react to common and simple things like mask wearing and social distancing.”

  • Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has criticized the US government’s handling of the issues of systemic racism and the coronavirus pandemic, labeling them a “tragic embarrassment.”
  • Politico reported that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department is planning to offer a $250 million contract to a communications firm to help it “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the pandemic.
  • The NFL reported four new confirmed positive tests among players and six new confirmed positive test results among team personnel.
  • MLB postponed another Oakland Athletics game. The team has had four games postponed since a reported Covid-19 positive test. 
  • Foster Farms temporarily closed its main poultry processing plant in Livingston, California on Tuesday night following an outbreak that led to nearly 400 coronavirus infections and accounted for eight deaths, as health officials say the plant failed to follow its advice on coronavirus earlier in the year.
  • James Madison University reported 138 new cases among its students and employees since Monday.
  • At least 1,017 students at the University of South Carolina currently have Covid-19, according to the university’s latest update.
  • The University of Missouri has at least 424 active student Covid-19 cases. 
  • Utah State University found elevated amounts of Covid-19 in sewage samples collected from four residence halls on campus.

The university issued a safety alert on Sunday calling for mandatory testing and quarantine of all 287 students living in those four dorms.

  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo (D) announced her extensive coronavirus testing plan to reopen schools to in-person learning. Nearly every school district in Rhode Island will reopen on Sept. 14 to in-person learning except for the Providence and Central Falls school districts.
  • New York City’s schools will delay the start of in-person classes until Sept. 21, averting the threat of a teacher strike — and putting the nation’s largest school district on track to be the only major urban district in the country to start the fall term with kids in classrooms.
  • Maryland will allow indoor theaters and outdoor venues to reopen Friday with capacity restrictions. 
  • White House tours, which were suspended on March 12, are set to resume September 12. Face coverings will be required.
  • Gyms and museums in North Carolina can open starting Friday. 
  • South Carolina will allow limited, outdoor visitation at select long-term care facilities in the state.
  • The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management are severing all ties with Quest Diagnostics after Quest’s failure to follow Florida law and report all COVID-19 results in a timely manner.
  • More than 600 students and staff members in two Florida counties are in quarantine or isolation.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that he will lift the state’s ban on visiting nursing homes that has cut off vulnerable seniors from family since mid-March over fears of spreading the new coronavirus.
  • A White House coronavirus task force report sent to officials in the state of Iowa warned of dire new case increases across rural and urban areas and called for a mask mandate, the closure of bars, and a plan from universities as the pandemic intensifies in the Midwest.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has extended the Covid-19 state of emergency in Oregon until November 3. 
  • San Francisco will relax restrictions on businesses under the state’s new four-tiered coronavirus reopening system. 

The classification allows hair salons, nail salons, and massage parlors to resume operations outdoors on Tuesday, according to Mayor London Breed, and outdoor gyms will be allowed to reopen as early as Sept. 9.   

Breed also announced the immediate reopening of indoor shopping malls in the city.

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