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

Read Time: 4 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 45,190 new cases and 1,097 additional deaths. 
  • Red states in the U.S. are officially at the forefront of COVID-19 outbreaks, with 70 percent of new cases stemming from the nation’s Republican-led areas.
  • Johnson & Johnson said its experimental coronavirus vaccine prevented hamsters from getting severely ill, as the drugmaker seeks to begin large, late-stage studies in humans later this month.
  • The White House coronavirus task force gave increasingly urgent recommendations to states about masks over the summer, only to have them mostly ignored by six states. Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina were advised to enact mask mandates statewide in the most recent August 9 report. They have all failed to do so nearly a month later.

The reports show that the task force made tailored recommendations to each state – including recommendations about mask use.

The Trump administration’s mask messaging – particularly from the President – has been inconsistent and confusing as the pandemic has progressed with no uniform national strategy in place.

  • Stay-at-home orders issued across the U.S. in the spring appeared to work at keeping people home, new cell phone data from the CDC shows. 

“In 97.6% of counties with mandatory stay-at-home orders, these orders were associated with decreased median population movement after the order start date,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The researchers also found that in areas where orders were lifted or expired, movement “significantly increased” immediately afterward.

  • The CDC did not “quietly adjust” the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, nor did it change its records to show that only 6% of U.S. deaths tied to COVID-19 were actually caused by the virus, according to fact-checkers with The Associated Press and PolitiFact. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed that more than 180,000 people in the US have died from COVID-19.
  • An alliance of 76 rich nations has committed to join a global COVID-19 vaccine-allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization that aims to help buy and fairly distribute the shots.

The U.S. said it would not join in due to the Trump administration’s objection to WHO involvement.

  • A Florida business owner is accused of misusing $2 million in coronavirus relief funds for personal uses, including using approximately $689,417 of the funds to purchase a 2020 40-foot catamaran boat and registered it under his name. The rest of the funds were transferred to personal accounts and the accounts of business associates.
  • Major airlines want the U.S. and British governments to launch a passenger testing trial for the coronavirus for flights between London and New York to pave the way for a resumption of more international travel.
  • New York’s coronavirus-hit MTA will have to start implementing a dramatic job- and service-reduction plan in November if it does not receive billions of dollars in federal aid, the agency’s chairman Patrick Foye said.
  • Actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for COVID-19, causing production in Britain on the set of his film “The Batman” to pause. 
  • Nathan Smith, a teacher at Oakdale Academy in Michigan, says he was fired by the private elementary school which refused to comply with the state’s mask mandate for students.

Smith said the school’s head, David Stanton, declined to take seriously his repeated efforts to raise concerns about the school’s violations, and eventually fired him after asking him to resign.

Stanton said in now-private YouTube messages to the school’s community that he will not enforce a mask mandate at the school.

“I don’t want divisiveness here. I do not want to allow our enemy Satan to gain a foothold, not even a toehold, in this school,” Stanton said in one video.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci laid out how colleges and universities should successfully open, and the conditions that he feels would be necessary for sending his own children onto a college campus.

Fauci said that colleges and universities should only consider reopening if they can test all of their students at the start of the semester, conduct surveillance testing at various intervals, and have spaces dedicated for students who inevitably contract Covid-19 to quarantine. 

Fauci specifically highlighted the planning around designating specific spaces for students who contract the virus as key to the whole equation.

“The whole thing could fall apart if you don’t handle that well.”

  • Fauci, director said that he “sticks by” what he has said previously about reopening schools and encouraging in-person teaching.

“Obviously it isn’t all black and white. It isn’t all yes or no. But in general, if you’re in a situation, in a green zone, where you have a very low level of infection and test positivity then in general you can open the schools with impunity as long as you’re heads up and you have a plan of knowing what to do when you see children who are infected,” Fauci said on Thursday.

  • The University of Georgia reported 821 cases of Covid-19 between Aug. 24 and Aug. 30 – 798 students and 23 employees.
  • Ohio State University reported a total of 269 new cases of coronavirus in students on Monday, The school has 165 quarantine and isolation beds left available out of a total of 414. 
  • The University of Indiana at Bloomington urged students living in fraternity and sorority houses to move out, citing an “alarming” rate of positive COVID-19 tests that marked the latest outbreak in the U.S. Midwest and at a college campus.
  • Jae Choi, 48, a New Jersey attorney, was arrested for scamming $9 million in federal loans meant to help small businesses survive the economic climate caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has extended Michigan’s State of Emergency until Oct. 1.
  • In the month of August, nearly 7,000 18-24 year olds tested positive.
  • Nevada’s coronavirus task force voted Thursday to allow some restaurants in the Las Vegas area to reopen next week as Covid-19 numbers decline.

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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