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

Read Time: 3 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 51,513 new cases and 1,070 additional deaths.
  • A University of Washington forecasting model often cited by experts and used by the White House has revised its prediction of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., now estimating  410,451 by Jan. 1. 

The model says that as many as 122,000 of those deaths could be avoided with safety measures, including near-universal mask use, but it warns that easing restrictions could cause the death toll to be more than 620,000.

  • Joe Biden was asked to weigh in on President Trump’s mockery of Biden’s use of face masks while in public.

Biden said, “It’s hard to respond to something so idiotic.” “I’m a smart fella,” Biden said. “I listen to scientists. This is not a game.”

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he and his family are still being harassed regularly.

“Things have not gotten better with regard to the hassles from the far extreme people who make threats, both to me, my family, my wife and my daughters,” Fauci told CNN.

  • Fauci said he’s not sure what President Trump is talking about when he told a White House news conference that the country is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic.
  • President Trump has consistently pressed officials to speed up their timeline for developing a vaccine, administration officials said, saying the President appeared intent on being able to deliver at least the solid promise of an effective vaccine by the time he faces reelection.

Trump has repeatedly complained that some officials at federal health agencies are actively working to stymie his reelection chances by slow-walking announcements that might project forward momentum.

  • Conspiracy theories and the lack of messaging on the federal level are contributing to large numbers of Covid-19 patients refusing to tell public health workers who they’ve had contact with, thwarting state efforts to slow disease spread at a fragile turnaround in the pandemic. 
  • President Trump again suggested that a Covid vaccine would “probably” be available in October, contradicting assessments this week by top health officials who have said that timetable would be very unlikely.
  • FEMA changed their policy for reimbursements stating, “the operation of schools and other public facilities” are no longer considered “emergency protective measures eligible for reimbursement.” “These are not immediate actions necessary to protect public health and safety.”

The new rule means city and state governments will no longer be able to receive FEMA reimbursements for sanitizing buses, subway cars, schools, public housing complexes and courthouses, among other facilities.

And cash-strapped city and state governments also won’t be able to use FEMA funds to buy temperature scanners or PPE for non-medical professionals like MTA workers and teachers.

  • Public health experts say they’re worried the flu season this fall could dramatically exacerbate coronavirus cases and deaths, but President Trump declared at a press briefing on Friday that the U.S. is still “rounding the turn” and people and the economy are recovering.
  • A federal judge on Friday ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ effort to boost the amount of emergency pandemic relief that flows to private school students is illegal and struck down the policy.
  • Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced today that “there will be school sports in the state of Rhode Island this fall.”
  • Full-contact high school football is suspended for the fall semester, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced.

The conference said it would work in conjunction with coaches to provide football players with “the best low risk and moderate experiences possible,” though it was not immediately clear what those would be.

  • A federal appeals court found that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) could exempt churches and other religious organizations from a 50-person cap on most in-person gatherings, while leaving the cap in place for political events.

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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