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

Read Time: 9 Minutes

  • GOP South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that residents attending the state’s Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore will have the option to not wear masks despite the renewed surge of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.

“We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we will not be social distancing.”

  • The European Union will open its borders to visitors from 15 countries as of Wednesday, but not to travelers from the United States, Brazil or Russia.
  • The United States saw a 46% increase in new cases of COVID-19 in the week ended June 28 compared to the previous seven days, with 21 states reporting positivity test rates above the level that the World Health Organization has flagged as concerning.

Nationally, 7% of diagnostic tests came back positive last week, up from 5% the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

The World Health Organization considers a positivity rate above 5% to be a cause for concern because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

Arizona’s positivity test rate was 24% last week, Florida’s was 16%, and Nevada, South Carolina and Texas’ were all 15%, according to the analysis.

  • Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told The Journal of the American Medical Association, “We are not even beginning to be over this,” Schuchat said, saying there are a lot of worrisome factors about the surge of the outbreak over the past week or so. 

“What we hope is that we can take it seriously and slow the transmission,” Schuchat said in the interview. 

“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control,” she said.

“We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging,” she added. 

Schuchat said there was a lot of “wishful thinking” around the country that the pandemic would be over by summer.

  • Officials in Wildwood have canceled one of New Jersey’s biggest July 4 fireworks shows over concerns the large crowds wouldn’t follow social distancing guidelines.
  • More than 46,000 coronavirus cases were announced across the U.S. on Tuesday, the most of any day of the pandemic.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas announced single-day highs.

  • Savannah, GA Mayor Van Johnson said Tuesday he’s issuing an executive order to require face masks in public.

“Savannah is experiencing thousands of visitors on our streets, in our establishments and most of them are not wearing face coverings,” Johnson said in a letter Tuesday to Gov. Brian Kemp.

  • In Alabama, more than 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed just in the last two weeks, state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said Tuesday.

Alabama’s safer-at-home order was set to expire on July 3, but Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday she is extending the order to July 31.

The state is not “overwhelmed yet,” but “we are still in the thick of this virus,” Ivey warned.

She pleaded with residents to wear masks and said social distancing must apply to 4th of July celebrations.

  • Donald Trump’s campaign has reportedly cancelled plans for the president to appear at a rally in Alabama next week after local officials expressed concerns about a mass gathering in the state amid soaring coronavirus infections.
  • New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are asking travelers from 16 states with high coronavirus numbers to self-quarantine when they arrive back in the tri-state.

The states on the list are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

  • Florida has topped 150,000 cases of the coronavirus  according to the state’s Department of Health. That marks an increase of 6,012 cases in one day — and an increased positivity rate to 14%.
  • “The minute that we opened, it was like COVID didn’t exist and people just forgot and, in some cases, are still forgetting,” Miami, FL Mayor Francis Suarez told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”

Miami, the hardest-hit city in Florida, has now made it mandatory for people to wear face masks in public at all times.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the budget for a package of online education programs that have played key roles for students and educators during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that his state is “not going back” on reopening as thousands of new COVID-19 cases continue to be reported every day. 

DeSantis told reporters that the state will not follow Texas’ move to pause reopening. 

“We’re not going back, closing things,” he said. “I don’t think that that’s really what’s driving it. People going to a business is not what’s driving it. I think when you see the younger folks — I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that’s natural.”

  • The woman seen in a viral video intentionally coughing into the face of a Jacksonville cancer patient has been identified by police as Debra Hunter, 52, of Fernandina Beachand, FL and has been charged with battery.
  • Texas breaks record with nearly 7,000 coronavirus cases in one day.
  • Leaders of Texas’ most populous counties have been imploring Gov. Greg Abbott to allow them to issue stay-at-home orders amid the rapidly spreading outbreak.
  • Local union officials have asked General Motors to close its plant in Arlington, Texas, to protect workers until the surge in virus cases in the state subsidies.
  • Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that he will not listen to the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci after the health expert warned Congress that the rate of new infections could more than double if current outbreaks in the South and West are not contained
  • California breaks daily record with over 8,000 new coronavirus cases.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned during a press conference today that additional statewide coronavirus restrictions could be coming ahead of the holiday.

Newsom said. “If you’re not gonna stay home and you’re not gonna wear masks in public, we have to enforce.”

  • Current hospitalizations due to the coronavirus in the state of Georgia have risen by 223 in the last 48 hours which is an increase of 18.04%. Current hospitalizations are at 1459 which is the highest since May 1st.
  • Savannah became the first major city in Georgia to require the use of masks, setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Brian Kemp over whether local officials can take more sweeping steps than the state to contain the coronavirus.

Mayor Van Johnson’s emergency order requires people to don masks when in many public places starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Violators will be offered a face covering before they are cited, Johnson said, and fined $500 if they disregard the requirement.

  • Tennessee reported more than 3,000 new #COVIDー19 cases in the past 3 days.

Hospitalizations are also at an all-time high with an average of 47 patients each day admitted.

  • Massachusetts reports zero new coronavirus deaths for the first time in months.
  • Hospitals in Arizona are reaching capacity amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

A FEMA memo states that both Flagstaff Medical Center and Little Colorado Medical Center have had zero “medical-surge availability” since June 24. Patients are being directed to hospitals in Yavapai and Maricopa counties.

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is ordering bars across the state to close their doors amid a surge in coronavirus cases among the state’s younger population: “There is not a way that we have found for them to be a reasonably safe part of people’s lives during the month of July.”
  • Joe Biden repeated his call for all Americans to wear masks during COVID-19 pandemic: “Wear a mask. It’s not just about you. It’s about your family… it’s about keeping other people safe.” “We absolutely need a clear message from the very top of our federal government that everyone needs to wear a mask in public. Period.”
  • Donald Trump Jr. said that masks should be worn during the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, FL.
  • Surgeon General Jerome Adams implored young Americans in particular, to wear masks as lawmakers and public health officials increasingly seek to break down partisan barriers about the use of face coverings.

“Wear a face covering when you go out in public. It is not an inconvenience. It is not a suppression of your freedom. It actually Is a vehicle to achieve our goals,” Adams said.

  • Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge, it puts the entire country at risk.” “We’re now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I’m very concerned.”

Fauci also warned, “What we saw were a lot of people who maybe felt that because they think they are invulnerable, and we know many young people are not because they’re getting serious disease, that therefore they’re getting infected has nothing at all to do with anyone else, when in fact it does.”

  • Airbus says it may be 2025 before air travel rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic. To survive the thin years ahead, the European aircraft manufacturer is eliminating 15,000 jobs.
  • The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed “substantial disappointment” with a decision by American Airlines to start booking its flights to their capacity. “We don’t think it’s the right message, as you have pointed out.”
  • The Minor League Baseball season has been canceled.
  • The United States is at risk of losing its COVID-19 testing capacity.

The American testing supply chain is stretched to the limit, and the ongoing outbreak in the South and West could overwhelm it, according to epidemiologists and testing-company executives. Demand for tests is outpacing supply.

Any plan to contain the virus depends on fast and accurate testing, which can identify newly infectious people before they set off new outbreaks. Without it, the U.S. is in the dark.

  • Tuesday evening the president Tweeted: “As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China. People can see it, and I can feel it!”
  • The Senate cleared legislation to extend the deadline for businesses to apply for coronavirus aid under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which will expire at the end of Tuesday.

There’s approximately $130 billion in unspent money under the Paycheck Protection Program.

  • The Economist reported that when mass protests against police brutality broke out earlier this month, public-health experts worried they would lead to a surge in infections. Anthony Fauci called the protests “the perfect set-up” for the spread of the virus.

But the available evidence suggests that this month’s Black Lives Matter protests have not contributed to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Researchers from Bentley University, the University of Colorado, and San Diego State University used mobile-phone data and COVID-19 case data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether the protests were associated with less social-distancing behaviour and more covid-19 cases. They found that the protests had no significant effect one way or the other on the incidence of covid-19.

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

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

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • When asked in an interview by ABC affiliate WFAA what he would have done differently in the state’s handling of the coronavirus, Texas Governor Greg Abbott replied, “You know, I think that’s an easy thing to pinpoint. If I could’ve done anything differently it would’ve been to delay the opening of bars. The opening of bars, if I recall correctly, was around the Memorial Day time period. And in hindsight, that should’ve been delayed. Especially, now knowing how rapidly coronavirus could spread in the bar setting.”
  • Nevada (1,099), South Carolina (1,604), Georgia (1,990), Arizona (3,591), Florida (9,585) hit record daily highs for new coronavirus cases on Saturday. 
  • For the third time in four days, Florida broke its record for the number of new cases of COVID-19 in a day. Florida now has 132,545 total cases of the virus, sixth-most in the country.
  • Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said on Saturday that his state would pause moving into the next stages of opening its economy as cases there rise.
  • The Iowa Department of Education released guidelines for reopening schools in the fall that do not include requirements for students or teachers to wear face masks, undergo temperature checks or practice social distancing.

Instead, the state will allow the 327 school districts and 119 accredited nonpublic schools to make their own policies.

  • Health officials are imploring young people to wear masks and practice social distancing as coronavirus transmission among younger Americans continued to drive record outbreaks in several states.

Younger coronavirus patients are a widening percentage of total coronavirus hospitalizations, with those in the 18 to 49 age group growing from about 27 percent of hospitalizations the week ending March 7 to 35 percent last week, CDC figures show.

  • At least 54,000 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database. These deaths comprise 43% of all COVID related deaths. 
  • A growing number of COVID-19 infections among people under 35 years of age is a “worrying trend,” Ireland’s chief medical officer Tony Holohan said on Saturday as the country reported the highest number of new infections for two weeks.
  • The Trump campaign is postponing Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign events in Arizona and Florida this week “out of an abundance of caution” as both states face spikes in coronavirus cases.
  • The Trump campaign has reportedly scaled up precautions to protect the president after several campaign staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Campaign officials told CNN that although the president does not wear a mask in public, he has voiced increasing concern about contracting the coronavirus and has insisted on upping precautionary measures in the White House and at campaign events.

  • Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) on Friday said there needs to be a “consistent national message” from President Trump on wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

“A consistent national message supporting the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing is very important to making sure everybody understands the importance of it,” Hutchinson said. “Nothing beats leadership. Certainly it’s important to convey the importance of that.”

  • Pinecrest, Florida Mayor Joseph Corradino, a small town in the Florida county with the most coronavirus infections, warned residents this week that “private house parties” are the area’s most dangerous spreaders of the virus.
  • Twenty-eight members of one Los Angeles family have tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

The family is not certain on how they contracted the virus, but they claim that it could have been a caretaker who cares for Garay’s mother or a family member who visited in May.

  • United Airlines will resume twice weekly nonstop flights between San Francisco and Shanghai as of July 8. Prior to the pandemic, United was the largest US airline operating flights to China, with five daily flights between Shanghai and US gateways in Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, and San Francisco.
  • United Airlines is suspending its service to Myrtle Beach, effective on July 6. The airline cited “demand conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic” as the reason for temporarily discontinuing service.
  • American Airlines Group Inc. plans to sell flights to capacity starting July 1, abandoning caps on passenger loads that were designed to promote social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers still will be notified when they’re booked on crowded flights and can move their reservations at no cost.

  • Spain will maintain a ban on cruise liners from docking at its ports to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to a ministerial order published on Saturday.

Cruise liners form part of Spain’s tourist sector which contributes 12% of GDP. In 2019 10 million cruise line passengers visited Spain.

  • Mainland China on Sunday reported 17 new coronavirus cases, mostly in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
  • Brazil recorded 38,693 new cases and 1,109 additional deaths. 
  • Mexico’s health ministry reported 4,410 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 602 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 212,802 cases and 26,381 deaths.
  • Global coronavirus cases neared 10 million on Sunday according to a Reuters tally, marking a major milestone in the spread of the respiratory disease that has so far killed almost half a million people in seven months.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post