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

Read Time: 3 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 39,452 new cases and 475 additional deaths.
  • At least 25,143,423 people have been infected with Covid-19 worldwide and at least 845,414 people have died.
  • White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that she is optimistic about the prospect of a vaccine for COVID-19 being developed by the end of 2020, but cautioned Americans should “do the right thing” until it was released.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a new interview that he is willing to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine before clinical trials are complete if it is determined to be “appropriate.” Hahn stressed politics would play no part in such a move.
  • Citing criticism of government agencies and increasing public distrust of vaccines, several prominent physicians and experts are calling for the creation of an independent commission to review data from coronavirus vaccine trials before a vaccine is allowed on the market.

The FDA regulates vaccines, and its approval is all that’s needed to put one on the market. The physicians fear, however, that after several government blunders during the pandemic, a layer of review independent from the government is needed to give Americans confidence that the shot is safe and effective.

  • After weeks of stalemated talks, the odds are rising that any deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package will be tied to legislation to prevent a government shutdown.

The House is set to leave until after the election by October 2, giving lawmakers one month to get a deal on another coronavirus bill; and, government agencies cannot run when the next fiscal year begins on October 1 without new funding from Congress.

  • A GOP Colorado lawmaker and conservative activist Michelle Malkin have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and other government agencies over their coronavirus prevention orders including a mask mandate, alleging it’s an overstep of power, as Republicans fight back against their governors over mask orders and business closures during the pandemic.
  • Twitter took down a tweet containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics Sunday afternoon that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory – a post that President Donald Trump had retweeted earlier Sunday.
  • Teachers unions and parents throughout the country are filing lawsuits regarding school reopenings during the pandemic. Teachers suing over what they say are unsafe and politically motivated timetables for reopening schools that risk exposing personnel to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents dissatisfied with web-based teaching alternatives, are suing to force state officials to reopen physical schools sooner.

  • The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros game scheduled for Sunday was postponed following a positive coronavirus test in the Athletics’ organization.
  • An unidentified player scheduled to play in this week’s US Open has tested positive for coronavirus and has been withdrawn from the tournament.
  • Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced on Sunday that it would be suspending in-person classes for two weeks following the identification of 103 active Covid-19 cases on campus.
  • Police in New Brunswick, NJ busted a huge house party near Rutgers University. According to reports, around 100 college kids packed into a backyard for a raging party. There were no masks or face coverings, no social distancing, and apparently no acknowledgement that a global pandemic rages on.
  • Georgia reported 1,298 new COVID-19 cases – marking the first time the state has reported under 1,300 cases in over two months. The state also reported an additional 28 deaths.
  • Florida 2,583 new cases and 14 additional deaths – the lowest daily death figure reported by the state since June 22.

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

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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 37,996 new cases and 408 additional deaths. Test positivity rates have increased in 34 states.
  • COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., eight months after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country. The coronavirus is behind only heart disease and cancer among causes of death in the U.S., according to the CDC. 
  • The U.S. has had the worst response to Covid-19 of any major country, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Institute of Health, said.

“I think it’s pretty fair to say we may have the worst response of any major country,” Jha said during a Center for American Progress webinar. While he said that it could be argued that Brazil’s response has been as bad or worse, competing with Brazil for that title is “not where you want to be.” 

“We didn’t get here overnight. This has really been one mishap after another,” Jha said. “The single factor that really differentiates us from everybody else is denialism that has pervaded our entire approach.”

  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said that she wished the US shutdown had looked like Italy’s, which was under a total lockdown.

“I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy. When Italy locked down, I mean, people weren’t allowed out of their houses,” she said.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, “We’d better be careful when we say ‘Young people who don’t wind up in the hospital are fine, let them get infected, it’s OK.’ No, it’s not OK.”

“They have residual symptoms for weeks and sometimes months,” he said.

Fauci said subsequent check-ups show that many “have a substantially high proportion of cardiovascular abnormalities, evidence of myocarditis by MRI and PET scans, evidence of emerging cardiomyopathies.”

  • Novavax announced it would proceed with Phase 2 clinical trials to determine if its coronavirus vaccine candidate showed positive results for patients.
  • President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the FDA to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works.

Oleandrin was promoted to Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July. It’s embraced by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a big Trump backer, who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops the product.

  • “Big surge in New Zealand,” Trump said. The country reported seventy-one cases in August. The U.S. reported 43,000 cases and 619 deaths Sunday. 
  • The nation’s two largest drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS, plan to check patient temperatures and wear face shields for the first time when administering flu vaccines.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) cast doubt on whether negotiators would be able to break the impasse on a fifth coronavirus package, though he said that he thinks there needs to be another bill.
  • FHA mortgages have the highest delinquency rate in four decades. New Jersey had the highest FHA delinquency rate, at 20%. The state also had the biggest increase in the overall late-payments.
  • A Kansas high school teacher created what is believed to be the first national database tracking the effects of COVID-19 in K-12 schools.

The Google spreadsheet – which is updated every five minutes – chronicles total known cases, suspected cases, quarantined individuals, and deaths at every school reported by officials or covered by local news outlets. https://bit.ly/schoolscovid

  • Jimbo Jackson, principal of Fort Braden School in Tallahassee who survived Covid-19, is urging parents to opt for virtual learning for their kids.
  • Just a week into the fall semester, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said it would shift to remote learning for undergraduates after a number of coronavirus cases emerged.
  • 155 Colorado College students have been placed under quarantine for two weeks after a new student arrived on campus last Friday and tested positive for Covid-19.

The quarantined students have been told not to leave their rooms except to go to the restroom and only while wearing a mask.

  • At least 24 people tested positive for coronavirus in connection with a wedding reception in Millinocket, Maine. 
  • For the third consecutive week, the National Hockey League announced that it has received no new positive Covid-19 test results during the past week inside the league’s two hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton.
  • New Jersey reported 316 new cases and four additional deaths. The state’s rate of transmission climbed back above the key benchmark of 1 that indicates the outbreak is expanding.
  • Newark’s school district, the largest in New Jersey, will reopen the academic year with all-remote classes and no in-person instruction through at least the first marking period.
  • Gyms can open as soon as August 24 with 33% capacity and mask mandates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said. 
  • Maryland established a hotline to report potential Covid-19 violations. 
  • About 6 million Americans plan to fly this Labor Day Weekend, according to data from travel management app TripIt. Approximately one million of those who have decided to fly over the holiday are headed to Florida which is struggling to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At least five students and two teachers from Bradford County School District in Florida have been placed on quarantine due to exposure to Covid-19. 
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, notified the community of potential COVID-19 exposures at Kappa Sigma Fraternity House. 
  • A state agency says it is working to fix a data error on Iowa’s coronavirus website that lowers the number of new confirmed cases and therefore downplays the severity of the current outbreak, just as schools are deciding whether to reopen.

The glitch means the Iowa Department of Public Health has inadvertently been reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is truly the case.

  • A Nebraska community theatre decided to go on with their summer production of “Mamma Mia” despite the current health crisis and now more than 20 of the show’s cast and crew have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Texas reported 51 new Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus related deaths to 10,034 in the state.

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