The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Racial & Social Justice, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 48,694 new cases and 515 additional deaths. 
  • In a racially charged early morning tweet, President Trump accused the press of failing to report coronavirus outbreaks in other nations as cases surge in the U.S.

“Big China Virus breakouts all over the World, including nations which were thought to have done a great job. The Fake News doesn’t report this. USA will be stronger than ever before, and soon!” Trump tweeted.

NOTE: Trump has repeatedly claimed the high numbers in the U.S. are the result of more testing, but the positivity rate has remained high as well, averaging 8 percent over the past seven days. 

  • When asked about why the U.S. has not been able to stop the coronavirus spread, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said, “Across America right now, people are on the move,” she said. “And so all of our discussions about social distancing and decreasing gatherings to under 10 — as I traveled around the country, I saw all of America moving.”

Birx added that the U.S. is in a “new phase” of the pandemic and called on all Americans to wear masks and to practice social distancing and proper personal hygiene. 

“What we’re seeing today is different from March and April,” she said. “It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas. And to everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.”

  • White House coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said the anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump is not beneficial as a coronavirus treatment. “At this point in time, there’s been five randomized-controlled, placebo-controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine, so at this point in time, we don’t recommend that as a treatment,” he said.  “Right now, hydroxychloroquine, I can’t recommend that,” he added.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected the prospect of extending $600 unemployment benefits throughout the the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that the payments led to some out-of-work Americans being “overpaid.”
  • Doug Pederson, the head coach of the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles, has tested positive for Covid-19. 
  • New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes decided to opt out of the season “for Covid-related” reasons.
  • Tennis star Nick Kyrgios announced that he will not play at the upcoming US Open due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 36 crew members on Norwegian Arctic cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen have tested positive. As a result, 387 passengers from two July expeditions on the cruise ship have been asked to self-quarantine.
  • New Jersey reported 331 new cases and six additional deaths. 
  • Florida reported 7,047 new cases and 62 additional deaths.
  • Fifteen state-supported Covid-19 testing sites will reopen Monday after closing because of Tropical Storm Isaias. 
  • Miami-Dade students will continue virtual learning until at least October.
  • At least 46 Ohio bars and restaurants have been cited for violations related to Covid-19 since May. 
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced 463 new cases and two new deaths. Of the new cases, 11 were in children age 5 or younger. 
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) told CNN the state will not shut down bars and restaurants despite the recent spike in cases because “so far we have not seen any correlation between an increase in cases and lifting of restrictions.”

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • Colorado is declaring racism a public health crisis after employees inside the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment put pressure on its top health official to address the issue.
  • Protesters gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico to demonstrate against the Trump administration for deploying federal law enforcement to the city like those that were used  in Portland, Oregon.
  • U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe will host a conversation on the cultural, social and political climate in the United States in an HBO special featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “1619” founder Nikole Hannah-Jones, and comedian Hasan Minhaj.
  • Three members of Allentown’s city council say they support a resolution to censure two other council members over their participation in Black Lives Matter protests.

The resolution demanding a censure and no-confidence vote against council members Ce-Ce Gerlach and Joshua Siegel stems from alleged conflicts of interest for participating in the protests in the city, raising questions about their objectivity in matters related to the city’s police department

Trump Administration

  • Seven Marines and one sailor who went missing following a training accident off the coast of Southern California are presumed dead. 
  • The Pentagon has not regularly assessed risks posed to contractors by climate change, potentially jeopardizing the department’s ability to carry out its mission, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. 
  • Microsoft said it would continue to pursue acquiring TikTok after speaking with President Trump, who seemed to be backing off a pledge to ban the app.
  • President Trump has agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft. 
  • Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, the controversial Trump administration pick for a top Pentagon post, has formally withdrawn his nomination to be the Defense Department undersecretary of defense for policy and has been designated “the official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.” 

Presidential Campaign

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will not attend the Republican National Convention in North Carolina, saying in a letter to the RNC chairwoman that his top priority remains combatting the coronavirus pandemic in his home state.
  • President Trump vowed to challenge a bill approved Sunday by the Nevada legislature that would expand mail-in voting in the state for the November general election. Trump accused Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), who is expected to sign the bill into law, of using the novel coronavirus to “steal” the election and make it “impossible” for Republicans to win in Nevada.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The United States reported 67,023 new coronavirus cases and 1,259 new deaths. The eleventh time in twelve days over 1,000 deaths have been reported. 
  • A forecast published by the CDC projects more than 173,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 22.
  • The World Health Organization reported 292,527 new Covid-19 cases, another record for daily cases reported to WHO. 
  • Researchers published harsh critiques of a study President Trump repeatedly touted on Twitter. That study by the Henry Ford Health System, claimed to show that hydroxychloroquine saved lives. The researchers dispute the validity of the study, citing multiple errors, flaws and biases in the process. 

For example, the patients in the Henry Ford study who were given hydroxychloroquine had fewer risk factors for heart disease, researchers at the University at Albany wrote.

Also, the hydroxychloroquine patients were more than twice as likely to be given steroids, a treatment known to be effective against Covid-19.

The Detroit study was not a randomized clinical trial, which helps avoid potential biases. In such trials, patients are randomly assigned to take a drug or not take it, which means the two groups should be very similar.

  • Widespread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic fueled by the internet “has resulted in difficulties in discerning truth from fiction” and is a growing problem, The Lancet wrote in an editorial. 

The disinformation is causing a “growing mistrust in science and experts” and “poor and confusing responses by political and government leaders,” the journal wrote. The problem is compounded by some people’s use of social media as their only source of information.

The publication described those spreading misinformation on Covid-19 as “highly organized political or pseudoscientific bodies that are experienced at using nefarious techniques to propagate their narratives” and warned that they’re targeting vulnerable populations.

  • In a tweet, the president once again made the false claim that the U.S. has more cases because the nation does more testing. “Somebody please tell Congressman Clyburn, who doesn’t have a clue, that the chart he put up indicating more CASES for the U.S. than Europe, is because we do MUCH MORE testing than any other country in the World. If we had no testing, or bad testing, we would show very few CASES..”

NOTE: The percentage of people testing positive, a key measure of the true spread of the virus, has spiked.

  • The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation warned there are not nearly enough Americans using masks to bend the curve on the coronavirus infection rate.
  • Analysts say the Trump administration’s new online COVID-19 data system that bypasses the old platform managed by the CDC contains errors and inconsistencies that lead to delays and misinformation.

The delays leave the exact numbers of available hospital beds, ventilators and other vital equipment for treating COVID-19 somewhat unknown.

Lisa Lee, a former chief science officer for public health surveillance at the CDC, told NPR, “If the information is not accurate, it could cost time — and lives.”

  • The U.S. government will pay $2.1 billion to Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for COVID-19 vaccines to cover 50 million people and to underwrite the drug makers’ testing and manufacturing.
  • A report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee found that the Trump administration overpaid by as much as $500 million for ventilators and was slow to respond to an offer to accelerate shipments in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Trump administration paid the manufacturer Philips $15,000 per ventilator, more than any other American purchaser. Some purchasers buying as few as just one ventilator negotiated prices down to as low as $9,327 per ventilator.

  • Dr. Fauci today reiterated his belief that a vaccine will be developed by the end of the year. “I don’t think it’s dreaming … I believe it’s a reality.”
  • A study of a Coronavirus outbreak at an overnight camp in Georgia released on Friday raises questions about the safety of students and staff in U.S. schools, as it showed a large percentage of those between the ages of six and 17 years old being infected.

A YMCA camp in Georgia saw 260 of 597 campers and staff test positive. 

The CDC found the virus “spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission.” 

The camp required tests for all guests and staff 12 days or fewer before arriving. Masks were required for staff but not the young campers. 51% of the children 6-10 years old and 44% of children 11-17 contracted the virus.

  • House Democrats introduced a bill that would require passengers to wear masks on commercial planes and in airports in an attempt to combat the coronavirus pandemic. It also calls for a study on how the virus is transmitted in airplane cabins.
  • Microsoft’s U.S. workforce will have the option of working from home at least through January 19.
  • Blood plasma taken from coronavirus survivors and infused into hospitalized patients reduced their mortality rate by about 57%, a team of researchers reported. 
  • “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston appealed to his fans to “keep wearing the damn mask,” after revealing that he contracted Covid-19.

“I was pretty strict in adhering to the protocols and still… I contracted the virus. Yep. it sounds daunting now that over 150,000 Americans are dead because of it. I was one of the lucky ones.” 

“We can prevail – but ONLY if we follow the rules together. Be well – Stay well. BC”

Cranston also shared a video of himself at the UCLA Donation Center, where he had gone to donate plasma. Scientists say people who test positive for the virus may have antibodies in their plasma that could help other coronavirus patients.

  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told MLBPA executive director Tony Clark that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season as soon as Monday.
  • The Miami Marlins have eighteen players and three coaches who have tested positive for Covid-19 over the last week.
  • Friday’s game between the Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed because members of the St. Louis Cardinals tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R)  signed two executive orders extending existing Covid-19 safety measures and extending the Public Health State of Emergency through Sept. 10.
  • Florida reported 8,983 cases and 257 new deaths, the fourth day in a row that the state has reported a record number of deaths.
  • The Sun Sentinel, a prominent South Florida newspaper, urged Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to issue a statewide mask mandate and take other actions to stop the spread of the coronavirus across the Sunshine State.

“Far better that you require people to wear masks in public than to continue fostering conditions that will force another shutdown,” the board wrote. “Your refusal to impose a mask order — a requirement now in effect in 32 other states — is out-of-touch with the mainstream.”

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health is asking doctors to focus testing on the most vulnerable populations as a surge of coronavirus testing has resulted in a seven-day turnaround time.
  • Arkansas reported  752 new cases and 11 new deaths.

Arkansas reported a 10% positivity rate for new coronavirus cases Friday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson *R) said during an afternoon news conference.

“In terms of our positivity rate, this is not good,” Hutchinson said. “We have a lot of work to do here. We’re right at the 10% level, which is CDC recommendation, but that’s too high, we want it lower.”

  • As an Indiana school district opened, one of their students who had attended part of the school day at Greenfield-Central Junior High School tested positive for Covid-19 on the first day of class, according to a letter sent to parents.
  • Illinois reported 1,941 new cases and 21 new deaths.
  • Missouri reported 1,489 new cases and 10 new deaths.
  • Oklahoma reported 747 new cases, the lowest total of daily cases in a week, and 5 new deaths. 
  • Texas reported 8,839 new cases and 295 deaths. 
  • The Salt Lake City School District will begin the school year with remote instruction. 
  • California’s health department confirmed the first Covid-19-related death of a teenager in the state on Friday.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 69,917 new cases and 1,291 new deaths – the tenth time in eleven days of over 1,000 deaths 
  • Arizona, Mississippi and Florida each recorded a record one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths
  • House members are complying with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mask mandate. During Thursday night’s votes, republicans all appeared to be wearing masks, although a couple members, including Rep. Jim Jordan, have worn them incorrectly, under their noses.
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said there is no evidence that people can contract Covid-19 from wearing masks, after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested as much.
  • President Trump took the extraordinary step Thursday morning of openly suggesting in a tweet the possibility that the 2020 election, set for November 3 should be delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump tweeted. 

NOTE: There is little risk of voter fraud using mail-in ballots. 

  • “Never in the history of the Congress, through wars, depressions and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3rd,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said shutting down President Trump’s suggestion to delay the election.
  • Federal Elections Commission Commissioner Ellen Weintraub flatly stated that the executive branch does not have the power to delay a presidential election after President Trump stirred an uproar by raising the idea on Twitter.

“States and localities are asking you and Congress for funds so they can properly run the safe and secure elections all Americans want,” she added. “Why don’t you work on that?”

  • President Trump says he wants the next coronavirus relief package to be “very generous” with direct stimulus payments to Americans that are potentially more than $1,200.

Trump said his priorities for this next relief measure are those payments and an eviction moratorium. He said Congress can take care of other issues “later,” acknowledging that Republicans and Democrats are “so far apart” on other major issues.

  • President Trump said he supports a “temporary extension of unemployment benefits.” 
  • President Trump said shutting down the economy “to achieve a temporary reduction in cases is certainly not a viable long-term strategy for any country” as coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

“The scientific path forward is to protect those at highest risk while allowing those at lower risk to carefully return to work and to school with appropriate precautions.”

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters he is “not very optimistic that we will have any kind of an agreement on a comprehensive bill in the near future.”

Asked to clarify, he replied, “I’m not even optimistic about next week.”

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested it is impossible to know whether the US is nearing the end of the pandemic or still in the early stages, and that the outcome depends very much on Americans’ behavior going forward.

“It’s impossible to predict because when we were looking at the increase and then going down, if it had gone all the way down to baseline… then you could say ‘if we hold tight, we may be in the 7th or 8th inning,’ but that didn’t happen.”

  • Fauci said “we should try as best as we possibly can to get the children back to school.”

“Because we know the consequences on the children when they’re kept out of school, as well as the downstream deleterious, unintended consequences on families, of parents who have to get off work to take care of their kids.”

  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said, there is “no evidence” that hydroxychloroquine works for treating Covid-19.
  • Birx called on state and local officials “to mandate masks for their communities” to slow the spread of Covid-19.
  • Trump and Fauci encouraged plasma donations from people who have recovered from coronavirus.
  • Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s multi-billion effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, will fund eight vaccines. 
  • Just two weeks of social distancing policies cut the spread of coronavirus by 65% globally, preventing more than 1.5 million new cases, Texas researchers estimated.
  • The University System of Maryland  is making Covid-19 testing mandatory for all on-campus students and employees.

Anyone returning has to be tested within 14 days prior to arriving and will need to provide university officials with confirmation of a negative test result.

  • The backlog on coronavirus testing “shouldn’t be acceptable” Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services said. 
  • Bill Gates said other nations had better coronavirus responses than the U.S. 

“If you score the U.S., our domestic response has been weak. It can improve,” he said. “Our (research and development) response — funding vaccines and therapeutics — has been the best in the world.”

Ramping up testing has been slow, Gates said. “The US is now starting, you know, to say hey, the testing turnaround can’t be long like this.”

  • The University of Washington now projects there will be 230,822 U.S. deaths from Covid-19 by November – raising their projection from July 22 by 11,000 additional deaths.
  • Because of limited capacity at AT&T Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys announced season tickets will be unavailable for the 2020 season. Season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase a limited number of single-game tickets for a limited number of games.
  • The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have sent their rookies home from the team’s facility following five positive Covid-19 tests in the last week. 
  • Nineteen players and coaches for the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies announced that no players on the team tested positive, but two staff members did, a coach and a clubhouse worker. All activities at Citizens Bank Park, where the team plays, have been cancelled until further notice. 
  • Toronto Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo confirmed this weekend’s series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays has been postponed.
  • The Southeastern Conference announced teams will on;y play conference games in the fall. 
  • The Advocare Classic, one of college football’s marquee opening weekend games that Alabama vs USC were to play in, has been cancelled. 
  • Vermont had its first Covid-19-related death in 43 days. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said the state has seen infection rates double among 10 to 19 year olds.
  • Virginia Beach’s schools will start remotely in September. The plan includes guidelines for when students can begin returning to school for in-person classes and will also allow families to choose to continue with remote learning even when the district decides it is safe enough for in-person classes.
  • Washington, DC, announced that public school students will have virtual learning for the year’s first term.
  • Georgia reported 4,045 new cases and 30 new deaths. 87% of the state’s ICU beds are in use. 
  • Florida reported 9,956 new cases and 253 deaths – the third consecutive day of record high fatalities.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) advocated for parents to be able to choose either in-person or distance learning as districts in the state weigh their options for the upcoming school year.
  • Wayne County (MI) announced that at least five people who attended a wedding reception at a banquet hall in Southgate now have COVID-19. 

Between 100-125 guests attended the indoor reception in violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said his state could be headed to a “reversal” in the state’s reopening plan if the positive cases of coronavirus continue to climb.
  • Louisiana reported 1,769 new cases and 69 new deaths.
  • Louisiana has the highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in the nation. 
  • Missouri reported a record 2,084 daily Covid-19 cases and 13 new deaths.
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) encouraged in-person learning, and added that in order to request online-only learning, schools must have a positivity rate of at least 15% in their county. 

Reynolds said 93 of Iowa’s 99 counties meet the less than 10% positivity threshold that the Centers for Disease Control recommends. 

  • Iowa teachers are sending mock obituaries to Reynolds in hopes she will reconsider her school plans for the fall. Teachers are demanding Reynolds declare a statewide school mask mandate.
  • Texas reported 8,800 new cases and 84 new deaths. The state now has a higher case count than New York.
  • Fort Worth, Texas schools moved the beginning of its school year back by three weeks and will begin the school year with the first four weeks being all-digital.
  • Arizona reported 2,525 new cases and 172 new deaths.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said, “We are headed in the right direction.” There has been a downward trend in Covid-19 cases since early July, Ducey said.
  • California reported 10,197 new cases and 194 deaths. 
  • A coronavirus outbreak has been confirmed at four Costco locations in the Bay Area.

A total of 31 cases have been confirmed within the past two weeks at four Costco stores in Gilroy, Mountain View, San Jose, and Sunnyvale.

  • A San Diego gym that was shut down after operating in defiance of the county’s health order to close last week has experienced an outbreak of coronavirus.
  • Hawaii reported 124 new cases, a record high number for the second day in a row. It marks the state’s fifth record day in the past week.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The U.S. has passed the grim milestone of 150,000 coronavirus related deaths. 
  • The U.S. recorded 66,211 new cases and 1,418 additional deaths. 
  • California, Florida and North Carolina set new records for daily coronavirus deaths Wednesday.
  • The U.S. needs to reset its response at the federal, state and local levels to get control of the Covid-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security said in a new report. 

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic,” the report says. “It is time to reset.”

  • With current Covid-19 testing results delayed, Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said the federal government needs to step in and distribute faster antigen tests to power through the backlog of testing and get ahead of outbreaks.

If health officials can’t quickly determine who has the virus and where it is, they can’t prevent the spread, Jha wrote in an op-ed.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of a coronavirus resurgence moving into Midwestern states. 

In Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, an increase in the percentage of positive coronavirus tests signaled a resurgence. “We’re starting to see that in some of the states now, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and other states,” Fauci said. .

The White House coronavirus task force warned the governors that they need to get out ahead of the curve.

  • Vice President Mike Pence met with some of the doctors who were featured in a video which was shared by President Trump and was later removed from social media for misinformation.

The video claimed that masks aren’t necessary and promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure. Both claims are contradicted by scientific studies. The most prominent person featured in the video, Stella Immanuel – who has said in the past that DNA from space aliens is being used in medicine – did not meet with Pence.

The group is backed by Tea Party Patriots. 

  • President Trump defended his retweet of a video containing false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, saying that he was “very impressed” with one of the doctors in the video due to her statements about hydroxychloroquine, despite a report revealing she has made controversial claims about aliens, reptilians running the government and demon sex.

“I think she made sense, but I know nothing about it,” Trump said. “With hydroxy, all I want to do is save lives. All I want to do is save lives.”

  • Dr. Fauci dismissed a viral video that President Trump retweeted that makes false claims about the coronavirus and features a doctor who has raised concerns about alien DNA and sex with demons: “When there’s a video out there from a bunch of people spouting something that isn’t true, the only recourse you have is to be very, very clear in presenting the scientific data that essentially contradicts that.”
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said both the White House and Republicans were “very far apart” from Democrats on negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package.
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who frequently refused to wear a mask, tested positive for COVID-19. Gohmert declared he had probably gotten the “Wuhan virus” because he had started wearing a mask — not despite it.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced all members and staff will be required to wear face coverings in the House.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges chief scientific officer Dr. Ross McKinney Jr. said the U.S. could see deaths skyrocket “well into the multiple hundreds of thousands” if there is not a course correction.
  • School closures due to the pandemic were associated with a significant decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

States that closed schools earlier, when incidences of Covid-19 was lowest, saw the greatest declines per week, compared to states that were slowest to close schools and had the highest incidences.

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos argued against the need for national leadership on reopening schools.

“You know, there’s not a national superintendent nor should there be, therefore there’s not a national plan for reopening.” 

  • The House passed two bills aimed at easing the financial burden for child care amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Georgetown University will begin the fall semester completely online. Earlier this month the university had planned on welcoming back about 2,000 undergraduate students to campus.
  • The shuttering of Rutgers football workouts due to six recent positive cases among players has been tied to athletes from various Rutgers sports programs, including the football team, gathering for a recent on-campus party.
  • The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that its football season will begin play during the week of Sept. 7.. ACC teams — plus partial league member Notre Dame — will play 11 games, including 10 ACC contests and one non-conference game against an opponent that resides in the home state of league members.
  • Penn State University announced that eight student-athletes tested as part of the school’s return to campus protocol have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The outbreak on the Miami Marlins may be tied to, according to USA Today baseball insider Bob Nightengale, “at least” one Marlins player, possibly more, leaving the team hotel and going out while in Atlanta, days before the season began.
  • The US Open Championship will be held without fans at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, on Sept. 14 to 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
  • The NBA and players’ union announced that none of the 344 players tested since July 20 tested positive.
  • The NBA has unveiled a new community testing program, which will provide thousands of no-cost Covid-19 tests in Orlando and in team markets nationwide.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said her state “cannot move forward to phase four” due to the spread of coronavirus from parties. She said contacting tracing shows “we’re partying too much, social gatherings are too large.”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said, “all the news on numbers and our status is all very good.” The state conducted 62,276 tests Tuesday with an infection rate of 1.1%. There were 5five deaths. 
  • There are 619 New Yorkers hospitalized, the lowest number since March 15.
  • Vice President Mike Pence visited an Apex, NC private school that Pence said was “in the forefront of reopening schools in America.”

North Carolina public schools are set to reopen on Aug. 17, with most students in remote learning.

Pence said,“if we’re going to open up America, we’ve got to open up schools.”

  • North Carolina reported 1,763 new cases and a single day record for deaths of 45. 
  • The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced,starting Monday, face masks must be worn in all state government offices and buildings.
  • For the second day in a row, Florida set another new record for Covid-19 deaths. The state reported 216 deaths and 9,446 new cases of Covid-19.

At least 54 hospitals have reached ICU capacity. Another 44 hospitals have 10% or less ICU capacity available. About 16% ICU beds are available for the entire state.

  • Florida will shutter all its state-run coronavirus testing sites from Friday to Monday due to the storm system Isaias, which is expected to become a tropical storm.
  • With cases in Indiana on the rise, the Indianapolis Public Schools administration is recommending that the upcoming school year begin with 100% remote learning for all students when school starts on August 17.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) encouraged school districts to return to in-class instruction.
  • Minnesota has 310 people who are currently hospitalized due to Covid-19, nearly half in the ICU. 
  • Oklahoma reported 848 new cases and 14 new deaths.
  • Texas reported 9,042 new cases. Texas has now surpassed New York in total coronavirus cases. 
  • Denver Public Schools will “extend 100% remote instruction” from the start of the school year until the end of the first quarter.
  • Arizona’s top emergency preparedness director, Wendy Smith-Reeve, quit in protest of the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “I could no longer support the direction that the governor [Doug Ducey (R)] was going in.”
  • California added 8,755 new cases and broke the state single-day record for deaths with  197 fatalities. Though higher than desired, the positivity rate remained steady at 7.4% over the past 14 days.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 61,660 new cases and another 1,292 deaths. Arkansas, California, Florida, Montana, Oregon and Texas each reported record spikes in fatalities.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the surges in southern states, and how to hopefully avoid future surges through careful reopening, “Obviously, the southern states that really had a major surge,” Fauci said, naming Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. “They appear, I hope, and it looks like they may be cresting and coming back down.”

Fauci said that what he was concerned about other states, such as Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, “that are starting to have that very early indication that the percent of cases regarding the number of tests you have – that the percent is starting to go up.”

“That’s a surefire sign that you’ve got to be really careful.” Fauci said.

“If you are trying to open up, please do it in a way that’s in accordance with the guidelines,” Fauci added.

  • “If you look at the deaths as they’re occurring right now – about 1,000 per day – unless we get our arms around this and get it suppressed, we are going to have further suffering and further death,” said Dr. Fauci.
  • Twitter removed a tweet that had been retweeted by President Trump that falsely said that there was a cure for the coronavirus. Late Monday night, Trump retweeted a tweet from an account with the handle “@stella_immanuel” that said: “Covid has cure. America wake up.”
  • Stella Immanue, a Houston doctor who appeared in a video this week published by the right-wing outlet Breitbart News, made false statements about the coronavirus in a video that was removed from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube this week has previously made other unfounded claims about medical conditions, sexual contact with demons, the U.S. government, children’s television shows and more.
  • President Trump resumed his defense of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, despite substantial medical evidence disproving its effectiveness, saying he believed the debate about it had become “very political.” 

Trump added later that he believed use of the drug to treat COVID-19 has become taboo specifically because he has promoted it. 

Public health officials have repeatedly said that there is no evidence the drug is effective in treating the disease.

  • Fauci said, “I go along with the FDA. The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.” 
  • President Trump questioned why Anthony Fauci has a higher approval rating with the public than he does on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating … with respect to the virus?” Trump wondered aloud.

  • The Topps NOW limited-edition baseball trading card featuring Anthony Fauci shattered an all-time sales record run for the company in selling 51,512 cards in the span of just 24 hours. 
  • Newly declassified intelligence shows that the Russian military intelligence unit known as the GRU is using a variety of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the novel coronavirus.

The new alleged Russian disinformation campaign deals primarily with websites acting as legitimate news outlets.

  • The U.S. was slow to recognize the coronavirus threat from Europe, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, admitted for the first time in an interview with ABC News.
  • Coronavirus is not known to spread through food or food packaging, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said. 
  • The Trump Administration has awarded $6.6 billion in taxpayer money to private companies for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Executives at these pharmaceutical firms are taking home multimillion-dollar compensation packages even before their companies produce a working treatment.

  • President Trump said his administration will use the Defense Production Act to turn Kodak into a pharmaceutical company, an announcement he called “one of the most important deals in the history of US pharmaceutical industries.” 

“With this new agreement, my administration is using the Defense Production Act to provide a $765 million loan to support the launch of Kodak pharmaceuticals.”

  • Twitter temporarily suspended Donald Trump Jr. from tweeting or retweeting for twelve hours after the president’s son posted false information on the coronavirus on the social media site.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Tweeted: “The GOP COVID-19 bill includes

$2 billion for F-35s

$1.75 billion for an FBI building

$1 billion for surveillance planes

$375 million for armored vehicles

$360 million for missile defense

$283 million for Apache helicopters 

$0 for millions facing eviction

It’s Dead on Arrival”

  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that Democrats are not insisting that $600 federal unemployment payments be included in the massive coronavirus relief package under negotiation between the two parties.

“It’s not $600 or bust,” he said on CNN’s “New Day” program. “Speaker Pelosi said the other day, which I thought was a great line: ‘We don’t have red lines, we have values. And we’re going into these negotiations with values.'”

  • Joe Biden told reporters he has not yet been tested for coronavirus.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is demanding that lawmakers remove the $1.75 billion in funding for a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington from the GOP’s coronavirus relief package, a proposal that the White House asked to have included in the bill.

Many have speculated Trump is pushing to change the FBI headquarters to prevent a hotel that would compete with the Trump hotel in DC from being built in the prime location.

  • The Consumer Technology Association announced that it will be hosting its flagship event, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), digitally in 2021. CES usually attracts over 4,000 exhibitors and nearly 175,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
  • C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen, the restaurant in Castle Rock, Colorado that defied state orders by reopening on Mother’s Day despite a statewide shutdown, announced it would be closing permanently, The Denver Post reported.
  • All games on the Miami Marlins’ schedule through Sunday have been postponed.
  • The remainder of the home-and-home series between the Phillies and the New York Yankees has been postponed.
  • 21 NFL players have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) will issue an executive order later this week setting Sept. 8 as a universal start date for students to return back to school in the fall.

Scott said, “We have achieved a stage of viral suppression that will allow us to open schools comfortably,”

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) offered Major League Baseball the option of playing games in New York state if they’re having difficulty playing in other states.
  • 45 businesses in New York have had their liquor licenses suspended for “egregious violations” of coronavirus regulations.
  • Pennsylvania reported 1,120 new Covid-19 cases and 24 more deaths.
  • Philadelphia has extended their ban on indoor dining until Sept. 1.
  • Philadelphia’s superintendent of schools is now proposing all students continue with virtual learning until at least November 17.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) will impose new restrictions on restaurants and bars, but only in an eastern section of the state that’s experiencing a major surge of new coronavirus cases. 

Bars in the Hampton Roads area will be prohibited from serving alcohol after 10 p.m. and restaurants will have to close by midnight and will be reduced to 50 percent capacity for indoor dining.

  • North Carolina reported 1,244 new hospitalizations, breaking the previous record of 1,228 cases on July 22. In addition, the state recorded 1,749 new cases.
  • Starting Friday, restaurants in North Carolina must stop selling alcohol after 11 p.m., Gov. Roy Cooper announced in a news conference today.

Bars will remain closed, Cooper said, adding that “we want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after hours.”

  • Georgia reported 4,293 new cases and 54 new deaths.
  • Florida reported 186 new deaths, breaking the previous record of 173 deaths on July 23. The state had 9,203 new cases. 
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) touted “positive developments” in Covid-19 fight as his  state broke another record for new deaths. 
  • The City of Miami has issued at least 167 tickets to individuals not wearing masks in the city. 
  • Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez (R) said the Miami Marlins should follow the 14-day quarantine protocol when they return to South Florida.
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said that schools in her state should be open. “The science is very clear on schools. Our schools should be open.” 
  • Oklahoma reported 1,089 new Covid-19 cases and 13 new deaths.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The U.S. recorded 55,134 new cases and 1,059 additional deaths. 
  • After weeks of sharp increases, there are some signs that new coronavirus cases in the United States may be plateauing at a high daily rate.

Though still alarmingly high, the seven-day daily average of new confirmed cases was just under 66,000 – the lowest it has been in the U.S. in 10 days.

  • The global coronavirus death toll surpassed 650,000.
  • A developmental vaccine created by drugmaker Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began phase three trials.

About 30,000 adult volunteers will receive two 100 microgram injections of the candidate vaccine while a control group receives a placebo, both about four weeks apart.

  • The FDA announced, “Based on continued review of scientific data, FDA has determined that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating #COVID19 and therefore we are revoking the emergency use authorization for these drugs.” 
  • Vice President Mike Pence assured that any coronavirus vaccine that makes it to market will be safe. “There’ll be no shortcuts,” Pence said. “There’ll be no cutting corners on safety in the development of this vaccine.”
  • The Senate Republican proposal will cut enhanced federal unemployment benefits from the current $600 to $200. 
  • President Trump’s attempts to project more somber messaging on the COVID-19 pandemic were motivated in part by data showing death rates rising in states critical to his reelection chances, the Washington Post reported

“In the past couple of weeks, senior advisors began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among ‘our people’ in Republican states,” a senior administration official said. “They also shared projections predicting that virus surges could soon hit politically important states in the Midwest — including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.”

  • President Trump said he hasn’t seen National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who has tested positive for COVID-19, recently.
  • As members of his administration encourage some states to reverse their reopenings, President Trump said that governors need to loosen restrictions.

“I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening,” Trump said, without specifying which states should be opening.

  • During President Trump’s tour of a Fujifilm vaccine lab facility in North Carolina, he wore a mask, which is required at the facility.
  • White House Advisor Larry Kudlow wore a mask while talking to reporters. Asked why he finally decided to wear one, the 72 year old said seeing reporters wearing masks influenced his decision. He is now encouraging masks as a way to help the economy recover.
  • In a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, 79 percent of respondents said they support a national face mask mandate amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases in parts of the United States that have the nation going in the wrong direction compared to many other countries.

Another 70 percent said they supported the idea of local governments imposing fees on individuals who do not wear masks.

  • George Washington University in Washington, DC, announced that undergraduate courses will be given online for the fall 2020 semester.
  • The University of Notre Dame announced Monday it will withdraw from hosting the first presidential debate in September due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, will now take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

  • Staples will require all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of their US stores.
  • Four more players on MLB’s Miami Marlins tested positive, bringing the total to fifteen infections for players and staff. 
  • After an outbreak of the coronavirus among Miami Marlins players and staff who occupied the visitor’s locker room in Philadelphia over the weekend, Monday night’s game schedule there between the Phillies and Yankees was postponed.
  • Following Monday’s postponement of two games due to Covid-19 threat, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred did not discuss canceling the season with the league’s team owners.
  • The Minnesota Vikings announced that along with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman tested positive for COVID-19 four players were place on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
  • Daryl Ross, an Alabama pastor, said that more than 40 people who attended a revival event at his church have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.
  • The NCAA will allow schools to reduce their fall sports schedules, other than football, to half of a season. 
  • Monmouth University in New Jersey is cancelling all fall sports due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will cancel all fall sports.
  • The NHL announced that of the 4,256 COVID tests administered to players from July 18th-25th, there were zero positive tests.
  • New York reported 608 new cases and 11 deaths.
  • New York state issued 132 violations to bars and restaurants for not following coronavirus-related regulations over the weekend. 
  • New Jersey reported 446 new cases and17 new confirmed deaths. The rate of transmission jumped back above the key benchmark of 1, meaning the outbreak is increasing again.
  • New Jersey has started deploying saliva-based coronavirus tests developed at Rutgers University to the state’s broad testing initiatives, allowing the state to increase its testing capacity by 30,000 a day with results within 48 hours, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
  • The owners of the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ were arrested and subsequently released on Monday morning after they opened their facility despite a judge ruling that the state could force the gym to close. 
  • Police spent nearly five hours breaking up a mansion party in Jackson Township that grew to over 700 people Sunday night. Three people have been charged with violating the governor’s executive order limiting gatherings.
  • Pennsylvania reported 839 new cases and 4 new deaths.
  • South Carolina reported 1,226 new cases and 17 new deaths.
  • After being ordered to mediation last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R)  has withdrawn an emergency lawsuit hearing against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and City Council over conflicting mask mandates.
  • Florida reported 8,892 new cases of and 77 new deaths.
  • In a letter, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) called out Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for the “unprepared” and “failed” contact tracing response to Covid-19 which led to the “unconstrained growth of the virus” in Miami-Dade County.
  • Just weeks before schools must open across Florida, the numbers of new cases among children 17 and under are surging.

From July 16 to July 24, cases among children increased 8,000 – a 34% increase.

  • Coronavirus hospitalizations among children in Florida rose by more than 20 percent over a period of eight days in July.

Florida health authorities released data showing that 303 children below the age of 18 were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 24.

  • At least 17 anesthesiologist residents and a fellow at University of Florida Health, one of the premier university hospital systems in Florida, contracted COVID-19 earlier this month after attending a private party together.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced additional steps to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including closing bars and limiting indoor restaurant capacity to 25%
  • In a joint press conference, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said that Tennessee could see rapid and widespread growth of coronavirus unless the state acts quickly to turn things around. She recommended shutting down bars and limiting indoor dining.
  • Shortly after Birx spoke, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) shot down White House adviser Deborah Birx’s recommendation to close bars and limit indoor seating at restaurants. 
  • Oklahoma reported 1,401 new cases and zero new deaths.
  • At least 123 visitors to Nevada have tested positive for the coronavirus in the weeks following their trip and returning home. 
  • California reported 6,891 new cases and 29 additional deaths.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Protests/Social Justice, and Trump Administration Updates

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. recorded 61,173 new cases and 558 new deaths. 
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the federal government will extend a moratorium on evictions as part of the next round of coronavirus relief, which will also include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
  • White House negotiators want to scale back the next coronavirus relief legislation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows both mentioned the possibility of moving forward on a less ambitious proposal.

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reiterated that the Trump administration and Senate Republicans won’t extend a $600 boost in unemployment benefits in a forthcoming coronavirus relief package.

Meadows argued the original unemployment insurance measure, which has begun expiring, shouldn’t be extended because it “paid people to stay home” and disincentivized unemployed people from finding work.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had a stark prediction for the vote on any new coronavirus stimulus bill. “Half the Republicans are going to vote no to any phase 4 package, that’s just a fact,” Graham said.
  • CDC director Robert Redfield said that he would “absolutely” send his grandchildren back to school in the fall despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, with the exception of one grandchild who has a medical condition.
  • President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has tested positive for coronavirus. 
  • Google will extend its work-from-home policy until at least July 2021.
  • The Miami Marlins, who had four players test positive during their opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies, had an additional eight players and two coaches test positive on Monday. The team has cancelled its home opener versus the Baltimore Orioles.
  • New York reported 536 new cases. 
  • Pennsylvania reported 800 new cases and four new deaths.
  • South Carolina reported 1,170 new coronavirus cases and 25 new deaths. The state is now at a 15.6% test positivity rate, over triple the desired rate.
  • After setting a record for Covid-19 cases reported in a single day on Friday, Georgia reported 2,765 new cases, 1,022 fewer than Saturday. Three new deaths were, down from 53 on Saturday.
  • Florida reported 9,259 new cases and 77 deaths.
  • At least 46 Florida hospitals have reached ICU capacity and show zero ICU beds available. 
  • Miami Dade County reported a daily coronavirus positivity rate today of 18%. 5% is the desired maximum. 
  • Thus far, the Florida Department of Health has not seen any Covid-19 outbreaks associated with the reopening of theme parks in the area. 
  • The Lauderhill (FL) Police Department in Florida tweeted Sunday: “It is with a heavy heart that the Lauderhill Police Department announce the passing of our Brother, Officer Corey Pendergrass, who died this morning of complications related to Covid-19. Corey has honorably served with us since 1997. We will miss you tremendously.”
  • Louisiana recorded 3,840 new coronavirus cases, 94% are tied to community spread, and 48 new deaths. 

Protests/Racial and Social Justice 

  • A group of about 30 protesters gathered outside the Virginia home of acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to voice their opposition to the tactics federal authorities are using in Portland, OR. 
  • Oakland, CA police declared a Saturday protest an unlawful assembly after “agitators” set fire to a courthouse and vandalized a police station.
  • Philadelphia area NAACP Chairman Rodney Muhammad’s posting of an anti-Semitic meme to his Facebook page on Saturday was met boisterous opposition.
  • After calling slavery a “necessary evil” as part of the country’s founding, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) faced criticism. Cotton was discussing his bill that would reduce federal funding for any school that includes The New York Times’s 1619 Project in its curriculum.

In an interview, the senator accused the 1619 Project, a series of pieces by writers for the Times that examines the history of slavery in the U.S. and its role in the country’s founding, of being “left-wing propaganda.”

  • Police have detained a suspect after a man was shot and killed during a protest in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night.
  • Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka criticized athletes who protest police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. 

“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country.” Ditka continued, “You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country who’s given you the opportunities to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen. So, I don’t want to hear all the crap.”

Trump Administration

  • In a racially charged Tweet, the president said scheduling conflicts will prevent him from throwing out the first pitch at a NY Yankees’ game in August.

“Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!”

  • Germany has rejected a proposal by. President Donald Trump to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin back into the G7. 

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Protests, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 75,193 new cases and 1,178 new deaths. 

There are at least 4,137,411 total U.S. cases registered and at least 145,860 deaths.

  • Approximately 60 percent of restaurants that have had to shut down during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have permanently closed their doors.
  • Eighteen states set single-day case records over the last week. 
  • Covid-19 hospitalizations fell slightly across New York state.

The state reported a 1.05% infection rate after 71,466 people were tested and 750 of those were positive. The state recorded a total of 10 Covid-19 deaths.

  • A New Jersey judge ruled that the state government may forcibly close Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, which had stayed open despite state orders to close due to Covid-19 concerns.

The gym has also been ordered to “not obstruct [state health authorities] in any way from carrying out the terms of this order.”

  • Rutgers football has halted its voluntary workouts due to six recent positive cases of the novel coronavirus and the entire program has entered quarantine.
  • Pennsylvania reported 1,054 cases and 13 deaths. 
  • Maryland reported 1,288 new cases, the highest daily count of new cases since May 19.
  • Georgia reported 3,787 new cases reported, fewer than the state’s record of 4,813 new cases on Friday. There were 53 new deaths.
  • Florida reported 12,115 new cases and 124 additional deaths. Florida has now surpassed New York in total coronavirus cases. 
  • Covid-19 hospitalizations in Florida have increased by 79% since July 4. 

Fifty hospitals in Florida have no ICU beds available.

Another 42 hospitals have 10% or less ICU capacity available.

  • At least 600 Florida teachers have requested living wills as they prepare for schools in the state to reopen even as coronavirus numbers swell.
  • Anti-gay Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who has referred to coronavirus as a “hoax” and called mask mandates “draconian,” is now hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • Texas reported 8,112 new cases and 168 new deaths.
  • Arizona reported a two-day uptick in coronavirus cases. The state had 3,357 positive coronavirus cases Friday and reported 3,748 positive cases Saturday.

The state reported 144 deaths Saturday, the second highest day recorded in the state. Last Saturday, the state reported 147 Covid-19 deaths.

  • Washington expanded the requirement for face masks to any indoor public and non-public setting where social distancing cannot be maintained

Protests/Race Relations

  • A group of military veterans, self-described as  “Wall of Vets,” joined Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland as part of an effort to protect them from Department of Homeland Security forces.

The veterans were masked and goggled, some wore black hoodies emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter,” others attire designating their service branch, many held signs expressing opposition to recent attacks on demonstrators.

  • Seattle protesters threw rocks, bottles, and fireworks at officers. Others set fire to a portable trailer and a construction site, police said in a series of tweets.

At least 45 people were arrested on charges of assaulting officers, obstruction and failure to disperse. Three officers were injured, including one who was hospitalized with a leg injury caused by an explosive. Police described the protests as riots.

  • Rick Wiles, a prominent pastor and conspiracy theorist called on President Trump to use “hollow-point bullets” against protesters in Portland.

While addressing  Mark Meadows, Wiles called on the president to make use of bullets purchased by federal agencies during the Obama administration.

“[White House Chief of Staff] Mr. Meadows, please tell President Trump that he is now in possession of Obama bullets — 2 billion ‘Bama bullets. You’re in possession of them now,” Wiles said. “You got the ‘Bama bullets and you can put down the [insurrection] … you can put it down. You have the ‘Bama bullets in your hands.”

“‘Bama bullets” refers to conspiracy theories among conservatives about a government takeover during the last administration. Ammunition was “hoarded” by Obama “to round up Christians and constitutionalists under President Hillary Clinton.”

  • As the national anthem was being played prior to the WNBA’s season-opening game between the Seattle Storm and the New York Liberty, all players from both teams returned to their respective locker rooms as a sign of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • The House and Senate this week both passed versions of the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Pentagon to rename bases and other property that are named after Confederate leaders. The Senate bill would require changes in three years, while the House bill would force changes in one year.

In an interview, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) said, “We’re going to see to it that provision doesn’t survive the bill,” Inhofe told the Oklahoman. “I’m not going to say how at this point.”

“I spoke to highly respected (Chairman) Senator @JimInhofe, who has informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts, places from which we won two World Wars (and more!),” Trump tweeted. 

Trump has threatened to veto the NDAA if the final version that reaches his desk requires name changes.

Presidential Campaign

  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is seen as the favorite as Joe Biden nears a decision on his vice presidential pick. Many see the California lawmaker as the least risky pick for Biden, who is under pressure to select a woman of color as his running mate, and someone who would be prepared to be president on day one.
  • The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which runs the 40th president’s library near Los Angeles, demanded that President Trump and the Republican National Committee quit raising campaign money by using Ronald Reagan’s name and likeness.

“It was simply handled with a phone call mid-last week to the RNC, and they agreed to stop,” Reagan Foundation chief marketing officer Melissa Giller said in an email Saturday.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 75,193 new cases and 1,178 new deaths. An 8.09% test positivity rate. 
  • There were a record 284,196 new cases reported to the WHO. 9,753 additional Covid-19 deaths occurred worldwide. 
  • Covid-19 can be a prolonged illness, even among young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions, the CDC reported.

Of those surveyed, 35% said they still weren’t back to normal two to three weeks after testing positive.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he quickly reviewed the CDC’s new guidelines on reopening schools and found them to be “a sound set of guidelines.” 

Fauci also said that it’s not a good idea to force all teachers to come back and teach in person. “So, I think when you talk about forcing teachers to come back to school, you better be careful about that and make sure you pay attention to keeping them safe, and keeping them healthy.”

As many people as possible should get vaccinated for influenza this year, as Covid-19 will complicate flu season according to Fauci.

Fauci said a Covid-19 vaccine likely won’t be “widely available” to people in the U.S. until “several months” into next year.

Another nationwide lockdown is not necessary, Fauci said. To avoid the need for one, he said that there are fundamental things that can be done by everybody – wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places, continuing to practice social distancing, closing bars and practicing good hand hygiene.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) criticized President Trump in a new interview with The Hill, accusing him of not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously enough in its early days and calling the administration’s national testing strategy a “big failure.”
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that newly enrolled international students won’t be allowed to enter the United States if their classes are offered online only.
  • McDonald’s will require customers to wear face masks at all of its more than 14,000 U.S.  restaurants. The policy takes effect on Aug. 1.
  • Chipotle announced they will require customers to wear masks or other face coverings.
  • Universal Studios announced it has canceled this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at its Orlando and Hollywood theme parks. 
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the private school in the Maryland suburbs attended by Barron Trump, said it was considering either a hybrid part-time plan or going back to entirely online classes.
  • The entire Michigan State University football team has been placed under a 14-day quarantine after a second staff member and student-athlete tested positive. 
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced a mask mandate starting Aug. 1 for both indoor and outdoor activities where social distancing is not possible.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced the state will require residents returning from out of state as well as other travelers to the Pilgrim State to quarantine for 14 days unless they can provide a negative test result for Covid-19. 
  • New York reported 650 hospitalizations – its lowest number of hospitalizations since March 18. There were nine fatalities.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said eighty-four bars and restaurants face fines of up to $10,000 per incident for violating Covid-19 rules following compliance checks executed from July 21-23.
  • A New Jersey gym that publicly challenged statewide shutdown restrictions faces fines after being found in contempt of court Friday.

On Monday, Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy declined to find Atilis Gym of Bellmawr in contempt, but warned the owners to follow health department guidelines. The state attorney general’s office returned to court Thursday with new evidence the gym was violating the governor’s orders, and this time the judge agreed.

Gym owner Ian Smith said they will do “whatever we possibly can” to fight the decision. The gym’s doors were removed to prevent officials from padlocking them closed, and Smith said he and others would remain in the gym all day, every day.

“We will not leave this building under any circumstances unless they take us out in handcuffs.”

The gym owners also face criminal charges for remaining open during the pandemic.

  • Officials on Long Beach Island say 24 lifeguards have tested positive for the coronavirus after being together at a recent event.
  • Georgia reported 4,813 new cases – the highest number of new cases reported in a 24-hour period by the department since the pandemic began. There were 82 new deaths.
  • Florida reported 12,329 new cases and 135 additional deaths.
  • On July 4, Florida reported 5,022 Covid-19 hospitalized patients.Today, that number stands at 9,215 – an increase of 84.5%. 
  • Regarding schools opening as scheduled, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said, “I don’t know how much improvement we can make within two to four weeks, to be honest with you, and I don’t think it looks good for day one opening right now.”
  • Suarez  is urging residents to wear masks or face coverings while in their own homes to help stop the spread of COVID-19 within families. He said transmission between family members is currently the most common way for the virus to spread.
  • At least 19 people contracted Covid-19 after attending the Pickaway County Fair in Ohio, the county’s public health agency said.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said the state is working to decrease the positivity rate from 8% currently to 5% as recommended by the CDC for reopening schools. 

“We’ve got a lot of work to do over the next 30 days.”

Hutchinson said that schools should be prepared to go back to online learning during the school year if needed.

  • Texas also reported 8,701 new cases and 196 new deaths, the second highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day.
  • Harris Country, Texas is requiring all public and non-religious private schools in the county to remain closed to in-person instruction until at least Sept. 8.
  • Starr County, Texas, has issued a shelter-at-home order for residents of the county, effective until 11:59 p.m. local time on August 10. 
  • Doctors at Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City may decide to send coronavirus patients “home to die by their loved ones” due to limited resources, officials say.
  • The Texas Testicle Festival plans to move forward with its August 1 start date. Claire Ball, an organizer with the event, said the fest was hoping to build on the 150 attendees who showed up in January.
  • Oregon recorded nine new deaths, its highest number since the outbreak began.  396  new cases were reported.
  • Arizona reported 3,349 new cases and 79 new deaths.
  • The US Supreme Court denied a petition from a church in Nevada that argued a policy limiting in-person church attendance to 50 during the coronavirus pandemic violated the Constitution.
  • California reported 9,718 new cases and 159 additional deaths, the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • There have been at least 4,005,414 cases of coronavirus in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and at least 143,820 people have died across the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • The CDC projects more than 164,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 15. The new projections have a possible range of 158,490 to 173,431 deaths.
  • White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told a group of state and local health officials about a concerning rise in coronavirus cases in 12 cities as President Donald Trump continues to tout progress amid the coronavirus pandemic at scripted, on-message briefings this week.

“There are cities that are lagging behind and we have new increases in Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Jose, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Baltimore, so we’re tracking this very closely. We’re working with the state officials to make sure we’re responding together, but when you first see that increased test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts,” Birx said during the call.

  • More than 150 prominent US medical experts, scientists, teachers, nurses and others have signed a letter to political leaders urging them to shut down the country and start over to contain the surging coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now we are on a path to lose more than 200,000 American lives by November 1st. Yet, in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage, and do myriad other normal, pleasant, but non-essential activities,” the letter said.

  • Cloth face coverings should have at least two layers, preferably three, to be most effective, according to new research.
  • 41% of U.S. adults have at least one underlying medical condition that may put them at a higher risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes, according to a new report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, looked at five conditions that put people at risk for more severe disease from the coronavirus: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and obesity.

  • New CDC guidelines favor opening schools, saying children don’t suffer much from coronavirus, are less likely than adults to spread it, and suffer from being out of school.

The new guidelines, which come after demands from President Trump that the agency alter its recommendations, do recommend that local officials should consider closing schools, or keeping them closed, if there is substantial, uncontrolled transmission of the virus.

Testing of students is not recommended. 

  • President Trump called on Congress to allocate $105 billion for schools as part of the next coronavirus relief bill.

He said the money would be used to support measures like smaller class sizes, teachers aides, rearranging spaces for social distancing and masks.

Trump said “If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious or home school of their choice.”

  • A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the use of hydroxychloroquine – given either alone or in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin – did not improve the conditions of hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19.
  • U.S. Senate Republican leaders and White House officials tried to hammer out a proposal for a fresh round of coronavirus aid on Thursday, which officials said will not include a payroll tax cut and could reduce an enhanced unemployment benefit. The text of the GOP proposal is expected to be released Monday.
  • President Trump sought to blame Democrats after Senate Republicans rejected a payroll-tax cut in the coronavirus relief package that they’re crafting with the White House. Trump has been pushing for a payroll-tax cut throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and said in a recent Fox News interview that he might not sign a relief package that doesn’t include one.

“The Democrats have stated strongly that they won’t approve a Payroll Tax Cut (too bad!). It would be great for workers.”

  • By unanimous consent, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that would protect coronavirus relief payments from being garnished by banks and debt collectors.
  • A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 53 percent of registered voters who participated in the survey strongly supported statewide mask mandates that would fine or even jail individuals who refused to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Anthony Fauci revealed that he and his family, including his wife and daughters, have received “serious threats.”

“As much as people inappropriately, I think, make me somewhat of a hero… there are people who get really angry at thinking I’m interfering with their life because I’m pushing a public health agenda,” Fauci said in a new interview.

  • A resurgence in infections and a rollback of reopening plans in several states is making it difficult for people to re-enter the labor force following the pandemic lockdown. 

Thursday’s Department of Labor report indicates the jobless crisis is still at critical levels. Another 1.4 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, marking the first increase in initial claims in 16 weeks.

  • AMC Theatres, the world’s biggest movie theater chain, is delaying its opening once to “mid-to-late August,” the company said.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state is monitoring rising coronavirus rates among younger people. 

A graphic presented during his press conference showed a 13.2% test positivity rate for individuals between the ages of 21 to 30, compared to 9.9% a week earlier. Cuomo called the statistic “a significant increase in a short period of time.”

Channeling The Beasties Boys, Cuomo said, “This is not the time to fight for your right to party.”

  • NJ had 344 new cases and 23 deaths. The positivity rate is at a comfortable 2.88%.
  • At least 20 teenagers in New Jersey have tested positive for coronavirus after they allegedly attended a house party earlier this month.

The Middletown Township Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the cluster of cases linked to a group of teens between the ages of 15 and 19.

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a $6 million lease emergency assistance grant program to assist small businesses with up to $10,000 in direct help to pay their rents.
  • Georgia reported 4,286 new cases and 25 new coronavirus-related deaths. 3,360. Georgians have now succumbed to the virus. Hospitalizations grew by 431.
  • Florida reported 10,249 new cases and 173 additional deaths, breaking the previous record of 156 deaths on July 16
  • The City of Miami issued 115 tickets for face mask violations this week, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “We have written 115 tickets,” Suarez said. 

The breakdown for tickets issues includes, “59 warnings, 41 $50 tickets, 15 $100 tickets and we have closed 15 businesses, 10 for 24 hours and five for 10 hours,” Suarez added.

  • Tennessee reported 37 new coronavirus deaths, a record single-day total for the state. The state also added 2,570 new coronavirus cases. Its highest one-day total in 10 days.
  • Arkansas reported 1,013 new positive cases.
  • Ten hospitals in Mississippi have no ICU beds available, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said. 
  • Louisiana reported 2,408 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state total to over 100,000 cases for the pandemic. There were 16 new fatalities.
  • Louisiana hospitals have paused elective surgeries as Covid-19 hospitalizations increase.
  • Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) mandated bars and nightclubs in Indianapolis to close through August 12.

Social gatherings, including wedding receptions, banquets, and club meetings, won’t be allowed to exceed 50 individuals.

  • Illinois announced 1,624 new cases – the highest daily total of cases since May 25. The state’s seven-day positivity rate of 3.4% remains promising.

There were 20 new deaths. The state also reported that 1,473 people are hospitalized with 309 in intensive care units and 135 on ventilators – below concerning levels.

  • Missouri reported 1,637 new cases, a record single-day increase, and  20 new deaths. 
  • Texas reported 9,507 new cases and 173 deaths.
  • New Mexico recorded an all-time high number of 343 new cases.
  • New Mexico will delay in-person classes through at least Labor Day, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said.

Schools may begin online learning in August. After Labor Day, New Mexico will phase in a hybrid model bringing the youngest students back to school first.

  • Arizona reported at least 89 new Covid-19 related deaths. The state has now lost over 3,000 people to Covid-19.

Arizona is currently seeing a 42.61 death rate per 100,000 people and an alarmingly high 12.5% positivity rate.

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an order extending the closure of bars, gyms and water parks for another two weeks.
  • Ducey said classes need to begin on time this year, even if they start with learning from home.
  • Arizona emergency rooms are rationing coronavirus tests as cases surge. Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an ER physician, said doctors are rationing Covid-19 tests due to testing problems.  

“We’re overwhelmed with regard to testing.” Many labs have a nine-day wait for testing results, which is “kind of ridiculous,” he said. 

“Sometimes there’s no swabs, sometimes there’s no reagent, sometimes the lab is backed up.”  “…Our country did not prioritize testing; our country did not streamline this. Other countries that streamlined testing did a little bit better.”

  • California reported its highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began with 157 deaths. The state added 12,040 more confirmed cases. This is the second highest daily uptick, following only yesterday’s reported high of 12,807.

The positivity rate in the Golden State over the past two weeks stands at 7.6% – over 50% higher than desired. 

  • A Claremont, CA 13-year-old boy, who had tested negative and had been isolating in his room after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, died. An autopsy report to determine Maxx’s cause of death, and whether he had COVID-19, is expected

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, 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