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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The U.S. hit another daily record in coronavirus cases — the 6th time in 9 days. For the first time, single day COVID-19 infections topped 55,000 in the U.S.
  • Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and businessman, has tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week after attending President Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally, a statement posted to his official Twitter account on Thursday.

The day before being admitted into the hospital, regarding the president’s upcoming appearance in South Dakota, Cain Tweeted: “Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump.  PEOPLE ARE FED UP!” 

  • Vice President Pence’s trip to Arizona this week had to be postponed by a day after several Secret Service agents who helped organize the visit either tested positive for the coronavirus or were showing symptoms of being infected.

Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit

  • Senate appropriators on Thursday expressed concern about whether the government was doing enough to ensure that coronavirus vaccines developed with federal assistance are made affordable.
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield estimates the number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases.
  • The U.S. is no longer “flattening the curve” of the COVID-19 epidemic, Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Service told members of Congress Thursday. 

“We are not flattening the curve right now. The curve is still going up,” Giroir said during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing. “There is no question the more testing you do the more you will uncover, but we do believe this is a real increase in cases because the percent positive [tests] is going up,” he said.

  • The coronavirus delayed the arrival of seasonal immigrants who normally help harvest U.S. wheat, causing farmers and harvesting companies to have a hard time finding and keeping workers to run machines that bring in the crop.
  • In an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Thursday that a new strain of the coronavirus found to be dominant around the world may contain a mutation that allows it to spread from person-to-person with more ease.

The new, prevalent virus strain is thought to have first been seen in Italy.

  • Treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 – and without heart-related side-effects, according to a new study published by Henry Ford Health System.

In a large-scale retrospective analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 2020 across the system’s six hospitals, the study found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone died compared to 26.4% not treated with hydroxychloroquine. None of the patients had documented serious heart abnormalities.

  • More than three dozen U.S. states were seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, according to a Reuters analysis on Thursday, the latest grim sign that the coronavirus pandemic, once thought to be waning, was again spreading rapidly.
  • Florida reported 10,109 new COVID-19 cases Thursday morning, the first time Florida has recorded more than 10,000 cases in a 24 hour period.
  • GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an order making it mandatory for all Texans to wear a face covering of some kind while out in public as the state faces a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Vanilla Ice is still slated to hold an Independence Day concert in Austin, Texas on Friday, even as the state reimposes certain coronavirus restrictions amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

UPDATE: Vanilla Ice has indefinitely postponed his concert that drew fierce criticism due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Executive Committee of the Texas Republican Party on Thursday voted to push ahead and have their state convention in person this month, despite a surge in coronavirus cases in Houston, where it will take place.
  • The committee voted 40 to 20 to host the meeting that about 6,000 people are expected to attend in Houston’s George R. Brown convention center in just over two weeks.
  • A 1,500-member church in Mobile that resumed in-person, social-distanced worship with weekly attendance of about 350 people has had more than 20 members test positive for COVID-19 the past two weeks, and has moved back to online services only.
  • Students in Alabama threw COVID-19 parties where infected students were invited and there was a contest over who would get it first, according to officials.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that New York City schools would open in some form come September — only for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office to describe the mayor’s announcement as “premature.”

“We value the opinion of local politicians and the state’s 700 local school districts as to what should be done, but the public should not be confused on this important decision that has practical consequences for many,” Dani Lever, Mr. Cuomo’s spokeswoman, in a statement.

  • In New York City, twenty-two streets, some already closed to car traffic, will be dedicated to outdoor dining on Friday nights and weekends.
  • Five of the nine Atlantic City casinos reopened Thursday but with new rules: Gamblers must wear masks, and won’t be allowed to smoke, drink or eat inside.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly told legislative leaders that a desire to reopen schools is a key reason for her executive order requiring Kansas residents to wear masks in public and their workplaces. The order took effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, with a fine of up to $2,500 possible for violators.
  • The powerful Nevada union that represents more than 60,000 casino workers in the Las Vegas area filed a lawsuit against several of the city’s casino operators, accusing them of failing to properly protect employees from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham modified her public health order to tighten travel restrictions by requiring all out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days, including New Mexicans who traveled out of state and are returning home.
  • Noting what was probably his last chance to reach residents before the July 4th holiday, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday implored residents to refrain from gathering with people outside their household — no matter how great the temptation — and to wear masks.
  • Striking California nurses picketed outside Riverside Community Hospital and demanded the proper protective equipment and better conditions to fight COVID-19.
  • A group of Oregon State Police troopers appeared to defy Gov. Kate Brown’s statewide mask order while in uniform Wednesday, entering a Corvallis coffee shop without wearing required face coverings, video obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive shows.

The store’s assistant manager, Travis Boss, said he told the first trooper who arrived that the trooper needed to wear a mask.

“Governor Brown has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks,” the trooper allegedly said, according to a written statement from Boss provided to the newsroom. 

Three other law enforcement officers entered the business moments later and also refused a request to wear masks, Boss said. Boss said he felt compelled to fulfill their drink orders because they were in uniform, even though he said he had sent other patrons away earlier for not wearing masks.

  • A spokesperson for Oregon State Police told Oregon Live that the trooper who appeared to be speaking to the manager had been placed on administrative leave and was under investigation. The four officers are all assigned to Oregon State University, according to the agency.
  • COVID-19 testing supplies distributed by the federal government have failed quality checks and are arriving late, Washington state’s top health official said in a letter to a senior administration official, warning of problems as cases spike.
  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that the city is issuing an emergency travel order directing all residents and travelers entering Chicago from states experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases to quarantine for 14 days in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
  • The Treasury Department on Wednesday approved a $700 million loan from CARES funds to YRC Worldwide, a financially-troubled trucking company that is also being sued by the Defense Department for overpricing shipping costs.
  • The European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged European Union countries to step up testing and contact tracing, and asked governments to communicate to their citizens that “the pandemic is not over.” The warning comes as Europe’s reopening has brought a resurgence of cases in some pockets.
  • The Palestinian Authority announced plans to reimpose virus restrictions throughout the West Bank following a sharp rise in the number of new cases in the territory.
  • Scots have been ordered to wear face coverings in all shops starting July 10. Those who don’t comply face a £60 fine. 
  • Mexico posted a record 6,741 new cases.
  • Nearly six weeks after Tokyo lifted a state of emergency and declared the virus contained in the Japanese capital, new cases spiked to 107 on Thursday, up from 67 just a day earlier and the highest level since May 2.
  • Tesla is building mobile molecule printers to help make the potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by CureVac in Germany, the electric-car maker’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted.

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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The number of confirmed U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus is substantially lower than the true tally, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
  • Under the Senate bill unveiled Wednesday, the additional $600 a week that jobless workers have been receiving during the economic crisis would be phased out in stages in each state as its unemployment rate drops below 11 percent.
  • The House on Wednesday unanimously passed an extension to the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program less than a day after the program expired. 

The Senate passed the extension on Tuesday, and the House vote sends the bill to President Trump’s desk.

  • House Majority Whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn said that his Republican colleagues on the House Select Committee must show up wearing masks for the meeting on Thursday or they won’t be allowed in.
  • President Trump said Wednesday that he believed the virus was “going to sort of just disappear,” even as cases are rapidly rising nationwide — and added that he was “all for masks,” even though he has rarely worn one himself, mocked people who do, and has questioned the benefits and even the political meaning of face coverings.

“I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Wednesday with the Fox Business Network.

  • Asked whether Americans should be required to wear masks, Mr. Trump said: “Well, I don’t know if you need mandatory because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks. I think masks are good. I would wear one if I were in a group of people and I was close.”
  • After long resisting wearing a mask in public, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he thinks it makes him look like the Lone Ranger — and he likes it.

“I’m all for masks. I think masks are good,” Trump told Fox Business in an interview. “People have seen me wearing one.”

  • House republicans are calling for the White House to support a new policy that would require the Transportation Security Administration to check the temperatures of all airline passengers at security checkpoints.
  • The main TSA checkpoint closed at Atlanta’s airport for cleaning because of coronavirus after an employee tested positive.
  • Congress is investigating about a dozen medical laboratories and emergency rooms for potential virus test price gouging.
  • The Trump administration plans to adopt a decades-old testing strategy that will vastly increase the number of coronavirus tests performed in the United States and permit widespread tracking of the virus as it surges across the country.

The method, called pooled testing, signals a paradigm shift. Instead of carefully rationing tests to only those with symptoms, pooled testing would enable frequent surveillance of asymptomatic people. Mass identification of coronavirus infections could hasten the reopening of schools, offices and factories.

Adm. Brett Giroir, deputy secretary of health and human services, said he expected the program to be up and running by the end of the summer.

  • Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing czar, said Wednesday that the United States’ coronavirus testing capacity is at risk of being overwhelmed in some states by a surge in new infections and increased surveillance efforts in nursing homes and jails.

“It is absolutely correct that some labs across the country are reaching or near capacity,” Giroir said. “Recent data from several states indicate rising infections and now an uptick in hospitalizations and death, even as other states and the great majority of counties are maintaining a low infection burden.”

  • The US reported more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours Wednesday, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed, a new one-day record as infections surge around the country.
  • Pfizer announced that they have seen success in the early stages of human trials for a coronavirus vaccine. 

If the vaccine proves effective, the pharmaceutical company said they could manufacture 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and another 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

  • Myrtle Beach, SC has been linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases across several states, as it braces for a stream of July Fourth tourists this weekend.

Scores of people have flocked to  as the area reopened in mid-May, packing hotels, the beach and the boardwalk, with few wearing face masks or practicing social distancing. 

The recent uptick has prompted the governors of West Virginia and Kentucky to publicly warn residents to avoid the popular beach destination.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is delaying the planned resumption of indoor dining at restaurants in the city out of fear it would ignite a spike in coronavirus infections.
  • Officials in New York’s Rockland County said Wednesday they are being forced to issue subpoenas to compel people to speak to contact tracers about a coronavirus outbreak because they are not speaking voluntarily.
  • Coronavirus cases in Arizona continue to skyrocket as the state set another new record for daily cases on Wednesday with 4,878 new cases. The state also  reported 88 COVID deaths – another record. The percent positive rate of tests was 28.3%.
  • Arizona has requested 500 additional medical personnel from the federal government to assist with a surge in coronavirus cases, Vice President Pence said Wednesday.

Pence flew to Arizona to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and state health officials as coronavirus cases and positivity rates spike in the state.

  • Alabama officials will extend the state’s “safer at home” order amid reports that Tuscaloosa students have attended parties in the area despite knowing they had the novel coronavirus.

Tuscaloosa council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance requiring face masks in public spaces, set to take effect July 6 with a fine of $25 for violations.

  • Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) urged Alabamians to wear masks to stem the spread of the coronavirus in a campaign ad released Wednesday.
  • Pennsylvania’s highest court found in favor of Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday, ruling the Republican-controlled state legislature did not have the power to end his coronavirus disaster declaration for the state.
  • In Pennsylvania, the governor announced Wednesday that the state would now require people to wear masks whenever they leave home, taking effect immediately.
  • A group of four Palm Beach County residents on Wednesday filed a lawsuit challenging a county policy that requires people to wear masks in public to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The suit, filed in Florida state court, alleges that the county policy infringes on the plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected rights by forcing them to wear “harmful medical devices like masks” and asks the court to issue an injunction blocking its enforcement.

  • As Florida coronavirus cases have been surging, the governor just claimed “by and large, the virus does not like sunshine, heat, and humidity.”
  • Miami-Dade county Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Wednesday night that facial coverings are now mandatory in all public spaces, inside and out.
  • More than 8,000 new cases were announced across Texas on Wednesday, surpassing the previous daily record set on Tuesday.
  • A record-high 2946 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the last 24 hours in the state of Georgia.
  • Current hospitalizations due to coronavirus in the state of Georgia are now at their highest since this data was made available to the public.
  • More than 1,500 new cases were announced Wednesday in Tennessee, a single-day record.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced that he was closing down bars and indoor dining in 19 counties in California, pulling back reopening for more than 70 percent of the population in the state. He also ordered closed indoor operations in wineries and tasting rooms, zoos, museums and card rooms. The closures, he said, would remain in place for at least three weeks.
  • More than 40 school principals in the South Bay are in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 during an in-person meeting held by the Santa Clara County California Unified School District.

A pre-symptomatic individual at the school reopening planning meeting on June 19 tested positive for the coronavirus just a few days after school administrators congregated.

  • A month after announcing a return to an in-person fall semester, the University of Southern California has reverted back to mostly online classes.

Undergraduate students will primarily take courses online come August and on-campus housing and activities will be limited

  • A wedding that took place on June 15 has been called a COVID-19 “super-spreader” after at least 80 guests tested positive for the virus following the event in Patna, India. The groom, who was displaying symptoms at the wedding, died two days later.
  • On Wednesday, as infections surged, hospitals filled and the death toll climbed, Iranian officials announced new shutdown measures in cities across 11 provinces.
  • In Israel, the Health Ministry announced that it recorded 773 cases on Tuesday — the highest daily case count since the virus first emerged in Israel.

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

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

Read Time: 9 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • Gilead Sciences, the maker of the drug, remdesivir, that has been shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries.

The price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.

  • In a May report, Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer rights advocacy group, estimated that U.S. taxpayers contributed at least $70.5 million to the development of remdesivir.
  • The Trump administration has secured 500,000 doses of remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective at treating hospitalized coronavirus patients.
  • Global monitoring of the coronavirus shows that it has not mutated, a good sign for vaccine research and development.
  • A new University of Virginia School of Medicine study has shown that doctors can identify, via blood samples, those at greater risk of severe illness after being diagnosed with coronavirus, including those who may need a ventilator.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. AAP “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

AAP argues that remote learning is likely to result in severe learning loss and increased social isolation. Social isolation, in turn, can breed serious social, emotional and health issues: “child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.” Furthermore, these impacts will be visited more severely on Black and brown children, as well as low-income children and those with learning disabilities.

  • Coronavirus cases linked to crowds who visited a Michigan bar after it reopened have risen to 85, according to health officials.

The Ingham County Health Department is asking anyone who visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub, outside of Michigan State University in East Lansing, between June 12 and 20, to self-quarantine for two weeks.

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday appeared to blame a rise in coronavirus cases across several U.S. states on a lack of “personal responsibility” during an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

Azar, in a response to a question over whether some U.S. states reopened too quickly, said that Americans must practice smart procedures to stop the virus from spreading, including social distancing and wearing masks.

  • Health officials in Allegheny County, PA, say a surge in novel coronavirus cases recently reported around Pittsburgh has been tied to bars, not protests. 
  • The Broadway League has announced that all productions will remain closed through at least January 3, 2021.
  • “We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said calling people to wear face masks as outbreaks spread. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.”
  • More than 10 million people across the globe have tested positive for the coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, nearly 180,000 of whom tested positive in the last 24 hours.

“The reality is this is not close to being over,” Tedros told reporters. “Globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.”

About half the cases, and nearly half the deaths across the globe, have come in the Americas. The United States, which accounts for about 4 percent of the global population, has nearly a quarter of the total confirmed cases, 2.4 million.

  • India reported close to 20,000 fresh novel coronavirus cases for the second day running on Monday, as the financial hub of Mumbai extended its lockdown by a month.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “disaster” for Britain. “This has been a disaster,” Johnson acknowledged Monday. “Let’s not mince our words. I mean, this has been an absolute nightmare for the country and the country’s gone through a profound shock.” 
  • Scotland has recorded no new deaths from coronavirus for the fourth day running.
  • The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to bring it under control, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

The U.S. has set records for daily new infections in recent days as outbreaks surge mostly across the South and West.

  • GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the closure of bars and gyms, a ban on mass gatherings and has delayed the start of in-person schooling as the state faces record-breaking cases in coronavirus ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
  • A group of bar owners in Texas is suing after the governor ordered closures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state, which is facing one of the toughest outbreaks in the country. In the lawsuit, restaurants accuse Gov. Greg Abbott of acting “like a king,” and “unilaterally destroying our economy and trampling on our constitutional rights.”
  • Just minutes after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors closed local beaches for the long holiday weekend, a somber Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to his podium.

He then announced that, along with the beach closures, Fourth of July firework displays would be prohibited in hope of keeping Angelenos from gathering in groups.

Also, he said, “Gatherings of people you do not live with are not allowed.”

  • Effective Tuesday, Riverside County, CA is ordering all bars to close down again to help slow a new surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Officials warn hospital beds in Los Angeles County may not meet demand in coming weeks as coronavirus cases surge.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she will issue an executive order mandating the use of masks in public spaces starting Friday to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The evidence could not be clearer — wearing a mask is not only safe, but it is necessary to avoid another shutdown.

  • The Monongalia County (West Virginia) Health Department warned more than 200 Planet Fitness users that they could have been exposed to the coronavirus if they visited the gym last Wednesday.
  • In a statement, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said, “Keeping Oregonians safe is my top priority. Over the last month, COVID-19 spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties. That’s why I’m requiring face coverings in indoor public places in ALL counties, effective 7/1. We can and must reduce the spread of this disease.”
  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Tweeted: “Masks are required in Pennsylvania businesses. No mask = no service.

The importance of mask-wearing to reduce the spread of #COVID19 and protect people and businesses cannot be overstated.”

  • Jacksonville, Florida created rules requiring face masks both indoors and in public as the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout the state, creating a serious question as to whether President Trump and GOP voters will wear a mask and follow guidelines when the Republican convention is held in the city in August.

Trump has specifically expressed a desire to hold the convention without masks or social distancing.

  • Experts and officials in Florida are warning that house parties are the “largest problem” driving the spike in coronavirus cases in the greater metropolitan area of Miami, with private gatherings leading to the rapid spreading of the virus.

“The law does not enable us to enforce the rules we use on public spaces on private property. So, our current option is to appeal to the common sense and decency of our citizens. This danger comes directly from within.”

  • An IRS watchdog says in a new report that coronavirus has led to major delays in the processing of tax filings this year, warning there is a backlog of 4.7 million paper filings that could result in those who filed paper tax returns waiting a considerable amount of time for their refunds. The report also reveals a slew of other problems facing taxpayers due to coronavirus-related delays and errors.
  • Americans say they trust information on the coronavirus pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the most — and President Trump the least — according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday. 

The majority of respondents to the survey, 64 percent, said the CDC and other public health organizations get the facts right almost or most of the time regarding COVID-19. Only 30 percent said the same about Trump and his administration.

  • A strain of flu that has become prevalent in pigs in China that can be passed to humans could become another pandemic and needs to be closely monitored, according to researchers behind a new study.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The death toll from COVID-19 reached half a million people on Sunday.
  • Vice President Mike Pence said new outbreaks of the coronavirus may be arising because younger Americans aren’t abiding by federal guidance.

Pence said people “should wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible” and “wherever it is indicated by state or local authorities.”

  • A choir of more than 100 people performed without masks at an event in Texas at the First Baptist Church on Sunday that featured a speech by Vice President Mike Pence.

Nearly 2,200 people attended the “Celebrate Freedom Rally,” according to rally organizers. The venue capacity for the indoor event was close to 3,000 attendees, organizers say. Face masks at the event were “strongly encouraged,” with signs posted around the venue. According to reports, at least half of the crowd was wearing a face covering. 

Throughout the service, the members of the choir sang at full volume, behind an orchestra. Between songs, the choir members put their masks back on when they sat down.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday a nationwide mandate to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus is “definitely long overdue.”

The speaker called on President Trump to “be an example” to the U.S. and wear a face covering, saying “real men wear masks.”

  • Vice President Pence said the federal government would extend support for coronavirus testing in Texas as long as necessary amid a dangerous surge in new cases. U.S. health officials had originally moved to end supporting sites at the end of the month..
  • Florida Gov. DeSantis says his state’s rise in coronavirus cases is being “driven by a big increase over the last three weeks in individuals testing positive throughout the state of Florida in younger age groups.”
  • California Governor. Gavin Newsom ordered bars in several counties to close due to the spread of COVID-19, including Los Angeles County.

Newsom tweeted the order around Noon on Sunday, which also affects Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties.

The governor also recommended bars close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura counties.

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned Sunday that “the window is closing” to take action to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases across the southern United States continue “surging.”

In an interview with “Meet the Press,” Azar said that the country has “more tools than we had months ago” to fight the virus and the disease it causes, including new treatments and more personal protective equipment. But he stressed that America is facing a “very serious situation.”

  • A CBS News poll shows record numbers saying efforts against the outbreak are going badly (including new highs saying efforts are going very badly); President Trump receives his lowest marks for handling the pandemic since it began; and the outlook for the summer is grim. Twice as many expect the outbreak to worsen, rather than improve.

In addition to coronavirus concerns, overall, views of how things are generally going in the country are decidedly negative. Seventy-six percent of Americans say things are going badly compared to 56% who felt that way in December 2019.

  • Allegheny County, PA officials say they are banning on-site consumption of alcohol following a recent surge of new Coronavirus cases.

“For the first time since COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state, Allegheny County led the state in the number of new COVID-19 cases,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We’re going the wrong direction.”

  • The United Kingdom reported a weekly total of 6,820 coronavirus infections, that’s a decrease of 19.2% over last week and 80.9% since the week of April 19th.
  • Brazil tallied 38,693 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours and 1,109 additional deaths. The number of COVID19 infections stands at 1,313,667 and the death toll at 57,070 as of Saturday night, with no sign of policy changes by the Bolsonaro government.
  • The University of Tennessee will require students to have both flu and, when available,  COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday New York State’s lowest death toll and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Saturday, there were five deaths and 869 hospitalizations in New York State.

Of the 61,906 tests conducted in New York State Saturday, 616, or 0.99 percent, were positive.

  • Oklahoma (478), South Carolina (1,384), Louisiana (1,454),  North Carolina (1,576), Georgia (2,225), and Arizona (3,857) all set records for new coronavirus cases.

Protest/Race Relations News

  • Two street murals, one reading, “All Black Lives Matter” and the other “Abolish White Supremacy” were painted on two streets in Newark, NJ by artists with the support of the city.
  • The Mississippi state legislature — both the House and Senate — passed a bill on Sunday to change the state’s flag in a historic step toward removing the flag’s Confederate battle emblem.

The bill will now go to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who has said he would sign legislation that state lawmakers send him to remove the Confederate insignia. The legislation cleared the state House in a 91-23 vote and the state Senate with a 37-14 vote

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Tweeted: “Today, Mississippi lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag.

We replaced the MS flag with the American flag at Liberty State Park last year due to its hateful imagery. We look forward to raising a new MS flag soon.”

Administration News

  • United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.

Officials briefed on the matter said the assessment had been treated as a closely held secret but that the administration expanded briefings about it over the last week — including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces were among those said to have been targeted.

In addition to saying he was never “briefed or told” about the intelligence report, Mr. Trump also cast doubt on the assessment’s credibility. He described the intelligence report as being about “so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.” The report described bounties paid to Taliban militants by Russian military intelligence officers, not direct attacks. Mr. Trump also suggested that the developments could be a “hoax” and questioned whether The Times’s sources existed.

  • Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, said in a Twitter message on Sunday: “If reporting about Russian bounties on U.S. forces is true, the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the [Presidential Daily Briefing]? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?”
  • Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total 26 deaths from 2018-2019.

  • British security officials have confirmed to Sky News that the reports about the Russian bounty plot are true.
  • The president Tweeted late Sunday night: “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP . Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!

Presidential Campaign

  • 5% of Americans say they feel things in America today, generally speaking, are going “very well” according to a new CBS poll.
  • Following pressure to disclose the number of minorities on their staffs, the campaigns for former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump released diversity statistics.

In a summary of staff data obtained by NBC News, the Biden campaign disclosed that 35 percent of the full-time staff and 36 percent of senior advisors are people of color.

After the Biden campaign revealed its numbers, the Trump campaign followed, announcing that 25 percent of its senior staff are people of color but declining to provide information for all full-time staff.

  • Fox News Senior Correspondent Charles Gasparino Tweeted: “BREAKING— (thread)GOP operatives are for the first time raising the possibility that @realDonaldTrump  could drop out of the race if his poll numbers don’t rebound. Over the weekend I spoke to a sample of major players; one described Trumps current psyche as “fragile.”

“I’m not convinced yet; he’s got time and he’s running against an opponent who is literally hiding in his basement. Plus the public isn’t focusing yet on just how left wing @JoeBiden has become, so much so, he can bring himself to denounce rioting.

“That said the speculation indicates how tense  GOP operatives are about Trump losing and the party losing the senate and having their entire agenda abolished in a leftist wave election. Again lots of time and Trump has endured a horrible couple of months but that’s the snap [shot]”

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

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

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler on Friday panned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to pause the reopening of the state’s economy, arguing that additional mitigation measures need to be imposed to stamp out a spike in coronavirus cases.

“Pausing will not make things better,” Adler, a Democrat, told CNN’s “New Day.”

“The path we’re on right now is the path that right now has us in danger,” he said. “We need to do something that’s different than that. We need our people in our community here to act differently. The status quo will not protect us.”

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday morning ordered bars to close once again in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus as the number of infections mount across the state. Abbott initially allowed bars to reopen at limited capacity on May 22.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that if need be, the state will pause its reopening in a bid to quell the coronavirus spread. 

“To the extent we do not see progress being made, and we’re not advancing the cause of public health and public safety, then we certainly reserve the right to put a pause in terms of advancing into the subsequent phase,” Newsom warned.

KTLA reports that the state’s positivity rate has risen to 5.1 percent over the past two weeks, and 5.6 percent during the last week. 

Hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections have similarly risen by 32 percent over the last two weeks.

“We’ve got Fourth of July coming up,” Newsom said. “We have rules of the road — expectations — that we believe need to be met, and cannot impress upon people more important at this critical juncture, when we are experiencing an increase in cases that we had not experienced in the past, to take seriously this moment.”

  • President Trump on Thursday night said that he was merely joking when he said over the weekend that less testing would mean fewer confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

“Sometimes I jokingly say, or sarcastically say, if we didn’t do tests we would look great,” Trump told Sean Hannity during a televised Fox News town hall event. “But you know what? It’s not the right thing to do.”

  • Chuck E Cheese announced that it will file for bankruptcy as the coronavirus pandemic has limited dine-in restaurant service and children’s birthday parties at the entertainment chain. At one point during the outbreak, several locations took to offering food delivery through apps under the name “Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings.”
  • Florida is shutting down bars in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, after the state reported a single-day record of new infections.

Halsey Beshears, the secretary of the agency that regulates Florida bars, announced that on-premise alcohol consumption will stop immediately. 

Florida shattered its single-day record of new coronavirus cases reported on Friday, adding an additional 8,942 cases, according to the Department of Health.

  • Before Tuesday of this week, New York was the only state to ever report more than 5,000 new Covid cases in one day.

Since then, California, Texas, and Florida have all seen several 5,000+ case days each. And Florida is rapidly nearing 10k per day.

  • The Florida Department of Health reported 8,942 new cases of Covid-19 today. That’s a huge spike and the highest single day reporting of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • Vice President Pence claimed on reopening that “all 50 states and territories are moving forward.” 

NOTE: Texas and Florida just announced new restrictions in the wake of surging case numbers.

  • “Arizona is in a state of crisis right now,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said about the rise in coronavirus cases. She says the city only has ten ICU beds available.
  • New daily coronavirus cases are now rising in 29 states, an NPR analysis shows. 

The Top 10 states with increased cases: 

Idaho 160 new cases/day +310%

Oklahoma 370 new cases/day +259%

Florida 4,013 new cases/day +216%

Texas 4,757 new cases/day +175%

West Virginia 39 new cases/day +144%

Arizona 2,834 new cases/day +137%

Kansas 193 new cases/day +105%

Mississippi 554 new cases/day +101%

Nevada 384 new cases/day +100%

Georgia 1,455 new cases/day +99%

  • President Donald Trump on Friday morning canceled his scheduled weekend trip to his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

The trip had drawn criticism as Trump said he would not follow New Jersey guidelines and would ignore a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers coming from states with coronavirus spikes. Trump visited Arizona on Tuesday amid a rapid rise in cases there.

  • President Trump said in a Twitter post Friday that he’s staying in Washington, D.C., instead of going to his golf club in New Jersey over the weekend “to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced” in the nation’s capital. 

“I was going to go to Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, but wanted to stay in Washington, D.C. to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced,” he said in a tweet. “The arsonists, anarchists, looters, and agitators have been largely stopped. I am doing what is necessary to keep our communities safe — and these people will be brought to Justice!”

  • During the coronavirus press briefing, a reporter asked Vice President Pence,  “Can you tell me…why the campaign continues to hold these rallies?”

Pence replied, “The freedom of speech. The right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and we have an election coming up this fall.”

  • Dr. Deborah Birx said Orlando, Tampa and Miami are among the metro areas the federal government is watching. She also noted that the counties that are showing the largest daily case increases in the state are Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.
  • “We are facing a serious problem in certain areas,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, said. “So what goes on in one area of the country ultimately could have an effect on other areas of the country.”
  • Fauci said, “You have an individual responsibility to yourself but you have a societal responsibility, because if we want to end this outbreak — really end it, and then hopefully when a vaccine comes and puts the nail in the coffin — we’ve got to realize that we are part of the process.”
  • The Trump administration will grant five community-based coronavirus testing sites in Texas a 14-day funding extension, after pushback from federal and local officials who criticized the end of funding as the state sees skyrocketing cases.
  • The E.U. will bar most travelers from the U.S., Russia and Brazil, which have been excluded from a list of countries deemed to have curbed the coronavirus.

Europe will allow outsiders to begin entering again on July 1, but the U.S. and Russia are among the nations considered too risky because they have not controlled the coronavirus outbreak.

  • AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine is probably the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said on Friday.

The British drugmaker has already begun large-scale, mid-stage human trials of the vaccine, which was developed by researchers at University of Oxford.

  • Tomas Philipson, who said this week he will resign as acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, confirmed in an email to The Wall Street Journal that he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month. He said he experienced a “very mild case of one day of fever” and that the White House had a “very capable medical team that managed my case exceptionally well during the infection.”
  • A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration must release immigrant children being detained with their parents in U.S. immigration jails during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the order, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee swiped at the administration for detaining families during the pandemic and said that all children held for more than 20 days at detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement must be released.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added three new possible symptoms for COVID-19. 

The new symptoms are congestion or runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea. These symptoms join the federal agency’s list that already included fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, and loss of taste or smell and sore throat.

  • Paul Monies, a reporter for Oklahoma Watch, who covered President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week, announced Friday he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Monies was in the BOK Center last Saturday to cover Trump’s rally and said he wore a mask and practiced social distancing. He was never close to the president.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of being “cowardly” for not wearing a mask amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and said she would support a policy to make wearing the face coverings mandatory in public. 

“I totally agree with Joe Biden. As long as we’re faced with this crisis, masks should be mandatory,” Pelosi said Friday on NPR’s “All Things Considered.

  • Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) on Friday sent cease and desist letters to Glendale-based Clean Air EXP and Phoenix-based Dream City Church, the megachurch  where President Trump held a campaign rally earlier this week, demanding that they stop claiming that Clean Air EXP’s air filtration systems can purify air of 99 percent of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • An uptick in in-restaurant spending can predict an increase in COVID-19 cases over three weeks, according to a research note from J.P. Morgan.

“Looking across categories of card spending, we find that the level of spending in restaurants three weeks ago was the strongest predictor of the rise in new virus cases over the subsequent three weeks,” wrote Jesse Edgerton, of the bank’s economic and research department.

Restaurant purchases with cards presented in person, rather than online, were particularly predictive.

The opposite was true for supermarket spending, where an increase in credit card purchases was associated with a decline of the virus.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, 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

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • More than a million Americans who had died received COVID-19 stimulus payments totaling $1.4 billion, a government watchdog said in a report to Congress released Thursday.

The finding is part of a sweeping review of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Government Accountability Office, an independent nonpartisan congressional agency. The report paints a clearer picture of what critics called a muddled rollout by the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department of more than 160 million payments worth $269 billion.

  • Eighteen members of a North Texas family tested positive for coronavirus after they had gathered for a surprise birthday party in late May.

One relative, who unknowingly had already been infected with the novel virus, attended the party and interacted with several family members. 

The party’s host was the one who had initially contracted coronavirus, spreading it to each of the seven other family members who attended. Those eight people then spread the virus to 10 other relatives in the family, including young children and relatives in their 80s.

  • Nearly 25 million Americans may have contracted the coronavirus, a figure ten times higher than the number of confirmed cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

In a briefing with reporters Thursday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said surveys of blood samples taken from around the country suggest that millions of Americans may have contracted the virus either without knowing it or with only minimal symptoms.

  • Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state will pause its efforts to reopen the economy as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections spikes and hospitals begin to fill. Abbott has been warning of a mounting catastrophe for days, as new cases rise precipitously, but said businesses that are already allowed to operate under the current reopening phase can remain open.
  • Houston’s Texas Medical Center, considered the largest medical complex in the world, reached 100 percent ICU occupancy Thursday, as Texas continues to cope with a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Disney announced on Thursday that it is postponing its planned phased July 17 reopening of two of its Disneyland theme parks in California as local officials reconsider guidelines due to a massive spike in new coronavirus cases.

The move comes after thousands of Disneyland workers penned a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom saying they are “not yet convinced it is safe” to reopen the parks.

  • A Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners public comment session went viral after residents denounced mandatory masking laws as “devil’s laws” that would “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.”

The phrase “Parks & Rec” began trending on Twitter as users compared the footage to wacky town hall scenes from the NBC sitcom.

  • Hospitalizations for the coronavirus in New York state fell below 1,000 for the first time since March 18 as the state continues to blunt the spread of the virus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is crediting residents’ strict adherence to social distancing and other health measures with helping to flatten the curve.
  • Officials who have served under presidents of both parties signed on to an open letter warning that the coronavirus pandemic threatens the future of liberal democracy. 

The letter states that some democratically elected governments are “fighting the pandemic by amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance without regard to legal constraints.” 

“Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere,” states the open letter, from the Stockholm-based think tank IDEA.

The letter is signed by officials from across the globe, including former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and H.R. McMaster, a past national security adviser under President Trump.

  • The White House has indicated that President Trump will not be quarantining for the required 14 days when he visits New Jersey this weekend despite holding campaign rallies in Arizona and Oklahoma, states where coronavirus cases have been spiking.
  • Guy Phillips, a Republican city council member in Scottsdale, AZ took the microphone while attending an anti-mask rally and said “I can’t breathe” twice — the words George Floyd said before his death in Minneapolis police custody. Phillips then tore his face covering off and declared the mask mandate “insanity.”
  • The United States on Wednesday reported a record 36,880 new coronavirus cases more than two months after its previous record for daily infections, a signal that the country is struggling to contain the pandemic.
  • The White House coronavirus task force will hold a press briefing on Friday, marking the first time the group has spoken on camera to the public in roughly two months.
  • Rep. Maxine Waters took aim at President Trump, saying he is more concerned with protecting Confederate monuments than halting the spread of the coronavirus.

In a lengthy statement issued by the congresswoman’s press office, Waters excoriated the president, calling him “an incompetent and heartless man who is more focused on saving statues of slaveholders, Confederate generals, and racists, than protecting the health of living and breathing Americans.”

  • A new study shared by the CDC found that pregnant women with coronavirus were more likely to visit emergency rooms and be placed on mechanical ventilators than nonpregnant women who contracted COVID-19.
  • Rick Bright — a whistleblower who led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and says he was ousted from the role for breaking with Trump officials on the handling of coronavirus — says he is still being retaliated against by top Trump officials even though he is in a new role, alleging they are actively trying to discredit him and prevent him from being successful.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has issued a new rule requiring public schools to share more coronavirus relief funds with private schools than federal law currently mandates. Opponents say the change “diverts valuable resources intended for low-income students to serve private school students, regardless of wealth.”
  • A Government Accountability Office report reveals the CDC has shared incomplete and inconsistent data on the amount of coronavirus testing occurring nationwide, which has significantly hampered efforts to track infections and help states make informed decisions on reopening.
  • Several staffers on President Trump’s reelection campaign have reportedly entered quarantine this week after interacting with colleagues who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the president’s Tulsa, Oklahoma rally last weekend.
  • Amsterdam announced on Thursday that it would ban vacation rentals including those on the home-sharing site Airbnb in three areas that make up the central old town.
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Thursday that the current coronavirus picture, both globally and in the US, is “more bleak” than he would have expected.

“It’s possible to ramp up testing for a new pathogen very, very fast,” he said. “In fact a number of countries did that extremely well in this case and the technology keeps getting better there. The US in particular hasn’t had the leadership messages or coordination that you would have expected.”

“The range of behaviors in the US right now, some people being very conservative in what they do, and some people ignoring the epidemic, is huge,” Gates said.

“Some people almost feel like it’s a political thing which is unfortunate,” he added, something he says he didn’t expect in America.

“The governor of North Dakota, a friend of mine, had to say ‘please don’t be mean to people wearing a mask’ which kind of blows the mind.”

  • The White House coronavirus task force has been tracking COVID-19 rates around the country and monitoring spikes of new infections in Texas, Arizona and Missouri — even as President Trump declares that the danger posed by the ongoing pandemic is receding.
  • The Trump administration on Thursday night argued in a legal brief filed to the Supreme Court that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be invalidated. 

The legal filing, while expected, makes official the Trump administration’s position in the Supreme Court against the health law months ahead of the election, at a time when Democrats are hammering President Trump over his position on health care.  

Overturning the ACA would take away health coverage for about 20 million people, and the stakes are even higher given the effects of the current pandemic.

  • The U.S. on Thursday broke its record for most new coronavirus cases reported in a day as the concerns over a second wave of the pandemic continue to mount.

As numbers spike across the South, 40,401 new cases were reported on Thursday.

  • Missouri (553), Nevada (497), Alabama (1,142), and Texas (5,996) all posted record daily highs on Thursday.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said that if he’s elected president in November that he would make it required for people in the country to wear masks, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to spike nationwide.

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

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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • More than 35,000 new coronavirus cases were identified across the United States on Tuesday – the highest single-day total since late April and the third-highest total of any day of the pandemic.
  • Senate Republicans are warning that it’s too soon to scale back testing amid an increase in coronavirus cases.

President Trump sparked days of confusion when he said over the weekend that he had asked staff to “slow down the testing, please.” On Tuesday, he muddied the water further by arguing fewer tests would result in recording fewer cases.

But GOP senators say there’s no evidence the United States is ready to ease up on the number of daily tests, which they think should be increased until there is a vaccine.

  • Governors Cuomo (NY), Murphy (NJ) and Lamont (CT) announced a joint travel advisory. All individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID into NY, NJ, or CT must quarantine for 14 days.

This travel advisory went into effect midnight Thursday.

  • The White House said that President Donald Trump will not change his plan to travel to New Jersey this weekend despite a new order by the governor requiring visitors who have been in states with high numbers of coronavirus cases to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Sources have confirmed there are multiple positive tests for COVID-19 on the PGA Tour, in addition to the one reported earlier this morning.
  • The University of Chile’s clinical hospital in Santiago has made the rare decision of letting families of COVID-19 patients see their dying loved ones.
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended President Trump’s use of the phrase “kung flu” to describe the coronavirus, reversing course after blasting the phrase weeks ago as “highly offensive.”

Conway told reporters that Trump used the phrase to highlight the virus’ origin in China. However, when asked in March by reporters about White House staffers using the term, Conway demanded that reporters give the names of the staffers allegedly saying “kung flu.”

Of course it’s wrong,” Conway said at the time. “That’s highly offensive, so you should tell us all who it is.”

  • The 2020 New York City Marathon, originally set to take place in November, has been canceled, organizers said on Wednesday.

The New York Road Runners cited “coronavirus-related health and safety concerns” in its announcement.

  • The coronavirus pandemic has caused wider and deeper damage to economic activity than first thought, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, prompting the institution to slash its 2020 global output forecasts further.

The IMF said it now expects 2020 global output to shrink by 4.9%, compared with a 3.0% contraction predicted in April, when it used data available as widespread business lockdowns were just getting into full swing.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tweeted: “In the last 14 days, CA has conducted 1,052,101 tests with a #COVID19 positivity rate of 5.1%. This is an increase that we are tracking very closely. Californians need to remain vigilant and act responsibly. Wear a face covering. Wash your hands. Practice physical distancing.”

California reported more than 7,000 new cases over the last day.

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced that facial coverings will be mandatory in public across the state starting Friday in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Texas’ Gov. Greg Abbott is urging people to stay home amid a surge in coronavirus cases, with some health officials calling for a stricter stay-at-home order.

“Because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home,” Abbott told KBTX. “Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home.”

  • With cases surging in the Houston area, the city’s intensive-care units are now filled to 97 percent of capacity, Mayor Sylvester Turner told the City Council on Wednesday, with Covid-19 patients accounting for more than one-quarter of all patients in intensive care.

The city, known for its large concentration of medical schools and research hospitals, could run out of I.C.U. beds completely within two weeks if nothing is done to slow the upward trajectory of the virus.

  • Florida added 5,508 new COVID-19 cases overnight, crushing the previous record from Saturday of 4,049.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,593 new coronavirus cases and 42 deaths, both records for the state.
  • In low-income nations, the pandemic may erase 20 years of hard-fought progress against tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria, diseases that together claim more than 2.4 million lives each year.

A report released on Wednesday estimates that countries hit hard by these diseases will need at least $28.5 billion over the next year to shore up health campaigns and to respond to the pandemic itself.

  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing to furlough nearly 70 percent of its workforce as the agency faces budget shortfalls during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The problem lies not with the recession, but with the Trump administration’s restrictionist immigration policies, which have led to backlogs and skyrocketing rejections. The agency relies on application fees to fund most of its operations.

  • President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Wednesday celebrated his country’s victory 75 years ago against Nazi Germany, presiding over an enormous military parade through Red Square in Moscow that featured thousands of soldiers marching shoulder-to-shoulder without face masks.
  • Former White House national security adviser John Bolton accused President Trump of ignoring early warning signs of the coronavirus pandemic due to a potential impact it could have had on a trade deal with China.

“He did not want to hear bad news about the cover-up of the virus in China, or its potential effect on the China trade deal that he wants so much. And he didn’t want to hear about the potential impact of a pandemic on the American economy and its effect on his reelection.”

  • The Trump administration’s pledge to protect Covid-19 patients from massive medical bills is falling short for a growing number of survivors who experience long-term complications from the virus.

Doctors are discovering life-threatening and costly long-term health effects ranging from kidney failure to heart and lung damage. That’s exposing a major gap in the federal government’s strategy for ensuring patients won’t go broke because of a coronavirus diagnosis.

  • Disney announced that it will delay reopening Disneyland as the theme park awaits guidelines from California officials amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • A GoFundMe set up for a Starbucks barista, identified as Lenin Gutierrez, has raised more than $16,000 after a customer posted on Facebook that the barista refused to serve her at a San Diego location because she wasn’t wearing a mask. 
  • Dozens of Secret Service agents will be quarantined as a precaution following President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

An official said the number of quarantined agents is on the “low” side of dozens. The quarantining will reportedly not impact the agency’s operations.

  • Secret Service agents who are involved with presidential trips must be tested for the coronavirus for the next couple of weeks, according to an email sent to agency personnel. Agents must now be tested 24-48 hours before a presidential trip and will do so until July 4.

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

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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday pubs, restaurants and hotels could reopen in England early next month, easing the coronavirus lockdown that has all but shut the economy.
  • A Brazilian federal judge ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to comply with local rules to wear a face mask whenever he is outdoors in the capital of Brasilia.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is “seriously considering” implementing a quarantine for out-state-visitors to New York as the number of cases in The Empire State drop while elsewhere cases are spiking.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he’s “cautiously optimistic”  a COVD-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of this year.
  • Fauci: “Everyone agrees, in the public health sector, that wearing of masks is beneficial…It is always better to have a mask on than to not have a mask on”
  • Fauci says he hasn’t “directly recommended” that President Trump wear a mask in public, and he won’t comment on the “multiple factors” that go into the president’s refusal to do so.
  • The Trump administration will stop providing money and support for 13 sites for local COVID-19 testing sites around the country this month, as cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in many states.

Texas will be particularly hard hit by the decision. The federal government gives much-needed testing kits and laboratory access to seven testing sites around Texas. But in the state, which is seeing new peaks in cases, people still face long lines for testing that continues to fail to meet overwhelming demand. 

In addition to Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado and Pennsylvania will be affected. 

  • The president Tweeted: “We did a great job on CoronaVirus, including the very early ban on China, Ventilator production, and Testing, which is by far the most, and best, in the World. We saved millions of U.S. lives.! Yet the Fake News refuses to acknowledge this in a positive way. But they do give….Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is with us in all ways, a very high 72% Approval Rating. So, if he is in charge along with V.P. etc., and with us doing all of these really good things, why doesn’t the Lamestream Media treat us as they should? Answer: Because they are Fake News!”
  • European countries are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the pandemic, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers seen by The New York Times.
  • World number one Novak Djokovic is the latest professional tennis player to test positive for COVID-19. Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki also tested positive after recently playing at Djokovic’s Adria Tour. Djokovic’s wife Jelena is also confirmed to have the virus.
  • China National Biotec Group has won approval to run a large-scale “Phase 3” clinical trial of its novel coronavirus vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates.
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health says there are now 1,653 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tulsa County since the pandemic began.

There were 89 new cases reported in the county since Sunday. This is the largest single-day increase since the state’s first positive case was reported on March 6.

  • In Missouri, two hair stylists who tested positive for COVID-19 after working in close contact with 140 clients and six coworkers. Local health officials feared it would be the start of a major outbreak.

But it wasn’t. The reason? Employees and patrons at the Great Clips salon were required to wear masks, health officials said.

The result appears to be one of the clearest real-world examples of the ability of masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

  • The state of Utah faces a “complete shutdown” as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, the state epidemiologist warned in a memo shared with FOX 13.

“We are in the acceleration phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in Utah,” Dr. Angela Dunn said in the memo.

  • Nevada reported the highest number of new coronavirus in a single day on Tuesday, breaking a record the state had set just a few days earlier.
  • The COVID-19 spike in California’s agricultural breadbasket is so steep that a hospital in Lodi is not accepting some patients who have other illnesses, as infections mount at nearly four times the rate called for in state guidelines for reopening the economy.
  • More than a dozen Ohio teens tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to a report.

Fourteen students from Belmont County schools tested positive after coming home June 14 from the beach spot, The Sun News reported.

  • A new study suggests the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. in March could have been 80 times greater and doubled nearly twice as fast than originally reported, amounting to more than 8.7 million coronavirus cases that went undiagnosed. 

The report, led by researchers from Penn State University, analyzed surveillance data on influenza-like illnesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that were never diagnosed as coronavirus, influenza or any other viruses over a three-week period in March, according to the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

“The findings support a scenario where more than 8.7 million new SARS-CoV-2 infections appeared in the U.S. during March and estimate that more than 80% of these cases remained unidentified as the outbreak rapidly spread,” Justin Silverman of Penn State, Alex Washburne of Montana State University and colleagues at Cornell University and elsewhere wrote, CNN reported. 

Only about 100,000 coronavirus cases were reported during that period in March, as there was a shortage of testing kits at the time.

  • Missouri’s Republican Sen. Roy Blunt blocked an attempt by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar to push legislation through the Senate that would promote mail-in voting and expand early voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just don’t think this is the time to make this kind of fundamental change,” Blunt said.

  • Five graduating seniors at a Virginia high school who attended a modified commencement ceremony at the school have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Fredericksburg City Schools Superintendent Marceline Catlett said Friday that the five students at James Monroe High School tested positive for COVID-19, and all five attended graduation ceremonies at the school on Monday.

  • Senate Republicans and President Trump are facing off over a new round of COVID-19 stimulus checks, with GOP senators warning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday to mind the mounting federal deficit.

Trump views the $1,200 “economic impact payment” checks that featured his name prominently as a political and economic winner. Many GOP senators, on the other hand, think a second round would be a huge waste of money.

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