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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The group is backed by Tea Party Patriots. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The Maryland-based company, Novavax, received $1.6 billion from ‘Operation Warp Speed’ the federal government’s official COVID-19 vaccine program, making it the largest government COVID-19 vaccine contract to date. The program also awarded a $450 million contract to Regeneron to manufacture and supply its antibody-drug.
  • New model predicts more than 208,000 will die in the US from Covid-19 by November, according to the University of Washington. 

But if 95% of the population wears a mask in public, that number would drop to 162,808.

  • “It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death. There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don’t get yourself into false complacency.” – Dr. Fauci
  • President Trump publicly broke with Anthony Fauci after the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force warned that the U.S. was “still knee-deep in the first wave” of the coronavirus outbreak. Trump claimed that the U.S. was in a “good place” despite the growing virus cases in the country.
  • Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said cases are spiking in some parts of the country, specifically in the south, because states “stepped on the gas” while reopening.

“A lot of individuals and a lot of businesses, instead of driving 25 in a 25 mile an hour zone, stepped on the gas and started going 65, and it’s really evident now in the spread of cases across most age groups.”

  • Birx touted U.S. investment in global public health and praised international efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic just as the Trump administration officially withdrew from the WHO.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has approved two Lysol disinfectant sprays – Lysol Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg No. 777-99) and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist (EPA Reg No. 777-127) – as effective tools for killing the novel coronavirus on surfaces.
  • There’s “emerging evidence” around airborne transmission, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday told the country’s governors in a conference call that she expects schools to be “fully operational” come the fall, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how,” DeVos told governors, The Associated Press reports. “School[s] must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.”

  • President Trump said the White House would put pressure on governors to get schools opened in the fall amid rising coronavirus cases in the United States.

“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons. They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way,” Trump said during a White House event with government officials and school administrators.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everyone else to open the schools,” Trump added, after again claiming that the increase in cases is a result of increased testing.

  • The U.S. government delivered far less food aid than it had pledged by the end of June, according to food bank managers and data from the agriculture department sent to Reuters, after it hired inexperienced companies to box food during the pandemic.
  • Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are also skipping the Republican National Convention. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) previously announced they are not attending.
  • Using a racially charged tone, the president Tweeted: “BREAKING NEWS: The Mortality Rate for the China Virus in the U.S. is just about the LOWEST IN THE WORLD! Also, Deaths in the U.S. are way down, a tenfold decrease since the Pandemic height (and, our Economy is coming back strong!).”

NOTE: The Case Mortality Rate for the U.S. 4.4%, which ranks 39th best in the world. The U.S. Deaths/100,000 is 39.82 and ranks as 7th worst out of major nations and 9th worst overall.

  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States pushed past 3 million on Tuesday.
  • California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas on Tuesday shattered their previous daily record highs for new cases. The biggest jumps occurred in Texas and California with more than 10,000 each. About 24 states have reported disturbingly high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past week.
  • The U.S. government is creating short-term “surge” testing sites for the novel coronavirus in three metropolitan areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas to meet demand from rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The program adds testing for 5,000 people per day for a five- to 12-day period.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Tweeted: “UPDATE: If you’re traveling to New Jersey from the following states, you should self-quarantine for 14 days: AL, AR, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, KS, LA, MS, NC, OK, NV, SC, TN, TX, UT”

Governor Cuomo of NY and Governor Lamont of CT made similar Tweets. 

  • For the first time since March, Connecticut had no COVID-19 deaths to report on Tuesday, said Gov. Ned Lamont.
  • Officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are reporting coronavirus cases in their states linked to trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

The “small spike” in New Jersey is linked to people who went to a wedding in Myrtle Beach, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.

  • With Ohio’s spike of coronavirus cases showing no signs of easing, Gov. Mike DeWine required residents of the seven worst-hit counties, including Franklin County, to begin wearing face coverings.

“We continue to have a great concern about Franklin County as well as the other red counties,” DeWine said, calling the limited mask order a “surgical, precise approach…we hope is going to have a big impact.”

He called following mask and health orders a “matter of life and death.”

  • The University System of Georgia said Monday it will require everyone to wear face coverings while inside campus facilities and buildings at all 26 of its public institutions where 6 feet of social distancing may not always be possible.

The new policy will take effect July 15 and will be in addition to — not a substitute for — social distancing.

  • The Florida  Department of Health confirmed 7,347 new cases in the state, for a total of 213,794, and set a new record for the percentage of tests coming back positive, at 16.3 percent, on Monday.

Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami, has a positivity rate of 21%. In Lee County, which includes Fort Myers, the positivity rate stands at 24.6%.

  • In Florida, fifty-six hospital ICU’s in twenty-five counties have hit capacity and show zero ICU beds available, including eight in Miami-Dade, three in Broward, three in Hillsborough and four in Orange counties, according to data released by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
  • One day after announcing gym closures, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez reversed course on Tuesday and said fitness centers can remain open.
  • Walt Disney Co will stick to its plans to reopen its Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Florida, to a limited number of guests on Saturday
  • Texas reported another record high with 10,028 new cases and a positivity rate of 17% .
  • Texas officials are reportedly ordering schools to offer in-person classes in order to receive state funding. The state laid out a plan that would allow parents to choose to continue remote learning or in-person learning for their students, but the schools must offer in-person classes as an option.
  • Organizers canceled the State Fair of Texas because of the coronavirus. This marks the first time the 24-day affair honoring the area’s largest pigs and best fried food won’t be held since World War II.
  • As coronavirus cases in Arizona surge, the state is dealing with major gaps in testing. 

“Unfortunately, what’s happening in Arizona is a microcosm … of the direction that President Trump has led us in,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero says. “We’re in crisis,”

  • A woman in her 60s has lost her job at a California school district after police said she deliberately coughed on a mother and her 1-year-old baby during a dispute about social distancing at a local Yogurtland, an interaction that was caught on camera and went viral.
  • Fourteen flight attendants who recently attended a Hawaiian Airlines training in Honolulu tested positive for COVID-19, the airline said Tuesday.
  • Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday reported 6,258 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 895 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 268,008 cases and 32,014 deaths.
  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro announced Tuesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus after being hospitalized.
  • Britain’s daily death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen by 155 to 44,391, the government said on Tuesday.
  • The number of people who have died from coronavirus infection in France rose by 13 to 29,933 on Tuesday while the increase in new confirmed cases was below the daily average of the last seven days.
  • Iran has recorded its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period.

The 200 deaths reported on Tuesday exceed the previous record from Sunday, when the health ministry reported 163 deaths in a day.

  • Hundreds of police officers and soldiers are being deployed to enforce the closure of the busy and highly porous border between Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, as officials grapple to contain a new coronavirus outbreak.
  • China on Wednesday reported seven new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 7.
  • India’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 20,000 on Tuesday and case numbers surged as the south Asian nation pushed ahead with relaxations to its almost two-month lockdown.

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

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

10/24-10/25

  • Kellyanne Conway told Washington Examiner reporter, Caitlin Yilek, it was improper to write about her husband and threatened to investigate Yilek’s personal life in a conversation she thought was off the record. It wasn’t. Conway, “Listen, if you’re going to cover my personal life, then we’re welcome to do the same around here.”
  • A U.S. Justice Department review of the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now a criminal investigation. It’s unclear when it changed from an administrative review or what alleged crimes they are investigating. 
  • Trump continues to Tweet about the whistleblower. “Where is the Whistleblower, and why did he or she write such a fictitious and incorrect account of my phone call with the Ukrainian President? Why did the IG allow this to happen? Who is the so-called Informant (Schiff?) who was so inaccurate? A giant Scam!”
  • Trump nominated former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to join the Fulbright Scholarship Board.
  • Trump Tweeted, “COMING HOME! We were supposed to be there for 30 days – That was 10 years ago. When these pundit fools who have called the Middle East wrong for 20 years ask what we are getting out of the deal, I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!”
  • The Pentagon will send tanks and armored units to eastern Syria to protect the oil fields. The tanks will come from a unit already in Mideast. This would require hundreds of additional US troops to Syria, US officials.
  • The federal government is shutting down a surveillance program for dangerous animal viruses that someday may infect humans, in a move that worries many public health experts.
  • A federal judge issued a $100,000 fine on the Department of Education after finding Secretary Betsy DeVos violated a preliminary injunction when the department continued to collect loan payments from Corinthian Colleges students
  • Mike Pence chief of staff promoted the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign was entrapped by the Obama DOJ and intelligence agencies.
  • Impeachment investigators have negotiated with former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s lawyer about a date for him to be deposed. Bolton is considered a “star witness” and his testimony is expected to be devastating for Trump and his crew.
  • The White House threatened a veto of a bill backed by House Democrats aimed at stopping foreign interference in US elections.
  • Trump accuses Obama of treason for ‘spying’ on his 2016 campaign. He ratched up his claim that the Obama White House spied on his 2016 campaign, charging in a new book that it was a “treasonous” act by the former Democratic president. “What they did was treasonous, OK? It was treasonous.”
  • White House Advisor Tim Morrison will not only corroborate Chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor’s testimony, he will have his own specific details of first hand interactions that further implicate Trump in a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
  • The US deficit hit $984 billion in Fiscal Year 2019, an increase of nearly 70% from when Trump took office.

NOTE: Trump promised to eliminate federal debt in 8 years. Instead, it has been growing in his tenure

  • Trump dismissed the need for a bolstered team to defend him against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. “Here’s the thing. I don’t have teams. Everyone’s talking about teams. I’m the team. I did nothing wrong,”
  • Trump accepted the 2019 Bipartisan Justice Award for his signing of the First Step Act!
  • Trump continued criticism of Never Trumpers in DC, even asking reporters for a list of the ones working in his administration. He spoke with reporters, “Who are they? Tell me. Tell me who the Never Trumpers are because I’m not a fan of the Never Trumpers.”
  • A judge ruled the Justice Department must turn over Mueller’s grand jury evidence to the House.
  • The Trump Organization is considering selling its three-year-old hotel in downtown Washington, DC, that’s been a focus of ongoing complaints that Trump is profiting off his role as President.
  • Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is lobbying the president & White House hard against strict vaping rules, offering polls, suggestions and critiques, and saying they will suppress votes.
  • Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter and is heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens.