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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • A group of 239 scientists representing 32 countries is reportedly preparing to ask the World Health Organization to revise its recommendations for the novel coronavirus due to evidence that they say supports the claim the disease is airborne.

The scientists are expected to publish an open letter making the request in a scientific journal next week, according to The New York Times. The letter is set to offer evidence that supports the position that smaller particles of the coronavirus can travel through the air and infect people.

  • Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said on Sunday it was not clear whether it will be safe to hold the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville next month, as Florida sees record numbers of coronavirus cases.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 2,841,906 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 52,228 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 271 to 129,576.
  • Public health experts and officials on Sunday disputed President’s Trump’s characterization of the seriousness of the coronavirus.

In an Independence Day speech on Saturday at the White House, Mr. Trump sought to dismiss widespread criticism of his administration’s slow and ineffective response to the virus. He repeated his false claim that an abundance of testing made the country’s cases look worse than they were, and he asserted that 99 percent of the nation’s cases were “totally harmless.”

  • Mr. Trump and other administration officials have also highlighted the country’s declining death rate.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said improvements in care may have caused the decline, but also described deaths as a “lagging indicator.”

“By the time somebody gets infected, it takes a couple weeks before they get hospitalized and get really sick, and another week or 10 days before they die, ” he said.

  • Broadway star Nick Cordero died on Sunday at age 41 after battling coronavirus and subsequent health problems for several months, his family said Sunday.
  • Penn State University announced 21-year-old student Juan Garcia died of respiratory failure from coronavirus complications last month.

The university is now contact tracing anyone who may have been around Garcia while he was sick.

  • Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, issued the same two-week warning in an appearance on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” noting that roughly one in four virus tests in the city was now positive and that the demand for testing was exceeding capacity.
  • Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler on CNN on infection numbers in his city: “If we don’t change the trajectory, then I am within two weeks of having our hospitals overrun. And in our ICUs, I think we could be ten days away from that.”
  • Mr. Adler said that the most important thing about the order Governor Abbott signed on Thursday making masks mandatory in most counties was that people would now be getting the same guidance from both state and local officials.

“It’s the messaging,” he said. “It’s the singular voice from both parties saying to our community, ‘This is important, you have to do it, it works.’”

  • The State of Arizona added few deaths – four – to its total on Sunday morning, July 5, compared to its previous and regular double digits, but 3,536 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus edged the state ever closer to the 100,000 mark, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services website.
  • Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix said on Sunday that with cases and death counts soaring in Arizona, testing sites in her city and surrounding Maricopa County are overwhelmed, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has rebuffed her pleas for help.

She raised the issue on the ABC program “This Week,” saying that it “feels like they’re declaring victory while we’re in crisis mode.”

  • Ms. Gallego also said that the pace of Arizona’s reopening indicated to some residents that the coronavirus crisis was over and, in turn, spurred a record number of new cases.

“We opened way too early in Arizona. We were one of the last states to go to stay at home and one of the first to reemerge, and we reemerged at zero to 60,” Gallego said “We had crowded nightclubs handing out free champagne, no masks. Our 20- to 44-year-olds, which is my own demographic, really led the explosion, and we’ve seen such growth in that area. We’re seeing a lot of people go to large family gatherings and infect their family members.”

  • Tokyo confirmed 111 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, the fourth straight day that the tally of fresh cases has exceeded 100
  • Visitors to the Taj Mahal will have to wear masks at all times, keep their distance and not touch its glistening marble surfaces when India’s 17th-century monument to love reopens on Monday after a three-month COVID-19 shutdown.
  • Indonesia reported 82 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday in its highest daily tally.
  • The Philippines reported its biggest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases on Sunday, adding 2,434 confirmed infections and taking the total count to 44,254.
  • Russia on Sunday reported 6,736 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the nationwide tally to 681,251.
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 239 to 196,335.
  • The northwestern Spanish region of Galicia imposed restrictions on about 70,000 people on Sunday following a COVID-19 outbreak, a day after Catalonia also introduced a local lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Britain is putting 8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients.
  • Britain will invest nearly $2 billion in cultural institutions and the arts to help a sector that has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.
  • People in England appear to have broadly behaved themselves as pubs reopened this weekend, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday after the latest step towards a return to normality from the coronavirus lockdown.
  • Ireland will ease quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad on July 20, with people arriving from a “green list” of countries with low COVID-19 rates to be exempt from isolating themselves for 14 days.
  • Greece will not allow Serbian visitors to enter from July 6 until July 15, the government said on Sunday, as it moved to contain the spread of coronavirus during its peak tourism season.
  • Britain’s death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen by 22 to 44,220, the department of health said on Sunday.
  • A military plane carrying Canadian troops to Latvia as part of a NATO mission turned around midflight after the military learned that someone who might have come in contact with the passengers tested had positive for the virus.
  • Iran recorded its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period, official health ministry figures showed on Sunday.

The 163 deaths reported on Sunday exceed the previous record from last Monday.

  • Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus infections have passed 200,000 and neighbouring United Arab Emirates passed 50,000, with the number of new cases climbing after the Arab world’s two largest economies fully lifted curfews last month.
  • Bolivia’s Health Minister María Eidy Roca has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Coronavirus cases and deaths are surging along Colombia’s Caribbean coast as the region becomes the epicenter of the pandemic in the Andean country, with doctors warning many deaths are going undetected.
  • Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Sunday a new $1.5 billion package of measures to help keep the country’s ailing middle class afloat as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the economy of the world’s top copper producer.
  • El Salvador’s presidential office on Sunday postponed the second phase of the economy’s reopening by two weeks, citing a still-rising number of coronavirus infections.

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