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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  •  Of the 3-million COVID-19 cases recorded in The United States, one million of those cases have been reported in the last 30 days.

The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s coronavirus cases.

  • More than 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the first time the U.S. has reached or crossed the 60,000 threshold of newly diagnosed cases in a 24-hour reporting period.

  • Researchers at the University College London are calling attention to a potential link between COVID-19 and brain damage after a study released Wednesday found more evidence to suggest that the virus can cause neurological issues.
  • Gilead Sciences Inc said on Wednesday it has started an early-stage study of its antiviral COVID-19 treatment remdesivir that can be inhaled, for use outside of hospitals.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised his country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that its response proved better than many of its allies, including the United States.

“We were able to control the virus better than many of our allies, particularly including our neighbor,” Trudeau said one just days after formally denying an invitation to a summit with Trump over the virus in the US as well as tariff threats.

  • President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding for schools if they do not resume in-person learning this fall and criticized a top government health agency for being too tough with its guidelines to aid that process.

Trump Tweeted: “In Germany, Denmark, Norway,  Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

NOTE: New cases on Tuesday: Germany 298, Denmark 10, Norway 11, Sweden 57, United States 55,442

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” Trump wrote in a Tweet.

  • Vice President Mike Pence, appearing with the White House coronavirus task force, announced the CDC would issue new recommendations next week, saying they don’t want the guidance to be a reason why schools don’t open.
  • The president of the nation’s largest teachers’ union hit back at President Trump over his demand that schools resume in-person classes this fall, saying reopening cannot take place without guaranteeing the safety of students and staff.

“I double dog dare Donald Trump to sit in a class of 39 sixth graders and breathe that air without any preparation for how we’re going to bring our kids back safely.”

  • Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration in federal court on Wednesday, seeking to block a directive that would strip foreign college students of their visas if their coursework was entirely online.
  • Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, as the brand buckled under the pressure of the pandemic.
  • United Airlines said that it could furlough as many as 36,000 workers, or nearly 40 percent of its staff, starting Oct. 1 if travel remained weak and if too few employees accept buyout or early retirement packages.
  • Golf’s 2020 Ryder Cup has been postponed due to coronavirus.
  • The Ivy League has canceled all fall sports and will reevaluate whether to play sports after Jan. 1, 2021. 
  • Stanford University is eliminating 11 of its varsity sports after the 2020-21 season, citing a financial deficit that became significantly more problematic due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • As cases surge across the country, PPE is again in short supply.
  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order requiring face coverings outdoors when social distancing is not possible. When asked if people would receive tickets for disobeying the rules on a Jersey Shore boardwalk, he said it was not likely.
  • New Jersey restaurants with seating areas under fixed roofs can reopen those spaces to diners as long as there are two open sides and there is only 50 percent wall space.
  • New York City public schools will not fully reopen in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. In-person classes will be limited to one to three days a week in an effort to continue to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
  • New York will now allow malls to reopen in Phase 4, a stage of reopening that the entire state except for New York City has entered. Malls must put in enhanced air filtration systems and those that meet requirements can reopen as soon as Friday.
  • Nino Vitale, a GOP state lawmaker in Ohio urged constituents to “STOP GETTING TESTED” for COVID-19 in a Facebook post.

“Are you tired of living in a dictatorship yet?” Vitale asked. Testing for COVID-19 gave “the government an excuse to claim something is happening that is not happening at the magnitude they say it is happening,” he claimed.

Ohio is one of several states currently seeing a spike in new coronavirus infections.

  • Officials have identified at least 16 people who tested positive for COVID-19 after attending Marvin Ridge High School’s graduation ceremony on June 24 in Waxhaw, North Carolina. 
  • Officials in Tennessee reported more than 2,100 new cases and 21 new deaths on Wednesday, single-day records in both categories.
  • Florida reported 9,989 more cases since Tuesday, bringing the state to a total of 223,793.
  • At least 56 Florida hospitals in 25 different counties have hit 100% ICU capacity, according to overall hospital data released by the state. Another 35 only have 10% or less capacity remaining. In all, the state has just 962 out of a total of 5,023 ICU beds available

As coronavirus cases surge in Florida, the state had 41 hospitals with no available beds as of Wednesday morning.

  • In Miami-Dade County, which includes the city of Miami, the positivity rate has jumped to 21.9%.
  • Osceola County is reporting a positivity rate of 19.5%, while in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, the positivity rate stands at 16.4%.
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said city and county officials do not have the authority to require residents to wear masks in public.
  • Bruce Dart, the Tulsa City-County Health Department director, said in a press conference that the city has seen a spike in coronavirus cases and believes big events like President Trump’s rally are “likely” responsible for the growing cases.
  • The gains the people of Louisiana made against Covid-19 in June have been wiped out over the past three weeks, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday.

“We have a statewide pandemic. It’s no longer one or two regions,” Edwards told reporters.

  • Texas’ new cases now make up 14% of the U.S. total. Since July 1, the U.S. has reported 358,027 new infections. Of those, 50,599 were in Texas.
  • Houston officials are canceling next week’s in-person Texas Republican convention as coronavirus cases surge across the state, Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said Wednesday. 
  • More than 680 cases were announced Wednesday in Utah, a single-day record.
  • Arizona reported 354 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week, compared to a national average of 100 per 100,000.
  • In Arizona hospitals, 91% of ICU beds are in use. A record 2,008 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients visited emergency rooms in the state on Tuesday.
  • 137 out of 300 employees at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • California reported 11,694 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, but stressed that this number includes a backlog of data from Los Angeles County labs.
  • In California, hospitalization rates and ICU admissions are on the rise.

Gov. Gavin Newsom attributed the growth to a number of factors: not enough people wearing face coverings and social distancing; increased mixing outside of households; outbreaks in prisons and jails; and outbreaks within essential workplaces.

  • Mexico on Wednesday posted a new record for coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6,995 infections.
  • Russia confirmed 6,562 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 700,792.
  • Dozens of demonstrators and police were injured in overnight rioting in Belgrade, triggered when a crowd stormed Serbia’s parliament in protest at plans to reimpose a lockdown following a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Five million Australians in the country’s second largest city Melbourne woke up under strict stay-at-home rules on Thursday as authorities struggled to contain a coronavirus outbreak in the city.
  • A New Zealand man who tested positive will face criminal charges after he sneaked out of a hotel quarantine site, the public broadcaster RNZ reported. He ventured out into central Auckland on Tuesday night for a little over an hour and visited a supermarket.

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 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