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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID 19 Update

  • 75,821 new cases were reported in the U.S. on Friday – another new single day record.
  • President Trump says he will not issue a national mandate requiring Americans to wear masks in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I want people to have a certain freedom and I don’t believe in that, no,” Trump said in a new Fox News interview. “I don’t agree with the statement that if everyone wore a mask, everything disappears,” he added referencing the CDC director saying the virus could be under control in 4-6 weeks if everyone wore masks.

  • The Business Roundtable, a top corporate lobbying group renewed calls for a “consistent federal and state guidelines on safety measures, including face coverings.”  

The group, chaired by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon which represents the CEOs of America’s biggest companies, said it has been lobbying for those mandates since April. 

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S.needs to concentrate on what’s happening right now with coronavirus cases instead of a possible second wave in the fall.

“People keep talking about the possibility of a second wave in the fall — that’s a historic terminology related to another time and another outbreak. I think we need to concentrate on where we are right now.”

Fauci said the US is “essentially still in the first wave.”

  • Lagging test results are hampering US efforts to battle Covid-19. Many labs’ test backlog are causing delays of seven to twelve days. 
  • The White House is blocking CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on reopening schools next week.
  • A new forecast published by the CDC projects more than 157,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 8.
  • Former Trump administration economist Tomas Philipson said that his team alerted the White House about the dangers of a looming pandemic about three months before Covid-19 is believed to have made its way into the United States.
  • Lowes and Home Depot will require customers to wear masks in their stores. The mask order begins on Monday at Lowes and Wednesday at Home Depot.
  • A new daily record of  237,743 new Covid-19 cases were reported to the World Health Organization. 
  • An unpublished document prepared for the White House coronavirus task force and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity recommends that 18 states in the coronavirus “red zone” for cases should roll back reopening measures amid surging cases.

The following states are in the red zone for cases:

Alabama, Arkansas. Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

  • The top three per capita states, based on the 7-day average of new cases, are:

Florida – 55.24 cases per 100,000 people

Louisiana – 44.30 cases per 100,000 people

Arizona – 43.06 cases per 100,000 people

  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that he supports local municipalities creating additional restrictions as long as they don’t negate the guidance issued by the state.
  • In Ohio, more than 1,600 new cases were reported on Friday, a single-day record.
  • A coronavirus outbreak has spread through a federal law enforcement training facility in South Carolina, prompting the national employees union to call for a halt to training.

At least 23 students and faculty have tested positive at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston

  • Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey reported an increase of coronavirus cases across Georgia, “not just in urban Atlanta, but also suburban and rural areas.”

The test positivity rate in the state is on average 13.6% and hospitalizations have increased 39% over the past week.

  • The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 3,908 new confirmed casesm 28 new coronavirus-related deaths, and 301 additional hospitalizations.
  • Florida reported 11,466 new cases and 128 new deaths  The state has reported more than 100 deaths for four straight days.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he won’t close the state’s gyms, claiming a healthy lifestyle will put people at lower risk for developing severe cases of coronavirus.

“If you are good shape you have a very, very low likelihood of ending up in significant condition as a result of the coronavirus,” DeSantis said

  • Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez (R) said that the county has not exceeded the ICU capacity, although the county’s dashboard showed that the capacity is at 107%.

He explained that hospitals have the ability to add hundreds of ICU beds by converting recovery rooms into ICU rooms.

  • People in Miami, Florida, will no longer get a warning when they fail to wear a mask in public starting Monday. 

Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said the new order will require a fine for the first offense of the city’s mask order. The fine starts at $50 and increases with every additional offense.

  • Miami Beach announced a curfew beginning Saturday for most of its entertainment district, running each night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Broward County, Florida enacted a curfew for the entire county to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The nightly curfew is from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and will last through August 1.

  • There are 140 Miami Police employees and 41 Miami Beach Police officers currently under quarantine.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R)  said that unless coronavirus conditions change dramatically over the weekend, the state may add 11 counties to its mask requirement. 

Thirteen counties are already under the more restrictive order.

  • Chicago proposed reopening schools this fall with a hybrid learning model. About 50% of the student population would attend school in-person on any given day. Most high school juniors and seniors will do at-home learning full time.
  • Missouri plans to spend $15 million in federal coronavirus aid on promoting tourism in the state, Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced. 
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said that it’s critical to bring Iowa’s children back to the classroom, and schools will not be allowed to provide more than half of instruction through remote learning unless she authorizes it.
  • Texas reported 174 new Covid-19 related deaths on Friday, surpassing Thursday’s record of 129 deaths in a single day.
  • Corpus Christi Nueces County Director of Public Health Annette Rodriguez said Friday that 85 babies under the age of one have tested positive for Covid-19 there.
  • 10,120 new cases were reported in California on Friday – the state’s second highest single day total.
  • People who do not wear face coverings on California’s Manhattan Beach may face citations of up to $350.

Maskless first offenders in the Southern California beach town will be fined $100, followed by $200 and $350 citations for the second and third violations.

  • The majority of schools in California will not be reopening for in-person education this fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced.

Schools can start in-person instruction if they are in counties that have not been on the state’s monitoring list for 14 days

  • San Francisco has joined more than 30 other counties on California’s “watch list” due to a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations, Mayor London Breed (D) said.

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/CVOID-19 Update

Read Time: 8 Minutes

  • The United States shattered its single-day record for new cases with more than 75,000 recorded. This marks the 11th time in the past month that the daily record has been broken.
  • Over 60 percent of voters say they trust Anthony Fauci but not President Trump when it comes to information on the coronavirus.
  • The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine did not benefit non-hospitalized patients with mild symptoms according to a study in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
  • Travel bans meant to stop coronavirus from getting to the US from China came too late, according to a new analysis from the CDC.
  • The CDC abruptly removed a slew of previously public data on coronavirus hospitalizations from their website, then restored some of the data, as President Trump has announced it is sidestepping the organization and changing how hospitals report data to the federal government.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci warned young Americans, “Not only [are] you propagating the outbreak, but you’re actually putting other people in danger.”
  • President Trump does not want to issue a nationwide mask mandate to combat the coronavirus and instead wants local governments to make their own choices, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a Thursday press briefing. 

“We leave it to localities to make the decisions with regard to face coverings. “Guidelines remain the same today: recommended but not required,” McEnany said.

  • “When he [the president] says open, he means open in in full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at a press briefing. “The science should not stand in the way of this.” 

“The science is on our side here,” she later added.

  • Countries that reopened schools were able to do so because they first got their coronavirus cases under control.

“We have fairly reassuring data from other countries that have gone about the work of reopening schools,” Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said.

Nuzzo said countries like Austria, Denmark, Germany and Norway have been able to open their schools because they have been “taking measures to maximize safety in the school setting.’

“The key is, they have all started from a place of having low transmission and low level of illness in the surrounding communities,” Nuzzo said.

Simply put, “each of these countries had their epidemic under control,” Nuzzo added.

  • As the nation debates how to safely reopen schools, one of the main concerns is  children who may become infected at school and carry the virus back home. New data released by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about 3.3 million older adults in the US live in a household with a school-age child.

About 7% of children, or 4.1 million, between the ages of 5 and 18 live in a household with adults 65 and older – a population that is more vulnerable to the virus.

  • Former game show host Chuck Woolery announced his son has tested positive for COVID-19.

“To further clarify and add perspective, Covid-19 is real and it is here. My son tested positive for the virus, and I feel for those suffering and especially for those who have lost loved ones,” Woolery tweeted before his account disappeared. 

On Monday, Woolery had tweeted: “The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”

  • Due to impacts from the ongoing coronavirus, NASA has delayed the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope until Halloween 2021. 
  • 72 NFL players have tested positive for Covid-19 as of July 10.
  • The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will suspend all fall sports competition. 
  • NCAA president Mark Emmert offered a sobering statement on the state of fall sports saying, “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”
  • Grocery store chain Publix will require all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of their stores throughout the United States beginning July 21.

Publix joins other national retailers Target, CVS, Walmart, Kroger, Kohl’s, Starbucks, Best Buy, and Costco in requiring face coverings for shoppers.

  • Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is calling for the upcoming coronavirus relief bill to include an amendment that would bar states that do not implement mask mandates from receiving stimulus funding.

“Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. Period.”

  • Vermont and Alaska are the only two states that did not record a death in the past week.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced his roughly $115 million plan to close the digital divide for all students in the state as remote learning remains part of the experience for students in the fall due to the pandemic.

This effort will include providing devices and increasing connectivity for all public school students.

  • After numerous reports of compliance issues, bars and restaurants in New York City that receive three “strikes” for failing to enforce social distancing will be forced to close, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

In addition, bars and restaurants across the state will be allowed to serve alcohol only to patrons also ordering food, and walk-up bar service will not be allowed.

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) mask mandate for all Red Alert Level 3 counties goes into effect Friday. Nearly 60% of the state will be required to wear masks in public.

The governor said some of Ohio’s counties seemed to be understanding the seriousness of the spread of the virus in their communities.

“What we’re starting to see, for example in Hamilton County, some in Butler County, other counties, as they’re starting to get it and say ‘okay, we do have a problem, we don’t want to be Florida in three weeks, or four weeks,’” DeWine said.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  stressed he is not getting involved with the state Gov. Andy Beshear’s battle to mandate mask-wearing.

“I know there’s an argument going on here in the state over whether the governor can or cannot make you wear a mask,” he said. “I’m not in that fight. But, I’m here to tell you, put it on.”

  • North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) suggested the high rates of coronavirus cases and deaths among Hispanics in NC are attributed to “less consistent adherence to social distancing and wearing a mask” by the Hispanic community.

That statement stands in direct contrast to a Pew Research study that shows Hispanics are more likely than white people to wear a mask by nearly 10 percentage points, even despite the fear that they will be considered suspicious and targeted for wearing masks.

  • South Carolina reported its most Covid-19-related deaths in a single day with 69 confirmed and three probable deaths.
  • Atlanta’s mask order remains in effect, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office said, despite Georgia’s governor’s earlier executive order suspending all local government mask mandates.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is suing Atlanta’s Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms because she refused to abide by his new law that bans municipalities from enacting mask mandates.
  • Savannah, GA  Mayor Van Johnson said he was “furious” and “at a loss for words” when he heard Gov. Kemp was suspending all local government mask mandates despite the rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state.

He said he will continue to enforce the mask mandate in the city saying, “our order still stands.”

  • Florida’s health department reported 156 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, surpassing a record the state set just days before. The new deaths bring the state’s total to 4,677.
  • Florida reported 13,965 new cases, its second-highest daily total. At least 8,626 people are currently hospitalized due to the coronavirus across the state.
  • More than 50 Florida  hospitals have reached intensive care unit capacity and show zero beds available. In Miami, hospitals have reached 95% capacity.
  • Coronavirus cases in Florida’s nursing homes have soared 74% in the past month. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to isolate the ill elderly isn’t stopping the spread.
  • Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said that he is “very, very close” to issuing a new stay-at-home order.
  • Officials in Florida were forced to shutter the Division of Emergency Management’s operations center due to an outbreak of coronavirus.
  • The largest public school district in Alabama will be teaching remotely for at least the first nine weeks of the school year, the Mobile County superintendent announced
  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced Arkansas will require face coverings in public.
  • Wichita, Kansas area hospitals are scrambling to convert rooms into makeshift ICUs as a spike in coronavirus cases leads to a 170 percent increase in bed use.

“If these numbers continue at the same rate our hospitals will reach capacity in 2-3 weeks (sooner if we have a 4th of July bump),” Mayor Brandon Whipple (D) tweeted. “Please wear your mask.”

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) signed a new mask ordinance.
  • Some Texas counties are bringing in refrigerated trucks as morgues reach capacity.
  • The health director in Dallas County, Texas, announced that he will be issuing an order to delay in-person instruction for all local public and private schools until September 8.
  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) thanked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and his state for sending teams to help set up Covid-19 testing sites in Houston.
  • Hospitals in Laredo are full and the federal government is converting a hotel into a healthcare facility.
  • Colorado will require residents to wear masks when they are visiting public indoor spaces and are not able to social distance, Gov. Jared Polis (D) said.
  • Arizona morgues are filling up: In Maricopa County, which has the most Covid-19 cases in the state, the medical examiner’s office has ordered four portable coolers to serve as morgues.
  • Arizona state health officials have announced they’re bringing nearly 600 critical care and medical-surgical nurses from out of state to help as they enhance their internal surge plans to fill staffing gaps.
  • California reported 8,544 new cases of coronavirus and 118 additional deaths on Thursday. The country’s most populous state set two more records with highs for hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
  • Los Angeles County public health director warned another stay-at-home order is likely: “We can’t take anything off the table — there’s absolutely no certainty of what exactly is going to happen next,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.
  • Three northern California churches are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and other public health officials over a ban on singing and chanting in houses of worship during the coronavirus crisis, as public health officials say singing is one of the most high-risk ways to spread the virus.
  • University of California, San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford said California lacks the necessary contact tracing to adequately combat the virus.

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 United States saw a record number of new cases Tuesday with 67,417. Wednesday registered 60,971 new diagnoses and 773 U.S. deaths.
  • A Gallup survey found mask wearing remains a political issue, with 94 percent of Democrats stating that they “always” or “very often” wear masks when outside their homes, compared to 46 percent of Republicans who said the same. 

36 percent of Republicans said they “rarely” or “never” wear a mask when going out, a position shared by only 2 percent of Democrats.

  • Young people throwing “Covid parties” in the United States has been making Dr. Anthony Fauci’s “head spin,” he said.

“When I hear about these Covid parties, it just makes my head spin. Because when you get infected, what you’re doing is you’re not in a vacuum. You are part of the propagation of the outbreak.”

  • Moderna’s chief medical officer said Wednesday that he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the biotechnology company’s Covid-19 vaccine developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.
  • President Trump said his trade adviser Peter Navarro made a misstep by publishing an op-ed critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“He made a statement representing himself,” Trump said when questioned about the article while departing the White House. “He shouldn’t be doing that. I have a very good relationship with Anthony.”

  • The Los Angeles Times reported that President Donald Trump personally “authorized” and “encouraged” an op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci.
  • Fauci said the government’s attempt to discredit him “is a bit bizarre. I don’t really fully understand it.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has “total” confidence in Dr. Fauci.
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s battle with Anthony Fauci is intensifying, putting the White House in a difficult position as it struggles to downplay evidence of a rift between President Trump and one of the nation’s most trusted health experts during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is the sort of thing that would get you fired in any other White House,” a former official said.

  • Infectious disease expert Dr. Colleen Kraft said the United States doesn’t have a handle on coronavirus, largely due to people’s behavior. 

“I’m not really sure at this point…what to say differently, except that we may be more at a toddler status, where we have to sort of learn ourselves by putting our hand over a fire to actually learn that there’s a problem.”

  • Coronavirus cases are surging in the South because states reopened too soon, not because northerners traveled to Southern destinations over Memorial Day, the Harvard Global Health Institute asserted in a statement.

“Northerners are not the cause of big outbreaks in the south,” the Institute said in a statement. “What the states that are seeing large outbreaks have in common is that they relaxed COVID-19 regulations around the same time in May.”

  • The reported death rates of patients being treated for coronavirus in intensive care units has improved since the beginning of the pandemic from 60% of patients dying to 42% at the end of May. 
  • A majority of voters oppose the Trump administration’s demand that K-12 schools and day care centers be fully opened for in-person instruction during the coming academic year.
  • Walmart will require customers to wear face coverings at all of its namesake and Sam’s Club stores, making it the largest retailer to introduce such a policy that has otherwise proven difficult to enforce without state and federal requirements.
  • Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket chain, will require customers to wear a mask or face covering to shop in their stores.
  • Thirty-eight states reported an increase in the number of new cases from the week before.
  • Twenty-seven states have paused or rolled back plans to reopen their economies.
  • Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) warned of “an unsettling climb” in new cases and moved to reduce seating capacity in restaurants and limit the size of gatherings.
  • Philadelphia plans to reopen schools in September with a hybrid of in-person and online learning, with most students physically attending school two days per week.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine (R) called for Ohioans to show unity and take action against the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the state.

At the beginning of the pandemic, it took Ohio 20 days to reach its first 1,500 total Covid-19 cases, DeWine said during a briefing. Last week, Ohio saw over 1,500 cases in a single day.

DeWine emphasized that the number of new cases is not just the result of increased testing.

“I know some say that our case numbers are increasing because we are simply doing more testing. Yes, our testing has gone up by 87%. But our number of positive cases has skyrocketed by almost 200%,” the governor said.

He encouraged Ohioans to wear masks.

  • Officials in Prince George’s County, Md., announced that students would be distance-learning through at least February.
  • Richmond, Virginia will make K-12 classes fully virtual in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. The school board cited research showing the illness is airborne and “highly contagious, especially indoors” for the decision.
  • Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said the district’s state of emergency will be extended — likely through October.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is calling on all public school districts in the state to submit plans for reopening that give parents the option to either send their children back to school, or keep them home for distance learning.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is extending the state’s emergency coronavirus restrictions, but is not requiring citizens to wear a mask.

The order also explicitly bans Georgia’s cities and counties from ordering people to wear masks in public places. He voided orders that at least 15 local governments across the state had adopted even though Kemp had earlier said cities and counties had no power to order masks.

  • Florida reported another 10,181 cases of coronavirus.
  • Florida has hit another troubling milestone in its fight against the coronavirus: a record number of daily hospitalizations related to coronavirus infections.

WFLA 8 Florida reports that the state has recorded 453 patients as new hospital admittances on July 15.

  • Florida’s largest public health system has seen a 226% increase in coronavirus patients since June 14. 

“The biggest issue is we have a lot of aggressive noncompliant people, people that just do not believe that masking is the right thing to do,”Jackson Health System President and CEO Carlos Migoya said. 

  • Fifty-four Florida hospital ICUs have reached capacity as Miami-Dade county reports Covid-19 ventilator use is up 92%
  • Florida health officials have identified a troubling trend: approximately 33 percent, or one third, of children in Florida tested for COVID-19 yield positive results.
  • Alabama reported a record 47 COVID deaths, more per capita than Florida. 
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced a mandatory statewide mask order, citing a 50 percent increase in new coronavirus cases over the past two weeks.
  • The International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, the oldest fishing tournament in the United States, has been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • More than 30 students from Lake Zurich High School, Illinois have tested positive for coronavirus. 
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that she would delay the opening of schools until after Labor Day, saying that schools needed time to get masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer and other supplies. “I can’t in good conscience open schools when Kansas has numerous hot spots where cases are at an all-time high & continuing to rapidly rise,” she wrote on Twitter.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has tested positive for coronavirus as cases in his state hit record levels just a month after he hosted Trump’s first campaign rally amid the pandemic.
  • Oklahoma has reported a record-high number of new cases. The State Department of Health said that there are at least 22,813 total cases, up at least 1,075 new cases from Tuesday.
  • Texas has set grim records for single-day deaths and new COVID-19 cases as the Lone Star State continues to get rocked by the pandemic.

The state reported 110 deaths and 10,791 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, bringing its total number of cases during the pandemic to 282,365. It was the second consecutive day that Texas broke its record for daily number of new cases.

  • TexasGov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order mandating that most people wear face masks in public.
  • The Houston Independent School District, the seventh-largest in the country, said it would start the year virtually on Sept. 8. Students will have at least six weeks of online instruction, with a tentative plan to start in-person classes on Oct. 19.
  • Idaho experienced its deadliest day since the coronavirus pandemic began and hit a new record for cases. Eight Idohans succumbed to the disease and 550 were newly diagnosed. 
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a statewide order requiring the use of a face covering in many indoor and outdoor settings.
  • New Mexico reported its second-largest single-day Covid-19 case increase with 330 new cases.
  • Arizona has led the nation for over a month with the highest 7-day average of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.
  • Hospitalizations and ICU admissions for Covid-19 patients in California continue to rise in the state, setting a new record with a total of 6,745 hospitalizations and 1,886 ICU admissions.
  • Sacramento County students will not return to public school campuses in the fall, joining several other California counties that will start the academic year with online distance learning only.
  • Public school students in San Francisco will start the fall semester with classes completely online.
  • The iconic Tournament of Roses Parade, scheduled for New Year’s Day 2021  has been canceled. 

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

  • New data from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests 1.47 million education professionals could face serious cases of coronavirus if schools resume. In response, some teachers are choosing early retirement, or leaving the field altogether.
  • People who have recovered from COVID-19 may lose their immunity to the virus within months, according to research released this month that found levels of antibodies that destroy the virus quickly declined and sometimes disappeared completely after peaking several weeks after patients exhibited symptoms.
  • Many people who suffered supposed “mild” cases of coronavirus and the health experts who treated them are warning people not to assume “mild” means an easy case of the virus, as many find themselves suffering long-term consequences such as lung problems among other painful issues.
  • A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control analyzed the impact a single traveller with no symptoms can have. A woman in China carrying coronavirus but not showing a single symptom took a 60-second trip in an elevator on her own which led to the infection of 71 people.
  • Drugmakers partnered with the U.S. government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the summer, an unidentified  senior administration official said on Monday.
  • Anthony Fauci blamed the surge in U.S. coronavirus cases to the country’s failure to shut down completely, then a rush to reopen too soon, and urged a commitment to guidelines to snuff out the disease.

He stressed basic protections including physical distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowds and washing hands. “Those things, as simple as they are, can turn it around. I think we can do that and that’s what we’ve got to do,” he said.

  • Top White House aide Dan Scavino publicly attacked Anthony Fauci, sharing a cartoon of the nation’s top infectious disease expert depicted as a faucet spewing statements like “indefinite lockdown,” and “no NFL season” and also accusing him of “cowardly” voicing disagreement through leaks in the media.
  • President Trump retweeted a message from game show host Chuck Woolery that attacks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and claims the agency and others are lying about the coronavirus pandemic, the latest example of Trump undercutting the guidance of his administration’s own public health organizations.
  • The White House is insisting that it is not sidelining Anthony Fauci after it was revealed that the nation’s top infectious disease expert has not briefed President Trump about the coronavirus pandemic in two months, even as cases surge in many parts of the country.
  • Nearly 60 public and private universities have filed a legal brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to block the Trump administration rule announced by ICE last week that would strip foreign students of visas and threaten to deport them if their colleges choose to hold virtual over in-person classes this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The World Health Organization announced it would launch a massive investigation analyzing the global response into the coronavirus pandemic: “The magnitude of this pandemic, which has touched virtually everyone in the world, clearly deserves a commensurate evaluation.”
  • The coronavirus pandemic is raging out of control in the U.S. and will continue unless “proven measures” are taken against it, according to the World Health Organization: “If the basics aren’t followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go: It is going to get worse, and worse, and worse.”
  • The coronavirus pandemic stripped an estimated 5.4 million Americans of their health insurance between February and May, a stretch in which more adults became uninsured because of job losses than have ever lost coverage in a single year.
  • More than 930 employees of private contractors running U.S. immigration detention centers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus
  • Case numbers are rising in all but a handful of states. Hospitals are running out of beds. And some of the country’s biggest urban centers — Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla. — have seen out-of-control growth with few concrete signs of progress.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s issuing an emergency health order that requires out-of-state travelers from states with rising coronavirus cases to give local authorities their contact information when they arrive.
  • Monday, Florida added more than 12,600 additional cases, its second-highest total recorded for a single day in the pandemic.
  • Florida has 47 hospitals with no open ICU beds. Each of 25 other hospitals have just one available ICU bed. 
  • In Miami-Dade County, six hospitals have reached capacity as virus cases spike. The increase in cases caused the mayor there to roll back reopening plans by imposing a curfew and closing restaurants for indoor dining.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) admitted there are serious risks in reopening schools as coronavirus cases in the state breaks records. Rubio looked at the situation from a “cost-benefit analysis” perspective, and said while students eventually need to go back to in-person classes, right now: “The risks in reopening schools are not insignificant, but the costs of not doing so are extraordinary.”
  • As new cases continue to mount in the Southeast and West, troublesome signs are emerging elsewhere in the country. The county that includes Oklahoma City has been averaging twice as many cases as it was just two weeks ago.
  • Texas reported a small drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday, the first decline in two weeks as health officials scramble to slow the spread of the disease.

The state reported 10,405 people hospitalized with confirmed infections, down from a high of 10,410 on Sunday. While the dip itself may seem insignificant, the growth of hospitalizations has been slowing for several days now, a possible sign that it is nearing a peak.

Confirmed deaths and total cases were also down Monday; the state reported 43 deaths and 5,655 new cases.

  • “Providers in our region have urgently requested additional staffing and a myriad of medical supplies including oxygen, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and dialysis machines” Texas lawmakers wrote in a dire plea for federal help as the state battles climbing coronavirus cases. “The rapid deployment of federal resources would go a long way to alleviate and augment the local response as we continue to experience increases in COVID-19 cases.”
  • Hard-hit Houston has hit a 25.2% positivity rate, according to city health director Dr. David Persse.
  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced 1,544 new cases on Monday, bringing the city’s total to 30,965.
  • In Arizona, ICUs are 90% full, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
  • Arizona reported 1,357 new cases on Monday, bringing the state’s total cases to 123,824. Arizona’s positivity rate stands at 21.7%.
  • With cases surging in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced one of the most sweeping rollbacks of any state’s reopening plans, saying Monday that he would move to close indoor operations statewide for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos and card rooms, and bars.
  • Los Angeles and San Diego school districts will start the school year next month offering only virtual classes, a decision that comes as President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos push for classes to be in-person and have threatened to withhold funds.
  • Ontario will ease coronavirus restrictions further in most regions excluding Toronto on July 17, moving to stage three of reopening in Canada’s most populous province, Premier Doug Ford said. 
  • Hong Kong Disneyland will reclose on Wednesday to comply with a government-directed rollback of public activities in the region following an increase in coronavirus infections

The city that seemed like one of the most successful places in controlling the virus, announced Monday evening that it would close gyms and cinemas and ban public gatherings of more than four people in response to a new wave of locally transmitted infections.

Sources: ABC News, 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: 8 Minutes

  • The United States on Friday reached 60,000 new cases for the first time, and then the number soared to more than 68,000 — setting a single-day record for the seventh time in 11 days. 
  • The daily number of deaths from the coronavirus has risen recently in some of the nation’s most populous states, signaling a possible end to months of declining death totals nationally.

The seven-day death average in the United States reached 608 on Thursday, up from 471 earlier in July, but still a fraction of the more than 2,200 deaths the country averaged each day in mid-April, when the situation in the Northeast was at its worst.

  • Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, is warning that she expects to see an increase in coronavirus-related deaths after the number of cases in the U.S. has been trending upward over the past several weeks.
  • As European nations have cut their number of reported cases to a few hundred a day, in the United States the spread of the virus is accelerating alarmingly: The nation reported more than 59,880 cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record for the sixth time in 10 days.
  • Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how President Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic, the latest ABC/Ipsos poll reveals. 67 percent of respondents said that they disapproved of how the president has handled the pandemic, which has killed more than 130,000 people across the country.
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is leading an effort to demand the FDA reverse course and grant a second emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19.
  • A federal judge in Boston said on Friday that a challenge to new Trump administration rules stripping visas from foreign students who planned to study entirely online in the fall was likely to succeed. But she put off any decision until next week. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology seeking a court order to protect foreign students from losing their visas.

After the hearing, President Trump said he was ordering a review of universities’ tax-exempt status.

  • Mr. Trump said in a speech on July 4. “We show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.”

In an interview with The Financial Times that was published Friday, Dr. Fauci said he was not sure of the source of the data the president was referencing.

“I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number,” Dr. Fauci said. “What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.”

“Even if it doesn’t kill you, even if it doesn’t put you in the hospital, it can make you seriously ill,” Dr. Fauci said. And he called the pandemic “the big one.”

  • Dr. Fauci revealed he last saw Trump in person at the White House on June 2 — and said he has not briefed the president for at least two months.
  • In a joint statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and The School Superintendents Association, said that schools in places with a high community spread of the virus should not be pushed to reopen, especially if local public health officials have advised otherwise.
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters that it was important for schools to reopen in the fall despite risks.

Kudlow told reporters. “Just go back to school, we can do that.” “And you know, you can social distance, you can get your temperature taken, you can be tested, you can have distancing — come on, it’s not that hard.”

  • House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott is calling on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield to testify before the committee later this month on how teachers, staff and students can safely return to classrooms across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Scientists warn of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggests COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.
  • Autopsies of patients who have died from COVID-19 have shown a “dramatic” increase in the number of blood clots affecting major and minor blood vessels as well as “almost every organ” in the human body, according to a top New York pathologist.
  • In one month, cases in the U.S. military have more than doubled, according to Pentagon data, a disturbing surge that mirrors a similar trend seen across the country.
  • At least six states reported single-day records for new cases: Georgia, Utah, Montana, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced the state will require all residents to wear masks in public for 30 days, citing an “explosion” of cases of COVID-19. The mask mandate will apply to most forward-facing businesses such as retailers and restaurants, and as outdoor spaces where social distancing is impossible.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said that the sale of all alcoholic drinks in restaurants and bars would be banned beginning Saturday night, saying he was concerned about spread among young people. 
  • Alabama state Sen. Del Marsh (R) told reporters that he would “like to see more people” contract COVID-19 in order to create herd immunity in the state. Marsh made the comment when asked about Alabama setting a new daily record for COVID-19 cases after the state reported 2,164 cases on Thursday.

“I’m not as concerned as much as the number of cases — and in fact, quite honestly — I want to see more people, because we start reaching an immunity as more people have it and get through it.”

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she’s rolling back her city’s reopening, saying the state, “reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”
  • Florida officials on Friday announced 11,433 new cases, nearing the single-day record for new cases the state reported on July 4. The state also reported on Friday that there were 93 new deaths, a day after setting a single-day reporting record with 120 deaths.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) disagreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying he doesn’t think his state reopened too early.

“I think there was really no justification to not move forward,” DeSantis said according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel while discussing reopening phases of the state.

His defense comes amid criticism of the state as it sees climbing coronavirus cases, and also follows Fauci saying on FiveThirtyEight’s weekly “PODCAST-19” that he thought the state rushed through reopening phases.

“Despite the guidelines and the recommendations to open up carefully and prudently, some states skipped over those and just opened up too quickly,” Fauci said on the podcast. “Certainly Florida … I think, jumped over a couple of checkpoints.”

  • Louisiana has been seeing an average of more than 1,000 new cases a day this month for the first time since April.
  • On Friday, Ohio reported 1,525 new cases, exceeding the previous single-day record it had set back in April.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) called the state’s recent increase in cases and hospitalizations “significant” and ordered people in hard-hit counties to wear masks. The average number of new cases a day in the state this month is twice what it was last month.

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an order requiring people in the state to wear masks in indoor public spaces and in crowded outdoor areas, and requiring businesses to turn away people without masks. It is punishable by a $500 fine.
  • Iowa is reporting an average of more than 400 cases a day this month for the first time since May.
  • In a move that could set up a clash with Gov. Kristi Noem (R) who has fought against coronavirus checkpoints on tribal lands, The Oglala Sioux tribe is locking down its South Dakota reservation for a 72-hour period as it seeks to prevent spikes in coronavirus cases.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signaled that he might impose a new economic “lockdown” if the state is unable to reverse the caseloads and hospitalizations that have made it a leading U.S. hot spot in the pandemic.

Mr. Abbott bluntly predicted that “things will get worse” and said that he may take steps even more drastic than his statewide face-mask requirement, which has angered members of his own party.

  • Nevada’s governor Steve Sisolak (D) said that as of 11:59 p.m. on Friday, the state will close bars in some counties. Bars in Las Vegas and Reno that don’t serve food will be affected by the restrictions.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services announced the state broke another daily coronavirus case record on Friday with more than 4,200 more cases reported, with health officials also revealing that 89 percent of intensive care units in the state are full.
  • As coronavirus cases spike in Arizona, morgues are reporting that they are nearing capacity and some are even requesting refrigerated trucks.
  • The Los Angeles teachers union called on the Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday to keep campuses closed when the semester begins on Aug. 18 and to focus on preparing for distance learning in the fall, the union said in a statement.
  • The New York Times tracked over 200 ICE deportation flights from March to June — and confirmed that hundreds of detainees with Covid-19 were returned to 11 countries around the world.
  • Hong Kong, which has been lauded for its aggressive handling of the outbreak, is confronting a third wave of infections, and on Friday shut down its school system.
  • A large takeout order from a KFC in Australia led the police to more than a dozen people hiding at a house party and more than 26,000 Australian dollars in Covid-19 fines, the authorities said Friday.

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton of the Victoria police announced the hefty fine at a news conference, saying that 16 people had broken coronavirus restrictions by attending a surprise birthday at a home in Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne.

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

  • After President Trump criticized the CDC’s guidelines on reopening schools, Vice President Pence suggested the agency would release new guidance. But in a tense exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Thursday, the CDC’s director said new guidance would not be “a revision of the guidelines.”
  • Keeping schools closed in the coming academic year is a greater risk to children’s health than reopening them, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encouraged school districts to “think creatively” about how to reopen: “This doesn’t have to look like exactly like it did a year or two ago. Think creatively about how you do it, but do it. This has to happen.”
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is “very confident” Democrats and Republicans in Congress will agree on strong new coronavirus relief legislation after lawmakers return from their July break.
  • The World Health Organization released new guidelines on the transmission of the coronavirus that acknowledge reports of airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, but stopped short of confirming that the virus spreads through the air.
  • In an emotional address World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros urged nations to unify in the fight against the coronavirus. “We must come together in a global conversation to take these hard-won lessons and turn them into action. My friends, make no mistake, the greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, rather, it’s the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels.” 
  • U.S. states that have driven a record surge in coronavirus cases may now be slipping backward in their economic recovery, as cell phone data shows retail visits in high case-growth locations falling below the rest of the country.
  • Trump complained on Hannity tonight that the media keeps reporting on coronavirus cases. He said, “All the time, ‘cases.’ And those cases get better. In most — most cases — in almost — I mean, literally, in most cases, they automatically cure. They automatically get better.”
  • Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, called on U.S. states experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections to “seriously look at shutting down.”

“We’ve got to tighten things up,” Fauci said.

  • Later, Fauci walked back his statement, saying instead that states like California, Arizona, Texas and Florida should think about “pausing their opening process… I don’t think we need to go back to an extreme of shutting down.”
  • A reporter who works at the White House has tested positive for the coronavirus, in the first known case among the White House press corps.
  • More than 1,000 employees of the TSA have tested positive for the coronavirus, about 900 of those are airport screeners. More than 640 of the employees have recovered while six have died. 
  • The surge in coronavirus cases, which as of Wednesday had set new daily-case records five times in nine days, is being driven largely by states that were among the first to ease virus restrictions as they moved to reopen their economies.

Epidemiologists had warned that reopening could lead to waves of new infections if it was done before the virus was contained, and before contact tracing was sufficiently ramped up enough to contain future outbreaks.

  • Hospitals across the South and West are being flooded with virus patients, forcing them to cancel elective surgeries and discharge patients early as they try to keep beds available.

“When hospitals and health care assistants talk about surge capacity, they’re often talking about a single event,” said John Sinnott, chief epidemiologist at Tampa General Hospital. “But what we’re having now is the equivalent of a bus accident a day, every day, and it just keeps adding.”

  • At least five states set single-day records for new cases on Thursday: Alabama with 2,200, Idaho with 527, Missouri with 950, Montana with 95, and Oregon with 371.
  • Average daily cases in New York are down 52 percent since the state began to reopen in late May.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio extended New York City’s prohibition on large public gatherings through Sept. 30, adding the West Indian American Day Parade, the Dominican Day Parade and the Feast of San Gennaro will be canceled.
  • Cases in Massachusetts are down 83 percent.
  • Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentuckians will be required to wear face coverings in many public settings, including any indoor space in which it is difficult to maintain six-foot social distancing.
  • South Carolina, one of the first states to let retail stores reopen, has seen its average daily case count rise to 1,570, up from 143 from when the state began to reopen in late April, a 999 percent increase.
  • In South Carolina, National Guard troops are being called in soon to help insert intravenous lines and check blood pressure. At the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, patients can wait as long as four hours before being seen in emergency rooms.
  • Tennessee recorded its highest single-day death toll on Thursday, with 22.
  • In Georgia, where the governor’s moves to reopen swiftly in late April were criticized as too aggressive by Mr. Trump — who had generally been pushing states to move faster to reopen — cases have risen by 245 percent.
  • Florida coronavirus death toll hit 4,000 and set a record for single day deaths with 120. More than 8,900 new cases were confirmed, bringing total positive cases to 232,718.
  • When asked about the rising numbers of cases in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “There’s no need to be panicked. There’s no need to be fearful.” 
  • Florida Gov. DeSantis: “If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, you can definitely do the schools.”

NOTE: Most people don’t spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week in retail establishments.

  • In Florida, more than 40 intensive care units in 21 counties have hit capacity and have no beds available.
  • At Miami television station, WPLG Local 10, at least nine employees, including a news anchor, have come down with Covid-19 or tested positive, and another 150 people linked to the station were awaiting test results.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued an executive order for 13 counties in the state to require face masks and put limits on businesses as coronavirus cases climb. The order bans indoor social gatherings larger than 10 people, and outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people, among other restrictions on businesses. As of Thursday, Mississippi health officials have confirmed 33,591 cases of coronavirus and 1,204 deaths.
  • In Mississippi, five of the state’s largest hospitals have already run out of I.C.U. beds for critical patients.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening to impose stricter mask laws amid a spike in coronavirus cases and mounting evidence that some residents aren’t taking precautions seriously.
  • The state of Wisconsin reported 754 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its highest number of reported cases in one day since the pandemic began.
  • On Wednesday, Texas recorded 119 deaths from the virus, the most in a single day in the state. Thursday the state added another 105 deaths. Texas has recorded more than 235,000 cases and more than 2,990 deaths.
  • Nearly 9,700 people were in Texas hospitals on Thursday, the highest number since the pandemic began.
  • Dr. Diego Maselli Caceres at University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, said he had watched a sevenfold increase in Covid-19 patients needing intensive care over the past month, filling up three floors of the hospital instead of one.
  • In an effort to free up hospital bed space, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended a ban on elective procedures to new sections of the state.
  • A state judge on Thursday declined to reverse Houston’s decision to cancel the Texas Republican convention’s in-person events because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Larry Weiman rejected the state GOP’s request for a temporary restraining order.

  • California, once seen as a model for how to contain the virus, has seen an alarming increase in new cases, which are up 275 percent since May 25.
  • California reported an average of 8,077 new cases a day for the past week, as of Wednesday, according to a NY Times database. The state’s positivity rate has been 7.3 percent per day, on average over the past week.
  • The top Republican in New Hampshire – where Mr. Trump is scheduled to hold a rally on Saturday –  has already said he would skip the large gathering as a health precaution.

“I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people,” Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said.

  • One day after Harvard and MIT sued to stop the policy change from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced they intend to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration to block it from forcing out international students whose schools in the U.S. move their courses online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Big Ten will adopt a conference-only scheduling model for the 2020 college football season stemming from concerns of playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Starbucks said it would require face masks inside all U.S. locations beginning July 15. It said that in some locations not under government mandates, customers without masks would be able to place orders at drive-throughs or with curbside pickup.
  • The intensive care unit at the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo, one of the Italian provinces most affected by the virus, hit a milestone this week: It had no Covid-19 cases, for the first time in 137 days.
  • Since the pandemic began, aid groups warned that the virus might prove devastating for a rebel-held Syrian province packed with displaced people and hampered by battered medical facilities.

On Thursday, medics there reported the first confirmed case.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel had reopened parts of its economy too early, as virus cases in the country have continued to rise sharply.

“I take responsibility for this measure and I take responsibility for fixing it.”

  • India recorded nearly 25,000 new infections on Thursday, its highest single-day total.

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

  •  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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Over the first five days of July, the United States reported its three largest daily case totals. Fourteen states recorded single-day highs. In all, more than 250,000 new cases were announced nationwide.
  • Forty lobbyists who either worked on President Trump’s campaign, inaugural committee, transition team or in the administration reportedly secured over $10 billion in coronavirus relief aid from the Trump administration.
  • Fifty-seven former government scientists and public health officials of both parties called for a science-based approach to the coronavirus pandemic and criticized the Trump administration for marginalizing science and expertise in its response.
  • U.S. health official Anthony Fauci said on Monday that the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States “is really not good” and a “serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
  • Dr. Fauci compared the United States unfavorably with Europe, which he said was now merely handling “blips” as countries move to reopen. “We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it’s surging back up.”

“If you’re going to have a social function, maybe a single couple or two — do it outside if you’re going to do it. Those are fundamental, and everybody can do that right now.”

  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shot down the possibility of a national mandate requiring Americans to wear masks as coronavirus cases surge across the country, saying such a plan is not among the executive orders President Trump is preparing to sign.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled he is supportive of some additional, direct stimulus payments but would want to change the salary threshold of those who get aid.
  • Three leading health organizations urged Americans to wear masks when they leave their homes in an open letter published Monday.

“Covid-19 is not behind us and we must resist confusing reopening with returning to normalcy.”

  • The drug manufacturer Regeneron said that it would begin late-stage clinical trials of its experimental treatment for Covid-19 after an initial safety study showed good results.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to Becton Dickinson and Co for a COVID-19 antigen test that can be administered at the point of care and produce results within 15 minutes.
  • Rutgers University will remain mostly remote for the fall semester, citing ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. A limited number of on-campus classes will be offered.

The majority of classes will continue to be remote, while classes that “benefit from direct access to campus facilities” will take place in-person, including lab work, clinical, and some arts instruction.

  • Princeton University will bring back about half of its undergraduates for each semester and most teaching will take place online, school officials said on Monday.

The university will discount the full-year undergraduate tuition by ten percent for this academic year.

  • Harvard University announced Monday that only up to 40 percent of its undergraduates would be allowed on campus at a time during the next academic year, but that tuition and fees would remain the same.

The university said that all first-year students would be invited to campus for the fall semester, but would be sent home in the spring to allow seniors to return before they graduate.

  • ICE says international students whose universities move to online-only this fall must transfer or leave the US. 

As colleges debate how to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration and Customs Enforcement gave foreign students an ultimatum on Monday: transfer to a school with in-person classes or depart the country.

  • President Trump said that schools “must” reopen in the fall and asserted without proof that Democrats, including his presidential rival Joseph R. Biden Jr., wanted them to stay shuttered “for political reasons.”  
  • The 7-day averages for coronavirus cases in 12 states hit new highs, with the biggest increases in West Virginia, Tennessee and Montana.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s pumping the brakes on New Jersey’s gradual reopening as the state’s rate of transmission has risen above the key mark 1 for the first time in 10 weeks.

Murphy did not say he is rolling back any steps the Garden State has already taken, but he said “we’re not gonna be jumping the gun on a whole lot more opening-up steps right now.”

  • New York City has entered Phase 3 of its reopening. Nail salons, tattoo parlors and some outdoor recreation opportunities are back, but there is still no indoor dining.
  • Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia issued an order Monday requiring people nine years of age and over to wear masks in indoor public places where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • After Governor Bill Lee announced counties in Tennessee can enforce the mandatory wearing of masks or face coverings in public, Williamson County has opted to require residents to wear them when social distancing is not possible.

The order will go into effect in Williamson County Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. It is expected to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 3, unless sooner cancelled or unless extended.

  • In one of the largest public efforts from medical professionals to shape Tennessee’s response to the coronavirus, 39 doctors called on Gov. Bill Lee to enact a statewide requirement that all residents wear masks when outside their homes.

The doctors also urged the governor to require businesses to begin using masks and distancing customers to slow the spread of the virus.

  • Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she has tested positive for COVID-19. She said she has had no symptoms.
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem flew with President Trump on Air Force One on Friday after having close interactions with Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior adviser for the president’s campaign and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he will not attend the Republican National Convention next month in Florida due to coronavirus concerns.

“I’m not going to go. And I’m not going to go because of the virus situation,” Grassley, 86, said on a conference call with Iowa reporters

  • Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced he will be signing an emergency order issuing more closures across the county.

The order closes restaurant dining rooms, ballrooms, banquet facilities, party venues, gyms and fitness centers, and short-term rentals.

Restaurants will still be allowed to operate for takeout and delivery services.

  • Even as Miami’s nightclubs closed in March, the party scene in some residential neighborhoods has raged on. Local health officials have said these mostly maskless all-nighters have contributed to the increase of cases in Florida, one of the most troubling infection spots in the country.
  • Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has issued an executive order requiring all of Florida’s public K-12 schools to reopen in August.

As part of the executive order issued Monday, school districts and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students in August.

  • In Mississippi, where nearly every county has reported an uptick in cases, the speaker of the State House of Representatives was among several lawmakers to test positive.
  • Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he is isolating as he waits on the results of a coronavirus test.

Governor Reeves posted on Twitter he took the test after being exposed to a member of the legislature who tested positive for the virus.

  • In Missouri, a summer camp shut down after more than 40 people, including campers and employees, tested positive.
  • More than 8,800 new cases were announced across Texas, the largest single-day total of the pandemic.
  • At least two Texas sheriffs say that they won’t enforce the order that Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued last week requiring Texans to wear face masks in public.

The sheriffs of Gillespie County, west of Austin, and suburban Montgomery County, north of Houston, announced that their departments did not intend to comply.

  • “The situation is that we are experiencing rampant community spread,” said Clay Jenkins, the top elected official in Dallas County, Texas, where more than 2,000 new cases were announced over the weekend. Mr. Jenkins pleaded with residents to “move from selfishness to sacrifice” and wear a mask in public.
  • In Starr County, Texas, along the Mexican border, cases were being identified by the hundreds and hospitals were running out of room.

“The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available,” Eloy Vera, the top official in Starr County, said in a Facebook post. “I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and AVOID GATHERINGS.”

  • Arizona has become the eighth state to top 100,000 total coronavirus cases as hospitalizations in the state continue to rise and the number of new cases in the U.S. continues to surge.
  • The Louvre, the world’s most-visited museum, reopened on Monday, ending a 16-week coronavirus shutdown that resulted in a loss of about $45 million in ticket sales. On Monday, about 7,000 visitors had booked tickets, compared with the 30,000 daily visitors who toured the Louvre before the pandemic.
  • About 270,000 people in Spain have re-entered lockdown, after the country officially ended its state of emergency on June 21. Emergency measures went into effect over the weekend.
  • Officials in India postponed the reopening of the Taj Mahal this week. The number of cases in the country started to rapidly rise several weeks ago after the government began lifting a lockdown imposed in March, and some cities have already reinstated tough rules to keep their caseloads down.
  • With the virus roaring back and positive test results reaching new heights, the Israeli government on Monday ratcheted up its restrictions, closing bars, gyms and public swimming pools, curtailing gatherings in restaurants, synagogues and buses and canceling summer camps for all but the youngest children.

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: 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