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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Saturday, with the total rising by 212,326 in 24 hours.
  • The World Health Organization said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 2,785,023 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 52,492 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 749 to 129,397.
  • Florida set another state record in the number of new coronavirus cases in a single day with 11,458. There have been 190,052 total cases of COVID-19 and 3,702 deaths in Florida since the outbreak began.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has signed an executive order allowing mayors in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to issue local mask requirements if they experience a spike in COVID-19 cases.
  • “Stop yelling at these young girls. Stop slamming doors. Stop swearing at them and making a scene. STOP!!!” reads a dire call from an Ohio ice cream shop owner for customers to stop harassing the teenage girls who work there and have had to enforce the store’s mask requirement amid the pandemic.

“Does it feel good to make a 16 year old girl cry in the bathroom? Or sob on her way home from work? Does that make you feel better about Covid?”

  • Texas reported 8,258 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, setting a record for the second time this week and bringing its total number of cases to 191,790. The climb comes as many worry Fourth of July celebrations will cause an even further spike.
  • Texas reported a record level of hospitalized Covid-19 patients — 7,890, with an increase of 238 from the previous day.
  • A number of hospitals in Houston have seen a steep rise in caseloads, filling intensive care units, overburdening staff, and straining testing capacity and the availability of other medical services. Protective gear, and other medical devices for testing and treating patients have been scarce.

“What’s been disheartening over the past week or two has been that it feels like we’re back at square one,” Dr. Mir M. Alikhan, a pulmonary and critical care specialist, said to his medical team before rounds. “It’s really a terrible kind of sinking feeling. But we’re not truly back at square one, right? Because we have the last three months of expertise that we’ve developed.”

  • Hospitals in at least two counties in Texas are at full capacity and have no more beds available as the Lone Star State struggles with an alarming spike in coronavirus cases.
  • Residents in New Mexico who decide to flout the state law mandating facial masks in public areas could face a $100 fine. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision to implement more aggressive measures to enforce public health mandates comes as new cases are rising across the state, hitting a record high as of July 1.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services on Friday reported that ICU’s are at 91 percent capacity after nearly a quarter of coronavirus tests conducted in the state returned positive.

Almost 25 percent of the state’s tests for coronavirus returned positive on Thursday, reported Axios. According to the DHS’ website, 1,520 ICU beds were occupied, leaving only 156 beds still available.

  • “Cases, Cases, Cases! If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases,” President Trump tweeted on July Fourth. “In a certain way, our tremendous Testing success gives the Fake News Media all they want, CASES.”
  • Trump said the US has now tested almost 40 million people for coronavirus, and added: “By so doing, we show cases – 99% of which are totally harmless.” 
  • Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh on Saturday rejected a request from Illinois Republicans to allow large political gatherings, including a Fourth of July picnic, leaving them without a reprieve from an order from the state’s governor barring most gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • “How on earth can airlines—in the middle of pandemic—fly their planes at full capacity?” Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter sharing a letter demanding federal action to prevent coronavirus from spreading on airplanes. “I am demanding federal action to require social distancing, mask-wearing, and disinfection in planes and airports.”
  • Kroger is giving employees access to free at-home coronavirus tests. A health care professional will guide patients through the nasal swab collection process at home through two-way video chats.
  • President Trump on Saturday signed legislation that extends the deadline for businesses to apply for aid under the Paycheck Protection Program. The program, set up to help assist businesses impacted by closures related to the coronavirus pandemic, had expired on Tuesday night with roughly $130 billion left unused.
  • A pair of Excelsior, Minn. residents have been fined $1,000 apiece for not complying with mandatory self-quarantine rules after crossing into Canada.
  • The United Kingdom’s death toll from confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus has risen by 67 to 44,198 in the last day.
  • Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia enforced a new lockdown on more than 200,000 people on Saturday, after several new outbreaks of the coronavirus were detected.
  • India recorded its highest single-day spike of coronavirus cases on Saturday, with over 22,000 new cases and 442 deaths, as infections rose in the western and southern parts of the country amid heavy monsoon rains.
  • Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents of the Japanese capital not to travel beyond its borders on Saturday as new coronavirus infections topped 100 for a third day.
  • Authorities ordered a new lockdown for 200,000 people in Lleida province of northeastern Spain due to outbreaks of Covid-19 there, the first confinement order since the nation’s state of emergency was lifted on June 21.
  • Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday ordered his inauguration ceremony be scaled down amid a surge of coronavirus cases, dampening excitement around his election win.
  • Iraq’s caseload has increased eightfold in the last month, rising from about 250 new cases daily to 2,000 at the end of June. Deaths have increased as well, with about 100 people dying daily compared to fewer than 50 daily a month ago.

And signs are piling up that the country’s health care system is on the verge of breaking down.

  • Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday as he launched new measures to try to curb the coronavirus.
  • Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo will self-isolate for 14 days on the advice of doctors after a person in his close circle tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Brazil recorded 37,923 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours as well as 1,091 deaths.

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

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

Read Time: 9 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Top 10 states with increased cases: 

Idaho 160 new cases/day +310%

Oklahoma 370 new cases/day +259%

Florida 4,013 new cases/day +216%

Texas 4,757 new cases/day +175%

West Virginia 39 new cases/day +144%

Arizona 2,834 new cases/day +137%

Kansas 193 new cases/day +105%

Mississippi 554 new cases/day +101%

Nevada 384 new cases/day +100%

Georgia 1,455 new cases/day +99%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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