Black and Latino people face brunt of coronavirus, new data reveals
The racial disparities in who is taking the brunt of the novel coronavirus has become even more clear after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to obtain federal data on the matter. In the most comprehensive look at nearly 1.5 million Americans infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) through the end of May, the Times found that "Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups," the Times reported. Black and Latino people in the U.S. have been three times more likely to contract the virus and nearly twice as likely to die from it compared with white people, the Times said. Those numbers came from data on 640,000 infections in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties. However, race and ethnicity information was missing from more than half of the cases; in addition, another important piece of information — how the individual contracted the virus — was also missing.
Experts contacted by the Times revealed reasons why Black and Latino individuals would be more likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2. According to the Times, many of these individuals have frontline jobs that don't allow for work-from-home conveniences; they rely on public transportation; and they often live in tight quarters or in multigenerational homes (meaning a lot of people in a small area where social-distancing would be impossible and where one individual could spread the virus to several others).
"You literally can't isolate with one bathroom," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, head of Michigan's task force on coronavirus racial disparities, the Times reported.
For instance, a 26-year-old Latino woman spoke to the Times about her experience with the coronavirus. She gave only her first name, Diana, for fear her husband might lose his job, but said that in April her husband contracted the virus at a construction site where they live in Fairfax, Virginia. Diana and her brother, also a construction worker, soon caught the virus as well. The couple and brother have three children between them, meaning six family members lived in a two-bedroom apartment.
"We have to go out to work," Diana told the Times. "We have to pay our rent. We have to pay our utilities. We just have to keep working."
Read more about the racial disparities of coronavirus infections at the Times.
Study: Even without antibodies, you may be immune to coronavirus
Even if you tested negative for antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus, there's a chance you are still immune to the virus called SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), according to a study out of Sweden. In the study, the researchers at the Karolinska Institute tested 200 people for both coronavirus antibodies and T-cells — a type of white blood cell produced by the body's immune system to fight off intruders (like SARS-CoV-2). The researchers found that for every person who tested positive for antibodies, two people tested positive for the T-cells that identify and destroy SARS-CoV-2, BBC News reported. These T-cells were found in individuals who had mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.
Like antibodies, T-cells identify certain pathogens and then hold onto that memory so that when those intruders pop up again the specific T-cells can target the virus and kill it, BBC News reported. The researchers aren't sure why individuals with negative antibody tests were showing such T-cells, but they speculated that perhaps the patients had mounted an antibody response that had since faded to at least the point where the antibodies weren't detectable.
The researchers also aren't sure what kind of immunity these T-cells might provide to individuals who are not also carrying SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. It's likely that the individuals are protected from reinfection. However, the researchers noted that further studies are needed to figure out whether the T-cells provide what is called sterilizing immunity — meaning they block the virus completely so that not only is the person protected from getting sick but they also can't transmit the virus.
So what does this all mean? "Our results indicate that roughly twice as many people have developed T-cell immunity compared with those who we can detect antibodies in," study researcher Marcus Buggert, assistant professor at the Center for Infectious Medicine at the Karolinska Institute, said in a statement from the institute. The study was published to the preprint server bioRxiv, meaning it has yet to be peer-reviewed by others in the field.
Could smell tests help flag early COVID-19 infections?
From daycares to some workplaces to airports, many reopened establishments are using temperature checks to help identify those infected with COVID-19 before they spread it to others, However, as reported by Stat News, these checks are like "trying to catch tennis balls in a soccer net: way too many can get through." That's because a good chunk of those with the disease show no symptoms at all. In addition, those with fevers might not have the disease at all. Some scientists are suggesting that adding a smell test to these routine screenings could help to identify "My impression is that anosmia is an earlier symptom of Covid-19 relative to fever, and some infected people can have anosmia and nothing else," said Dr. Andrew Badley, head of a virus lab at the Mayo Clinic. "So it's potentially a more sensitive screen for asymptomatic patients."
In a study published to the preprint server medrXiv, Badley and colleagues found that people infected with COVID-19 were 27 times more likely than non-infected individuals to have lost their sense of smell, Stat News reported. Even so, these individuals were just 2.6 times more likely than the non-infected to have a fever or chills.
Here's why loss of smell may be an early sign of infection: Cells in the tissue that lines the nasal passages are covered with the receptors that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) grabs onto in order to enter those cells. In that way, these nasal cells would be some of the first to be exposed to the virus and become infected before the virus enters the body and triggers an immune response that would cause a fever, Stat News reported.
"These support cells either secrete molecules that shut down the olfactory receptor neurons, or stop working and starve the neurons, or somehow fail to support the neurons," said Danielle Reed, associate director of Monell Chemical Senses Center, Stat News reported. Then, these olfactory neurons "either stop working or die."
Secret Service agents, NASCAR driver and 89 fraternity students test positive
—U.S. Vice President Mike Pence decided to forgo his travel on Tuesday (June 30) to Arizona due to factors related to the coronavirus, according to someone familiar with the situation, The New York Times reported. The decision came after Secret Service agents who were slated to accompany Pence tested positive for COVID-19 or were showing symptoms, according to the Times. Pence was expected to headline a "Faith in America" campaign rally in Tucson, Arizona, followed by a tour of Yuma, the Times said. Instead, he made a shorter visit, participating in a public health briefing at an international airport in Phoenix. To date, the state has logged 91,858 cases and 1,788 related deaths, according to Worldometer. The state is one of the hot spots in the U.S. where cases have surged after early reopenings.
—NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore miss Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, The Washington Post reported. He is the first NASCAR racer to test positive. Though he wasn't showing any symptoms, he got a test after his wife showed allergy-like symptoms, according to the Post. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion won't be able to race again until he is symptom-free, has two negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart and he is cleared by a doctor, the Post said.
—At least 89 students at the University of Washington in Seattle have tested positive for COVID-19, NBC News reported. The students are part of the school's fraternities. That number could be higher, as at least 117 students living in 15 of the school's fraternity houses have reported that they have the virus. The school is trying to verify those cases. None of the students have been hospitalized, NBC News reported. "While we were pleased to see most of the houses had previously taken measures to reduce resident capacity by up to 50 percent this summer in response to COVID-19, those measures are not sufficient without vigilant, daily preventive measures, such as wearing face coverings, physical distancing and hand hygiene," said Dr. Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the university's Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, NBC News reported.
UK to open pubs, Texas health system bursting at seams with surge in COVID-19
—Britain's prime minister Boris Johnson announced that bars (i.e. pubs) will open beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday (July 4), though he urges people not to "overdo it," The New York Times reported. Along with restaurants, hair salons and some other businesses that are also reopening, pubs will have to keep a 21-day record of all customers. In the instance of new cases, the government will be able to trace contacts and hopefully contain the outbreaks. About 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of London, Leicester will remain closed for business due to a regional outbreak of COVID-19, the Times said. The U.K. has the third highest death toll — 44,080 deaths — related to the coronavirus pandemic and the sixth highest case count in the world, with the country logging 285,268 COVID-19 cases to date, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Nursing home residents will get COVID-19 tests every month in the U.K., the Times reported, while staff will be tested weekly. About 5,126 of the country's nursing homes (or 56%) have reported at least one case of the virus and 20% of residents — and 7% of staff — at those facilities have been infected with the coronavirus, according to a survey by the country's Office for National Statistics. At least 15,500 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 to date, according to the survey.
—The state of Texas is dealing with a health care system now bursting at the seams, after cases have surged there. The number of new daily cases is three times higher in Texas than it was in April. Over the past week, the state has been averaging nearly 6,300 cases a day, The Washington Post reported. To date, 183,044 Texans have tested positive for COVID-19 and 2,585 have died as a result, according to Worldometer, which collects data on coronavirus cases. According to the Post, the surge in Texas has led to "overwhelmed testing centers, lines at emergency rooms and crowded intensive care units, where it is difficult to maintain adequate numbers of specialized staff."
Texas requires masks for most people, Nashville reverts to Phase 2 and nine more NBA players test positive for the coronavirus
— Texas is now requiring people in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases to wear masks or face coverings while inside or in outdoor public spaces when social distancing isn't possible, Gov. Greg Abbott announced today, according to The Texas Tribune. There are several exceptions to his order, which include children younger than 10 years old, people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, people who are eating, drinking or exercising outdoors, according to The Tribune. "COVID-19 is not going away," Abbott said in a video message. "In fact, it’s getting worse. Now, more than ever, action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for COVID-19." On Wednesday, Texas had 8,076 new cases of COVID-19, hitting another record with over 1,000 cases more than the previous day, according to the Tribune.
— Starting tomorrow, Nashville in Tennessee will revert back to a "modified version of Phase 2," Mayor John Cooper announced today. That means bars will close for at least 2 weeks; restaurants, gyms and high-touch businesses can open at 50% capacity, retail stores at 75% capacity and gatherings will be limited to 25 people, he wrote. Basketball courts, dog parks, splash pads, skate parks and recreational sports leagues can remain open. "All residents must continue to wear masks when leaving home. Residents 65+ or with underlying health conditions should remain at home," he wrote on Twitter. "Our top priority is the health and safety of our community, and it will continue to drive the decisions regarding the reopening of Nashville." There were more than 600 new cases reported in Nashville today, bringing the weekly total to over 2,000 in the city, according to News Channel 5 Nashville. Tennessee has now reported 46,890 cases of COVID-19, more than 1,500 more since yesterday, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
— Nine more NBA players have tested positive for the coronavirus, the NBA and NBPA announced in a statement today, according to NPR. In tests conducted between June 24 to June 29, an additional nine players have tested positive for the coronavirus. That means that, in total, 25 out of 344 NBA players or 7% of the league have tested positive for COVID-19, according to NPR. The league is scheduled to start up again on July 30 in Orlando, Florida, according to NPR.
Florida recorded more than 10,000 new cases in a day, shattering records
— Florida recorded more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day, the highest the state has ever recorded, according to Reuters. In June, Florida reported over 95,000 new infections, a rise of 168%. The state has reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country at the height of their outbreak and more than any state besides New York, according to Reuters. New York had recorded 12,847 new infections on April 10, according to Reuters. Florida has closed bars and some beaches but Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted enacting a statewide mask mandate or another lockdown, according to Reuters.
— Moderna's phase 3 trial of its potential coronavirus vaccine, expected to begin next week, has been delayed, according to STAT News. The company is making changes to the trial protocol, according to investigators, STAT reported. But it's possible that the trial, which will involve 30,000 people, will still begin in July, according to STAT. "Moderna has previously disclosed that the Phase 3 trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 is expected to begin in July," Moderna wrote in a statement on Twitter. "The trail is still expected to begin in July and we expect to be the first to start a Phase 3 trial. We have worked closely with NIH/OWS to align on the final protocol in order to begin the trial on time." Meanwhile, Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech plan to start a 30,000 patient trial of its coronavirus vaccine later this month, AstraZeneca and Oxford University plan to begin a similar size trial in August and Johnson & Johnson plans to begin such a trial in September.
More than 50,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in a single day in the U.S.
— For the first time, more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in a single day on Wednesday in the U.S., according to NPR. The U.S. has now reported more than 2.6 million cases of COVID-19 and 128,062 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. If the outbreak continues at this pace, the U.S. could eventually reach 100,000 cases a day, Dr. Anthony Fauci the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Tuesday in a testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, according to NPR and CNBC.
— People in West Hollywood who don't wear masks will be fined $300, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's West Hollywood station announced today, according to NBC Los Angeles. The fine itself is $250 but it includes a fee of $50, which comes out to be $300 for the first offense. "Beginning this month, we will start issuing Administrative Citations for people who are not conforming to the order to wear a face cover/mask in public," LASD West Hollywood said on Twitter. "Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to the Community health is too great."
— There are now more than 10.7 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 516,700 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Brazil has reported more than 1.4 million COVID-19 cases and 60,600 deaths; Russia has reported more than 660,200 COVID-19 cases and 9,600 deaths; India has reported more than 604,600 COVID-19 cases and more than 17,800 deaths; the United Kingdom has reported more than 314,900 COVID-19 cases and more than 43,900 deaths, according to the dashboard.
NYC postpones plans to resume indoor dining, United Airlines adds nearly 25,000 flights to its August schedule, scientists identify new flu virus in pigs in China
— New York City is postponing plans to resume indoor dining, according to The Washington Post. “Indoor dining in NYC will be postponed until the facts change and it is safe and prudent,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today. Originally, NYC was going to reopen indoor dining on Monday, but officials decided against it amid the surges of coronavirus cases across the U.S., according to the Post. On June 29, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also announced that indoor dining will no longer resume as planned this week due to spikes in other states.
— United Airlines will add nearly 25,000 domestic and international flights to its schedule in August, according to USA Today. That’s still 40% of the amount of flights United Airlines scheduled in August last year, according to USA Today. "We’re taking the same data-driven, realistic approach to growing our schedule as we did in drawing it down at the start of the pandemic," Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of Domestic Network Planning, said in a statement, according to USA Today. "Demand is coming back slowly and we’re building in enough capacity to stay ahead of the number of people traveling."
— Scientists in China identified a new flu virus in pigs that they warned could possibly cause a future flu pandemic, according to a Live Science report. The virus, called G4 EA H1N1, is a genetic mix of the H1N1 "swine flu," which caused a flu pandemic in 2009, and other flu viruses, the scientists reported in a new study published Monday (June 29) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists found evidence that G4 EA H1N1 has infected workers on pig farms in China. But there’s nothing to indicate that the virus spreads between people, according to the report. The authors caution that the virus is not an immediate health threat, but that controlling this virus in pig populations and monitoring for signs of it in humans "should be urgently implemented,” according to the report.
New coronavirus cases continue to surge across the U.S., breaking records in six states.
— There are now more than 2.6 million people who have been infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 127,400 people who have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are now 45 states that are reporting seven-day averages that are higher than a week ago, according to The Washington Post. In Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho and Alaska, the number of new cases has been the highest it’s ever been, according to the Post. Yesterday, there were 44,474 new COVID-19 cases reported across the U.S., according to The Washington Post.
— A new study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than half of U.S. COVID-19 patients in a recent survey couldn’t identify another person with the disease whom they had close contact with before getting sick, according to a Live Science report. In other words, many Americans with COVID-19 don’t know how they were infected. The survey was conducted as a telephone interview with 350 adults in nine states who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 31 and May 10, according to the report. The findings suggest that many people may be getting infected through community transmission and not from a familiar person in their lives, the CDC said, according to the report. This "underscores the need for isolation of infected persons, contact tracing and testing … and prevention measures, including social distancing and use of cloth face coverings," while community transmission is ongoing, the authors said.
— The total number of people who died in Scotland from any cause has returned back to normal levels, according to the BBC. Between June 22 and June 28, a total of 1,006 people died which was slightly lower than the average 1,036 deaths recorded in the same time period for the past five years, The National Records of Scotland said, according to the BBC. Scotland reported 35 COVID-19 related deaths last week, the lowest death rate since the middle of March, according to the BBC. In fact, the country’s coronavirus death rate has fallen for nine weeks in a row. However, 2,417 more people died at home in Scotland during the pandemic than expected based on the average from the past five years, the figures show. In total, Scotland has reported 4,155 deaths known or suspected to be tied to the coronavirus, according to the BBC.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut add six more states to their quarantine list
— There are now more than 10.3 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 508,400 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 2.6 million cases and more than 127,200 deaths; in Brazil there are more than 1.3 million cases and more than 58,300 deaths; in Russia there are more than 646,900 cases and more than 9,300 deaths; and in India there are more than 566,840 cases and more than 16,800 deaths, according to the dashboard.
— New York, New Jersey and Connecticut now require anyone traveling from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah to quarantine for 14 days, according to CNBC. That's double the number of states on the original list announced last week, according to CNBC. "Our numbers have come way down, probably as much as any American state, but we paid a huge price," Gov. Phil Murphy said on "TODAY" Tuesday according to CNBC. "We've gone through hell. The last thing we want to do is go through hell again."
— There have been zero new deaths in Massachusetts for the first time in over three months, according to The Boston Herald. The state has had a total of 8,054 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, a drop of about 41 deaths from yesterday's report due to "data cleaning," the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said, according to the Herald. "Due to ongoing data cleaning which identifies and removes duplicate reports, the number of both confirmed and probable deaths has decreased as of today’s report,” the department said in a report. Massachusetts has reported more than 108,800 cases of COVID-19. Currently, there are 733 people hospitalized in the state from the coronavirus, 120 patients in the ICU and 63 intubated, according to the Herald.
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. could surpass 100,000 a day if the outbreak continues at this pace, Fauci says
— New coronavirus cases in the U.S. could surpass 100,000 a day if the outbreak continues at this pace, Dr. Anthony Fauci the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said today, according to CNBC. The U.S., which is currently tallying nearly 40,000 new cases a day, is "not in total control" of the pandemic, he said. About 50% of cases are coming from Florida, California, Texas and Arizona, he said. “I can’t make an accurate prediction but it’s going to be very disturbing,” Fauci said in a hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, according to CNBC. “We are 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 am very concerned.”
— It's been six months since China first reported a cluster of mysterious pneumonia cases in the city of Wuhan, according to a Live Science report. The virus brought months of chaos, heartbreak and loss, while also sparking an unprecedented global effort to find vaccines and treatment, according to the report. We don't yet have a vaccine, but we've learned a lot about what the coronavirus and how to slow its spread, according to the report. Experts are hopeful that the next six months will bring some new or repurposed treatments to help fight the infection — and might even bring the first doses of a vaccine, according to the report.
— Philadelphia is pausing reopening plans and will no longer allow indoor dining or gyms and fitness centers to open at the end of the week as planned, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the past day, 142 new cases were reported in Philadelphia, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said, according to the Inquirer. This raised concerns about an increase in cases, especially in teens who have been socializing or traveling to the Jersey Shore, according to the Inquirer. Still, indoor shopping malls, casinos, museums and libraries will be allowed to open starting on Friday with requirements to wear masks and with other health precautions put in place, Farley said, according to the Inquirer. There have been a total of 26,133 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Philadelphia and 1,584 deaths from the virus, according to the city's Department of Public Health.
The European Union bars travelers from U.S., Russia and Brazil as it reopens its borders tomorrow
— The European Union will allow visitors from 15 countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand, inside its borders starting Wednesday (July 1) but will not allow travelers from the United States, Brazil or Russia, according to The New York Times. It will allow travelers from China if China opens its borders to them, according to the Times. The travelers' country of residence and not their nationality will determine whether or not they will be able to travel to the European Union countries, according to the Times.
— Texas, Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, Montana, Georgia and California have all had seven-day averages of new hospitalizations from COVID-19 that are up at least 25% from last week, according to data from The Washington Post.
— The Paycheck Protection Program, the government's relief program for small businesses, is ending today after giving $520 billion in loans , according to The New York Times. But the program is closing with about $130 billion left over, according to the Times.
New Jersey won't resume indoor dining amid spikes in other states and Kansas will require people to wear masks in public places
— Indoor dining in New Jersey will no longer resume on Thursday, according to a tweet from the state's Gov. Phil Murphy. The plan was to loosen restrictions but after COVID-19 spiked in other states "driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely," he wrote. "We’re also moved to pause indoor dining because of what we’ve seen in some establishments across the state. Overcrowding. A complete disregard for social distancing. Very few, IF ANY, face coverings.The scenes we see in our newspapers and on social media CANNOT CONTINUE," he wrote in the Twitter thread. Many establishments' owners, managers and customers have been responsible in following guidance and protecting people from the virus, he wrote. But "The carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others," he wrote.
"We will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants – and, frankly, patrons – who think the rules don’t apply to them." The state, one of the hardest hit a couple of months ago, has had a total of 171,272 coronavirus cases. On Monday, the state reported 156 new cases, much lower than the approximate 3,000 new cases a day the state was recording for much of April, according to NPR.
— People in Kansas will be required to wear face masks when around other people, starting this Friday (July 3) Gov. Laura Kelly announced today during a news briefing, according to The Kansas City Star. "The evidence could not be clearer — wearing a mask is not only safe, but it is necessary to avoid another shutdown," she told reporters today, according to the AP. Today, Kansas health officials have reported 14,443 coronavirus cases, an increase of 905 since Friday, according to the AP. The state has reported a total of 270 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the AP.
Gilead Sciences puts price on remdesivir, coronavirus cases increas in much of the U.S., The pandemic 'is not even close to being over,' WHO director-general says
— Gilead Sciences will charge $390 per vial of remdesivir, which equates to be $2,340 per treatment for one person, according to an open letter from Daniel O'Day, the chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences. That's assuming that the majority of patients will use 6 vials of remdesivir across a span of 5 days. That pricing is for governments of developed countries including the U.S. government, and Medicaid, according to CNN. But for U.S. private insurance companies, the cost will be $520 per vial, or up to $3,120 per treatment, according to the statement. Uninsured patients would also be charged $520 per vial, according to The New York Times. In developing countries, the price will be lower, O'Day wrote in the statement.
Results from a study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on COVID-19 patients suggested that remdesivir shortened recovery time by four days, on average, O'Day wrote in the letter. So that would equate to hospital savings of about $12,000 per patient in the U.S., he wrote. "Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides. This is before we factor in the direct benefit to those patients who may have a shorter stay in the hospital," O'Day wrote.
Remdesivir, a drug originally developed to treat Ebola has been shown to improve recovery times for COVID-19 patients in clinical trials. It is currently the only drug that has emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus patients, according to CNN.
— Coronavirus cases are increasing in much of the U.S., and in many of those places, the number of people hospitalized and the percentage of people testing positive are also increasing which is telling that the spikes aren't the sole result of increased testing, according to The New York Times. New cases are decreasing in just seven places: Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont, according to a Times analysis. Case counts have mostly stayed the same in the last 14 days in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, Indiana, Minnesota, Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, Maine and Guam. In the majority of states, case counts have increased in the last 14 days. Cases are increasing in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, South Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Utah, Arkansas, Nevada, Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Delaware, Oregon, Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii and Montana, according to The Times.
— The pandemic "is not even close to being over," World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom said during a media briefing today. Tomorrow will be six months since the WHO first received reports of a cluster of mysterious pneumonia cases in China, he said. "Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world – and our lives – would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus.The pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of humanity," he said. Many countries have implemented measures to suppress transmission and save lives, he said. Those measures have slowed — but not stopped — the spread of the virus, he added. Now, as some countries reopen their economies and society, they are seeing a resurgence of cases, he said. "Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move. We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is: this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," Adhanom said.
'Window is closing' for the U.S. to get the pandemic under control, Alex Azar said on Sunday
— The "window is closing" for the U.S. to get the pandemic under control, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "Things are very different from two months ago... So it is a very different situation, but this is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control," he said, according to CNN. Still, he said, the U.S. is in a better place to fight the pandemic, because of increased testing, contact tracing, hospital capacity, reserves of personal protective equipment and advances toward drugs and vaccines. If Americans "act irresponsibly, if we don't socially distance, if we don't use face coverings in settings where we can't social distance, if we don't practice appropriate personal hygiene, we're going to see spread of disease," he said, according to CNN.
— There are now more than 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 125,800 deaths, according to The Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are more than 10.1 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide.
— Yesterday, due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, California ordered bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare counties, according to a tweet from California Governor Gavin Newsom. He also recommended that bars close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura counties.
World surpasses 500,000 deaths, as US shows alarming surge in cases
The world has surpassed another grim milestone: 10 million cases of COVID-19, with related deaths reaching more than a half-million, according to Worldometer and the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. The global death toll from the virus had just passed 100,000 in April, just a month after the World Health Organization had declared a COVID-19 pandemic, The New York Times reported. That death toll more than doubled, reaching 250,000 in early May. And now in under two months, the number has doubled again.
About 25% of those deaths or 128,433 occurred in the United States, with about 8% of the known deaths or 57,658 being reported in Brazil. The United Kingdom has also confirmed an alarming death toll, at 43,550 deaths related to COVID-19, according to Worldometer.
The U.S. in particular is showing worrisome signs in certain states. Across the country, COVID-19 cases have risen 65 percent over the past two weeks, the Times reported. On Saturday (June 27) alone, more than 43,000 cases were confirmed in the U.S., according to Worldometer. Florida, Nevada and South Carolina broke single-day records for most new cases, the Times said.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott warned that the virus in the state had taken a "very swift and a very dangerous turn," the Times reported. Vice President Mike Pence visited the state today, donning a face mask; he stressed the importance of wearing masks.
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, also urged Texans to put on face masks and avoid close contact with others, the Times said. "I'm really appealing to every Texan to wear a mask," Birx said on Sunday. "I'm just here really to ask every one of them to wear masks, every single one of them to wear a mask."
18 Texans test positive after attending surprise birthday party
Eighteen people who attended a surprise birthday party in North Texas have tested positive for COVID-19. The party, attended by 25 people and lasting just a few hours, has left one man's father fighting for his life in the ICU, Miami news station WSVN-TV reported.
"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," Ron Barbosa, whose father is in the ICU, told WFAA-TV, as reported by WSVN-TV. "We knew this was going to happen, I mean, this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."
Barbosa didn't attend the May 30 party for his daughter-in-law because he was concerned about COVID-19 transmission. Barbosa's mother, who just swung by the party to drop off something, also tested positive for the virus and had to be admitted to the hospital. Both of Barbosa's parents are in their 80s. His sister, who is battling breast cancer, also contracted the virus and has been hospitalized, WFAA-TV reported.
Apparently at the time, the partygoers were following the state's guidelines for lowering the risk of COVID-19, the news outlet reported. Amid a surge in cases and hospitalizations in the state, Gov. Greg Abbott halted the reopening of the state on Friday (June 26) and also rolled back some allowances — closing all bars again, for instance.
Yesterday, Texas recorded 6,079 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 148,845, with 2,406 related deaths. The state's positivity rate — the percentage of tests turning out positive — is continuing an alarming rise and is now at about 13.7% (on a 7-day rolling average). An increasing positivity rate is a sign that transmission in your area is also increasing.
10x more infections than reported, 5% of NBA players test positive, Florida smashes more records
—There are 10 times more COVID-19 infections in some parts of the U.S. than being reported, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The New York Times reported. For instance, as of April 12, the prevalence of COVID-19 in South Florida was at just 1.85%, according to the CDC. That prevalence, however, is likely higher because of the current surge in infections, the Times said. The highest prevalence, of 6.93%, was found in the New York City as of April 1. "This study underscores that there are probably a lot of people infected without knowing it, likely because they have mild or asymptomatic infection," said study leader Dr. Fiona Havers, the Times reported. "But those people could still spread it to others." In addition, the study highlights the fact that even in the hardest-hit regions, the majority of people have yet to be infected.
—This week, 5% of NBA players tested positive for COVID-19, or 16 out of 302 players who were tested, the Wall Street Journal reported. Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, said that none of the players was seriously sick and that the NBA had anticipated this rate of infection. The basketball players will begin to move into a Walt Disney World campus, as the WSJ called it, on July 7, ahead of a July 30 start to the season. Any player who tests positive will quarantine until he meets certain guidelines and has been cleared by a doctor, the WSJ said. The NBA shut down on March 11, after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus.
—Florida smashed records for new cases again Saturday (June 27), with 9,585 new COVID-19 cases, The Washington Post reported. The state's previous record was hit just yesterday, with 8,942 new cases. Even as Florida's virus numbers soar, Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted a push to make face coverings mandatory across the state. Even so, some areas such as Palm Beach County and cities in Miami-Dade County have announced their own requirements for face masks in public, the Post said.
World nears 10 million cases, Egypt loosens lockdown, U.S. rolls back reopening
—Worldwide, COVID-19 infections have reached more than 9.8 million with 494,857 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. The top countries have logged the following:
-U.S.: Nearly 2.5 million cases and 125,039 deaths
-Brazil: 1.27 million cases and 55,961 deaths
-Russia: 626,779 cases and 8,958 deaths
-India: 508,953 cases and 15,685 deaths
-U.K.: 310,837 cases and 43,498 deaths
—Despite a continued uptick in COVID-19 cases, Egypt loosened many of its lockdown measures today. After being closed for more than three months, cafes, clubs, gyms and theaters have reopened, The Guardian reported. Mosques and churches also reopened. However, they aren't opened completely: Restaurants are allowed 25% seating capacity, and mosques and churches aren't allowed to hold the main weekly services, as those draw large crowds, The Guardian reported. To date, Egypt has recorded 62,755 cases and 2,620 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Several U.S. states showing spikes in cases have rolled back reopening plans, with some posing more restrictions. For instance, in Texas and Florida, leaders have done a turnabout and set new restrictions on bars, The New York Times reported. "If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars," Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said in an interview with KVIA-TV in El Paso on Friday (June 26), the Times reported. In Florida's Miami-Dade County, the mayor said he would close beaches from July 3 — July 7 ahead of any mass gatherings planned for the July Fourth weekend, the Times said. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed new restrictions on Imperial County, which borders Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California and has the highest infection rate in the state, the Times reported.
— The U.S. may start conducting "pooled testing" as COVID-19 spreads, according to a new Live Science report. To improve the tracking of the coronavirus spread, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might approve broader use of "pooled testing" which would mean that diagnostic tests can be processed in batches (tests from five to 10 people could be tested together) rather than one at a time, according to the report. If the pooled sample comes back negative, no additional testing is needed for the people in the group but if it comes back positive, samples must be retested one by one to pinpoint who was infected, according to the report. But this approach would likely only work if just a small proportion of the population is infected because if too many people were infected, then too many pooled samples would test positive and require further testing, meaning that pooled testing wouldn't lead to a net decrease in total tests required, according to the report.
— Yesterday, the U.S. recorded 40,184 new coronavirus cases, a record number of cases, according to another Live Science report. Some states are doing better than others. There are several indicators that can help determine whether a state or county is moving in the right direction or not, including test positivity rate which means the proportion of tests that turn up positive for COVID-19; daily number of hospitalizations which can reveal whether an area has the virus under controllable levels or not; burden on hospital systems to see if hospitals have the capacity to treat severe COVID-19 infections; and contact tracing which means how well an area is finding and isolating people infected with the coronavirus, according to the report.
— Recently, the U.S., especially Florida, Texas and Arizona, has seen a marked increase in coronavirus cases among people under the age of 40, according to The Guardian. Though most prominently seen in the U.S., similar trends have been found recently in Israel and Portugal. Some are guessing that the younger age groups have evolved relaxed attitudes toward social distancing thinking that they are less likely to have severe disease (young people can still have severe disease), according to the Guardian. Others have said that this is due to better and more extensive testing that has been finding more mild cases— that might be attributed to younger people— than in the beginning of the pandemic, according to The Guardian.
Texas and Florida shut down on-site consumption of alcohol at bars amid record-breaking number of coronavirus cases
— 16 NBA players out of 302 total tested positive for the coronavirus, The National Basketball Players Association announced today. Any player who tests positive will remain in self-isolation until satisfying public health protocols to stop isolation and being cleared by a physician, according to the statement. The NBA is set to restart on July 30 in Orlando, Florida and players who participate in voluntary workouts will be tested every other day starting next week, according to Axios.
— Amid a surge in cases, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott said all bars are required to close by noon on Friday, though they can still offer delivery and takeout (including alcoholic beverages), according to his executive order. Restaurants can remain open for dining inside at 50% indoor capacity, rafting and tubing businesses must close and most outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, according to his order. Texas recorded 5,996 cases on Thursday, a record-number, according to the Texas Tribune. The state also reported a record number of hospitalizations: 4,739, according to the Tribune.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and enhance public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part," Abbott said in the order. "Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can."
— Today, Florida reported 8,942 new COVID-19 cases, a record number of cases, smashing the previous record of 5,508 on Wednesday, according to The Orlando Sentinel. Florida shut down on-site alcohol consumption at bars "effective immediately," Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears tweeted around 11 am.
New Delhi plans to test all of its residents for the coronavirus, Texas, Florida and Arizona pause reopening plans amid alarming rise in cases
— As India’s coronavirus case counts nearly reaches 500,000, officials in New Delhi are planning to test all 29 million of its residents for the coronavirus across a span of 10 days, according to The New York Times. More than 15,000 people have died from the coronavirus in India, according to the Times. New Delhi has more than 70,000 cases of the coronavirus and officials will start going house to house and conducting blood tests starting on Saturday and ending by July 6, according to the Times. That means each three-person team will cover at least 50 of the city’s 4.5 million households a day, according to the Times.
— There have now been more than 9.6 million COVID-19 cases around the word and more than 489,900 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There have been more than 2.4 million cases in the U.S. and more than 124,400 deaths; more than 1.2 million cases in Brazil and more than 54,900 deaths; and more than 619,900 cases in Russia and more than 8,700 deaths.
— Texas, Florida and Arizona all paused their reopening plans as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations increased to alarming levels, according to The Washington Post. Yesterday, state health departments reported 39,327 new infections, a record number of new infections, according to the Post.
Texas suspends reopening, CDC director says the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. is likely 10 times higher than official count
— Texas is pausing reopening, Gov. Greg Abbott said today, according to CNBC. However, businesses that were already allowed to reopen can continue to stay open at designated occupancies, according to a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services, CNBC reported. For example, restaurants, gyms, retailers, professional sports, bars and other venues were allowed to reopen with a limited capacity in May, according to CNBC. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said.
— The number of people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus is likely 10 times higher than the current confirmed number of cases, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield said today. “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections," he said, The Washington Post reported. There are currently 2.3 million confirmed cases in the U.S., so if this is the case, there would be at least 23 million cases across the country, according to the Post.
CDC updates its list of preexisting conditions that increase and might increase the risk of severe COVID-19
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its list of preexisting conditions that increase and might increase the risk for severe COVID-19, the agency announced today. According to the CDC, people of any age who have chronic kidney disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; have an immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant; are obese; have serious heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; have sickle cell disease; or have type 2 diabetes mellitus are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People might be at an increased risk from severe illness if they have moderate to severe asthma; cerebrovascular disease; cystic fibrosis; hypertension or high blood pressure; are immunocompromised from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines; have neurological conditions such as dementia; have liver disease; are pregnant; have pulmonary fibrosis; smoke; have a type of blood disorder called thalassemia; or have type 1 diabetes mellitus, according to the CDC.
— New York City is on track to enter phase 3 of reopening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said today, according to The New York Times. This phase would allow outdoor recreational spaces to open again along with indoor dining and personal-care services such as manicures, tattooing and waxing to start up again with social distancing, according to the Times.
— Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York are all on track to contain COVID-19, according to a model created by the non-profit Covid Act Now, CBS Boston reported. The four indicators that the model uses to assess how at risk a state is of COVID-19 is: Are COVID cases decreasing? Are we testing enough? Are our hospitals ready? Are we tracing fast enough (i.e. finding and isolating new cases before the virus spreads)? While those four states are "on track to contain covid-19," the rest of the states have a higher covid risk either having an "active or imminent outbreak" to being "at risk" of an outbreak to having "controlled disease growth."
The U.S. reported a record-number of new coronavirus cases yesterday, two months after the previous record
— There have now been more than 9.4 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 483,200 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there have been more than 2.3 million COVID-19 cases and more than 121,900 deaths; In Brazil, there have been more than 1.2 million COVID-19 cases and more than 53,800 deaths; In Russia, there have been more than 613,100 COVID-19 cases and more than 8,500 deaths, according to the dashboard.
— In the U.S., coronavirus cases continue to increase across dozens of states, according to The New York Times. New cases are increasing in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Missouri, Utah, Arkansas, Nevada, Kansas, Oklahoma, Delaware, Oregon, Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii and Montana, according to the Times.
The U.S. reported 36,880 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, a record number of cases, more than two months after the previous record, according to The New York Times.
— Wearing masks and social distancing needs to be normalized before a possible second wave hits, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University said today on “CNN Newsroom.” Politicians, religious leaders and businesses should be modeling this behavior, he said, according to CNN."The time to normalize wearing masks and social distancing behavior is now, so that we get used to it by the time the fall arrives,” he said. “And I'm very concerned that the second wave this fall will be substantially greater than what we have experienced so far.”
The U.S. reported third-highest number of daily coronavirus cases ever and the highest since late April
— The U.S. reported more than 35,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday, according to The New York Times. That's the third-highest number of new daily cases the country has reported yet and the highest since late April, according to the Times. Cities and states across the U.S. are suspending reopening plans as cases begin to spike, according to The New York Times. North Carolina paused reopening such that it will remain in phase 2 for three more weeks, according to a statement from the North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. He also required face coverings in public places.
“North Carolina is relying on the data and the science to lift restrictions responsibly, and right now our increasing numbers show we need to hit the pause button while we work to stabilize our trends,” Cooper said. “We need to all work together so we can protect our families and neighbors, restore our economy, and get people back to work and our children back to school.”
Meanwhile, Texas reported 5,489 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a record number of daily coronavirus cases for the state and ICU beds in Houston reached 97% of normal capacity, according to The Guardian. “We want to make sure that everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitization, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott told local news station KBTX-TV on Tuesday, according to The Guardian. “Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home.”
— Beginning tonight at midnight, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut will require that people traveling from hotspot states quarantine for 14 days, according to CNN. This includes anyone coming from a state with a positive test rate that's higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, according to CNN. Currently, this travel advisory is for people coming from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas. Each of the three states will be responsible for enforcing this quarantine. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said this travel advisory was voluntary but "urgent guidance," while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said violations would lead to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine. In New York, fines are $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second and $10,000 if harm is caused, according to CNN. When it comes to fines, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the health commissioner "has within her powers to directly address an individual who is non-compliant," according to CNN.
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