Coronavirus Update

The nation is still dealing with rising numbers of cases of the coronavirus, and is now also dealing with new variants of the disease linked to different countries. There have been many cases throughout the U.S. of the U.K. variant, which appears to be more contagious than any strain we have seen so far in this country. In an effort to control the rising case numbers, President Biden is aiming to roll out more vaccines across the country, and, to help Americans get back on their feet, he is also focusing on getting his COVID relief package passed. Biden is hopeful that there is some degree of normalcy to come; to help us get there, he is promising to send out 6 million at-home tests by the end of this summer, so Americans can get back to activities such as work and school.

Covid Relief Package Status

hundred dollar bills in stacks on top of each other.
The covid-19 relief package will likely be passed which will offer some relief to Americans who lost their jobs.

On early Friday morning, February 5, the Senate passed a budget resolution which brought Congress one step further toward passing a new COVID-19 relief bill. The Senate-amended budget resolution then returned to the House, where it passed by a final vote of 219-209. The budget resolution now agreed on by both chambers of Congress will allow Democrats to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without worrying about a filibuster from Republicans. The relief package includes another round of stimulus checks, this time in the amount of $1,400 for Americans making less than $50,000.

Coronavirus Variants Identified Across The U.S.

The U.S. has reported more than 600 cases of coronavirus variants across 33 states. The majority of the cases are of the more contagious variant from the United Kingdom. So far, Florida has had the highest number of cases, 187, followed by California with 145.

“A recent study from the U.K. showed that [the variant] might be somewhat more deadly in the sense of making people sicker and certainly leading to death more,” Fauci told CNN on Thursday. “It might become dominant because it seems to be very efficient in spreading from person to person.”

There have been 5 cases of the variant from South Africa in South Carolina and Maryland. In addition, Minnesota has identified 2 cases of the strain linked to Brazil. 

Model Forecasts 630,000 Deaths By June 1bars going upward with months below and numbers on the side. an arrow is going in an upward motion over the bars.

According to the latest forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, an estimated 630,000 people in the U.S. will die from COVID-19 by June 1. 

“The balance between new variant spread and associated increased transmission and the scale-up of vaccination in our most likely scenario suggests continued declines in daily deaths through to June 1,” it said. “Daily deaths have peaked and are declining. By June 1, 2021, we project that 123,600 lives will be saved by the projected vaccine rollout.”

Coronavirus Vaccines Rolloutcovid-19

A total of 36,819,212 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the U.S., about 63% of the 58,380,300 doses that have been distributed, according to data published Friday by the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Biden administration announced this week that their plan for a vaccine rollout using local pharmacies, dubbed the federal retail pharmacy program, will launch on Feb. 11. The nation’s pharmacies have the capacity to administer 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in a 30 day period, but will need enough doses to do so, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).

hundreds of vials with covid-19 label on them.

“Ultimately NACDS member pharmacies can meet and exceed the 100 million vaccinations in a month threshold, yet it’s important to understand that the supply of vaccines remains the rate limiting factor in the vaccination effort,” Steven Anderson, the organization’s president and CEO, said.

The government is expected to ship one million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to U.S. pharmacies starting on February 11. At the same time, some states are finding ways to administer more doses of the vaccines they already have:

  • South Dakota governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order which will allow dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • Houston is prioritizing distribution of their vaccine supply for more vulnerable populations and “underserved communities.”
  • New York’s Yankee Stadium began serving eligible people residing in the Bronx the morning of February 5th.
  • San Francisco’s Moscone Center will open as a vaccination center .
  • Maryland will have 2 large vaccination sites, including Six Flags America in Bowie to serve eligible people.

In addition, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell has written to President Biden, committing to use every team stadium as a mass vaccination site.

Schools Reopening

The CDC plans to release guidance on school reopenings soon. “Our goal is to get children back to school,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday. “Schools should be the last places closed and the first places open. Our goal is to make sure in getting children back to school that we do so both with the safety of the children and the safety of the teachers in place.”

“Among the things that we need to do to make sure that schools are safe is to make sure that the community spread of the disease is down,” Walensky said. “We are actively working on the guidance, the official guidance, which will be released in the week ahead.”

Coronavirus Update

The coronavirus pandemic rages on, with cases of the disease at an all time high. On Friday, January 8, the U.S. reported 283,204 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 21,862,773 cases. This is compounded by the fact that a new, highly contagious strain of the coronavirus from the U.K. has been detected in several states in the U.S., raising concerns that it will spread throughout our country. Fortunately, the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines that are currently being slowly distributed have been shown to be effective on the new strain. The bigger issue is the slowness of the distribution of the vaccines; experts are warning that herd immunity could now take almost 3 years instead of one. President-elect Biden, though, intends to release available vaccines quickly once he is inaugurated on January 20. 

Record Number of Deaths Reported

Data provided by Johns Hopkins University has shown that the U.S. has now had a single day during which more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths were reported, the most deaths ever reported in one day from the illness. California and Texas are both experiencing high levels of hospitalizations; Los Angeles County had reports of ambulance crews waiting outside hospitals for hours, and Texas for the 5th day in a row experienced high hospitalization numbers.

white figures of people with a shot in front of them with the word "herd immunity" on the shot
Because the vaccine has not been utilized as much as it was expected to be, herd immunity can take almost 3 years to go into effect.

U.S. Could Take 3 Years To Reach Herd Immunity

The coronavirus vaccine is not being administered as quickly as it was projected to be. More than 22 million doses have been distributed, and only 6.7 million people have received their first dose of a vaccine. Federal officials had projected that 20 million people were going to receive their first dose by the beginning of the year; at this current rate, it could take almost 3 years to reach herd immunity. 

President-elect Biden has announced that he plans to release all available doses when he gets into office. The goal is to allow more people access to a first dose. “The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible. He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now,” said TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Biden’s transition team.

Giving the first dose to everyone instead of holding back available supplies for second doses could help reduce the number of new cases. However, releasing all available vaccines could be an issue. Vaccine manufacturing has not ramped up enough to be able to provide a large number of vaccines, which would limit availability of second doses. 

President-Elect Biden Calls For Increased Stimulus Amount

The IRS is currently sending out $600 payments to Americans, but Biden has said he believes that more should be provided. On Friday, January 8, Biden called for increasing the most recent stimulus payments to $2,000, which he suggested should be part of the next coronavirus stimulus bill. hundred dollar bills stacked in front of each other.

“We need more direct relief flowing to families and small businesses, including finishing the job and getting people $2,000 in relief,” Biden said in Delaware. “$600 is simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.”

However, one Democrat is not in support of the idea. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said that he would only support sending the money to those who really need it. “If they can direct money and they say, ‘This will help stimulate the economy,’ hell yeah I’m for it,” Manchin told the newspaper. “But basically right now, you better get them vaccinated.”

New U.K. Covid-19 Strain In Several States

A new strain of the virus found in the U.K. has been identified in the U.S. The CDC has identified at least 52 cases of the B.1.1.7 mutation in the U.S. in the following states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Colorado
  • Georgia

Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Texas also announced cases of the new strain on Thursday, January 7. Governors worry that the new strain could lead to another shutdown because of the virulence of the strain. Fortunately, the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to be effective against the new variants identified in the U.K. and South Africa. 

No New U.S. Variants

viruses in different shades of red.
There have been new variants of the coronavirus from the U.K. and South Africa that reached America, but no findings of a new U.S. variant.

The White House coronavirus task force has suggested that there could be a new variant of the virus that evolved in the U.S. and is spreading. This new strain, which is different from the U.K. variant, is spreading in communities and may be 50% more transmissible than the current strain, according to the task force. However, the CDC has said that it has not seen the spreading of a highly contagious new U.S. variant. 

“It is highly likely there are many variants evolving simultaneously across the globe,” Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the CDC, said in an email to CNBC. He added that there’s a “strong possibility” there are variants in the U.S., but it could be weeks or months before officials identify a particular variant that is “fueling the surge in the United States similar to the surge in the United Kingdom.”

“Researchers have been monitoring U.S. strains since the pandemic began, including 5,700 samples collected in November and December,” he said. “To date, neither researchers nor analysts at CDC have seen the emergence of a particular variant in the United States as has been seen with the emergence of B.1.1.7 in the United Kingdom or B.1.351 in South Africa.”

Coronavirus Update: Week 18

As fall approaches and the new school year begins, the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S. Some universities have started allowing students to return to campuses, and their return has been accompanied by an upswing in cases of the illness. Many students have been hanging out at college bars and having house parties, despite university authorities warning against large gatherings. This new source of spread is alarming since there are currently over 5 million coronavirus cases in the United States, and at least 182,069 deaths have been reported. Case numbers will most likely continue to rise as in-person schooling begins for children; studies show that children can remain contagious but asymptomatic for weeks. 

U.S. Records More Than 46,000 Cases in 24 Hours

According to John Hopkins University, 46,156 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed  in the U.S. on August 29th. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. to almost 6 million. In addition, there were almost 1,000 new deaths recorded on Friday, August 28th.

States Recording More Coronavirus-Related Deaths

colorful US map with each state in a different color
Many states have seen a surge in coronavirus deaths.

There have been more deaths as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the states. Currently, numbers are rising in :

  • Illinois- recorded more than 8,000 total deaths as of Saturday, August 29th.
  • Georgia- reported 106 new deaths statewide on August 29th, bringing the state’s total death toll to over 5,500.
  • South Carolina- reported 42 deaths on the 29th, bringing the state’s total death toll to over 2,500.
  • Florida- reported 148 deaths on the 29th, bringing the state’s total death toll to over 11,100.

Universities Creating More Cases

A new survey has found that there are more than 26,000 cases of the coronavirus at more than 750 colleges and universities in the U.S. Numbers are high among students who are living at dorms and Greek houses, and among those who have spent time at college bars. Universities with rising case numbers include: 

  • University of Alabama had 481 students test positive this week, bringing the total number of infections to over 1,000.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill currently has a total of over 800 confirmed positive cases.
  • Western Michigan University reported 16 new cases last week, bringing their total number of cases to 69.
  • Illinois State University reported 102 more cases this week, bringing their total to over 500 cases. statue of Penn States's nittany lion
  • Penn State reported 28 students testing positive for the coronavirus, with over 1,000 still waiting for their results. 
  • University of Iowa reported 500 new cases among their students, with a total of over 600 cases for the semester so far.
  • University of Dayton announced 116 new positive cases, bringing their total number of cases to almost 500.

Study Shows How Long Coronavirus Can Be Present in Children

A study conducted in South Korea suggests that children can carry the coronavirus in their noses and throats for weeks even if they do not show any symptoms of the illness. This could be the reason that the virus continues to spread silently within communities and states.

“Interestingly, this study aligns with adult data in which up to 40% of adults may remain asymptomatic in the face of infection,” Dr. Roberta DeBiasi and Dr. Meghan Delaney, both of Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, wrote in an editorial.

Possible Case of Coronavirus Reinfection

A 25-year-old Nevada man is the first documented case of reinfection of the coronavirus in the U.S. Genetic tests showed that the patient was infected with the virus in 2 different forms. He was diagnosed once in April, when he had a sore throat, cough, headache, nausea and diarrhea, and again in May, when he had a fever, headache, dizziness, cough, nauseous and diarrhea. 

“After one recovers from COVID-19, we still do not know how much immunity is built up, how long it may last, or how well antibodies play a role in protection against a reinfection,” Mark Pandori, the director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, said in a press release on  Thursday, August 27th.

“If reinfection is possible on such a short timeline, there may be implications for the efficacy of vaccines developed to fight the disease. It may also have implications for herd immunity,” Pandori said. “It is important to note that this is a singular finding. It does not provide any information to us with regard to the generalizability of this phenomenon.”

illustration in black and white of a man with a suit on in fear while looking at a paper with the word bill in his hand
Trump’s coronavirus health program has left many people with a large bill due to discrepancies.

Trump Program Leaves Many With Huge Bills

A plan to help cover uninsured individuals that President Trump announced earlier in the pandemic has ended up causing chaos. Speaking about his plan in April, the President had said,  “This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment.” The plan was supposed to allow money from the federal stimulus package to cover testing and treatment for uninsured people with the Coronavirus.

Unfortunately, however, the program has not delivered on its promises. It has caused confusion at participating hospitals, who have ended up billing patients directly for their treatment. Some providers have chosen not to participate in the program at all. In addition, the program has not been not well-publicized, so many people do not know about it and are not receiving money to help with their medical bills. Not only that, but a large number of patients are disqualified from the program, because coronavirus has to be their main diagnosis in order for their bills to be covered. 

Doctors Unhappy With Coronavirus Tests

Doctors are currently dissatisfied with the state of coronavirus testing in the U.S. While the commonly used PCR test for coronavirus does determine how much of the virus is present in a patient’s body, the only information being sent to doctors and patients is whether the test was positive or negative. Information about viral load could help to determine how contagious a patient is, and how long they should be isolating themselves. 

“We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.”

yes and no checkbox with a pencil laying next to the two words.
Doctors are unhappy that coronavirus test results only come in yes or no form without more detail.

“But yes-no isn’t good enough,” he added. “It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient’s next steps. It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue,” Mina said.

Another problem is that the tests are just too sensitive. A review by The New York Times found that the PCR tests collected in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada showed that almost 90% of people who tested positive carried barely any of the virus. Currently the threshold to consider a person positive for coronavirus is 40, which means that a patient is considered positive for the coronavirus if the test process required up to 40 cycles to detect the virus. Many scientists consider this too high of a threshold to be useful.

“Tests with thresholds so high may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk — akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left,” Mina said.

“Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive,” agreed Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. “I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive,” she said.

“A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35,” she added, while Mina said he “would set the figure at 30, or even less.”

Coronavirus Update: Week 17

The debate over the economic stimulus package continues, despite the fact that Congress is in recess. President Trump has been saying that he would step in if there was no agreement reached, and he has now signed executive orders related to stimulating the economy. It is still unclear what will happen with the House’s trillion dollar package, as well as what will happen to the U.S. Postal Service. In the meantime, the struggling economy is not the only thing our country is dealing with. While Americans wait for financial help, the coronavirus continues to rampage throughout the country. Testing doesn’t seem to be high on the government’s priority list, so there has been a decrease in testing numbers.

CDC Projects Nearly 189,000 Deaths By Sept. 5

The U.S. has reached more than 5.2 million coronavirus cases and a death toll of over 167,000. On Thursday, August 13, the CDC published its projection that over 188,982 deaths are possible by September. “State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

U.S. Testing Numbers Falling In Recent Weeks graph going downawards

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, officials have been working to expand testing in the U.S. in order to help slow the spread of the virus. But for the last 2 weeks, the country has fallen short on testing. Testing numbers have been averaging about 733,000 people per day, but the recent seven-day average dropped to 709,000, which is the lowest in nearly a month. 

CDC Advises Those Recovered To Not Quarantine

In recently updated guidance, the CDC has said that those who have recovered from the virus do not need to quarantine or get tested for 3 months after recovering. Instead, they should just continue to socially distance and wear masks around others. 

people's hands putting a sheet of paper in a ballot box
Trump is hoping to block funding in order to stop people from voting by mail, a voting method that he sees as a threat to his reelection

Trump Opposes Election Aid For States & Postal Bailout

On Thursday, August 13, President Trump said that he opposes much-needed funding for the U.S. Postal Service. He is hoping to block funding in order to stop people from voting by mail, a voting method that he sees as a threat to his reelection. He also said that if the USPS does not receive the additional $25 billion in funding that Democrats have requested, then he believes that the Post Office will not be able to handle the influx of mail-in ballots.

“They want three and a half billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. They want three and a half billion dollars for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said, repeating his false claims that mail-in voting would be “fraudulent.”

“But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it,” Trump added.

The Debate On The Stimulus Checks

The Senate recently adjourned for recess until September, leaving the stimulus bill up in the air. In the meantime, President Trump has signed a series of executive orders, which included $400 in weekly unemployment benefits, but it is unclear whether these executive orders will be put into effect. . 

After both sides of the aisle blamed each other for the stalemate on the stimulus package, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratc colleagues criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on his unwillingness to put the package to the Senate for a vote, and on Republicans’ refusal to help keep the USPS afloat. Pelosi wrote,”In the time of pandemic, the Postal System is Election Central. All patriots, Democrats, Independents or Republicans, should reject the President’s assault on the Postal System in this election season.”

Obesity Raises Risk Of Death In Men

doctors hands wrapping a measuring tape around a mans belly.
A new study shows that obesity is an independent risk factor of dying from coronavirus among adults aged 60 and younger.

A new study shows that obesity is an independent risk factor of dying from coronavirus among adults aged 60 and younger. Obesity causes restricted breathing, which can further complicate the respiratory symptoms of Covid-19. The risk seems to be much higher for men than for women.

“Body mass index is a really important, strong independent risk factor for death among those who are diagnosed with Covid-19,” said Sara Tartof, the study’s first author, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente of Southern California. But “the impact is not uniform across the population,” she added. “You don’t really see it for the older ages, and we didn’t see it as an important risk for females at any age.”

Mitt Romney Criticizes Trump On Handling Of Coronavirus

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has offered his disdain regarding Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, saying that Trump left it to spiral out of control. 

“Short term, I think it’s fair to say we really have not distinguished ourselves in a positive way by how we responded to the crisis when it was upon us,” Romney said in a video interview with the Sutherland Institute. “And the proof of the pudding of that is simply that we have 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s deaths due to covid-19.”

Coronavirus Update: Week 12

America is reopening and everyone is adjusting to the “new normal.” This new normal consists of businesses being open, but with people still being required to follow social distancing rules and wear masks. Unfortunately, some Southern and Western states have experienced skyrocketing case numbers, forcing their governors to require that people wear face masks in public, with the exception of Florida. Because cases are spiking in these states, many are concerned about a possible resurgence of the virus. Just as worrying, the CDC director says that a second wave this winter could be even worse than the first wave if the coronavirus has a resurgence during flu season. Nevertheless, government officials say that the U.S. needs to continue to move forward with reopening. 

California, Arizona, Florida Hit Record Highssign with record highs just ahead written on it with dessert in background.

So far more than 116,000 people have died from the coronavirus. Record high case numbers were recorded across Southern and Western states this week. On the morning of June 18, Arizona announced 2,519 new cases, Florida announced 3,207, and California announced 4,084. Los Angeles County alone reported 2,115 new cases.

Hospitalizations in Arizona have doubled since Memorial Day. Florida announced 43 new deaths, and new records in case numbers for 11 straight days. On 10 of the 11 days, there were more than 1,000 confirmed cases a day.

Californians Now Required To Cover Faces 

With numbers topping 4,000 cases in a day in California, the governor is now mandating that people wear masks in public. As of Thursday, June 17, California will require its residents to cover their faces in “most settings outside the home.” The state health department says that everyone must wear face coverings when working, when inside any indoor public space, or outdoors in public spaces where it is hard to for people to stay 6 feet away from each other. 

Texas and Arizona have also put out guidelines requesting that the public wear masks when they go out.

an empty outside playground
Playgrounds will be opening up in NY’s Phase 2.

New York To Enter Phase 2 Of Reopening

New York City will begin entering phase 2 of reopening on Monday, June 22, as long as there is no spike in cases before then. Under the state’s plan, outdoor dining, hair salons, barbershops, some in-store shopping, and some offices will be allowed to reopen as long as social distancing rules and restrictions on capacity are observed. Playgrounds will also reopen, leaving many to wonder how to get children to practice social distancing.

CDC Predicts Tough Winter

The director of the CDC, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, warned that the coming winter will have both the seasonal flu and coronavirus. He tweeted, “We must gear up for an additional potential challenge— both flu and #COVID19 could peak simultaneously and place a tremendous burden on local health care systems. Getting a #flu vaccine will be more important this year than ever!”

WHO Ends Hydroxychloroquine Trials

On Wednesday, June 17, the WHO said that they were ending testing of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, on coronavirus patients. The trial will end based on a recommendation from the agency’s Data Safety and Monitoring Committee. They found no benefits of the drug when used to treat Covid-19. 

dna written with a colorful gene sequence and microscope

European Study Links Genes & Blood Type With Risk Of Coronavirus

European scientists have found two genetic variations that may determine who is more likely to get sick and die from the coronavirus. They found that people with Type A blood have a 45% higher risk of catching the virus, and of developing severe symptoms. On the other hand, those with Type O blood seem to have a lower risk of catching the virus. 

“Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring Covid-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups,” the researchers wrote in their report.

Researchers cannot say if blood type is directly causing the difference in how susceptible a person is. “It might be that the genetic changes that affect someone’s risk also just happen to be linked with blood type,” they said.

Brazil reports 32,188 New Cases In A Day

As of Wednesday, June 17, Brazil’s health ministry reported 32,188 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 955,377. Brazil has the second highest number of cases and deaths, behind only the U.S. Out of  desperation to treat children and pregnant women, the health authorities are  recommending hydroxychloroquine as an early treatment. 

red triangle with an exclamation point inside of it

FDA Sends Warning Letters To Companies Selling Covid-19 Tests

The U.S. FDA sent warning letters to 3 companies selling Covid-19 tests because they were “inappropriately” marked, and “potentially placing public health at risk.”

The letters went to Medakit Ltd. of Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; and Yama Group; and Dr. Jason Korkus, DDS and Sonrisa Family Dental d/b/a My COVID19 Club of Chicago, Illinois. The FDA asked these companies to stop selling these products immediately.

Coronavirus Update: Week 9

Although many had hoped that the coronavirus crisis would begin to improve as summer approached, the CDC is predicting otherwise, and is forecasting more deaths for June. However, some states have already moved their re-openings into the 2nd and 3rd phases, opening more businesses and schools with some social distancing precautions. 

CDC Projects More Coronavirus Deaths for June

The CDC has released new predictions, warning that, while the rate of death may have slowed somewhat, the death toll will continue to rise. These new projections, published Thursday, May 28, forecast about 123,200 deaths by June 20, with a possible range of 115,400 to 134,800 deaths.

graph with red bars going up and a blue arrow above them going upwards.

“This week’s national ensemble forecast indicates that the rate of increase in cumulative COVID-19 deaths is continuing to decline. Nevertheless, total COVID-19 deaths are likely to exceed 115,000 by June 20,” according to the CDC’s website.

Numbers Continue To Rise

There are at least 1,711,313 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 101,129 people have died from the illness. On May 28:

  • California reported the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 2,617 new cases reported in 24 hours. 
  • North Carolina also reported one of their highest days of reported deaths and hospitalizations since the pandemic began. Gov. Roy Cooper said that he believes the number of cases might appear to be rising because the state has increased its testing capacity. 
  • Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp believes that the recent spike in Covid-19 cases is likely due to a backlog of test results recently being released. The state currently has 45,099 cases and 1,963 deaths from coronavirus. 
    • “We had a large dump of test results from a private sector vendor over the weekend, they had a big backlog around 15,000 cases that tracked back to April,” Kemp said Thursday, May 28. “They dumped those all into the system over, you know, a two-day period, I think it was Saturday and either Monday or Tuesday, so we feel like that is the reason for the spike in the cases, I can assure you that Dr. Toomey and I and our whole teams continue to watch that data.”
  • New York City has 16,673 confirmed and 4,742 probable coronavirus deaths as of May 28, according to the most recent data on the city’s website. But, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio the percentage of New York City residents who have tested positive is at 5%. This is an improvement for the city, as it’s the lowest percentage they’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic.  He is also confident that the city will begin phase 1 of the reopening process in the first 2 weeks of June.

New Coronavirus Hot Spotsmap of the US

As Americans continue to reopen their businesses, the so-called “hot spots” of outbreaks begin to shift. Cases are also on the rise in Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin, which on May 29 reported some of the state’s highest numbers of hospitalizations and reported deaths since the pandemic began.

The WHO is keeping an eye on the hot spots in other parts of the world including Africa, the Middle East, and certain Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

the red prohibition sign, circle with a slash through the middle.
Trump has announced he will no longer fund the WHO.

Trump Cuts Ties With The WHO

On May 29, President Trump announced that the country will no longer support the WHO, because he alleges that China has total control over the organization. The US contributed more than $400 million dollars to the WHO in 2019, and is the organization’s largest contributor. Cutting ties means cutting funding to help find a cure for the coronavirus, as well as to help halt the spread of any future novel viruses. 

“We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and directing those funds” to other global public health charities, Mr Trump said in the White House Rose Garden.”The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he said.

He added that China had “instigated a global pandemic that has cost over 100,000 American lives”.

States Continue To Open Schools & Businesses

Although Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in some states, many continue to reopen in phases with some precautions: 

  • Schools in Arizona will bring kids back in the fall, with some social distancing rules in place. 
  • Florida’s Board of Governors approved blueprints for the safe reopening of college campuses. The blueprint is made up of five categories: a healthy campus environment, a healthy community environment, Covid-19 virus testing, contact tracing and surveillance, and academic program delivery. The blueprint will be used as a framework for the state’s 12 universities as they make their own individual plans for reopening in the and white sign that says open with shop underneath it
  • New Mexico is allowing businesses across the state, including hair salons, barber shops, gyms, indoor malls, and dine-in restaurants, to reopen. Beginning Monday, June 1st, some restaurants will open at 50% capacity, while other businesses, such as malls and salons,  will open at 25% capacity.
  • Rhode Island will begin phase 2 of reopening on Monday, June 1st. They will implement  the same rules as those in New Mexico.
  • Idaho will enter phase 3 on Saturday, May 30th, and will allow movie theaters and bars to open. Gatherings of up to 50 people will also be allowed but with some social distancing requirements. 
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott is allowing outdoor sporting events to host spectators at 25% capacity starting Sunday, May 31st. 

“Each professional sports league that desires to reopen must first submit a plan to the Texas Department of State Health Services,” Abbott announced. “Spectators are allowed for outdoor events, provided that outdoor venues limit the number of spectators to no more than 25% of the normal operating limits of the venue as determined by the facility owner. Spectators are not permitted for indoor events. Each plan must incorporate these minimum health protocols to the greatest extent possible.”

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Patients who have cancer that is worsening or spreading were 5x more likely to die from the coronavirus.

Raised Risk Of Death In Cancer Patients

Recent studies have found that patients who have cancer that is worsening or spreading were 5 times more likely to die within a month of contracting the coronavirus. “While it’s not surprising, it’s informative that it looks like patients with cancer have twice the risk of dying than the general public,” Dr. Jeremy Warner, who worked on the research and is an associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN on Thursday, May 28.

Other data showed that cancer patients who were sick with Covid-19 and treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were more likely to die than those who weren’t. “This is early and evolving data, and more time and analysis will be needed to confirm and expand on these findings,” Dr. Jeremy Warner, who worked on the research and is an associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a written statement on Thursday, May 28.