Coronavirus Update: Week 14

Coronavirus continues to spread through the US like wildfire, with cases now topping 4 million. Some states, like California, are still seeing a large rise in case numbers, and death tolls in other states are rising everyday. Although these numbers continue to soar, many districts are planning to reopen schools for in-person learning in the fall. The CDC has said that children are less likely than adults to get the virus and so should be able to begin in-person learning. President Trump agrees with the CDC’s assessment and has offered aid to those districts that open schools for in-person learning. Amid all of this virus spread and confusion over reopening schools, there is a glimmer of hope: the government has reached an agreement with Pfizer to produce hundreds of millions of doses of a covid-19 vaccine, which they hope to get out to the public by late fall. 

US Surpasses 4 Million Coronavirus Cases

On Thursday, July 23, the US officially recorded 4,032,430 cases of coronavirus, with a quarter of that number coming in within the last 15 days. So far there have been at least 144,167 deaths.

“We’ve rolled back essentially two months’ worth of progress with what we’re seeing in number of cases … in the United States,” Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health, told CNN on Thursday.the red san fransisco bridge

California Sets Record With Most Daily Coronavirus Deaths

The death toll topped 8,027 in California, with the state’s average daily number of deaths reaching 157. On July 23, the state saw 12,040 new Coronavirus infections, which was slightly below the previous day’s total of 12,807. California is currently recording the highest numbers of new daily cases in the nation.

The Health Director of Los Angeles said on Wednesday, July 23 that “COVID-19 appears to be on track to claim more lives in L.A. County than any other disease other than coronary heart disease.”

Georgia Passes 150,000 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

Georgia’s Department of Public Health reported 3,314 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, July 22. This brings the total number of cases in the state to a minimum of 152,302. The total death toll for the state is 3,335 so far; the state saw 81 deaths on July 22, which was their second highest daily number of deaths. 

New CDC Guidelines Now In Favor of Opening Schools

Last week the CDC issued strict guidelines for the reopening of schools, with which President Trump expressed strong disagreement. Now they have changed their guidelines to favor reopening schools, stating that children aren’t as likely to suffer from coronavirus as adults and are also less likely to spread the disease to adults. The guidelines recommend that local officials should close schools if the virus cannot be controlled in that area. 

caucasian child with red hair sitting at a desk with a mask on
“Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting Covid-19 compared to adults.”

“The best available evidence indicates that Covid-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children,” an unsigned statement said. “Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting Covid-19 compared to adults. To put this in perspective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of July 17, 2020, the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18 years old account for under 7 percent of Covid-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of Covid-19-related deaths.”

“CDC does not currently recommend universal symptom screenings (screening all students grades K-12) be conducted by schools,” the guidelines read. “Parents or caregivers should be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day,” they add. “Students who are sick should not attend school in-person.”

Trump On Reopening Schools

At a news conference on Thursday, July 24, Trump talked more about his plan for school reopenings. He announced the new CDC guidelines and said that the White House is recommending that the Senate include $105 billion in aid money for schools- but only if schools reopen in-person. If a district chooses not to reopen schools for in-person learning, then he believes that the money should go to parents who are homeschooling, private schools, and religious schools.

Some Schools Require Corona Waiver Before Returning

Some school districts are requiring that parents sign Covid-19 waivers before their children can go to school in-person. So far California, Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina have introduced these waivers. These waivers basically state that if a child gets sick or dies from coronavirus, the school will not be held accountable. 

Trump Administration & Pfizer Create Deal to Produce 100 Million Doses Of Covid-19 Vaccine

Pfizer has reached a $1.95 billion agreement with the government to produce 100 million doses of its covid-19 vaccine, which they hope to get to the public by the fall. The vaccine would be completely free to Americans, as long as it is given by healthcare providers. 

Pfizer is working on the vaccine with German company BioNTech. They began clinical trials in April, and Pfizer has so far been reporting positive results. “If the ongoing studies are successful, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be ready to seek Emergency Use Authorization or some form of regulatory approval as early as October 2020,” the company said in a statement.

Second Stimulus Check Underway

different money bills rolled up

Senate and White House negotiators said on Wednesday, July 22 that they have reached a deal on a piece of their stimulus package. The stimulus package is still being worked on, and is to hopefully be released by next week. So far, we know it will include a $1,200 stimulus check; however, it is still in the works as to who will qualify for the money. United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the proposal might only allow those who make $40,000 or less to receive a check.

“The president’s preference is to make sure that we send out direct payments quickly so that in August people get more money. There is no question this worked before,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday.

Coronavirus Update: Week 11

Businesses in some parts of the country are finally up and running again, but things aren’t going smoothly. Some states are seeing the beginning of a second wave of the coronavirus, and the U.S. has officially passed 2 million confirmed cases. Many are still unsure how to balance the needs of the economy with public safety concerns. The treasury secretary is warning that we cannot face another shutdown without dire consequences, and the White House task force has scheduled a meeting to try and find a way to reduce the spread while keeping the economy open. 

Harvard Doctor Warns of 200,000 Coronavirus Deaths By Fall

Because the number of cases continues to rise in many states, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, fears that the number of deaths from the virus will reach 200,000 in the next few months. 

black and white pic of tombstones

According to Jha, “sometime in September, we’re going to cross 200,000, and we still won’t be done. This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine. This is not faded.” The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in the U.S. is currently more than 113,000.

U.S. Has Passed 2 Million Confirmed Cases

The U.S. has reached 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, June 10.  Infections are rising in at least 20 states that have lifted their restrictions. A trusted model is projecting an increase in cases in the fall, so the White House coronavirus task force will meet on June 11 to discuss actions to reduce the numbers. 

Meanwhile the Treasury Secretary has made it clear  that the US economy will not be shut down again, even as cases rise. “We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage, and not just economic damage, but there are other areas,” Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC, calling President Trump’s initial decision “very prudent” but saying “we’ve learned a lot” since then. 

A Second Wave Of Coronavirus In Some States

green wave
Some states have seen a second wave of the Coronavirus since reopening.

Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas are seeing spikes in cases leading to hospitalizations. California’s hospitalizations are at their highest in almost a month. Other states have not seen such spikes yet, but it is still too soon to see what will happen following widespread reopening. Texas reported its highest number of new cases in a 24-hour period, 5,504, on Wednesday, June 10. 

Florida reported that coronavirus cases are up to 82,719 in total, with 3,018 deaths so far. This past week they saw back to back days of over 2,000 confirmed cases each day. Employees in restaurants and bars were confirmed with the virus, so businesses began to shut back down for safety despite the state remaining open.

NYC Gives $3 Million To Assist Businesses

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 36 people died from the virus on Wednesday, June 10, which is “close to its lowest point.” Because the number of cases is decreasing, the state continues to reopen. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city is going to make available $3 million dollars to help “mom and pop” restaurants and small businesses. The funds will be part of the city’s “Restaurant Revitalization Program,” which will provide grants of up to $30,000 to 100 selected restaurants.

New Unemployment Claims Rise As Stocks Drops

The U.S. had seen a temporary drop in unemployment claims as businesses began reopening, but claims have now gone up again. More than 1.5 million people filed for unemployment for the first time last week.The stock market, which had been relatively strong, also dropped. The DOW fell 1.308 points, the S&P dropped 3.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.5%. 

persons arm about to get a vaccine in it with a green background with virus on itU.S. Army Lab Selects Lead Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate

The U.S. Army lab has selected a lead vaccine candidate, as well as 2 backup vaccine candidates to advance to the next stage of research. “The candidates were narrowed down from more than two dozen prototypes in order to determine the candidates that elicited the most promising antibody response in preclinical studies,” a statement from the lab said.