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 16

With the coronavirus pandemic still hitting our country hard, many are hoping that a vaccine is on the horizon. While President Trump is claiming that a vaccine will be ready for distribution before election day (November 3rd), most scientists and health officials are not promising the same, and warn that we may not have one until at least the summer of 2021. In the meantime, health officials are reiterating how important it is that everyone continues to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

Unfortunately, some states are not following these guidelines, including Georgia, where a picture taken by a student of a high school with packed hallways and only 10% of students wearing masks went viral this week. With the increase in deaths from coronavirus multiple weeks in a row, parents around the country are afraid that their schools will look like the one in Georgia. Now the largest school districts in the country, as well as many smaller ones, are opting to make learning 100% virtual this fall.

calendar with the bottom right page corner lifting

U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Rises For 5th Straight Week

When the first wave of the pandemic seemed to be easing up a little, many states began to slowly reopen. For the past 5 weeks since these reopenings, the death toll from the virus has been on the rise. The number of deaths last week rose to 7,591, which is up 11.5% from the previous week. According to the COVID Tracking Project, more people died in the first week of August than did in the whole month of March.

Health Researchers Say Face Masks Are The Simplest Way To Fight The Spread

In a recent televised town hall, Dr. Chris Murray, a researcher behind the coronavirus model from the University of Washington, said that face masks are the most inexpensive and effective way for people to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. “It’s rare that you see something so simple, so inexpensive, so easy for everybody to participate [in] and have such an extraordinary impact in the US, but also all over the world actually. It’s quite extraordinary,” Murray told CNN during its global coronavirus town hall the night of August 6th. different kinds of face masks

Trump Says Vaccine Might Be Available By Election Day, Scientists Say Otherwise

Trump is hopeful that a vaccine for the coronavirus will be ready for distribution by election day, which he thinks “wouldn’t hurt” his chances of being re-elected. Vaccine scientist Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, on the other hand, does not think that any vaccine will have been proven safe by election day. Rather, he foresees that a vaccine will be readily available by the 3rd quarter of 2021. 

“It takes time to show that these vaccines actually work in people, as they do in laboratory animals, and that they are safe,” Hotez said. He expressed hope that several vaccines will be made available in the near future, but noted that it might take a year to gather safety data on them and obtain regulatory approval for their widespread use.

Trump Signs Executive Order Encouraging American Manufacturing Of Health Suppliesplain white bottle with red and white pills in it and some on the table next to the bottle.

On Thursday, August 7, President Trump signed a long-awaited executive order that would require the federal government to buy certain pharmaceuticals and medical supplies from American factories. The hope is that this order will help keep America from relying on China and other nations for drugs and medical supplies. 

“If we’ve learned anything from the China virus pandemic, it is simply that we’re dangerously overdependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines, for medical supplies like masks, gloves, goggles, and the like, and medical equipment like ventilators,” White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said Thursday. “We are dangerously dependent, at this point in time, for essential medicines.”

Georgia High School Pictures Draws Attention, Leaving 2 Students Suspended

A photo taken by a student at North Paulding High School in Dallas, GA, showed students, many without masks, packed into a hallway on the first day of school. Another picture was taken by another student on the second day of school, and both students were suspended after posting the pictures on Twitter. They were suspended for 5 days for ”using a phone in the hallway without permission.”

The superintendent of the Paulding County School District, Brian Otott, defended his system’s reopening plan, saying that the pictures were taken  out of context, and that the kids were in the hallways briefly while switching classes. Masks are not required at the school, because Georgia does not require people to wear masks in public, despite the CDC’s guidelines.  

Data Shows High Numbers Of Non-White Children Are Dying

According to data released in an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, nationwide numbers of coronavirus cases among people under 18 years of age from March 1 to August 3rd are highest among non-white children. The breakdown shows that children infected with coronavirus were:

  • 40% Hispanic
  • 34% White
  • 19% Black 

According to the memo, those children who died from the disease were:

  • 38% Hispanic
  • 34% Black
  • 25% White

Coronavirus Update: Week 15

Many businesses are operating remotely, schooling is being done virtually, weddings have been postponed, masks and social distancing are the new norm, and it seems like no one has been left untouched by the rising death toll. On Wednesday, July 29, more than 1,400 coronavirus related deaths were reported nationwide- that equates to about one death every minute. Multiple states have been seeing record-high numbers of cases and deaths, and although numbers continue to climb, President Trump has dismissed any talk of another national shutdown. Instead he is urging children to go back to school, as well as urging coronavirus patients who have recovered from the disease to donate plasma in the hope that this will help treat those who are infected. 

res gates locked with a padlock and chains
Having another widespread shutdown is “not a viable option.” 

Trump Dismisses Wider Shutdowns

Trump has made clear his position that having another widespread shutdown is “not a viable option.” 

“The primary purpose of a shutdown was to ‘flatten the curve,’” to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to buy time for new treatments and therapies”, Mr. Trump said in a briefing at the White House. “And we’ve done that,” he said.

“A blanket shutdown to achieve a temporary reduction in cases is certainly not a viable long-term strategy for any country,” said Mr. Trump.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Expires July 31st

The CARES Act that was passed in March provided an extra $600 in unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs to the pandemic, but those benefits expired at the end of July. The GOP has now proposed a stimulus package called the HEALS (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools) Act, which would reduce the extra unemployment benefit from $600 to $200 per week

The question of  how much to give unemployed individuals has been a sticking point between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Democrats are pushing to give the full $600 for the rest of the year, while Republicans argue that this extra money would be a  disincentive to return to work.  Many on the right have stated their belief that people who receive these benefits would choose to stay home rather than go back to work. 

“Both Republicans and Democrats agree that in these extraordinary times it makes sense for the federal government to provide historic additional help on top of normal unemployment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “But the speaker [of the House] and the Democratic leader say they won’t agree to anything unless the program pays people more to stay home than to work.”

the back of a kid walking down a road with a backpack on.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that “we should try as best as we possibly can to get the children back to school.”

Dr. Fauci Says Children Should Go Back To School

Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that “we should try as best as we possibly can to get the children back to school… Because we know the consequences on the children when they’re kept out of school, as well as the downstream deleterious, unintended consequences on families, of parents who have to get off work to take care of their kids,” Fauci said during CNN’s global coronavirus town hall on the night of Thursday, July 30.

The noted infectious disease expert is urging  people to send their children to school on a case-by-case basis, depending on the number of coronavirus cases in their area. “So if you have a level of virus that really is very, very low, then you could likely proceed with impunity, depending on the local situation, with getting the child back to school with no restrictions. If you’re in an area where there is some virus involved, the local authorities may do things like try to modify the school situation,” Fauci added.

Coronavirus Model Projects 230,822 Deaths in US By November

Based on the current situation, The University of Washington is projecting that there will be 230,822 deaths from the coronavirus by November. 

“If 95% of Americans wore masks each time they left their homes, infection rates would drop, hospitalizations would drop, and forecasted deaths would drop,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at IHME. “Unfortunately, people let down their guard until the media reported the risk of increased infections.”

Several States Report Record-High Numbers In One Day

US map

On Thursday, July 30, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio recorded their highest ever numbers of cases in a single day:

  • Mississippi reported 1,755 cases
  • Missouri reported more than 1,600 cases
  • Ohio reported 1,733 cases

Arizona, Florida, and Mississippi also reported record-high deaths in a single day:

  • Arizona had 172 deaths
  • Florida had 252 deaths
  • Mississippi had 48 deaths

New Jersey’s Numbers On The Rise Again

New Jersey had been seeing its lowest numbers since the pandemic began, but case numbers have been rising for the past week, with the state averaging about 416 new cases per day. Some are blaming parties that were thrown in Middletown, NJ and Jackson, NJ for the spread of the virus all over the state. 

Hawaii Reports High Case Numbers Second Day In A Row

On Thursday, July 30, 124 new cases were reported in Hawaii, which is a 14% increase over the previous day’s report. The Mayor of Honolulu is considering closing all bars on the island of Oahu for 3 weeks. The proposal is waiting for the Governor’s approval.

Trump Urges Recovered Coronavirus Patients To Donate Plasma

President Trump issued a national call-to-action asking people who have recovered from the virus to donate plasma in order to help others who are fighting it. People who recover from the disease have virus-blocking antibodies in their blood weeks after recovery, which can be transfused into people who are sick, helping to boost their immune systems. 

“If you’ve had the virus, if you donate, it would be a terrific thing,” Trump said on a visit to the American Red Cross headquarters. “We really need donations of the plasma. To those that have had the virus, you’ve gotten through this. And I guess that means you have something very special there.”

Johnson & Johnson Create Coronavirus Vaccine That Protects Monkeys

three monkeys sitting next to each other.

The company Johnson & Johnson has created an experimental vaccine that is showing promising results: it seems to have protected monkeys from becoming infected with the coronavirus. “This week has been good — now we have two vaccines that work in monkeys,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University who was not involved in the studies. “It’s nice to be upbeat for a change.”

Although this vaccine candidate is showing good results so far, scientists involved in the project  are not rushing large-scale trials in humans because they do not want to take any shortcuts.