For the first time, the U.S. has documented a new record with nearly 60,000 cases on Thursday alone. In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has mandated that people must wear masks in indoor public spaces as well as crowded outdoor areas. Businesses are now required to refuse people service if they do not wear a mask and there is a $500 fine for those who do not comply.
The slight decline in cases that the U.S. saw for some time has taken a turn that is both concerning and a cause to take swift action to prevent as many deaths as possible. In the country’s most populous states, such as California, Texas, and Florida, there has been a sharp uptick in new infections and deaths.
In Arizona, more than 200 deaths have been documented just this week and in Texas, health officers report 119 deaths on Wednesday. This is a record for deaths in one day. Other states including Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Dakota have also set records for single-day deaths.
The death average across the past seven-days in the U.S. approached 608 on Thursday despite it being 471 earlier this month. Despite the high numbers, it is still “a fraction of the more than 2,200 deaths the country averaged each day in mid-April” according to the New York Times.
As of now it is too soon to forecast the direction of this data because it is just from a few days. Regardless of which direction the trend takes, the rising deaths in some states indicate an end to the country’s period of declining death counts. The reason why the U.S. saw this progress for a few months is largely because of the precautions that were taken by the governors of a few states. Mandating mask wearing, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing surely had a great impact on how much of the virus propagated throughout the nation.
The U.S. now reaches a grim milestone in this coronavirus pandemic. The country’s largest states by population which include Texas, Florida, and California now report their biggest single-day death toll since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
Healthcare facilities, with limited supplies, are under serious pressure because of the large amount of new cases. In Arizona, 25% of tests come back positive which indicates that the virus may have proliferated more than previously thought.
As many states are making plans to reopen, top infectious disease experts have expressed their concern with rising rates of infection. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that the hardest hit states should consider halting their plans to reopen.
In states like Florida, theme parks like Disney World plan to reopen with certain precautions like mandating social distancing and checking temperatures. Despite these measures, some are still weary about reopening theme parks. Dr. Terry Adirim of the Florida Atlantic University told CBS News, “I think it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire,”she added “I don’t think it’s going to help us drive down our case rates. I think it’s going to do the opposite.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ron Desantis implores residents to take precautions.
In a Tuesday conference call Secretary Betsy Devos explained that the risks associated with the pandemic should not be the reason for not reopening schools. Devos said, “Risk is involved in everything we do, from learning to ride a bike to riding a rocket into space and everything in between.”
Devos, who has an estimated net worth of about a billion dollars, has been reported insisting that schools be “fully operational” this coming fall semester. This comes as a surprise especially in light of her previous stance that some schools may have to use virtual learning in the fall.
She explains, “Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools should reopen. It’s simply a matter of how. They must be fully operational…How that happens is best left to education and community leaders.”
Though she did not explain exactly what “how” meant, she was quick to allege that some education officers “just gave up.” She later expressed disappointment in the efforts many public school districts made to comply with government health instructions and guidelines.
Despite this coronavirus presenting schools with an unprecedented dilemma this past spring, many public schools worked with swiftness and tact to ensure that students still get the education they need. They deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Fairfax County Public Schools, a top district in the nation, planned to split the school week into two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning. This was an abomination to Devos, according to Salon media. “Things like this cannot happen again in the fall,” she said. Betsy Devos later said in an interview with Neil Cavuto that Fairfax County Public Schools was a “disaster.”
President Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday that “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!” He also threatened in another tweet to cut off funding for public schools despite lacking the power to do so. This comes after some states have reported increasing infection rates especially in states with high populations like Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona.
Despite the low attendance numbers of Trump’s Tulsa rally in June, it seems that coronavirus cases are higher than ever. Just over 2 weeks ago, President Trump insisted on having an indoor political rally where social distancing was virtually impossible and masks were rare. We are just now seeing the effects of this gathering.
Because COVID-19 has a relatively long incubation period, it could take anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks for symptoms to become obvious. This most likely explains why we are just now seeing a rise in cases in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In a press conference on Wednesday, the Director of the Tulsa Health Department explained that high case numbers are being reported in the city this week. They have had about 500 new cases in the span of two days. Data shows that these numbers are only going to increase.
Previously the city boasted a decline in cases from June 28 through July 4. Dr. Bruce Dart, the Director of the Tulsa Health Department, believes that this rise in cases could possibly be attributed to multiple events over the past weeks.
As a defense for loose health precautions, many Trump supporters point to the Black Lives Matter protests that did not lead to a rise in coronavirus cases. Tim Murtaugh told CNN that there were sufficient preventative measures taken during the rallies saying that “all attendees had their temperature checked, everyone was provided a mask, and there was plenty of hand sanitizers available for all.”
Tulsa, as of now, plans to issue an order that mandates that gatherings over 500 people must receive guidance from the health department to evaluate safety plans. The executive order says that health officers will work on a case-by-case basis depending on the event.
In the interview West claims that he was sick with COVID-19 in February. He also expressed his feelings towards vaccines coining them as “the mark of the beast.” He said, “They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven. I’m sorry when I say they, the humans that have the Devil inside them.”
In the past, West has been criticized for supporting the President, but now he has told Forbes that has lost confidence in Trump. Kanye West announced his Presidential bid on July 4th despite many states saying that it is too late to put his name on the ballot. He does not seem to have a problem with taking votes away from Joe Biden going as far as to say “Joe Biden’s not special.”
When he reportedly had COVID-19 he said he suffered from “chills” and “shaking in bed.” He claimed, “ I remember someone had told me Drake had the coronavirus and my response was Drake can’t be sicker than me!”
No one really knows if West ever actually got tested for coronavirus or antibodies.
According to reports from Fox News, a minimum of 8 lawmakers in the state of Mississippi now have tested positive for Coronavirus. Reports indicate that these lawmakers were working in close proximity for the past few weeks. Among this group of lawmakers include House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.
According to the Mississippi State Health Officer, there may be over 10 suspected cases largely involving Capitol employees. At the moment Governor Tate Reeves is in quarantine with his family after coming into contact with another lawmaker that tested positive previously. Reeves continues to encourage people to get tested if exposed.
Mississippi has had a minimum of 1,158 deaths and 30,000+ confirmed cases. The amount of cases in Mississippi continue to rise rapidly putting stress on the health system.
According to a new report by The Guardian Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil, has tested positive for COVID-19. He announced it on live television just recently. Though he was wearing a mask as he addressed the press, this strays from his previous attitude concerning coronavirus.
In the past, he minimized the pandemic and did not seem to take social distancing seriously. Currently, Brazil has now become the second-worst hit country after the United States. They have over 65,000 deaths and 1.6 million confirmed cases.
Turning 65 just this March, Jair Bolsonaro falls into a higher risk group for the disease. Earlier this year he claimed that if he got coronavirus, he would recover quickly because of his athletic background. As a result of this attitude, Bolsonaro attended crowded events and rallies while neglecting to stress the importance of mask wearing. Moreover, the President of Brazil has continually undermined the efforts of some Brazilian governors and mayors to mitigate the spread of the disease. He complained according to The Guardian, “Some authorities even forbade people from going to the beach.”
The first reports of the President’s suspected contraction of the virus came on Monday evening by local news authorities. They claim that Bolsonaro developed symptoms of the disease that included a persistent cough and a 100F fever. The president has told his supporters that his lungs are clear as of now after an MRI was taken. Many politicians around Brazil have offered statements of support to Bolsonaro hoping for a quick recovery including Sergio Moro (former justice minister) and Renato Casagrande (governor of Espírito Santo state).
These statements come despite the administration’s track record of downplaying the virus and encouraging people to get back to work. Bolsonaro is the second member of his household that has contracted the disease. The grandmother of Brazil’s first lady had to be intubated just this Sunday.
In accordance to a recent Nanos Research survey, at least 80% of Canadians believe that the U.S.-Canada border should stay closed for the foreseeable future.
Though a majority of travel across the border has been paused for 30 days since March 21, it seems that most Canadians would rather maintain the border restrictions for at least some time especially with rising case numbers of COVID-19 in the United States.
In June, the Prime Minister of Canada made it clear that the U.S. and Canada will continue to block non-essential travel between the two nations until July 21. With confusing leadership and premature calls to reopen, the U.S. seems to be struggling to mitigate the spread of this deadly disease that has taken the lives of 130,000+ Americans.
Although non-essential travel is restricted, foods and goods, which are deemed essential, can travel across the border. Moreover, people can travel for work-related reasons. The Prime Minister of Canada also said in June that family members are able to visit each other as long as those entering Canada quarantine for 2 weeks. They are issuing fines for non-compliance.
The survey, which was conducted for The Globe and Mail, specifically asked their participants whether the border should be open for non-essential travel immediately(from low risk areas) or if the border should remain closed for at least some time. According to this poll over 80 percent said that the border should remain closed.
These responses most likely stem from the United States’ handling of COVID-19. The CDC documented over 52,000 new cases just this Sunday. The total cases are about 2.8 million currently. Canada’s handling of this virus seems to be quite remarkable with low numbers of new cases every day.
***This survey, according to The Globe and Mail, included over 1,000 Canadian adults. It occurred between June 28 and July 2. The margin of error is about 3.1% ***
(My Public Health) – Just this Saturday, The New York Times Reported a new claim made by hundreds of scientists saying that there is proof that COVID-19 can infect people through smaller particles in the air. They are asking that the World Health Organization revise their recommendations.
Previously, the World Health Organization had said that novel coronavirus primarily transmits through small droplets from the mouth or nose. Because symptoms of COVID-19 usually include coughing and sneezing, this novel coronavirus can easily spread through these droplets especially without the usage of a mask or facial covering. In fact, these contaminated droplets have been found to spread through actions as simple as speaking.
In a letter to the WHO, planned to be published next week, over 200 scientists from over 30+ countries highlighted evidence that possibly proves that smaller contaminated particles can infect people.(New York Times)
According to the NYT, scientists say that the coronavirus is certainly carried through air and can infect people when inhaled. Currently, this seems to be how the virus is transmitted whether through large droplets from a sneeze or through smaller droplets that can travel across a room.
NEVERTHELESS, the WHO has stated that the evidence for calling COVID-19 airborne was inconclusive at best. (NYT) Dr. Trish Greenhalgh, a primary care doctor at the University of Oxford in Britain has said,“So at the moment we have to make a decision in the face of uncertainty, and my goodness, it’s going to be a disastrous decision if we get it wrong,…So why not just mask up for a few weeks, just in case?” Whatever the case may be, COVID-19 is still a threat to society. Wear a mask and continue to be vigilant.
If you have any questions or concerns, let us know in the comments below!