COVID-19 day 181: 📈 61,847 new cases; 415 new deaths (US): 19 July 2020

US government did not provide data to WHO for Sunday report; we're asking a lot of minimum wage employees; lawsuits in Texas challenges in-person voting law during the pandemic

It’s day 181 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. 

However data gets from the US government to the World Health Organization, it didn’t happen Saturday. Because Sunday’s report from WHO shows NO new cases and NO new deaths.

Sections (no jump links, sorry!)
1, One big thing; 2, Key metrics; 3, Recommendations; 4, Politics, economics & COVID; 5, Case counts and resources

⓵ One big thing: the burden of minimum wage employees

Front-line retail employees, often making only minimum wage, are on the frontline of how we control this virus: they have to enforce the mask policy.

There are far too many denialist idiots who act like asshats, egged on by GOP politicians hemming and hawing about choice or refusing to firmly mandate public health policies.

Here’s an excerpt from one such story from North Carolina, courtesy of Voices from the Pandemic, an oral history of COVID-19 and those affected.

I’ll never understand what’s so hard about putting on a mask for a few minutes. It’s common sense. It’s a requirement now in North Carolina. But this is a conservative place, and there are only 900 people in this town. We try hard to get along. We’re a small general store, and we didn’t want to end up in one of those viral videos with people spitting or screaming about their civil rights. We put a sign outside — an appeal to kindness. “If you wear a mask, it shows how much you care about us.”

We found out how much they cared. It became clear real quick.

I’m 63. I’m a lifetime asthmatic. I’d watch customers pull into the parking lot without their faces covered, and my whole body would start to tense up. Our store is on the Intracoastal Waterway, and people from all over the world dock in the harbor and come in here for supplies. It’s a big petri dish. I put a shield up over my register, and a few hours into my shift it was covered with spittle. We’d have 20 or 30 people walk by the sign and come in without a mask. I’d try to get their attention and point to the sign. It was a lot of: “You’re infringing on my rights. This is a free country, and I’m here to shop, so who’s going to stop me?”

Really heartbreaking and important.

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⓶ Key metrics

🦠 SundayJohns Hopkins reported 3,773,260 (61,847 new) cases and 140,534 (415 new), an increase of 1.67% and 0.30%, respectively, since Saturday. A week ago, the daily numbers increased by 1.82% and 0.32%, respectively.

  • Today
    - seven-day average: 65,917 cases and 720 deaths 
    - 3.72% cases leading to death
    - case rate, 1,139.95 per 100,000; death rate, 42.46 per 100,000

  • One week ago
    - seven-day average: 58,188 cases and 691 deaths 
    - 4.09% cases leading to death
    - case rate, 998.46 per 100,000; death rate, 40.85 per 100,000

Note: the seven-day average is important because dailies vary due to factors other than actual case numbers, particularly over a weekend.

⓷ Recommendations

🤓 Recommended reading

▪️ Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) writes that after Trump punted testing responsibility to the states, he and his wife, Yumi, who had been raised in South Korea, asked President Moon Jae-in for help in getting testing supplies. He’s the governor who used the state National Guard to make sure the federal government wouldn’t intercept the shipment.

Fighting alone. I’m a GOP governor. Why didn’t Trump help my state with coronavirus testing? Washington Post, 16 July 2020

▪️ He’s rocking the socks!

Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife, Dr. Christine Grady, speak with CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell about a potential COVID-19 vaccine, working with the White House, and what life is like at home.

Dr. Fauci Says, “With All Due Modesty, I Think I’m Pretty Effective.” InStyle, 15 July 2020.

▪️ Situated as a comparison with the world rather than an indictment of the Trump Administration (like the similar NY Times retrospective). Also, a touch of psychology.

Isabelle Papadimitriou, 64, a respiratory therapist in Dallas, had been treating a surge of patients as the Texas economy reopened. She developed covid-19 symptoms June 27 and tested positive two days later. The disease was swift and brutal. She died the morning of the Fourth of July…

“I feel like her death was a hundred percent preventable. I’m angry at the Trump administration. I’m angry with the state of our politics. I’m angry at the people who even now refuse to wear masks,” [her daughter] said.

The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the coronavirus. Washington Post, 19 July 2020.

🔬 Research and medical news

▪️ In South Korea, which had its first case of coronavirus the same day as the US (the similarity ends there):

Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do…

The new study “is very carefully done, it’s systematic and looks at a very large population,” [Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute] said. “It’s one of the best studies we’ve had to date on this issue.”

Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, Large Study Finds. NY Times, 18 July 2020.

▪️In more than one-third of COVID-19 deaths, the patients had pneumonia. In 2013, two researchers discovered that once-upon a time, low-dose radiation was used to treat pneumonia. Now there are at least a dozen global trials testing whether low-dose radiation therapy can be used to treat pneumonia associated with COVID-19.

Once a relic of medical history, radiation emerges as an intriguing — and divisive — treatment for Covid-19. STAT News, 16 July 2020.

▪️ You’ve seen the memes and the headlines: Trump strips CDC of hospital data. But what does it mean?

Hospitals are being asked to learn a new data system as they’re struggling to keep up with a raging pandemic. Streams of data that the CDC was making available to researchers and the public have suddenly been cut off, exacerbating fears that the Trump administration is trying to stomp out any evidence that the pandemic is worse than ever…

STAT dissects what we know — and what we don’t yet fully understand — about the new policy change.

How HHS’s new hospital data reporting system will actually affect the U.S. Covid-19 response. STAT News, 16 July 2020.

⓸ Politics, economics and COVID-19

🦠Celebrity COVID-19 news: Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were diagnosed early in the pandemic, in March.

💉On Tuesday, officials from Merck, Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson - all working to develop a coronavirus vaccine - will testify before the House Committee of Energy and Commerce.

🏇🏼In Kentucky, a couple and their daughter are under house arrest for refusing to “sign documents agreeing to self-quarantine.” (Be precise! It’s isolation after you’ve tested positive, dadgumit!) Elizabeth Linscott refused to sign the Self-isolation and Controlled Movement Agreed Order; she and her husband must now wear ankle monitors. (Yes, they are young.)

‼️ Pay attention to Portland (Oregon not Maine). There have been protests, mostly peaceful, for 52 days since the murder of George Floyd. This past week, the Department of Homeland Security deployed tactical units to Portland from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and US Customs and Border Protection. They have stayed in the city despite being asked to leave, ostensibly to protect federal buildings.

From historian Heather Cox Richardson, in tonight’s Letters from an American (emphasis added):

Trump himself tweeted: “We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!” The argument appears to be that we should not pay attention to the administration's failure to protect us from coronavirus because it promises now to protect us from “violent anarchists.”

COVID will remain a top issue as we prepare to vote in summer primaries and the fall election.

☆ In Texas, “two civil rights organizations and two Texas voters argue that the state’s rules for in-person voting won’t work this year” and filed a lawsuit against the state on Thursday.

The plaintiffs also want to overturn a relatively new statewide election law that ended the long-established practice of setting up temporary or mobile early voting sites that could be moved around during the early voting period to reach as many voters as possible near where they live, work or go to school. They are asking the court to allow counties a temporary reprieve from that 2019 law, which is the target of a separate lawsuit filed last year.

🆘 A challenge to the expected flood of absentee ballots in November: novice voters, whether first-time or first-time-absentee. According to NPR, about 1% of the ballots cast this year arrived too to late to be counted; in Virginia, it was 5.63%.

Look for tips like these in your state: how to vote by mail in Minnesota for the August primary.

This map is based on data from 250,000 survey responses between July 2-14.

Several national surveys in recent weeks have found that around 80 percent of Americans say they wear masks frequently or always when they expect to be within six feet of other people. 

⓹ Case counts and resources

CDC, Johns Hopkins, states, WHO

🇺🇸 19 July 

  • CDC: 3,698,161 (67,574 new) cases and 139,659 (877 new) deaths

  • Johns Hopkins*: 3,773,260 (61,847 new) cases and 140,534 (415 new) deaths

  • State data*:  3,758,591 (64,777 new) cases and 132,924 (625 new) deaths
    KS reports only M-W-F; CT and RI report only M-F; no report from NJ

  • WHO Situation report, 181
    3 544 143 cases (0 new) with 137 674 deaths (0 new)

🌎 19 July 

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (11.00 pm Pacific)

  • Global cases: 14,507,491 (218,802 new)

  • Total deaths: 606,173 (4,035 new)

WHO Situation report, 181

  • Global: 14 043 176 cases (166 735) 597 583 deaths (4 496)

  • The Americas: 7 376 748 cases (70 377) 305 285 deaths (2 777)

* Johns Hopkins data, ~11.00 pm Pacific.
State data include DC, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

The virus was not created in a lab and the weight of evidence is it was not released intentionallyAlthough early reports tied the outbreak to a market in Wuhan, China, analyses of genomic data in January suggested that the virus might have developed elsewhere.


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