COVID-19 Update: Most US States Reporting an Upward Trend in Infections; Herd Immunity is Not the Answer, Experts Say; and More

On Thursday, October 15, 2020, here are the latest COVID-19 numbers, according to Worldometer:

  • World Cases: 38.9 million.
  • World Deaths: 1,099,629.

 

Countries Outside of the US with Most Infections:

  • India: 7,349,290 confirmed cases; 111,726 deaths.
  • Brazil: 5,148,345 confirmed cases; 151,971 deaths.
  • Russia: 1,354,163 confirmed cases; 23,491 deaths.
  • Spain: 937,311 confirmed cases; 33,413 deaths.
  • Argentina: 931,967 confirmed cases; 24,921 deaths.

India’s Health Minister Urges Citizens to Celebrate from Home

India’s Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan is urging people to celebrate upcoming festivals from home as the country now exceeds 7 million confirmed infections – second in the world behind only the United States. “There is no need to congregate in large numbers to prove your faith or your religion. If we do this, we may be heading for big trouble. Lord Krishna says concentrate on your goal… my goal and your goal… our goal is to finish this virus and save humanity. This is our religion. The religion of the whole world,” the health minister said.


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Thursday, October 15, 2020

  • US Cases: Over 8.1 million.
  • US Deaths: 222,162 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 865,559 confirmed cases; 16,760 deaths.
  • Texas: 851,400 confirmed cases; 17,308 deaths.
  • Florida: 744,988 confirmed cases; 15,737 deaths.
  • New York: 513,460 confirmed cases; 33,426 deaths.
  • Georgia: 334,601 confirmed cases; 7,470 deaths.

21 States Hit Their Peak 7-Day Average of New Cases

Over 20 US states are reporting an upward trend in COVID-19 cases, with 59,494 new cases reported yesterday alone, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, the US is now averaging well over 52,000 cases a day, which is up 16% from the previous week. “This is a very ominous sign. I think we’re in for a pretty bad fall and winter,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of tropical medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Eli Lily Pausing Monoclonal Antibody Trial

Drugmaker Eli Lily paused its trial of a combination antibody treatment for COVID-19 due to undisclosed safety reasons. “The trial, evaluating Lilly’s investigational neutralizing antibody as a treatment for COVID-19 in hospitalized patients, is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent DSMB to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study,” the company said in the statement.

Small Gatherings Fueling COVID Spread

Small social gatherings have become a growing source of COVID-19 spread, according to a leading health expert, as infections and hospitalizations rise nationwide. “In the public square, we’re seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during a call with the nation’s governors on Tuesday, in audio obtained by CNN. “But what we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings,” Redfield said. “Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Trump COVID Negative, Not Infectious, Says White House

President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 for consecutive days and is not infectious to others, according to his physician. Physicians used antigen tests from Abbot, along with laboratory data included with viral load to determine Trump’s risk for spreading the virus. “This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the President is not infectious to others,” Dr. Sean Conley said in a memo.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Trial Paused

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson said Monday that it has paused the advanced clinical trial of its potential coronavirus vaccine due to an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. “Following our guidelines, the participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by the ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as well as our internal clinical and safety physicians,” the company said in a statement. “Adverse events — illnesses, accidents, etc. — even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies.”

 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Trump Claims He is Now COVID-19 Negative

President Donald Trump insists he no longer has coronavirus, despite the fact that The White House refuses to say whether he has tested negative for the virus. Hours after his physician issued a memo saying he is no longer “a transmission risk” to others, Trump said in an interview on Fox News he no longer has the virus, and is now immune. Moreover, Trump announced in an audio message that he tested “totally negative” for COVID-19, which goes beyond the memos released by his medical staff.

Twitter Flags Trump’s Comment; Facebook Does Not

Twitter added a warning label to a Trump tweet that claimed, with no backing evidence, that he is now immune to COVID-19 after his physician cleared him to resume public activities. Twitter’s warning label says the tweet, it “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.” While Trump posted the same claim to his Facebook account, thus far the platform has done nothing to flag it.

Cases Going Up in More than Half of US States

Data show that more than half of US states are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and five states – Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont – report an increase of more than 50% in one week.

 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Doctor Clears Trump for Public Engagements

President Trump’s doctor said that the President has completed his coronavirus treaments and is cleared to resume “public engagements” on Saturday. “Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” Dr. Sean Conley said.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Regeneron Applies for Emergency Use for Antibody Therapy

Regeneron has applied for to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its experimental monoclonal antibody therapy. This cocktail was used to treat President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection. The company confirmed on its website the submission of emergency use to the FDA. “Under our agreement with the U.S. government for the initial doses of REGN-COV2, if an EUA is granted the government has committed to making these doses available to the American people at no cost and would be responsible for their distribution,” the statement said. “At this time, there are doses available for approximately 50,000 patients, and we expect to have doses available for 300,000 patients in total within the next few months.

CDC Now Projects 233,000 US Deaths by End of October

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now predicts 224,000 to 233,000 US deaths from COVID-19 by the end of October – up by 1,000 since the previous enable forecast, released on September 30.

Notre Dame University President in Hot Water Over COVID-19 Diagnosis

University of Notre Dame President  Rev. John I. Jenkins  is facing a student petition for his resignation and a possible “no confidence,” by faculty following his COVID-19 diagnosis. Students are furious that Jenkins attended the nomination ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett at the White House Rose Garden on Sept. 26 without donning a mask and failing to adhere to social distancing.

Amtrak Warns of Mass Layoffs Without Stimulus

Amtrak says without $5 billion in stimulus funds from the federal government, it will layoff 2,400 workers while reducing the frequency of trains on some routes, and halting major improvement projects. “We have seen that our ridership is not returning as quickly or at the levels that we had hoped for,” Amtrak president and CEO William J. Flynn wrote in a Thursday letter to Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Cases Once Again Rising in New Jersey

New Jersey reports 1,301 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday – the state’s highest total of new cases since May 29. “This is a sobering number,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The positivity rate for NJ is ow at 3.69%.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

  • US Cases: 7.7 million.
  • US Deaths: 216,125.

US States with Most Infections:

  • California: 838,705 confirmed cases; 16,262 deaths.
  • Texas: 814,323 confirmed cases; 16,664 deaths.
  • Florida: 722,707 confirmed cases; 14,914 deaths.
  • New York: 501,824 confirmed cases; 33,330 deaths.
  • Georgia: 324,650 confirmed cases; 7,229 deaths.

How COVID-19 Impacts Tonight’s Debate

Tonight Vice President Mike Pence will go head-to-head in debate with Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. In response to the White House coronavirus outbreak – a number of new safety protocols are in place. Pence and Harris will have to stand more than 12 feet apart (instead of the standard six), using plexiglass as barriers between the two. Also, everyone in the audience will be required to wear masks. Both VP Pence and Sen. Harris have tested negative for COVID-19 going into tonight’s debate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

White House Denies Offers for Contact Tracing

The White House declined offers from the CDC to help investigate the source of the outbreak that lead to President Trump’s COVID-19 infection.

FDA Demands Safety Before Any Vaccine is Approved

The US Food and Drug Administration stated on Tuesday that it wants to see two months of follow-up data after volunteers get their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine as part of clinical trials testing potential coronavirus vaccines. This request will make it near possible for any vaccine maker to apply for emergency use authorization by election day or the end of this month.

Only Four US States are Trending Downwards

Only four US states are showing downward trends in new COVID-19 cases: Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, and South Carolina. That leaves at least 22 states showing upward trends, and 24 states are showing steady trends.

Monday, October 5, 2020

CDC Once Again Updates Guidance to Say COVID-19 is Airborne

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has once again updated its guidance about how COVID-19 can spread. “Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area. In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles.”

Biden States He Will Debate Trump is Scientists Approve

Joe Biden will listen to the doctors, he said when asked if he would debate President Trump if he were healthy by their next scheduled debate on Oct. 15.  “If the doctors — listen to the science. If the scientists say that it’s safe and the distance are safe, then that’s fine. I’ll do whatever the experts say is appropriate to do.”

NJ Gov. Murphy Says Trump Was Reckless

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that President Trump was reckless for deciding to Bedminister rally last Thursday in NJ after his adviser, Hope Hicks, has tested positive for coronavirus. “We continue to send out best wishes and prayers to the President, the First Lady and former Gov. Chris Christie and all that have tested positive over the weekend. This is not a matter of politics but a matter of humanity, but this is also a matter of leadership by example and it is clear that the President and his staff acted recklessly in the first place knowing they had been exposed to someone with a confirmed positive test,” Murphy said.

Health Care Workers Should Be At Front of Vaccine Line

Frontline health care workers should be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, according to experts advising the federal government. Following health care workers, then should come older adults living in congregate settings, like nursing homes, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee said in a final report.

Wednesday, October 1, 2020

Massive Airline Layoffs

Sadly, 32,000 airline employees are losing their jobs today after attempts to receive federal money failed. American Airlines is cutting 19,000 jobs, and United Airlines is cutting 13,000 jobs. United CEO Scott Kirby said the decision marked “”a very sad day for all of us here at United.”

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker had said in an interview with CNN that he hoped the layoffs could be avoided if the airlines and Congress could reach a deal, that has yet to occur.

COVID-19: August/September Round-up

The COVID-19 Pandemic: June/July Round-up

The COVID-19 Pandemic: May Round-up

The COVID-19 Pandemic: April Round-up