The number of new coronavirus cases recorded daily in the United States has doubled in the span of a week and a half.
Asked about the surge in cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the idea that the US is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. “We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert said. “We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it’s surging back up. So it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
At least 32 states are reporting higher rates of new cases this week compared to the last and the number of Americans infected with the virus is fast approaching 3 million. More than 130,000 have died and many survivors are grappling with long-term complications.
Texas, Florida and Arizona are facing the worst of the crisis. Dozens of hospitals in Florida have no intensive care units beds left, according to health officials.
In parts of the south and southwest, cases are now rising so quickly that experts are warning contact tracing isn’t possible any more.
Images of crowded bars and beaches startled experts who worry this could lead to another surge. “We are in free fall,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. “You see the footage of what happened this past weekend. And people are either naive to the influence of their actions, or they’re simply resigned to ignore it.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: What is pooled testing?
A: Pooled testing means mixing several people’s biological samples and examining them in a single test. Some US health officials say it could boost the capacity to identify outbreaks.
If a pool of samples comes back negative, it can be deduced that none of the patients have coronavirus. If it comes back positive, then each sample needs to be tested individually to find out who was positive. Under the right circumstances, the system can involve fewer tests and supplies, yet cover many more people than are tested now. Get a more detailed explanation of how it works here.
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
In case you missed it, here’s another reason to wear a mask
Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients could be responsible for half of all coronavirus cases in the US, a new study has found.
The researchers said that even immediate isolation of all symptomatic patients would not be enough to get the epidemic under control. Authorities would need to identify and isolate more than one-third of silent transmitters, as well as all symptomatic cases, to prevent an outbreak.
The result of the study shows why it’s so important to wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible. People without symptoms may not know they are spreading the highly contagious virus through speaking, releasing virus-laden droplets into the air where it can stay for a long time. It also highlights the importance of contact tracing.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro gets yet another Covid-19 test
The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told his supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasília yesterday that he took a Covid-19 exam and that his lungs were screened. He was wearing a mask and warned people to not get near him.
Bolsonaro has previously appeared in public and at rallies without a mask, even hugging supporters, so his unusual behaviour yesterday sparked questions.
The US Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman is also getting tested after attending a no-masks, no-social-distancing July 4th celebration with Bolsonaro.
Forget about herd immunity
Herd immunity is achieved when enough of a population has become infected with a virus or bacteria — or is vaccinated against it — to stop its circulation. The findings show that 95% of Spain’s population remains susceptible to the virus.
Coronavirus puts international students in the US in a tight spot
International students who are pursuing degrees in the US may have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses because of coronavirus, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said yesterday.
The decision could cause a serious headache for students from countries that are currently banning flights from the US because of the high Covid-19 rates there.
A number of universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton, have said in recent days that most or all courses will be taught online.
Parents of teens with special needs find themselves alone in Covid-19 lockdown
The pandemic has physically separated some special needs students from their support systems — including teachers, therapists and aides — just as those in the higher age bracket need to make critical decisions about their adult life. And that’s left parents flailing.
“We are amazing special needs parents,” said Michele Williers, whose son Beck is visually and hearing-impaired. “We’re not special needs teacher-certified.”
Quest: I’m still discovering new areas of damage from Covid-19
For Richard Quest, CNN’s business editor-at-large, Covid-19 has left a long tail of damage. Two months after getting infected, Quest is still experiencing peculiar symptoms of the new disease.
“My body doesn’t feel quite right. The doctors try to reassure me, saying this will wear off, but they can’t tell me when. Last week was bad. The cough has been with me for days, I have been tired and needed to take naps. I tripped over the camera tripod then fell over a chair! I am concerned but not panicked, yet. This week already feels much better,” he writes.
ON OUR RADAR
- Australia is reimposing a six-week lockdown in Melbourne. Residents of the country’s second biggest city won’t be allowed to leave their homes unless it’s for grocery shopping, caregiving, exercise or work.
- Prescriptions for the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine skyrocketed in the US from February to March, a time when the drugs, though unproven, were touted as treatments for the coronavirus.
- The Louvre has reopened. There are no crowds (even in the Mona Lisa room!), but you’ll have to book in advance and wear a mask.
- The Republican National Convention will test Jacksonville attendees daily for coronavirus.
- But the Senate’s oldest Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said he still won’t attend because of the risk.
- A Florida lawyer who visits the state’s reopened beaches dressed as death itself is calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to require the public to wear masks.
- Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is “in a state of shock” after testing positive for Covid-19. “I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive,” she tweeted.
- Beijing reported no new coronavirus cases yesterday, for the first time since a new cluster of infections linked to a wholesale food market caused the city to partially shut down last month.
- Matthew McConaughey has joined the growing list of celebrities telling fans to “wear the damn mask.”
When nations and cities around the world decide to reopen their economies, the fate of this pandemic shifts from government mandates to personal responsibility. Here are seven myths that are fueling the coronavirus pandemic. Avoiding them saves lives:
I’m young and healthy, so I’m not worried.
If the economy is open, the pandemic is getting better, right?
We’re checking the temperatures of all employees / customers / party guests.
I don’t need to wear a mask.
The rate of deaths is decreasing, so things are getting better, right?
I’ve already tested negative, so I’m fine.
Maybe we should just let nature take its course and get herd immunity.
A contact tracer will never tell you who tested positive for the virus. That would be a violation of patient confidentiality. — Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Contact tracing is an essential part of the public health effort to slow the spread of the virus. But it’s also become a new opportunity for scammers who are trying to collect sensitive financial information. CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how to work with real contract tracing divisions without getting scammed by the impersonators. Listen Now.