Coronavirus Special Coverage

A collection of news posted throughout the week for those that want signal, not noise.

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Key developments for Thursday, July 16, 2020

Welcome to the newly revamped Key Developments, now twice weekly and with non-COVID news. Right now, it’s actually still just COVID news, but we’ll be slowly morphing it into something broader as we go.

The world has almost 14 million cases.  There have been 591,000 deaths. The US has over 3.6 million cases and has had over 140,000 deaths. The US has gained over 65,000 new cases since yesterday. Brazil remains second in daily case growth, followed by India.

Russia is trying to get its hands on vaccine trial data (read: hacking). Multiple western academic and pharmaceutical institutions have been reportedly been targeted. The increase in teleworking during the pandemic may make this kind of breach more likely.

Cases are rising in most US states:

No other country on the planet is failing as miserably at combating this pandemic as the US:

If 1/3 of the kids in Florida are testing positive right now, perhaps pushing a return to school in the fall is not the brightest idea. DeSantis says he’s not concerned about his kids returning to school.

Many ICUs in Florida are full:

Once again, hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit. This time it’s an RCT in patients with mild illness:

Unemployment claims have risen by 1.3 million this week, for a total of 51 million Americans filing a claim since the start of the pandemic. States are rapidly depleting their unemployment funds. The unemployment rate is the highest it’s been since the 1940s.

Hospitalizations are rising dramatically in LA County:

Governors in Alabama, Colorado, and Arkansas mandate mask wearing now. Kemp in Georgia, on the other hand, goes and does the opposite and prohibits local government from making mandatory orders that are more stringent than the current state order which simply recommends them. The governor of Oklahoma is positive. He has not mandated mask-wearing. Tennessee is also refusing broad mandates:

Crayola masks for kids are the hotness right now.

The Oxford/AstraZenica vaccine is looking promising. It’s possible it will be ready this year or next. This press release indicates that a study to be released on Monday will show the vaccine causes both seroconversion and t-cell conversion in patients. T-cell response is an important part of the picture:

The CDC is no longer collecting COVID-19 data or sharing its hospital capacity dashboard as the HHS is now handling COVID-19 data per White House instructions. After a backlash the HHS instructed the CDC to restore the site, but it still says it’s not posting the data after July 14th. The HHS is also going to be handing over COVID-19 health data to a private company, and that raises a number of questions on its own. The White House seems to be actively withholding COVID-19 data from the public.

The good news keeps coming:

Bars and restaurants in the Twin Cities, MN area are getting slammed with cases and are shutting down. Closures, more than six in 24 hours, are due to the rise in employee and customer cases.

Pastors and religious leaders are increasingly expecting to keep services remote. A surprising number of churches are choosing to stay open, however: nearly 50%.  Some churches are not planning to reopen until next year.

The lag in deaths has caught up, as we knew it would. Deaths went down after cases trended down during lockdowns. As soon as states reopened, we knew cases would start to rise, and then deaths would rise a few weeks after that (it takes a few weeks for the illness to run its course). Deaths are rising now. We seem to be on trend to surpass our previous spring peak.

Air conditioning systems could be facilitating spread. Air currents created by these systems can help keep the droplets suspended. People seek air conditioning indoors, which is the worst place to be during this pandemic. Outdoor spaces are much safer.


    • hbic

      Why is vaccine trial data private/a matter of national security anyway? Wouldn’t sharing the data with Russia/China/whoever be the easiest way to avoid hacking AND the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective?

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      • woodrow hbic

        Russia and China have their ways, and already know. As with most ‘national security’ concerns, the aim is to prevent the American public from knowing.

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