Key developments for Tuesday, June 23, 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.

There are over 9.3 million global cases.  Cases have grown by more than a million in the last week. There have been over 478,000 deaths around the globe. There are over 2.4 million cases in the US. There have been over 123,000 deaths in the US. The US, Brazil, and Russia continue to lead global case growth. Cases are growing alarmingly in India.

Hospitalizations are surging in Texas and Arizona, and ICUs are getting close to capacity. Clinicians report feeling overwhelmed already, yet there’s no sign of cases tapering off. If anything, cases are anticipated to continue growing. Texas, Arizona, and California all reported record-breaking case growth today. The governor of Texas is worried about case growth but has yet to mandate mask-wearing. These are not the only states to be concerned about. The seven-day moving average of new cases is growing in 29 states.

Meanwhile in Arizona:

Washington State follows California’s trend:

Multiple Florida hospitals have run out of ICU beds.

When Apple closes its stores, you know something is up:

Continued outbreaks in Germany have required additional lockdowns in two districts. One of the outbreaks occurred in a meatpacking plant.

Australians are panic-buying again. Cases are rising in Victoria and folks are stocking up. Shoppers are being asked to buy only what they need as the run on toilet paper starts anew.

Trump staffers have turned up positive both before and after the Tulsa rally. At least eight are now positive.

Multiple cruise lines are suspending operations into the fall. Those who had already booked may reschedule with a credit or opt for a refund.

Sweden continues to make horrible policy decisions. Parents may be forced to send their children to school or risk social service or legal battles. School attendance is apparently compulsory even when children have medical risk-factors.

When this came to the US, 90% of the cases were blue states, and blue states suffered more casualties than red ones. Now 2/3 of cases are in red states. The transition from urban to rural spread is happening now. It’s not just increased testing that is driving the surge, it’s increased transmission. States that locked down longer and were slower to reopen generally have less transmission. States that opened earlier are largely driving case growth. The widespread protests and riots that rocked the country recently are certainly going to impact transmissions rates as well.

Epidemiologists think that the COVID-19 infection rate was vastly under-counted at the outset. Cases may have been 80 times greater and may have doubled much faster than initially thought. These assertions are based on analysis of influenza-like illness (ILI) data from each state. Excess ILI compared to previous years correlates very strongly with COVID-19 spread.

  • 1 Comment

    • lemur

      Sweden is acting stupidly, as usual. There’s been quite a bit of grousing in Sweden over the fact that some countries of the EU are reopening their borders but are keeping Sweden on the list of countries whose residents are not allowed entry. Tough shit, I say. I cannot blame countries that look at what Sweden is doing, see a lack of control and don’t want to import new cases.

      The US may soon get a taste of that. Apparently, the EU is not impressed with how the crisis has been handled in the US and is thinking not reopening to travel from the US:


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