“America now finally meets the bare minimum for coronavirus testing” VOX, June 22 / Image: Vox, Source: Covid Tracking Project


The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surged by more than 30 percent compared to one week ago, prompting Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments to members of Congress on Tuesday that the rise in cases is “very troublesome.” Americans again face a patchwork of local government responses to the increase in new infections as some states halt reopening plans and others reverse them. 

Despite the growth in infections, U.S. President Donald Trump clarified on Tuesday that he was not joking when he said at his Tulsa rally that he asked his administration to slow COVID-19 testing to avoid reporting higher case numbers. White House officials had previously insisted that Trump’s comments were made “tongue in cheek.” 

The European Union is considering a ban on travel from the U.S. due to the country’s flailing response to the outbreak, adding American travelers to those coming from Russia and Brazil. Despite a COVID-19 case tally of more than 600,000 in Russia, President Vladimir Putin will use the country’s Victory Day parade on Wednesday to simultaneously declare that the country has defeated the coronavirus. Saudi Arabian authorities have similarly restricted expatriates from re-entering the country until the pandemic is over.

New evidence has revealed countries that implemented widespread use of face masks may have succeeded in significantly reducing their mortality rates. In Thailand, where 95% of residents reported wearing masks, the country’s death rate is 100 times lower than anticipated.

Hospitals around the country are pivoting away from plans to develop hotels and other patient services as the pandemic wrecks the medical tourism industry. Researchers in Washington, D.C. have found that hospitals will likely see up to 500,000 fewer births across the nation, pointing to previous pandemics that experienced a drop in births after peak mortality. Doctors say the low rate could “spell trouble” for the U.S. economy, with “tremendous” implications for the next generation. 

Global markets for salmon and other seafood have crashed this month following a drop in demand in China, where new COVID-19 outbreaks were traced to chopping boards for imported salmon. In Myanmar, the government’s efforts to quell civil unrest in the country by cutting off internet access has concerned human rights advocates, who say those residents have been cut off from information about health and safety during the outbreak. Brazil’s indigenous population is facing disproportionately high COVID-19 death rates due to insufficient support from the government.

As hotels and luxury resorts around the world remain almost empty during the pandemic, some are promoting the option to rent out the entire property. Luxury travelers can pay $7,885 per night to have an entire medieval Irish castle to themselves, or $14,995 per night to have the run of a private island resort off the coast of Belize.

In Virus Hotspots, Businesses Sweat Return of Consumer Jitters – Bloomberg – 6/24/2020
In states from Arizona to Texas and Florida where Covid-19 is flaring up, small businesses like the Wandering Tortoise are seeing a slowdown, salons report that customers are getting more skittish, and some restaurants and bars had to shut down again after reopening. While evidence of a virus-sparked consumer pullback is largely anecdotal for now, it would be a setback for a U.S. economy that has just started to perk up, with retail sales jumping to a record in May.

Pandemic Stalls New Money For ‘Opportunity Zones’ As Neighborhoods Try To Recover – NPR – 6/24/2020
The economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic is stifling a federal program meant to spur new investment in low-income neighborhoods, according to a new survey from an advocacy group that backs the initiative. The Economic Innovation Group surveyed more than 100 investors and other people involved in “opportunity zones,” designated areas that offer tax incentives for investment. Created by the 2017 tax cut law, the zones are aimed at attracting money and new businesses to poor communities.

From hospitals to households, we can all be better at remembering to wash our hands – The Conversation – 6/24/2020
Surprisingly, hand hygiene is a vexing issue in hospitals all over the world. Repeated studies have shown it is common for hospital staff to follow hand hygiene protocols less than 50% of the time. […] As any infection control nurse will tell you, specialist doctors are often among the worst offenders.

How secure are contact tracing apps? – TechRadar – 6/24/2020
When it comes to COVID-19 apps, there are 2 types of apps that handle sensitive data – symptom tracking and contact tracing. Contact Tracing is the more controversial of the two because of the fear that people have of being monitored. Non-digital contact tracing has existed for a long time. Once someone has been infected, health officials interview the person to check with whom the person had contact recently. 

As coronavirus restrictions lift, show makers prepare a gradual return to production – Digiday – 6/24/2020
Not a light switch, but a dimmer. That’s how California governor Gavin Newsom has described the state’s plan to reopen the home of Hollywood following the easing of the state’s coronavirus restrictions. It also befits producers’ strategies for returning from a three-month physical production shutdown.


Science Magazine @ScienceMagazine 23 Jun “Even if the model’s most optimistic prediction of 43%…is correct, none of the seroprevalence studies that we are aware of suggest that any country is close to achieving herd immunity.” A new Editor’s blog post contextualizes this research

Laurie Garrett @Laurie_Garrett 23 Jun This is at least the 5th major study to reveal that antibody responses to #SARSCoV2 may not last long — months, maybe only weeks. So much for naturally acquired “herd immunity”. Can #vaccines do better, inducing long lasting neutralizing antibody responses?

Rapid City Journal @RCJournal 24 Jun Herd immunity with COVID-19 is a false concept without a vaccine. Without a vaccine, you could reach 20 million dead Americans before antibodies build up against this constantly mutating virus.

Jordann Lucero @JordannLucero 23 Jun I’ve seen a steady stream of regular people who now think we should let infection spread because “herd immunity” is the best way to fight #coronavirus. I haven’t heard the experts say it. Here’s a good explanation from Johns Hopkins.

Lyndsey Marie @LyndseyOnAir 23 Jun You knew this would happen. I’d be amazed if this actually goes down. Imagine contracting covid to an AC/DC cover band. #worthit?


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