“Coronavirus cases flat or growing in 48 states” Axios, July 2, 2020 / Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed, Danielle Alberti/Axios

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The U.S. gained 4.8 million jobs in the month of June, beating economist expectations. The uptick lowered the unemployment rate to 11.1%. U.S. stock futures rose Thursday, though gains were kept in check by a record surge in daily coronavirus cases. Amid economic uncertainty, Senate Democrats continue to push an extension of the $600 unemployment boost for “as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively affect the economy.” The unemployment boost, which is a part of the CARES Act, is currently slated to end at the end of the month. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he supports another round of direct payments to Americans, in reference to stimulus checks, and wants “actually larger numbers than the Democrats.” 

As cases surge in the U.S. to a reported 50,000 – the biggest one-day spike of the pandemic – hospitals struggle to keep up with an increase in patients. Internal messages revealed the strain at Houston, TX hospitals, where the medical staff has run out of space for new patients as well as a key drug needed to treat them. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has quadrupled since Memorial Day, prompting alarm from experts. 

Latinx people are being hospitalized from coronavirus at four times the rate of whites, likely stemming from a higher likelihood of preexisting conditions, less access to care and hesitation to engage with the healthcare system. In Memphis, TN, new data shows the Latinx community accounts for nearly a quarter of current cases, though makes up only 10% of the population. 

Pfizer released positive results from its human trial, offering some optimism amid the vaccine search. The company’s shares jumped following the news, which reported the vaccine was generally well-tolerated, though caused fever in some patients.  For companies working on coronavirus drugs, the Trump administration is weakening taxpayer safeguards which could prevent regulators from curbing prices for future vaccines, according to a consumer group. 

The U.S. bought nearly all global supply of the drug remdesivir, which is used as a treatment to help moderately ill COVID-19 patients. The U.S. has secured 100% of the supply for July and 90% of the supply produced in August and September, though the decision leaves a large part of the world without access to the drug.

The pandemic is impacting women’s reproductive health as some struggle to get birth control or access to care, according to recent findings. One in three women is having difficulty getting birth control or were forced to delay or cancel a doctor’s visit. Many states have put a temporary ban on elective surgeries, including abortions. The effects are being seen even in people who have managed to hold onto jobs, and exacerbated in groups affected by the unemployment crisis since healthcare is typically obtained through employers. Planned Parenthood announced at the end of June it is working with companies to affirm employees’ birth control coverage. The company is also offering telehealth services to fill the gap. 

Background checks, which are used as a metric for gun sales, saw historic numbers in June, likely stemming from the pandemic’s uncertainty and protests over racial injustice. The FBI reported 3.9 million background checks were conducted last month, the most the system has ever seen since its genesis in 1998. An estimated 2 million guns were sold in June, which marks the fourth month that has seen a noticeable increase in sales. Though protests that have erupted across the country have put people in close contact, there is little evidence that they caused a significant increase in U.S. coronavirus infections, according to public health experts.

The Dentist Will See You Now: But Will You See the Dentist? – Scientific American – 7/2/2020
When Koval finally called her dentist about her tooth, she asked about the safety protocols in place. And when she went in, she thought the staff followed precautions very carefully. “I was repeatedly asked if I felt comfortable,” she says. “They were explaining the protective procedures as we went along.”

No One Knows How To Throw A Pandemic Wedding – The Cut – 7/1/2020
While Wisconsin’s health department advises against gatherings of more than ten people, the venue owner e-mailed Laack to say she could still invite all 170 of her guests in the fall. But while there are only 22 cases in Sheboygan, not everyone shared her enthusiasm.

Coronavirus Spike Puts Hollywood’s Back-to-Work Plans in Serious Jeopardy – Variety – 7/1/2020
One top film executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that production is something “the town is going to have to power through, unless an outbreak shuts them down.” The executive pointed to a large volume of “existential-level anxiety” — but rather than about contracting COVID-19, about “committing to making content for our livelihoods in spite of it.”

Paging Dr. Hamblin: Are Kids Really Spared From the Coronavirus? – The Atlantic – 7/1/2020
The condition, known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, is distinct from COVID-19 (which kids can also get). It isn’t being monitored as closely or as comprehensively, so much is still unknown. Just this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that New York had seen 95 confirmed cases as of May 10. Some kids in New York and across the country have even died.

Close the bars. Reopen the schools. – Vox – 7/1/2020
Whether a school can reopen safely, for example, doesn’t just depend on capacity, personal protective equipment, or individual actions. It depends on how widespread the coronavirus is in the community outside the school’s walls.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Molly Beck @MollyBeck 1 Jul Small parties aren’t necessarily safe, and other things to know about celebrating July Fourth during a pandemic

Bianca Marais WJHL @BiancaWJHL 1 Jul Volunteer fire departments who are selling fireworks this year as fundraisers are seeing sales skyrocket as people have to make their own shows, which Johnson City Police say is the cause for a higher police presence over the holiday weekend.

New Day @NewDay 2 Jul “If you want to see August 1st, then maybe you should stay indoors and isolate on July 4th.”Health care workers at the San Antonio Methodist Hospital say they are treating coronavirus patients of all ages, including mothers who can’t meet their newborns to prevent transmission

Dawn B. Vaughan @dawnbvaughan 1 Jul “There are safe ways to watch a fireworks show, doing it outside, being socially distant, doing it from your car, those kinds of options,” DHHS Sec. Cohen said. #ncpol #4thofJuly

Brett Baker @BrettSBaker 1 Jul Kids, don’t take your medical advice from ⁦@vanillaice⁩. First known coronavirus was identified in 1965. Vanilla Ice throwing July 4th concert in Texas: ‘We didn’t have coronavirus’ in the 1990s’

CONTENT FACTS

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