An Orion EMS paramedic waits to transfer a patient to the Texas Medical Center while wearing protective equipment to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

A group of health officials led by Dr. Anthony Fauci helped stop federal plans to issue plasma as an emergency treatment for COVID-19, stating that there wasn’t enough data to support the move. The treatment now remains on hold until more data can be collected. 

Survivors have donated antibody-rich plasma as a way to contain the virus, leading President Donald Trump to hail it as a “beautiful ingredient.” But clinical trials aren’t conclusive as to whether it helps people recover from COVID-19. The treatment could still be approved in the near future. 

Additional revelations about COVID-19 were also released:

• U.S. intelligence agencies found that officials in Beijing weren’t informed of the potential devastation of the virus by local officials in the city of Wuhan and in the Hubei Province, where the outbreak began last year, the New York Times also reported. 

• We could be in for the worst fall ever according to Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control. Redfield said last week he was concerned about the continued spread of COVID-19 and the onset of flu season. When asked what the pandemic could look like by Thanksgiving, Redfield said it depended on how many follow health guidelines such as washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. “It’s dependent on how the American people choose to respond,” he said. “It’s really the worst of times or the best of times, depending on the American public. I’m optimistic.”

• Evidence shows that health guidelines are keeping Mass celebrations safe.

• Positive COVID-19 tests hit a record low in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, a sign that the city may have control of the virus. But Florida surpassed 10,000 deaths, and a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was one of the hundreds of thousands who attended at the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Let’s end the COVID-19 blame game: Reconsidering China’s role in the pandemic – Brookings Institution – 8/19/2020
The Chinese party-state did mishandle aspects of the initial outbreak. But based on what we now know about COVID-19’s early and asymptomatic transmission and many countries’ ineffective responses, it is not clear that greater transparency in the first weeks would have prevented its spread overseas.

When Can Schools Safely Reopen? The Answer Is Part Science, Part Guesswork. – FiveThirtyEight – 8/19/2020
When it comes to establishing guidelines, science can take us only so far. What’s the difference between a 10 percent positivity rate and a 9 percent one? Enough to close schools in one scenario but open them in another? At some point, it becomes a judgment call, which is why jurisdictions’ rules vary so much.

The Key to Recovery: Tap America’s Passion for Work – Real Clear Politics – 8/19/2020
With all the attention that his son, the current Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has received during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s easy to forget that the elder Cuomo once held the public’s attention even tighter. As both parties gather for their conventions and seek the right tone in rebuilding our economy, they’d be smart to watch that speech again. They’d be reminded of how central work is to the ultimate American ambition and how unifying it is as a political message.

Amid COVID-19, don’t ignore the links between poor air quality and public health – Brookings Institution – 8/19/2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in the United States, with deaths surpassing 169,000 and “red zones” emerging in 21 states, preliminary research suggests that people living in communities with significant exposure to air pollutants have an increased risk of hospitalization or even death if exposed to COVID-19. Yet, some of the bedrock environmental laws that protect air quality have been weakened or laxly enforced during the pandemic.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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