the coronavirus crisis
August 12, 2020

On Wednesday, health officials in the United States reported 1,493 deaths due to the coronavirus, the highest single-day total since mid-May.

According to data compiled by The Washington Post, the nationwide seven-day average of newly reported deaths has been above 1,000 for 17 days in a row, after steadily going up for most of July.

Texas on Wednesday reported 324 new COVID-19 deaths, the state's highest single-day total. Over the last four weeks, the seven-day average death toll has more than tripled in Washington and doubled in Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia, where this week the average daily case count has also been slowly increasing. Catherine Garcia

August 12, 2020

More than 200 Florida residents age 25 to 44 have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic, and more than half of those deaths were recorded in July, The New York Times reports, citing an analysis of Florida Department of Health data. That's a small slice of the more than 8,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state, the Times notes, but "the number of younger adults who died of the disease quadrupled last month, underscoring a bitter mathematical reality: As more and more young people test positive for the coronavirus, more of them will die."

The share of younger Americans dying has ticked up across the U.S., and COVID-19 is now a leading cause of death among that age bracket, "roughly comparable to the number of younger people who were murdered over the same time period in recent years," the Times reports. "Health officials have worried that young people have been overly reckless in resuming social activities at parties and bars, and the number of infections among younger people has soared. However, the young people who are dying are not necessarily those who got sick at a party."

Instead, the young adults who died from COVID-19 tended to contract the disease at work, or en route to work on public transit, and they were disproportionately Black. About 18 percent of Floridians 25 to 44 are Black, but they have accounted for 44 percent of deaths in that age cohort, the Times reports. "Black Floridians over 65 are dying at twice the rate of white residents, but among younger adults, the death rate is nearly three times as high." The death rate for Latinos is roughly equal to non-Hispanic white Floridians.

"We've had this notion in people's heads that it's okay because young people don't get sick from this virus and young people certainly don't die from it," Cindy Prins, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Florida, tells the Times. "Well, that isn't true. Young people are getting sick. Young people are dying." Read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber

August 12, 2020

French Prime Minister Jean Castex is concerned that the country is going "the wrong way" when it comes to the coronavirus, as the number of new cases has almost doubled in the last 24 hours.

Since Monday, 1,397 new infections have been reported by France's health ministry and 14 people have died. During a press conference in Montpellier on Tuesday, Castex said the "epidemiological situation . . . is deteriorating," as "about 25 new clusters are identified every day compared to five three weeks ago."

A ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people has been extended to Oct. 30, and Castex called on local authorities to also lengthen mask requirements. Nationwide, people must wear face coverings while inside government offices, stores, and on public transportation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 30,000 people have died of the coronavirus in France. Catherine Garcia

August 10, 2020

The Trump administration is contemplating a measure that would temporarily block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from coming back to the United States if border officials believe they have COVID-19, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Monday.

The official said a draft regulation would give the government the authority to prevent entry by citizens and permanent residents if border officials "reasonably" suspect they could have or were exposed to the coronavirus. This regulation, which would be issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has not been finalized, and its wording could still change, the official told Reuters.

The official also said it's not likely any action will be taken on the proposal until after this week. President Trump has imposed travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, but U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been exempt. Catherine Garcia

August 9, 2020

During the last two weeks of July, at least 97,000 children in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a new report released Sunday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

More than seven out of 10 infections were reported in southern and western states, with the highest percent increase occurring in Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana. Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 338,000 kids have been infected.

The report included data from 49 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico, but not Texas or any part of New York outside of New York City, meaning the true count is likely higher. The age ranges were not the same in every state; while most considered children to be anyone 17 or younger, Alabama put the age limit at 24, while Utah and Florida put it at 14.

In a separate report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a condition related to COVID-19, disproportionately affects people of color. From early March through late July, 570 young people under 20 met the definition of MIS-C, The New York Times reports.

Symptoms include fever, pinkeye, muscle weakness, and confusion, and most of the patients were previously healthy. Roughly 40 percent of patients were Latino or Hispanic, 33 percent were Black, and 13 percent were white; 10 died and about two-thirds were admitted to intensive care units. Catherine Garcia

August 8, 2020

Florida and Arizona have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic this summer, but the two Sun Belt states appear to be entering a stage of relief.

Arizona saw its test positivity rate fall below the crucial 10 percent threshold for the first time in months, signaling that a return to more intense lockdown measures has begun to pay off.

Florida, meanwhile, saw improvement across the board, although it's positivity rate remains above 10 percent. Daily fatality figures are still high, as well, but appear to be on a downward trend from last week. Tim O'Donnell

August 7, 2020

The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 10.2 percent in July, as the economy added 1.8 million jobs, the Labor Department said on Friday.

This came after the June jobs report last month showed the unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent, with 4.8 million jobs added. The July report surpassed expectations, as experts were anticipating about 1.48 million jobs would be added and that the unemployment rate would decline to about 10.6 percent, CNBC reports.

But the unemployment rate is still higher than during the Great Recession, and experts raised concerns about the recovery's slowing pace.

"The economy is still in a massive hole, but we're crawling back out," University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers tweeted. "The problem is that the pace of improvement has slowed to a crawl." MacroPolicy Perspectives economist Julia Coronado similarly told The Wall Street Journal, "The pace of recovery has really been set back by the resurgence of the virus. Given how far we have to go to re-employ the people who have become unemployed, that's very discouraging."

The Washington Post's Heather Long, noting that the U.S. has recovered about 43 percent of the jobs that were lost during the coronavirus crisis, additionally wrote, "There's still a lot of people hurting and a long way to go until we're back to 'normal.'" Brendan Morrow

August 7, 2020

A key model has projected that the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States could reach almost 300,000 by December.

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has forecasted that the U.S. coronavirus death toll will reach 295,011 by Dec. 1. That's up from the over 160,000 COVID-19 deaths that have been reported in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins University. But the model also finds that mask-wearing could prevent tens of thousands of these deaths.

Specifically, the researchers say that if 95 percent of Americans wore masks when leaving their homes, the forecasted COVID-19 death toll could decrease by 66,000 to about 228,000. IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray stressed the need for Americans to continue measures like wearing masks, even in areas where COVID-19 cases are not spiking.

"We're seeing a rollercoaster in the United States," Murray said. "It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down and stop taking these measures to protect themselves and others — which, of course, leads to more infections. And the potentially deadly cycle starts over again."

Murray also explained to CNN that Americans have an "extraordinary opportunity" to save lives by wearing a mask.

"It's rare that you see something so simple, so inexpensive, so easy for everybody to participate in, can have such an extraordinary impact," he said. Brendan Morrow

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