Slow the spread, save the economy—mask up

https://mailchi.mp/7d224399ddcb/the-weekly-gist-july-3-2020?e=d1e747d2d8

3 agency entries for New York governor's mask PSA | Campaign US

If Americans don’t believe public health officials or medical researchers, perhaps they’ll believe Wall Street. A new analysis released by the investment bank Goldman Sachs this week argues that implementing a national mask-wearing mandate is “worth” about 5 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP). Performing a regression analysis of reported masking behavior among residents of states with state-level mandates, as well as infection rates following the mandate implementation, Goldman’s analysts found that mask mandates result in a 25 percent reduction in the growth rate of infections, as well as a decline in COVID fatalities.

The analysis estimates that implementing a national mandate would increase the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 percentage points, with larger impact in states that currently have low levels of mask compliance. Goldman Sachs had previously constructed an “effective lockdown index”, estimating that the coronavirus pandemic subtracted 17 percent from US GDP between January and April.

Given spikes in COVID infections across Sun Belt states, the analysis found that avoiding potential lockdowns by instead implementing a mask mandate could avoid a further 5 percent decrease in GDP. Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that the general public wear masks, and a growing body of scientific research indicates that masking significantly reduces the spread of COVID.

Now the bankers have weighed in. We don’t know who still needs to hear this, but please wear a mask when you’re out and about this holiday weekend. Please.

 

 

 

America celebrates a grim milestone

https://mailchi.mp/7d224399ddcb/the-weekly-gist-july-3-2020?e=d1e747d2d8

Epidemic vs. Pandemic, What Is the Difference Between an Epidemic ...

 

As the nation headed into the 4th of July weekend, the number of new COVID cases hit a string of daily highs, reaching a record high of more than 55,000 on Thursday. States across the South and Sunbelt, especially those that lifted stay-at-home orders early, saw the worst spikes.

Florida broke a new record with more than 10,000 cases on Thursday, and Georgia also experienced a new daily high. Hospitalizations continued to rise sharply in several states as well. Many hospitals reported a shift in COVID admissions toward younger, otherwise healthy adults, reports borne out by the lower death rate than that experienced in the initial surge of cases in the Northeast. (Advances in the management of severely ill COVID patients have also brought death rates down.)

In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, top White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the US was “not in total control” of the pandemic, and predicted that daily new case counts could top 100,000 if more stringent measures are not taken.

California, Florida, and other states took steps to roll back reopening efforts, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott abruptly reversed direction and ordered a statewide mask mandate. Welcome news, but likely too late to prevent cities like Houston from exceeding available ICU capacity. Cases in the city have skyrocketed across the past month, with its positive test rate hitting 20 percent yesterday; its cancer and children’s hospitals began admitting COVID-positive adults to provide added capacity.

With celebrations scheduled across the nation this weekend, including another large event today at Mount Rushmore to be attended by President Trump, where masking and social distancing will be optional, it seems certain that we will continue to reap the whirlwind of careless behavior and hasty reopening for the rest of this month and beyond.

And looming in just six weeks—students return to schools and colleges.

US coronavirus update: 2.7M cases; 130K deaths; 33.5M tests conducted.
 

 

 

 

U.S. coronavirus cases rise by nearly 50,000 in biggest one-day spike of pandemic

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-coronavirus-cases-rise-nearly-013221004.html

Dr Fauci warns US could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases PER DAY ...

New U.S. COVID-19 cases rose by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

The record follows a warning by the government’s top infectious diseases expert that the number could soon double to 100,000 cases a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the virus’ resurgent spread, such as wearing masks when unable to practice social distancing.

In the first week of June, the United States added about 22,000 new coronavirus cases each day. But as the month progressed, hotspots began to emerge across the Sun Belt. In the last seven days of June, daily new infections almost doubled to 42,000 nationally.

Brazil is the only other country to report more than 50,000 new cases in one day. The United States reported at least 49,286 cases on Tuesday.

More than half of new U.S. cases each day come from Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, home to 30% of the country’s population. All four states plus 10 others saw new cases more than double in June.

The daily increase in new cases could reach 100,000 unless a nationwide push was made to tamp down the fast-spreading virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday.

“We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” Fauci said.

The rise in cases is not just the result of more testing. Hospitalizations are also skyrocketing.

Nationally, 7% of coronavirus diagnostic tests came back positive last week, up from 5% the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis. Arizona’s positivity test rate was 24% last week, Florida’s was 16%. Nevada, South Carolina and Texas were all 15%, according to the analysis.

(Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)

Some of the recent increase traces back to Memorial Day holiday celebrations in late May. Health experts are worried about Independence Day celebrations this weekend, when Americans traditionally flock to beaches and campgrounds to watch fireworks displays.

 

 

Quick Visual Summary of Covid-19 in the United States

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Pre And Post Coronavirus Unemployment Rates By State, Industry, Age Group, And Race

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikepatton/2020/06/28/pre-and-post-coronavirus-unemployment-rates-by-state-industry-age-group-and-race/#65c42c6555eb

Unemployment by State-May 2019 to May 2020

The coronavirus has decimated the U.S. economy and benched nearly 40 million American workers. In the past several days, the U.S. has logged its highest number of new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. These combined with other factors, which we will discuss, is jeopardizing the future employment of millions of workers and the viability of thousands of businesses. Here’s how unemployment has increased for every state, industry, age group, and race, and why.

Unemployment by State

The coronavirus and subsequent stay at home orders hit the labor force especially hard. As states attempted to reopen, a resurgence in the virus is causing many businesses to close again, some by choice, others by government mandate.

Nevada has been hit the hardest as the unemployment rate in the Silver State rose from 4.0% in May 2019 to a whopping 25.3% in May 2020. Nevada’s economy is heavily reliant on leisure and hospitality, which had the brunt of the job losses. Hawaii, the second hardest hit state saw unemployment rise from 2.7% in May 2019 to 22.6% in May 2020. Which is the only other state with unemployment above 20% in May 2020? Michigan, where unemployment rose from 4.2% to 21.2% year over year. What state has fared best? Nebraska, which also has one of the most diverse economies of all states. Deriving nearly 50% of its total GDP from five different industries, unemployment in the Cornhusker State rose from 3.1% to a modest 5.2% from May 2019 to May 2020. Unemployment numbers for all states are shown in the following chart.

Unemployment by Industry

As mentioned in the previous section, the states that have fared best either have a more diverse economy or do not rely heavily on industries that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus. The most negatively affected is the leisure and hospitality industry where unemployment rose 618% from a low of 5.0% in May 2019 to a staggering 35.9% in May 2020. At a distant second, but still reeling, is the wholesale and retail trade industry, which saw unemployment rise from 4.2% to 15.1% during the same period. The rest of the industries are listed in the following chart.

Unemployment by Industry-May 2019 to May 2020

Unemployment by Age Group

Businesses need two things to exist: workers and customers. Without customers, there is no need for workers or the business for that matter. Some businesses require highly skilled workers while others operate well using unskilled labor. It is this unskilled labor group that has been hardest hit.

The greatest rise in unemployment is among workers under age 25. This is likely due to three factors. Younger workers typically have fewer marketable skills, less work experience, and less seniority. Many of these workers are in industries that have felt the greatest pain. Unemployment rates by age group are contained in the following chart.

Unemployment by Age Group-May 2019 to May 2020

Unemployment by Race/Ethnicity

Question: Prior to Covid-19, was unemployment among blacks / African Americans at a record low as President Trump has claimed? Using the available data, which extends back to January 1972, the answer is yes. This new record low was achieved in October and November of 2019 when unemployment among black or African American workers fell to 5.1%. The previous record low was 5.2% in December 1973. The current rate is 16.8%, which is less than the highest rate of 20.7% logged in December 1982. The most recent high in unemployment for this group was 19.3% in March 2010. It has been steadily declining since then. Numbers for White, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino and black or African American workers are listed in the following chart.

Unemployment by Race or Ethnicity-May 2019 to May 2020

Businesses need workers, workers need businesses, and both depend on customers. Since the pandemic began, consumer demand has fallen sharply. With the probability that a vaccine will not be available until early 2021 at the soonest, plus a disregard for recommended safety protocols by many individuals, namely wearing masks and social distancing, it is highly unlikely that the economy will return to normal for several years.

Will the president continue to hold rallies? Will he set an example by wearing a mask? Will the protests and violence continue? Will other large gatherings continue? Unless Americans make a collective and conscious choice to mask up and social distance, we will be forced to live in a depressed economy for longer than necessary. The choice is up to us.

 

 

 

 

 

Fauci testifies new coronavirus cases could ‘go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/30/coronavirus-live-updates-us/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most

Coronavirus update: Fauci testifies new U.S. cases could 'go up to ...

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, gave a dire warning Tuesday in a Senate committee hearing held as coronavirus infections surge in many parts of the United States.

“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned,” Fauci said in response to questioning from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on what the overall U.S. death toll is likely to be.

While the U.S. wrestles with safely reopening, the European Union confirmed Americans will not be allowed to travel to the bloc of 27 countries when it reopens to some foreign travel Wednesday. The United States is leading the world in both officially confirmed infections and fatalities as it continues to see surges in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths in many states.

Nearly 10.3 million coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide, with roughly 2.6 million infections reported in the United States. At least 124,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States, and the global death count is hovering near 505,000.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during a speech that President Trump ‘failed’ Americans in his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden also released a plan to combat the virus: beefed-up testing and contacting tracing, using the Defense Production Act and organizing a global, coordinated approach for treatment and vaccines.
  • More Republican leaders advocated for the use of face masks in public, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) — who encouraged President Trump to don one — and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In addition, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the rise in cases can be stopped if Americans wear facial coverings in public, along with practicing social distancing and proper personal hygiene.
  • Social distancing will not be enforced July 3 at the Mount Rushmore fireworks display that Trump will attend, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) said Monday. Noem also said masks will be provided to the 7,500 participants, but they will not be required to wear them.
  • The number of people hospitalized for covid-19 is surging in seven states, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. In Texas, Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, Montana, Georgia and California, seven-day averages are up at least 25 percent from last week.
  • Chinese researchers announced the discovery of a new strain of swine flu among workers at a slaughterhouse and warned it should be monitored in case human-to-human transmission starts.

 

 

 

Pandemic Graphic of the Day

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Live updates: U.S. sets another single-day record for new coronavirus cases, surpassing 40,000 for first time

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Coronavirus latest: Global coronavirus infections top 1 million ...

The United States has set a record for new covid-19 cases for the third time in three days, passing the 40,000 mark for the first time, according to tracking by The Washington Post.

Twelve states set their own records for the average number of new cases reported over the past seven days: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho and Utah.

Six states set new single-day highs, led by Florida with 8,942 cases, more than 60 percent higher than its previous high set on Wednesday. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and Utah also set new single-day records.

Florida announced Friday morning that bars must close immediately, a move echoed by Texas, a state also dealing with a surge in cases and nearing its capacity to care for those suffering.

“The trajectory that we’re on right now has our hospitals being overwhelmed, probably about mid-July,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) said during an appearance on CNN.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order that revives restrictions on bars, restaurants and certain types of outdoor recreation, one day after suggesting he would not.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Dow Jones industrial average slid 730.05 points, about 2.8 percent, as rising coronavirus infections roiled investors Friday.
  • Vice President Pence said during a White House coronavirus task force news briefing that it is “very encouraging news” that half of the increasing cases in Florida and Texas are among Americans under 35, because younger people tend to have less-serious outcomes.
  • The Trump administration official coordinating tests for the novel coronavirus did a partial pivot Friday, announcing that the government would briefly extend its management of five testing sites in Texas, a state with a recent spike of cases and hospitalizations.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease doctor, urged Americans to see their role in taking safety precautions as a “societal responsibility.” He begged them not to let their guards down even if the risk to their own health is considered minimal, because they can still transport it.
  • In another sign that hopes of a swift economic recovery may be losing steam, the number of homeowners delaying their mortgage payments shot up by 79,000.
  • Portugal is reinstating lockdown measures for about 700,000 people in 19 civil parishes around Lisbon next week after a worrying rise in cases in communities in the capital’s outskirts.

Six states set record number of new cases

As the United States logged a record number of infections Friday, six states announced their own new single-day high case totals: Georgia, Utah, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and Florida.

Georgia reported four straight days of more than 1,700 new infections and two days in a row of records. The 1,900 cases reported by state health officials Friday surpassed the previous record, 1,714 cases, announced Thursday.

The seven-day average of new infections also hit a new high — 1,569 — and has been rising steadily since late May. That figure is up about 77 percent from a week ago and nearly 115 percent since Memorial Day.

In Utah, the single-day case total hit 676 and set a record for the fourth day in a row. The rolling average has also been on a steady upward swing for 10 days.

Current hospitalizations of Utah’s confirmed covid-19 patients are rising quickly, from 149 a week ago to 174 on Friday. Hospitalizations were at 102 when the month began.

South Carolina’s 1,301 new cases and 1,094 rolling average also set records. The state started the month with an average of 281 daily cases.

Tennessee announced 1,410 new infections, surpassing its previous record number of single-day cases by more than 200.

Current hospitalizations are also rising in South Carolina and Tennessee.

In addition to the states that set records, Louisiana has joined the states with rapidly increasing case numbers. Health officials announced 1,354 new cases Friday, compared with 523 two weeks ago and none two weeks before that.

 

 

 

Coronavirus Cases may be 10x higher than official count says CDC

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NC coronavirus update June 25: North Carolina's mask mandate goes ...

The real number of U.S. coronavirus cases could be as high as 23 million — 10 times the 2.3 million currently confirmed cases — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters yesterday, Axios’ Marisa Fernandez reports.

Between the lines: The new estimate is based on antibody testing, which indicates whether someone has previously been infected by the virus regardless of whether they had symptoms.

  • “This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection. The traditional approach of looking for symptomatic illness and diagnosing it obviously underestimates the total amount of infections,” CDC director Robert Redfield said.

The agency also expanded its warnings of which demographic groups are at risk, which now include younger people who are obese and who have underlying health problems.

  • The shift reflects what states and hospitals have been seeing since the pandemic began, which is that young people can get seriously ill from COVID-19.

The new guidance also categorizes medical conditions that can affect the severity of illness:

  • Conditions that increase risk: Chronic kidney disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; obesity; weakened immune system from solid organ transplant; serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; sickle cell disease; Type 2 diabetes.
  • Conditions that may increase risk: Chronic lung diseases, including moderate to severe asthma and cystic fibrosis; high blood pressure; a weakened immune system; neurologic conditions, such as dementia or history of stroke; liver disease; pregnancy.