COVID-19’s Status in the US
As the coronavirus continues spread, cases are rapidly increasing in in at least 29 states. New hotspots are Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas. High hospitalizations, especially in the four mentioned states, have led to a shortage of hospital beds. As a result, cities and states are shattering previously set records: Los Angeles reported the highest number of hospitalizations in a day (2,216), Georgia and North Carolina highest single-day increase of cases (4,688 and 2,522), Arizona had its highest deaths in a day (147) and Florida has broken its single-day case increase repeatedly over the past few weeks.
Contentiously, President Donald Trump has ordered all US hospitals to report COVID-19 data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, bypassing the Center for Disease Control. This decision comes on the heels of statements by the President saying less testing needs to be done; such a move is likely a result of the American people’s dissatisfaction with his management of the pandemic and him wanting to keep the worsening condition out of the public eye.
Vaccines are a major hope as mask wearing is uncommon in parts of the country. The final phase of Moderna’s vaccine trial is currently underway, where there will be around 30,000 participants based out of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Oxford University’s vaccine has had promising outcomes partnered with caution, as phased trials have commenced. One issue facing all manufacturers is the commonality of adverse effects.
There have been over 16.8 million cases and over 660,000 deaths worldwide. Medical experts warn that US deaths will skyrocket into the hundreds of thousands if the nation does not get the virus under control.
COVID-19’s Status Internationally
The virus has continued to rage in Latin America. Colombia recently surpassed 200,000 cases, as Mexico reported at least 300 deaths in a day, their highest. Brazilian President, and frequent opposer of COVID-19 preventative measures, Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for the disease as the country surpassed 2 million cases and 80,000 deaths.
After a survey, it was found that less than a quarter of citizens in Japan are in favor of hosting the previously postponed 2021 Olympic Games planned in Tokyo. This is after Japan saw the highest daily spike of 981 new cases. An estimated 23% of residents, or 4 million people, have had the coronavirus, according to recent data. Hong Kong has experienced eight straight days of over 100 new cases per day, causing great concern.
After five days of negotiations, European Union leaders have reached an agreement on a $858 billion coronavirus stimulus package. The money is intended to fund the bloc’s recovery from the pandemic, with a focus on countries most severely hit. Since the June 21st quarantine lift, Spain has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, with hotspots being in the region of Catalonia and Aragon.
New Zealand has reported their first two cases of coronavirus, after lifting restrictions and declaring the country was “virus-free” on June 8th. These cases are currently being held off the coast and are being treated in isolation.
South Africa has the fifth highest number of cases across the globe, with an aggressive case acceleration of about 30% in the last week. Iraq hit a new daily record with just under 3,000 new COVID cases. India is experiencing a surge in cases, as the total number of cases surpasses 1.5 million, with more than half a million new cases recorded in just twelve days.
United States passport holders will find that their passports are essentially useless as countries close their borders. The US has seen a spike in nearly every state and as a result, other nations are weary of allowing Americans to visit.
While multiple vaccine trials are underway and countries are funneling money for vaccine efforts, there is little hope for a quick vaccine. The German Health Ministry estimated the earliest a vaccine could be available is mid-2021. The concern regarding an accelerated vaccine, that would be available sooner, is mainly over the side effects and its effectiveness. Recent trial participants have experienced prolonged discomfort, citing headaches, sore arms, fatigue, a fever and chills; all of which are common symptoms of COVID-19. It can be expected that multiple trials, with fewer side effects, will be needed to reassure people, not only in America, to take a newly developed vaccine.
On July 14th, Trump ordered all hospitals to report COVID-19 data to the Department of Health and Human Services and not to the CDC. Such a move eliminates roughly any transparency regarding this highly communicable virus. It is imperative to have reliable and transparent data when dealing with a global pandemic. The move to circumvent the proper channels from a trustworthy and science-driven organization like the CDC to the vocally anti-science Administration will undoubtedly harm the American people. Additionally, continuing to be untrustworthy in its management of Covid-19 will likely hurt the Administration and other governments when it comes time for mass vaccinations. Americans will be understandably hesitant in accepting a, presumably mandated, vaccine from the federal government after previously shrouding critical COVID-19 data.
States that have recently reopened after state-issued stay-at-home orders, are reevaluating options in the wake of an onslaught of new cases. Such backtracking in legislation is causing conflict in regions that were already opposed to the initial lockdown. Opponents of reclosure cite the economy’s fragile state as their biggest concern. Nevertheless, states must consider public health when proposing reopening. Experts predict a second wave similar to what the nation experienced in late spring, to come in the winter, during flu season. Experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, have made it very clear that three things are needed in order to slow the spread and ultimately save lives. Those three things being: washing hands or sanitizing, masks or face coverings, and social distancing. Rejection of these solutions by state leaders is what has caused the virus to run rampant, as seen by comparing the US to nations where such solutions were prioritized.
Most recently, Trump contradicted experts and blatantly lied during his most recent press conference. He revived his push for hydroxychloroquine use, supported a quack doctor, and incorrectly claimed that most of America is “COVID free”. This virus is currently running through the US with unabated vigor with an average of 64,000+ cases per day in the past seven days. Effective and trustworthy leadership is necessary to combat this disease and to prevent further harm on the American people.
Healthcare, health, COVID-19, virus, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic, infection, vaccine.
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