Coronavirus US summary news for 9 June

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Coronavirus live US: latest Covid-19 news - 8/9 June


US coronavirus latest: 13:00 PST / 16:00 EST on Tuesday 9 June (22:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 7,181,895 cases have been detected worldwide, with 408,811 deaths and 3,341,215 people now recovered.

In the USA, there have been 1,971,302 confirmed cases and 111,620 deaths with 518,522 people recovering from the virus.

US government awards AstraZeneca $23 million for covid-19 antibody treatment

The US government is awarding British pharma company AztraZeneca $23 million to work on an antibody treatment for Covid-19.

These aren't vaccines (which prompt the body to make its own antibodies) but rather a lab synthesised therapy that neutralises the virus. If it works it could act as both prophylaxis to prevent infection and as a treatment for patients infected with Covid-19. 

Nascar slowly bringing the fans back in

Lollapalooza cancelled

The Chicago Jazz Festival too, and most programs at the Chicago Riverwalk.

Long-term effects of Covid-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been talking about the long-term effects of Covid-19 for those who are seriously ill with the disease but survive, saying we really don't know much. 

"The thing that we don't yet fully appreciate is what happens when you get infected and you get serious disease and you recover? What are the long-term durable negative effects of that infection?"

Many patients have been left with damaged organs after suffering with the novel coronavirus, while others are reporting what appear to be severe post-viral fatigue and other consequences. 

Fauci also said he expected there to be "more than one winner" in the race to develop a vaccine, because "we're going to need vaccines for the entire world — billions and billions of doses."


A protester wearing a Trump 2020 shirt dances in front of a counter protester holding a sign that reads 'Covid 19 is Deadly Trump/Pence Regime is making it deadlier #outnow', in front of the Massachusetts Statehouse, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 30 May 2020. Massachusetts has introduced a four phase plan to reopen the state in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus disease. EFE/EPA/CJ GUNTHER

14 US states see Covid-19 cases spike

With rates of coronavirus infections easing in New York and Illinois, parts of the country that had previously avoided being hit hard by the outbreak are now tallying record-high new infections.

Britain's AstraZeneca ramps up studies for COVID-19 antibody treatments

British drugmaker AstraZeneca on Tuesday said it expects to move two COVID-19 antibody based therapies it has licensed from U.S. researchers into clinical studies in the next two months as it ramps up efforts to help combat the pandemic.

The company, which has a potential coronavirus vaccine in its pipeline, said it has agreed terms with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to back its project to develop a monoclonal antibody treatment against the virus.

Experts question WHO comment on 'rare' asymptomatic COVID-19 spread

Disease experts on Tuesday questioned a statement by the World Health Organization that transmission of COVID-19 by people with no symptoms is "very rare", saying this guidance could pose problems for governments as they seek to lift lockdowns.

Maria van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and the WHO's technical lead on the coronavirus pandemic, said on Monday that many countries undertaking contact tracing had identified asymptomatic cases, but were not finding they caused further spread of the virus. "It is very rare," she said.

"I was quite surprised by the WHO statement," said Liam Smeeth, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who added that he had not seen the data Kerkhove's statement was based on.

"It goes against my impressions from the science so far that suggest asymptomatic people - who never get symptoms - and pre-symptomatic people are an important source of infection to others."

Covid-19 state-by-state

Nationwide, 22 states are seeing upward trends in coronavirus cases. About 20 states have seen decreases in recent days, and eight states are holding steady.

No, Covid-19 is not going to quickly evolve decreased virulence

If you’ve got a few minutes spare, this twitter thread by University of Washington evolutionary biologist Carl T. Bergstrom is well worth reading. 

It’s a rebuttal of a claim that by locking down we’re stopping Covid-19 evolve into a more harmless virus, but also explains why even if the virulence of the virus does change it’s not going to do it fast enough to help us in any meaningful way. And there’s loads of fascinating facts about how and why virus virulence can change. 

Main take away: The “confident assurance that COVID will become just another cold is utterly unfounded”

World leaders on the pandemic

There a contrast between how leaders around the globe have handled Covid-19 in their countries, and what they are saying about it.

The Covid-19 recession follows a record expansion

With the National Bureau of Economic Research confirming that the United States has entered a recession, we look behind the economic downturns.

Trump rallies to return

Along with golf courses, they appear to be his favourite location, as he bellows out numerous claims, bigging up his achievements and slamming anyone who disagrees. All while surrounded by hundreds of MAGA-merchandised supporters.

Gilead's remdesivir slows Covid-19 progression in monkeys - study

Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug, remdesivir, prevented lung disease in macaques infected with the new coronavirus, a study published in medical journal Nature said on Tuesday via Reuters.

In the study, macaques that received remdesivir did not show signs of respiratory disease and had reduced damage to the lungs, according to the study authors.


Unravelling the conspiracy theories

'Determining the origins and emergence of a pandemic is as messy and complex as studying a plane crash. Just as an air crash investigator pieces together fragments at a crash site, pinpointing the origins of a new virus is painstakingly difficult and time-consuming, and requires logic and reason. I know, because this is exactly what our organisation, EcoHealth Alliance, does.'

Peter Daszak is president of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to analysing and preventing pandemics, and he looks at the current discourse.

Did Covid-19 begin in August 2019

The novel coronavirus may have been spreading in China as early as August 2019, according to Harvard Medical School research based on satellite images of hospital travel patterns and search engine data.

'Increased hospital traffic and symptom search data in Wuhan preceded the documented start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in December 2019,' according to the research. 'While we cannot confirm if the increased volume was directly related to the new virus, our evidence supports other recent work showing that emergence happened before identification at the Huanan Seafood market.'

The research can be viewed on the Harvard website.

A seemingly unending plateau

When epidemiologists talked about "flattening the curve," they probably didn't mean it this way: the US hit its peak coronavirus caseload in April, but since that time the graph has been on a seemingly unending plateau.

Non-filers given until 15 October to register for stimulus check

People who do not file income taxes in the US have been given a deadline of 15 October by the IRS to apply for their Economic Impact Payment.

Full details here:

US enters into recession

The longest economic expansion in American history is officially over. More than 42 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Major companies including JCPenney, J.Crew and Hertz have filed for bankruptcy. And economists are predicting GDP imploded at an annualized rate of 40% during the second quarter.

Will I be able to receive my Economic Impact payment next year?

People who did not receive a stimulus check this year, or who think that their total earnings for this year will be below the tax threshold, could get a payment in 2021.

Read more here:

Is it too early for New York to reopen?

The current data showing a decline in Coronavirus cases in New York at the start of June many not be accurate as it will not reflect possible new cases arising from the protests for the killing of George Floyd in which thousands of people took to the streets with no social distancing.

“As many as 400,000 workers could begin returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites and retail stores in the city’s first phase of reopening,” the New York Times reports. 

It is still too early to know for sure if the demonstrations have led to significant spread. Protests aside, reopening seems to have led to spikes elsewhere in the country, including in Texas, Arizona and Florida.

Lockdowns saved many lives and easing them is risky, say scientists

Lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 have saved millions of lives and easing them now carries high risks, according to two international studies published on Monday.

“The risk of a second wave happening if all interventions and all precautions are abandoned is very real,” Samir Bhatt, who co-led one of the studies by researchers at Imperial College London, told reporters in a briefing.

The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.

“But any claims that this is all over, that we’ve reached the herd immunity threshold, can be firmly rejected,” Bhatt added. “We are only at the beginning of this pandemic.”


Biden faces balancing act as activists call to "defund the police"

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden opposes "defunding the police," his campaign said on Monday, declining to embrace a rallying cry that has gained support among progressive activists and protesters demonstrating against police brutality.

Biden, the former vice president, met with George Floyd's family in Houston for more than an hour on Monday to offer his sympathies. In a statement, Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, said Biden 'does not believe that police should be defunded" but supports "urgent need for reform, including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing, so that officers can focus on the job of policing."


Catch up...

We freshen up each day with a new blog so if you want to have a look back at what has been happening over the previous 24 hours then check out yesterday's feed.

US coronavirus news for 8 and 9 June 

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.

The US is close to two million confirmed cases of Covid-19 (1,955,711 at time of writing), with 110,932 people having lost their life to the novel coronavirus. 

The good news: over half a million people have recovered from the disease in the US.