Coronavirus USA: news summary for Monday 3 August

Coronavirus USA and HEALS Act live updates: news, cases, deaths and stimulus checks, today

Coronavirus USA: live updates - 3 August

USA coronavirus latest: 13:00 PT / 16:00 ET on Monday 3 August (22:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University18,157,379 cases have been detected worldwide, with 690,701 deaths and 10,754,672 people recovered.

In the U.S., there have been 4,696,573 confirmed cases and 155,165 deaths, with 1,468,689 people recovered from the virus.

Scroll through some of the recent coronavirus-related articles:

White House staff to undergo random Covid-19 testing

The White House staff working in the President's Executive Office will be required to undergo random testing for Covid-19, a procedure which up until now had been voluntary. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is tested several times a week for coronavirus. The White House also tests people who are expected to be in close proximity to the president. 

"As part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex, randomized testing of Executive Office of the President staff, which has been ongoing for several months, will become mandatory rather than voluntary," an official told ABC News.

 

california

California governor says Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, trending down

The governor of California said on Monday that rates of new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions were all trending down in the state, according to the latest analysis.

Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in a briefing that despite the state's Central Valley agricultural region was still being hit hard by the coronavirus and that the data was not yet enough to consider lifting pandemic restrictions. "This virus is not going away," Newsom said. "Its not going to take Labor Day weekend off Halloween off or the holidays off. Until we have a vaccine we are going to be living with this virus."

California, the nation's most populous state with some 40 million residents, has recorded a total of 514,901 confirmed Covid-19 infections and 9,388 deaths, according to the governor's office. The state has administered more than 8 million tests for Covid-19 and has seen the rate of positive results decline to seven percent over the last 14 days, compared to 7.5 percent in the previous two weeks.

"No silver bullet to kill Covid-19"

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus believes we may never find a miracle cure to beat Covid-19, in spite of the U.S. buying up millions of does of vaccines.

"A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection," Ghebreyesus said during a WHO news briefing on Monday. "However, there's no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be."

In the search for a Covid-19 vaccine, U.S. President Donald Trump launched "Operation Warp Speed," a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) project that invests in vaccine candidates which officials within the Trump administration identify as showing promise.

vaccine

Decoy receptors can trap coronavirus before it enters the lungs

(Reuters) Engineered decoys can trap the virus before it is able to enter cells The coronavirus enters cells by attaching to a protein on the cell membrane called the ACE2 receptor. Scientists have now developed a decoy version of ACE2 that lures the virus and traps it, preventing it from infecting human lung cells in test tubes.

"We have engineered our ACE2 Trap to bind 100 to 1,000 times tighter to the virus than normal ACE2 that is on victim cells. This provides even more potent blockage that is comparable to neutralizing antibodies," Dr. James Wells of the University of California explained.

While actual ACE2 receptors have effects on blood vessels, the decoys do not. Their only purpose is to trap the virus, the research team reported in a paper posted on bioRxiv on Saturday ahead of peer review. "We believe it may be possible to produce both injectable and possibly inhaled versions of our most potent ACE2 trap as a therapeutic," Wells said, noting that there are still many development steps before the idea could be used in people.

 

What date to expect your stimulus check

With the HEALS Act on the table and in negotiation between Republicans and Democrats, individuals around the US want to know when they can expect financial support.

Trump rounds on Birx

The U.S. president said his Coronavirus Response Coordinator had "taken the bait" after she said the pandemic in the country was "extraordinarily widespread." 

"We are in a new phase. What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread in rural as well as urban areas."

"To everybody who lives in a rural area: You are not immune or protected from this virus," Birx said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The virologist, who claims she fled to the U.S. after receiving threats due to her research, has accused the Chinese military of creating Covid-19.

Microsoft set to boost Wall St as investors await stimulus

(Reuters) Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Monday as Microsoft's pursuit of TikTok's U.S. operations and a clutch of upbeat quarterly earnings reports lifted sentiment in the absence of a fiscal coronavirus relief deal.

Microsoft rose 2.7% before the bell as it said it would push ahead with talks to acquire the U.S. operations of Chinese-owned TikTok after President Donald Trump reversed course on a planned ban of the short-video app.

Democrats and Republicans will resume talks Monday over a fresh stimulus package that will address a second round of payments and unemployment benefits.

san diego

A Lab technician works at Sorrento Therapeutics where efforts are underway to develop an antibody, STI-1499, to help in prevention of the coronavirus disease in San Diego, California. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WHO says there may never be a 'silver bullet' for Covid-19

The World Health Organization warned on Monday that while there were strong hopes for a Covid-19 vaccine, there might never be a 'silver bullet' for the coronavirus that has infected millions around the world.

'There is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be,' director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news briefing from the U.N. body's headquarters in Geneva.

India daily case total tops the global list 

A worrying graphic now shows how India's daily coronavirus cases have surged ahead of the US, and double that of third-placed Brazil.

Health experts urge caution for school reopenings

"We have to ask the question, are we willing to live with the end result of the inevitable situation where teachers are going to become infected?" asked Dr. Michael Saag, associate dean for Global Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"Are we willing to live with those consequences?" he said. "Because I think that's what we're going to see in about three months from now, unfortunately, with the rates of infection that we have."

$1,000 stimulus check: how much money for children and adults?

A group of Republican senators have proposed sending out $1,000 payments per individual amid the coronavirus pandemic, as negotiations continue to find a solution.

U.S. coronavirus 'extraordinarily widespread', say White House experts

(Reuters) The United States is in a new phase of the novel coronavirus outbreak with infections "extraordinarily widespread" in rural areas as well as cities, White House coronavirus experts said on Sunday.

Coronavirus cases continue to surge in some parts of the country and the public health officials are trying to work with governors to tailor responses for each state.

"We are in a new phase," said Dr. Deborah Birx. "What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread" in rural as well as urban areas.

"To everybody who lives in a rural area: You are not immune or protected from this virus," Birx said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Nike cuts across 2020 themes

In case you haven't already seen it, the latest advert from the sports company captures many of the year's most impactful messages - including the pandemic - in a dream of an editing process.

Top coronavirus advisor warns US in 'new phase' of pandemic

Deborah Birx, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN's "State of the Union" that local virus mitigation procedures were starting to work, but added that "what we are seeing today is different from March and April".

"It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas," she added. "To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus."

"We are in a new phase," Birx said.

Congress can afford the relief, says Fed's Kashkari

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Sunday he was not optimistic about reaching agreement soon on a deal for the next round of legislation to provide relief to Americans hit hard by the pandemic. Both sides said on Saturday they had their most positive talks yet. But there was no sign of movement on the biggest sticking point - $600 per week in extra federal unemployment benefits for Americans that has been a lifeline for millions of jobless Americans and expired on Friday.

The U.S. economy could benefit if the nation were to 'lock down really hard' for four to six weeks, Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, said on Sunday, adding that Congress can well afford large sums for coronavirus relief efforts.

Isaias could return to hurricane status

Update: Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to be near hurricane strength when it reaches the Carolinas, with some weakening forecast after it makes landfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Sunday.

Isaias was located about 50 miles (80 km) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km per hour), the NHC said. 'Slow weakening is forecast after Isaias makes landfall in the Carolinas and moves across the U.S. mid-Atlantic region late Monday and Tuesday,' the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

Coronavirus infections coincide with house parties already under investigation

Democrats fail to reach agreement with White House on economic aid package for citizens

The dollar in times of coronavirus

Trump official: "Hydroxychloroquine? I can't recommend that"

Admiral Brett Giroir  said on Sunday that “we need to move on” from Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that President Trump has frequently touted as a potential treatment for coronavirus even in the face of mounting evidence of its inefficiency or even harm. While noting that the drug looked “very promising at first,” Giroir said that five randomized, controlled studies of the drug have failed to show any benefit to the drug and that “we don’t recommend that as a treatment.”

Eagles coach Doug Pederson tests positive for Covid-19

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson informed his team Sunday night that he has tested positive for Covid-19, ESPN reported. Pederson has tested positive twice for the virus but is asymptomatic and feeling fine, according to the report.

Pederson is the second NFL head coach to contract the virus after New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton got it in March. Pederson is entering his fifth season as head coach in Philadelphia. He is 38-26 through four seasons, making the playoffs the past three years, including a Super Bowl victory in the 2017 season.

Second stimulus check: how much would HEALS Act give dependents?

The HEALS Act, Republican senators' proposal for the next coronavirus relief package in the US, includes a second round of stimulus checks.

Full details:

US Fauci

Protesters gather outside the Trump National Golf Club as the US president, Donald Trump, plays golfs at the club ion Sterling, Virginia on Sunday.

(Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Pelosi on Birx: "I don't have confidence there, no"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) has told ABC’s This Week that she has no confidence in Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator.

"I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee so, I don’t have confidence there, no," Pelosi said on Sunday.

Pelosi also did not deny recent comments attributed to her by Politico’s Jake Sherman, who reported that she said: "Deborah Birx is the worst. Wow, what horrible hands you’re in."

Coronavirus live US updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, United States-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which as of 19:00 ET had registered nearly 18 million cases and just over 687,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In the US, which has been by far the world's worst-hit country, there have been over 4.6 million cases, leading to just under 155,100 fatalities.

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