Coronavirus USA: news and summary - Tuesday 18 August

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

Coronavirus USA live: latest news - 18 August

The US Postal Service is warning dozens of states that it may not be able to deliver some ballots and eventually stimulus checks due to the reforms set by Trump’s administration.

US students line up for coronavirus testing as universities open

Hundreds of New York University students and staff waited in line outside a white tent on Tuesday for coronavirus testing ahead of some classes resuming in early September, a scene expected to unfold on many US campuses in coming weeks.

NYU is testing students who have chosen in-person learning, with classes for undergraduates beginning on Sept. 2. The university in lower Manhattan is also giving students the options of remote learning or a blended program between the two. New York, once the US epicenter of the pandemic, has an infection rate below 1%, a benchmark for restarting certain activities coupled with social distancing and mask wearing. Elsewhere in the United States, colleges, secondary and primary schools are grappling with the new reality of whether to reopen in the middle of a pandemic.

At some colleges, a coronavirus test site is the first place students must go when they arrive on campus before going to their dorms. They may not enter any other campus buildings until the result comes back negative, which could take several days in some cases. The University of Notre Dame near South Bend, Indiana, on Tuesday reported a spike of 80 positive test results on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 147 since Aug. 3, according to the university's website.

Trump's disappearing trick didn't work

Just saying something will happen doesn't make it so. Unfortunately, the President of the United States is so used to his supporters just believing what he says he keeps trying this tactic.

Vaccine progress

Researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, with more than 170 candidate vaccines now tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within 12 to 18 months.

The Guardian brings you up to date with developments...

Pelosi: Democrats willing to cut Covid-19 bill in half to get a deal

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that Democrats in Congress are willing to cut their coronavirus relief bill in half to get an agreement on new legislation with the White House and Republicans.

'We have to try to come to that agreement now,' Pelosi said in an online interview with Politico. 'We're willing to cut our bill in half to meet the needs right now. We'll take it up again in January. We'll see them again in January. But for now, we can cut the bill in half.'

It was not clear whether her remarks spelled out a new position for coronavirus aid negotiations with the White House. The Democratic-led House passed legislation with over $3 trillion in relief in May. This month, Democrats offered to reduce that sum by $1 trillion, but the White House rejected it.

Masks very much optional

There's a small crowd growing in Yuma, Arizona, as President Trump comes to town.

Calling out the fake noise

In a world of social media, the platform to make yourself heard has never been greater. Recent years have seen an increase in disinformation but it is up to us all to call it out when we see it.

Look for solid evidence. Clarify who the real experts are. Don't just accept the loudest voice in the room.

Postal service changes on hold

US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is set to announce later on Tuesday that he will suspend all operational reforms and initiatives until after the election, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters and sources briefed on the matter.

DeJoy will announce that the changes are to 'avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail,' according to the draft statement seen by Reuters. The US Postal Service did not immediately comment.

Although the clear focus here is on the election, this could also have a positive knock-on effect on stimulus payments and medicines by post.

Florida: the state of things to come

In this thread, Scott Herr has a look at the case and death trends across the state and points out, among other things, that the average lag from date of death to date reported for the 219 Covid-19 deaths Florida reported today is 12.9 days.

The 7-day average is 11.4 days, up from ~5 days a few weeks ago

us open

Individual tests positive for Covid-19 at U.S. Open bubble

A non-player has tested positive for Covid-19 within the controlled environment that will host this year's Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open in New York over the next month, the United States Tennis Association said on Tuesday.

The individual is asymptomatic and has been advised that they must isolate for at least 10 days, while contact tracing has been initiated to determine if anyone else must go into quarantine, the USTA said in a statement. According to the USTA, it was the only positive result from the 1,400 tests administered for Tier 1 individuals during testing, which began last Thursday.

Due to the pandemic the Western & Southern Open, typically held in Ohio, is being played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this year as a lead-up to the U.S. Open, which is scheduled to start on 31 August. Those competing will be tested before traveling to the United States and one or two times per week at both events, along with daily temperature checks. A number of top players have already withdrawn from the Grand Slam in New York because of coronavirus.

Only one in five adults paid dentist visit during the coronavirus pandemic

Just one in five adults have visited a dentist's clinic during the coronavirus pandemic, even though two in five adults said they’ve had dental issues since March, according to a new survey released on Monday by Guardian Life. The survey revealed that one in four U.S. adults won't be comfortable going to the dentist by the end of the year. 

Georgia college students party flouts Covid-19 guidelines

A video posted on social media which shows a huge gathering of University of North Georgia students partying and ignoring social distancing on Saturday has gone viral. Students staged a massive party on the lawns of off-campus houses in Dahlonega, Georgia, two days before the school year began, CBS reports.

 

California updates Coronavirus monitoring list

Four counties — Amador, Mendocino, Inyo and Calaveras, have been added to the list of those which must close hair salons, gyms and other businesses. Santa Cruz is now off the list, and San Diego could be taken off later this week, Gavin Newsom said.

Fauci warns the healthy "can have coronavirus symptoms for months"

Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that even young, otherwise healthy individuals can suffer coronavirus symptoms for months after getting sick. During an American Society for Microbiology briefing, Fauci said, "We'd better be careful when we say 'young people who don't wind up in the hospital are fine, let them get infected, it's Ok.' No, it's not Ok. In individuals who are young and otherwise healthy, who don't require hospitalization but do get sick and symptomatic enough to be in bed for a week or two or three and then get better, they clear the virus—they have residual symptoms for weeks and sometimes months".

Bicycle sales booming amid pandemic

Bicycle sales are soaring worldwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with growth stemming from a fear of public transport, as well as gym closues which has prompted people to look for alternative means for excercise.

The trend has led to a bike shortage, with Giant, the world's largest bike manufacturer, saying it is expecting its supplies to remain tight for some time to come (via the New York Times).

	FILE PHOTO: Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, June 6, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

Russia's Novak to join OPEC+ meeting after positive COVID-19 test

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak will join an OPEC+ ministers' video meeting on Wednesday despite testing positive for the novel coronavirus while on a work trip in Russia's far east, the energy ministry said on Tuesday.

"The minister feels good. He has no symptoms," a ministry spokeswoman told Reuters, confirming that Novak would take part in the 21st meeting of the OPEC+ group's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) on 19 August.

OPEC+ producers are set to review adherence to their production pact on oil output cuts at Wednesday's meeting against the backdrop of a slow recovery in demand. Compliance with OPEC+ oil output cuts was 95-97% in July, according to OPEC+ sources and a draft report seen by Reuters on Monday.

Novak is in Russia's far east as part of a government delegation headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who had contracted the novel coronavirus in late April. Novak will continue working remotely for the time being, energy ministry spokeswoman Olga Golant said in a statement.

US reports more than 35,000 new coronavirus cases

The US has registered 35,112 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, bringing the total to 5,438,325. The death toll has risen by 445 to 170,497.

Pandemic now driven by 20s, 30s, 40s group, many asymptomatic - WHO

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was concerned that the novel coronavirus spread was being driven by people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, many of which were unaware they were infected, posing a danger to vulnerable groups.

WHO officials said this month the proportion of younger people among those infected had risen globally, putting at risk vulnerable sectors of the population worldwide, including the elderly and sick people in densely populated areas with weak health services.

"The epidemic is changing," WHO Western Pacific regional director, Takeshi Kasai, told a virtual briefing. "People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread. Many are unaware they are infected. This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable." 

A surge in new cases has prompted some countries to re-impose curbs as companies race to find a vaccine for a virus that has battered economies, killed more than 770,000 people and infected nearly 22 million, according to a Reuters tally.

Surges were reported in countries that had appeared to have the virus under control, including Vietnam, which until recently went three months without domestic transmission due to its aggressive mitigation efforts.

"What we are observing is not simply a resurgence. We believe it's a signal that we have entered a new phase of pandemic in the Asia-Pacific," Kasai said.

He said countries were better able to reduce disruption to lives and economies by combining early detection and response to manage infections. While mutations had been observed, the WHO still saw the virus as "relatively stable", Kasai said. WHO also reminded drugmakers to follow all necessary research and development steps when creating a vaccine.

Socorro Escalante, its technical officer and medicines policy advisor, said the WHO was coordinating with Russia, which this month became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine. "We hope to get the response in terms of the evidence of this new vaccine," Escalante said. (Text: Reuters)

Teaching quickly switches back to remote

It only took a week and online classes were returned to after coronavirus outbreaks.

Brazil reports 19,373 new cases, deaths top 108,000

Brazil reported 19,373 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 684 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday.

Brazil has now registered 3,359,570 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 108,536, according to ministry data, marking the world's worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States.

Nursing home cases up nearly 80% in Covid-19 rebound

Covid-19 cases in U.S. nursing homes jumped nearly 80% earlier this summer, driven by rampant spread across the South and much of the West, according to an industry report released Monday.

“The case numbers suggest the problem is far from solved,” said Tamara Konetzka, a research professor at the University of Chicago, who specializes in long-term care. She was not involved with the study.

Long-term care facilities account for less than 1% of the U.S. population, but more than 40 percent of Covid-19 deaths, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

State Covid-19 breakdown

Heat maps, curve charts, a table of state-by-state trends over four weeks, or a map of total cases and deaths, NPR have your specific data needs covered.

Joe Biden is due to formally accept the Democratic nomination for president at the DNC in Milwaukee, which is to be held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardi B wants Covid-19 answers...and Trump out

As the politics heighten towards the election, the star said in an interview with Elle that answers were needed during this pandemic.

Yankees activate closer Chapman after bout with Covid-19

The New York Yankees activated closer Aroldis Chapman from the injured list on Monday after the pitcher's battle with Covid-19.

The Yanks designated right-handed pitcher David Hale for assignment. Chapman, who was cleared to resume baseball activities on 31 July, is available to pitch Monday night against the Boston Red Sox, manager Aaron Boone said. He has been working out and rehabbing at the team's alternate site in Scranton, Penn. Chapman, who is a six-time All-Star, was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 on 11 July.

Chapman, 32, owns a 33-26 record with 273 saves and a 2.23 ERA in 550 games over 10 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (2010-15), Chicago Cubs (2016) and Yankees.

Covid-19 catch-up

Here is a selection of some of the coronavirus-related stories that have been making the headlines over the last 24 hours:

- New York City private bus companies now struggling to survive due to lack of commuters

- The NHL reported zero positive Covid-19 test results Monday, the third consecutive coronavirus-free week inside the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles

- Almost 40% of Americans had to wait more than 3 days for their Covid-19 test results, study shows

- The US death toll from Covid-19 rose 2% to about 7,400 people last week, while new cases declined for a fourth week in a row

- Trump Administration said to be willing to support providing funding for the USPS if it accompanies a coronavirus stimulus funding package of measures

- NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state's gyms could open as soon as 24 August at 33% capacity as long as they enforce strict health measures

Coronavirus live US updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, United States-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has registered nearly 21.8 million cases and over 776,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the US, the globe's worst-affected country, there have been more than 5.4 million cases and 170,000 fatalities, JHU states.

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