Coronavirus USA live updates: summary 21 August

Coronavirus USA live: latest news - 21 August

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For the latest news relating to the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, please follow the new Saturday 22 August live coverage here.

 

Experts analyze coronavirus deaths of asian americans

 

A good number of participants signed up for the coronavirus vaccine trials

This is the opinion of the experts about getting vaccinated this year against the coronavirus

Mask-free Wisconsin coffee shop closes for good as landlord won't renew lease

Helbachs Coffee Roasters and Kitchen, a family-owned coffee shop in Middletown gained the attention of several local media outlets in mid-July for advertising itself as a "mask-free zone". The coffee shop said that since then, it has battled with local health officials for not requiring customers to wear masks inside the shop, Newsweek reports.

As a result, the landlord has not renewed the store's lease and Helbachs will be pulling down the shutters for the last time on 31 August.

mexico

U.S. closes lanes, adds road checks at Mexico border to contain coronavirus

On Friday, the United States closed lanes at select ports of entry at the border with Mexico and will conduct more secondary checks to limit non-essential travel and the spread of coronavirus, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official said.

Non-essential travel has been restricted at the border since March, but the restrictions have mostly been applied to Mexican citizens. The new measures appeared to be aimed at U.S. citizens and legal residents living in Mexico.

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a series of sweeping steps to scale back immigration during the coronavirus pandemic, including emergency border rules that allow U.S authorities to rapidly deport migrants arrested at the border, bypassing standard legal processes. 

usa

Nearly a fifth of Covid-19 vaccine study volunteers are Black or Latino

Nearly a fifth of 11,000 people enrolled so far in a 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial testing a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are Black or Latino, ethnic groups among the hardest hit by the coronavirus virus pandemic, a top Pfizer executive said. "Between Latinx and Black or African American populations, we're running at about 19 percent or so," Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development, told Reuters. "We're trying to push even higher than that."

Black and Latino Americans are infected with Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, with Native Americans infected at even higher rates, research has shown. The groups are historically underrepresented in clinical trials.

The companies' vaccine has quickly advanced into late-stage testing, with some participants already getting their second of two doses. Physicians and scientists have been urging companies testing coronavirus vaccines to include Black, Latino and indigenous Americans in Covid-19 vaccine trials in hopes of building trust among at-risk populations.

 A general view of the San Francisco Giants playing against the Los Angeles Angels at Oracle Park on August 20, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

Seven positive tests in MLB this week

Three players were among the seven individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 in baseball during the past week. The seven positive results were out of 12,485 samples tested from 14-20 August, according to information released Friday by Major League Baseball and the players association.

Three positives were players and four were staff members. Five were personnel from major league clubs and two were from the league's alternate sites. Two members of the New York Mets organization tested positive this week, prompting the postponement of Thursday's game against the Miami Marlins and a three-game series against the New York Yankees that was set to begin Friday.

The total number of positive tests during the monitoring stage climbed to 82, including 54 players and 28 staff members from 19 different teams. That's out of 78,612 samples collected, a positivity rate of 0.1 percent. (Text: Reuters, Photo: Getty)

Few masks and little social distancing at Trump event

NPR's White House Reporter, Ayesha Rascoe, is at an event where Trump is speaking, and has reported very little use of masks and no social distancing.

Audience members t at a speaking event at Trump's own New Jersey Golf Resort were criticised for the same two weeks ago.

The issue of mail-in voting remains a thorny one as Donald Trump launches repeated attacks on its viability but is the USPS set up to cope with unprecedented demand? And does the US president's insistence that the vote will be open to fraud have any basis in reality? 

Full story: 

Pence leads Republican counterattack after Democrats savage Trump 

(Reuters) Vice President Mike Pence on Friday launched the Republican counterattack to the scathing criticism that President Donald Trump received at the Democrats' nominating convention this week, countering that a Joe Biden presidency would crush the US economy and allow civil unrest in the streets.

"The Democrats are offering a vision for this country that would crush our economy and promote the kind of policies that will result in more violence in our streets," Pence told Fox News in one of a series of morning television interviews following the four-night Democratic event.

Biden accepted the Democratic Party nomination for the White House on Thursday, vowing to heal a United States battered by a deadly pandemic and divided by four years of Trump's presidency.

Trailing Biden in many national polls, Trump is under pressure to convince Americans they should re-elect him amid double-digit unemployment and an economic downturn that Democrats blame on his failure to address the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 170,000 Americans. 

NYC

New York City ahead of curve on Covid-19, but faces risks going into fall

New York City, once an epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, has managed to contain the virus as it reopens, but faces risks of an uptick in cases in the fall, public health experts told Reuters.

The city's success comes from a mix of high rates of compliance with local and federal public health guidance and also substantial immunity among the general population, a result of the severity of the outbreak in March and April, according to public health experts based in New York City.

"There was an alignment in New York with the state government, the healthcare system and the media on what to do - namely, lock everything down," said Mark Jarrett, chief quality officer at Northwell Health. "The lockdown didn't please everyone but was really well accepted."

The rate of contagion also declined more quickly because the initial outbreak left between 25% and 50% of New Yorkers with some level of immunity, said Maria Lima, associate dean for research at the City University of New York School of Medicine. 

New York is at risk for an uptick in cases as schools reopen and cold weather pushes more people indoors, the experts said. 

Florida to release 750m genetically modified mosquitoes

The project is designed to reduce the natural population of Aedes aegypti, which carry diseases including Dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya.

2020 RNC speakers outlined

The 2020 Republican National Convention will be virtual four day event staged in Charlotte (North Carolina) running from 24-27 August.

Second stimulus check: is the week of September 21 the possible first date for payment?

After Congress adjourned for recess on 10 August without striking a deal, It could be another month at least until Americans receive a second $1,200 stimulus payment.

US unfreezing Venezuelan assets to help opposition fight COVID-19

Venezuela's opposition said on Thursday the United States has granted it access to millions of dollars of frozen Venezuelan government funds to support efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The U.S. Treasury Department had approved the release of the funds, the opposition said in a statement without specifying the total amount.

The statement said part of the released funds would go to pay some 62,000 health workers $300. During a live appearance on Twitter on Thursday night, opposition leader Juan Guaido said health workers could register accounts to receive payments of $100 a month starting Monday.,

NBA star Curry backs Biden campaign

The Golden State Warriors player appeared in a video at the last night of DNC 2020 and appealed for Americans to support the Biden/Harris campaign ahead of the 3 November US presedential elections. 

Walmart

Fearing shipping crunch, US retailers set earliest-ever holiday sale plans

The coronavirus pandemic is upending the way U.S. consumers shop and the holidays will be no exception as major retailers and shippers roll out their earliest-ever shopping season.

Target, Best Buy and Kohl's have moved winter holiday promotions up to as early as October. They also joined rival Walmart in announcing store closures on Thanksgiving and plans to bypass the midnight Black Friday door-buster sales that traditionally mark the start of the holiday season but are incompatible with the pandemic's social distancing recommendations.

Vaccine

Arcturus CEO says in talks with a dozen countries for Covid-19 vaccine supply deals

Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc is in discussions with about a dozen countries for supply deals of its coronavirus vaccine that is currently in early human testing, the company's chief executive officer told Reuters on Thursday.

The U.S.-based company is talking to some countries in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, as well as with several U.S. government agencies, CEO Joseph Payne said in an interview.

There are "approximately a dozen countries that we're in conversations with," Payne said. Arcturus recently began testing its vaccine in humans in an early-to-mid stage study, lagging rivals such as Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, that have begun late-stage trials of their experimental coronavirus vaccines.

Vaccine

Top FDA official says would resign if agency rubber-stamps an unproven Covid-19 vaccine

A top U.S. health regulator who will help decide the fate of a coronavirus vaccine has vowed to resign if the Trump administration approves a vaccine before it is shown to be safe and effective, Reuters has learned.

Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, made the statement in response to concerns raised on a conference call late last week of government officials, pharmaceutical executives and academics who serve on a vaccine working group organized by the National Institutes of Health, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

When contacted by Reuters, Marks confirmed the account. Scientists, public health officials and lawmakers are worried that the Trump administration will pressure the FDA to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine in advance of the November presidential election, even if data from clinical trials do not support its widespread use.

DNC 2020: Final day recap as Joe Biden accepts presidential nomination

On the final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden formally accepted his presidential nomination.

Coronavirus: the complete guide to the Covid-19 pandemic

 

Coronavirus in U.S. Congress: 16 members have tested or been presumed positive

At least 16 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate - nine Republicans and seven Democrats - have tested positive or are presumed to have had COVID-19, with Senator Bill Cassidy becoming the latest on Thursday.

Mets-Marlins postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests

Thursday's game between the New York Mets and the Marlins in Miami, as well as Friday's game between the Mets and the visiting New York Yankees, have been postponed due to two positive tests for COVID-19 in the Mets' organization, Major League Baseball announced Thursday evening.

MLB did not provide specifics about whether a Mets player or other members of the organization tested positive. The league said both games were being postponed "out of an abundance of caution and to allow for additional testing and contract tracing to be conducted."

The Mets also didn't reveal whether it was players or staff, or both, who tested positive. In an issued statement, the club said the team would fly back to New York on Thursday with "recommended safety precautions in place and (will) conduct testing with the entire traveling party."

Coronavirus live US updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, United States-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has registered over 22.6 million cases and naerly 794,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the US, the globe's worst-affected country, there have been over 5.5 million cases and nearly 175,000 fatalities, JHU records.

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