U.S. cases have surpassed 1.5 million and the country’s death toll is more than 90,000. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center maintains an ongoing count of the COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States and worldwide. As of May 18, the tally is:
Total cases worldwide: 4,786,672 (up from 4,516,360 Friday)
Total deaths worldwide: 317,695 (up from 306,051 Friday)
Total recoveries: 1,776,641 (up from 1,622,354 Friday)
Total cases in the United States: 1,506,732 (up from 1,432,045 Friday)
Total deaths in the United States: 90,236 (up from 86,851 Friday)
New York has added another region to reopen Tuesday, with many beaches set to reopen Memorial Day weekend. On Monday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo told the media that the region around Buffalo could reopen on Tuesday, making it the sixth of 10 regions in New York State to meet the criteria to lift lockdown measures, according to CBS News. The Finger Lakes, the North Country, the Southern Tier, the Mohawk Valley, and Central New York reopened last week. Cuomo said that these areas have met the required benchmarks, including declines in infections, deaths, and hospitalizations, and having sufficient numbers of hospital beds to handle a surge.
The governor also announced Friday that state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware will reopen the Friday before Memorial Day. As of June 1, horse racing tracks statewide can resume races without fans.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, however, said Sunday that city beaches will not reopen Memorial Day weekend or in the near term, and that fences will be built if people start gathering on beaches, according to CBS New York. On Monday, he said that if the current downward trending of infections and hospitalizations continues, the city could ease social distancing restrictions and permit nonessential businesses to reopen by June, according to Newsday.
Texas recorded its highest single-day rise in cases as the state continues to reopen. Over the weekend, Texas reported its biggest daily case count to date of 1,801, according to Newsweek. The surge may be partially due to outbreaks at meat plants and increased testing capacity. The state allowed stores and restaurants to resume business on May 1; gyms are set to reopen today.
More than two-thirds of states have begun to reopen. According to The New York Times, this week Minnesota is set to reopen stores and malls, Kentucky is looking to lift restrictions on restaurants and stores, and Connecticut is allowing salons, museums, and office buildings to resume activities.
More than 11.8 million Americans have been tested so far. A total of 11,834,508 individuals have been tested in the United States for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 as of May 18, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Initial human trials of a vaccine have yielded encouraging results. Phase 1 results of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine trial show that all participants who received varying dose amounts of the potential treatment produced antibodies for the novel coronavirus, according to data released on Monday by the biotechnology company.
In the study, led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), three groups of 15 healthy participants ages 18 to 55 received dosing at either a low-level amount (25 micrograms), a medium level (50 micrograms), or a high level (100 micrograms). Low- and medium-level doses were shown to be safe, but those in the high dose group had significant “systemic symptoms.”
Moderna will discontinue the high dosing in its Phase 2 trials and expects to move to Phase 3 trials in July. If those trials go well, The New York Times reported that a vaccine could become available for widespread use by the end of this year or early 2021, according to Tal Zaks, MD, Moderna’s chief medical officer.
David Bernstein, MD, vice chairman of medicine for clinical trials at Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, who is not involved in the research, told Everyday Health: “It is important for the public and researchers to have realistic expectations, and I would estimate that at best we are looking at a possible vaccine 12 to 18 months from now, assuming current trials are successful.”
The Federal Reserve chair said the economic downturn could go through end of next year. On 60 Minutes on Sunday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the economic slump “could stretch through the end of next year.” He added, however, that the country will get through the recession. “In the long run, and even in the medium run, you wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy,” he said. “This economy will recover.”
Vitamin D may help beat the virus. A recent statistical analysis published in MedRXiv of coronavirus patient data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States found a strong link between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates. An article in Forbes reviewing the latest research regarding vitamin and COVID-19 concluded that the “jury’s still out on its effects.”
Trump announced that he is taking hydroxychloroquine. President Trump said he is taking daily doses of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, according to CNN. The president has touted the drug as a potential coronavirus treatment amid questions about its effectiveness and potential side effects.
A study suggests summer weather could help slow virus spread. A working paper posted last week from researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that the warmer summer months could have some positive effects in blocking COVID-19. Temperatures above 77 degrees were linked to a reduction in transmission. The authors found a “negative association between temperature and humidity and transmission.” They warned, however, that the “estimated effects of summer weather are not strong enough to seasonally control the epidemic in most locations.”
Japan’s economy fell into a recession in the first quarter. The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that Japan’s economy, the third largest in the world, contracted by 3.4 percent in the first three months of the year. The economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, warned on Monday that data for the second quarter is expected to be worse, and he expects the economy to “shrink substantially for the time being.”
China supports a WHO investigation of the outbreak’s origin. Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday told the World Health Organization’s annual assembly that he backs an international review of the pandemic led by the WHO once the emergency has ended, reported The Guardian. Jinping also announced that China would donate $2 billion to the international fight against COVID-19 and offered to help establish hospitals and health infrastructure in Africa.
Trump officially unveiled Operation Warp Speed. On Friday, President Trump announced that Moncef Slaoui, the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division, and four-star Army General Gustave Perna will lead Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s effort to have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year, acccording to CNN. “Operation Warp Speed means big and it means fast,” Trump said.
Retail sales and industrial production dropped dramatically in April. The Census Bureau released data on Friday showing that retail sales fell 16.4 percent from a month earlier. This plunge comes on the heels of an 8.3 percent drop in retail sales in March. The Federal Reserve also reported that industrial production plunged a record 11.2 percent in April, according to the Associated Press.
A Gallup poll shows social distancing has dropped significantly. A Gallup poll released Friday revealed that 58 percent of U.S. adults report completely (17 percent) or mostly (41 percent) isolating themselves, continuing a decline from a high of 75 percent the week of March 30 through April 5. The results come as more states are taking steps to reopen their economies.
Tens of thousands of autoworkers are returning to jobs. The Associated Press estimated that 133,000 autoworkers are due to pour back into auto plants that are reopening next week. Ford is predicting stronger sales in the future in Europe, China, and the United States as the lockdowns ease.
Loud talking may leave viral droplets in the air up to 14 minutes, a study found. A single minute of loud speaking generates at least 1,000 virus-containing droplets, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the Unites States of America. Researchers found that infectious droplets may hang in the air for 8 to 14 minutes. “These observations confirm that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments,” write the study authors.
At 108, she may be country’s oldest coronavirus survivor. Sylvia Goldsholl, who is 108 years old, may be the nation’s oldest COVID-19 survivor, according to USA Today on Friday. The resident of the Allendale Community for Senior Living in New Jersey had the virus but made a full recovery. Goldsholl has also lived through the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, which struck when she was 6 years old.
Almost three million people filed jobless claims, and the unemployment rate has hit 15.7 percent. The Department of Labor released data last Thursday showing that 2.9 million new claims for unemployment insurance were filed in the previous week. About 36.5 million Americans have filed applications in the past eight weeks. CNBC called it the biggest job loss in U.S. history. The unemployment rate has now rocketed to 15.7 percent, up from about 3.5 percent in February.
The ousted vaccine director warned lawmakers that the country lacks a vaccine plan. In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last Thursday, Rick Bright, PhD, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, told representatives that the United States lacks a plan to produce and fairly distribute a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, according to the Associated Press. He warned that the nation could face “the darkest day in history” unless decisive action is taken.
Dr. Bright was removed from his post last month after pushing for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment. He filed a whistleblower complaint saying he was reassigned because he tried to “prioritize science and safety over political expediency.”
The CDC has confirmed the link between a mysterious syndrome in kids and COVID-19. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the link between a rare syndrome in children with COVID-19, according to NBC New York. New York City has found at least 145 cases of children sickened by the illness.
The CDC issued a health advisory regarding multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The condition has been seen in several U.S. states and European countries.
“Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local, state, or territorial health department,” according to the CDC advisory.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), children with this syndrome have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, including “persistent fever, inflammation, and evidence of single or multi-organ dysfunction (shock, cardiac, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, or neurological disorder), and may or may not test positive for COVID-19.”
How to Help
Blood Donors Needed
The American Red Cross is seeking people who have fully recovered from the coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. You may qualify to donate plasma if you meet specific convalescent plasma and regular blood donation requirements. The FDA offers more information about plasma donations on its website.
Help the Hungry
As the result of job losses, school closures, and health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, many communities and individuals are in need across America. Feeding America is seeking donations to support food banks nationwide.