The COVID-19 Pandemic: US Death Toll Hits 120,000; Unique Coronavirus Strain Found in Chicago; and More

World News:

We’re now more than half way through June, and there are over 8.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with the SARS-CoV-2 virus having killed over 457,000 people across the globe, according to statistics aggregator Worldometer.

Outside of the US, the countries with the most confirmed infections are:

  • Brazil: 984,315 confirmed cases; 47,897 deaths.
  • Russia: 569,063 confirmed cases; 7,841 deaths.
  • India: 382,497 confirmed cases; 12,616 deaths.
  • UK: 301,815 confirmed cases; 42,461 deaths.
  • Spain: 292,348 confirmed cases; 27,136 deaths.

National News

Friday, June 19, 2020

US Hits 120,000 Deaths

The United States reached another grim milestone this week – there are now over 120,000 deaths in caused by COVID-19. New York, which despite seeing a significant drop in its numbers, still leads the nation with 408,426 confirmed cases, and 31,092 deaths. Neighboring New Jersey, which also reports a notable decline in its numbers, remains in second place with 171,029 confirmed cases; and 12,927 deaths.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most number of cases are:

  • California: 167,233 confirmed cases; 5,362 deaths.
  • Illinois: 134,778 confirmed cases; 6,537 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 106,422 confirmed cases; 7,770 deaths.
  • Texas: 102,661 confirmed cases; 2,142 deaths.
  • Florida: 85,926 confirmed cases; 3,064 deaths.

A Unique Strain of COVID-19 Found in Chicago

Chicago appears to have a unique strain of COVID-19 that is directly linked from the early outbreak in Wuhan, China, according to Northwestern University researchers. “This is the first clear evidence that genetic differences in the viruses are associated with differences in the characteristics of the infections that they cause,” said Dr. Egon Ozer, an assistant professor in infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician in an interview with NBC Chicago.

Nation’s Capital Enters Phase 2 of Reopening

Washington, DC will enter phase two of reopening on Monday, June 22 announced DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday. As par of phase two reopenings:

  • Nonessential retail can open at 50% capacity,
  • Restaurants can have indoor dining at 50% capacity.
  • Houses of worship are encouraged to hold virtual services, but are permitted to have up to 100 people, or 50% capacity. DC recommends that churches do not have choirs or singing.
  • Personal services, including nail care, tattooing and waxing will be permitted with certain restrictions in place.
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people are still banned.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

  • New cases of COVID-19 are spiking across some US states, even as other countries in Europe and across the globe are seeing downward trends. For example, Florida, Texas and Arizona all saw their highest single-day increases in new COVID-19 infections. New projects now say that Florida may become the new epicenter.
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is offering up a national strategy for expanding antibody testing throughout the US. “A central repository, similar to that found in, would be a valuable resource to include all serosurveys, including their methodology, timelines, and purpose. A systematic method of entering data on serosurveys would then allow studies to be easily compared and could also allow individuals to access serosurveys in their area,” the researchers wrote in the report. “Right now, states are designing and initiating their own studies, but having a consistent protocol for carrying out serosurveys would make findings more valuable.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

On Tuesday, June 16, the COVID-19 death toll in the US remains over 2.1 million.

The states with the most confirmed infections include:

  • New York: 405,705 confirmed cases; 30,980 deaths.
  • New Jersey: 170,152 confirmed cases; 12,831 deaths.
  • California: 155,842 confirmed cases; 5,123 deaths.
  • Illinois: 133,639 confirmed cases; 6,398 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 105,885 confirmed cases; 7,665 deaths.

At Least 18 US States Show Upward Trend of Cases

At least 18 US states are still experiencing an upward trend of COVID-19 cases, including Texas, Florida, and South Carolina. “Increased mobility and premature relaxation of social distancing led to more infections, and we see it in Florida, Arizona, and other states,” said Ali Mokdad, one of the creators of the model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “This means more projected deaths.


Monday, June 15, 2020 

Over 2.1 Million Confirmed US Cases; NY Update

There are now over 2.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and the novel coronavirus has killed 117,951 Americans as of Monday, June 15. New York, which long stood as the nation’s hot spot, still leads the country in cases (404,470) and deaths (30,911). However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported Monday the lowest number of hospitalizations across the state since the pandemic started. Neighboring New Jersey, the second hardest hit state in the US, now reports 169,441 confirmed cases and 12,733 deaths. NJ has also experienced a decline in hospitalizations, and today began phase II of its reopening. Effective today, non-essential retail and outdoor dining are permitted in the Garden State.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most confirmed cases are:

  • California: 152,882 confirmed cases; 5,089 deaths.
  • Illinois: 132,543 confirmed cases; 6,308 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 105,603 confirmed cases; 7,624 deaths.
  • Texas: 89,242 confirmed cases; 1,996 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 83,484 confirmed cases; 6,306 deaths.

FDA Terminates Hydroxychloroquine Emergency Use

The US Food and Drug Administration today revoked its emergency use authorization for the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of the novel coronavirus. “FDA has concluded that, based on this new information and other information discussed in the attached memorandum, it is no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of HCQ and CQ may be effective in treating COVID-19, nor is it reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks,” FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton wrote in a letter to Gary Disbrow of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on Monday.

Oscars Delayed for First Time in 40 Years

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday that the 93rd annual Oscars will be delayed until April 25, 2021 instead of February 28 as planned. “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a joint statement.

Friday, June 12, 2020

On Friday, June 12, there are now 2,099,910 cases of COVID-19 in America, and 116,273 deaths as this article goes to publish, according to Worldometer. New York now reports 402,021 confirmed cases and 30,741 deaths, while New Jersey reports 168,204 confirmed cases and 12,552 deaths. However, both those states now boast among the lowest current infection rates in the country, after getting hit hard during the virus’ peak.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most confirmed cases are:

  • California: 143,553 confirmed cases; 4,941 deaths.
  • Illinois: 130,603 confirmed cases; 6,185 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 104,667 confirmed cases; 7,492 deaths.
  • Texas: 83,457 confirmed cases; 1,945 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 82,457 confirmed cases; 6,245 deaths.

Model Predicts Increased Number of US Deaths by Fall

An influential model cited by the White House is making a grim prediction. It projects that 169,890 Americans will die from COVID-19 by October 1, with a possible range of 133,000 to 290,000 deaths. “If the US is unable to check the growth in September, we could be facing worsening trends in October, November and the following months if the pandemic, as we expect, follows pneumonia seasonality,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

New CDC Guidelines Advise Travel Caution

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for public transportation and travel. “Public transit can put you in close contact with others. When using public transportation, follow CDC’s guidance on how to protect yourself when using transportation,” the agency said in the new guidelines, aimed at providing advice for people to lead their lives day to day while the coronavirus continues.

Supply of Important Coronavirus Drug Running Out

The US government’s current supply of remdesivir, the only treatment known to work against COVID-19, will run out at the end of the month, said Dr. Robert Kadlec, a US Department of Health and Human Services official. The government’s last shipment of the drug will go out the week of June 29. Gilead Sciences, the drug’s manufacturer, is ramping efforts up to make more, but it’s unclear how much will be available this summer, as noted in a CNN article.

Some States and Cities Delaying Reopenings

According to a CNN report, some US states and cities – such as Oregon and Nashville, Tennessee – are delaying reopenings due to an upstick in COVID cases.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

  • A month after reopening, Florida reported a state record for most confirmed COVID-19 cases in a week – a signing that state reopenings may spur an increase in infections. Also, in Texas, hospitalizations increased by more than 6% earlier this week, the highest spike since the start of the pandemic. Moreover, California’s hospitalizations are at their highest since May 13, and have risen 9 of the last 10 days. “There is a new wave coming in parts of the country,” said Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s small and it’s distant so far, but it’s coming.”
  • Last week, 1.5 million more Americans filed unemployment claims, according to the Department of Labor. That brings the total number of claims filed since mid-March up to 44.2 million.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

COVID-19 has infected over 2 million Americans, though the true number is of course much higher. As of Wednesday, June 10, the confirmed United States death toll sits at 114,414. New York, which which still leads the nation in infections/deaths, reports 400,660 confirmed cases and 30,603 fatalities. Neighboring New Jersey, which yesterday joined a list of states who have removed their state-at-home orders, now reports 167,192 confirmed cases and 12,369 deaths.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most number of confirmed cases are:

  • California: 137,144 confirmed cases; 4,772 deaths.
  • Illinois: 129,212 confirmed cases; 6,018 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 103,889 confirmed cases; 7,408 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 80,961 confirmed cases; 6,086 deaths.
  • Texas: 78,997 confirmed cases; 6,086 deaths.

Fauci Calls Out WHO

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious disease expert, says the World Health Organization (WHO) is incorrect in saying that the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 “appears to be rare.” Dr. Fauci stated WHO’s comment “was not correct.” According to Dr. Fauci, in a ABC “Good Morning American” interview, evidence shows that 25% to 45% of infected people likely don’t have symptoms. “And we know from epidemiological studies they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they’re without symptoms,” said Fauci.

FDA Authorizes First COVID-19 Test That Looks for Mutations

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) on Wednesday to Illumina, Inc. for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test that uses genetic sequencing technology to pinpoint changes in the virus. “Having a next generation sequencing diagnostic tool available will continue to expand our testing capabilities. Additionally, genetic sequencing information will help us monitor if and how the virus mutates, which will be crucial to our efforts to continue to learn and fight this virus,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

Researchers to Evaluate Drugs Prescribed to Children with COVID-19

Investigators have initiated a new study to assess drugs prescribed to infants, children, and adolescents with the novel coronavirus, CNN reports. The study will be funded by the National Institutes of Health, the agency announced. “As we search for safe and effective therapies for Covid-19, we want to make sure that we do not overlook the needs of our youngest patients who may respond differently to these drugs, compared to adults,” Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in the statement.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

  • There are over 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of Tuesday, June 9. The US epicenter, New York, now has 400,499 confirmed cases and 30,579 deaths, while neighboring New Jersey has 167,101 confirmed infections and 12,348 deaths. Outside of NY and NJ, the states with the most confirmed infections are:
  • California: 134,097 confirmed cases; 4,697 deaths.
  • Illinois: 128,415 confirmed cases; 5,924 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 103,626 confirmed cases; 7,353 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 80,847 confirmed cases; 6,069 deaths.
  • Texas: 77,249 confirmed cases; 1,868 deaths.
  • Even as more states ease their lockdown restrictions, coronavirus cases continue to rise. Currently 22 US states are experiencing a spike in cases, they include inland states including Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona. Also, Friday, health officials in Utah said they were “very concerned” about the rise in new cases over the past week.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Over 2 Million US Cases

The United States has hit another grim milestone. There are now over 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The novel coronavirus has now killed over 112,000 US citizens. New York, which has long been the nation’s epicenter, now reports 398,828 confirmed cases and 30,442 deaths, while neighboring New Jersey reports 166,006 confirmed cases and 12,216 fatalities.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most confirmed cases are now:

  • California: 131,710 confirmed cases; 4,653 deaths.
  • Illinois: 127,757 confirmed cases; 5,904 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 103,436 confirmed cases; 7,316 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 80,004 confirmed cases; 6,010 deaths.
  • Texas: 75,763 confirmed cases; 1,853 deaths.

New York City Begins Reopening

Following almost 80 days of state-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City begins reopening on Monday. “This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against the disease,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “My message is to stick to it.” In the first phase of reopening, New York City is allowing nonessential workers in construction and manufacturing to go back to work and retail stores to set up curbside or in-store pickup. However, hair salons, offices and indoor seating at bars and restaurants remain closed until phase two.

Some States Experiencing a Spike in Cases

While every state has begun phased reopenings, almost half of US states are experiencing higher rates of new COVID-19 cases. One of those states is Florida, which saw an increased average of roughly 46% over the past week, even as the state entered phase two of reopenings.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Over 110,000 US Fatalities

There are now 110,804 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19 and the number of confirmed cases will soon break 2 million. New York, the nation’s epicenter, now reports 384,837 confirmed cases and 30,296 deaths while second place New Jersey has 165,101 confirmed cases and 12,078 deaths.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most confirmed cases are:

  • Illinois: 125,915 confirmed cases; 5,795 deaths.
  • California: 123,137 confirmed cases; 4,485 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 102,063 confirmed cases; 7,201 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 78,920 confirmed cases; 5,969 deaths.
  • Texas: 71,471 confirmed cases; 1,828 deaths.

US Unemployment Rate Drops

The United States economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobless rate had soared to 14.7% in April. The report suggests the job market may be recovering following its sharpest plunge in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two COVID-19 Studies Retracted Following Questionable Data

Both The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine retracted coronavirus studies this week after independent auditors were unable to access all the information necessary for data verification. Both studies used data from mystery analytics company Surgisphere Corporation.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Almost 2 Million US Cases; NY Update

There over 1.9 million confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, as of today. The US death has exceeded 109,000, despite the fact that every state has begun phased reopenings. On a positive note, the nation’s hardest hit state, New York, has seen a dramtic bend in its curve, with New York City seeing the “lowest number” of new infections, according to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New York’s official number sits at 383,770 confirmed cases and 30,244 deaths, while neighboring New Jersey remains second with 164,155 confirmed cases and 11,998 deaths.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the second most confirmed cases are:

  • Illinois: 123,830 confirmed cases; 5,621 deaths.
  • California: 120,260 confirmed cases; 4,421 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 101,592 confirmed cases; 7,152 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 78,232 confirmed cases; 5,838 deaths.
  • Texas: 69,508 confirmed cases; 1,771 deaths.

The Ever-Rising Number of Unemployed

About 1.9 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report. Meaning that, since mid-March, roughly 44 workers have lost their jobs since mid-March due to COVID-19. While the number of weekly filings has reduced, Nick Bunker, director of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a statement to CBS News: “The situation might be improving, but only ever so slightly.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The US death toll from COVID-19 now stands at over 108,000, and there now close to 1.9 million infections. New York, the nation’s leader in confirmed cases and deaths, reports 382,824 infections and 30,134 deaths, while neighboring New Jersey reports 163,530 confirmed cases and 11,880 deaths.

Outside of NY and NJ, the states with most confirmed COVID-19 cases are:

  • Illinois: 122,848 confirmed cases; 5,525 deaths.
  • California: 117,962 confirmed cases; 4,360 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 101,163 confirmed cases; 7,085 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 77,788 confirmed cases; 5,756 deaths.
  • Texas: 67,973 confirmed cases; 1,735 deaths.

100 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine by 2021, Says Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci believes the United States will have 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020. “Then, by the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses,” Fauci said during a live Q&A with the Journal of the American Medical Association. As previously reported, there are currently over 130 coronavirus vaccines in development worldwide.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Over 107,000 US Fatalities; NY Reporting a Low in Cases

There are now 1.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and over 107,000 fatalities. On a positive note, New York, the nation’s leader in reported cases and deaths, is seeing an “an all time low” in new cases, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. New York reported 58 deaths yesterday, which is slightly up from a total of 54 on Monday. New York’s official tally stands at 380,825 confirmed cases and 29,988 deaths. Neighboring New Jersey has also seen a bend in its curve, and reports 51 new deaths, according to Governor Phil Murphy’s social media account. NJ’s total tally is 162,642 confirmed cases and 11,770 deaths.

Outside of NY and NJ, the US states with the most confirmed cases are:

  • Illinois: 121,234 confirmed cases; 5,412 deaths.
  • California: 115,192 confirmed cases; 4,287 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 100,805 confirmed cases; 7,035 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 76,739 confirmed cases; 5,670 deaths.
  • Texas: 66,076 confirmed cases; 1,700 deaths.

US Surgeon General Expects Clusters Amid Protests

As protests over the death of George Floyd continue in America, the US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams is concerned that COVID-19 may spread among demonstrators. “I remain concerned about the public health consequences both of individual and institutional racism [and] people out protesting in a way that is harmful to themselves and to their communities,” Adams said in an interview with Politico. “Based on the way the disease spreads, there is every reason to expect that we will see new clusters and potentially new outbreaks moving forward,” Adams said.

Monday, June 1, 2020

US Toll Over 106,000

As of June 1, COVID-19 is responsible for the deaths over 106,000 people in the US, and there are close to 2 million confirmed cases (currently 1,843,668). US-leading New York now reports 379,902 confirmed cases and 29,918 deaths. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today that at least 54 people from coronavirus yesterday, noting that “number is dramatically different than what we were looking at for many many weeks.”

Behind NY, the US states with the most confirmed infections are:

  • New Jersey: 161,764 confirmed cases; 11,711 deaths.
  • Illinois: 120,260 confirmed cases; 5,390 deaths.
  • California: 112,584 confirmed cases; 4,240 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 96,965 confirmed cases; 6,846 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 76,271 confirmed cases; 5,586 deaths.

Pharmaceutical Company Begins Human Trials of COVID-19 Antibody Therapy

Eli Lilly and Company has started the first human trial of an antibody therapy to treat COVID-19. The company said that if successful, the therapy could become available by fall. “We’ve already started the manufacturing process to really scale this up without even knowing yet if it works for patients, because if it does work, we don’t want to waste a single day, we want to have as much medicine as possible available to help as many people quickly,” Dr. Dan Skovronsky, Eli Lilly’s senior vice president and chief scientific officer, said in a CNN interview.

Former FDA Commissioner Warns Mass Protests Could Spike Infections

The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police has sparked an uproar in the US, with thousands of protesters assembling in many US cities over the past six days. However, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb is warning that the protests could cause a spike in COVID-19 infections. “There’s going to be a lot of issues coming out of what’s happened in the last week, but one of them is going to be that chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

103-year-old Woman Beats COVID-19

In uplifting news, a 103-year-old Massachusetts woman defeated COVID-19, and celebrated her victory with a cold beer, her family told CNN. “She’s always been a feisty woman,” according to her granddaughter.

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