The coronavirus is more widespread in the United States than ever before, prompting the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, to say that over the weekend the country has entered a “new phase” of the coronavirus. pandemic.
The virus is hitting urban, suburban and rural areas and has even spread to Americans living on remote islands. Hawaii and Puerto Rico on Monday saw their highest weekly average daily cases Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Nationally, the seven-day average of new cases daily stands at about 60,000 and is slowly declining, while deaths, which typically remain several weeks behind, are steadily rising. For the past week, the U.S. has had an average of seven days of more than 1,000 deaths a day.
At the same time, the states that have led the summer crisis (California, Florida, Texas and Arizona) have seen plateau cases decline slightly in recent weeks from their highs. Florida is averaging about 8,448 new cases a day over the past seven days, a number that is actually 18% lower than the previous week.
Tropical storms and hurricanes will complicate efforts to deal with the coronavirus, the Pan American Health Organization reported Tuesday.
Tropical Storm Isaiah, which now reaches the east coast of the United States, is a reminder of how storms can disrupt public health efforts. Isaiah has caused flooding and spawning of tornadoes, which has driven people out of their homes and taken electricity from hundreds of thousands of people.
“This is adding a new layer of complexity to the public health emergency response for Covid-19,” Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, Incident Manager for PAHO.
“With the situation of Covid-19, we must be prepared for a set of new challenges in terms of population that should be moved to shelters, with new challenges to implement social distancing, hand hygiene, the mask wear “. Said Aldighieri.
Evacuations and electrical outages can especially threaten efforts to treat coronavirus patients – and others – in intensive care units, Aldighieri said.
Promising vaccine results
A third U.S. company published the results of the study showing that its coronavirus vaccine is safe and generates an immune response.
Novavax Inc., released Phase 1 data Tuesday from 131 volunteers who showed that after two doses of the vaccine, participants developed neutralizing antibodies at levels more than four times higher, on average, than antibodies developed by people who they had recovered from Covid-19.
Neutralizing antibodies fight the virus that causes Covid-19.
“It’s good. That’s really encouraging,” Novavax president Dr. Gregory Glenn said.
The report states that the vaccine also induced a response of T cells, an immune cell type, according to an analysis of 16 randomly selected volunteers.
The report was published on a preprinted server and has not been reviewed by other scientists.
Two other U.S. companies – Modern and Pfizer – have released encouraging data in Phase 1. Last week, these two companies began their Phase 3 trials with 30,000 volunteers each.
Also Tuesday, governors of Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia announced a bipartisan pact to conduct 3 million rapid antigen tests to curb the spread of Covid-19 and continue to safely reopen its states, according to a communiqué. Roy Cooper, governor of North Carolina, said he would join later.
The agreement between six rulers – three Republicans and four Democrats – shows private manufacturers that there is in fact a significant demand to expand production of these rapid tests, which give results in 15 to 20 minutes, according to a statement .
States are currently in discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel, two U.S. manufacturers of antigen testing that have already been authorized by the FDA, to buy 500,000 tests per state, for a total of three million tests, according to the statement. .
In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Tuesday that it is launching two advanced trials to test monoclonal antibody treatments in patients with Covid-19, one for patients with mild illnesses and another for patients who are hospitalized.
NIH made an initial announcement during a telework before Tuesday, and in a subsequent statement clarified that the two trials would be concurrent.
“Studying the impact of this therapeutic research on several patient populations at once is critical in determining whether it can help patients with Covid-19 with different levels of disease severity,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. Diseases, he said in a statement.
“These concurrent trials have the potential to produce meaningful and comprehensive clinical data.”
According to test component manufacturers, the demand for testing is outstripping supply, even as nearly 800,000 daily tests are performed in the United States, according to Admiral Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing car of the United States. Trump administration.
And sometimes test results take days or more, hampering trace capabilities.
A coordinated effort by the federal government to identify and resolve supply chain problems and provide better guidance to health care workers on the best use of limited resources is what they need most, CNN and industry sources told CNN..
The federal government’s failure to test has hurt North Carolina, Cooper said Tuesday.
“It’s been bad. We wish there was a better federal testing strategy,” Cooper told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
“In North Carolina we have worked very hard to test, but we have problems with the supply chain, we have problems with personal protective equipment. So, as rulers, we have had to take an intense step and get the job done,” he said. dir Cooper dit.
President Donald Trump defended his administration’s response to the pandemic Monday in an interview with Axios, saying the federal government is doing everything possible.
“They’re dying. That’s true. And you, that’s what it is,” Trump said, responding to the daily death. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t do everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it.”
Northeastern states maintain low infection rates
There are some states that have done this right by not limiting themselves to restrictions after their case numbers start falling.
Connecticut, for example, has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. The state is in its second phase of reopening, and restaurants are limited to 50% inland and bars remain closed. All companies that reopen must first be certified with the status that follows the coronavirus-related guidelines.
Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, praised the state on Monday.
“You’re not going back to your vigilance and making sure you don’t have a resurgence of cases that put you back, instead of staying where you are going and moving forward,” Fauci said.
Other states, such as New York, which reopened more slowly, lifted restrictions by regions and demanded that people and businesses not adhere to the guidelines, also report good news. New York’s positivity rate over the weekend was less than 1%, the governor said.
However, these states are not without their own problems. In New York City, New York Department of Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot resigned abruptly Tuesday after clashing with Mayor Bill de Blasio in recent months.
“It’s clear, certainly in the last few days, that it was time to change and really how we’re moving forward,” the mayor said.
Dave A. Chokshi will take Barbot’s place, according to Blasio’s office.
Four states add up to 400,000 cases
At least 13 states have reported more than 100,000 coronavirus infections and four of them (California, Florida, Texas and New York) have reported more than 400,000.
California, with more than 516,000 positive cases, has reported more infections in the country, but starts the week positively. The state on Monday reported an average of about 7,764 weeks, which was down about 21 percent from the previous week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
In Los Angeles County, officials said they are cautiously optimistic as data trends appear to stabilize and move slightly downward. Los Angeles sees a seven-day average of about 2,600 cases a day, lower than a couple of weeks ago when that same average exceeded 3,000 cases each day.
Florida has the second largest number of cases in the country, with more than 491,000 infections recorded, and will soon surpass half a million cases.
In Texas, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who in July proposed a two-week order at his home to help reduce cases, said Monday the city will issue subpoenas and fines to people who do not follow the mask warrant. of the state. The state has reported more than 455,000 infections and more than 8,000 people are hospitalized statewide. “
Video: The United States reaches 4.5 million cases, as health experts urge the public to follow health protocols (CNN)