Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, June 7-9

Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous reports from May 23 to May 25, listed in eastern time.

Yosemite National Park will be reopening on Thursday, June 11, but visitors will need to do some planning before arriving at the park. “To increase park access while providing the public a reasonable opportunity to comply with health guidelines, Yosemite National Park will implement a temporary day-use reservation system,” The National Park Service (NPS) said. Before the pandemic, visitors were able to drive up to the park and purchase vehicle passes at the park entrance, but now reservations will need to be made online ahead of time to enter the park. The park will only be offering 1,700 vehicles passes each day, a limit that will reduce the number of vehicles in the park by approximately 50%. Reservations will also be required for people planning to camp in the park. A full list of available services in Yosemite can be found on the park’s website.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Tuesday to lift the stay-at-home order across the state. “We cannot move through Stage 2 and into Stage 3, and beyond, unless we continue to see our numbers trending downward,” Murphy said on Twitter. “We cannot become complacent or irresponsible.” Additionally, indoor gatherings up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings up to 100 people will be permitted. The number of new COVID-19 cases per day across New Jersey has been on a downward trend for more than a month leading up to the decision to lift the stay-at-home order, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. As of Tuesday evening, there have been 164,796 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, leading to 12,303 fatalities.

NASCAR has announced its plan to gradually allow fans to return to the grandstands to cheer on their favorite drivers in person. As many as 5,000 guests will be allowed to attend the upcoming race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, June 21, but there are some stipulations. “All guests in attendance will be screened before entering, required to wear face coverings, mandated to social distance at 6 feet, and will not have access to the infield, among other revised operational protocols,” NASCAR said in a statement. Wearing a face mask throughout the entire race could prove to be a challenge for some fans as it takes place on the first full day of summer in one of the most humid areas of the country. Additionally, only Alabama residents that live within 150 miles of Talladega will be permitted to attend the race. Plans to allow fans to attend future races has yet to be announced, but other tracks, as well as other professional sport leagues, will be keeping a close eye at the success of reintroducing fans at Talladega.

Medical experts are concerned that the police departments’ use of tear gas and pepper spray on protestors could increase the spread of the coronavirus, according to The Associated Press. The chemicals in the two irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat, causing people to cough and sneeze. An attempt to breathe better would result in the protestor pulling off their mask, possibly endangering those who come to their aid. A study from 2014 by  then active duty Army Officer Joseph J. Hout, et al., focused on Army recruits and mandatory exposure to tear gas during training linked exposure to tear gas and doctors diagnosing acute respiratory illness.“If there is a person who is positive for the virus, I can see them coughing on someone else and spreading it that way,” Hout told the AP. “Another less likely way is through irritation of the respiratory system. It could create an environment for opportunistic infection in the body.”

Antarctica remains the only continent untouched by the coronavirus, and New Zealand is taking action to keep it that way. The country is dropping 23 of the 36 research projects planned to take place in Antarctica in the coming research season, which runs from October to March, the BBC reported. With fewer projects, it will decrease the risk of COVID-19 spreading to the continent. “Antarctica’s an isolated environment – if you had a medical emergency with a high number of people sick, you just don’t have the capacity to deal with it. And with close-quarter, confined environments, it’s kind of like living on a cruise ship down there,” said Rob McKay, Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington.

NHL teams began to return to practice facilities earlier this week, giving players a sense of normalcy as the league heads toward a return to play. In the current phase, teams can begin limited workouts with small groups. Players are also being tested frequently to ensure that the coronavirus is not being spread during the workouts. “We did a test on the weekend, and then we did one today,” New York Ranger John Bailey said. “As far as going forward, I’m not entirely sure how many we’ll have to do, but it was a pretty easy test so we’re not too worried about that.” However, it will still be some time before the puck drops at the next game. Training camps are not expected to start until mid-July, with several more weeks before the Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin. “As far as optimism goes, I’m absolutely optimistic. We’re just hoping for the best and that we can get a resolution and get this thing rolling,” Bailey said.

Arizona hospitals are already preparing for another surge in COVID-19 cases. The director of the Arizona Department of Health Services informed hospitals across the state to activate emergency plans as the number of available ICU beds dwindles, ABC 15 reported, a news station based in Phoenix. By activating emergency plans, hospitals will be preparing for more patients, reducing or suspending elective surgeries, and cross-training staff. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifted stay-at-home orders on May 15, which included the phased reopening of business such as salons and dine-in restaurants. At that time, Arizona was averaging around 450 to 550 new COVID-19 cases every day. Since then, the number has sharply risen, exceeding 1,000 new cases per day in early June, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Contrary to many countries that have experienced a decrease in coronavirus cases, the U.S. has hit a plateau. According to a report from AFP, experts say this is the result of the cumulative impact of regional outbreaks, as cases peaked in April along coastal regions and in major cities of the country before the virus moved to smaller cities and the inner regions of the country. Additionally, cases have increased as lockdown restrictions have eased, and, in some places, social distancing guidelines aren’t being followed due to economic hardship, AFP reported. Tom Frieden, a former director of the CDC, says that the country’s size plays a big role on this plateau. “The U.S. is a large country both in geography and population, and the virus is at very different stages in different parts of the country,” Frieden told AFP.

Wearing face masks will be required by law enforcement in Spain until there is a coronavirus vaccine. Police will hand out 100 euros ($113) fines to people not complying with the new rule, the government said. The measure will reportedly continue after the country’s state of emergency ends on June 21 and will “remain in place until we permanently defeat the virus, which is when we have an effective treatment or vaccine against it,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said. It has been mandatory for everyone age 6 and older to wear a mask in public where it is not possible to maintain a 6.5 feet distance from other people since May 21. Although this new rule is not for very young children, it is “recommended” for those between three and five, according to Yahoo.

Polling stations across Georgia opened their doors Tuesday morning for the state’s primary election after it was delayed twice due to the pandemic. Long lines were reported at several voting locations across the Atlanta area not only due to high voter turnout, but because people in line were practicing social distancing. For some, this meant standing out in the rain as showers and thunderstorms tracked across the state, including the Atlanta area. Many, but not all, of the people waiting to vote were wearing face masks or face coverings. There were also issues with Georgia’s new touchscreen voting system, The Associated Press reported. Georgia isn’t the only state where voters are casting ballots on Tuesday. West Virginia residents are also heading out to vote after their primary election was delayed from May 12 due to the pandemic.

People wait in a line to vote in the Georgia’s primary election at Park Tavern on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The coronavirus caused a “swift and massive shock” that has triggered the most broad collapse of the global economy since 1870, the World Bank said Monday In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank said the economy is expected to shrink by 5.2 percent this year which is the worst recession in 80 years, AFP reported. It is said that the crisis could put up to 100 million people into extreme poverty. Economists have had a difficult time measuring the impact caused by the coronavirus to the world economy because of the sheer size of the impact across many different industries. The worst-case scenario as a result from the global recession would be contraction of 8 percent.”This is a deeply sobering outlook, with the crisis likely to leave long-lasting scars and pose major global challenges,” World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, told AFP.

South Korea’s largest water park is now open to the public after weeks of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Caribbean Bay, located an hour southeast of Seoul in the city of Yongin, reopened its doors on Friday, June 5, Reuters reported. Only one ride was open, and to ensure everyone’s safety the government announced that people should maintain distance in all pools and locker rooms at the park. Additionally, the venue’s operators released guidelines in which they state that all visitors will have to fill an online health form and have their temperatures checked before they’re allowed in. Employees will also disinfect the park’s premises every hour and all visitors will be asked to wear masks when not in the water. Although the park had few visitors on its Friday reopening, this is expected to change as summer approaches. Watch a video in the tweet below which shows some of the first guests to return to the park cooling off on a hot day.

The World Health Organization has cautioned that much is still unknown about COVID-19 and its asymptomatic spread. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, has said that it is “a really complex question and much is still unknown.” Van Kerkhove also said that WHO officials don’t have an answer to how easily it can spread asymptomatically yet and that current estimates are anywhere between 6% and 41% of the population may be infected but show zero symptoms, according to CNBC.

The remarks were a clarification on what she said Monday during a press conference. “From the data we have, it seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Van Kerkhove told reporters. On Tuesday, she said during a live social media broadcast that her comments on Monday had been in response to a question and she wasn’t stating a specific WHO policy. “And in that [press conference], I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that that’s misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare. I was referring to a small subset of studies,” she said, according to CNBC. “Some estimates of around 40% of transmission may be due to asymptomatic, but those are from models, so I didn’t include that in my answer yesterday, but wanted to make sure that I covered that here,” she said.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove WHO
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove WHO

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, speaks with reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday June 8, 2020. (Twitter / WHO)

A restaurant in Brussels is trying to return to normalcy with a fun initiative. After being closed for three months, The Lodge restaurant partnered with marketing and advertising company Cheesebox to create custom masks with the staff’s faces printed on them. CEO of Cheesebox, Charles de Bellefroid, told AFP this was a way of making everyone feel more comfortable. “We thought it was a bit dehumanizing and it’s true that in some industries that doesn’t help with business, so we wanted to put a smile, a face, an identity on people,” de Bellefroid said. “And so, we came up with the idea of printing faces on masks.” The idea has also been praised by the restaurant’s customers.  “I think it’s great, at least you can recognize people,” said a guest only identified as Audrey. “You can see what people look like, so it’s a great initiative.” Watch a video embedded in the tweet below to see how the masks look when worn by staff and customers.

Mounting evidence now suggests that at-risk individuals may need to add eye protection to further protect against transmission of the coronavirus in addition to wearing face masks. According to ABC News, research has shown that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be transmitted through the eyes, mouth and nose from direct exposure “of a droplet from coughing, sneezing or even yelling.” A recent study published in The Lancet suggested that individuals are three times less likely to contract COVID-19 if they’re wearing eye protection, such as face shields, goggles and glasses. The study says the risk of contracting the virus is reduced from 16% to 6% when wearing eye protection.

Moscow lifted its strict coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday following more than two months of restrictions. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Monday that the lockdown and pass system would end Tuesday, allowing residents to take to the streets once more, according to AFP. Russia currently has the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world at about 484,630, behind Brazil (707,412) and the U.S. (1,961,187). The nation has had over 6,000 COVID-19-related deaths, about 241,917 recoveries and more than 13 million tests have been conducted across the country. Russia’s capital city had been under lockdown since March 30, with some measures gradually easing over the most recent weeks. Critics have accused authorities of under-reporting deaths and pushing reopening too soon for political reasons, AFP reported. On July 1, Russia will hold a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms, which, if passed, could extend President Vladimir Putin’s term until 2036.

The easing of the lockdown restrictions came on a pleasant day in Moscow. The sun was shining and temperatures were in the mid-80s in the city, well above the normal high of 69 F for June 9.  “It’s nice out and there are a lot of people on the streets. It’s a beautiful day, in every sense of the word,” Olga Ivanova, a Moscow resident, told AFP.

The World Health Organization says asymptomatic patients are not increasing the spread of the coronavirus. According to Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, coronavirus patients without symptoms are not likely to transmit the virus. “From the data we have, it seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Van Kerkhove said Monday, according to CNBC. She later added that in order to slow the spread of the virus, governments should focus on isolating infected people with symptoms and everyone who came into contact with them.

Rigorous testing conducted in the northern Italian province of Bergamo found that more than half of the residents who were tested had COVID-19 antibodies, local health authorities said on Monday, according to Reuters. The health officials said a sample survey found that of 9,965 residents who had blood tests done between April 23 and June 3, 57% had antibodies, which indicated they had come into contact with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, Reuters said. The Bergamo health agency said in a statement that most residents who provided blood samples were from the hardest-hit areas and had already been under quarantine, Reuters reported.

Here are the latest updated totals from around the world, according to data compiled by researchers from Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total confirmed cases: 7,136,366

  • Total deaths: 406,913

  • Total recovered: 3,309,447

Homestead-Miami Speedway is planning for 1,000 guests at their NASCAR Cup race on June 14. The guests — who were approved by  Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez — will be made up of military personnel, first responders and household members, according to NBC Sports. The guests will not be charged, and will be the only ones in the stands. They will be required to receive a temperature check and health screening prior to entrance. Since the season resumed in May, they will be the first people to watch a NASCAR race from the stands due to health concerns regarding COVID-19.

Texas sees the consequences of an early reopening as the state announced a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations on Monday. As reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services, there are currently 1,935 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state. This is an increase from the previous hospitalization record of 1,888 patients on May 8. According to experts, hospitalization numbers are the best way to track the spread of the virus and the main indicator that the government should use when making the decision to reopen the economy. “Looking at things like how many ICU admissions and deaths are probably some of the strongest and most reliable (data points) because they are the worst outcomes that could happen,” said Dr. David Hardy, an adjunct professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Texas was one of the first states to reopen the economy, with some businesses reopening as early as May 1. Due to this, the positivity rate for COVID-19 increased from 4.27% in late May to a current rate of 7.55%, according to the state’s health department.

The last cruise ship carrying passengers has made its final port of call after six months of being at sea. On Monday, the MV Artania cruise ship that had traveled all the way to Australia, tied up in a German port. The ship’s arrival comes more than two months after other major cruise ships were taken out of commission due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 140-day cruise sailed on December 21, 2019 from Hamburg, Germany, and in March, 36 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. While most of the passengers got off the ship after two weeks of quarantine, eight passengers decided to travel back to Germany aboard the Artania and they finally arrived on Monday at noon., local time

New protocols were announced by the NFL for players and staff members returning to facilities. Commissioner Roger Goodell released the protocol, which is broken up by:

  • Access

  • Physical distancing

  • Facility and equipment cleaning and disinfecting

  • Food services

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene

  • Compliance with protocols 

  • Education on the spread 

So far, no date has been pinned down for players to return to club facilities, but the NFL is in discussion about allowing some players to return by June 26. While in the facilities, masks must be worn at all times by staff and players and areas available to use must be restricted. Further protocols and travel issues will be addressed in the future.

On Friday, Ontario is set to reopen more businesses, including hair salons and restaurants with outdoor dining in areas outside of coronavirus hot spots. The openings will occur in 24 health regions and will increase the maximum of social groups from five to 10 people in some permitted health regions, which includes Ottawa, Reuters reports. Toronto will remain in phase one, as will other areas with higher rates of the novel coronavirus, meaning residents will need to wait a bit longer before being able to visit businesses like hair salons. The decision on which regions to allow reopening was “based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing,” a statement from the office of Premier Doug Ford said, according to Reuters.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa grows worried as COVID-19 cases in the country are “rising fast.” Out of South Africa’s 48,000 confirmed cases, more than half have been recorded in the last two weeks, according to The Associated Press. Currently, there are more than 184,000 confirmed cases in Africa, and most of those cases are in South Africa, which concerns the citizens of the country. “Like many South Africans, I, too, have been worried as I watch these figures keep rising,” Ramaphosa wrote on Monday’s weekly letter to the nation. Despite this, the country’s restrictions are being eased after a 10-week lockdown that started on March 27. Ramaphosa said that the lockdown had achieved “the objective we had of delaying the spread of the virus” and “gave us time to prepare our facilities.”

The transmission rate of COVID-19 in L.A. County is once again on the rise, officials report. The pandemic reached its lowest levels of transmission on May 31 for the county, according to the Los Angeles Times. When at its highest point, the effective transmission rate for the county was 3 to 3.5, meaning each person that became infected with the virus transmitted it to an average of 3 to 3.5 people. Since then it has gotten as low as 1; however, director of health services for L.A. County, Christina Ghaly, said the transmission rate is above 1 once again and is continuing to rise. “We must all do everything we can to keep the [transmission rate] from continuing to increase,” Ghaly said.

Central de Abasto in Mexico City, the world’s biggest fruit and vegetable market, becomes a COVID-19 hotspot. Described as “a city within a city” by locals, the market is visited by half a million people every day and is the workplace of 90,000 people, most of whom have been sick. In addition, around 500 customers have tested positive for COVID-19. Alejandro, a porter at the market, got sick and had to spend a month in isolation but had to come back due to financial reasons. “Money runs out, in the little time I was out my savings got used up,” he told Aljazeera reporter John Holman. To help bring awareness and slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the market, Mexico City’s government decided to send medical workers to spread awareness. However, this hasn’t helped. “They think COVID is a game, they’re like ‘whatever, nothing’s going to happen to me’,” said Jokebed Reyna, a medical worker.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, cruise ships, oil tankers and other commercial ships halted their trips. As a result, the lack of human noise pollution in the world’s oceans will allow for scientists the unique opportunity to hear the true sounds of the ocean without any man-made interference. “Well, we’re not excited that COVID happened, but we’re happy to be able to take advantage of the scientific opportunity,” Peter Tyack, a professor of marine mammal biology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said. “It would have just been impossible any other way.” Scientists have set up 130 underwater hydrophones to listen in around the globe, as well as six stations to monitor nuclear tests underwater, Reuters reported. Tyack said the scientists will be mainly listening in to learn if whales and other sea creatures will adjust their communication methods, by shifting their volume or even their habitat, to adjust to the newfound lack of noise. “What did the pre-industrial ocean sound like and how are marine ecosystems going to respond to that?” Tyack said.

As restrictions are eased across the U.S., more people are starting to travel by air. Recent data released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from March 1 to June 7 shows a slight increase in the number of air passengers. According to JetTip, “U.S. pax airlines operated 35% of the number of pre-crisis flights to accommodate 15% of the passengers.” Although these numbers are still low, they are slowly increasing and are predicted to continue doing so.

The U.S. remdesivir supply is set to run out by the end of June. Robert Kadlec, a US Department of Health and Human Services official, said the supply of the drug, which is currently the only drug known to be effective in treating COVID-19, is fleeting in availability. CNN reported that the last shipment of the drug is scheduled to go out on June 29, but the company that makes it is rushing to produce more. It is not yet clear if there will be any more availability through the summer. “Right now, we’re waiting to hear from Gilead what is their expected delivery availability of the drug as we go from June to July,” Kadlec said. “We’re kind of not in negotiations, but in discussions with Gilead as they project what the availability of their product will be.”

As the U.S. continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, antibody tests to determine who have been infected with the virus have become a tool rising in use, but they may not be as effective as people think. Previously, it was believed that only about 5% of COVID-19 cases were asymptomatic, however new research suggests the real number could be anywhere between 25% and 50%, meaning many cases could have gone undetected and spread to others. However, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said they may not be as useful as people assume. According to WTOP, many antibody tests are lacking in accuracy, and only a few have been granted emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, not everyone who has been infected will end up with a high enough antibody count to be picked up by the tests. Fauci said while it isn’t extremely common, it is common enough “to confuse the picture.” Experts are also unsure how long antibodies stay in a person’s system after recovery. “If you are taking a test and it’s a validated test, then you can rely on its accuracy, but you can’t ask the test to do too much,” Fauci said. “In the big picture, it certainly is compatible with and likely that if you are antibody positive you’ve been infected and you’re protected, at least for a finite period of time. But the details of that are still evolving.”

A coronavirus vaccine could be ready by 2021, says Dr. Anthony Fauci. As of early June, there are more than 120 candidate vaccines, and Fauci is confident one “will be proven safe and effective” by the first quarter of 2021. “By the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple of hundred million doses,” Fauci said. However, some doctors, including Dr. Larry Corey, an expert in vaccine development, believe that this is a highly ambitious goal. “Everything will have to go incredibly perfectly if that’s going to happen,” Dr. Corey said. According to Dr. Emily Erbelding, an infectious disease expert, developing a vaccine can take anywhere between eight to 10 years, as they have to go through multiple trials to for safety and efficiency. Despite this, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, still believes that a possible coronavirus vaccine could be ready soon. “Because we have a number of these (trials), and they all use a different strategy, I am optimistic that at least one, maybe two, maybe three, will come through looking like what we need,” Collins said.

COVID-19 may have been spreading in China as early as late summer 2019, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School. Researchers analyzed satellite data that shows an increase of traffic around major hospitals in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the virus, meaning the virus may have been spreading through central China long before it was reported to the rest of the world. Additionally, the study revealed that the increase in traffic also aligned with an uptick in internet searches for what is now understood to be symptoms of the new coronavirus, ABC News reported. “So more cars in a hospital, the hospital’s busier, likely because something’s happening in the community, an infection is growing and people have to see a doctor,” John Brownstein, the Harvard Medical professor who led the research, said. “We saw this across multiple institutions.” For more on the report, watch the video below.

With a death toll of more than 100,000 in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic could become the second-deadliest outbreak in the country’s history, only after the Spanish Flu of 1918. On May 27, the coronavirus passed the number of deaths from the flu season of 1967 when the toll eclipsed the 100,000 mark, and it is close to surpassing the death toll of the 1957 flu outbreak, which killed an estimated 116,000 nationwide. According to Dr. Bryan Lewis, a professor at the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia who recognized early on that this outbreak had the potential to be devastating, things could’ve have been far worse in the U.S. “Fortunately, the populace really stepped up and took some drastic measures that we in the pandemic preparedness field were never sure folks would actually do, such as closing schools, certain workplaces and having people stay at home,” Lewis told AccuWeather’s John Roach. “Plus, he added, “the level of mask wearing is surprising.” Lewis also warned that the U.S. is not out of the woods. “The weather angle may finally come to bear and help out a little here in the midst of summer,” he said, “but I am concerned about how things will look in September.”

New coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania could be linked to Jersey Shore beach house gatherings. Bucks County health officials have traced 11 out of the new 33 coronavirus cases to gatherings at the Jersey Shore. Officials added that this number is expected to increase as family members could also become infected. With the increase in temperatures as summer is approaching, Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department, fears that more people will start going to the beach, making the situation worse, according to CBS 3 in Philadelphia. “This is exactly why we can’t let our guard down now, even if it feels ‘safe to be at the beach,” Damsker said. “One unlucky exposure can lead to a large cascade of cases down the line. We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather and have fun, but let’s keep in mind that COVID is still circulating in the community at baseline levels.”

How effective have all of the lockdowns been? They may have been very disruptive to life as we know it, but a new study says the lockdowns and other social distancing measures implemented by governments around the world may have prevented more than 500 million cases of COVID-19. On Sunday, the worldwide total number of cases crossed the 7 million mark, and the disease has claimed 400,000 lives around the world. The new study was published in the journal Nature on Monday and the researchers said it took about three weeks for places that implemented strict lockdown measures to see the true effects of those measures. Similarly, they warned, as municipalities begin to ease lockdowns, any negative impacts will be recognizable about three weeks later.

The study focused on six countries and estimated what the total number of cases might’ve been in those nations had governments not acted as swiftly as they did. According to the researchers, the U.S. would’ve seen 60 million cases of COVID-19 under their analysis. As of Monday, the U.S. is on the verge of reaching 2 million cases. The researchers also point out that many COVID-19 cases are on the mild side and the vast majority of the half a billion figure would’ve gone undetected. “We estimate that across these six countries, interventions prevented or delayed on the order of 62 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting roughly 530 million total infections,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Virus Outbreak India
Virus Outbreak India

A security person checks the temperature of an Indian Muslim man who arrives to offer prayers after Jama Mosque opened after lockdown in New Delhi, India, Monday, June 8, 2020. India is reopening its restaurants, shopping malls and religious places in most of its states after a more than 2-month-old lockdown even as the country continues to witness a worrying rise in new coronavirus infections. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Oregon just reported its highest single-day case count yet. On Sunday, The Oregon Health Authority reported 146 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death. According to Oregon Live, this was the highest single-day tally yet, with the second-highest day being April 4 when 100 new cases were reported. State officials say the rise in new cases comes from outbreaks in workplace environments. Pacific Seafood in Newport reported an outbreak of 65 cases on Sunday. the company also disclosed an additional 59 cases that were not included in the Sunday tally through the state Health Authority.

Many celebrities, politicians and everyday people have donated their plasma after recovering from COVID-19 — but how does that process work? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), plasma is the liquid part of blood that develops antibodies after becoming infected with the virus, which can help prevent the person from getting infected again. When the plasma of a coronavirus survivor is injected in a patient suffering from COVID-19, that patient is given the antibodies to help them fight off the virus. The method of plasma injection has been used to fight previous outbreaks of disease as well, such as polio, measles, mumps and influenza, according to USA Today.

A 2004 study on SARS showed convalescent plasma therapy resulted in patients being discharged from the hospital sooner and having a higher chance of survival. Some studies suggest convalescent plasma therapy is effective with other coronaviruses, but evidence to suggest it is effective in battling COVID-19 is minimal. “Once they get to the ICU stage, it seems like they’re too far gone because there’s all these physiological things going on with them that antibodies won’t touch at that point,” Camille van Buskirk, medical director for the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program, told USA Today. Buskirk did say, however, that patients who are not severely ill have shown signs of improvement after being injected with plasma.

Early data from a clinical study suggests there may be an effective new treatment for the respiratory difficulties in patients with COVID-19. Researchers at the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute found that blocking the Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) protein could be beneficial for patients suffering from severe COVID-19. They tested this as they treated a small group of patients with the off-label use of the cancer drug acalabrutinib, a BTK inhibitor that is approved to treat several blood cancers. The drug helped the patients as it reduced the respiratory distress associated with the virus, and for most of the patients who were treated, there was a reduction in the overactive immune response, the National Institutes of Health said in a statement.

Pope Francis warned Italy not to celebrate the low coronavirus numbers just yet. While addressing hundreds in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, he spoke to a crowd erupting in applause and told them, “Be careful, don’t cry victory too soon,” according to Reuters. Italy entered the final phase of reopening on June 3, which allows for travel between regions. The country holds the fourth-highest death toll from COVID-19 with more than 33,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University. “We still have to follow the rules. Thank God, we are leaving the worst part, but always by obeying the rules that the authorities have stipulated,” Francis said.

Brazil’s government has stopped publishing its running coronavirus death toll in what some call an attempt to hide the true toll of COVID-19-related deaths in the country, The Associated Press reportedAfter being criticized for manipulating and failing to show the true number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country, the federal Health Ministry took down the website that showed the daily, weekly and monthly figures on infections and deaths in the country. The site now only shows figures for the last 24-hour period. According to the latest figures released by officials, Brazil is currently the third country with the most COVID-19-related deaths with a death toll of 34,000. In terms of confirmed cases, Brazil is second globally with more than 690,000 — behind only the United States. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Twitter that the figures published are “not representative” of the country’s current situation. However, health secretaries are worried that Bolsonaro is trying to diminish the severity of the situation. “The authoritarian, insensate, inhuman and unethical attempt to make the COVID-19 deaths invisible will not prosper,” the health secretaries council said on Saturday.

India reopened on Monday, despite a record daily rise in new COVID-19 cases. Following a 10-week lockdown, the government allowed the reopening of restaurants, mosques, malls, and temples in order to help the economy begin recovering, AFP reported. The decision has raised concerns due to the high number of COVID-19 cases that already existed in the country. According to government figures, there was a total of 256,611 confirmed cases with a reported death toll of 7,135, and with lockdown measures eased, the country’s number of confirmed cases is expected to peak in July. Despite this, Indian citizens are happy to have some normalcy after 10-weeks of what was the world’s largest lockdown. “It felt like something was missing when I couldn’t come to the temple for all these weeks,” said businessman Mohit Budhiraja, according to AFP. “I hope things improve, but now I will come every day.”

New Zealand officials have declared the nation “virus-free,” and announced a plan to lift restrictions. The country will leave its strict border regulations in place, however the remainder of the lockdown rules will disappear, making New Zealand a place “where life feels as normal as we can in the time of a global pandemic,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a press conference. The restrictions were lifted at midnight on Monday. New Zealand has received praise from the World Health Organization and global attention for its swift and effective actions against COVID-19, The Guardian reported. “Our collective results I think speak for ourselves. This was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for — to keep one another safe and to keep one another well,” Arden said. When asked how she celebrated the turning point in the country’s battle against the coronavirus, Arden replied, “I did a little dance.

Here are the latest updated totals from around the world, according to data compiled by researchers from Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total confirmed cases: 7,036,623

  • Total deaths: 403,131

  • Total recovered: 3,153,223

The world surpassed the 7 million case threshold on Saturday evening, just one day after seeing the global death toll reach 400,000.

World hits 7 million confirmed cases and more than 400,000 fatalities since the coronavirus outbreak erupted. The pandemic has upended life on earth in ways not seen in more than a century, and over the weekend the global death toll and number of cases each crossed sobering milestones. In the U.S., the coronavirus has now killed more than 110,000 and the country is on the verge of reaching 2 million confirmed cases, according to figures kept by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. More than 500,000 Americans infected have recovered from the illness. Around the world, more than 3.1 million have overcome the coronavirus. COVID-19 testing in the U.S. has ramped up considerably over the last month — according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 20 million coronavirus tests have been administered nationwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reversed its stance on healthy people wearing face coverings in public, the BBC reported. Previously, the WHO contended that wearing a face mask does not help protect healthy people from COVID-19, but WHO officials have advised sick people to wear them in order to protect healthy people from the spread of the virus. “In light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

GAP reported a nearly $1 billion quarterly loss this week. The significant setback for the retail giant comes amid stores being forced to close from the coronavirus outbreak, and it also caused the company’s stock shares to tumble down about 8%. Some 55% of the nearly-2,800 GAP stores across North America are now open and online operations are “booming,” according to a report by Reuters. Expensive brands have been seeing fewer sales amid the pandemic while affordable clothing brands such as Old Navy have been seeing stronger demand. The total net loss for GAP was $932 million for the three months ending May 2nd.

The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously sided with a barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Witmers lockdown orders by reopening his shop. Karl Manke opened his shop on May 5, despite lockdown regulations in the state not authorizing barbershops to open until June 12. The Supreme Court decision vacated a lower court order to keep the shop closed. Manke continued to cut hair while the legal battle was ongoing, causing him to receive thousands of dollars in fines and lose his licenses, according to The New York Post.

COVID-19 deaths in New York are at the lowest numbers they’ve been since the beginning of the pandemic. In 24 hours, 35 people in New York died from the virus on Saturday, compared to more than 700 at the peak of the the outbreak in April. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the record low numbers on Saturday, calling it “really really good news.” The numbers have now allowed Cuomo to fast track reopening places of worship by allowing them to hold services with 25% capacity, according to The New York Post. “Our metrics are all, today, very good. We are going to open the valve more than we originally anticipated because the metrics are so good. Compared to where we were, this is a big sigh of relief,” Cuomo said.

Can eating cheese help alleviate coronavirus symptoms? A team of researchers studying patients at a Dutch hospital have found that those who were deficient in vitamin K, primarily found in spinach, eggs and hard and blue cheeses, tended to be more affected by the virus. Two known symptoms of the coronavirus are blood clotting and degradation of elastic fibers in the lungs, and according to these researchers, vitamin K can help by regulating blood clots and promoting lung health. The Dutch researchers are seeking funding for a clinical trial to see if vitamin K truly helps alleviate these two symptoms of COVID-19.

Doctor Rob Janssen, one of the scientists working on the study, says that the vitamin could lead to a safe and practical treatment if it were to work. “We are in a terrible, horrible situation in the world,” Janssen said. “We do have an invention which does not have any side effects, even less than a placebo. There is one major exception: people on anti-clotting medication. It is completely safe in other people.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is within parameters to proceed with reopening on Monday as planned. The statewide thresholds to enter phase one include having less than 200 people admitted to hospitals per day, to have under 375 intensive care unit patients across the city, and to have less than 15% of city residents testing positive for the virus, according to CNN. As of Sunday, NYC hospitals have admitted 72 people due to coronavirus, 324 people remain in ICUs, and 4% of the city is currently testing positive for coronavirus, de Blasio announced. “That is what you’ve achieved together, that’s another way we’re going to move forward in this city,” de Blasio said.

Vehicles move through a nearly empty Times Square during the coronavirus pandemic, Saturday, May 23, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

On Sunday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s closely monitoring the protests and demonstrations happening across The United States. The statement comes amid concerns that the protests could spur additional coronavirus transmission. “CDC and our federal partners are monitoring closely the demonstrations happening across America. Protests and large gatherings make it difficult to maintain our recommended social distancing guidelines and may put others at risk,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said in a statement. “It is too early to know what, if any, effect these events will have on the federal COVID-19 response. Every local situation is different. State and local officials will make decisions to protect public health and safety based on circumstances on the ground.”

Now that infection rates have fallen, Pope Francis warned Italians to not let their guard down against coronavirus during his St. Peter’s Square Sunday blessing. “Be careful. Don’t cry victory too soon,” he cautioned them, sidetracking from his prepared text, Reuters said. Italy entered the latest phase of an easing of restriction on June 3, when people were allowed to travel between regions again. A little more than 33,000 people have died in Italy from the virus, the fourth-highest toll in the world after the United States, Britain and Brazil. The number of daily deaths has fallen from nearly 1,000 several months ago to 72 on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Brazil has stopped publishing coronavirus deaths and infections data after months of criticism from experts that Brazil’s statistics were deficient, and in some cases manipulated. According to the Associated Press, Brazil’s last official numbers showed it had recorded more than 34,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, the third-highest number in the world. It reported nearly 615,000 infections, putting it second, behind the United States.

The federal Health Ministry took down a website that previously showed daily, weekly and monthly figures on infections and deaths in Brazilian states. The next day the site returned but the cumulative numbers of infections for states and the nation were no longer there, according to The Associated Press. Now, the website only shows the numbers for the previous 24 hours. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted that totals are “not representative” of the country’s current situation.

Here are the latest updated totals from around the world, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total confirmed cases: 6,920,214

  • Total deaths: 400,225

  • Total recovered: 3,100,180

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