Thursday, July 9, 2020

Live Coronavirus Updates: Fauci to Testify

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Fauci and other senior health officials will testify at Congress for the second time in a week.

Four of America’s top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, will testify Tuesday at the Coronavirus Congress, which is spreading with increasing ferocity in at least 30 states.

The hearing by the Senate Health and Education Committee was intended as an “update on progress toward a safe return to work and school”. But officials are likely to grapple with the opposite idea, as a group of states pause or reverse their decision on plans to reopen.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. EST, and the New York Times will be broadcast live.

Dr. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, will be joined by Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; and Admiral Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health.

The four officials also appeared before House legislators last week when Dr. Redfield warned of a potentially virulent second wave of the virus that would coincide with flu season.

In an interview Monday, Dr. Redfield’s assistant, Dr. Anne Schuchat, had an even more sinister assessment of the virus: “It’s really the beginning,” she told the American Medical Association Journal. .

His comments came shortly after Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, downplayed the spike in the cases, saying, “We are aware that there are embers that need to be turned off.”

Dr. Schuchat also rejected the idea, promoted earlier this year by President Trump and others, that the heat of summer could slow the rate of infection. “When it comes to the weather or the season that helps us, I don’t think we can count on that,” she said.

With new cases burgeoning in many parts of the country, at least a dozen states and cities are withdrawing from the reopening plans.

In Arizona, where case numbers are skyrocketing, Governor Doug Ducey has suspended operations of bars, gymnasiums, cinemas and water parks for 30 days and has banned indoor and outdoor public events or gatherings of 50 people or more.

In Florida, where the number of daily cases hit record highs over the weekend, the city of Jacksonville said Monday that face masks would be required in any indoor public place where social distancing was not possible. The city is expected to host the Republican National Convention in August.

The number of cases has risen sharply in many states that were the first to reopen, including Florida and Texas, which recently forced bars to close again.

After a stumbling block three months ago, the US government’s small business relief program ends with some money left over.

The paycheck protection program is set to end on Tuesday after distributing $ 520 billion in loans to keep workers’ jobs alive during the pandemic. But as new outbreaks hit the country and force many states to rethink their plans to reopen businesses, the program ends with more than $ 130 billion in its coffers.

“The fact that he has been able to reach the small business sector so far is a major achievement, and these things deserve to be recognized and celebrated,” said John Lettieri, CEO of the Economic Innovation Group, a think tank focused on entrepreneurship. “But we are still in a public health crisis.”

The hastily constructed and frequently chaotic aid program, run by the Small Business Administration but run through banks, has distributed cash to nearly five million businesses nationwide, providing them with Low interest loans to cover about two and a half months of their usual salary costs. . Those who use most of the money to pay their employees may have their debt forgiven.

The program appears to have helped prevent the country’s further colossal job losses from worsening. Hires rebounded more than expected in May, as businesses in some of the hardest hit industries, particularly restaurants, restored millions of jobs by recalling laid-off workers and hiring new workers.

Lenders cited two main reasons why there was money left. First, most of the eligible businesses that wanted a loan were able to get one. (The program limited each applicant to one loan.) In addition, the complicated and changing requirements of the program deterred some qualified borrowers, who feared that they could not get their loan forgiven.

Most people who are infected do not pass the coronavirus to anyone else. But a few pass it on to many others at so-called mass-media events.

“You can think of lighting a match,” said Ben Althouse, a scientist at the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Wash. “You start a match, he cannot light the kindling wood. You start another match, he may not light the small wood. But then a match strikes at the right place, and suddenly the fire goes up . “

Scientists believe it is essential to understand why some games start fires when many are not. They try to answer three questions: who are the super-broadcasters? When does the super broadcast take place? And or?

Biological factors might be part of the answer, but some doctors suspect that circumstances play a more important role.

They found that many transmissions appear to occur within a narrow time window starting a few days after infection, even before symptoms appear. If there are not many people around this window, they cannot pass it on.

And some places seem to lend themselves to over-diffusion. A busy bar, for example, is full of loud people. Any one of them could spit out viruses without ever coughing. And without proper ventilation, viruses can persist in the air for hours.

Scientists are optimistic about the possibility of avoiding systematic and paralyzing blockages by targeting mass circulation events.

“By limiting activities to a very small part of our lives, we could actually reduce most of the risks,” said Adam Kucharski, epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Just a few weeks ago, thousands of Southern Californians flocked to the beaches, Disneyland announced its upcoming reopening and Whoopi Goldberg praised Governor Gavin Newsom on “The View” for state progress in the fight against coronavirus . The worst, many thought in California, was behind them.

In fact, an alarming increase in top-to-bottom cases in the state was just beginning.

In the past week, the number of cases in California has exploded, exceeding 220,000 known infections and forcing Mr. Newsom to cancel the reopening of the state in some counties. On Monday, he said the number of people hospitalized in California has increased by 43% in the past two weeks. More than 7,000 new cases were announced Monday in California, the highest total of a day of the pandemic.

Los Angeles County, which averages more than 2,000 new cases a day, surpassed 100,000 cases in total on Monday, with the virus actively infecting one in 140 people, local health officials said. More than 2,800 cases were reported Monday in the county, the largest number of pandemic days.

On Sunday, Newsom closed bars in half a dozen counties, including Los Angeles County and the Central Valley, and recommended that eight other counties voluntarily close their nightclubs and gathering places. And Disneyland has canceled its decision to open its doors.

California was the first state to close and one of the most aggressive in the fight against the virus. But the state that was so proactive in fighting the spread of the coronavirus is now forced to wonder what went wrong.

“To some extent, I think our chances may be exhausted,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, professor and director of the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. “It’s faster and worse than I expected.”

The pandemic is now progressing across much of the vast Russian hinterland, but that hasn’t dampened the Kremlin’s determination to hold a national vote on constitutional amendments that, among other things, would allow President Vladimir V. Putin to stay power until 2036.

As Moscow appears to be at the worst of the epidemic, Putin has declared his victory over the virus and has mobilized enormous resources to ensure that the referendum, already postponed once, takes place no matter what. Voting officially started last Thursday, but the big day is Wednesday, which has been declared a national holiday in the hope that more people will vote.

The number of new infections is indeed falling in Russia, but this is mainly due to a sharp drop in new infections in Moscow, the first epicenter of the pandemic in the country.

The situation outside the capital seems very different. In the past week, the pandemic entered its worst phase to date in a diverse set of Russian regions, including the Republic of Tyva on the border with Mongolia and the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, an isolated region of the Caucasus North.

Despite this, local authorities have largely followed the example of Moscow, which entered a strict lockout in late March but has now lifted most of the restrictions.

In other news from around the world:

  • After an outbreak of cases in the past two weeks, Leicester, a city of 340,000 people in the center England, will face tougher restrictions and will not join the rest of the country when its lockdown is relaxed on Saturday, officials said.

  • Australia, which has shown early signs of coronavirus removal, is now battling spikes in its second most populous state, Victoria, which prompted authorities to announce closings in the greater Melbourne area starting Wednesday evening. On Tuesday, Victoria registered 60 new cases, its 14th consecutive day of double-digit increases. Australia, with a population of 25 million, reported on Tuesday only seven cases in its other states.

Who needs a gym?

Here are some tips for training your muscles in your local park, backyard, or living room. No equipment needed.

The reports were provided by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Stacy Cowley, Thomas Fuller, Abby Goodnough, Andrew Higgins, Shawn Hubler, Iliana Magra, Patricia Mazzei, Ivan Nechepurenko, Noah Weiland, Elizabeth Williamson and Carl Zimmer.

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