Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, May 20-22
Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous reports from May 20 to May 22, listed in eastern time.
May 22, 10 p.m.
Universal Studios Florida will reopen Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay, allowing guests beginning June 5. The reopening will require guests and team members to follow CDC guidelines, such as wearing a mask, washing hands often and social distancing. Temperature checks will be required upon arrival. Universal CityWalk remains open for limited operations, including a handful of restaurants and drive-in golf.
May 22, 8:46 p.m.
On May 20, the 100-year-old World War II veteran Lloyd Falk joined the ranks of COVID-19 survivors before him as he was discharged from Henrico Doctors’ Hospital with an applause from the staff. “For the most part, you’ve been so helpful. I really do appreciate it,” Falk said. Hospital staff wheeled Falk through the hospital hallway in a gurney, one man placing a World War II veteran baseball cap on Falk’s head.
May 22, 7:31 p.m.
A vaccine is “absolutely possible” by the end of the year according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “I've spoken to our medical experts about this. We are completely confident that we can get this done,” Esper told USA Today on Friday. The comments from Esper align with previous statements from Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci said in April that it is “doable” to have a vaccine ready by January 2021.
“The Defense Department has been on top of the coronavirus since the early days. We were in this fight from late January on, when we were first bringing Americans back from China,” Esper said. “We've been ahead of the curve and in the fight from day one, and this is the next phase of this battle, and we will deliver on time the vaccines."
FILE - In this Monday, March 16, 2020 file photo, a patient receives a shot in the first-stage study of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. On Friday, March 20, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting that the first person to receive the experimental vaccine is a crisis actor. All participants who volunteered for the test were screened and had to meet a set list of criteria. They were not hired as actors to simulate a role. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
May 22, 6:11 p.m.
A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients across six continents found that those who received the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous heart arrhythmias than those who didn’t receive the drugs as treatment. Published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet, the study is the largest analysis to date of the risks and benefits of using the drugs to treat COVID-19 patients, according to The Washington Post. Of the 96,000 patients, under 15,000 were treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, or one of the drugs combined with an antibiotic.
In the control group, where none of the patients received any of the four treatments, about 1 in 11 patients (9%) died in the hospital. About 1 in 6 patients (16%) treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine alone died. About 1 in 5 (20%) treated with chloroquine and an antibiotic died and almost 1 in 4 patients (25%) treated with hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic died, according to CNN. “It’s one thing not to have benefit, but this shows distinct harm,” Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told The Post. “If there was ever hope for this drug, this is the death of it.”
May 22, 5:21 p.m.
With Memorial Day weekend just on the horizon, residents of the Jersey Shore are having mixed feelings about the return of tourists to their area. The town of Ocean City reopened its beach on the weekend of May 16, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on May 14 that the Jersey Shore would be opened in time for Memorial Day, AccuWeather's Adriana Navarro reported. While beaches can remain open, they are not authorized to house special events and playgrounds, rides, arcades, games, water fountains, picnic areas, and water play equipment must stay closed. As of May 22, all beaches in the state will have capacity and admission limitations, 6-feet markings in some spots, a public outreach campaign on social distancing restrictions and sanitation requirements, regardless if they are public or private.
"My concern is in two weeks we're going to see a huge surge of the local population has gotten it (the virus). And that's always been my concern," Miranda Thompson, 44, said. Thompson and her children are currently staying at her parents’ home right off the beach. "You can’t expect maybe that even if the government put restrictions in place or some sort of system in place that everybody is going to adhere to that. I think it’s really up to each one of us as individuals to have some personal responsibility and ownership at this time. I don’t go outside without a mask.”
May 22, 3:34 p.m.
Camping in the era of social distancing is expected to look much different this summer than in years past. In areas where campers may mingle, such as at bathhouses or swimming areas, safety efforts like social distancing and wearing masks should be maintained, experts say. Toby O’Rouke, CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc., told AccuWeather that there will be plenty of alterations to this year’s normal camping experience in order to maintain social distancing.
“You’re going to see limits on group gathering sizes, all sorts of things just put in place to account for social distancing, proper use of PPE,” O’Rouke said. “Just to keep the safety of our guests and employees in mind.”
May 22, 2:20 p.m.
Some scientific are concerned that some CDC testing data might be misleading. Currently, the CDC combines results of genetic tests and serology tests. Genetic tests are used to spot people who are currently infected while serology tests are used to look for antibodies in blood to identify people who were previously infected. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told NPR that when adding both tests together, it can give the impression that more testing has been done than in actuality.
May 22, 1:21 p.m
Inventors in Israel have created a mask that can be worn while eating. According to Reuters, the mask works by having a lever that when squeezed, opens a slot that is over the mouth. Once opened, food can be eaten while the mask is still worn. The mask can be opened both by a hand remote or automatically when a fork approaches the opening. The company who manufactures the masks said they plan to start manufacturing within months and would sell for roughly 3 to 10 shekel ($0.85 to $2.85) more than the price of the common pale blue medical masks.
May 22, 12:28 p.m.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that the state will raise the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people. All indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people. In addition, public and private recreational campgrounds are now allowed to reopen immediately in the state. While the restrictions continue to ease up, Murphy still urged residents to continue practicing social distancing. New Jersey has over 151,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 10,000 deaths.
May 22, 11:55 a.m.
Two brothers in France have made the most of their time in quarantine. According to the BBC, the two 10-year-old boys found a high-priced surprise in their home in the town of Vendôme, located southwest of Paris. The brothers had been looking to build a makeshift hut in their garden using branches, leaves and bedsheets. When the boys grabbed the sheets from a spare bedroom in the house, two gold bars weighing about 2.2 pounds a piece fell out. The gold bars are said to be worth about $43,000 (40,000 euros), the BBC said. The gold had been purchased by their grandmother in 1967, according to the report.
May 22, 11:39 a.m.
Leaving hand sanitizer in a hot car could cause a fire this summer, the Western Lakes Fire District in Wisconsin said on Facebook this week. Now with summer heat starting to ramp up in parts of the country, people are wondering how much of a risk it may actually be. In a report by the Kansas City Star, public health officials and firefighters have both agreed the benefit of using hand sanitizer to prevent spread outweighs the risk of a fire. Out of 9.2 million gallons of hand sanitizer used in a 2007 study, only seven involved non-severe fire incidents. A study by The Poynter Institute found that a car had to reach 572 degrees Fahrenheit for hand sanitizer to catch fire, while a study by The Arizona State University showed that cars parked in triple-digit heat top out at temperatures around 160 degrees Farhenheit within one hour. Despite the risk being very low, it should still be noted that hand sanitizer is easy to ignite because it contains ethyl alcohol. Leaving hand sanitizer in your car can still be a bad idea for other reasons, because leaving it in the heat can cause it to lose its efficacy once the active ingredients start to evaporate.
People in cars wait to buy hand sanitizer produced by J. Rieger and Co., a Kansas City, Mo. distillery, Friday, March 20, 2020. People waited as long as two hours to buy the sanitizer, made from overproof gin, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
May 22, 11 a.m.
The winner of this week’s NASCAR race was elated after taking the checkered flag, and fans were able to see his smile even when he was wearing a face mask. After winning Wednesday night’s race at Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin sported a mask that looked exactly like his own face. “Why wouldn’t you want this mug on a trophy again?” Hamlin joked with a reporter while pointing at his mask. NASCAR drivers and their teams are required to wear masks when they are not in their cars and are screened upon arriving at the track. No fans are allowed to attend the upcoming races either due to COVID-19. The action continues on Sunday evening with a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway where a shower or thunderstorm could cause some temporary disruptions during the 600-mile race, the longest of the season.
May 22, 9:54 a.m.
Hospitalization rates in New York have dropped to their lowest levels in months, a sign that the state is winning the fight against the coronavirus. “We got through it. We got over the mountain,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday. On Wednesday, 246 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19, the lowest number of new hospitalizations since records began on March 20, Reuters said. However, officials are still being cautious to avoid a spike in cases. “You don’t reopen until you can reopen safely. Because the last thing we want is to go back to where we were on the other side of the mountain,” Cuomo said. Seven of the 10 regions across New York have begun to relax stay-at-home orders, but New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson are still working to reduce the number of cases to begin reopening.
May 22, 8:09 a.m.
As meat processing plants across the U.S. become hotspots for COVID-19 infections, 570 employees at a Tyson Foods chicken plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, have reportedly tested positive for the virus. The majority of the employees who tested positive did not show any symptoms, NPR reported. The plant has now been closed twice this month for cleaning and the facility has installed plastic dividers between workstations, started conducting daily temperature checks, and set up outside tents for social distancing space while employees take breaks.
"The hard part is it's a balancing act. We're trying to protect the community, we're trying to protect the Tyson team members, but we are also under the mandate for the federal government to do everything we can to keep that Tyson plant operating to provide food for the nation," Wilkesboro town manager Ken Noland said.
May 22, 6:24 a.m.
Here are the latest totals from around the world, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University:
Total confirmed cases: 5,121,639
Total deaths: 333,323
Total recovered: 1,961,286
On Thursday, the world reached a new daily high for most new confirmed cases with over 106,100 new cases. It was only the second day since the start of the pandemic to see over 100,000 new cases in a single day.
May 21, 10 p.m.
In the effort to get schools safely running again, New York will be reviewing its public schools’ plans to reopen after issuing guidelines at the beginning of June. However, it isn’t a guarantee schools will reopen come September. “The state will approve those plans or not approve those plans in July all in preparation for an opening in September,” Cuomo said at a news briefing, CNBC reported. “But we don’t want to make that decision until we have more facts.” With not only the novel coronavirus, but also the possibility of a COVID-19 complication in kids involving a multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, endangering students, New York officials are hesitant to give the green light for summer camps and schools in the fall. “Until we have this answer on this pediatric syndrome, as a parent, until I know how widespread this is, I wouldn’t send my children to day camp,” Cuomo said. “And if I won’t send my children to day camp, I wouldn’t ask anyone else to send their children to day camp.”
May 21, 9:07 p.m.
“Right now, if you are from Montgomery, and you need an ICU bed, you are in trouble,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said Wednesday at a press conference. “If you’re from central Alabama, and you need an ICU bed, you may not be able to get one.” Officials told CNN that Montgomery, Alabama, with just one intensive care unit bed left, is sending sick patients more than an hour away to Birmingham, where the supplies are available. As for Montgomery, the capital is “maxed out,” Reed said.
Not only has the hospital been overwhelmed, but the number of confirmed cases have been holding in an unfavorable trend. “I would say we’re still in a bit of a holding pattern with some slight increases in the case count in Alabama,” Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, an infectious disease doctor and researcher at UAB told Al.com. “We had been at 200 to 250 new cases a day and now we’re closer to 300 to 350 new cases a day.” Dionne-Odom was unsure if testing was enough to explain all of the uptick as testing sites have been established for a few weeks now. Reed attributed to a stressed healthcare system to the timing of the state easing restrictions. “That’s definitely a part of opening up too soon and not adhering to CDC guidelines,” Reed said.
May 21, 8:07 p.m.
After 44 days of separation, an elderly couple in Loyalton, California, reunited, viewing each other through a glass window. Amber Mahood caught the video of her grandparents, who had been separated for over a month due to COVID-19 restrictions. “A couple of months ago my papa was put in a nursing home,” Mahood told Storyful. “My nonie came to visit every day for hours at a time until the COVID-19 quarantine happened and the hospital no longer allowed visitors. My grandparents had never been apart their whole marriage. This is true love!” California has about 87,565 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,561 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
May 21, 7:10 p.m.
States across the country could soon be employing thousands of people to help track the spread of COVID-19. As stay-at-home orders, there is a growing need for “coronavirus contact tracers,” workers that can inform people if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. “In order to trace all contacts, safely isolate the sick, and quarantine those exposed, we estimate that our public health workforce needs to add approximately 100,000 (paid or volunteer) contact tracers to assist with this large-scale effort,” Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said.
New York alone is hoping to employ between 6,400 and 17,000 coronavirus contact tracers, CNBC reported. These employees would be able to work remotely and could help some people get back to work at a time when millions have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. “Ultimately, contact tracing is people helping other people,” said Dr. Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist and associate scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. People do not need a background in the medical field to become a coronavirus contact tracer, and those who are interested should reach out to their local health department.
May 21, 6:05 p.m.
A new COVID-19 test will soon undergo trials in the U.K. that could give results in 20 minutes. A six week trial will soon be started in Hampshire to determine if the tests are effective, the BBC said. The swab test could potentially be revolutionary for COVID-19 testing as they could provide a result without having to use a lab. This is different than an antibody test which takes a sample of blood to determine if the person has had the virus in the past. "We want to find out if it will be effective on a larger scale. If it works, we'll roll it out as soon as we can,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. Only the U.S., Russia and Brazil have more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than the U.K., which has reported 252,234 cases and 36,124 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
May 21, 5:05 p.m.
An estimated 4.1% of Americans could be infected with COVID-19. The Imperial College London (ICL) published a report on Thursday with their findings, citing the method they used to make this claim. “We model the epidemics in the US at the state-level, using publicly available death data within a Bayesian hierarchical semi-mechanistic framework,” ICL said. The infection rate varies from state to state with New York estimated to have one of the highest rates of 16.6%. “We show that while all US states have substantially reduced their reproduction numbers, we find no evidence that any state is approaching herd immunity or that its epidemic is close to over,” they added. As of Thursday afternoon, there were more than 1.5 million positive cases of COVID-19, over 294,312 recoveries and 93,863 deaths across the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.
Registered nurse Kevin Hoover puts on protective gear as he prepares to check on a COVID-19 patient Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kan. The rural 24-bed hospital is currently treating five patients for COVID-19 while the county has seen a spike in cases due to clusters in nearby meatpacking plants. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
May 21, 4:03 p.m.
Cape Town, South Africa, is emerging as a coronavirus hot spot in Africa. On Thursday, the city had over 12,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than 60% of the cases across the country and around 10% of the cases across the continent, according to The Associated Press. The spread of the virus in the city has models projecting that the number of cases will peak by the end of June, while the balance of the county is likely to peak in August of September. “The lessons we are learning now, we are sharing with the rest of the country,” said Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape’s top health officer.
May 21, 3:16 p.m.
The development of a vaccine may not mean the end of the coronavirus. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Thursday shows that 24% of Americans have little or no interest in taking a vaccine when one becomes available. Of these people, almost half said that they think that a vaccine would be riskier than the virus itself. “It’s not surprising a significant percentage of Americans are not going to take the vaccine because of the terrible messaging we’ve had, the absence of a communication plan around the vaccine and this very aggressive anti-vaccine movement,” said Peter Hotez. Hotez is the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine where he is working to develop a vaccine. The survey included 4,428 adult participants across the U.S. and was conducted between May 13 and May 19, according to Reuters.
May 21, 2:22 p.m.
Contactless kiosks may soon be checking your temperature in busy buildings. Many businesses that closed due to the coronavirus have been looking for ways to reopen as safety as possible, with temperate checks being a common strategy. IntraEdge and Pyramid Computer are working with Intel to find a solution that implements existing screening and privacy technology, as reported by CNBC. One way this technology could be implemented is before attending a large event, you'd be required to fill out a questionnaire specific to the venue and to verify your identity using a QR code. Once verified, you will place your head within view of the temperature camera and in one to five seconds it will send temperature information to your device, and if you don't have a smartphone the kiosk will be able to work on its own.
May 21, 1:18 p.m.
Apple's latest version of its iOS software will allow you to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask, The Verge reports. Under a previous version of its software, users wearing a face mask attempting to use the Face ID feature to unlock their phone would have to wait while the phone attempted to identify their face. Now, all it will take to access your phone while wearing a mask is a simple swipe up from the bottom of the screen. The Verge says the option to enter a passcode will show up "right away."
The latest software update also includes a joint initiative from Apple and Google that can help determine if you've recently come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. According to The Verge's report, the companies created an exposure notification API, "meaning you’ll be able to use apps developed by public health agencies that send you a notification if you may have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The system is inactive until you have an app installed that uses the API, however."
May 21, 12:03 p.m.
The U.S. House of Representatives will allow voting and hearings to be held remotely for the first time in history. On Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the remote proceedings will last for 45 days in response to the public health emergency, Axios said. The House approved the historic ruling last week in a 217 to 189 vote that was split largely along party lines. "I don't suggest these changes lightly, I still believe that we do our best work in person and side by side," Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass. said. "But we must temporarily embrace technology during this unprecedented time."
May 21, 11:31 a.m.
Walt Disney World has taken the first steps in reopening, but guests will have to wait a bit longer for the full Disney experience. On Wednesday, the Disney Springs shopping strip opened stores and dining areas while the rides in the park remained closed, AFP reported. Guests will be required to wear masks and will have their temperature checked as they enter. “We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members,” Disney Springs said on its website. “Guests may see other changes to our retail and dining offerings, as well as other experiences. Though it may be different from the last time you visited, these new measures are designed to offer a magical Disney experience in a responsible way.”
May 21, 11:03 a.m.
The Tokyo Summer Olympics may be canceled if they cannot be held in 2021. The Summer Games were originally scheduled to start on July 24, 2020 in Tokyo, but were postponed due to the coronavirus and are now set to begin on July 23, 2021. However, there are some doubts that this may not be possible. In an interview with the BBC, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that this iteration of the Summer Olympics would have to be cancelled if it cannot take place in 2021. "You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty” Bach said. "We have to be prepared for different scenarios. There is the clear commitment to having these games in July next year.”
May 21, 10:48 a.m.
Seniors at one Alabama high school wore masks along with caps and gowns for their 2020 commencement ceremony on Wednesday evening. While many schools around the country have postponed their graduations, or moved them to virtual celebrations, Spain Park High School, located in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, forged ahead with the planned ceremony, although officials said attendance was optional. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently eased restrictions on the size of large group gatherings as long as people from different households stay 6 feet apart, The Associated Press reported.
It was a pleasant evening weather-wise for the ceremony, which was held at Hoover's nearly 11,000-seat baseball stadium. Around 400 seniors were in attendance, along with more than 1,500 people in the stands, The AP reported. Nearby Hoover High is set to see nearly 700 seniors graduate on Thursday night from the same facility with an expected crowd of over 3,400 in the seats. The AccuWeather forecast is calling for party cloudy conditions this evening with temperatures in the upper 60s in the Hoover area.
Senior class members and spectators, most of them wearing masks, attend the graduation ceremony of Spain Park High School in Hoover, Ala., Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Health officials say usual graduation ceremonies could endanger the public health by promoting the spread of disease. But school officials say they're using social distancing guidelines and abiding by state health rules. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
May 21, 10:31 a.m.
Spain is cracking down on face mask requirements for people leaving their homes. A new law makes a face mask required for people that cannot maintain social distancing when in public, the BBC said. "Using masks will be compulsory on the street, in open spaces and any closed place of public use, when it is not possible to maintain a safe distance of at least two metres (6.5ft),” the law states. The only exception to this rule is children under 6 and people with health issues that makes wearing a mask impossible. People that do not follow the new law will be fined up to 600 Euros, about $659 U.S., Euro Weekly News said.
May 21, 10:08 a.m.
Russia is receiving international help as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb. With more than 315,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Russia has reported more cases than any other country with the exception of the U.S., which has seen more than 1.5 million cases. Russia cites that one reason that the number of cases is so high is because of the widespread testing, according to Reuters. The U.S. has begun to send medical supplies to the county, including 200 ventilators, to help with the growing number of hospitalizations. This comes just one month after Russia sent supplies to the U.S. for similar reasons. Nearly one-third of the people that have tested positive for COVID-19 in Russia have recovered, while there have been at least 3,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
May 21, 9:47 a.m.
The latest weekly figures provided by the U.S. Department of Labor showed over 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending on May 16. This number is down from the previous week's revised number of unemployment claims which totaled over 2.6 million. Nearly 39 million Americans have filed for unemployment during the past nine weeks as a result of the pandemic forcing the country's economy to largely shut down. However, as CNBC points out, this is the seventh straight week that the jobless claims figure has fallen.
May 21, 8:10 a.m.
🚨Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpassed the 5 million threshold on Thursday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The mark was reached after the world saw its two highest days of confirmed cases in the past week with over 100,200 on May 15 and more than 99,500 on May 20.
The United States continues to lead the world with over 1.5 million cases. The next five leading countries — Russia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy — have seen a combined 1.3 million cases since the outbreak began in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. However, positive news has arisen in recent months as well, as nearly 2 million people around the world have recovered from the illness.
Cleaners in hazmat suits demonstrate disinfection as workers remodel a display window at Siam Paragon, an upmarket shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, May 14, 2020. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)
May 21, 6:51 a.m.
Here are the latest totals from around the world, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University:
Total confirmed cases: 5,016,171
Total deaths: 328,462
Total recovered: 1,910,699
May 20, 9:48 p.m.
A grocery store in Missouri has gone viral after employees repurposed a salad bar to feature something that made customers chuckle. Dierbergs Markets in Manchester, Missouri, closed the salad bar to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, so the employees were creative and used the area to feature small bottles of booze, NBC News reported. "At first we were worried that it wouldn't come across the right way, but it's been really well received," said Rick Rodemacher, store director of the supermarket. "The sales are not nearly what the salad bar sales were, but bringing a smile to people's face is worth it." The popularity of the new display has caught on with other supermarkets in the area setting up similar displays in their salad bars.
May 20, 8:38 p.m.
Engineered antibodies from llamas could help in the fight against COVID-19, a study from the National Institutes of Health reports. The search for a cure for coronavirus has led a team of researches from the University of Texas, in collaboration with a Belgian research team, to develop nanobodies from llamas for research into Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Researchers linked two copies of a special kind of antibody produced by llamas to create a new antibody that binds to a key protein on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to Science Daily. Initial tests indicate that the antibody blocks viruses that display this spike protein from infecting cells in culture. "Vaccines have to be given a month or two before infection to provide protection," McLellan said, according to Science Daily. "With antibody therapies, you're directly giving somebody the protective antibodies and so, immediately after treatment, they should be protected. The antibodies could also be used to treat somebody who is already sick to lessen the severity of the disease."
May 20, 7:26 p.m.
As states slowly ease stay-at-home orders, many people are hesitant to jump the gun and return to the way things were before the pandemic. A new study conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 83% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned that a new wave of infections may come as restrictions are eased. Of the 1,056 adults that were involved in the study, nearly half said that a vaccine is needed before public life can resume. Earlier this week, there were promising results of a vaccine being developed by Moderna, Inc., according to NPR. The preliminary data showed that it could be effective against COVID-19, but further research and studies are needed before it could go into widespread production.
May 20, 6:08 p.m.
Peru has become the twelfth country to report over 100,000 cases of COVID-19. The nation’s Ministry of Health announced that there have been 104,020 confirmed cases and 3,024 fatalities despite Peru being under a nationwide lockdown since March, according to Reuters. Peru shares a border with Brazil, which has become the hot spot for the coronavirus in South America with more confirmed cases than Spain or Italy. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were over 270,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 18,000 fatalities in Brazil, according to data gathered by John’s Hopkins University.
May 20, 5:14 p.m.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that free coronavirus tests will be conducted at all 169 nursing homes in the city. “To me this comes down to, the seniors in our lives, what they have given us, what they mean to us, and what we owe to them, what we owe to them in terms of making sure they are healthy, making sure they are safe, always being there for them,” de Blasio said. As many as 3,000 tests will be provided to nursing homes every day for both residents and employees, according to The Associated Press.
May 20, 4 p.m.
Study suggests ideal weather conditions may have given coronavirus a boost to initially thrive. The Chengdu researchers said the findings suggest that temperature, humidity, solar radiation and UV light from the sun impact the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The researchers said the analysis "showed that COVID-19 cases were concentrated in the provinces with temperatures in [the] range of 0–10 degrees Celsius," or 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The researchers reported that the strength of solar radiation also may have an effect on how the virus spreads. Places where solar radiation remained below a certain level saw more effective spread, according to their findings. Meanwhile, higher-elevation locations, which see stronger amounts of UV rays due to their altitude, along with places that have drier climates, and therefore fewer clouds in the sky to diminish solar radiation, saw less transmission.
May 20, 3:06 p.m.
Global COVID-19 cases reached a new daily record on May 19 with more than 112,000 cases being reported in 24 hours. This is higher than the previous daily record of just over 100,000 set on May 17, according to the daily report from the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 50% of the new cases in the world originated from just three countries: The United States (45,251), Russia (9,263) and Brazil (7,938). “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference on Wednesday.
May 20, 1:56 p.m.
Roads may become more congested after stay-at-home orders are lifted across the U.S. According to several polls, Americans are planning to drive more in their own vehicles in the wake of the pandemic rather than take public transportation, such as subways and buses, Reuters reported. This move could help limit the spread of COVID-19 as fewer people would be in cramped quarters while commuting, but it could also lead to a spike in pollution. Additionally, this could hurt struggling transportation companies as fewer passengers would result in lower revenue. “If officials fail to convince the public that public transportation is safe, we could see a permanent shift away from transit,” said Dan Work, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering.
May 20, 1:07 p.m.
Tourists will soon be able to vacation in parts of Florida, but there will be some restrictions. Vacation rentals can now reopen across the Florida Panhandle, opening the door for people to travel to the region to soak in some sun and enjoy the Gulf Coast. “Most anyone can rent, including people from outside of Florida, as long as the state they're from has an infection rate of less than 500 cases per 100,000 people,” WCTV said. The owners of the rental properties must also disinfect the building in-between guests, and reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance.
The Florida Keys are also getting ready to open up to non-residents starting on June 1. The Keys have been closed to people who do not live or work in the county since March 22, according to the Miami Herald. Hotels will also be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. Florida ranks ninth in the U.S. for the number of COVID-19 cases with over 47,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
May 20, 12:27 p.m.
United Airlines will supply passengers with face masks and disinfecting wipes. The airline is launching what it's billing as "CleanPlus, a new standard of cleanliness and safety," for its planes and airport terminals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott Kirby, the new CEO of United, made the announcement in a video message posted on Twitter. The initiative is being carried out in partnership with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic. Some of the measures passengers should be aware of include:
• Plexiglass partitions in lobby and gate areas
• Interior of planes will now be cleaned with the same equipment used to clean hospitals
• All crew and passengers required to wear face coverings
• All crew members will undergo temperature checks before boarding a flight
• Amenity kits for passengers that will include hand wipes and masks
May 20, 11:58 a.m.
WWII vet who's been raising funds for the coronavirus battle earns knighthood. Capt. Tom Moore, the 100-year-old veteran of the Second World War has drawn worldwide attention thanks to his remarkable efforts to raise money for hospitals in the U.K. treating a flood of COVID-19 patients. Well, his efforts caught the attention of Queen Elizabeth II, who made him a knight on Tuesday. Moore didn't see this twist coming and could barely believe he received the high honor. "I am certainly delighted and overawed by the fact this has happened to me," Moore told BBC News. "I thought this can't be true, I've always said this won't happen and it appears it actually has," he said. Bravo, Capt. Moore!
May 20, 10:44 a.m.
Chinese doctors believe they can "stop the pandemic" without a vaccine. The bold claim was made by Peking University researchers who published their findings earlier this month in the scientific journal Cell. The drug being worked on in the lab is more akin to a cure for COVID-19, Sunney Xie, director of the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, told AFP. He said his team has been toiling "day and night" to develop the drug, which works by creating antibodies that neutralize the disease. So far, Xie's team has tested the drug on mice. "When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500," Xie said. "That means this potential drug has [a] therapeutic effect," Xie said, adding that plans for a clinical trial are underway. His hope is that the drug will be ready for a potential second wave of the outbreak once the Northern Hemisphere reaches winter. "We would be able to stop the pandemic with an effective drug -- even without a vaccine," Xie said. Watch below for more on the developmental drug.
May 20, 10:23 a.m.
The CDC now says that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, doesn't spread easily on contaminated surfaces, according to a report from Yahoo Life. The CDC's website states that the virus is "thought to spread mainly from person-to-person," which includes people who are within 6 feet of each other and "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks."
The CDC indicates that while there is still much to be learned about how it spreads, touching objects or surfaces is not thought to be a way to contract the virus. "It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus," the CDC's website states. The organization said in March that it "may be possible to spread the virus through contaminated surfaces, according to Yahoo Life's report.
May 20, 9:50 a.m.
School in South Korea looked a lot different after classes resumed Wednesday. The spring semester had been on hold since March due to coronavirus lockdown measures. Students all wore face masks and received temperature checks before entering schools, according to AFP. Students found to have a body temperature above 99.5 F were sent home. Those who were admitted were also given hand sanitizer at the door. When students made it into classrooms, they found their desks enclosed by plastic covers meant to reduce the chances of the spread of infection. According to Reuters, at least 75 schools turned some students away because of high temperatures or in response to teachers who expressed fears about resuming classes. One teacher told Reuters, "I feel like we’re carrying a time bomb."
High school students wearing face masks prepare for classes, with plastic covers placed on desks to prevent infection, as schools reopen following the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Daejeon, South Korea, May 20, 2020. Yonhap/via REUTERS
May 20, 8:55 a.m.
Rome was eerily quiet on Tuesday, the second day since Italy eased its lockdown, according to Reuters. Video showed a few people around the center of town on a sunny day at outdoor cafes, riding bikes, or throwing change into the famous Trevi Fountain. The Spanish Steps, usually crowded with tourists hanging out and and snapping photos, was largely deserted, too. It was far from the usual hustle and bustle the Italian capital is known for. Many popular restaurants and shops remain closed despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions, Reuters reported. Additional lockdown measures are expected to be lifted June 3. The weather on Tuesday in Rome was beautiful with a high of 77 and sunny conditions. A look at the five-day forecast for the city shows a chance for a thunderstorm on Wednesday, with partly sunny and warmer-than-normal conditions expected later this week.
May 20, 6:38 a.m.
Here are the latest totals from around the world, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University:
Total confirmed cases: 4,913,761
Total deaths: 323,637
Total recovered: 1,701,472
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