Carona Today (July 25th): one hospital is so overrun it may start sending infected patients home to die
* 50% of patients admitted to Starr County Memorial’s emergency room in Texas have tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital is overrun and considering sending extremely ill Carona patients back home to just die, rather than trying to save them.
* NC has had more than 2,000 new cases of Carona in a single day eight times in July. Since the beginning of June, we’ve gone from 9,500 new cases every 10 days to over 20,000. And the death rate continues to climb. To put this in context, North Carolina had just 14,000 total cases on May 7th, when the state began “reopening” from stay-at-home orders. The state saw more than 20,000 new cases just in the past 10 days.
* A record 2,481 new cases were recorded just one week ago, and COVID-19 hospitalization records continue to be set and then broken on a weekly basis.
* Many private schools which are not subject to most state health and safety regulations are planning to reopen for in-person learning this fall, in stark contrast to the 37+ public school districts which will stick to remote learning as the global pandemic worsens. Also: cases among NC farm workers has doubled since last month and Charlotte is forcing bars to close at 11 PM due to customers refusing to wear face coverings or social distance.
* 16 of Wake County’s 25 outbreaks are in nursing homes. 154 outbreaks have been reported in nursing homes statewide.
* Some researchers believe the true infection rate in North Carolina is about six times larger than what is being reported by lab tests. In that case, we’re seeing closer to 120,000 new infections per 10 days and over 1,000,000 cases statewide. They also believe we’re only weeks away from a possible explosion in infections which could catapult North Carolina into the top 5 in severe outbreaks nationwide, if Governor Cooper’s mask mandate isn’t being followed.
* Experts all seem to agree what is causing the explosion of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the south: reopening too soon, inconsistent social distancing, and very little mask use. Most (if not all) states set conditions under which they would reopen, but many southern states rushed ahead and ignored their very own missed targets as political winds shifted, putting good science, medicine, and governance on the back burner. NC Governor Cooper’s massively unpopular decision to delay phase 3 of reopening is likely the only reason we’re not in the top 5 in severe outbreaks alongside Florida, Texas, and Arizona. But if more people don’t start wearing masks in public, it may only be matter of weeks before we end up there anyway.
The bottom line: North Carolina may need to retreat to phase 1 or even return to a stay-at-home order to stop the pandemic from worsening here.
* One private school in Wake County got its first COVID-19 infection on it’s first day of being open. The school resumed its opening yesterday and refuses to close.
* A supposed programming error was responsible for a large increase in the positive test rate for children in Florida, but the state has refused to explain what the error was and is being less than forth coming generally about its data collection and reporting. Florida has become notorious for lacking transparency when it comes to COVID-19 statistics and the creator of the state’s statistics reporting website was recently fired and she has filed a lawsuit against the state claiming she was fired for refusing to fake data and refusing to hide data from the public. Investigators for the Miami Herald found that the state tracks and collects far more data than it shares with the public.
What’s clear: Not many people trust the numbers coming out of Florida right now. It’s possible they are accurate, but it’s also possible things are far worse than are being reported.
* For what it’s worth: Florida reported passed 400,000 cases and about 12,000 new cases per day (about five times the rate in North Carolina, although like Florida, NC is increasing by the day.)
* FL pulled into second — just behind Texas — for most daily deaths in the nation, nearly 115 per day (140 thee days ago.) That’s up from an average of 33 deaths per day just one month ago. As has been the case with President Trump, Florida’s GOP Governor Ron DeSantis appears to be having serious problems emotionally identifying with the families in his state of have lost their loved ones.
Florida was averaging 680 new cases per week when it rushed to reopen after spending barely one month in lockdown. Now it’s averaging over 11,000 per week.
* The United States has reported more than 1,000 new deaths in a single day from COVID-19 for four straight days. The death rate hasn’t been this high since May and it’s still rising. 74,000+ new cases were reported just yesterday and that’s not even the highest on record.
* Somewhat political: the $600-per-month bumps in unemployment payments created by Congress under the CARES act have officially expired for at least one standout reason: Republicans have refused to work with Democrats on any economic legislation at all for the past several months. The expiration could have been avoided but Republicans literally refused to even discuss the possibility of working on another bill to boost the economy and help Americans suffering amid stunningly high unemployment, at least until the past few days. It may now be weeks before another unemployment increase becomes law, if it does at all.
* Work on vaccine candidates is progressing nicely but it’s still unlikely that any will be widely available until the first four months of 2021.
* The United States has surpassed 4,000,000 cases — 400,000 of them have come in the past seven days.
* Republicans in states that have Democratic Governors are continuing to fight against very bland safety orders like wearing masks in public. In Washington, the GOP lost because a federal judge found that the state’s Governor wasn’t even enforcing his own emergency safety orders. And people wonder why COVID-19 is exploding in America…
* 800 bars in Texas plan to openly defy conservative Governor Greg Abott’s order to shut down tonight.
* At the same time, local conservative-owned TV stations will air a debunked and widely discredited “news” segment which espouses the conspiracy theory that Doctor Anthony Fauci was involved in the government creation of COVID-19. It’ll air during a program hosted by Fox New’s Eric Bolling. The piece is so full of shit that even Fox News won’t air it.
* There may be as many as six different types of COVID-19 which may explain why there’s such a wide range of symptoms.
* 56 workers in a seafood plant in Anchorage, Alaska, have tested positive. That’s 41% of all employees. There have been two larger outbreaks in Alaska: OBI Seafoods had 98 infections and there were 85 infections on a single ship yesterday.
* Oregon reported 9 deaths Friday, the most since the pandemic began. The youngest was just 62. Most had underlying conditions and three of them were in their 90’s. And yet: 22% of new infections in the past seven days were people ages 20-29. This confirms what we’ve already honestly known: the elderly with existing health problems are the most likely to die, but anyone no matter their age can die — even without underlying medical conditions — and we’re seeing many more positive tests among young adults this time around, probably as a result of refusals to wear masks in public.
* Southern/red states aren’t the only ones experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths: Minnesota reported 773 new cases and 5 new deaths. Governor Walz’s statewide masks-in-public order begins today.
* Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, who has called COVID-19 a hoax and said face mask mandates were draconian, has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
* 40 states have seen a 25% (or greater) increase in cases.