Summary:

  • Texas 7-day average positivity rate hits new high
  • Gates slams US “testing insanity”
  • Washington suffers first teenager COVID death
  • Greece sees new jump in cases
  • UK reports 1k+ new cases
  • Arizona sees lowest cases in 6 weeks
  • EU makes optimistic sign on vaccines
  • Italy says schools will start Sept. 14
  • UK says opening schools a “national priority”

* * *

Update (1850ET): After the US added 1 million new cases in roughly 2 weeks to surpass 5 million cases, the New York State’s positivity rate on Sunday tumbled to a record low of 0.78%, while Texas’s positivity rate climbed to a record high for the second straight day.

Additionally, Maryland’s seven-day average statewide positivity rate has reached a new all-time low of 3.75%, Gov. Larry Hogan announced.

The Texas Health Department said that its seven-day average for COVID-19 positivity has reached a new record high of 20.3%.

This was two percentage points higher than the previous record on July 16, according to Health Department data. The average had steadily declined from July 16 to July 29, when it reached a low of 12.09%, however, since July 30, the average has been steadily increasing.

Texas health authorities reported 116 new deaths, bringing its death toll to 8,459, while new cases climbed by 4,879 to 486,362.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced it recorded the first coronavirus death to affect a Washington state resident under 20 years old.

Finally, Bill Gates on Sunday decried the “testing insanity” gripping the US, which he said had caused the country to fall behind the rest of the world. It was just another bit of US-bashing from the WHO-aligned Gates, who has criticized the Trump Administration’s efforts at every turn.

Appearing on Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN, Gates blamed Trump for the slow turn around times he said were afflicting most of the US (even as many of the worst-hit counties in the Northeast manage to turn results around in under a day, or even a few hours..

“A variety of early missteps by the U.S. and then the political atmosphere meant that we didn’t get our testing going,” Gates said. “It’s nonsense that any sort of travel ban we did was at all beneficial. That doesn’t pass the common sense test…and now we’ve executed our lockdowns nationwide with less fidelity than other countries.”

Commercial labs, he said, have left customers struggling with long waits, while “very wealthy people have access to these quick-turnaround tests.”

“It’s mind-blowing that you can’t get the government to improve the testing because they just want to say how great it is,” he continued. “I’ve said to them, look, have a [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] website that prioritizes who gets tested. Don’t reimburse any test where the result goes back after three days. You’re paying billions of dollars in this very inequitable way to get the most worthless testing results in the world.”

“No other country has the testing insanity because they won’t talk about fixing it, because they think they need to just keep acting like they’ve done a competent job,” he added.

Cue another flood of stories about long wait lines in Texas and Florida.

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* * *

Update (1515ET): Some more signs of a ‘second wave’ of infections emerging in Europe were confirmed by Greece and the United Kingdom on Saturday.

Greece reported 203 new coronavirus cases Sunday, the biggest single-day jump since the beginning of the pandemic, bringing its total to 5,623. It also was the biggest jump in daily cases since April 21.

As infections in the US start to turn lower again following a brief bump, Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the US. looks like it’s headed for an infection surge in rural regions, now that the wave impacting the Sun Belt has subsided. But some critics have called bs on this.

“We’re probably going to have another wave,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. There’s concern about largely untouched rural communities, which are “probably a bit more complacent” about virus risks, he said.

Rural spread is “going to be far more difficult to control if it’s more widespread,” he said. “We’re seeing indications of that right now – the wave spreading in the Midwest and the West.”

The UK reported more than 1,000 new cases for the first time since June 26, bringing its total to 310,825. The 1,062 cases reported Sunday are higher than the seven-day average of 877.

Arizona reported 816 cases, its lowest since late June, a six week low. The 0.4% increase was below the 0.7% daily average increase of the previous week. Total cases are now 186,923.

* * *

As we reported last night, the US surpassed 5 million confirmed cases (according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins) on Saturday evening (East Coast Time).

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The US reported 56,070 cases Saturday, a 1.1% increase over the prior day. Total deaths have reached 162,441, the data show.

As we reported last night, Brazil also passed two critical milestones: it has now confirmed 2 million cases, and more than 100,000 deaths.

Though the numbers have rebounded a bit over the past week, on average, the daily numbers across the US have declined from a recent peak, as the outbreak in the Sun Belt outpaced the outbreak in New York. As the number of new cases in Fla. and Texas and California and Arizona has declined, some northeastern states, like New Jersey and Rhode Island, have seen a slight uptick in recent weeks (which inspired NJ, NY & Conn to add RI to the mandatory quarantine iist).

Globally, the number of confirmed cases is nearing 19.75 million.

Over in the EU, as governments sign more deals with major pharmaceutical companies to guarantee supplies of a vaccine that hasn’t even been proven safe and effective yet, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides told Germany’s Handelsblatt in an interview that while a vaccine won’t immediately solve all the world’s problems, it will allow a step-by-step return to normality, the newspaper cited Kyriakides as saying.

In contrast, in the US, Dr. Fauci, who has repeatedly reassured Congress (and the American pubic) that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year, admitted yesterday that we really don’t know how effective the vaccine will be: he says it may be only “50% to 60% effective.”

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As Australia’s second-most-populous state, Victoria (the home of its second-largest city, Melbourne) continues to struggle with the country’s largest outbreak yet, neighboring New Zealand has just confirmed its 100th straight day without even a single coronavirus transmission.

New Zealand on Sunday marked 100 days since it was able to effectively eliminate the spread of coronavirus.

Here’s JHU’s daily chart reflecting the daily growth rates of the 10 fastest-growing outbreaks in the world.

As New York bucks the trend in the US by moving toward a “hybrid” model of in-person learning this fall, more European economies are moving toward fully restarting in-person learning in a few weeks, almost guaranteeing another outbreak, though ideally one that can be swiftly contained with minimal fatalities. 

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said in an interview on Times Radio that opening schools is critical for reviving the country’s battered economy, by allowing parents to return to work. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Mail on Sunday newspaper the country has a “moral duty” to resume normal teaching and reopening. He called reopening schools a “national priority.”

Meanwhile, in Iran, the number of new cases fell to a two-month low of 2,020, bringing total infections to 326,712. The death toll climbed to 18,427 with 163 more deaths overnight. That’s compared with 132 the day before.

Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza confirmed in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that Italian schools will reopen Sept. 14.

Another lockdown would do an “enormous damage, and we need to avoid it more than anything” Speranza said in the interview, in a reference to Italy’s battered economy, which will – to be sure – benefit from the pan-European rescue fund.

 

Via Zerohedge