New cases of covid-19 are declining across the country, so it’s tempting to wonder whether the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
President Trump’s public rebuke of a top federal health official who did not parrot White House talking points about a fast-track coronavirus vaccine is the latest example of the president’s effort to enforce an upbeat narrative about the pandemic, even if that does not square with the facts.
When a cluster of coronavirus infections broke out in Kyoto’s Horikawa Hospital, medical staffers were not only battling a potentially deadly disease at work. They came home to fight an even more unsettling disease — fear and discrimination.
When coronavirus cases began increasing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in late July, Pastor Paul Van Noy prayed with his congregation that the city council would not pass a mask mandate.
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau data shows, the most definitive and alarming sign yet of the psychological toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic. When asked questions normally used to screen patients for mental health problems, 24 percent showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30 percent showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. The findings suggest a huge jump from before the pandemic. For example, on one question about depressed mood, the percentage reporting such symptoms was double that found in a 2014 national survey.
It is one of the many mysteries of the coronavirus pandemic: Why has the death toll from covid-19 apparently been lower in Asia than in Western Europe and North America? Even allowing for different testing policies and counting methods, and questions over full disclosure of cases, stark differences in mortality across the world have caught the attention of researchers trying to crack the coronavirus code. Parts of Asia reacted quickly to the threat and largely started social distancing earlier on. But researchers are also examining other factors, including differences in genetics and immune system responses, separate virus strains and regional contrasts in obesity levels and general health.
Demonstrations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, sparked over the death of George Floyd, could lead to a rise in coronavirus cases, a health official said. This week, peaceful and violent protests have occurred in the Twin Cities after Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck. While images of masked protesters have emerged, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm projected the large gatherings will create a surge of positive coronavirus test results. “It’s certainly going to be a factor in what happens in our outbreak and our case counts,” Malcolm said, according to MPR News. On Thursday, the health department reported 493 new cases, with nearly 30 percent of those positive tests coming from the county of the Twin Cities. The state also reported 35 additional deaths for a total of 967, the vast majority belonging to residents in long-term care or assisted-living facilities. Though Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) has declared a state of emergency, more protests are expected.
The epidemiological models under review in the White House Situation Room in late March were bracing. In a best-case scenario, they showed the novel coronavirus was likely to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. President Trump was apprehensive about so much carnage on his watch, yet also impatient to reopen the economy — and he wanted data to justify doing so.
Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season.
Pandemic’s overall death toll in U.S. likely surpassed 100,000 weeks ago