The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has infected more than 115,420,000 people around the world and has killed more than 2,564,000 people. The virus has spread to most countries and territories on all continents, including Antarctica. Different governments are doing their best to limit the spread of COVID-19. In the U.S. more than 28,777,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 518,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., the highest death toll in the world.

Update March 4, 2021

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Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded The Lone Star State’s mask mandate.

We are at a crucial point in the Covid-19 response and Gov. Abbott’s decision to roll back all Covid-19 restrictions is being met with harsh criticism. Texas is seeing cases climb back up as doctors and health professionals scramble to get control over the Covid variants.

Despite earlier assurances that Texas would follow the science, Gov. Abbott unilaterally rescinded the orders. According to The Texas Tribune, Gov. Abbott lifted the mask mandate and Covid restrictions without speaking to medical professionals.

Health professionals are looking at Texas with concern. Texas’ decision to roll back the safeguards could lead to another surge within the state.

“I think the governor’s decision was premature,” Dr. James McDeavitt of the Baylor College of Medicine told NBC News. “If the goal is to reach herd immunity, we are not there yet. Masking and distancing are an important bridge to herd immunity. We’re still seeing 1,000 new cases per day in Houston. We’re getting some 200 new Covid-19 patients per day in the hospitals. Yes, the numbers are down considerably, but that’s still pretty high.”

Without skipping a beat, Gov. Abbott immediately placed the blame on migrants.

The Texas governor is quickly putting distance between his decision to reopen the state prematurely and what could be a surge. Gov. Abbott is using migrants as scapegoats while also blocking a federal offer to test all migrants before they are released.

According to CNN, the Biden administration has created a plan with FEMA to offer federal help in testing migrants. Texas has yet to respond in any way while trying to blame the Biden administration for not doing anything.

Update February 11, 2021

Los Angeles has temporarily shut down five vaccination sites.

Vaccination rollouts around the world are hitting speed bumps and slowing down. Los Angeles is the latest city to acknowledge its own limitations when inoculating its population. According to Mayor Eric Garcetti, the city is vaccinating its population at a faster rate than they are receiving doses.

Five vaccination centers in Los Angeles were forced to temporarily shut down as officials try to figure out the vaccination issue. Mayor Garcetti, in a press conference on Feb. 10, highlighted how the city is receiving too few vaccinations. This week, the city received 16,000 vaccinations, which is what the city gives to residents in a day.

Dodgers Stadium, which is the largest vaccination site in the country, is shut down from Friday until Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Mayor Garcetti. About 10 percent of California’s population has received at least one shot of the vaccination as the U.S. continues to struggle to ramp up its vaccination plan.

“We’re vaccinating people faster than new vials are arriving here in Los Angeles,” Mr. Garcetti said during the press conference. “I’m concerned as your mayor that our vaccine supply is uneven, it’s unpredictable and too often inequitable.”

Update January 25, 2021

California ends stay-at-home orders while a new variant appears to be emerging.

California has been the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. following a crippling holiday spike. After months of being one of the success stories, California became the worst place in the country as Los Angeles became an epicenter for the virus.

During this time, scientists believe they have discovered a new variant emerging from the Golden State. Two independent research firms discovered what they believe to be a homegrown variant as they searched for the U.K. variant. The new strain is responsible for 24 percent of the 4,500 cases detected in California at the end of 2020. The new variant is in the same family tree as the U.K. variant and is believed to be behind the severe spike over the holidays.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, Monday, ended all stay-at-home orders across the state, which have been in place since Dec. 3. Gov. Newsom’s reversal allows for local officials to make their own rules to protect their residents.

The announcement comes as a growing movement to recall Gov. Newsom over his Covid response nears the needed signatures to be included in the ballot. As of now, 1.2 million people have signed the petition to recall Gov. Newsom. The deadline for the needed signatures is March 17 and the movement needs 300,000 more to be official.

Update January 22, 2021

The Covid pandemic is not done with the U.S.

President Joe Biden is working to get control of the pandemic. The virus has been spreading unchecked for months and it is devastating Americans. The average death toll has topped more than 4,000 people for multiple days in a row. President Biden is working to get the vaccine out and turn the tide, but it will take time.

“Let me be very clear: Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better,” Biden told the press. “And let me be equally clear: We will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic.”

President Biden has already taken stronger measures against Covid than the previous administration. President Biden signed executive orders to mandate masks nationwide and is working on a Covid relief package to help Americans suffering from the pandemic.

Update January 12, 2021

California is facing a relentless surge with hospitals, morgues, and funeral homes being overwhelmed.

California has continued to cross grim milestones after the deadliest weekend since the pandemic started. A combined 1,163 people died of Covid in California over the weekend, the highest two-day death total yet.

Los Angeles County is facing the worst of the virus in the Golden State. The community spread is so bad that health officials in the state are warning residents to be extra vigilant. Los Angeles County is the site of almost 12,000 of the more than 30,000 deaths in the state.

“This is just not the time to go to the shopping mall or to a friend’s house to watch a basketball or football game,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the press about the “immense” spread of the virus.

Journalist Sara Sidner broke down in tears while reporting on the current Covid crisis in California.

Sidner started to cry at the end of her report where she interviewed a woman whose mother and stepfather died from Covid 11 days apart. The journalist choked up when describing the emotional toll is takes to see families suffering these devastating and preventable losses.

“It’s just not OK. It’s not OK what we’re doing to each other,” Sidner said. “These families should not be going through this. No family should be going through this.”

Update January 6, 2021

The U.S. is suffering its deadliest moment of the pandemic.

Covid is devastating the U.S. as people get ready for the worst of the latest wave to hit in mid-January. The vaccine is being rolled out and administered to Americans across the country but the slow vaccination rate could prolong the pandemic. Healthcare systems in various states are feeling the strain and having to make tough choices to ration help.

On Monday, Los Angeles County’s Emergency Medical Services Agency told EMTs not to transport patients with little chance to survive. They have also been directed to limit the use of oxygen while out on the field. Los Angeles County is being forced to ration care for patients. One percent of ICU beds are available in Los Angeles County and non-Covid patients are having to postpone their medical treatments to compensate.

The current seven-day average for Covid deaths is 2,661, according to The New York Times. The rolling death average has been increasing over the past week as the country’s healthcare system braces for the Christmas and New Years’ spike.

The homeless community on Skid Row is being devastated by Covid.

The homeless community of Skid Row is facing a horrifying surge of cases after dodging the pandemic for months.

“We’re seeing a great increase not only outside [of the Union Rescue Mission], but inside. It’s just getting spread wider and wider until it likely will affect us all, and it’s been a very tough time becoming like a mini-hospital,” Reverend Andy Bales, the CEO of Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, told Fox 11.

The spike comes after conservative Christian singer Sean Feucht organized a maskless singing and outreach event on LA’s Skid Row on Dec. 30. Health experts and local officials urged the singer to cancel the event over fears that it could lead to a super spreader event.

Update December 11, 2020

Covid continues to rage in the U.S. with record numbers of deaths and cases.

The U.S. passed a grim milestone recently with daily death numbers now topping 3,000 people. The U.S. broke their death record one week ago showing a staggering increase in deaths from Covid-19 two weeks before Christmas. The seven-day average of deaths is now 2,249, beating the previous weekly death toll of 2,232 set in April. Counties around the nation are starting to fill to capacity leading the increasing death toll.

“The worry is,” Deborah Matthews, the chief nursing officer at Tanner Health System in Georgia told The New York Times. “What are you going to do with the 31st I. C.U. patient? What are you going to do with the next patient who needs to be on a ventilator? You have contingency plans for all of that, but you are just constantly thinking about those things.”

Update November 25, 2020

Latino college students are dropping out of college because of Covid.

The pandemic has been impacting different communities differently. Communities of color are being hit exceptionally hard on the health and financial fronts. For some Latino college students, many are having to choose between staying in school or going home to help their families.

“The trade off is sometimes,” Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO for Excelencia in Educationo told CNN. “I go to school or do I work and support my family? Am I paying my tuition or am I bringing in resources so we can eat and address basic needs?”

Update November 13, 2020

America is entering the 2020 holiday season as Covid cases drastically spike.

The U.S. is experiencing a relentless and devastating resurgence of Covid with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner. The U.S. recently crossed 250,000 deaths in a grim milestone in the worst-hit country. Things have gotten bad enough that several states and cities are reinstating restrictions and lockdowns.

For several consecutive days, more than 100,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19. Hospitalizations have also been climbing steadily as we get closer to the holiday season. Health experts are warning of the importance of making sure everyone does everything they need to to avoid exacerbating the virus.

Americans need to work hard now because there is finally an end in sight.

Pfizer and Moderna have finished developing vaccines that are proving to be highly effective in fighting the virus. Pfizer‘s vaccine is 95 percent effective in early data while Moderna‘s vaccine is 94.5 percent effective according to early data. For the first time in eight months, there finally appears to be an end of the Covid pandemic in sight.

California and Texas are the first two states to record 1 million Covid infections.

The world is facing a devastating second wave of Covid-19. Countries throughout Europe are going back on lockdown and the U.S. is gearing up for the holiday season. As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, and people decide if it is worth risking their health to visit family, California and Texas official crossed 1 million Covid infections.

Texas was the first state to cross 1 million cases of Covid on Nov. 11. California quickly followed on Nov. 12 to become the second state to cross 1 million cases. Numbers are on the rise in 49 states and Washington DC.

“Obviously it’s sobering, these numbers but again the total capacity that we built out, the ability to test being substantially greater than it was just even a few weeks ago, let alone a few months ago, and the ample inventory of over 500 million masks and other related PPE is significant,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said about the climbing numbers in California.

Health experts are warning that the U.S., and the rest of the world, are entering the most dangerous part of this ongoing pandemic. The most important thing we can do is stay home, wear a mask, and limit any indoor engagements. When it comes to holidays, it might be best to skip the big family gatherings this year to keep your loved ones safe and healthy.

Update November 5, 2020

The U.S. experienced both a historic election and a record-setting Covid infection day a day apart.

More than 100,000 new Covid cases were reported Nov. 4 as the virus continues to spread in the U.S. The Trump administration has been called out for a failed response to the virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans. The grim milestone comes months after Dr. Fauci warned the U.S. Senate was on track to this moment.

“I think it’s important to tell you and the American public that I’m very concerned, because it could get very bad,” Fauci told senators more than four months ago. “We can’t keep pretending this virus is getting better.”

For context, Japan and Belarus have just over 100,000 cases in total since the virus started to spread. China has 91,000 total Covid infections. The U.S. is has the worst managed outbreak of Covid-19 that has resulted in more than 9 million infections. The U.S. has seen dips in total numbers but the country has never put a stop to the first wave that continues to kill Americans at almost 1,000 deaths a day.

Meanwhile, government are shutting down their country or using localized shutdowns as Covid starts to pick up steam as the second wave sweeps across the continent.

Update October 30, 2020

A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that more than 400,000 Americans will die from Covid. This includes people who will die because of the disruptions created by Covid. The virus is currently shutting down national governments for a second time as second waves, larger than the first, are devastating communities again.

“The importance of the estimate by Woolf et al—which suggests that for the entirety of 2020, more than 400 000 excess deaths will occur—cannot be overstated, because it accounts for what could be declines in some causes of death, like motor vehicle crashes, but increases in others, like myocardial infarction,” reads the JAMA report. “These deaths reflect a true measure of the human cost of the Great Pandemic of 2020. As depicted in the illustration, these deaths far exceed the number of US deaths from some armed conflicts, such as the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and deaths from the 2009 H1N1 (Swine flu) pandemic, and approach the number of deaths from World War II.”

Update October 16, 2020

Covid-19 infections are rising again across the U.S.

The United States has the worst outbreak of the virus. Health experts have highlighted how the federal government’s failure to properly control the spread of the virus. The U.S. is now grappling with another spike in cases eight months after the first reported case in the U.S. According to The New York Times, Covid-19 cases are climbing in 43 states as well as Guam and Washington D.C.

More than 65,000 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Oct. 15, the same time President Trump downplayed the virus during his town hall.

“We are at a critical point in the battle against this virus,” Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers told Reuters. “And just because some folks out there want to see full bars and full hospitals, doesn’t mean we have to follow their lead.”

Gov. Evers implemented restrictions to slow the spread of Covid in the state but a conservative judge stuck it down. The Republican Party is also suing to further relax order made to save lives in Wisconsin.

Update September 22, 2020

More than 200,000 people have died in the U.S. from Covid-19.

The United States has the worst response and the highest infection and death numbers in the world. The Trump administration has yet to create a cohesive national plan to stop the virus from spreading leading to more deaths and infections do to the inaction. Covid-19 is now the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. beat only by heart disease.

The responsibility to stop the spread has fallen on the shoulders of the American public. According to health experts, there are several things you can do to stop the spread, like wearing a mask when in public.

“Number 1: Wearing a mask when we can’t physically distance. Number 2: Avoiding crowds. Number 3: Hygiene. And with smart testing, we can flatten the curve and slow the spread,” Dr. Brett Giroir, the White House coronavirus task force’s testing czar told CNN.

Some Americans are fed up with the daunting and avoidable death toll.

The United States government left the Covid-19 response up to individual states instead of creating a national plan. As such, some governors ignored science and health experts and rushed reopenings which led spikes across the country. The impending winter and flu season has some worried that the U.S. will see a further spike in deaths. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has forecast more than 410,000 deaths by Jan. 1.

“The worst is yet to come. I don’t think perhaps that’s a surprise, although I think there’s a natural tendency as we’re a little bit in the Northern hemisphere summer, to think maybe the epidemic is going away,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told NBC News.

Update August 12, 2020, 3:20 p.m. PST

After rushing their reopening as Florida reached record Covid numbers, Disney is shortening hours and testing employees. Until now, Disney World was operating full hours and rescinded offers for performers to come back because of the union’s request for testing.

Walt Disney World is finally offering employees Covid testing.

When Walt Disney World was reopening, the performers’ union requested testing. Disney decided to not let performers return instead. Now, weeks after initially denying the life-saving tests, Disney has responded to the union with free testing.

“We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed,” Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association, said according to the Orlando Sentinel.

She added: “With the news that Disney will make testing available for Equity performers and others in the park, I’m happy to announce that Equity’s executive committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return.”

Disney is also shortening their operating hours after overestimating the number of people who would attend the park during the pandemic. Covid-19 is still not under control in the U.S. and Florida is one of the worst states when it comes to infections.

Update August 7, 2020 4:30 p.m. PST

A Georgia high school reversed the suspension of a student whose photo went viral showing crowded hallways.

Hannah Watter, who is 15, shared a photo from inside her high school showing a crowded hallway in the time of Covid. The photo when viral as people were appalled that North Paulding High School had so blatantly ignored health guidelines. The actions put the health of the students at risk and Watters wanted to bring attention to it. The result was the school suspending her for violating the school code of conduct.

However, we live in the time of social media and awareness so the story quickly grew. Soon after, the school completely reversed course. According to a tweet from Watters, the school has lifted the suspension and has allowed her to come back to school. According to The Washington Post, the school wants Watters to come to them privately with other safety concerns.

Update July 31, 2020, 11:11 a.m. PST

Deaths from Covid-19 are on the rise in the U.S.

As most of the world gets their virus outbreaks under control, the U.S. continues to worsen. The U.S. averages more than 1,000 deaths a day making the U.S. the country with the most infections and deaths in the world. The death rate has increased so quickly that 1 American was dying every minute from the virus.

In recent days, three states have set records for infections and deaths.

On July 29, California recorded 12,904 new infections and 192 deaths. Both are records for the state since the pandemic began. Texas set a record for the most deaths of any state with 316 deaths that same day.

Herman Cain, a former presidential candidate for the Republican Party, died of the virus this week. Cain spent weeks in the hospital sick after attending Trump’s Tulsa rally without wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Cain was an ardent anti-masker.

Update July 23, 2020, 2:08 p.m. PST: The United States has crossed 4 million COVID-19 infections.

The speed of new infections in the U.S. is troubling to many health experts. The number of infections grew from 3 to 4 million in the last 15 days showing that the infection rate is increasing rapidly. More than 143,000 people in the U.S. have died of the virus and there seems to be no end in sight. There is still no national plan from President Donald Trump who is distracting with his score on a cognitive test.

California has emerged as the new epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

The Golden State recently recorded its highest number of new infections ever. More than 12,000 people in California tested positive for COVID-19 on July 22 and 155 deaths were reported. Both of these numbers are records for the state that was once praised for locking down the earliest and proving to be an example of how to keep COVID-19 numbers low. Now, California is a cautionary tale to other states about the dangers of rapidly reopening.

Update July 13, 2020, 12:40 a.m. PST: New York City reported their first day without a death from COVID since March.

According to various reports, New York City achieved a significant milestone. The original epicenter of the virus has reported no new COVID deaths from COVID-19 July 12 for the first time since the pandemic arrived in the U.S. City data shows that the city saw a peak in deaths in earl-April with 597 deaths on April 7.

New York City’s successful news comes as COVID-19 cases are spiking across much of the south and west. Florida, Texas, and California are all experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases and the death rates in the states are starting to surge as well. Yet, NYC is a ray of hope in the seemingly endless battle against this new virus.

“You’re going to see our numbers and the Northeast numbers probably start to increase because the virus that you see now in the South and the West — California has real trouble — it’s going to come back here,” Cuomo told Spectrum News. “It is going to come back here. It’s like being on a merry-go-round. It’s totally predictable. And we’re going to go through an increase. I can feel it coming. And it is so unnecessary and so cruel.”

Update July 10, 2020, 12:48 a.m. PST: Latino meat workers are testing positive for COVID-19 at alarming rates.

Across 21 states, 50 percent of Latinos in meat and poultry plants tested positive for COVID-19. A formal complaint has been filed with the Department of Justice that Tyson Foods Inc. and JBS USA are putting profit over the health and safety of their employees, even going so far as to treat them as sacrificial parts of the process.

The CDC has been working with county governments to fight COVID-19 spreading in meat and poultry plants. This has included testing people to isolate positive cases as soon as possible.

Update June 30, 2020, 2:46 p.m. PST: New coronavirus cases are increasing in 32 states as we head into July 4th weekend.

California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered some counties to roll back certain reopenings after a spike in cases. The decision comes after Gov. Newsom claimed there would be no reversing the sudden and rapid reopening of the state. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has reportedly opened with less caution than the Bay Area putting Angelenos at risk in the sudden climb in cases in California’s COVID-19 epicenter.

“Whether we continue on this recovery journey is debatable,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in his Monday evening briefing. “COVID-19 is taking control, and we need to take control back. ”

California, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and Florida have all rolled back reopenings.

Bars and nightclubs are the main reopenings that states and cities are rolling back following the recent spikes. Arizona went further and included movie theaters, gyms, and water parks in things that will have to close back down.

Several more states and cities have had to pause their reopening strategies as the country tries to get a handle on the pandemic. San Francisco paused its plan to reopen nail and hair salons, tattoo parlors, outdoor bars, zoos, aquariums, and museums.

Update June 26, 2020, 12:05 a.m. PST: Health experts are monitoring troubling spike of COVID-19 cases across the U.S.

COVID-19 cases are climbing in 29 states with the most troubling rises in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California. The sudden spike in cases has forced Texas Governor Greg Abbott to pause that state’s reopening strategy. Florida has recorded 50 percent of its total case count in the last two weeks. California has not had a 14-day declining trend in cases since the beginning of the COVID outbreak and broke daily infection records twice in the past week.

The individual spikes combined lead to a new record high for infections in the U.S.

Hospitalization and infection numbers continue to rise as states rush reopening strategies contrary to previous plans and health recommendations for a safe reopening. Disney has postponed reopening Disneyland in Anaheim, California indefinitely in response to the rising numbers. Restaurants and bars have had to close again in Florida because of the rapidly growing infection rates.

Update June 16, 2020, 11:54 a.m. PST: Health officials have increased the projected U.S. Covid death toll to 200,000.

An update to a closely watched model predicting the projected death toll from the virus increased significantly. The model, managed by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, has been cited by the White House when reporting the numbers to the nation. The new projected death toll from the coronavirus has increased to 200,000.

“Increased mobility and premature relaxation of social distancing led to more infections, and we see it in Florida, Arizona, and other states,” Ali Mokdad, one of the creators of the model, told CNN. “This means more projected deaths.”

The U.S. is currently experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases in some states.

According to health experts from around the nation, coronavirus cases are spiking in several states including Arizona, Florida, and Texas. The spikes are in states that rushed reopening their economies before meeting required benchmarks for relaxing stay-at-home measures.

“Sadly, I think this 200,000 number may be a under prediction based on what we’re starting to see in several states across the country,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN.

Update June 12, 2020, 05:21 p.m. PST: President Trump wants to restart rallies but don’t sue him if you get sick.

President Trump is ready to start his reelection campaign and he is doing that. The president is scheduled to speak in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19. The date and location have drawn criticism because June 19 is Juneteenth, celebrated as the day slavery was abolished. Tulsa was also the setting for the most violent attack on Black Americans perpetuated by whites in U.S. history.

If you want to go to the rally, there is one catch, you have to sign a disclaimer. The president has included a disclaimer when attending a rally. All people who wish to go to the rally assume all risks and responsibilities if they are to contract COVID-19 because of the rally.

Update June 9, 2020, 1:04 p.m. PST: The World Health Organization is walking back comments that asymptomatic people are not contagious.

It seems one official at WHO got out over their skis when claiming that asymptomatic people spreading COVID-19 is “rare.” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said during a press conference that it seems rare for asymptomatic people to spread COVID-19.

Twenty-four hours after making that statement, Van Kerkhove walked back those comments. In a live Q&A on Tuesday, the WHO officials said that the claim in her previous comment is still largely unknown.

“The majority of transmission that we know about is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets — but there are a subset of people who don’t develop symptoms, and to truly understand how many people don’t have symptoms, we don’t actually have that answered yet,” Van Kerkhove said. “We do know that some people who are asymptomatic, or some people who don’t have symptoms, can transmit the virus on,” she said. “So what we need to better understand is how many of the people in the population don’t have symptoms and separately how many of those individuals go on to transmit to others.”

The confusion further casts doubt on states reopening without meeting proper benchmarks to ensure public health.

Texas recently reported a new record-breaking day of hospitalizations in the Lone Star state. The state was one of the first to defy government recommendations for reopening. New data shows that the case increases in Texas are matched on a timeline with the different reopening phases.

According to information from Johns Hopkins University, Texas and California are among several states that are seeing increases in cases as states relax stay-at-home orders. While California has a positivity rate of 4.37 percent, Texas’s positivity rate recently jumped to 7.73 percent. Global health organizations recommend a positivity rate below 5 percent for 14 consecutive days before reopening.

Update June 4, 2020, 3:11 p.m. PST: California, Texas, several more states are experiencing sustained and sudden increases in COVID-19 numbers.

All 50 states are in various stages of their reopening strategy as some are seeing cases decline. However, several of the states rushing to reopen their economies are seeing new record infection and death rates since they began reopening. California is one of 20 states where COVID-19 case numbers have increased since public health measures have been relaxed.

New numbers show 1,155 new cases with 43 new deaths. This brings LA County’s numbers to 58,234 confirmed cases and 2,489 deaths. Part of the blame is being placed on the state for bowing to pressure from various counties pushing to reopen, even defying state orders to reopen parts of their economy.

Texas has become a hotspot as the state records multiple days in a row of high COVID-19 infection rates.

According to a tracking program by Texas 2036, the state is experiencing a sharp increase in cases of COVID-19 since May 26, about two weeks after Texas started Phase 2 of its reopening plan. California’s numbers have also started increasing coinciding with the stay at home and public health measures relaxing to allow people back into confined spaces, like shops and restaurants.

Update May 28, 2020, 12:24 p.m. PST: The U.S. death count has surpassed 100,000 marking a grim reality of the disease in the country.

The United Kingdom has the second-highest death count with more than 37,000 people dying from COVID-19. The top four countries for infections are, in order, the U.S. with more than 1,700,000, Brazil with more than 411,000, Russia with more than 379,000, and the U.K. with more than 270,000.

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in the U.S. as President Trump pushes to reopen the economy. Currently, only three states meet the strict criteria to start reopening. Those states are Alaska, Kentucky, and New York. Every state has started partial reopenings defying the scientific data.

The monumental loss of life is painting a stark reality of COVID-19 in the U.S.

More deaths are expected and health officials are warning of a second wave in the coming months that will be more devastating than the current wave. There is also data showing that if the Trump administration had acted sooner, tens of thousands of lives could have been spared. More populous countries in the world have seen much smaller outbreaks because of strict, nationwide lockdowns and restrictions.

Update May 20, 2020, 9:54 p.m. PST: Georgia faces immediate criticism after manipulating their COVID-19 infections chart.

The Georgia Department of Public Health released a chart that showed a steady decline in COVID-19 cases. However, the chart was created to show a more consistent decline but rearranging the dates. The chart was widely criticized because it had the dates out of order to create the decline you see. One Twitter user fixed the graph by drawing a line to show how you should read the chart.

“It’s just cuckoo,” state Rep. Scott Holcombs told the Atlanta Journal Consitution. “I don’t know how anyone can defend this graph as not being misleading. I really don’t.”

Florida is also facing criticism for not handling their COVID date properly to paint a different picture of their cases.

The scientist in charge of the state’s COVID-19 dashboard was dismissed from her position recently and there has been a lot of speculation about why. The controversy centers around an email sent by the scientist, Rebkah Jones, that some critics say Governor Ron Desantis is misrepresenting.

“As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it,” she wrote in an email, according to Florida Today.

Gov. DeSantis claimed that Jones was referring to her team not being able to answer all questions sent to them. He made the statement during a press conference, after which documents were released claiming Jones had a history of insubordination.

Update May 14, 2020, 10:28 a.m. PST: Texas has quickly become the next major hotspot for COVID-19 infections.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott was one of the first governors to ignore health guidelines and scientific data and pushed for his state to reopen. The result has been a significant increase in COVID-19 infections. For 5 straight days, the state of Texas reported 1,000 new cases per day.

“Overwhelmingly, Texans are concerned that testing is too slow, the state is moving too fast, and that Gov. Abbott’s actions threaten to undo the sacrifices people have made to protect our health and safety,” Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, said in a statement. “Just how many lives is a possibility of ‘boosting’ the economy worth?”

This is a trend that is affecting the American heartland with Republican leadership.

According to The New York Times, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and North and South Dakota are all experiencing surges in their COVID-19 cases. These states are also where governors began reopening their state economies without meeting the minimum requirements for reopening, even by the White House’s own guidelines.

A report from the White House, obtained by NBC News, also contradicts President Trump’s claims that the infection rate is declining quickly. On the contrary, the number of cases in America’s rural Republican heartland is all experiencing significant spikes in their cases. Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; Racine, Wisconsin; Garden City, Kansas, and Central City, Kentucky are all experiencing the biggest spikes in COVID-19 infections with the latter experiencing a 650 percent increase in cases.

Update April 23, 2020, 11:05 a.m. PST: Some states have started to reopen ahead of the advised timetable.

Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee have formed a coalition to coordinate the reopening of their economies. The decision comes too soon, even according to the White House’s suggestions for reopening. One key metric needed for states to begin reopening is a 14-day downward trend of COVID-19 cases. The above-mentioned states have yet to reach that metric.

African-American communities are the hardest hit in the South prompting criticism of reopening early.

According to several reports about COVID-19 infections and deaths, African-Americans in the southern U.S. are one of the hardest-hit communities. In Louisiana, 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths are African-American while they make up 33 percent of the state’s population. This kind of trend in COVID-19 infections in African-American communities in the south is common within states.

“African Americans not only have higher prevalence of these chronic conditions, but they also, on average, acquire these conditions at younger ages,” Thomas LaVeist, dean of public health at Tulane University, told The Guardian. “So when we talk about people over the age of 65 being at increased risk, for African Americans, that age is probably 55, maybe even 50.”

Health experts are pleading with the public to stay home as much as possible to flatten the curve.

Several reports show that California, the first state to issue lockdown orders, is starting to see their curve flattening. The news means that California’s hospitals will likely not be overwhelmed during the peak of the health crisis in the state. In fact, California is loaning 500 ventilators back to the federal government.

A report shows that millennials are more susceptible to the worst of this virus than previously thought.

Italy recently surpassed China for the most deaths in the world from COVID-19. On March 19, Italy reported 3,405 deaths linked to COVID-19 while China reported 3,130. Cases from Italy are showing that millennials, once thought to be better at handling the virus than the elderly, are more prone to the serious symptoms than originally thought.

“There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill, and very seriously ill, in the ICU,” Dr. Deborah Birx said at a White House briefing on the pandemic.

Birx continued to say that there is a belief that the virus is hitting the millennial generation so hard because of reports from China and South Korea. Originally, people believed that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions were most at risk of getting seriously ill.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, governments around the world are ordering citizens to self-isolate and practice social distancing.

Health experts recommend that people keep six feet between them and other people while they are outside. This distance will help to slow the virus from spreading across the nation like a tidal wave. There is no immunity to this disease which leaves everyone vulnerable to the virus.

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is causing widespread panic but it’s important to know the facts before reacting.

The mortality rate of COVID-19 was adjusted this week by the World Health Organization to 3.4 percent. The rate is much higher than the seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. In response, governments across the world have taken aggressive and necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus. In Saudi Arabia, the government has shut down Medina and Mecca ahead of the major Umrah pilgrimage. The Saudi government has canceled visas that allowed people to visit the holy sites and have recently banned Saudi citizens from participating in the pilgrimage. Numerous countries and states are closing schools to prevent the spread of the virus in various communities.

The mortality rate of the virus depends on the patient’s age and health.

The mortality rate is much higher from people 80+ with a death rate of about 21.9 percent. People 10-39 have a death rate of about 0.2 percent and it steadily increases with age. Health issues are another major factor in the lethality of the virus. Those suffering from cardiovascular diseases have a death rate of 13.2 percent and diabetes is in second with a death rate of 9.2 percent.

It is important to verify the information you get about the virus, especially if you are concerned about contracting it.

The Trump administration has been chastized for downplaying the severity of the virus to the potential risk of preventable deaths. The president has even politicized the virus claiming it to be a Democratic hoax further exposing people who might not think the virus is real. During a press conference at the end of February, President Trump claimed that the number of infections in the U.S. was going down, not up. However, the virus is spreading within communities in the U.S. with a climbing number of infected people and an increasing death toll. Trump also claimed that a vaccine for the virus will be ready soon, however, health experts working on the virus say we are one year away from developing a vaccine for this specific virus.

According to the scientific community, there is reason to be alarmed by the virus, but not panicked.

There are very specific segments of the population that are the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19’s lethal impact. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable while children are among the least vulnerable to die. There are outlying instances of young, healthy people dying from the virus, but that happens with other viruses and ailments.

Health organizations are here to help make sure you do not get infected or spread the disease with some easy steps, like washing your hands regularly.

Washing your hands regularly during an outbreak is one of the best ways to prevent being infected. It is also important not to touch your face or eyes before washing your hands as that’s an easy way to become infected. You should be washing your hands for 20 seconds in order to really clean all of the dirt, germs, and chemicals you might have on your hands from using them throughout the day.

Calm down with all of those masks you’re buying. Health care workers need them more and we are facing a shortage.

Credit: World Health Organization

Wearing medical masks might make you feel better but they aren’t as effective as you might think. It is also disruptive to the medical community when there are mask shortages. The most likely time you should wear a mask is if you are sick or personally taking round the clock care of a person who is infected with COVID-19. Even then, it is important to wash your hands regularly or it doesn’t work.

It is also crucial to avoid or limit contact with anyone who is sick and showing symptoms.

COVID-19 is spreading in communities in the U.S. through person-to-person contact. If you see someone who is sick and showing symptoms, avoid contact with that person to limit your chance of contracting the virus.

The CDC has released risk assessments as the virus spreads in the U.S.

According to the CDC, the current risk assessment is:

  • For most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated, though still relatively low risk of exposure.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.

For more information on the COVID-19 outbreak, check the CDC and WHO websites for updates and tips to stay healthy.

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