The coronavirus tides have turned.
Back in March, Florida ordered all travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to isolate for two weeks. Now, people coming from Florida and other high-risk states must quarantine when arriving in the tri-state area.
“This is not a polite recommendation,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. The travel advisory applies to anyone coming from a state with a transmission rate above 10 per 100,000 people on a seven-day rolling average, or 10% of the total population testing positive in the same period. Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas were all in that category as of Wednesday.
More than half of US states are seeing large upticks in cases compared to last week. Texas, Florida and California, the three most populous states, all saw record high numbers of new cases yesterday.
Spikes in hospitalizations in Arizona and Texas suggest the two states’ healthcare systems might be near their limits. “The big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly and some of the models are, you know, on the verge of being apocalyptic,” warned Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine in Houston.
But as the public health disaster unravels, (and as dozens of Secret Service agents have to go into quarantine after the President’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma), Donald Trump has little to offer.
As Stephen Collinson notes, Trump is not just in denial, but also indifferent to the unfolding American tragedy.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: How safe are public restrooms?
A: “If you don’t have to use the public restroom, don’t,” said microbiologist Ali Nouri, president of the Federation of American Scientists. But he acknowledged that’s not always possible: “Sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta go.”
Close contact with others is the most significant risk in a public restroom, Nouri said. So if there’s a single-person bathroom available that doesn’t have multiple stalls, using that might be best. If you do use a multi-stall public restroom, Nouri offers the following tips:
- Use paper towels to dry your hands, not the hand dryer.
- Use a paper towel to turn off the water and open the bathroom door. Throw away the paper towel immediately afterward.
- Wear a face mask.
- If the restroom looks crowded, wait until it clears out, if you can.
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Pandemic still to peak in “many countries in the Americas”
The number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America has tripled in the past month, surpassing 2 million infections, the Pan American Health Organization said yesterday. Brazil alone accounts for more than 1 million of those cases, the only country besides the US that has surpassed that mark.
Yet the worst is probably still to come. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned the pandemic has yet to peak in many countries in the region. It expects the world to reach 10 million cases in the next week, with many new cases coming from the Americas.
Globally, the number of infections is rising by about 1 million every week and the WHO is worried the surge could lead to a shortage of oxygen with many countries struggling to get oxygen-making machines.
China’s latest crisis is almost over
The coronavirus outbreak linked to a wholesale food market in the Chinese capital Beijing has “basically been contained,” the municipal government said. The city reported only 13 new cases yesterday.
Beijing was forced to introduce a partial lockdown last week when a new outbreak emerged after 55 days without locally transmitted cases. It has sealed off entire neighborhoods, closed schools and barred hundreds of thousands of people at risk of contracting the virus from leaving the city. In its huge testing center, similar numbers of people were tested in just a few days.
Please, wear a mask
“Going out in public without a mask is like driving drunk,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University. “If you don’t get hurt, you might kill somebody else.”
More American cities and states are urging, and even ordering, people to wear masks in public. It’s been proven face coverings can help to stop the disease spreading. The latest incentive to wear one came from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It projected 179,106 will have died of Covid-19 by October 1 if nothing changes. But that number would drop to 146,000 if 95% of Americans wore masks in public. An unlikely change, we know.
Coronavirus waste shows up in the sea
Beaches on the French Côte d’Azur like those at Cannes or St. Tropez are among the most coveted vacation spots worldwide, but now the coronavirus pandemic has left an abundance of pollutants in the water: Discarded masks and gloves.
The nonprofit Operation Clean Sea has been sounding the alarm about finding discarded PPE and hand sanitizer bottles in their marine cleanup operations. Laurent Lombard, its founder, warned that “soon there may be more masks than jellyfish” in the Mediterranean.
ON OUR RADAR
- Disney is delaying the reopening of its flagship theme parks in California. In Florida, more than 7,000 people are urging Disney and government officials to delay opening Disney World next month as coronavirus cases surge in the state.
- Pride during a pandemic: Why LGBTQ visibility and connection still matter.
- The newborn triplets who tested positive for Covid-19 are in stable condition and “evolving favorably, Mexican health officials said. The parents of the babies both tested negative.
- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has joined forces with a group of telecoms companies to reach more than 600 million mobile subscribers with coronavirus health advice.
- The US Democratic National Convention Committee will scale back this summer’s convention, and is advising state delegates not to plan to travel to Milwaukee, where presidential candidate Joe Biden will accept the party’s nomination and deliver his acceptance speech.
- A bar near the University of Central Florida in Orlando has had its liquor license temporarily suspended after health officials linked it to more than 150 coronavirus cases.
- The pandemic hit the fashion industry hard, but Paris Fashion Week is going ahead in September.
- Two of the world’s biggest marathons, New York City and Berlin, were cancelled yesterday.
- The Eiffel Tower has reopened today — but only for visitors willing to climb the stairs. The elevators remain out of action.
- Qantas is cutting 6,000 jobs in an effort to survive. Aviation has been one of the biggest economic victims of the pandemic. Qantas’ main local competitor, Virgin Australia, is also fighting for its life, while Germany’s Lufthansa appears set to receive a $10 billion bailout from the German government.
What to do about ‘maskne’
It’s not just you. Many people who have never had a breakout are now finding their face looks like that of a teenager. “We’re seeing lots of flares of acne, especially a type called perioral dermatitis, which tends to happen typically around the mouth and in the areas around the nose,” said Dr. Seemal Desai, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Here’s what to do when a mask causes skin problems:
- Wash the mask after every use
- Use gentle skin care products
- Don’t switch to a new skin care regimen
- Don’t use petroleum protection
“We focus so much on the risk of Covid that we forget that there’s also a social emotional wellbeing piece for the grandparents and the kids, and that loneliness, social isolation are not good, particularly for older adults.” — Dr. Preeti Malani, infectious disease and geriatrics specialist
One of the top concerns we hear from listeners is whether it is safe for grandparents to visit their grandchildren in person. CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta asks that question to infectious disease and geriatrics specialist Dr. Preeti Malani. Listen Now.