Thursday's health stories

Jul 30, 2020 - Sports

Fall college sports face a great unknown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As colleges continue making decisions regarding both academics and athletics for the fall semester, the coronavirus continues to show it's far from run its course.

Driving the news: The New York Times released results of a nationwide survey yesterday, linking at least 6,300 coronavirus cases to roughly 270 colleges.

Trump launches "Embers Strategy" in coronavirus hotspots

President Trump during a news conference on July 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Trump administration is sending increased personal protective equipment, coronavirus test kits and top health officials like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to coronavirus hotspots across the U.S. as part of a campaign called the “Embers Strategy," White House officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The push is part of a larger effort to show that President Trump is taking the pandemic seriously, something White House officials describe as a "renewed focus."

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

The deep decline in vaccine sales

GSK's Twinrix vaccine. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Global stay-at-home orders stemming from the coronavirus pandemic — especially those in the U.S. — have led to steep sales declines in routine vaccinations.

The big picture: Although more people are getting their vaccines now, "there remains some way to go to get back to pre-COVID levels for adult vaccinations," GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley said on an investor call Wednesday.

College reopening plans already challenged by the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many colleges’ plans to bring students back to campus this fall are almost certain to crash and burn.

Why it matters: Many families may not be willing to pay full tuition for a semester they know will only involve online classes. But there’s no reason to doubt that bringing college kids back to campus will result in thousands of coronavirus cases, infecting both students and staff.

Arizona and Texas are getting better; California and Florida aren't

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are beginning to decline, after a summer of sharp increases, and some of the hardest-hit states are improving significantly.

Yes, but: We're at the stage of this most recent outbreak in which deaths begin to spike. They're closing in on 150,000 and still rising.

Jul 30, 2020 - World

Vietnam faces fresh threat after 99 days free of coronavirus

My Khe beach in Danang on Tuesday, a day after Vietnam suspended all flights and public transport into and out of the city due to the detection of the country's first cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in months. Photo: Hoang Khanh/AFP via Getty Images

Vietnam reported on Thursday nine more people had tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of locally transmitted cases to 43 since the outbreak resurfaced over the weekend.

Why it matters: The country's efforts in combating the novel coronavirus had been widely credited. It had gone 99 days without a locally transmitted case before a 57-year-old man tested positive last Saturday, per a Vietnamese government statement. Nobody has died from the virus in Vietnam.

Jul 30, 2020 - World

Australia records deadliest coronavirus day

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media in Australia's capital, Canberra, on Thursday. Photo: Sean Davey/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Thursday the pandemic will be around "for some time" as he noted Victoria's strict measures hadn't had the desired effect. The state reported 723 new cases and 13 more deaths — a national daily record.

The big picture: In May, Australia looked set to suppress COVID-19. Victorian officials found sick people not getting tested quickly enough or leaving isolation led to the spike. State Premier Dan Andrews said at a briefing if anyone has symptoms, "you just can't go to work, because all you'll be doing is spreading the virus." Victoria will make wearing face coverings outside mandatory statewide from late Sunday. The states of New South Wales and Queensland reported Thursday 18 and three new cases, respectively.

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

Brazil lifts travel ban as cases and death toll surge to record numbers

Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Rahel Patrasso/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images

Brazil ended a four-month ban on foreign visitors arriving by air despite reporting a record number of daily coronavirus cases and deaths on Wednesday, per AFP.

The big picture: More than 1,595 people died of COVID-19 and another 69,074 have tested positive in Brazil. The country's total reported cases (over 2.5 million) and death toll (more than 90,100) are second only to the U.S. President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the virus' effects, even after previously testing positive for COVID-19. Brazil is facing the threat of its worst-ever recession.

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

Gohmert to use hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus treatment

Rep. Louie Gohmert during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill last Friday. Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told Fox News Wednesday that he plans to take hydroxychloroquine as part of his treatment for COVID-19.

Why it matters: Per Anthony Fauci, all of the randomized, controlled clinical trials for the anti-malarial have consistently shown that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in the treatment of coronavirus.

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

U.S. reports highest number of single-day coronavirus deaths since May

A funeral assistant prepares for a funeral in Miami, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Almost 66,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 1,400 deaths from the virus were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, per the COVID Tracking Project.

Why it matters: The toll marks the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in a single day since May 15, according to the tracking project's data. The U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 150,000 earlier Wednesday. "The rise in deaths is largely driven by the southern states, which reported 962 deaths today," it noted.

Florida to close state-run coronavirus testing sites ahead of storm

A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

The Florida Division of Emergency Management announced Wednesday all state-supported coronavirus testing sites will temporarily close this week ahead of the anticipated arrival of a weather system that's expected to become a tropical storm.

Why it matters: Florida has reported more than 450,00 cases and over 6,300 deaths from COVID-19, including a record 216 deaths in 24 hours announced Wednesday. "All sites have free standing structures including tents and other equipment, which cannot withstand tropical storm force winds, and could cause damage to people and property if not secured," the emergency management's statement said.

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

Fauci recommends eye protection to prevent contracting coronavirus

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci during a June Senate hearing in Washington, DC. Photo: Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told ABC News in an Instagram live discussing the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday evening, "If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it."

Why it matters: Eye protection is not currently included in formal guidance on COVID-19. The CDC only advises that health care workers use eye protection "in areas with moderate to substantial community transmission."

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

Ruth Bader Ginsburg recovering after non-surgical procedure

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resting in a New York City hospital Wednesday evening following a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure to replace a bile duct stent, the Supreme Court announced in a release.

Why it matters: Ginsburg has had health complications in recent years, including reoccurring liver cancer. This is her second hospital trip this month. The first hospitalization followed a possible infection.