Today's word count is 1,194, or a 5-minute read.
Today's word count is 1,194, or a 5-minute read.
The pace of new coronavirus cases slowed over the past week, but things are still getting worse in most of the country, Axios' Sam Baker and Andrew Witherspoon report.
The big picture: After weeks of explosive growth, the number of new infections in the U.S. is still climbing — but not quite as fast as it has been.
By the numbers: The number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. shot up by over 20% per week for the past month.
Several of the worst hotspots experienced slower growth this week than they have throughout July.
Between the lines: Axios uses a rolling seven-day average to minimize the effects of any abnormalities in how and when new cases are reported.
The bottom line: 66,000 new cases per day is a recipe for overworked hospitals, strained supply lines, prolonged school closures and, of course, thousands of preventable deaths.
Americans are divided by race and party on the question of whether schools should open sooner or later, according to new polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Why it matters: Although reopening schools may exacerbate community spread of the coronavirus, keeping kids at home often causes learning loss and makes life much harder for working parents.
Between the lines: Staying home is often harder on children of color for a multitude of reasons, including that they may not have the same access to virtual learning as wealthier white children.
The big picture: The Trump administration has been pushing schools to fully reopen in the fall, and Republicans are unsurprisingly much more likely to agree with the president than Democrats.
What we're watching: Half of parents said their child's school hadn't yet announced whether they'd be having in-person classes in the fall.
HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country, smashed Wall Street's second-quarter profit expectations even though the coronavirus outbreak forced hospitals to halt elective procedures for several weeks during the quarter.
The Trump administration has agreed to pay Pfizer $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the experimental coronavirus vaccine the company is developing with German biotech company BioNTech. The deal also gives the government the right to buy another 500 million doses.
President Trump said Wednesday that the reason health experts like Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci no longer attend his coronavirus press briefings is that they brief him on "everything they know as of this point in time" and he passes the information on to the public.
California reported 12,807 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, setting a new record for daily infections and pulling the state past New York for most total confirmed cases in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
United Airlines announced Wednesday that it will require customers to wear face masks in all airport spaces, warning that those who do not comply could face a ban as long as mask requirements remain in place.
Over 15 million confirmed coronavirus cases have been recorded worldwide as of Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.
Yoshiro Mori, president of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, said Wednesday that the summer games rescheduled for next July won't be possible if the coronavirus pandemic continues in its current state, AP reports.
The Australian state of Victoria reported on Wednesday a record 484 new coronavirus cases, while additional infections in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia took the nationwide total to 502 — the most recorded in the country.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where it's currently winter, there have been much fewer flu cases than normal — likely a result of the same measures being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: As bad as the pandemic is in the U.S., things could get a whole lot worse if the flu is spreading and straining health system resources at the same time during the fall and winter.
Yes, but: The reason that coronavirus cases have soared in the U.S. is that people have resumed their normal lives, or at least parts of them, enabling the virus to spread. If that continues, then the flu will be able to spread, too.
The other side: Even countries that have struggled to contain the coronavirus have seen reduced flu cases. In Brazil, flu cases have fallen by about 40% and deaths by half.
The unique characteristics of this pandemic may not allow people to completely eradicate it, but public health measures and good vaccines should bring "very good control," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
Driving the news: "We are living, right now, through a historic pandemic outbreak. And, we are, right now, in a situation where we do not see any particular end in sight," Fauci told a panel hosted by the not-for-profit TB Alliance, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly writes.
"It's the perfect storm," Fauci says. For a public health official, this is "almost your worst nightmare."
Plus, "the spectrum of involvement with the same pathogen is very unique," Fauci says.
Meanwhile, other panel members also expressed concern that the pandemic may cause an uptick in diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.