Coronavirus update: U.S. death toll rises by 1,000 in one day, as political rhetoric escalates
The number of deaths in the U.S. as a result of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 rose by more than 1,000 in a day, and the total death toll grew toward 202,000, as pandemic politics intensified ahead of the presidential election.
The U.S. wasn’t alone, as daily case counts surged around the world. In Europe, 13 countries are experiencing a sustained rise in cases, according to reports in the Guardian. That includes Holland hitting a new daily record, Poland seeing more than 1,100 new infections in a day after restrictions eased and France recording a rise of more than 1,000 in intensive care because of the coronavirus.
As concerns over a coming new wave of infections grow, political rhetoric about COVID-19 has stepped up. President Trump suggested late Wednesday that stricter guidelines put forth by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a coronavirus vaccine, may be politically motivated, according to an Associated Press report.
“I think that was a political move more than anything else,” Trump said.
And as Trump continues to push for a faster timeline in approving a vaccine, Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, fired off a shot, saying “President Trump is still trying to sabotage the work of our scientists and public health experts for his own political ends,” an AP report said.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn moved to reassure Congress and the public, saying career scientists will decide on whether a vaccine meets safety and efficacy guidelines, not politicians.
At least 1,091 new coronavirus deaths were recorded on Wednesday, up from 942 on Tuesday, according to data provided by the New York Times. There were 41,566 new cases reported on Wednesday, up from 37,293 the day before. That’s in line with the daily average of 41,882 cases over the past week, which is up 14% from the average two weeks earlier.
Here’s a New York Times map of per capita cases in the U.S.:
In Europe, Italy fired back at U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said on Wednesday he believed the reason the U.K.’s infection rate was worsening relative to its European neighbors was because the U.K. was a “freedom loving country.”
Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, said Italians also love freedom, but they also care about seriousness, the Guardian reported.
The U.K. led Europe in coronavirus deaths with 41,951, according to JHU, followed by Italy at 35,758, France at 31,472, Spain at 31,034 and Russia at 19,867. Russia led Europe in cases with 1,123,976, followed by Spain at 693,556, France with 520,193, the U.K. with 412,249 and Italy 302,537.
The global case count reached 31,937,244 on Thursday as deaths rose to 977,624. After the U.S., the highest death tolls were Brazil with 138,105 and India with 91,149, while India was second in cases with 5,732,581 and Brazil was third with 4,591,364. Mexico was fourth in deaths with 74,949, but seventh in cases with 710,049.
In an unsettling development, new research indicates that the novel coronavirus has mutated into a strain that is more easily transmitted and more infections, according to a preprint study published by researchers at the Houston Methodist Hospital. A preprint is a study that is not peer-reviewed. The report showed that people affected by the new strain tended to be younger, had fewer co-morbidities, were poorer and more likely to be Latino.
Although the full array of factors contributing to the massive second wave in Houston isn’t known, it is possible that the potential for increased transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 with the Gly614 may have played a role, as well as changes in behavior associated with the Memorial Day and July 4 holidays, and relaxation of some of the social constraints imposed during the first wave,” the researchers wrote.
Meanwhile, Wall Street took the somber coronavirus data and news in stride, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
rose 54 points, or 0.2%, in morning trading, while the S&P 500 index SPX,
gained 0.4%. See Market Snapshot.
In other news:
• The U.K. government is considering launching “human challenge trials,” in which volunteers are infected with the novel coronavirus on purpose, in an effort to speed up the development of a vaccine, according to a Financial Times report.
• New research showed that colleges in the U.S. that reopened for in-person instruction were associated with 3,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. To come up with the findings, which aren’t yet peer reviewed, the researchers used cellphone data to track mobility in the weeks leading up to and following campus reopenings, as MarketWatch’s Jillian Berman reported.
• United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL,
launched a pilot program to make COVID-19 tests available to some of its travelers. Starting Oct. 15, people traveling on United from San Francisco to Hawaii will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport, or a self-taken mail-in test ahead of their trip. The air carrier said the rapid tests provide results in about 15 minutes, while it recommends customers using the mail-in test to provide samples within 72 hours of their trip