Coronavirus update: Up to 145,000 COVID-19 deaths possible in United States by July 11, WHO says virus is accelerating
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released a forecast suggesting there will be between 129,000 and 145,000 total COVID-19 deaths in the US by July 11.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the virus is “accelerating” and Thursday was the highest single-day rise in cases since the start of the pandemic.
This story was throughout Saturday.
Saturday’s key moments:
145,000 COVID-19 deaths in US by mid-July, CDC predicts
The CDC in the United States has warned the country’s death toll from COVID-19 could hit 145,000 within the next three weeks.
The epidemiological body released graphs today collated from 21 individual national forecasts suggesting there would likely be between 129,000 and 145,000 total reported COVID-19 deaths by July 11.
It singled out several states in which the number of new deaths would likely exceed the number reported over the past four weeks — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, North and South Carolina, Oregon, and Utah.
For other states, the number of new deaths was expected to be similar or decrease slightly compared to the previous four weeks.
Health officials have reported more than 2.2 million cases of the virus in the US and close to 119,000 deaths.
If the forecast is accurate, that will equal up to a further 26,000 deaths in the US over the next three weeks.
WHO issues bleak warning as cases in the Americas rise again
The World Health Organization (WHO) says there were 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, marking the highest single-day rise since the pandemic began.
Nearly half of those cases were confirmed in the Americas as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a grim warning.
“The world is in a new and dangerous phase,” Dr Tedros told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.
“The virus is still spreading fast, it is still deadly, and most people are still susceptible.”
More than 8.54 million people globally have been infected by coronavirus and more than 454,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr Tedros, whose leadership of the WHO has been severely criticised by US President Donald Trump, urged people to maintain social distancing and “extreme vigilance”.
As well as the Americas, a large number of new cases were coming from South Asia and the Middle East, Dr Tedros added.
WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan drew attention to the situation in Brazil, where he said there had been 1,230 additional COVID-19 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
Brazil has the world’s worst outbreak outside the United States, with 978,142 confirmed cases and 47,748 deaths.
Restrictions tightened in Victoria after four days of double-digit cases
The Victorian Premier has announced the state will impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions from Monday, amid growing concern about a looming second wave of the virus.
From 11.59pm on Sunday, private households will only be able to have up to five visitors, down from gatherings of up to 20 people as currently allowed.
Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people.
Pubs, clubs and restaurants will retain their 20-people maximums and the limit will not increase to 50 for at least three weeks.
There have been 25 new cases of the virus detected in the state today.
It is the fourth day in a row Victoria has recorded a double-digit rise in cases.
Essendon’s Conor McKenna tests positive
Essendon defender Conor McKenna has tested positive for coronavirus, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has confirmed.
The news has forced the postponement of Sunday’s game between the Bombers and Melbourne, but all other games in round three and beyond will, at this stage, proceed as usual.
McKenna returned to his native Ireland during the COVID-19-enforced shutdown, but arrived back in May and has been training with his Bombers teammates since his 14-day quarantine period ended.
McLachlan said all Essendon players were tested on Friday night, and McKenna was the only one to test positive. He said McKenna had been asymptomatic.
COVID-19 may have been in Italy as early as December
Scientists in Italy have found traces of the new coronavirus in wastewater collected from Milan and Turin in December 2019 — suggesting COVID-19 was already circulating in northern Italy before China reported the first cases.
The Italian National Institute of Health looked at 40 sewage samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy between October 2019 and February 2020.
An analysis released late on Thursday said samples taken in Milan and Turin on December 18 showed the presence of the virus.
“This research may help us understand the beginning of virus circulation in Italy,” said Giuseppina La Rosa, an expert in environmental wastewater at the Italian National Institute of Health who co-led the research.
Small studies conducted by scientific teams in the Netherlands, France, Australia and elsewhere have found signs that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be detected in sewage, and many countries are beginning to use wastewater sampling to track the spread of the disease.
Scientists said the detection of traces of the virus before the end of 2019 was consistent with evidence emerging in other countries that COVID-19 may have been circulating before China reported the first cases of a new disease on December 31.
“That COVID-19 could have been circulating in Italy is possible,” said Rowland Kao, a veterinary epidemiology and data science professor at Scotland’s Edinburgh University.
“[This finding] does not on its own, however, tell us if that early detection was the source of the very large epidemic in Italy, or if that was due to a later introduction into the country.”
A study in May by French scientists found that a man was infected with COVID-19 as early as December 27, nearly a month before France confirmed its first cases.
Brazil’s cases reach 1 million
Brazil’s Government has confirmed the country has risen above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States.
The country’s Health Ministry said the total now stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday.
The ministry said the sharp increase was due to corrections of previous days’ underreported numbers.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was still downplaying the risks of the virus after nearly 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 in three months, saying the impact of social-isolation measures on the economy could be worse than the disease itself.
Specialists believe the actual number of cases in Brazil could be up to seven times higher than the official statistic.
Johns Hopkins University said Brazil was performing an average of 14 tests per 100,000 people each day, and health experts said that number was up to 20 times fewer than needed to track the virus.
Official data show a downward trend of the virus in Brazil’s north, including the hard-hit region of the Amazon, a plateau in cases and deaths in the countries’ biggest cities near the Atlantic coast, but a rising curve in the south.
Hydroxychloroquine trial halted
Swiss drugmaker Novartis is halting its trial of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19 after struggling to find participants, it said on Friday, as data from other studies raised doubts about its efficacy.
Novartis’s move followed the US Food and Drug Administration’s decision this week to revoke emergency use authorisation for hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19, on grounds it was unlikely to help patients.
Russian teenagers beaten 10-1 as league restarts
A team of Russian teenagers has taken to the field for a club hit by the coronavirus pandemic, losing 10-1, as soccer in the country restarted.
FC Rostov was forced to send a squad with an average age of 17 to play against Sochi on Friday, two days after its entire first team was put into isolation over a suspected virus outbreak among six players.
Sochi refused to postpone the game, leaving Rostov a choice between fielding academy graduates or accepting defeat by default.
A fairytale result was briefly on the cards as Roman Romanov gave Rostov the lead after 52 seconds with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Sochi soon hit back and finished with 10 goals, the most in league history, mostly scored by players with Russian national-team experience.
Rostov’s 17-year-old goalkeeper Denis Popov won widespread praise and was named man of the match.
Despite conceding a record number of goals, he stopped a penalty and also set a new league record for most saves in a game with 15.
Coronavirus impact among refugees will be ‘devastating’ UN report says
A new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report predicts the rate of coronavirus infection among refugees will be devastating.
The UNHCR’s special adviser on climate action, Andrew Harper, said the pandemic had compounded the suffering experienced by refugees and their impact on their host communities.
Mr Harper said while it was understandable countries wanted to shut their borders to refugees, there were more important considerations.
“People are also fleeing for their lives, and so there are human rights obligations and we’d like countries to, while protecting their own populations, still put in place measures, [so] that people can apply for asylum where required,” he said.
UK lowers alert level
Britain has lowered its COVID-19 alert level by one notch from four to three as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans every pupil to return to school by September.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre recommended the COVID-19 alert level should move to level 3 — a COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation — from level 4 — a COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially.
“There has been a steady decrease in cases we have seen in all four nations, and this continues,” the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland said.
“It does not mean that the pandemic is over.
“The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur.”
The UK has an COVID-19 official death toll of more than 42,000 people making it one of the worst hit countries in the world, and that figure jumps to over 50,000 based on official data including fatalities where it is mentioned on death certificates.
“The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Meanwhile the Mr Johnson announced he expected all school children to be back in classes by September.
Speaking on a school visit in Hemel Hempstead, where pupils sang the Prime Minister happy birthday, the PM said he was “sure we can get it done”.
Some year groups started returning to classrooms this month, but the Government has faced criticism for dropping plans to get all primary pupils back into school before the end of the academic year.
Beijing outbreak ‘under control’ says China
China’s capital Beijing has recorded a drop in new coronavirus cases.
The fall came amid tightened restrictions designed to contain the spread of the virus.
Twenty-two new cases were reported on Saturday, down from 25 cases on Friday.
A total of 205 people have been diagnosed with the virus since the new outbreak began in Beijing last week, although authorities insist it is under control.
Officials in Beijing are carrying out nucleic acid tests on all food and parcel-delivery workers, state-backed Beijing News has reported.
Officials are now targeting the tens of thousands of delivery workers who regularly traverse the city, where fleets of motorised pedicabs and scooters ridden by couriers delivering parcels and food are a common sight.
Spain adds more than 1,000 to death toll
Spain is adding more than 1,000 more fatalities to its coronavirus death toll in the first update in nearly two weeks after officials revised a backlog of inconsistent data.
At least 28,313 people have died through Friday with a COVID-19 diagnosis, health officials — authorities had stopped updating the tally at 27,136 on June 7.
The country has also confirmed more than 244,000 infections since the beginning of the outbreak, although an official immunisation survey estimates that 5 per cent of its 47 million inhabitants are presumed as having contracted the virus.
Spain’s health minister says that 34 clusters have been detected in the past six weeks, since Spain began to relax its confinement rules.
The new clusters have infected around 1,000 people in slaughterhouses, nursing homes, hospitals, as well as among migrant workers and party-goers.
US Open may feature wheelchair events
The US Tennis Association says it’s willing to reconsider the cancellation of wheelchair events at the US Open.
Under a plan announced earlier this week amid the coronavirus pandemic, the September Grand Slam tournament would drop wheelchair events to reduce the number of people on-site.
It prompted Australian wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott to publicly protest the cutting of his event.
In a statement, the USTA says it should have consulted wheelchair athletes and is now working how it can stage the events.
Trump gears up for first political rally in three months
Pressing ahead in amid the coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump will this weekend return to the format that has so often energised himself and his loyal supporters; a raucous, no-holds-barred rally before tens of thousands of ardent fans, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The rally — to be held on Sunday Australian time — is shaping up to be one of the biggest indoor events in the US since large gatherings were shut down in March.
It was scheduled despite the protests of local health officials and amid rises in COVID-19 cases in many states.
The rally is also expected to draw crowds of protesters to the area.
“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or low lifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
It‘s been more than three months since the nation last saw a Trump rally.
“Big crowds and lines already forming in Tulsa. My campaign hasn’t started yet. It starts on Saturday night in Oklahoma!” Trump tweeted Friday.
Trump contradicts Anthony Fauci via Twitter
US President Donald Trump has clashed with the country’s top infectious diseases expert on whether the National Football League (NFL) can proceed later this year.
The number of coronavirus cases continues to increase in many US states and Dr Anthony Fauci has said professional football may not happen this year.
Mr Trump today tweeted that he had informed Dr Fauci that he had nothing to do with the NFL, which was planning a very safe and controlled opening.
US Navy upholds firing of USS Roosevelt captain Brett Crozier in virus outbreak
The two senior commanders on a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier did not “do enough, soon enough” to stem the outbreak, the US Navy’s top officer has said.
Captain Brett E Crozier and Rear Admiral Stuart Baker, commander of the carrier strike group, made serious errors in judgment as they tried to work through an outbreak that sidelined USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam for 10 weeks, said Admiral Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations.
The Crozier decision was a surprise since Admiral Gilday had recommended the captain be restored to his command less than two months ago after an initial inquiry.
More than 1,000 crew members of USS Roosevelt were infected with COVID-19, which the investigation determined was likely obtained during a port visit in Vietnam in March.
US renters to be faced with evictions
A torrent of evictions looms as US coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, putting millions of people, often in black communities, at risk of losing their homes, housing researchers and activists have warned.
Many states have halted evictions since mid-March, as the novel coronavirus spread rapidly, but such provisions are scheduled to end in the coming months as the country reopens.
“There’s every reason to expect that this will result in a pretty serious rental market housing crisis,” said Peter Hepburn, a research fellow at the Eviction Lab, a research group at Princeton University in New Jersey.
“Renters already put a lot of their income toward paying rent, and many of them have very limited savings, if anything, to help them weather this crisis,” he said.
At least 29 million people in the United States are collecting unemployment checks, according to the Labor Department, as people suffered record job losses in recent months.
Evictions typically hit black communities hardest, data shows — an illustration of the inequality fuelling the protests over race and policing that have beset the United States for weeks, activists say.
Black renters faced eviction filings by landlords at nearly twice the rate of white renters, according to an analysis of national data from 2012 to 2016 by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Czech Republic records largest case jump since April
The Czech Republic reported its biggest one-day jump in new coronavirus cases in two months on Friday, with the rise exceeding 100 for only the third time since mid-April.
The number of new cases was 118 on Thursday, the Health Ministry said, the largest daily rise since April 21.
The central European country has since May been relaxing lockdown rules, with more easing planned from Monday. Health Minister Adam Vojtech said the jump was caused by more cases in eastern localities, which have been identified as a hotbed, together with the capital Prague. He said a number of cases were found in a nursing home. The Czech Republic had reported 10,283 cases as of Friday morning, of which almost three quarters have recovered.
The central European country has since May been relaxing lockdown rules, with more easing planned from Monday.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech said the jump was caused by more cases in eastern localities, which have been identified as a hotbed, together with the capital Prague.
He said a number of cases were found in a nursing home.
The Czech Republic had reported 10,283 cases as of Friday morning, of which almost three quarters have recovered.