NIH Image Gallery / Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein

July 29, 2020; KEYT (Santa Barbara, CA)

For anyone who has not yet looked at the COVID dashboard at Johns Hopkins, it is pretty stark. The US is well ahead of any other country in numbers of COVID 19 cases and number of deaths, As Congress is still arguing over the second coronavirus relief package, California, Texas and Florida set seven-day records for virus deaths this week according to USA Today. “Others set records for new cases. Tennessee and Arkansas set records for both.”

Nationwide, we are seeing a spike that represents the biggest one-day increase since May. In California, almost half of the deaths to date and more than half of the infections are among Latinx residents. (About a third of the population of California is Latinx.) Overall, the United States has seen 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, more than a fifth of all deaths globally from the pandemic.

In 29 states, the average number of daily deaths for the week ending Tuesday was at least 10-percent higher than in the previous week. Dr. Anthony Fauci says there are early indications now of a rise in positive cases in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. And the Association of American Medical Colleges predicted that the death toll could climb into the “multiple hundreds of thousands.”

“Decisive, coordinated action is urgently needed to save lives, end the pandemic, restore America’s economy, and return our lives to normalcy,” said Dr. David Skorton, AAMC president.

A report by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security warns, in fact, that “the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic,” unlike many other countries. And it makes a set of recommendations which include almost no surprises—universal mask mandates, improvement of testing, and stay-at-home orders where the pandemic is particularly active.

The fact that the problem is still raging in so many places suggests that there should be a priority set on safety over immediate re-opening but that will be a hard road to walk without an all-out investment by Congress in creating a bridge for the economy. —Ruth McCambridge