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US Remains World Leader in COVID-19 Cases

07-13-2020
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Image Source: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Image Source: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Another record weekend keeps the US as the world leader in COVID-19 cases with nearly three and a half million. 

About half of those cases are currently active, and 135,000 Americans have lost their lives to this pandemic. 

Now Los Angeles and San Diego public schools have announced classes will be online this year.  

The threat is something more and more Americans are taking seriously. Even the president took the first-time precaution over the weekend, wearing a face mask in public as he visited troops at Walter Reed Hospital.

"I think it's a great day to wear a mask," Trump said. "I've never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place."

With COVID-19 cases surging across the country, many believe the time and place is here and now. The U.S. has seen 20,000 new cases in the last 24 hours - most of them in Florida.

"We are busting at the seams in the emergency room," said Leah Carpenter, CEO of Memorial West Hospital in Pembroke Pines, Florida. "I'm busting at the seams inside the hospital. I'm busting at the seams in terms of the ICUs."

The numbers are also up in dozens of other states including Texas, California, and Arizona where doctors report 90 percent of COVID samples in that state have a mutation researchers believe makes the virus more infectious.     
                             
"There's a growing body of evidence to suggest that this mutation allows it to infect human cells much easier and replicate a lot faster," said epidemiologist David Engelthaler. "So, it's going to be a long struggle to really get out in front of us with vaccines."
 
The army is sending a medical task force to Houston as Texas sees a record number of cases and hospitalizations amid disturbing news of so-called COVID parties. A 30-year-old Texas man died after allegedly contracting the disease at one.

"Someone will be diagnosed with the disease and they'll have a party to invite their friends over to see if they can beat the disease," said Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital.

Meanwhile, there's promising new data in the fight to keep patients alive. Analysis shows the drug Remdesivir increased the chance of survival in severe cases by 62% -- though doctors have a limited supply.

And at a summer camp in California, children are being taught how to self-administer COVID tests.

"Being able to show that we can do it here and the kids are really able to do it on their own in a way that is pretty safe for them and very comfortable, it means that we can do it in a school setting," said Naomi Bardach, associate professor of pediatrics at UCSF.

It's something that could prove useful as school leaders across the country consider plans for the upcoming school year and whether students will return to the classroom. The Trump administration is pushing hard for schools to reopen.

"It's more a matter of their health and well-being that they be back in school," said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. "We've seen this in other countries, in Europe and elsewhere in the world, where students have gone back to school and have done so very successfully. That should be the goal."

New government regulations mean some college students will have to leave the country. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is now saying those in the country on a student visa, who will be taking all classes online this coming semester will not have their visas renewed.  

Apparently, those students have the option of continuing their education stateside by transferring to schools that will offer in-person classes. 

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