Cases fall nationwide for 4th week; Chinese government uninformed of COVID-19's true dangers for weeks, US finds — 5 updates

New COVID-19 cases have fallen nationwide for four consecutive weeks, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. 

This week, cases have declined in at least 20 states compared to the week prior and held steady in another 18 states, CNN reports, citing data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University.

Five updates:

1. A new internal report from U.S. intelligence agencies found that local officials in Wuhan tried to withhold information about COVID-19 from China's central government, reports The New York Times. American officials familiar with the report told NYT that top officials in Beijing went weeks without knowing the true dangers of the virus. The report also supports the claim that Communist Party officials hid crucial information about the virus from the world, the officials said.

2. About 20 percent of the U.S. population lives an average of 22 miles away from the nearest COVID-19 testing site, a new GoodRx analysis found. This percentage translates to more than 67 million Americans in both rural and urban areas lacking adequate access to testing. 

3. American Indians and Alaska Natives are 3.5 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than white Americans, a new CDC analysis of 23 states found. American Indian/Alaska Native patients who tested positive also tended to be younger than white patients with the virus. Researchers noted a lack of available data to compare American Indian/Alaska Native infection rates to those of other racial or ethnic groups, highlighting the need to improve data collection to better understand health outcomes for these groups.

4. Child abuse advocacy centers have seen 40,000 fewer kids during the pandemic, The Washington Post reports. The centers, which support families and children as abuse cases move through the justice system, saw 192,367 children from January to June 2019, compared with 152,016 this year, a 21 percent drop, according to the National Children's Alliance. "We have absolutely no reason to believe the actual incidence rate has declined," Teresa Huizar, executive director of the National Children's Alliance, told the Post. "What we really believe is that there are 40,000 fewer kids that haven't been saved from abuse."

5. American Airlines will suspend service to 15 small U.S. cities after federal aid runs out in October, CNBC reports. American and the other passenger airlines that accepted federal support had to maintain minimum levels of service through Sept. 30. American now intends to cut services at airports with low demand between Oct. 7 and Nov. 3.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 5,530,441
Deaths: 173,193
Recovered: 1,925,049

Counts reflect data available as of 8:45 a.m. CDT Aug. 20.

More articles on public health:
California identifies first human plague case since 2015
32 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Aug. 20
NYC shares data on 1.4 million antibody tests: 3 takeaways


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