COVID-19 death rate resumes climb; current surge worse than spring — 9 updates

The U.S. saw a record single-day increase in COVID-19 cases for the second time this week, reporting more than 63,000 new cases July 9, according to Becker's analysis of data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University.

Nine updates:

1. An independent review of the international response to the pandemic is set to begin, the World Health Organization said July 9. Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark will lead the review, dubbed the "Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response." WHO member states are able to propose potential members of the panel. An interim report from the panel is expected in November, along with a "substantive" report at the World Health Assembly's 2021 May meeting. 

2. The current COVID-19 surge is worse than the one that occurred from March to May, health officials say, as reported by The New York Times. July 9 was the sixth day in a 10-day span with more than 50,000 new cases recorded in the U.S. Previously, when the Northeast was the center of the U.S outbreak and testing was more limited, a single-day peak of 36,738 new cases was reported April 24. That record stood until June 24, when the daily count was 36,880. 

3. The national COVID-19 mortality rate has started rising again, according to The New York Times. More than 800 people have died from COVID-19 every day for the last three days, for a total that's about 60 percent higher than during the same time period last week. The spike appears to be a reversal of declining mortality trends since mid-April.

4. Six states saw record case increases July 9: Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Texas, according to data tracked by The New York Times. Two states also recorded their highest single day death toll — Florida reported 120 deaths and Tennessee reported 22.

5. The WHO has published new guidance on COVID-19 transmission, including an acknowledgement that the virus can linger in the air indoors. The agency acknowledged that droplets carrying the virus may be airborne indoors and that people who spend long periods in crowded settings with poor ventilation may be at risk of infection. However, the guidance notes that more studies are still needed to investigate such instances. The WHO also said the virus can, without a doubt, be transmitted by people who are asymptomatic.

6. The Harvard Global Health Institute said lockdowns should be mandatory in five states facing severe COVID-19 outbreaks, according to The Washington Post. The Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit created a national tracker that assesses the severity of COVID-19 in each state. The researchers argue that outbreaks are so advanced in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia that stay-at-home measures should be mandatory. Another 15 states had accelerated COVID-19 spread, meaning stay-at-home orders should be considered, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute.

7. Shelter-in-place orders may have saved 250,000 to 370,000 lives from March to May 15, according to a study published in Health Affairs. Researchers examined COVID-19 death and hospitalization data from 42 states and Washington, D.C., that implemented statewide shelter-in-place orders in March. The analysis found a decline in the daily mortality growth rate after about three weeks, and a reduced daily growth rate of hospitalizations two weeks after enactment.  

8. More states issued new or updated face mask requirements this week, reports USA Today. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order July 8, requiring people to wear masks outside in public. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued an order the same day mandating the use of face masks in public in seven counties. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also signed an executive order July 9 requiring face masks in public, which a circuit judge temporarily blocked, according to CNN.

9. Thirteen states are experiencing COVID-19 testing issues, state, local and hospital officials told ABC News. Testing kit shortages have forced California and Nebraska to close down some testing sites, while Arizona and South Carolina have reported delayed test results due to a lack of laboratory testing capacity. Nebraska, New York, Michigan, Oregon, California, Louisiana, South Carolina are among the other states reporting issues, according to ABC News.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 3,118,168
Deaths: 133,291
Recovered: 969,111

Counts reflect data available as of 9:25 a.m. CDT July 10.

More articles on public health:
21 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: July 10
How birth month could influence a child's chances of getting the flu
WHO holds 'infodemiology' conference to fight coronavirus misinformation

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