New cases stabilize; more young people dying in South — 5 COVID-19 updates

New COVID-19 cases stabilized in the U.S. last week after rising over the past month, according to The New York Times.

Currently, about 66,000 new cases are confirmed daily — still far higher than most other large, high-income countries. The U.S. has also recorded more than 1,000 daily COVID-19 deaths for the fourth day in a row, The Washington Post reports.

Five updates:

1. Moderna and the National Institutes of Health launched a vaccine trial involving 30,000 Americans July 27, according to The New York Times. With 89 sites, the Phase 3 clinical trial is one of the nation's first large-scale COVID-19 vaccine studies. Earlier tests showed the vaccine triggered an immune response, with some side effects like sore arms, fatigue, achiness and fever. Despite the expedited testing, "the most stringent safety measures" are being maintained, according to Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the NIH. Moderna said it plans to produce around 500 million doses per year beginning in 2021, with the potential to manufacture up to 1 billion doses every year, according to a July 11 news release.

2. A higher proportion of Americans under 65 are dying in the South compared to the North, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Researchers examined CDC data for the week ending July 11 to determine the distribution of COVID-19 deaths by age group in each state. Of the 41 states examined, along with Washington, D.C., areas reporting a larger share of adults 65 and older who have died of COVID-19 tend to be areas with a disproportionate number of deaths in long-term care facilities. Many of the states reporting a smaller share of COVID-19 deaths among adults 65 and older compared to the national average are in the South and the Sun Belt, including Alabama, Tennessee, Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico and Texas.

3. Florida has overtaken New York as the state with the second-highest COVID-19 case count behind California, reports NPR. As of 8:15 a.m. CDT July 27, Florida had 423,847 cases, compared to 416,443 cases in New York and 459,338 cases in California, according to an analysis from The New York Times. 

4. The average turnaround time for COVID-19 testing is 4.27 days, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." However, some Americans have been waiting up to two weeks for test results from major lab companies like Quest Diagnostics, reports The New York Times. "We are never going to be happy with testing until we get turnaround times within 24 hours, and I would be happy with point-of-care testing everywhere. We are not there yet. We are doing everything we can to do that," Dr. Giroir told CNN.

5. The COVID-19 pandemic is "easily the most severe" global health emergency ever declared by the World Health Organization, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said during a July 27 media briefing. Dr. Tedros warned that the pandemic is still accelerating globally and said it "has shown what humans are capable of — both positively and negatively,” according to The Washington Post.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 4,234,140
Deaths: 146,935
Recovered: 1,297,863

Counts reflect data available as of 8:20 a.m. CDT July 27.

More articles on public health:
6 potential long-term side effects of COVID-19
NYT: COVID-19 hospitalization rates in 20 metropolitan areas
Underlying conditions put nearly half of adults in CDC study at risk for COVID-19


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