US sees fewest daily cases in nearly 3 months; LabCorp test can detect flu, COVID-19 + RSV — 7 updates

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. nearly quadrupled over the summer, rising by more than 6.2 million cases between Memorial Day weekend and Sept. 8. according to data tracked by The Washington Post. The number of Americans who died of COVID-19 rose from 100,000 to more than 186,000 over the same time period, according to the Post.

However, the U.S. reported just 24,257 cases Sept. 7, marking the lowest daily increase in nearly three months, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Seven updates:

1. New York's COVID-19 infection rate has remained under 1 percent for 30 straight days as of Sept. 6, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The state reported 720 new infections, four deaths and 410 hospitalizations Sept. 6, compared to a peak day in May when it recorded 11,500 new cases, according to Washington Post data. Health officials are urging people to follow social distancing measures after the holiday weekend to maintain low case numbers. State officials also announced a new initiative to boost post-mortem flu and COVID-19 testing, with deceased hospital patients and nursing home residents among those targeted, according to The New York Times.

2. LabCorp launched the first test to simultaneously detect COVID-19, the flu and/or respiratory syncytial virus. The test is available to patients through healthcare providers, though LabCorp has also applied for FDA approval of an at-home version of the test.

3. Without more COVID-19 aid, states will slash funding for healthcare and education, reports The New York Times. Through the summer of 2022, state and local governments are projected to have budget shortfalls of $500 billion, assuming the pandemic doesn't worsen, according to Moody's Analytics. States and cities have already made numerous budget cuts and are planning more if Congress doesn't agree on a fiscal relief package. Without further aid, New York will cut $8.2 billion in grants to local governments, including cuts to special education, pediatric healthcare and substance abuse programs. California has said its school districts will have to fund themselves without further relief, and Colorado is increasing copayments Medicaid patients must pay for appointments, pharmaceuticals and medical transport.

4. Few COVID-19 testing sites accept children, which can create a COVID-19 "blind spot," one health expert told The New York Times. Many sites do not test kids at all, or set age minimums to exclude young children, due to concerns over insurance differences and medical privacy rules, among other obstacles. The lack of available testing for children can complicate schools' reopening plans and hinder our ability to understand how the virus is spreading, according to Nir Menachemi, PhD, a professor of health policy and management at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. "Having a blind spot makes you not able to respond from a public health perspective, either with the correct messaging or with the right policies to put into place to protect the people who are vulnerable," he told the Times.

5. Sixty-five percent of voters say they'd feel a vaccine was rushed if it becomes available in 2020, according to a Sept. 2-4 poll conducted on behalf of CBS News by YouGov. Of 2,493 registered voters nationwide, only 21 percent said they would get a vaccine as soon as possible if one became available at no cost, down from 32 percent in late July. 

6. About one-fifth of COVID-19 cases confirmed nationwide between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2 may be linked to a South Dakota motorcycle rally, according to research from the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies at San Diego State University. Nearly 500,000 people attended the Sturgis (S.D.) Motorcycle Rally from Aug. 7-16. Researchers estimate that at least 250,000 reported cases are due to the rally, accounting for 19 percent of national cases between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2, study author Andrew Friedsen, an associate professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver, tweeted Sept. 6. 

7. More than 51,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at colleges and universities since March 1, according to an updated tally from The New York Times. The nation's top health officials are urging universities facing outbreaks to keep students on campus, instead of sending them home, which would cause the virus to spread in new communities, reports ABC News.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 6,301,919
Deaths: 189,226
Recovered: 2,333,551

Counts reflect data available as of 9:10 a.m. CDT Sept. 8.

More articles on public health:
A timeline of emerging infectious diseases in history
COVID-19 antibodies may last 4 months, Iceland study finds 
After month of decline, positive COVID-19 tests rise in late August: 4 CDC finding


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