White House creates new hot spot strategy; young adults may be fueling uptick in COVID-19 patients over 65 — 6 updates

New COVID-19 cases are starting to fall in the U.S., although deaths are still rising, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. 

The U.S. recorded 1,420 deaths on July 29, the highest daily total seen since May 27, according to The New York Times. The national death toll also surpassed 150,000 yesterday. 

Six updates:

1. The White House plans to send more personal protective equipment, COVID-19 tests and top health experts to hot spots per a new "Embers Strategy" to help control the pandemic, officials told Axios. The campaign will focus on areas with test positivity rates between 5 percent and 10 percent to prevent worsening outbreaks. The strategy's name plays on the metaphor of containing smaller "embers" before they become larger "fires," a senior White House official told Axios. White House Coronavirus Task Force members Anthony Fauci, MD, and Deborah Birx, MD, are among the experts who will visit targeted cities. Public health officials will also appear on local and regional media outlets to educate the public on COVID-19 precautions like social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

2. Children 10 and older can transmit the virus just as easily as adults, Dr. Fauci said July 29, per CNBC. Dr. Fauci cited research from South Korea, which found children under 9 were less likely to transmit COVID-19 to family members. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also recommended Americans wear goggles or a face shield to prevent the virus's spread during a July 29 Instagram Live conversation with ABC News. 

3. Nursing homes with more deficiencies or complaints report more COVID-19 cases, a study published in Network Jama Open found. The study involved 8,943 nursing homes in 23 states. Nursing homes that reported COVID-19 cases had, on average, more reported incidents, substantiated complaints and health and emergency preparedness deficiencies than facilities with no reported cases

4. Some hotspots like Houston and Southern Florida are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 patients over 65, suggesting that young people are infecting older family members or other elderly people they've come into contact with, reports The Washington Post. Last month, about 40 percent of Miami-based Jackson Health System's COVID-19 patients were 65 or older. That figure has since risen to about 55 percent. While up to 90 percent of the system's COVID-19 patients in the emergency department are under 65, those over 65 make up the largest proportion of deaths, according to Jackson Health CMO Peter Paige, MD.

5. Florida saw a record increase in COVID-19 deaths July 29, while California recorded daily highs for both deaths and new cases, CBS News reports. The two states have the highest confirmed number of virus cases nationwide. California recorded more than 185 COVID-19 deaths and more than 12,300 new cases, The New York Times reports. Florida reported more than 216 COVID-19 deaths, a day after recording a previous high of 186 deaths. Florida officials will be temporarily closing all drive-thru and walk-up testing sites run by the state July 30 in anticipation of a tropical storm.

6. Ohio reported a single-day record of 1,122 COVID-19 hospitalizations July 29, according to Columbus Business News. Surpassing the state's peak of 1,103 COVID-19 hospitalizations set in late April, Ohio hospitals are currently at 75.6 percent capacity, with surge space available, according to the Ohio Hospital Association. The number of intensive care beds and ventilators in use are not as high as they were in April.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 4,427,620
Deaths: 150,717
Recovered: 1,389,425

Counts reflect data available as of 8:45 a.m. CDT July 30.



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