White House tries to block testing, tracing funding in relief bill; 57,000+ Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 — 7 updates

The nation's seven-day average of new cases has increased for 41 consecutive days as of July 19, reports The Washington Post.

The World Health Organization also reported nearly 260,000 new cases July 18, marking a global record increase for the second day in a row, reports BBC News.   

Seven updates:

1. The White House has tried to block billions of dollars for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing in the upcoming relief bill, two Republican sources told NBC News July 19. Some Senate Republicans are pushing back against the White House's attempt, which would also reduce funds to the CDC, as first reported by The Washington Post. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News July 19 that the Trump administration is focused on expediting vaccines and treatments, keeping people employed and bringing back manufacturing from overseas. Mr. Meadows said relief bill negotiations will "start in earnest" July 20.

2. Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina all saw record single-day case increases July 19, according to The Washington Post. Nationwide, COVID-19 deaths are rising, and some experts say the numbers will continue to increase as states set new death records daily. In the past week, seven-day averages for daily new fatalities have jumped more than 40 percent in Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa and five other states.

3. The FDA issued emergency use authorization to Quest Diagnostics' COVID-19 test that pools samples. The test can process up to four swab specimens at once and represents the first such diagnostic to receive emergency authorization. 

4. More than 57,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S., as of July 19, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. This spring, daily U.S. hospitalizations peaked at 59,539 on April 15.

5. The U.S. has the fifth highest total death rate (429 deaths per million residents) behind the U.K., Spain, Italy and Sweden, according to The New York Times' "The Morning" newsletter published July 20. 

6. The U.S. surgeon general has voiced opposition to a federal mask mandate, The Washington Post reports. In an interview with Fox News, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, championed wearing masks but said he is against a federal mask mandate. "If you're going to have a federal mandate, you have to have a federal enforcement mechanism," Dr. Adams said. "As a scientist, as an educator, I would rather help people understand why they should cooperate with wearing a mask and how they benefit from it versus just simply saying we're going to force you to do it."

7. New York City is entering its final reopening phase July 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted July 17. Indoor activity in malls, restaurants or cultural institutions is not included in the fourth and final phase.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 3,773,723
Deaths: 140,536
Recovered: 1,131,121

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CDT July 20.

More articles on public health:
10 states with largest spikes in daily coronavirus deaths since June 1
85 infants test positive for COVID-19 in Texas county
US governors urge White House to delay changes to hospital reporting requirements


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