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COVID-19 Timeline Project

Prelude <> Nov/Dec 2019 <> January 2020 <> February <> March <> April <> May <> June<> July <> August <> September <> Source Data

August 2020

At this point, I’m tracking a number of story lines and trying desperately to make some sense of them. The main story-line is emerging as the staggering levels of corruption seeping out of every crack and pore in the Trump administration’s Covid-19 management. The corruption is not just the financial aspects, although that alone is almost incomprehensible.

The corruption now extends to the way the Trump administration is managing the reporting data. In mid-July the administration suddenly changed medical data reporting from an open system, managed by the CDC with fifteen years process experience; to a proprietary database and reporting process essentially built on-the-fly by a contractor with little-to-no prior database development experience, managed directly by the HHS.

Investigative reporting reveals evidence the sole-source contract was awarded as a gift to a big Trump supporter. Reports by a number of medical experts indicates data is being lost either because of new reporting requirements, or because hospitals simply don’t have the resources to change their data formats and process while simultaneously trying to keep patients alive. In addition, the data is now going into a proprietary database and the output reports provide no visibility into the source data, as the CDC‘s process did.

The end result is that accuracy of all Covid-19 data reported from the United States must now be considered problematic.

Bad enough this data reporting change was made on several days notice. Worse is the change was made at a time when the US is seeing an average of greater than 60,000 new cases and more than 1,000 new deaths daily. The source “Covid Exit Strategy” reports thirty-one states have an uncontrolled spread of the virus. Only four states – New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and Maine, have the virus relatively contained.

To add to the general chaos of an uncontrolled pandemic, a number of states (mostly those with Republican governors) have prostrated themselves to President Trump’s demand for in-person school re-openings. Schools will start re-opening the first week of August (Mississippi started re-opening the last week of July). Given recent studies that show children spread the virus more effectively than adults, we now potentially have the makings of Super-spreader events at thousands of schools across a nation that already leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths.

The United States continues to be in serious trouble.

Coronavirus Daily New Cases

Rolling Three-Day Averages

Data Source: Our World in Data

Coronavirus Daily New Deaths

Rolling Three-Day Averages

Data Source: Our World in Data

August 1

August 1

Icon - reference linkMatt Sturham Tweet: “What your state’s COVID-19 data looks like when the Trump administration switches to a private contractor with basically zero notice: “Hospitalization data from the period of July 13 through July 24 will remain unavailable.” (This is Missouri)”
Icon - reference linkUS Dept of Labor Report: The total number of people claiming initial jobless benefits for the week ending August 1 was 1.186 million, a decrease of 249 thousand from the previous week.
Icon - reference linkOn Thursday July 30 the Mississippi state Department of Health confirmed 1,775 new cases, along with 48 deaths. Deaths were up again on Friday July 31, breaking the record for the third time in a week. Across the state, hospitalizations are also way, way up at 96% of capacity. Mississippi also rates as one of the worst states for testing, with a current daily testing level that’s only 14% of its target—and the results of those tests are coming in at a staggering 21% positive rate. On Monday July 27 the first school district in Mississippi, Corinth School District in Alcorn County, reopened. By Friday July 31, the first student tested positive.
Total US Cases: 4,456,389 | Total US Deaths: 151,265 | Daily New Cases: 67,823
Global Cases: 17,396,943 | Global Deaths: 675,060

August 2

Icon - reference linkThe Coronavirus Task Force compiles documents showing 23 states in the “Red Zone.”
Icon - reference linkThere are 36 crew members on Norwegian Arctic cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen who have tested positive for coronavirus. As a result, 387 passengers from two July expeditions on the cruise ship have been asked to self-quarantine. The ship is currently docked in Tromsø, Norway, with no passengers on board.
Icon - reference linkIn an interview, Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Hydroxychloroquine is not recommended as a treatment for Covid-19. “At this point in time, there’s been five randomized controlled, placebo controlled trials, that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine,” Giroir said. “So, at this point in time, we don’t recommend that as a treatment.”
Icon - reference linkA group of football players from the NCAA’s Pac-12 Conference penned a letter on The Players Tribune with a list of demands, ranging from health and safety assurances during the Covid-19 pandemic to issues of racial injustice. The letter concludes with the group of players threatening to sit out the full season unless their demands are met.
Total US Cases: 4,523,888 | Total US Deaths: 152,630 | Daily New Cases: 67,499
Global Cases: 17,660,523 | Global Deaths: 680,894
August 3

August 3

Icon - Video Link President Trump interview with Axios National Political Correspondent, Jonathan Swan.
Icon - related information President Trump interview: “Right now, I think it’s under control,” Trump said at one point. “I’ll tell you what—”
“How? A thousand Americans are dying a day,” Swan interjected.
“They are dying, that’s true. And you ha— It is what it is,” Trump replied. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us.”
Icon - Video Link President Trump Coronavirus Press Briefing.
Icon - reference linkDr. Deborah Birx says the US is in a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the deadly virus is more widespread than when it first took hold in the US earlier this year. “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas.”
Icon - reference linkIn an Interview, Peter Navarro states “My view of this now is that doctors’ opinions are a dime a dozen, and you’ve got some doctors who say it doesn’t work, you’ve got some doctors who say it does.” when pressed on why he continues to claim hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for the coronavirus.
Icon - reference linkAnalysis: HHS’ last-minute order to hospitals on new Covid data reporting requirements created weeks of chaos. The result is lost data, and lost of visibility at the state level on new Covid-19 cases.
Icon - reference linkThe health care technology firm that is helping to manage the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database has refused to answer questions from Senate Democrats about its $10.2 million contract, citing a nondisclosure agreement it signed with the Department of Health and Human Services. In a letter, TeleTracking Technologies cited the nondisclosure agreement in declining to say how it collects and shares data. The Company refused to share the company’s proposal to the government, its communications with administration officials and other information related to the awarding of the contract.
Icon - reference linkThe Georgia Department of Public Health reports 2,271 new cases of Covid-19 and two new deaths. There were 60 new Covid-19-related hospitalizations recorded for a total of 19,124 hospitalizations. The statewide Covid-19 case total is now 195,435.
Icon - related information More than 250 employees in Georgia’s largest public school district have reported testing positive for the coronavirus or possibly being exposed to it about a week before the school year is set to begin, according to district officials. Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers – many of whom were not allowed to work from home – began in-person planning Wednesday at county facilities. The county, the state’s second-most populous, had more than 17,780 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday, with at least 240 total deaths.
Total US Cases: 4,582,276 | Total US Deaths: 153,757 | Daily New Cases: 58,388
Global Cases: 17,918,582 | Global Deaths: 686,703
August 4

August 4

Icon - reference linkTweet: “This is the first day of school in Paulding County, Georgia.”
Icon - related information Paulding County Schools Superintendent Brian Otott claims that the pictures were taken out of context to criticize the school’s reopening, saying that the school of more than 2,000 students will look like the images that circulated for brief periods during the day. He said the conditions were permissible under the Georgia Department of Education’s health recommendations. Students are not required to wear masks or practice physical distancing.
Icon - Video Link President Trump Coronavirus Press Briefing.
Icon - reference linkThe Federal Reserve Bank of New York has quantified the Black community disproportionately battered by the coronavirus. A much higher percentage of Black-owned businesses — 41 percent — have shuttered compared to their white-owned counterparts’ 17 percent, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed acute and deep-rooted connections between physical and economic health,” according to the Fed brief. “Many of the same places hit hardest by the pandemic are reeling concurrently from the health crisis, business closures, and job losses. These communities are disproportionately communities of color.”
Icon - reference linkPresident Trump is still struggling to fully grasp the severity of the coronavirus pandemic during a task force meeting in the Oval Office. “He still doesn’t get it,” a source familiar with the meeting said. “He does not get it.”Trump’s meeting with the task force in the Oval Office was his first in-depth meeting with the panel of his top health experts since April. Trump tweeted photos of the task force members, some wearing face masks, surrounding the Resolute Desk.
Total US Cases: 4,629,459 | Total US Deaths: 154,226 | Daily New Cases: 47,183
Global Cases: 18,142,718 | Global Deaths: 691,013

August 5

Icon - Video Link President Trump Coronavirus Press Briefing.
Icon - related information During his press briefing, President Trump praised Arizona as a “promising model” for its handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying that the state has seen a “decreasing number of cases and hospitalizations without implementing a punishing lockdown.” The number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 182,203 on Wednesday after the Department of Health Services reported 1,698 new cases. The state also reported 87 new deaths related to the virus.
Icon - Video Link In a wild televised interview Peter Navarro claims “China sent the Coronavirus to the US either deliberately or accidentally,” and cites “Dilbert” cartoon creator Scott Adams as an authority on the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. (Link includes video and written report.)
Icon - reference linkFacebook takes down a video posted by the campaign of President Trump in which he claimed children were immune to the coronavirus, a violation of the social network’s rules against misinformation around the coronavirus.
Icon - reference linkIn an interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he and his family have required continued security in the face of harassment and death threats from people angry over his guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.
Icon - reference linkAt least two North Paulding High School students, Paulding County, Georgia, were suspended Wednesday for posting images of a crowded school hallway that went viral on Twitter. The five day suspension was justified on using their phones in the hallway without permission, using their phones for social media, and posting pictures of minors without consent.
Icon - reference linkA Norwegian ship becomes the third cruise ship to report a passenger with Covid-19 after resuming sailing. Guests and non-essential crew are currently quarantining on the ship in accordance with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
Icon - related information Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise industry, announced today that its ocean-going cruise line members have agreed to voluntarily suspend U.S. cruise operations until at least 31 October 2020.
Total US Cases: 4,678,610 | Total US Deaths: 154,952 | Daily New Cases: 49,151
Global Cases: 18,354,342 | Global Deaths: 696,147

August 6

Icon - Video Link President Trump Coronavirus Press briefing
Icon - Video Link Anderson Cooper commentary on the August 3 President Trump / Swan interview.
Icon - reference linkPresident Trump’s praise of hydroxychloroquine led to a boom in prescriptions. Then came reports of thousands of patients experiencing adverse events.
Icon - reference linkIn close coordination with the CDC, the Department of State lifts the Global Level 4 Health Advisory. The Global Advisory, initially put in place on March 19, 2020, advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. Although guidance from the diplomatic agency has been lifted, American travelers continue to face travel restrictions in countries worldwide due to rising cases of the disease in the United States.
Icon - reference linkIn-person classes resumed in Corinth, Mississippi, July 27 and the schools welcomed back hundreds of students. By Friday, one high-schooler tested positive for the novel coronavirus. By early this week, the count rose to six students and one staff member infected. Now, 116 students have been sent home to quarantine. The student population in the district is 2700. “Just because you begin to have positive cases, that is not a reason for closing school,” Superintendent Lee Childress said in a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday, August 4, on the school district’s Facebook page.
Icon - reference linkCalifornia’s CalREDIE coronavirus test reporting system, that reports coronavirus test results to the state’s disease registry system, has broken down. As a result, California lacks an accurate count of coronavirus infections, leading health officials to freeze the state’s watchlist with no counties added or removed. The flawed picture has cast serious doubt about California’s pandemic outlook.
Total US Cases: 4,728,239 | Total US Deaths: 156,050 | Daily New Cases: 49,629
Global Cases: 18,614,177 | Global Deaths: 702,642
August 7

August 7

Icon - reference linkThe Barrow County School System, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia, has decided to start the school year with virtual learning after more than 90 staff members were forced to quarantine due to a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19, or due to being exposed to someone who did. The school planned to start with both in-person and remote instruction August 17. Now, only virtual learning will be available.
Icon - reference linkNew York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces Schools across New York can reopen for in-person instruction this fall, solidifying New York’s status as one of the few states in America that has a virus transmission rate low enough to bring children back into classrooms — not only in its rural communities but also in the country’s biggest city. Under the governor’s announcement, schools can decide to open as long as they are in a region where the average rate of positive coronavirus tests is below 5 percent over a two- week period. That threshold was recommended by the World Health Organization to begin general reopening and has recently been adopted by some school districts.
Icon - reference linkSteven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows met for the fifth day in a row with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer at the Capitol. Democrats insisted they were still open to negotiations and said they had already tried to make concessions, but White House officials suggested that — absent a dramatically new approach from the Democrats — they were done trying to craft a deal and wanted to move ahead with executive orders. no further meetings are scheduled.
Icon - reference linkFederal housing aid during the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately benefits white households over minorities, with Black households most at risk. The federal assistance favors homeowners over renters, and because white households are more likely to own homes — a long-standing trend with roots in racist housing policy — they have more access to aid. Black households are more likely to rent than any other group, so they will be hardest hit with evictions likely to proceed in states without moratoriums, including Texas and Georgia.
Icon - reference linkToday is the official start of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where 250,000 people are expected to gather in the South Dakota town of that name for nine days.“Nobody is social distancing and none of them are wearing masks,” says local psychologist Michael Fellner. the South Dakota Health Department site, where offerings include a risk assessment for public gatherings, shows “Highest risk: Large, in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from multiple areas.”
Icon - reference linkOver the past months several states have seen incidents of violence against workers enforcing face mask policies. Now Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois has signed a law that expands the definition of aggravated battery to include attacks against a retail worker who is conveying public health guidance, such as requiring patrons to wear face coverings or promoting social distancing. Illinois has almost 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 7,600 people have died as a result of contracting the virus.
Total US Cases: 4,781,612 | Total US Deaths: 157,357 | Daily New Cases: 53,373
Global Cases: 18,902,735 | Global Deaths: 709,511

August 8

Icon - reference linkUS Dept of Labor Report: The total number of people claiming initial jobless benefits for the week ending August 8 was 971 thousand, a decrease of 220 thousand from the previous week.
Icon - reference linkIn a response to the breakdown in Coronavirus relief negotiations between Democrats and the White House, President Trump tries to assert executive power by signing four actions on coronavirus relief while at his golf club. One action will provide as much as $400 in enhanced weekly unemployment benefits, with individual states picking up $100 and the federal government picking up $300. The other three actions he signed include a memorandum on a payroll tax holiday for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year, an executive order on “assistance to renters and homeowners” and a memorandum on deferring student loan payments. It is unclear if these actions will provide any relief, as only Congress has the authority to commit public funds. State officials were not given any heads up on this executive action and that in the wake of the pandemic, most state funds are completely tapped.
Icon - reference linkAccording to a new poll only 14 percent of voters said they would be more likely to take a coronavirus vaccine if President Trump recommended it. Voters were far more likely to say they’d take a vaccine based on the advice of their family (46 percent); the CDC (43 percent); or the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci (43 percent). One-third said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if the WHO encouraged Americans to do so.
Total US Cases: 4,836,930 | Total US Deaths: 158,606 | Daily New Cases: 55,318
Global Cases: 19,187,943 | Global Deaths: 716,075
August 9

August 9

Icon - reference linkThe US tops 5 million cases of coronavirus according to data collected by John Hopkins University. As experts have highlighted before, the true number of infections could be many times higher. The number means the country holds about a quarter of global cases of the virus and also tops the list with the most reported deaths in the world. Of the country’s 5,036,387 estimated cases, 162,851 have been deadly. To put the speed in which the number is growing in perspective: It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million, 43 days to hit 2 million, 28 days for 3 million and 15 days to surpass 4 million on July 23. The number has jumped to 5 million in 17 days.
Icon - reference linkA cluster of novel coronavirus cases has emerged at North Paulding High School, Pauling County, Georgia, the high school that drew national attention last week after students posted pictures and videos of their peers walking without mask in tightly packed hallways. Six students and three staff members have now reported testing positive for the virus.
Icon - related information As a result of positive cases, North Paulding High School will shift back to online classes for the next two days, then evaluate whether to continue with online classes or reopen for in-person classes.
Icon - reference linkA 17-year-old male employee at a theme park in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania, suffered an fractured jaw and lost a tooth when male and female suspects attacked him after he reminded them to wear a face mask due to the pandemic. Gov. Tom Wolf has required face masks when people will be in close contact with one another or indoors at public spaces.
Icon - reference linkEditorial Opinion: The last time the economy went over the cliff’s edge, in 2008, the federal government encased the banking system in plastic Bubble Wrap and allowed millions of Americans to lose their homes. It’s about to make the same mistake all over again.
Total US Cases: 4,897,958 | Total US Deaths: 159,930 | Daily New Cases: 61,028
Global Cases: 19,462,112 | Global Deaths: 722,285

August 10

Icon - reference linkPresident Trump is calling for college football games to resume this season, amid reports that two of the “Power Five” conferences — the Big Ten and Pac-12 — are expected to cancel their 2020 football season games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Icon - reference linkPresident Trump is considering new immigration rules that would allow border officials to temporarily block an American citizen or legal permanent resident from returning to the United States from abroad if the border offical has reason to believe the person may be infected with the coronavirus.
Icon - reference linkScott W. Atlas, neuroradiologist, professor, commentator, health care policy advisor, and Robert Wesson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, joins the Trump administration as advisor on the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Atlas is involved in efforts to reopen schools and so far his stance on the matter aligns with that of President Trump.
Icon - reference linkMore than 97,000 children in the US tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report says. The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, said in those two weeks, there was a 40% increase in child cases across the states and cities that were studied. At least 86 children have died since May, according to the new report released less than a week after President Trump claimed children are “almost immune” to COVID-19.
Icon - reference linkMore than 200,000 deaths have occurred in the U.S. in 2020 than would have been expected according to trends from previous years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. The figure encompasses all deaths that have occurred since March 15, including the roughly 162,000 found to have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began in the United States. But the 200,000 count is more than 50,000 deaths higher than the toll of those who died due to identified cases of Covid-19, suggesting that far more have passed away either from the illness or from the disruption associated with the pandemic.
Icon - reference linkThe Families First Act, passed back on March 18, gave states the flexibility to change SNAP eligibility and procedures to maximize food assistance. And SNAP responded, adding more than 6 million people, about a 17% increase nationally, by May. Now the USDA is telling states they have to return to “normal” by next month and put limits on food assistance. That’s despite the fact that the SNAP caseloads have mushroomed since March and returning to “normal” means much more work.
Icon - reference linkA review finds at least 49 state and local public health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 23 states. The list has grown by more than 20 people since June. Dr. Tom Frieden called the numbers stunning. “The overall tone toward public health in the U.S. is so hostile that it has kind of emboldened people to make these attacks,” Frieden said.
Icon - reference linkWashington state’s coronavirus data reporting problems persist: The state hasn’t had complete testing tallies since Aug. 1. The latest problem, which the state Department of Health has said involves duplicate counts of negative test results, has led the agency to stop publishing daily tallies of negative test results. That number has not been available since Aug. 1.
Total US Cases: 4,951,851 | Total US Deaths: 160,989 | Daily New Cases: 53,893
Global Cases: 19,718,030 | Global Deaths: 728,013
August 11

August 11

Icon - reference linkRussian President Vladimir Putin announces Russia has become the first to approve a coronavirus vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, with production and tens of thousands of inoculations to follow. However, China announced on July 22 it was beginning to inoculate high-risk groups with a vaccine that had not passed clinical trials.
Icon - related information Russia has confirmed 897,599 cases of coronavirus and 15,131 deaths.
Icon - reference linkThe Big Ten Conference has postponed the 2020 football season because of safety concerns stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Their decision also cancels all other fall sports — men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey and women’s volleyball. They have not made a decision regarding winter sports, such as men’s and women’s basketball, which begin their seasons in November.
Icon - reference linkThe PAC-12 conference has canceled the football season — and all sports competition — until at least Jan. 1, 2021, succumbing to the pandemic after months of planning and hoping that its money maker could somehow be salvaged. The Pac-12 has played football every year since the conference’s inception in 1916: Five teams participated during the 1918 pandemic, while four schools played in 1943-44 during World War II.
Icon - reference linkFlorida’s Covid-19 cases in children have increased 137% in past month. The total number of cases in children 17 and under rose from 16,797 on July 9 to 39,735 on August 9, according to Florida Department of Health data. Covid-19 hospitalizations among children in Florida rose from 213 to 436 during that same period, a 105% increase. Deaths among children rose from four to seven in Florida during that period.
Icon - reference linkWith the continuation of travel and port restrictions due to global health concerns, Holland America Line is extending its pause of cruise operations and cancelling departures on all ships through Dec. 15, 2020. The pause extension affects Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal, South America, Antarctica, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries.
Total US Cases: 4,999,815 | Total US Deaths: 161,547 | Daily New Cases: 47,964
Global Cases: 19,936,210 | Global Deaths: 732,499

August 12

Icon - Video Link President Trump’s daily Coronavirus press conference.
Icon - related information A new attempt to restart economic relief negotiations between the White House and Democrats ended just minutes after it began, with President Trump appearing to cast doubt on the whole process by announcing a deal is “not going to happen. […] The bill’s not going to happen because they don’t even want to talk about it, because we can’t give them the kind of ridiculous things that they want that have nothing to do with the China virus,” Trump said
Icon - reference linkAs Florida sets a daily record for Covid-19 deaths, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods prohibited his deputies from wearing masks at work. In an email to the sheriff’s department Woods disputed the idea that masks are a consensus approach to battling the pandemic. All visitors to sheriff’s department buildings will also be asked to take off their masks in the lobby. Woods argues working mask-free hasn’t led to a spike of infections in his 900-person department. However, the local jail has seen a serious spike with at least 200 inmates testing positive, along with 36 jail employees including officers. A nurse at the jail has also died of Covid-19.
Icon - related information Marion County, Florida, sets a single-day record for the most deaths related to Covid-19 with 13 deaths reported.
Icon - Video Link In a press conference, Florida governor Ron DeSantis says opening schools is like killing bin Laden.
Icon - reference linkMore than five states reported over 100 deaths due to Covid-19 and the nation as a whole hit the highest death totals since the initial flood of cases that overwhelmed the Northeast. Texas topped the chart with 225 deaths.Florida was close behind with 212. California, Arizona, and Georgia all topped 100 deaths. Despite this rise in cases, these states are performing far less testing then needed.
Icon - reference linkGrocery workers across the country say morale is crushingly low as the pandemic wears on with no end in sight. Overwhelmed employees are quitting mid-shift. Those who remain say they are overworked, taking on extra hours, enforcing mask requirements and dealing with hostile customers. Most retailers have done away with hazard pay even as workers remain vulnerable to infection, or worse. Employees who took sick leave at the beginning of the pandemic say they cannot afford to take unpaid time off now, even if they feel unwell.
Icon - reference linkIn a letter to its customers Wednesday, Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said the company would suspend its operations through Dec. 31, citing the ongoing uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic.
Total US Cases: 5,039,709 | Total US Deaths: 162,104 | Daily New Cases: 39,894
Global Cases: 20,162,474 | Global Deaths: 737,417

August 13

Icon - Video Link President Trump’s daily Coronavirus press conference.
Icon - reference linkIn a televised interview, President Trump states he is blocking additional coronavirus relief funds because of Democrats’ push for an injection of funds into the U.S. Postal Service to expand voting by mail. He is opposed to providing funding to the Postal Service as a way of minimizing vote-by-mail in the upcoming November presidential elections.
Icon - related information Tweet: Trump this morning why he won’t fund US Postal Service. “Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots … But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
Icon - related information Tweet: Top WH Econ Adviser Larry Kudlow weighs in on stimulus negotiations, says “voting rights … that’s not our game.”
Icon - reference linkMore than 2,000 students, teachers and staff members across five states have been quarantined after at least 230 positive coronavirus cases were reported. It’s a grim start to the school year many hoped could mark the beginning of a return to normalcy, but one experts have long warned would come at a cost.
Icon - reference linkTexas officials have launched an investigation into why the statewide Covid-19 positive-test rate jumped to a record 24.5% on August 11. This afternoon, the health department posted on its website that the figure has plummeted to 16.08% as of August 12. No reason for the positivity surge was given. Governor Greg Abbott suggested one factor in the jump in the positivity rate may be that fewer Texans are seeking testing
Icon - related information Coronavirus testing in Texas and Florida has taken a nosedive since the middle of July. Epidemiologists worry that this shift means the states are flying in the dark just as their surveillance systems are urgently needed to detect any uptick in COVID-19 cases caused by school re-openings.
Icon - reference linkAn analysis shows the increase in deaths in New York City during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic rivals the death toll there at the peak of the 1918 flu pandemic.
Total US Cases: 5,094,500 | Total US Deaths: 163,340 | Daily New Cases: 54,791
Global Cases: 20,439,814 | Global Deaths: 744,385
August 14

August 14

Icon - reference linkResearchers around the world are developing more than 165 vaccines against the coronavirus, and 31 vaccines are in human trials. Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but scientists are racing to produce a safe and effective vaccine by next year.
Icon - Video Link President Trump’s daily Coronavirus press conference.
Icon - Video Link Interview with Dr Fauci (41 minutes). Dr Fauci discusses the Covid-19 pandemic, proposed policies to combat the spread, threats against him and his family, and how certain TV personalities ratchet up the threats against him.
Icon - Video Link CNN Video of President Trump talking with Bob Woodward on Coronavirus and how Woodward relates Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Trump repeatedly insists “no country could have done better,” and “the stock market is coming back.”
Icon - reference linkThe CDC, the Defense Department and other agencies began working with officials in California, Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Philadelphia this week to develop plans to transport and store vaccine doses, and to prioritize who would receive a coronavirus vaccine when limited doses become available, possibly as early as this fall.
Icon - reference linkThe dangers of reopening classrooms to in-person learning are being felt at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Just days after classes resumed, at least 10 students tested positive for the coronavirus, in clusters originating at two campus dormitories. It comes as the country saw more than 64,000 new cases Friday, the most in a single day in August so far.
Total US Cases: 5,150,407 | Total US Deaths: 164,826 | Daily New Cases: 55,907
Global Cases: 20,730,456 | Global Deaths: 751,154

August 15

Icon - reference linkUS Dept of Labor Report: The total number of people claiming initial jobless benefits for the week ending August 15 was 1.104 million, an increase of 971 thousand from the previous week.
Icon - reference linkHealth experts say children make up more than 7% of all coronavirus cases in the US — while comprising about 22% of the country’s population — and the number and rate of child cases have been “steadily increasing” from March to July.
Icon - reference linkAn Arizona school district had to delay its reopening after too many teachers refused to show up out of safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The J. O. Combs Unified School District, located southeast of Phoenix, voted earlier this week to return to in-person classes when the school year officially begins August 17. Superintendent Gregory Wyman announced Friday that the district would not open at all because 109 certified teachers out of 250 had put in for absences on the first day of school.
Icon - reference linkA White House task force report warns that the coronavirus spread in Georgia is “widespread and expanding” and “strongly recommends” a statewide mask mandate, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which obtained the report.
Total US Cases: 5,203,206 | Total US Deaths: 165,995 | Daily New Cases: 52,799
Global Cases: 21,026,758 | Global Deaths: 755,786

August 16

Icon - reference linkIn a televised interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked whether the Covid-19 pandemic will end sooner than 2024 – an estimate from medical historian Dr. Howard Markel. Fauci acknowledged that if it’s not handled properly, the coronavirus pandemic could “go on for a few years.” “However, we have certain things within our grasp and within our power that I believe are going to make that projection inaccurate,” Fauci said. “And that is, we can control this from a public health standpoint. If you synergize and superimpose good, solid, careful, prudent public health measures with a vaccine that is effective — it doesn’t have to be 100 percent effective. If you get a vaccine into 2021, throughout the year, I believe by the end of the year 2021, we will be as good as back to normal as we possibly can.”
Icon - reference linkTesting for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has dropped nationwide the past two weeks even as the evidence builds disease spread is picking up in many states. Official case counts have dropped nationally but reporting problems and generally reduced testing in some states makes it hard to place any confidence that infection rates are improving. And in some states with more reliable data, testing slowdowns coincide with increasing or stable positive rates.
Icon - reference linkUnemployed South Dakota residents will not see a $300 federal boost in weekly jobless benefits after Gov. Kristi Noem opted to turn down President Donald Trump’s executive offer. In an executive action announced last weekend, Trump said the federal government would provide the jobless with a $300 payment, using $44 billion in disaster relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But states would have to accept the Trump administration’s offer, which would require they create a new payment system since it’s not part of the existing unemployment program. Four states — Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana and New Mexico — have applied for and been approved for the program. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, both Republicans, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said last week that their states will participate.
Icon - reference linkFor all the talk of Generation Z’s Internet savvy, a stunning number of young people are locked out of virtual classes because they lack high-speed Internet service at home. In 2018, nearly 17 million children lived in homes without high-speed Internet, and more than 7 million did not have computers at home. The issue affects a disproportionately high percentage of Black, Latino and Native American households — with nearly one-third of students lacking high-speed Internet at home. Students in Southern states and in rural communities also were particularly overrepresented. In Mississippi and Arkansas, about 40 percent of students lacked high-speed Internet.
Icon - reference linkCruise ships return to the Mediterranean Sea. For now, the Med cruises on offer are only for residents of Europe’s 26-nation Schengen Area, according to new stipulations set forth by the Italian government on August 10. Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC’s executive chairman, posted a notice on the company website explaining “During the pause in our operations, we focused on developing a comprehensive operating protocol that builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place on board our ships.”
Total US Cases: 5,258,565 | Total US Deaths: 167,201 | Daily New Cases: 55,359
Global Cases: 21,294,845 | Global Deaths: 761,779

August 17

Icon - reference linkThe first day of a planned four-day Democratic National Convention starts. The event is being held via online conferencing due to the risk of creating a Coronavirus Super-spreader event.
Icon - reference linkDr. Deborah Birx tells reporters she would have liked to have seen the U.S. introduce stricter restrictions like Italy did to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Icon - related information Commentary from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Dr. Deborah Birx‘s comment of wishing the US had locked down like Italy.
Icon - reference linkDuring a White House meeting with senior health officials, a meeting that was supposed to be about Covid-19 and the Strategic National Stockpile, Peter Navarro aggressively confronted FDA officials, saying, “You are all Deep State and you need to get on Trump Time.” Sources familiar with the situation said Navarro has been venting at the FDA for weeks at what he perceives as its slowness to approve therapeutics to fight Covid-19 and help the U.S. “bring our medical supply chain home.”
Icon - reference linkPresident Trump points to New Zealand’s sudden surge of nine new Coronavirus cases, the first cases in several months, as a comparison to the tens of thousands of cases in the United States. He uses New Zealand as proof other countries also have difficulties in managing the Coronavirus pandemic.
Icon - reference linkThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the largest schools in the country to bring students to campus for in-person teaching, announces that it will pivot to all-remote instruction for undergraduates after testing showed a pattern of rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. Officials announced the abrupt change just a week after classes began at the 30,000-student state flagship university. They said 177 cases of the dangerous pathogen had been confirmed among students, out of hundreds tested. Another 349 students were in quarantine, on and off campus, because of possible exposure to the virus.
Icon - related information The announcement was made in an email around 3:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon, less than two hours before a 5 p.m. deadline for fall tuition. According to the registrar’s office, withdrawal refunds are reduced to 80 percent after August 17.
Total US Cases: 5,312,940 | Total US Deaths: 1,68,345 | Daily New Cases: 54,375

August 18

Icon - reference linkAs University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students scramble to move out of their dorm rooms, make decisions about their academic futures and demand tuition refunds, they had one message for administrators. “We told you so.”
Icon - reference linkThe WHO warns that young people are becoming the primary drivers of the spread of the novel coronavirus in many countries — a worrisome trend experts fear may grow in the United States as many colleges and schools begin to reopen. Many nations in Asia, which had previously pushed infections to enviably low rates, have experienced surges in recent weeks at the same time that the age of those infected skewed younger. “People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread,” Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, said at a news briefing. “The epidemic is changing.”
Icon - reference linkTen governors take action to protect their states from Team Trump’s failure on COVID-19 testing. The governors of at least 10 states launch their own massive testing effort, with the 10 states in a compact headed by Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. They are seeking to get 5 million rapid tests to fill in the need left by Team Trump. Five of the states have Republican governors, five have Democratic governors, and they vary in geography and demographics. other states wanted to join, but the original 10 states are waiting to be sure the plan works before trying to expand.
Icon - reference linkFather John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, penned a sanctimonious op-ed in the New York Times on May 26 explaining while science might “inform” the college’s deliberations on whether to reopen, science alone could not “provide the answer.” He then proceeded to set forth his own answer, detailing the University’s plan to open two weeks early with specific measures taken to ensure that the students would not be put at undue risk. After 147 people tested positive for the coronavirus, Notre Dame announces it would shift to remote instruction for at least two weeks.
Icon - reference linkMississippi has 82 counties. Since the state’s schools started reopening, schools in 71 of those counties have reported cases of the coronavirus even as Gov. Tate Reeves brags about the state’s overall new case count dropping. In those 71 counties, 245 teachers and 199 students have tested positive, with an additional 589 teachers and 2,035 students being quarantined as a result. As of Aug. 14, just 39 counties had reported school-related Covid-19 cases.
Icon - reference linkAs the expiration date for the United States’ no-sail order on the cruise industry gets closer, the CDC wants to know how cruisers feel about getting back on the water — and the short answer, for most, is that they’ve been ready. In July, the CDC put out a call for input on how to restart cruises, asking the public its thoughts on questions related to “planning and infrastructure,” “resumption of passenger operations,” and other concerns. The CDC has just shy of 2,500 responses — which range from a single sentences to multiple paragraphs — and has shared more than 1,400 of them. “Cruising is being unfairly singled out,” one person wrote to the CDC. “People are catching it everywhere. Let us cruise.”
Total US Cases: 5,354,013 | Total US Deaths: 168,999 | Daily New Cases: 41,073

August 19

Icon - Video Link President trump press conference, includes Coronavirus briefing. Also includes a discussion on QAnon and trump’s endorsement of a group the FBI labeled a “Domestic terrorist organization” in 2019.
Icon - reference linkThe FDA has placed an EUA for blood plasma as a Covid-19 treatment on hold as more data is reviewed. Several top health officials led by Dr. Francis S. Collins, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, argued that emerging data on the treatment was too weak. Clinical trials have not proved whether plasma can help people fighting the coronavirus. However, President Trump has hailed it as a “beautiful ingredient” in the veins of people who have survived Covid-19.
Icon - reference linkAs the coronavirus pandemic rages across the United States, misinformation about vaccines and other health topics has been viewed an estimated 3.8 billion times on Facebook — four times more than authoritative content from institutions such as the WHO and the CDC. Researchers also found that Facebook pages promulgating misleading health information got even more traffic during the pandemic than at other times — reaching a one-year peak in April — despite Facebook’s policy of removing dangerous coronavirus-related misinformation and reducing the spread of other questionable health claims.
Icon - reference linkAs wildfires burn across California, one of the big problems facing the state is that it has next to no one available to fight these wildfires. That’s because so much of California’s emergency wildfire personnel over the past few years have been comprised of California inmates. The problem is that state prison officials have had to place “12 of the state’s 43 inmate fire camps on lock-down” due to massive Covid-19 outbreaks in Northern California’s prison system.
Icon - reference linkOne of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic is also one of the industries on which others rest, often invisibly. Without child care, parents struggle to do their own jobs. And child care is in a major crisis. One in five child care jobs has disappeared since February.The entire industry is at risk of collapsing, in desperate need of $9.6 billion per month in federal funding to survive the coronavirus crisis, according to the National Women’s Law Center’s Claire Ewing-Nelson.
Icon - reference linkA published study finds that some children have high levels of virus in their airways during the first three days of infection despite having mild symptoms or none at all — suggesting their role in community spread may be larger than previously believed.
Icon - reference linkAlmost 600 Miami-Dade County, Florida, Public Schools employees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus from March through July. Last month, the teachers’ union announced at least one educator had died from the coronavirus. MDCPS has decided to start the 2020-21 school year fully online and pushed back its start date by a week to Aug. 31. School leaders will reassess by the end of September whether to open schools for in-person learning by Oct. 5.
Total US Cases: 5,393,138 | Total US Deaths: 169,508 | Daily New Cases: 39,125
August 20

August 20

Icon - Video Link President Trump’s Coronavirus press conference.
Icon - reference linkA display of fireworks closed out this week’s unconventional Democratic National Convention.
Icon - related information Tweet: “Remember, there was no model for a virtual convention. The DNC didn’t just have to fly the plane while building it, they had to invent the plane. This was a brilliant undertaking that will change conventions forever.”
Icon - reference linkThe Trump administration appears to be reversing course and giving Covid-19 hospital data collection duties back to the the Centers for Disease Control, citing comments from White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. The Trump administration abruptly transferred data collection from the CDC to a proprietary database system controlled by TeleTracking Technologies under a sole-source award HHS contract.
Icon - reference linkAfter an escalating months-long pressure campaign, Alex Azar overrides objections from FDA chief Stephen Hahn and revokes the agency’s ability to check the quality of tests developed by individual labs for their own use. This unilateral policy change had been requested by commercial, university and public health labs in the name of greater flexibility, but removes safeguards designed to prevent inaccurate tests from flooding the market during a public health crisis.
Icon - reference linkThe daily average official number of new coronavirus cases reported in the US has been declining for weeks. Cases over the past week averaged about 47,300 as of Wednesday, down from a peak average of 67,317 on July 22, based upon data from Johns Hopkins University.
Icon - reference linkAMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, reopens more than 100 US theaters. AMC closed all of its theaters in the US in March as the pandemic took hold, and the reopening has been delayed several times. AMC said that it’s implementing new safety and health measures including requiring all guests to wear masks, lowering theater capacity and upgrading ventilation systems. AMC is initially bringing back old films as so many new movies have been delayed this year because of Covid-19.
Total US Cases: 5,431,046 | Total US Deaths: 170,640 | Daily New Cases: 37,908

August 21

Icon - reference linkCoronavirus cases linked to the 80th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally, held August 7-16 in South Dakota, have now reached across state lines to Nebraska. At least seven Covid-19 cases in Nebraska’s Panhandle region have been tied to the rally. At the time the rally was held, medical experts were concerned the annual rally would create a Super-spreader event.
Icon - reference linkThis week’s Democratic National Convention—which saw Kamala Harris and Joe Biden deliver their acceptance speeches to an empty convention hall, and then turn to giant Zoom screens to receive applause—has served as a high-profile reminder of just how radically the pandemic has reshaped the 2020 campaign. Many candidates have been encouraged to innovate and try new things. Some of these experiments will almost certainly be remembered as Covid-only tools, but many could outlast the virus.
Icon - reference linkLayoffs across the Las Vegas, Nevada, Strip properties continue, and one Strip restaurant is re-closing. Tourists spent $34.5 billion in Southern Nevada in 2018, directly supporting more than 234,000 tourism jobs. But tourism is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. Tourism in June shows a 70.5 percent decline from June 2019.
Total US Cases: 5,477,305 | Total US Deaths: 172,033 | Daily New Cases: 46,259
August 22

August 22

Icon - reference linkUS Dept of Labor Report: The total number of people claiming initial jobless benefits for the week ending August 22 was 1.011 million, a decrease of 93 thousand from the previous week.
Icon - reference linkPresident Trump Tweet: “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
Icon - related information Lawrence O. Gostin Tweet: “Trump’s undermining @US_FDA , pressuring to short cut science/ethics. Chief of Staff says “had to make sure FDA felt the heat” Historically presidents respect FDA integrity. It’s our safeguard for a safe & effective #Covid vaccine. @WhiteHouse will erode public trust in vaccines.”
Total US Cases: 5,521,257 | Total US Deaths: 173,098 | Daily New Cases: 43,952
Global Cases: 22,813,065 | Global Deaths: 795,134
August 23

August 23

Icon - reference linkA poll shows 57% of Republicans consider the number of American deaths from the coronavirus to be “acceptable.” other finding show 73% of Republicans consider America’s response to the pandemic “Going Well,” and 75% believe America is better off today than four years ago.
Icon - reference linkOn the eve of the Republican National Convention where President Trump hopes to revive his flagging political fortunes, he will announce the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma for Covid-19, a treatment that already has been given to more than 70,000 patients. Many scientists and physicians believe that convalescent plasma might provide some benefit but is far from a breakthrough. It is rich in antibodies that could be helpful in fighting the coronavirus, but the evidence so far has not been conclusive about whether it works, when to administer it and what dose is needed.
Icon - Video Link President Trump press conference, announcing the emergency use authorization of blood plasma for Covid-19 treatment.
Icon - related information Lawrence O. Gostin Tweet: “Pressuring @US_FDA is actually asking agency to break the law. FDA‘s statutory charge is to approve drugs & vaccines only if safe & effective. The agency is the custodian of public health & safety. Its guide is solely science & evidence, not politics or elections. Full Stop.”
Icon - reference linkThe pandemic recession is approaching a dire turning point. Without an extra $600 a week in unemployment assistance, many Americans are on the brink of not being able to pay rent or put food on the table.
Total US Cases: 5,567,217 | Total US Deaths: 174,246 | Daily New Cases: 45,960
Global Cases: 23,057,288 | Global Deaths: 800,906

August 24

Icon - reference linkThe four-day Republican National Convention starts. Locations for the events are all in Washington, D.C. and include the White House.
Icon - related information Tweet video: President Trump’s speech on opening night of the RNC accuses Democrats of “using Covid to steal an election”
Icon - reference linkFDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn concedes that he had exaggerated the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy as treatment for Covid-19 the day before. “I have been criticized for remarks I made Sunday August 23 about the benefits of convalescent plasma. The criticism is entirely justified,” Hahn tweeted. “What I should have said better is that the data show a relative risk reduction not an absolute risk reduction.”
Icon - related information Twitter thread from FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, admitting he over-hyped the benefits of convalescent plasma during the Sunday, August 23, press conference with President Trump.
Icon - reference linkPresident Trump is reportedly pushing for fast-track approval of a potential Covid-19 vaccine to be used on Americans ahead of November’s election. Officials are considering a vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. One option could involve the FDA issuing an EUA in October.
Icon - reference linkIn a shift that perplexes doctors, the CDC has changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines to say some people without symptoms may not need to be tested, even if they’ve been in close contact with someone known to have the virus. Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.
Icon - reference linkThe CDC issues new guidance to limit workplace violence that could be aimed at workers when enforcing their companies’ Covid-19 safety procedures. But the CDC warns that workers could be threatened or assaulted for employing these safety measures, describing violence ranging from yelling and swearing to slapping and choking the employees. One of the agency’s biggest suggestions: “Don’t argue with a customer if they make threats or become violent,”
Icon - reference linkSome Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives are rebelling against their Republican governor, Mike DeWine, and have drafted impeachment articles related to his effective handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. They cite the Governor’s “unlawful executive overreach” and inflicting “irreversible economic hardship” in responding to the pandemic. DeWine, who had a 75 percent approval rating as of late June, brushed off the intra-party attack.
Icon - reference linkA judge delivered a blow to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Department of Education, ruling that the state’s demand that all school districts open for in-person learning five days a week, at the risk of losing state funding if they did not comply, is unconstitutional.
Icon - reference linkAir transportation is one of the nation’s communication channels that have been affected and changed by the response to the pandemic. Air travel has been choked, forcing the use of electronic means of interaction in the day-to-day inter-communication of business, government and private citizens. The world is finding that some of these electronic means are actually simpler and easier than air travel, and will not be temporary.
Total US Cases: 5,612,163 | Total US Deaths: 175,243 | Daily New Cases: 44,946
August 25

August 25

Icon - reference linkIn Boise, the first day of Idaho’s special legislative session erupted into chaos before it began. Dozens of unmasked protesters, some of them armed, shoved their way past state troopers to pack the gallery overlooking the state’s House of Representatives. After the confrontation with state troopers, which resulted in the shattering of a glass door, police backed off and made no arrests. Idaho currently has one of the highest rates of new Covid-19 cases per capita, particularly around Boise.
Icon - reference linkAn analysis of anonymous cell phone data finds that 61% of all the counties in the U.S. have been visited by someone who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota August 7-17. State health departments have reported 103 cases from people in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Washington. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has defied calls to cancel large gatherings and opposes requirements to wear masks.
Icon - Video Link In a wild interview, Peter Navarro is asked whether FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn was wrong on Covid-19 plasma treatment.
Icon - reference linkAmerican Airlines Group Inc. said it would shed 19,000 workers Oct. 1, the first big wave of the tens of thousands of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other airline employees in jeopardy of losing their jobs when protections tied to federal aid to U.S. carriers expire this fall. American’s cuts are short of the 25,000 potential job losses it warned were possible last month. But together with retirements and temporary leaves of absence, the reductions will make the carrier about 30% smaller than it was in March.
Total US Cases: 5,649,928 | Total US Deaths: 175,813 | Daily New Cases: 37,765

August 26

Icon - reference linkA federal health official states the sudden change in federal guidelines on coronavirus testing published August 24 came as a result of pressure from the upper ranks of the Trump administration. When asked whether the CDC was responding to pressure from the White House and the HHS, the senior official said, “It’s coming from the top down.” The new guidelines raise the bar on who should get tested, advising that some people without symptoms probably don’t need it — even if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person. Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic. The new directive also lines up with a trend in policy and rhetoric from the White House. President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested the US should do less testing.
Icon - related information HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir dismissed any suggestion that top Trump officials imposed the change on the CDC. “There is no direction from President Trump, the Vice President, or Secretary Azar about what we need to do when, this is an evidence-based decision driven by the scientists in the division,” Giroir said. “I can speak of that directly and openly, because I was there, I circulated the manuscript, to make sure there was absolute consensus.” “Everyone signed off on it before it got to a place where the political leadership would have even seen it.”
Icon - related information Dr. Anthony Fauci was knocked out and under the knife as the Trump administration scaled back testing recommendations last week. Dr. Sanjay Gupta read out a statement from Fauci on Wednesday afternoon in which the longtime infectious disease doctor said that he was “under general anesthesia in the operating room last Thursday” and “was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding these new testing recommendations.”
Icon - related information Dr. Tom Frieden Tweet: “Two unexplained, inexplicable, probably indefensible changes, likely imposed on CDC‘s website. * Dammit, if you come from a place with lots of Covid, quarantine for 14 days * If you’re a contact, get tested. If +, we can trace your contacts and stop chains of spread. A sad day.”
Icon - related information New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announces that his state will no longer follow Covid-19 testing guidance from the CDC, asserting that the agency has become too politicized by President Donald Trump to be credible.
Icon - reference linkSince the pandemic hit the U.S., more than 6 million Americans have lost health insurance they’d previously had through their work. And when you take into account spouses and children, the number of those affected climbs to more than 12 million. Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, says “Because most U.S. workers rely on their employer or a family member’s employer for health insurance, the shock of the coronavirus has cost millions of Americans their jobs and their access to health care in the midst of a public health catastrophe.”
Total US Cases: 5,682,811 | Total US Deaths: 176,201 | Daily New Cases: 32,883

August 27

Icon - Video Link President Trump’s Full Acceptance Speech at 2020 Republican National Convention
Icon - reference linkRepublican National Convention ends with President Trump giving an acceptance speech from the White House, with about 1,500 gusts tightly packed on the South Lawn. None were wearing face masks, and social distancing was not practiced. Medical authorities said the White House setting offered potential dangers of community spread and set another bad example at a time when most infectious-disease experts are warning that the public must continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing and limit large gatherings.
Icon - related information Tweet: “On the lack of social distancing or face masks at Trump’s #RNC2020 acceptance speech in the middle of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, a senior White House official tells @Acosta : “Everybody is going to catch this thing eventually.”
Icon - reference linkDr. Robert Redfield sends a letter to the nation’s governors with an urgent request from the Trump administration to do everything in their power to eliminate hurdles for vaccine distribution sites, to be fully operational by Nov 1. The letter asks governors to fast-track permits and licenses for new distribution sites. “The normal time required to obtain these permits presents a significant barrier to the success of this urgent public health program,” Redfield wrote. The rush is putting pressure on state health systems already strapped for resources – and appears out of sync with the progress of ongoing clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines, which are still recruiting volunteers who will test the safety and effectiveness of the drugs.
Icon - reference linkThe Covid-19 vaccine trial in Palm Beach County is on pause because of “political pressure,” its principal investigator says. Researchers said at a news conference Aug. 17 that they had received the trial vaccine and were ready to administer it to the first 10 test subjects. The news of the trial’s pause comes as Vice President Mike Pence told the nation at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, August 26, that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year.
Icon - reference linkThe governors of at least five states; New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Nevada and California; announce their states will not follow the new controversial coronavirus testing guidelines from the CDC On August 24 the CDC changed their guidelines to say that those who come into close contact with a known case of the virus but do not show symptoms “do not necessarily need a test” unless they are vulnerable or their doctor or a state or local public health official recommended one. Previously, the recommendations advised testing everyone who came into close contact with an infected individual.
Icon - reference linkApproximately 18,000 Las Vegas, Nevada, MGM Resorts employees will be laid off their jobs effective Aug. 31, according to a letter sent this morning by CEO Bill Hornbuckle. Las Vegas hotel-casinos were allowed to reopen June 4 but business has not been the same.
Icon - reference linkThe FDA grants EUA for a Covid-19 antigen test that works within about 15 minutes and does not require lab equipment to run, though it does still require a person to get a nasal swab from a healthcare professional. The tests correctly diagnose a coronavirus infection 97.1% of the time, with correct negative results at 98.5%.
Icon - reference linkHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says that during a call with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, she offered to drop the price tag on the top-line spending for Covid-19 relief legislation to $2.2 trillion, well down from the original $3.4 trillion. Meadows, Pelosi said, rejected the offer. The 25-minute phone call was the first significant contact the two have had since negotiations fell apart on August 7.
Icon - reference linkThe Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Thursday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend the moratoriums that were put in place on single-family foreclosures and on some evictions until at least December 31. The current moratoriums were set to expire on August 31. The temporary freeze on foreclosures applies to Fannie- or Freddie-backed, single-family mortgages only. The pause on evictions applies only to tenants who live in properties that have been acquired by Freddie or Fannie through foreclosure.
Icon - reference linkEmployees say the biggest names in American business have banned them from alerting others to coronavirus outbreaks. The Covid gag rules are putting everyone at risk.
Total US Cases: 5,719,841 | Total US Deaths: 177,332 | Daily New Cases: 37,030

August 28

Icon - Video Link Dr. Vin Gupta corrects some of the misinformation and false statements about coronavirus and President Trump’s failure to contain its spread in UFC president Dana White’s speech to the Republican National Committee.
Total US Cases: 5,567,217 | Total US Deaths: 174,246| Daily New Cases: 46,194
Global Cases: 24,299,923 | Global Deaths: 827,730

August 29

Icon - reference linkUS Dept of Labor Report: The total number of people claiming initial jobless benefits for the week ending August 29 was 881 thousand, a decrease of 130 thousand from the previous week.
Icon - reference linkCoronavirus cases were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average, in 21 states and Washington D.C. Coronavirus cases in the Midwest are beginning to increase following warnings from top U.S. health officials that the country’s heartland could be vulnerable to new outbreaks. Several Midwestern states were among those reporting growing cases— Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.
Icon - reference linkVeteran K-12 teachers in states across the U.S. are resigning and retiring at higher rates as schools begin reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic this fall, with educators citing the stress tied to remote learning, technical difficulties and Covid-19 health concerns. In New York State, teacher retirements are up 20 percent from 2019. St. Petersburg, Florida, district records showed there were 58 retirements and 252 resignations through the state employee “DROP” program this year.
Total US Cases: 5,811,519 | Total US Deaths: 179,716 | Daily New Cases: 46,194

August 30

Icon - reference linkA statistic from the CDC website is used to misleadingly show that only six percent of all deaths previously reported as Covid-19 related, are actually due to Covid-19. The twitter hash “only 6%” quickly become trending on Twitter, and is retweeted by a number of prominent Republicans including President Trump. Twitter later removes the President’s retweet with the disclaimer that the information presented is dangerously misleading.
Icon - reference linkAt least 36 states have reported positive cases at colleges and universities, adding more than 8,700 cases to the country’s tally. Examples: Since classes started on August 19, 1,200 students at the University of Alabama have tested positive for the virus. Outbreaks have been identified at four different sororities at Kansas State University. Temple University in Philadelphia is suspending in-person classes for two weeks following identification of 103 cases on campus.
August 31

August 31

Icon - reference linkAs some schools begin in-person classes, data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics from the summer show that cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public. Although much is still unknown about how the virus affects young people, like adults, Black and Latino children who contract the virus are more likely to be hospitalized.
Icon - reference linkScott W. Atlas, one of President Trump’s top medical advisers, is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “Herd Immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations. This is the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak.
Icon - related information Five sources close to the Trump administration report that Scott W. Atlas has influenced administration policy on the August 24 CDC change in testing and on reopening schools. Sources also see Dr. Atlas’ influence behind the administration push to expedite the shipment of tests to nursing homes but not to the wider community, despite ongoing shortages. Dr Atlas reportedly calls himself the “anti-Dr. Anthony Fauci,” contrasting himself with the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist.
Icon - related information Jonathan Reiner Tweet: “Scott Atlas, the radiologist recruited to the admin after downplaying the pandemic on Fox News has been pushing for Herd Immunity. To achieve this without a vaccine, about 250 million Americans would contract the virus and 1.5-2 million would die.”
Icon - reference linkSeventy-eight percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, according to a new survey from STAT and the Harris Poll, a reflection of concern that the Trump administration may give the green light to a vaccine prematurely. The response was largely bipartisan, with 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressing such worries, according to the poll, which was conducted last week and surveyed 2,067 American adults.
Icon - reference linkNew York City’s restaurant industry is on the verge of a collapse without some sort of intervention from officials. According to a recent survey by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), 90% of New York’s restaurant owners say that it will be very or somewhat unlikely that their establishment will be profitable in the next six months. At the moment, the best hope for the industry lies with the RESTAURANTS Act, a bipartisan federal bill introduced this summer that would create a $120 billion fund to aid small and locally-owned restaurants, and would specifically cover the difference between revenues from 2019 and estimated revenues through the rest of the year.
Cumulative US Cases: 5,855,521 | Cumulative US Deaths: 180,689
Global Cumulative Cases: 24,854,140 | Global Cumulative Deaths: 838,924

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Trump Twitter Tweets Defunct

This timeline cites a number of Twitter Tweets including those of then-President Trump. On January 8, 2021, Twitter deactivated President Trump’s Twitter account. This caused the citation links to become inactive.

Daily New Cases Data Change

I’ve been using the data provided by the WHO as my data source for daily global and US coronavirus cases (shown under the date blocks in the timeline). Starting August 17 the WHO has moved to a weekly Epidemiological update, vice the former daily situational report where my data came from. If this is a permanent change, the daily total and new cases updates will be spotty. If I can locate a different data source with daily updates and an archive (so I can update every several days) I will shift my data source.

Impact Information on the COVID-19 Data-Reporting Change

On July 15, with five-days notice to the entire US medical system, the Federal Government changed the pandemic reporting system from a proven system managed by the CDC to a new, untested system created under contract for the HHS. I’ve assembled some source information in this pop-up window that discusses the ramifications and reporting impacts of this change-over.
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Timeline Source Data File

I built this timeline from a set of working notes in spreadsheet format. At present, my working notes have 1247 news entries, in addition to other references that form my “Additional Reading” sidebar entries, and other source references. Not all these news items are published in this timeline, for various reasons. My notes are freely available under a Creative Commons license (BY SA) to any writer or researcher who finds this work useful.
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Double Jeopardy: Covid-19’s Concentrated Health and Wealth Effects In Black Communities

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A study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that looks at the financial and health impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on communities of color. Published August 3, 2020.

Response Letter from TeleTracking CEO Michael Zamagias to Sen Schumer and Sen Murray

On July 22 Sen Schumer and Sen Murray wrote to TeleTracking CEO Michael Zamagias for details on his company’s award of a sole-source contract to manage Coronavirus data. This is Zamagais’ response, claiming an NDA prevented him from answering.
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State-by-State Guide to Travel Restrictions

The United States, along with several other nations, are blocked from entry into the European Union members and other nations. Within the United States many states have instituted their own travel restrictions from out-of-state travelers. This download is a reprint from Travel and Leisure explaining travel restrictions as of August 8.

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Data Source: Travel & Leisure (Includes Video)

State-by-State Guide For Wearing Masks

A number of states and cities have instituted some form of mandatory face mask wear. This download is a reprint from CNN explaining state-by-state requirements as of August 8.

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Data Source: CNN

Public School Teachers As Critical Infrastructure Workers

On August 18 the Department of Homeland Security issued new standards classifying public school teachers as critical infrastructure workers. This move was seen by educators as a way of forcing teachers back into in-person classrooms.
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CDC Testing Guidelines Change

On August 24 the CDC issued new guidelines for Covid-19 testing. The initial guidelines stated viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic. The August 24 change only recommended testing if a person shows symptoms. This change was widely panned by infectious disease experts and the CDC was accused of allowing political pressure from President Trump to impact it’s medical recommendations. These two downloads are the before and after CDC guidelines.
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July 17 Guidelines
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August 24 Guidelines

CDC Guidance on Aggressive Anti-Mask People

There are ongoing reports of workers being assaulted or even killed as a result of asking customers to wear face masks. On August 24, the CDC issued guidelines for dealing with aggressive anti-mask people.
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US Post Office Documentation

On Aug. 21, 2020, the U.S. Postal Service released nearly 10,000 pages of records to American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. On Sept. 17, 2020, after the documents had been posted publicly and had been discussed in multiple news reports, USPS requested that American Oversight remove the file from this website.
Following conversations with USPS, American Oversight has now reposted a copy of the file that includes redactions requested by the agency on a limited number of pages. Pages that relate to issues that were the subject of public reporting — such as the draft press release regarding the plan to mail face masks to every American household — remain un-redacted.

Link to the Searchable Files

International Events

Sweden: Icon - reference linkWhile most countries went into lockdown as Covid-19 spread rapidly across the world, Sweden took a different approach and allowed the controlled spread of coronavirus among the population in attempts to achieve Herd Immunity. it’s still too early to tell which pandemic strategy will be best in the long-term, it appears that Sweden’s attempt at achieving Herd Immunity has failed.

Additional Reading

This article, a follow-on article from Slate’s earlier timeline, lays out a detailed account of how President Trump mismanaged the pandemic response. This article argues the case for holding President Trump responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans.

The Trump Pandemic

As the economy cratered this spring, economists and poverty experts were mildly surprised to discover that government support — particularly the $600 a week in expanded unemployment benefits and one-time $1,200 stimulus checks — likely lowered the overall poverty rate. Now, those benefits have expired and people are “living on air.” An in-depth look at the financial impact of the pandemic.

Debt, eviction and hunger: Millions fall back into crisis as stimulus and safety nets vanish

This is a CBS News survey conducted by YouGov, using a nationally representative sample of 2,226 U.S. registered voters interviewed online between August 19-21, 2020. While the polling questions are oriented towards the upcoming national elections, many reflect the public’s thinking on issues related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Published August 23, 2020.

CBS News Battleground Tracker – August 19-21, 2020 Registered Voters

An in-depth article on how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been turned into a political tool for President Trump’s re-election campaign, and in the process undermining its credibility as it approaches one of the most important and fraught decisions in its history amid a divisive presidential election. Published August 30.

Inside Trump’s pressure campaign on federal scientists over a Covid-19 treatment

The concept of Herd Immunity comes from vaccination policy, in which it’s used to calculate the number of people who need to be vaccinated in order to ensure the safety of the population. An in-depth article on the science behind the concept of Herd Immunity, and requirements to reach Herd Immunity among the American population. Published July 13, presented here as the concepts relate to timeline issues appearing at the end of August.

A New Understanding of Herd Immunity

This is an in-depth review of the many lies told by President Trump about the Coronavirus pandemic. This article was initially published August 31, and the authors promise to update it as necessary. This article has special significance in the wake of investigative Report Bob Woodward’s publication of his book “Rage.” In the book, and accompanied by media articles, Woodward reveals recorded interviews with President Trump of Trump admitting the seriousness of the Coronavirus, but days later stating the exact opposite in his public speeches and press briefings.

All the President’s Lies About the Coronavirus An unfinished compendium of Trump’s overwhelming dishonesty during a national emergency

Prelude <> Nov/Dec 2019 <> January 2020 <> February <> March <> April <> May <> June<> July <> August <> September <> Source Data

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