Covid-19 News Briefs for Friday, June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020

 The WHO issued a dire warning today that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, and noted that Thursday was a record day for new cases — more than 150,000 globally. Earlier, the outbreak was defined by a series of shifting epicenters but it is now defined by its wide and expanding scope. 81 nations have seen a growth in new cases over the past 2 weeks, while 36 countries have seen declines. More than half of the new cases reported on Thursday come from the Americas with large numbers also being reported from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East

 More than 130 candidates for a Covid-19 vaccine are under development around the world, but only 10 of them have entered clinical trials — half of those are Chinese. A US-China vaccine competition has emerged amid incendiary rhetoric over the virus with the White House blaming China for the spread of the disease. China’s fast-tracking vaccine development has led to ramping up production capacity while allowing unconventional practices, and the vaccine development in the US and Europe are taking similar shortcuts, despite scientists’ warnings against compromise of safety standards. The WHO added that competition also hurts global efforts to coordinate vaccine development and ensure distribution goes to those who need it most

 A new study suggests that gene variants in 2 regions of the human genome are associated with severe Covid-19 illness and carry a greater risk of related death. The findings suggest that people with blood type A face a 50% greater risk of needing oxygen support or a ventilator should they become infected. In contract, people with blood type O appear to have about a 50% reduced risk of severe Covid-19

 After China and Japan, Germany is the latest major nation to witness fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 after relaxing lockdowns, in Berlin and Lower Saxony, forcing it to re-impose local quarantine measures  Coronavirus cases are shooting up in multiple states, but deaths are declining. Recent research suggests that
improved testing is now capturing more cases of patients who are asymptomatic or have mild cases and the real death rate might be closer to 1% rather than the initial estimates of 4%

 San Francisco’s health officer warned that N95 masks with a vent on them are actually bad to wear for public health during the Covid-19 pandemic. Any mask with a 1-way valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling allows droplets to be released from the mask, putting others nearly at risk

 The number of homes sold across Southern California fell sharply in May as the coronavirus outbreak put a freeze on the region’s housing market. Closed sales plunged 45% from a year earlier while the region’s median home price rose 2.7%

 Disneyland plans to reopen July 17, after a nearly 4-month shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis. Park goers will need reservations, masks, and abide by new social distancing rules. However, a dozen unions that represent about 17,000 Disneyland employees wrote a letter to Governor Newsom Thursday, saying it is still unsafe to reopen the park. In addition, a petition on calls for a delay to reopening until the number of coronavirus infections drop — it has been signed by more than 40,000 people, including some Disneyland employees, their family members, and annual pass holders

 LA County health officials opened a probe in the rising Covid-19 cases among construction workers at SoFi Stadium — at least 18 workers have contracted the virus at the $5 billion project in Inglewood where the Rams and Chargers are scheduled to play their first games in 2 months

 Facing a court order over health risks, including the spread of Covid-19, the city and county of LA announced an agreement to create 5,300 beds for homeless people over the next 10 months. The order requires providing space in shelters or alternative housing for the 6,000 to 7,000 county residents living near freeway overpasses, underpasses, or ramps. To assist in funding, the county will pay the city $53 million this year, and $60 million a year for the following 4 years which is separate from the hundreds of millions of dollars being allocated by the county to homelessness through Measure H

 LA County reports an additional 1,414 cases and 38 deaths. Totals are now 79,609 cases / 3,063 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 36,107/1,494; Long Beach 2,888/116; Carson 565/27; El Segundo 41/0; Gardena 384/28; Hawthorne 578/21; Hermosa Beach 49/2; Inglewood 801/59; Lawndale 168/6; Lomita 61/6;
Manhattan Beach 93/3; PV Estates 46/1; Rancho PV 116/11; Redondo Beach 167/7; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 18/0; Torrance 479/50

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases