COVID-19 News Briefs for Monday, June 22, 2020

June 22, 2020

 On Sunday, the World Health Organization reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, with more than 183,000 new cases globally. Brazil lead the way with 54,771 cases, followed by the US at 36,617. Overall in the pandemic, the WHO reported 8,708,008 cases — 183,020 in the last 24 hours — with 461,715
deaths worldwide, a daily increase of 4,743. More than two-thirds of those new deaths were reported in the Americas

 The UN released a report expressing concerns over deliberate attacks against healthcare workers and facilities in Afghanistan during the Covid-19 pandemic. 12 acts of violence were documented and the UN said 8 were carried out by Taliban insurgents and 3 by Afghan security forces

 The WHO called for increased production and distribution of dexamethasone, a decades-old steroid that a British clinical trial recently found helped some severely sick patients recover from Covid-19. Demand has already surged and the UN said that governments must work together to prioritize distribution in countries where there are large number of critically ill patients, and that supplies remain available to treat other diseases for which it is needed, including rheumatoid arthritis

 An unprecedented expansion of federal aid has prevented the rise in poverty that experts predicted when the coronavirus sent unemployment to the highest level since the Great Depression, 2 new studies suggest. The assistance could even cause official measures of poverty to fall. However, the studies also warn that many
Americans have suffered hunger or other hardships amid long delays in receiving the assistance, and much of the aid is scheduled to expire next month. Also, millions of people have been excluded from receiving any help, especially undocumented migrants, who often have American children. Still, the evidence suggests that the programs Congress authorized in March have done much to protect the needy, a finding likely to shape the debate over next steps at a time when 13.3% of Americans remain unemployed

 The White House issued an executive order today barring many categories of foreign workers and curbing immigration visas through the end of the year, moves the administration characterized as necessary to protect US workers following steep job losses amid the coronavirus pandemic

 The US Food and Drug Administration is warning the public to stop using 9 hand sanitizer products that may contain a substance that can be potentially toxic. The hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico were found to potentially contain methanol (wood alcohol) which can be toxic when ingested or
absorbed through the skin. The products manufactured by Esk Biochem are marketed under the following names: All-Clean Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochem Hand Sanitzer, CleanCare No Germ Advanced Hand Sanitizer, Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer, The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer, and Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer. The FDA says to dispose of any of these products immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers and do not flush or pour them down the drain

 Infectious disease experts expressed alarm on Sunday over the pace of new coronavirus infections in several states in the South and Southwest. The US is now reporting a quarter of the world’s coronavirus cases, and daily new-infection counts exceeding 30,000 nationwide on a least 2 recent days. In California, much of the increase does appear to be the result of more testing, officials say. However, in some of the most affected states, such as Florida and Arizona, larger proportions of tests are coming back positive and more of the afflicted are also becoming sicker, including increased hospitalizations. Although death rates in the US from Covid-19 have declined after the peak hit in New York in April, hospitalizations climbed sharply in several states, and health officials fear that deaths could start rising again soon

 While other business sectors remained closed for months, Southern California’s apparel manufacturers, which employ thousands, pivoted quickly to produce masks and other critically needed personal protective equipment. This nimbleness allowed local businesses to compete with low-cost overseas suppliers, but it also exposed employees to possible infection and reignited allegations that its low-income, largely immigrant workforce was being exploited

 In LA County, health officials said that total new cases of coronavirus is not the best measure of community spread because of aggressive new levels of testing. They point to other metrics that show that the local outbreak has stabilized even though the number of new cases increased by 20,000 in the last 2 weeks and by
more than 3,600 just over the weekend. 2 key indicators — the positivity rate and average number of daily hospitalizations — have continued to remain relatively steady, while the average daily deaths have declined. Officials say they are monitoring the metrics closely and could impose new restrictions if needed

 The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened hardships for junior-college students, many of whom were homeless or food-insecure before the Covid-19 crisis. With 9 colleges and an annual 200,000 enrollment, the LA Community College District serves some of the most vulnerable students in the state’s system of public higher education. Students’ struggles with academics has been compounded with online classes and a lack of support services, including counseling, tutoring, and basic access to computers, books and food

 LA County’s top health official Dr. Ferrer shared her concern over violent threats that she and others in her field have received as they bring forth safety measures to keep Covid-19 from spreading in their communities. The LA County health team has been receiving attacks via emails, public postings, and letters since March and she has received death threats in May. Earlier in June, the Orange County health officer stepped down after receiving threats over a countywide order to wear face coverings and at least 6 other senior health officials have resigned in California since the pandemic started

 LA County reported an additional 2,571 positive cases and 18 deaths from Covid-19. Totals are now 85,942 cases / 3,137 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 38,580/1,521; Long Beach 2,982/120; Carson 583/27; El Segundo 42/0; Gardena 419/29; Hawthorne 621/22; Hermosa Beach 56/2; Inglewood 865/60;
Lawndale 179/7; Lomita 68/6; Manhattan Beach 99/3; PV Estates 48/1; Rancho PV 123/12; Redondo Beach 173/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 19/1; Torrance 499/50

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 Hill.com; 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