COVID-19 News Briefs for Saturday, August 1, 2020

August 1, 2020

 To treat Covid-19 patients, scientists are experimenting with convalescent plasma, a treatment first used in the 19th century for diphtheria, measles, mumps, tetanus, smallpox, and polio, before the vaccines came out. The treatment involves harvesting antibody-rich plasma from the blood of recovered Covid-19 patients to treat current sick patients. So far, the effort appears to be yielding signs of promise — data from 5,000 patients with severe cases of Covid-19 suggest the treatment is safe and findings from an uncompleted trial in China suggest that critically ill elderly and patients of all ages with moderate illness might benefit the most from the treatment. Another study aggregated the findings of the China trial and 10 other studies that documented convalescent plasma’s use in 525 hospitalized Covid-19 patients and those who received the experimental treatment were 57% less likely to die. Findings expected to be released in the coming weeks will begin to show if similar results are borne out in American Covid-19 patients

 The coronavirus pandemic has put the nation’s election system under stress and officials warn that lack of money from Congress will have disastrous outcomes in the fall. The House approved $3.6 billion to aid local and state election officials in dealing with an expected flood of mail-in ballots which threatens to overwhelm states where voting by mail is a relative novelty. The money has stalled over a new round of help being negotiated for people and businesses devastated by the economic impact of the pandemic

 The $600 federal unemployment subsidy and national eviction moratorium on some properties have expired and Congress has not yet reached an agreement on the economic aid package meant to deal with the growing surge of Covid-19. Major differences remain including whether to provide more money for food stamp benefits
and to offer help for struggling state governments. Other disputes include whether reopened businesses and schools would be protected from liability if customers and employees get Covid-19, and who should receive another $1,200 direct check from the government. The scope of the bill is also being argued — $1 trillion to
more than $3 trillion in relief spending

 Experts believe the current recession triggered by the Covid-19 crisis, could deal a massive blow to the institution of matrimony at a time when people are already marrying a lot less. While social distancing is already affecting how people form relationships, experts expect to see further drops in nuptials, especially with financial setbacks curtaining couples’ ability to pay for a ceremony. During the Great Depression, 20% fewer couples got married, and after the 2008 financial crisis, weddings took a more modest 4% dip

 The consensus among medical insurance industry experts is that Covid-19 has generated little pressure on rate increases. Even though the initial fear was that the virus would jack up premiums drastically in 2021, non-Covid care collapsed as hospitals emptied beds and shut down operating rooms to prepare for an onslaught and people kept away from ERs, doctors’ offices, and outpatient clinics. In many regions of the country, the billions of dollars lost by hospitals and physicians contributed to huge savings for health plans. But that doesn’t mean lower premiums next year — numerous US insurers have announced plans to increase rates, though some have proposed cuts for next year

 The number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 500,000 on Friday in California, and the state set a new record for the number of deaths reported in a single day at 214. More than 9,200 Californians have passed from Covid-19

 The tension between safety and faith has coalesced in the suburbs of Southern California’s so-called Bible Belt and other areas and the controversy over rising cases of infection and deaths related to the coronavirus has not stopped some residents from packing in-person church services. The pandemic has brought about a sense of isolation and the changing state directives have also been disorienting for many. Some other churches are trying to follow the rules by holding services in the parking lots, and though outdoor worship services are still permitted, participants are supposed to wear face coverings and keep 6 feet apart from anyone who is not a member of their household

 LA County reported an additional 2,303 cases and 50 deaths. Totals are now 190,693 cases and 4,669 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 77,849/2,143; Long Beach 8,142/177; Carson 97/0; Gardena 865/34; Hawthorne 1,403/29; Inglewood 2,009/76; Lawndale 472/9; Lomita 169/7; Manhattan Beach 266/4; PV Estates 74/2; Rancho PV 227/12; Redondo Beach 396/9; Rolling Hills 5/0; Rolling Hills Estates 31/2; Torrance 1,041/59

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