WASHINGTON -- Dire news about surging U.S. case counts was briefly relieved by improvements on the employment frontline this week. But with a potential vaccine still months away and lockdown orders being reimplemented, the pandemic situation looks to be perilous as the summer unfolds.
Here is the week in numbers:
That’s the number of doses of remdesivir, a drug used to treat COVID-19 patients, currently available to purchase by countries that aren’t the United States.
According to The Guardian, the U.S. purchased “virtually all the stocks for the next three months” for the Gilead Sciences-manufactured drug, with the country prepared to outbid any other nation.
The Trump administration snagged more than 500,000 doses of the drug, according to The Guardian — all of Gilead’s July quantities available and 90% of doses available for August and September.
Remdesivir has been frequently discussed as a potential treatment option for individuals with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
That’s the amount in dollars that people in West Hollywood, California could be fined if they’re spotted without a mask. Officials said Thursday that the city will issue a $250 fine and a $50 fee for first-time offenders.
Earlier in June, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all state residents to wear a mask while in most indoor settings, as well as outdoors. But that ordinance has been difficult to enforce or police on a statewide scale.
"Beginning this month, we will start issuing Administrative Citations for people who are not conforming to the Order to wear a face cover/mask in public," the West Hollywood station said in a tweet. "Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to Community health is too great."
That’s how many people in Australia were forced back into lockdown after an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases, according to The New York Times. Australia had previously had a tight grip on its coronavirus situation, with just over 8,000 confirmed cases total according to July 2 data from Johns Hopkins.
As to what may have contributed to the new surge? A cigarette lighter.
The Times reports on how a group of security guards shared a lighter at a hotel where international travelers were quarantined. Local Australia media reported on how the individuals had been practicing social distancing, but still were able to spread the virus by touching the lighter.
According to 7News, “while none of the new cases are in hotel quarantine, the rules for returned travelers have been tightened amid fears over outbreaks linked to the program.”
That’s the number in millions of jobs that were added to the U.S. economy, according to a recent government report. That figure, along with an 11% unemployment can seem encouraging when compared to prior drastic economic news, but it’s also one that comes with a caveat.
The data for the report itself was gathered during the second week of June, just right before the sudden spike in new COVID-19 cases across the country, according to the Associated Press, bringing into question whether the current employment situation is as strong as those 4.8 million new jobs and 11% unemployment figures suggest.
President Donald Trump claimed the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back,” though he acknowledged there are still areas where “we’re putting out the flames” of the virus.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden responded, “Just like last month, President Trump has spiked the ball and made this about him. He doesn’t seem to realize he’s not even on the 50-yard line.”
Economists expect the recovery to take longer than Trump's optimistic projections, with the unemployment rate likely to be near double-digit levels by year's end.
That’s the new record of confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases in a single day — for July 1.
While confirmed COVID-19 cases are rising around the world, the staggeringly high new case counts in the United States indicates that the country’s grasp on the coronavirus pandemic is slipping.
Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that the United States could reach the point where the country is reporting 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
Fauci emphasized in his testimony to Congress that outbreaks in surges in some areas and states still impact the country as a whole.
“I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it’s going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that. Because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well, they are vulnerable,” Fauci said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.