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U.S. Coronavirus Pandemic

Official U.S. Covid-19 Death Toll Higher Than Initial Reports Suggest

The number of confirmed positive Covid-19 cases and deaths in America that is circulating throughout the media everyday is substantially much lower than the actual number, according to a recent study posted this Wednesday in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal. 

Researchers from Yale University, who have been collecting data on the pandemic since it began, used information from the National Center for Health Statistics to compare the number of weekly US deaths from March 1st to May 30th to previous years as well; when the country/world was covid-free. 

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What they found was that there was an obvious excess in the number of deaths this year compared to normal death rates in America for the spring. The excess was likely caused by the coronavirus, although it’s difficult to know which portion of the deaths were unrelated to Covid, however, this evidence is what led the researchers to believe that such a sharp increase in deaths when compared to what’s normal shows that the number may be undercounted. 

Dan Weinberger, an epidemiologist at Yale’s School of Public Health and one of the lead authors of the study told the media that other factors could contribute to this increase in deaths outside of just Covid-19; he gave the example of people avoiding emergency treatment for serious medical conditions out of fear of contracting the virus. However, Weinberger doesn’t think that’s what’s mainly driving the numbers up. 

“Our analyses suggest that the official tally of deaths due to Covid-19 represent a substantial undercount of the true burden.”

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The United States reported 781,000 deaths between the months of March and May this year. That number is approximately 19% higher than the average amount of deaths in America for this time of year (or 122,300 more deaths). Of those 122,300 excess deaths, 95,235 were recorded as being related to Covid-19 in one way or the other. Researchers believe that the remaining deaths were also brought on by Covid, but could’ve also been attributed to pre-existing conditions in the patients that the virus further intensified. 

Covid-19 affects almost every system within the body, but it’s impact on the circulatory system has doctors seeing an increase in heart attack and stroke in older patients who contract the virus. Heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular illnesses in general are already such a heavy killer every year all around the world, so Covid has only made that issue much larger. 

The reports publishing is a direct result of the massive spikes in cases the US is currently seeing due to premature reopenings of businesses, and lack of enforcement over health and safety protocols meant to halt the spread. New cases in the US grew by 5% in 40 states, but even that statistic is likely to be undercounted. A lack of access to testing facilities is also a major reason researchers believe the number of confirmed cases is much higher than the public thinks. 

Researchers also claimed that some of the inconsistencies in the data was likely related to the intensity and timing of increases in testing in particular states. The main reason for releasing this report was to get Americans who have been acting casually throughout the past few months to start grasping the reality of this pandemic. There’s likely a lot more positive cases out there than we think so continue to listen to your health care professionals and abide by proper social distancing/lockdown protocols. 

Woman Traveler in Thailand

Travel Experts Claim Tourism Will Be More Personalized Post-Coronavirus

According to hotel, aviation, and tourism experts, the future of travel in a post-coronavirus world is going to be all about “hyper-personalization” and luxury.  International borders have already begun to reopen which has already given travellers an insight into what the industry is going to look like when it comes to travelling in this new age of living. 

Mr and Mrs Smith’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer James Lohan recently spoke with the media about travelling in a post-Covid world and claims that privacy and personalization will be on the top of every businesses list. Hotels that are already reopening to the public obviously are needing to take major precautions for both staff and guest safety. Lohan believes that guests will begin to notice more options to design their own stay when planning future vacations. 

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“Customers will be asked how they want to be looked after. Do you want your bags carried or would you rather have no contact with the staff? Would you like to have your turn-down every night or not? Do you want your room made up every day or not?”

The goal is comfort, and while many individuals are likely to opt out of travelling until a coronavirus vaccine becomes a reality, there are others who will be forced into beginning work again soon and will likely need to travel. Individuals who need to self-quarantine for other reasons will likely take advantage of hotel/rental reopenings for the summer and beyond as well. 

Lohan also predicts that serving hours for meals in hotel restaurants will likely expand to allow less individuals to be present in one space at a time. Ordering food will also become more digitized in more of a room service type of format. Minimizing face-to-face contact between staff and guests will also be top priority for everyone’s safety. 

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Hotels located in major metropolitan areas are projected to struggle the most at attracting guests to come back after lockdown. For one, many individuals will likely be anxious to enter any major city in the US by the time this pandemic ends. On the other hand, many individuals who do want to get back into the city may also avoid it due to the fact that they know everyone else will avoid it. The going out culture in cities is what makes vacationing in one so exciting, so without the travelers there to fill the streets, many would rather keep their trips simple. 

The biggest change that Lohan and other experts are projecting to occur is a decrease in how often the average individual travels, but an increase in how lavish they vacation when they do. Tourists will likely want to make travel something special, based on the fact that it’s something we’re all being denied at the moment. 

The reality is also over 40 million Americans lost their jobs within the past three months, so the market of individuals who can afford to travel is going to become much smaller for the US. However, this also means that once the economy recovers and jobs are created, individuals will likely want to wait and save for the perfect luxury trip to really make their time away from home worth it in the future. 

It won’t matter how the travel industry looks in a post-coronavirus world, however, if we don’t actually get to a place where Covid-19 is no longer an issue. Continue to take every health and safety precaution you can and listen to your healthcare professionals so that hopefully one day soon you’ll be booking a flight again to your favorite Caribbean island. 

Apocalypse Movie Fans Are Better Equipped To Cope With The Covid-19 Pandemic

Researchers have found that individuals who are fans of apocalyptic movies are more resilient and prepared when it comes to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Baseball on Mound

MLB’s Ian Desmond Opts Out Of 2020 Season With Powerful Message On Racial Justice

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond is opting out of playing the upcoming shortened MLB season amid coronavirus concerns and the national movement for racial justice in America. Desmond recently made a statement on his Instagram in which he detailed how racism has impacted him in his personal life, and within the professional sports world as well. Desmond believes that the MLB needs to have just as much of a confrontation with racism as the rest of the country. 

Desmond has been playing for MLB for 11-years and has been playing for the Rockies for the past three seasons as a part of a $70 million five-year contract. In his Instagram statement, he claimed to be inspired to speak out and use his platform to discuss his experiences with racism after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. In his post, he detailed how much of his life has been shaped by systemic racism. 

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He recalled how in grade school the administration held a meeting for white families to tell them that Desmond and his sister would be enrolling. He then went on to discuss how his high school team often chanted “white power” ahead of games, which brought him into his experiences within MLB. 

“When I reflect on it [MLB career], I find myself seeing those same boxes. The golden rules of baseball — don’t have fun, don’t pimp home runs, don’t play with character. Those are white rules. Don’t do anything fancy. Take it down a notch. Keep it all in the box.”

He recounted hearing multiple racist, homophobic, and sexist jokes in clubhouses and discussed how there are very little black managers and players in MLB; an issue Desmond doesn’t personally believe anyone is actively trying to fix within the industry. 

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Desmond knowingly forgoed his salary by opting out of the season, and MLB has fully supported his decision, as they’ve been fairly back-and-forth about restarting the season in general. Desmond, however, claimed that he will still be spending the season on a baseball field, just with some smaller players. He’ll be working with his hometowns Little League players to get the teams “back on track” for the summer. 

“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now.  Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.”

Desmond is not alone in opting out of playing the upcoming shortened MLB season, which is projected to resume on July 23rd. Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross recently gave statements through their managers that they wouldn’t be playing, along with Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Mike Leake. All players also claimed that family played an obvious major role in their decision. 

As previously mentioned the 2020 MLB season is set to begin on July 23rd or 24th and will last for 60 games.

MTV

MTV To Hold Socially Distanced VMAs At Barclays Center

The coronavirus pandemic has truly shut down the entertainment industry indefinitely. Television and movie studios have halted production on all projects, Broadway/major theater productions have been closed, and all major award shows cancelled; at least until now. This week BET managed to show the world that not only were award shows still possible in a virtual context, but could also be extremely successful. Now, other major shows are inspired to provide some entertainment to the nation while it endures such a difficult time. 

MTV’s annual Video Music Award show typically takes place the last week of August every year. A few weeks ago it was predicted that the VMAs would likely be either cancelled or digital, but recently, the city of New York announced that the show would be doing neither.

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Instead, the VMAs will be returning to New York City’s Barclays Center this August, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. In a news conference this week Cuomo claimed that the show would bring together music fans worldwide like it always does, and pay homage to the strength, spirit, and resilience of NYC and its residents. 

The show will also provide performances from artists in remote locations throughout all five boroughs of the city. Bruce Gillmer, the president of music, music talent, programming and events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, which produces the show, recently made a statement reacting to the news. 

“We’re elated to bring the 2020 ‘VMAs back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA.”

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Like most industries that have begun to reopen throughout the country, the VMA’s is going to have to endure some major adjustments in order to properly navigate hosting a whole award show during a global pandemic. MTV made a recent statement in which they claimed that the health and safety of all “artists, fans, industry, staff, and partners is of the utmost importance.” 

“Among the measures all parties involved have aligned to include extensive social distancing procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, the virtualization of components where possible, and limited capacity or no audience.”

MTV also claimed that the show’s producers and Barclays Center management has been closely working with state and local officials during the past few weeks and will continue to do so until the actual date of the show to ensure that all proper precautions are taken/followed. 

The VMAs will be the first event that the Barclays Center is hosting since the Covid-19 pandemic initially hit New York City. The center is ecstatic to be back in the game and has stated that they’re  “proud of the impact it will have on our Brooklyn community through the creation of local jobs,” referring to the hiring of additional employees to assist with the event, as well as local surrounding small businesses seeing an increase in foot traffic. 

MTV, Barclays, the state of New York, and all local/state officials will be working tirelessly for the next two months in anticipation of the show and ensuring it runs as smoothly and safely as possible.

Arizona Coronavirus

Arizona Among States Shutting Down Again After Massive Spikes In Covid-19 Cases

The coronavirus pandemic is still very much a major health crisis for the entire world. Worldwide, over 500,000 individuals have died, and over 10.3 million have contracted the virus. The unpredictability of Covid-19, along with a complete disregard for safety measures enforced by healthcare professionals as opposed to government bodies and law enforcement, has led to America in particular seeing a massive surge in cases when compared to the rest of the world. 

Arizona, to be more specific, was one of the many states to prematurely reopen while the rest of the world continued to remain indoors to curve the spread. Now, the state is dealing out major rollbacks on all of the re-openings, as the state has seen one of the most “brutal” increases in Covid-19 cases within the past 30 days of being opened again. 

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Before the end of this month, Arizona had reopened its bars, gyms, and businesses. Now, Governor Doug Ducey is claiming all of those establishments, along with any others that reopened, will be closing yet again. Events with more than 50 individuals have already been prohibited, however, many are wondering if that’s enough considering the fact that the state saw an increase from 46,000+ cases to 75,000+ cases in a matter of 10 days. 

“Our expectation is that next week, our numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigations we are putting in place to take effect,” Ducey said.

The largest increase in case numbers is among individuals who are anywhere from 20 to 40-years old; that demographic makes up about 22% of all hospitalizations for the state. However, Arizona is not alone in this, in fact, sixteen other states that have also prematurely reopened all major businesses, bars, restaurants, etc. have pulled back and begun closing down again due to Covid case numbers rising.

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Bars in Texas and California that never even fully closed down are now officially shutting down business while South Florida recently got an order to begin closing down its beaches. This upcoming fourth of July weekend has many healthcare officials essentially begging their government officials to close everything down to avoid mass gatherings of celebration. 

Arizona is already enforcing that for this weekend in particular groups of 10 or less are allowed to gather if they remain outside and socially distanced. The major drawback, however, is that even with these rules enforced, many still ignore them, and local officials aren’t enforcing them seriously enough for individuals to actually worry about getting reprimanded. 

Arizona schools in particular have also pushed back all dates to start the school year until at least August 17th; that date is also subject to change. The governor said that is a facility that’s been affected by Covid-19 wants to reopen, individuals running said facilities must enforce public health regulations and post it largely for the public to see. The governor’s goal is to open up again in 30 days, however, as we know this virus takes 2-3 weeks to appear sometimes, so who’s to say what the world will look like in a month, let alone a state that already reopened and closed again once.

Vaccine Syringe

Dr. Fauci Worried Covid-19 Vaccine Won’t Lead To Herd Immunity In America

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that he would definitely settle for a Covid-19 vaccine that’s only 75% effective as a means of slowing down the spread of the virus, however, the fact that many Americans already claim that they won’t get a coronavirus vaccine makes it “unlikely” that the US will reach a level of collective immunity that would expel the virus from the country. 

“The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective. That would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will. I would settle for a 70, 75% effective vaccine.”

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With government support currently three coronavirus vaccines are projected to be studied in large-scale clinical trials within the next three months throughout the world. In a recent media poll, one-third of Americans said they would not try to get vaccinated against Covid, even if the vaccine was cheap and widely distributed. 

The main concern right now isn’t how effective the vaccine itself is going to be, as we haven’t seen enough trial data yet, but instead the lack of herd immunity that will result if one-third of the country refuses to be vaccinated. Herd immunity is defined as when a sufficient number of individuals in a given population are immune to an infectious disease, making spread from person to person unlikely. Immunity isn’t necessarily equivalent to being vaccinated either, as we know, many individuals throughout the world are either asymptomatic or completely immune from the coronavirus. 

Fauci claimed that “there is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country — an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking.”

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The anti-vaccination movement is much larger than most realize and while certain states, such as New York, require individuals to be vaccinated if they’re in a public school setting, not enough enforcement is in place nationwide. Fauci went on to explain that they have an extensive program in the making that will be relatable to community members in an attempt to get them to consider vaccination once it’s available. The program, however, is in the preliminary stages. 

Fauci continued to state that every state would receive a different letter grade when asked if he could grade America’s response to the pandemic. “Some states are going to be A+, some A, and some are a C.” He didn’t name any specific states, however, he alluded that all the states where you see large gatherings of people who aren’t wearing masks were creating a recipe for disaster for themselves. 

Until the world sees a real vaccine, one of the number one ways to slow down the spread of the virus from an executive standpoint is contact tracing. Public health officials have been trying to contain certain outbreaks of Covid-19 by isolating infected people and extensively interviewing them about who they’ve had contact with while they were infectious. 

However, Fauci says the US is barely practicing contact tracing especially when compared to countries like China and Japan. He also claims that contact tracing is difficult because a lot of individuals who contract Covid-19 are asymptomatic, so they don’t even realize they’re sick. For now, he encourages everyone to continue to quarantine, wear a mask if you’re out in public and continue to socially distance.

Fireworks

Major US Cities Making Adjustments To Their Fourth Of July Firework Displays

The Fourth of July is often celebrated with backyard barbecues, American flags, and of course, fireworks. However, this year the coronavirus pandemic has created a major obstacle for many fourth of July celebrations. Many major American cities that are known for their massive annual displays have already made announcements for what they plan to do this year to ensure spectators remain healthy and safe while still enjoying sparks light up the night sky.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall cancelled the city’s firework shows that typically take place in Jordan and Liberty Park and instead is asking residents to decorate their homes in red, white, and blue. Residents will be able to light their own fireworks from July 2nd to July 5th between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Salt Lake City fire department.

Chicago cancelled its annual fireworks show at the Navy Pier but the city is still planning on maintaining some level of safe celebration. The city itself is hosting an at-home salsa dance class, a virtual house music festival, and a virtual Independence Day Salute concert accompanied by a professional orchestra for multiple ways of celebrating.

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“While we all reflect on America’s promise of freedom and justice and its painful legacy of racial injustice, I invite Chicagoans to commemorate this year’s holiday with family and close friends, connected with our city and people across our country through the healing power of music,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

In Washington D.C., the nation’s capital is still planning to have some celebrations this year, although the National Independence Day Parade has been cancelled. “A Capitol Fourth” will be hosting a pre-recorded 90 minute program on PBS at 8 p.m. on the fourth as opposed to their normal annual live show in the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn.

The White House also released a statement in which they said their national “Salute to America” will take place on the South Lawn and feature music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor the nation’s service members and first responders who have been battling this pandemic on the front lines.

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Las Vegas is continuing on with plans of multiple firework displays, including one at the famous Red Rock Resort. The event will also be live streamed on the resorts website and social media pages so that anyone can enjoy the show from the comfort of quarantine. The Red Rock Resort parking lot will also be open for spectators who want to see the display in person with social distancing measures enforced.

Los Angeles in general has been setting off fireworks mysteriously every night amid the massive protests for social justice; the same occurrences have been happening in New York City and other major metropolitans as well. The city itself, however, is still planning to continue on with their annual Independence Day shows, but will likely be reduced to only last for 15 minutes maximum.

Finally, New York City recently got word from Macy’s that the retail giant would be setting off 5-minute firework displays in all five boroughs of the city over multiple nights, starting on June 29th.

“Each display will launch from one or two unannounced land or water-based locations across New York City. The final display sites were chosen because they could safely accommodate the launch and firing of large-scale pyrotechnics,” according to city officials.

Regardless of how you plan to celebrate this year, it’s of the utmost importance that we all collectively continue to listen to the world’s healthcare workers and abide by social distancing measures. If you’re planning on attending a firework show in person that is projected to attract a large crowd, wear a face covering, stand at least six feet apart from everyone, and make sure to sanitize/clean yourself properly after you return home.

California Coronavirus

California Governor Prepares For Second Statewide Lockdown Amid Spikes In Covid-19 Cases

California Governor Gavin Newsom claims that the state is setting daily records this week for new cases of Covid-19.

Disneyland Sign

Disneyland Will Delay Reopening Amid Rising Covid-19 Numbers

Disneyland is among the many parks and establishments throughout the US that are shutting down again after making plans to reopen by the end of July. Initially Disneyland was projecting to reopen on July 17th, now, California, Florida, and countless other states are seeing major spikes in new Covid-19 cases which is prompting many state governments to reinstate lockdown procedures. 

In a statement posted to Disneyland’s social media platforms, the company announced that the state of California won’t issue any theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4th, however, their priorities lie more in getting the case numbers down before they think about opening up amusement parks or any other major businesses for that matter. 

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 “Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials.”

Disney continued to claim that they would be working with California officials closely in the coming weeks so that they can issue more concrete plans for a potential reopening this summer. Walt Disney World in Florida is still projecting to reopen by the end of July despite Florida being one of the many states with record-breaking single-day case numbers. Florida is especially under close observation, as the state is projected to be the next epicenter for the virus’ second-wave; much like New York City was during the initial wave of infections. 

The Downtown Disney District is still planning on reopening on July 9th, according to the statement. The reopening of this district follows the same guidelines as all other restaurants and retail openings in the state of California. For Disney World in Florida, the company is planning to reopen the first of several major theme park attractions on July 11th, however, they will need to continue to be in contact with Florida’s state government everyday in regards to new case numbers. 

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Both parks have lost millions of dollars in revenue since initially closing back in March, however, as a multi-billion dollar corporation, this hasn’t made a major economic impact for Disney. When the parks reopen, whenever that may be, visitors will also have to be prepared to abide by very strict health and safety/social distancing procedures while in the park. These measures will include wearing a mask at all times, remaining six feet apart from everyone by following markers on the ground, and character meet and greets will likely not be happening. Visitors will also be required to get their temperature checked prior to entering. 

Some attractions and events will remain shut down indefinitely until this pandemic comes to a more concrete close. Most parades and playgrounds will likely remain shutdown for the time being, and visitors will not be able to travel among multiple parks per day. 

Despite all of these health and safety measures, thousands of American citizens have signed a petition urging Disney to remain fully closed until “COVID-19 cases are no longer rising and no longer posing risk of spreading this disease to our working cast/team members, their families, and our theme park guests.” 

Florida is one of the most infected states in America currently with over 103,000 cases total. Union leaders representing around 17,000 Disneyland employees have also written a letter to the Governor arguing that it is unsafe and irresponsible to reopen the park, and more than 40,000 individuals signed a petition that came from them as well which called the companies plan to reopen “greedy.”

Another major point of contention has been the argument that even if Disney does fully reopen with every single health and safety procedure imaginable, are families really going to be willing to spend the money on a Disney ticket if they have to wear a mask and likely wait even longer for the limited rides that are available? Only time will tell if Disney will even be able to follow through with any of these plans, as we know, this virus is unpredictable, so anything can happen between now and July.