The Latest: A drop in cases… but don’t get comfortable

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readSep 2, 2020


Dear Reader,

Cases of Covid-19 have been decreasing in the United States, suggesting many states are flattening the curve heading into fall. Of course, there are many caveats to keep in mind — the U.S. is still not testing enough and cases are down but still high.

The good news is that drops in positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths seen nationwide mean that 📣 the restrictions work 📣. For example, no indoor dining seems to be working very well for New York, and widespread mask wearing is common among states that have quelled spiking numbers.

READ: What the Drop in Coronavirus Cases Really Means

The issue now is how these trends will play out as reopenings continue and kids and college students return to school. Already there are outbreaks among recently opened universities, and cases are up in several Midwest states. As one expert told me this week, “the pattern seems to be areas get in trouble and then targeted public health actions are put into place and they get some semblance of control.” The worry is that this pattern will just repeat around the country over and over until there’s a vaccine.

For now, embrace the pandemic living habits you picked up over the past couple months and think of how you plan to apply them to your life in the fall and winter. Cases may be down, but risks may rise. At this point, you know what to do: mask, distance, wash your hands.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Case count: There are over 6 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 25.7 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far over 184,600 Americans have died from Covid-19. There are surely more.
  • The United States ops out of global vaccine effort: The U.S. will not participate in an international initiative to develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine because it is tied to the World Health Organization and China, the White House said Tuesday. More than 170 countries are involved. Read more.
  • Experts weigh-in on who should get the Covid-19 vaccine first: A U.S. advisory group has laid out detailed recommendations on how to prioritize the Covid-19 vaccine, beginning with health workers and people with medical conditions. Read about it here.
  • Three coronavirus vaccines are in phase 3 trials: AstraZeneca said Monday it has started Phase 3 trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in the United States. It’s now the third company to start this stage, following Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well, stay safe, and don’t neglect your mental health,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A Quick Q&A

Are saliva tests for Covid-19 accurate?
There are plenty of people who would love to swap the nasopharyngeal swab Covid-19 test for one that relies on spit. While more research is needed, a new study provides strong support for saliva testing. In a couple of experiments, the researchers found that saliva samples have at least similar sensitivity in the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, as the nasal swab. “Given the growing need for testing, our findings provide support for the potential of saliva specimens in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” they conclude. Read the full story here.

New on the blog:

What the Drop in Coronavirus Cases Means

Saliva Tests Show Promise 🤞

What Will Happen in the Next Two Months

The Pandemic is Increasing Americans’ Fears of Bankruptcy

Essential explainers:

New Study Confirms Face Shields and Valve Masks Can’t Be Trusted

A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged

The 13 Most Outrageous Covid-19 Myths and Misconceptions

Three Methods to Treat Loss of Smell From Covid-19

The Placenta Protects Babies From Covid-19; Here’s How

A few smart reads:

The Mystery of Why So Many 100-Year-Olds Are Surviving Covid-19

Distance Learning Has Been Part of American Culture for 100 Years. Why Can’t We Get it Right?

If You Hate What Covid Did to Your Summer, Just Wait for the Holidays

The Legacy of Tuskegee Complicates African Americans’ Feelings About Vaccines

Drug Combinations May Be Our Best Hope For Treating Covid-19

Abbott’s Rapid-Response Covid-19 Test; Is the Approval Good News?

Big Pharma Needs a Covid-19 Vaccine to Redeem Its Reeling Reputation (Bloomberg)

A Quick Virus Test? Sure, If You Can Afford It (New York Times)



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that