The Latest: A rocky start to the school year
Teachers in a large school district in Georgia returned to schools last week to start planning for reopening. Now, 260 district employees are barred from entering the schools due to either testing positive for Covid-19 or being exposed to someone who had. It’s clear the U.S. is not uniformly prepared for classrooms to safely reopen.
There’s new science that has complicated school plans. It’s increasingly clear that children can get and spread Covid-19 more than initially realized (though likely still less than adults). While there’s no way to reopen schools without any Covid-19 cases, the hope is that case counts could be kept low.
How to do that is complicated, especially for the United States. The United Nations released a statement yesterday calling on countries to safely reopen schools, but only in places where transmission is low. Anthony Fauci, MD, has also shared that he thinks schools in hot spots should reconsider in-person classes. Read more about the latest science on kids and coronavirus here and here.
Here’s what’s new:
- Case count: There are over 4.7 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 18.5 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far more than 156,800 Americans have died from Covid-19.
- Six states have banded together to increase Covid-19 testing: The states — Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland — will enter a purchasing compact that’s meant to pressure companies that make rapid-detection tests to increase production. Read more.
- Novavax shares early vaccine results: The company shared data (which still needs to be peer reviewed) showing that its coronavirus vaccine generated immune responses in a 130-person study and was well-tolerated. Read more.
- Antibody therapy trial moves into phase 3: Drugmaker Eli Lilly is beginning late-stage trials for its experimental coronavirus drug LY-CoV555. The scientists want to know whether the drug can prevent the virus’ spread in residents and staff in U.S. nursing homes. Read more.
- Approximately 1.5 million Italians have antibodies: Antibody testing in Italy indicates that 1.5 million people, or about 2.5% of the population, have had the coronavirus. Almost a third of those who tested positive for antibodies were asymptomatic, and in 41.7% of the cases, people got the virus from a relative living in the same house. Read more.
- A $2.1 billion vaccine deal: Drugmaker Sanofi and its partner GlaxoSmithKline will get up to $2.1 billion from the United States for 100 million doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. It’s the biggest vaccine deal yet for the U.S. government. Read more.
Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog
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A pandemic perspective:
“We want kids back studying STEM but are a country ignoring and belittling scientists. We want kids back learning social studies but can’t demonstrate what adults do with lessons from history.”
— Andy Slavitt, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “What Future Generations Will Remember About the Pandemic”
New on the blog:
A few smart reads:
How the Pandemic Defeated America (The Atlantic)
What Will the First Day of School Look Like? (New York Magazine)