The Latest: What’s summer going to look like?

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readJun 12, 2020


Dear Reader,

Summer 2020 will be unusual. While certain cities and states are reopening, cases of the coronavirus are rising in many areas. The national curve was flattening thanks to stay-at-home orders, but as writer Robert Roy Britt reports for Elemental, rather than continuing to bend the curve down — like many other countries — our curve is now more of a plateau.

We don’t know for certain what’s causing cases to increase in states around the U.S. Was it those Memorial Day weekend parties? The early reopenings? The protests? But as my colleague Yasmin Tayag smartly wrote this week, that’s not what we should be focusing on. Instead, U.S. leadership really needs to focus on whether we are prepared for the increases. Folks may be worried about a “second wave,” but it’s too early for that. Experts say we are still in the first.

What’s new:

  • Case count: There are over 2 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 7.5 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far over 113,800 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • Depressing death data: New mortality data suggests that if they had died from Covid-19 at the same rate as White Americans, at least 14,000 Black Americans, 1,200 Latino Americans, and 200 Indigenous Americans would still be alive. Read more.
  • Moderna says a large vaccine trial will begin in July: The company announced that its vaccine — developed with the U.S. National Institutes of Health — will be tested on 30,000 volunteers. Read more.

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

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick Q&A: Can I play or enjoy outdoor sports this summer?

The prospect of assembling thousands of people for a recreational sporting event worries public health experts, writes Christie Aschwanden for Elemental. Some smaller activities might be possible, but they’re still tricky. The overall risk of sports from tennis to basketball to running races comes down to a few factors: proximity to other people, the intensity of the exposure (breathing hard and talking loudly increases the risk of spreading respiratory droplets), and time. For example, even if it’s played outdoors, basketball is high risk because you’re throwing a ball back and forth and breathing hard in close proximity to other people. Here’s a sport-by-sport breakdown.

Read the full story here.

New on the blog

Don’t Call it a Second Wave

Some Really Depressing Covid-19 Death Data

Don’t Ask What Caused the Spike in Cases — Ask What the U.S. Will Do About Them

Arizona Could Be in Trouble. Here’s What We Can Learn.

Essential explainers

What You Need to Know About Asymptomatic Spread of Covid-19

A Guide to Understanding Pandemic Predictions

Get Ready for a Long, Hot, Coronavirus Summer

Can We Hug Yet?

Smart reads

Please Don’t Avoid the Emergency Room

A Procedure Saving People With Covid-19

Confessions of a Reformed Coronavirus Skeptic

Hydroxychloroquine Farce Has Tragic Consequences (Bloomberg Opinion)



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