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COVID-19 Update, August 24, 2020: The FDA Under Fire

Looking for a political win after a bad week and in advance of the GOP convention, the president mixes in with the FDA, forcing the approval of a new treatment that gets mixed reviews at best; at least it isn't hydroxychloroquine. Meanwhile, his executive orders are providing little relief to stranded workers. The economy continues to struggle, no matter what the stock market does. Testing problems persist. And the country looks for a way to get back to normal.

The latest:

On August 20, the FDA put on hold the use of COVID-19 survivor plasma as a treatment for the disease, citing weak data. Then the following happened: The president baselessly, and with his usual precision, accuses "the deep state, or whoever" at the of slow-walking progress on vaccines: wapo.st/32dAkpM. A White House trade adviser blew up at the FDA, calling them members of the deep state and telling them to get on "Trump time:" tinyurl.com/y3fd2fn9. So, the FDA approves the use of survivor plasma: tinyurl.com/y6lzs5oa.

Just to be clear, an expert calls the treatment mentioned above "weakly beneficial:" tinyurl.com/y45aacta.


The president's executive orders, designed to provide unemployment relief, aren't panning out: wapo.st/34jtnWW.

Leading indicators suggest that the economic recovery is on pause: nyti.ms/2QtNwS9.

Some school systems are sitting on information about COVID-19 infections: nyti.ms/3hm4PAe.

The much-talked-about pooled testing program isn't working out in the US: nyti.ms/2YrqMq1. But an Israeli team has come up with a sophisticated new approach, using an algorithm, that offers new promise: nyti.ms/2EnNHLZ.

Public health experts are pushing for cheap, at-home tests: bit.ly/31k4Ohm.

Infections related to the Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally have spread to three states: nbcnews.to/3l6YdYV.

Hoping to lure back moviegoers, the National Association of Theatre Owners announces its safety protocols: bit.ly/2Qiuwpj. Meanwhile, US cinemas slowly begin reopening: tinyurl.com/y5wkfhe9.

Food for thought:

A look at the chaotic opening of US schools: bit.ly/3hnzgpL.

An investigation shows how many governors were pressed by business leaders to prematurely reopen their states: tinyurl.com/yyz7mbnu.

Around the country:

In Florida:

The Friday tally of new cases reaches 4,684: Miami-Dade County tops 150,000: hrld.us/31kifr1. Still, the positivity rate is on the downward slope: bit.ly/3glDhts. The Monday tallies are rather lower: tinyurl.com/yx8mzrx5. At the same time, more young people and minorities are dying: bit.ly/32bxtNW.

Four University of Miami students test positive for the coronavirus; 51 more are quarantined: hrld.us/2QfZezt.

The state's hospitals have collectively lost $4 billion during the pandemic: bit.ly/32f5hKm.

As the leisure and hospitality industries struggle, the Orlando area posts the worst jobless numbers in the state: bit.ly/31jY1xl.

An industry expert comments on the challenges facing the theme park sector: bit.ly/32hEqxc.

A new group forms to throw a lifeline to Orlando's beleaguered entertainment workers: tinyurl.com/y3x5ejmh.

In Illinois:

Medical experts fear the state is facing "a perfect storm" unless it gets is COVID-19 numbers down: tinyurl.com/y6ckefjq.

Chicago faces a near-term future without tourism: bit.ly/2YrUQSB.

As 175,000 people in the state have lost their jobs, they now face a new concern of loss of their health insurance: bit.ly/31k6MaI.

In Maine:

One person is dead and more than 50 are infected after attending a wedding: tinyurl.com/y3vfm3qc.

In Minnesota:

The president of University of Minnesota proposes delaying classes for two weeks and putting the first two weeks of the semester online: strib.mn/2Yqu3px.

In Nevada:

Check out the video of a WE/EC (entertainment community) demonstration in Vegas last week: tinyurl.com/y47f3xd6.

In New York:

The state's COVID-19 positivity rate continues to drop: bit.ly/3gl3A2T.

The long-delayed Tony Awards will take place online sometime this fall: nyti.ms/2ElNY1P.

The Public Theatre makes small cash payments to struggling theatre workers: tinyurl.com/y6n8tr7c.

In Rhode Island:

How the state successfully reopened child-care programs during the pandemic: wapo.st/3hyuOER.

In South Dakota:

At 1,376, the number of new cases in the state reaches a new high: bit.ly/2En1Itc.

Around the world:

In Australia:

As Victoria struggles to reduce the number of infections, the chief health officer warns that masks may be mandated until there is "no community transmission whatsoever:" bit.ly/3l6F8pz.

In France:

An outbreak hits a naturist holiday resort: tinyurl.com/yywl9q2l.

In Germany:

A team of epidemiologists say full audiences should be permitted at classical concerts and opera performances, because the audiences are more disciplined: bit.ly/3gmMIZJ.

Meanwhile, scientists go ahead with a trio of rock concerts to asses the risk of the coronavirus spreading among audiences: tinyurl.com/yylf6smj.

In Hong Kong:

A 33-year-old man is the first to be diagnosed with a second infection of COVID-19, from a different strain: tinyurl.com/y24xopz7.

In Italy:

The country sees the highest spike in cases since the end of lockdown: bit.ly/2YqRfEi. The surge is being driven by returning vacationers: tinyurl.com/y3bo9ubo.

In Japan:

A surge of new COVID-19 cases in Okinawa stokes fury at the US base there: bit.ly/3j5EN4x.

In Kenya:

Health workers, caught in impossible circumstances, walk off the job: nyti.ms/32folYX.

In Peru:

The police crack down on a disco violating lockdown rules, causing a deadly stampede: tinyurl.com/y6fgcgon.

In Russia:

The government expected plaudits for rolling out a vaccine so quickly; instead it has gotten skepticism and criticism: tinyurl.com/y4x6qotn.

In South Korea:

The state to roll out new social distancing measures as an outbreak occurs in Seoul: bit.ly/2Eua3Lv.

In the UK:

To encourage dining out, the government splits the check with customers are participating restaurants: wapo.st/3l6DZyh.

Scotland sees the highest spike new cases in three months: bit.ly/2CTmUGU.

Live music venues reopen but they remain in crisis: bit.ly/31gVGDs.

The country's ever-changing COVID-19 travel rules are frustrating would-be vacationers: bit.ly/3gmOv0T.

For your pleasure:

Janet Dacal performs the haunting "Omar Sharif" from The Band's Visit: tinyurl.com/yxl9bs65.

That's all for today. Stay safe. -- DB

To receive your LSA copies at home (no charge), please email LSA@plasa.org or go to www.ezsubscription.com/lsa/mysubscription.

Previous LSA COVID-19 Updates: plasa.me/lsacovid19resources.

(24 August 2020)

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