Florida, Texas Join California In Topping 600,000 COVID-19 Cases; FDA Approves Plasma Treatments: Live Updates

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Aug 23, 2020 - 05:28 PM


  • Texas cases top 600k
  • FDA moves to approve plasma treatment
  • Florida tops 600,000 cases; new cases, hospitalizations fall
  • COVID has "fundamentally changed" Sweden, PM says
  • US deaths below 1k
  • Cases in line with average
  • India passes 3 million
  • Global cases hit 23.1 million
  • South Korea suffers most new cases since March
  • Australia sees new cases as Victoria outbreak slows
  • Beijing reports no new domestic transmission cases for 7th day

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Update (1720ET): Texas reported 104 additional COVID deaths since yesterday on Sunday, bringing total deaths to 11,370, while the state also reported 3,493 new cases and a positivity rate of 16.24%, while hospitalizations declined by 88 to 5,186. The new cases brought the state past 600,000, joining Florida and California above the critical milestone.

Under pressure from the administration, the FDA on Sunday authorized the emergency use of blood plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus infections for the treatment of patients hospitalized with the virus. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a call with reporters that the agency was "encouraged by the early promising data that we’ve seen."

Hahn said information from studies conducted this year showed the treatment is safe and has high treatment potential. However, he added that the agency would continue working with researchers studying the treatment and update the authorization as appropriate.

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Update (1330ET): While Alexander Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure, lies unconscious in a German hospital, another figure of anti-Putin resistance in the former Soviet Union, Yulia Tymoshenko, formerly the prime minister Ukraine who was swept into power by her own color revolution, has reportedly fallen seriously ill due to the coronavirus.

Like Russia, the virus has swept across Ukraine.

The country reported more than 2,300 new cases on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, speaking from his party’s retreat in Bommersvik, said the coronavirus outbreak had changed Sweden "forever", and shown that the Swedish welfare state has "clear shortcomings".

Speaking from the leader of the Social Democrats said, “the coronavirus has shown that the welfare state we are so proud of has clear shortcomings, not least in terms of elderly care."

But Sweden has learned from its mistakes, and after becoming one of the only countries in Europe to effectively tackle the virus - its economy and schools are open and rates of cases and deaths are at effectively zero - the prime minister, whose popularity has waned in recent months though still remains higher than most of his critics are comfortable admitting, said the country would "not go back" to how it was before.

The crisis is “a reminder that the society affected by the pandemic was not a perfect society, therefore we will not go back to how everything was before,” he said.


“We choose welfare and we must have the world’s best elderly care,” he said, promising to create new jobs and invest across infrastructure.

Sweden has seen cases edge higher this month, but officials aren't worried.

Because most of the new cases are young people under the age of 40. “The increase we saw at the beginning of August has mainly affected people aged 20-40 who don’t really follow the recommendations in place,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told Swedish newspaper Expressen in a recent interview.

In the US, Florida passed 600,000 infections on Sunday as expected, though cases and death slowed. The state reported only 2,974 new cases, dropping below 3,000 for only the second time since June 22. The only other time was Monday, when 2,678 cases were reported.

Hospitalizations in the state due to COVID-19 have been declining rapidly. Late Sunday morning, 4,578 patients were being treated,  compared to Saturday’s 4,773 - that's a drop of almost 800 since Thursday. So far, Cali and Florida are the only states to top 600,000.

New York saw new lows for virus-related hospitalizations and intensive care patients, and Mexico finally surpassed 60,000 deaths.

And as China and Russia scramble to push their vaccine candidates through rigorous Phase 3 trials, here's the latest survey data.

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Once again, the US reported fewer than 1,000 deaths on Saturday (998 to be exact), the latest sign that projections calling for another virus-linked surge in US mortality were way off base. The US also confirmed 45,855 new cases on Saturday, matching the 0.8% daily average increase over the previous week.

All of these data show that CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield's announcement late last week that the outbreak in the south was slowing, and that the American outbreak was solidly on a downward trajectory, was correct.

But while the debate over mail-in voting and in-classroom education continues to rage (several colleges have already reverted to all-digital learning, and many of the nation's largest districts are doing all- or mostly- remote learning despite Trump's demands for in-person education).

As expected, India's outbreak crossed the three million mark as the disease tears through the world’s second-most populous country.

Infections increased by more than 69,000, and now stand at 3,044,940. The country’s epidemic is one of the world’s fastest-growing, with more than 65,000 new infections reported every day.

Globally, more than 23.1 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world, and more than 14.91 million have recovered, while at least 804,400 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

South Korea is back in focus on Sunday as it continues to battle another wave of the virus, reporting 397 new infections on Sunday, its biggest tally since March, and the latest sign that these new clusters are indeed growing.

The latest numbers brings the country’s total to 17,399. And SK has recorded just over 300 deaths.

Meanwhile, Mexico reported 6,482 new infections, bringing the hard-hit country’s total to 556,216, while officials also reported 644 more deaths.

The WHO said this week that Mexico’s limited testing meant the pandemic was "clearly under-recognized," in the country, and that many more tests should be conducted per day to better capture the scope of the country's outbreak. Mexico isn't alone: it's a problem that's also affecting a broad swath of Latin America.

Ireland's parliament is to be recalled from its recess early as public anger grows over a scandal that's become known as '#golfgate'.

Source: Al Jazeera

Moving on to Australia, the country's Queensland state had two new virus cases the day after tightening restrictions due to an outbreak at a Brisbane youth detention center. Queensland’s case total stands at 1,105. Gatherings at homes and outdoors across the southeast of the state have been limited to 10 people, and 30 people across the rest of Queensland.

Meanwhile, New South Wales reported another 4 cases.

Australia’s biggest hot spot Victoria reported 208 new infections as a lockdown in Melbourne remained in effect. The state also reported 17 more deaths, according to Victoria’s department of health and human.

The 200+ number came after Victoria reported 182 new cases on Saturday, marking two straight days with new cases under 200.

As China declares one of its vaccine candidates ready to be used under 'emergency use' guidelines, Russia said Sunday that it expects to produce between 1.5 million and two million doses per month of its COVID-19 vaccine by the year's end. Eventually it will gradually ramp up production to six million doses a month, according to the RIA news agency, which cited industry minister Denis Manturov.

Meanwhile, last night, Beijing health officials reported 12 new 'imported' cases on Sunday, China's 7th straight day without any local transmission.

Large-scale testing of the vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya institute, is due to start in Russia next week, and will also be carried out with partner countries around the world.

The Philippines recorded 2,378 new coronavirus infections, its smallest daily spike in nearly four weeks, but the nationwide tally rose to 189,601, still the highest in Southeast Asia.

In a bulletin, the department of health also reported another 32 deaths, bringing the Philippines' death toll to 2,998.