The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attempted to clarify controversial testing guidelines published Monday that said people with no symptoms “do not necessarily need a test” – even if they were exposed to an infected person.
In a statement, Director Robert Redfield said those who come in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-1 patient could be tested, even if they don’t show symptoms.
“Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test,” he said. “Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.”
Also the number of new coronavirus cases may be falling in three Western states, but there is no holding back when it comes to testing.
California and Nevada say they are going to increase testing. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a deal that also will lower the costs of tests and lead to faster results. Oregon’s rate of positive coronavirus cases has fallen to the point that it almost meets Gov. Kate Brown’s threshold for reopening schools.
Nationally, economists estimate weekly unemployment claims will slightly dip from the 1.1 million who applied the week before.
A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data show new case records were set in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota, and also Guam. Record numbers of deaths were also reported in Alaska and Arkansas, Guam and Virgin Islands.
Some significant developments:
- At the RNC, Vice President Mike Pence said the administration marshaled all its forces against COVID and had a “seamless partnership” with the nation’s governors.
- Amid Hurricane Laura, many Texans are staying in hotels, not shelters, as protection from the coronavirus. Texas is offering testing at some shelters.
- Disneyland says it is ready to reopen as soon as it gets the go-ahead from California.
- A stay-at-home order for the island O’ahu went into effect Thursday morning. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the order will last for two weeks.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 5.8 million confirmed infections and nearly 180,000 deaths. Worldwide, there have been more than 826,000 deaths and 24 million cases, according to John Hopkins University data.
📰 What we’re reading: Can employers force their workers to get a COVID-19 vaccination? it’s a prickly subject.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to the Daily Briefing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in food and drink containers.
The agency discovered that some hand sanitizers are being packaged in beer cans, children’s food pouches, water bottles, juice bottles and vodka bottles. The FDA also found that some hand sanitizers contain food flavors, such as chocolate or raspberry.
“I am increasingly concerned about hand sanitizer being packaged to appear to be consumable products, such as baby food or beverages,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. “These products could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potential deadly product.”
He also added that it’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors as children could eat the hand sanitizer and get alcohol poisoning.
“Manufacturers should be vigilant about packaging and marketing their hand sanitizers in food or drink packages in an effort to mitigate any potential inadvertent use by consumers,” Hahn said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN he was undergoing surgery and wasn’t present at the August 20 task force meeting where controversial updated guidelines were discussed.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated COVID-19 guidelines that now say people without symptoms “do not necessarily need a test” – even if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.
“I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations,” Fauci said.
This account contradicts statements made by Dr. Brett Giroir, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, who said during a news conference Wednesday that all top level experts had signed off on the new guidelines, including Fauci.
“I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern,” Fauci told CNN. “In fact it is.”
Researchers say a woman who was evacuated from Italy in March may have been infected by the coronavirus in an airplane bathroom on her flight back to South Korea.
The study comprised of roughly 300 passengers who underwent interviews, physical exams and temperature screenings before they were allowed on the aircraft, according to an early edition of an article scheduled to be published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Six passengers who had shown no symptoms before the flight tested positive for COVID-19 after landing. Eight days later, a 28-year-old woman tested positive after developing a cough, runny nose and sore muscles.
Researchers argued that because she quarantined for three weeks alone at home before the flight and did not use public transportation, it’s unlikely she contracted the virus before traveling.
They also said the woman wore a mask throughout the duration of the flight, except when in the restroom, which led scientists to believe that she must have been infected when using the same bathroom as the asymptomatic passengers.
“This study was one of the earliest to assess asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 on an aircraft,” study authors said. “Contact with contaminated surfaces or infected persons when boarding, moving or disembarking from the aircraft may play a critical role in inflight transmission of infectious diseases.”
LSU’s defense of its college football national championship is off to a rocky start, with just one month before the Tigers open their season. Positive COVID-19 tests or a risk of exposure to infected individuals have sidelined nearly the entire offensive line position group in quarantine, according to a report in the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Citing multiple people, the story by the Advocate said all but four members of the offensive line have either tested positive for the novel coronavirus or are isolating because of high-risk exposure. Players who test positive must isolate for 10 days and must be symptom free for at least 24 hours before returning to practice, according to SEC COVID-19 protocols. Individuals with high-risk exposure must quarantine for 14 days.
– Eddie Timanus
Mental health and college sports:Medical experts warn it is being overlooked, especially in Black athletes
California will more than double its coronavirus testing to up to 250,000 people a day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced. It has a $1.4-billion contract with a Massachusetts company aimed at providing faster results and lower costs. In reporting 6,004 new cases, Newsom tweeted Wednesday that the state continues to see “modest declines” in case counts.
Nevada, too, says the number of new cases has decreased since peaking above 1,400 on July 15. Officials say the decrease is due at least in part to the state’s face-covering mandate and limits on large gatherings. It is also increasing testing in its high-population areas of Reno and Las Vegas.
In Oregon, officials note not only that the case counts are falling, but that the rate of positive tests also has declined. It stands at 5.1%. If it falls to 5%, one of Gov. Kate Brown’s requirements for reopening schools will have been met.
Disneyland is ready to let the magic begin anew. All it needs is a go-ahead from California officials.
The head of Disney’s theme parks said Disneyland is ready to open once California releases its health and safety guidelines for theme parks, a move that’s been hampered by a more full retreat of cases of the coronavirus.
Orange County, where Disneyland resides, was removed on Sunday from a list of counties on California’s monitoring list for coronavirus.
Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has been fully open since July 15, after closing for nearly four months.
– Curtis Tate
Though the number of Americans testing positive for the coronavirus may be ebbing in some cities, the economic damage drags on.
About 1 million workers filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, economists estimate, a slight dip from the 1.1 million who applied the week before.
The number seeking unemployment aid for the first time has been volatile, slightly dipping and rising, yet remaining stubbornly high – far above the previous record of 695,000 weekly claims set during an economic downturn in 1982.
The see-sawing numbers reflect the stops and starts occurring throughout the U.S. economy, as businesses gradually reopen in some parts, while others roll back or halt re-openings as COVID-19 cases spike.
– Charisse Jones
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Contributing: The Associated Press