By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
MarketWatch photo illustration/Getty Images, iStockphoto
The world has hit another coronavirus milestone.
As of Monday evening, COVID-19 infections surpassed 20 million people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. It has now infected 20,020,679 worldwide, including 5,089,416 people in the U.S. The virus has killed 163,462 in the U.S. and 734,755 people worldwide.
The number of coronavirus cases is still rising in every region of the country. With 10,438 deaths, California is now the third U.S. state to register over 10,000 deaths after New York (32,781 deaths) and New Jersey (15,878 deaths). Texas has the fourth highest number of fatalities (9,230).
The World Health Organization currently estimates that 16% of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and can transmit the coronavirus, while other data show that 40% of coronavirus transmission is due to carriers not displaying symptoms of the illness.
The infectiousness of asymptomatic individuals relative to those who are symptomatic is 75%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on studies of “viral shedding” dynamics — that is, how much of the virus they transmit through talking or breathing.
Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a rollback of operations state-wide at restaurants as well as bars, zoos, wineries, museums, card rooms, and movie theatres. “This is in every county in the state of California, not just those on the watch list,” he said.
In addition, the shutdown also affects indoor operations of gyms, places of worship, offices for non-critical offices, hairdressers, beauty salons, indoor malls, and other places of businesses in 30 counties on California’s ”monitoring list,” and represent 80% in the state of California.
President Donald Trump on Saturday bypassed the nation’s lawmakers as he claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and replace an expired unemployment benefit with a lower amount after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.
However, the executive order and memorandums ostensibly providing relief amid the intractable coronavirus pandemic don’t seem feasible or legal, analysts said Saturday, adding that the wording of the orders raised more questions than the answers provided.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House task force on the coronavirus, has been optimistic on a vaccine arriving at the end of 2020 or in early 2021, and says people must continue to social distance and wear masks.
Fauci has said he was hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed by early 2021, but has previously said it’s unlikely that a vaccine will deliver 100% immunity; he said the best realistic outcome, based on other vaccines, would be 70% to 75% effective.
President Donald Trump signed four executive orders on Saturday that include extending unemployment benefits and extending the pause on student-loan payments after Congress failed to reach a deal on a stimulus package, but some lawmakers questioned the legality of the orders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.57% and S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.30% closed up slightly on Monday as investors awaited progress on round two of a fiscal stimulus during the coronavirus pandemic; the Nasdaq Composite’s /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.09% closed down Monday.