By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 climbed above 19 million worldwide on Friday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, and the death toll rose above 715,000, with more than 160,000 of those deaths in the U.S., which has suffered 11 straight days with 1,000 or more fatalities.
The U.S. now has almost 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and at least 160,111 people have died. And while case numbers are coming down in some places that were recently seeing spikes, confusion over how some localities are reporting their infections has raised speculation that the publicly available numbers are not offering a true picture.
California state officials said Thursday they have identified a bug in the electronic system used for collecting infectious-disease data, creating confusion just as public health, education and business leaders are trying to plan for an uncertain future, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The problem may have led to underreporting of COVID-19 cases in many if not all counties, the paper reported. Gov. Gavin Newsom has been using those numbers to reassure Californians that their numbers were coming down.
News on Thursday that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for COVID-19, only to test negative hours later using a different kind of test, highlights the problem facing states grappling with unreliable test kits. DeWine was first tested using an antigen test, which is faster but understood to be less accurate than a polymerase chain-reaction test, which delivered the later negative result. The governor was being tested ahead of planned meeting with President Donald Trump.
The news caps a week in which testing has been a major area of concern for experts, who say the U.S. is still not conducting enough tests, or following through with contact tracing and isolation. A group of governors combined forces earlier this week to order millions of tests in an effort to reduce the backlog.
A Pew Research Center survey published Thursday found most Americans — 69% of those polled — believe state governments moved too quickly to lift restrictions on movement, creating the current wave that is moving fast across the South, West and even Midwest regions that previously had few cases.
The survey of 11,001 adults conducted July 27 to Aug. 2 found about six in 10 Americans believe the U.S. response to the outbreak has been less effective than those of other wealthy nations. The U.S. has about 4% of the global population but accounts for roughly a quarter of global cases and deaths.
Nearly half of Americans, or 48%, rate President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic “poor,” up 16 points since March. “Positive views of the performance of public health officials also have declined significantly: 63% now say public health officials, such as those with the CDC, are doing an excellent or good job in responding to the coronavirus outbreak, down from 79% in March,” the survey found.
There are now 19.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, the Johns Hopkins data shows, and 715,802 people have died. At least 11.6 million people are confirmed to have recovered from the illness.
Brazil is second to the U.S. with 2.9 million cases and 98,493 deaths.
India is third measured by cases that rose above 2 million on Thursday, followed by Russia with 875,378 and South Africa with 538,184.
Mexico has 462,690 cases and 50,517 deaths, the third highest in the world.
The U.K. has 309,796 cases and 46,498 fatalities, the highest in Europe and fourth highest in the world. China, where the illness was first reported late last year, has 88,460 cases, and 4,680 fatalities.|
What’s the latest medical news?
Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -1.28% will help manufacture Gilead Sciences Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/210293917/composite GILD -0.39% COVID-19 treatment remdesivir as part of a multiyear agreement, MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee reported. The news marks a rare manufacturing deal between two of the world’s largest drug makers and reflects the urgency in developing treatments and therapies for the deadly illness.
“Together, we are more powerful than alone,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a news release.
Remdesivir, which has received an emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for severely ill COVID-19 patients, has not been formally approved by the regulator.