By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The U.S. tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 climbed above 4.30 million on Tuesday, and the death toll exceeded 148,000, after Texas became the fourth state with more than 400,000 cases, joining California, Florida and early hot spot New York.
The U.S. counted another 1,000 COVID-19 fatalities on Monday for a sixth straight day, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The virus continues to spread in the South and West and governors are responding in different ways.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said he would conform with the advice offered by White House Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx over the weekend to close bars again and limit gatherings. Kentucky has 27,601 confirmed cases of the virus and 709 people have died, according to the state health department.
Birx recommended that Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia also close down bars and reimpose restrictions on movement. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, said he has no intention of doing so and would not give local mayors the authority to take the action themselves.
President Donald Trump, who last week appeared to reverse course on wearing face masks and to be taking a new approach to the pandemic that would acknowledge the risks facing Americans, appeared to revert to form late Monday. Trump tweeted out clips of a video showing a group of doctors making a series of false and misleading claims about the virus after the video was removed by Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +0.90% .
The video claimed that face masks and lockdowns are not needed to contain the deadly illness and touted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment. The anti-malarial drug has been determined to be ineffective in multiple trials, but Trump continues to promote it, contradicting the advice of his own public health experts.
Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR -1.16% and Google’s YouTube /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +1.31% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +1.02% also deleted the video, which was promoted by the right-wing site Breitbart News. Twitter added a note to its trending topics warning about the dangers of hydroxychloroquine, which can cause cardiac problems. The video was viewed thousands of times before it was deleted, according to media reports.
There are still 30 states seeing rising cases of COVID-19 over the last 14 days, according to a New York Times tracker. There was positive news for Florida, Louisiana and Alabama, which are showing new cases roughly flat, the tracker shows. Just three states, Arizona, Utah and Vermont, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are showing cases declining over the last two weeks.
The number of hospitalizations also rose above 59,000 on Monday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. There are currently 59,023 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, edging back toward the record of 59,940 set on April 15.
A new Axios-Ipsos poll found that 46% of Americans know someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and about half of those, or 23%, know someone in their own community. A full 75% of those polled said other people’s behavior is making things worse.
Other findings include that of the roughly half of those who saw friends or family in the past week, or 44%, just one in five report wearing a face mask or social distancing. In a sign of the anti-science mood undermining health experts’ efforts to contain the virus, the survey found three in five Americans view taking the first COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to be a moderate or large risk.
There are now 16.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, the Johns Hopkins data show, and 655,300 people have died. At least 9.6 million people have recovered.
Brazil is second to the U.S. with 2.4 million cases and 87,618 deaths.
India is third measured by cases at 1.5 million, followed by Russia with 822,060 and South Africa with 452,529.
The U.K. has 302,290 cases and 45,963 fatalities, the highest in Europe and third highest in the world.
China, where the illness was first reported late last year, has 86,889 cases, and 4,656 fatalities.
Fresh clusters in Europe are leading several countries to warn of non-essential travel to parts of Spain. Germany became the latest to warn holidaymakers of the risks of being infected in certain regions of Spain, joining the U.K. and Norway, which are asking returning travelers to self-quarantine when they get home.
Iran reported 235 new deaths from the virus on Tuesday, a record one-day toll, AFP reported.
What’s the latest medical news?
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -2.87% said late Monday they have also started a late-stage clinical trial for one of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates, involving 30,000 people around the world.
The news came just hours after Moderna Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA -1.84% announced the start of its phase 3 trial of its vaccine candidate.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidates have triggered T-cell responses in participants in addition to neutralizing antibody titers, and one of them is moving forward to the larger trial. A T-cell response is thought to be critical in order for the human body to develop immunity to the novel coronavirus, and the Pfizer-BioNTech candidates and an AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +1.01% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.85% candidate were the first vaccine candidates to show some response on the T-cells, a key component of the human body’s immune system.