Our Response to COVID-19: Information
Good evening,

October 23, 2020 -- Yesterday, the world saw a massive hike it reported covid-19 infections, blowing past the symbolic 500,000 mark for the first time (+506,482). Today’s reports came in just shy of yesterday’s mark, with the dizzying single-day number of 497,091, confirming the entire planet is losing control of the virus spread. Today, the hardest hit country in the world, the United States, broke the daily record it had reached three months ago. 4th ranked Russia also reached a new record today and France, now ranked 7th globally, is in the middle of a huge explosion of new cases that threatens its medical infrastructure, with a staggering 42,032 new cases in the last 24 hours, which is more than twice the next highest number reported anywhere in Europe today, in the UK (+20,530), and was the third largest global report after India and the US. Here is a very troubling long list of countries reaching new records of daily infections today: USA, Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Holland, Belgium, Czechia, Poland, Romania, Austria, Armenia, Hungary. The following countries reported numbers that almost equaled their recently established peaks: Spain, Argentina, Great Britain, Iraq, Indonesia, Nepal, Portugal, Sweden, Morocco, Switzerland. 

COVID-19 in the world today:

  • COVID-19 Global cases: 42,469,656 (+497,091)
  • COVID-19 Global deaths: 1,149,116 (+6,490)
  • COVID-19 Global death rate: 2.71%
  • COVID-19 Global testing*: 771,079,315 confirmed tests (+11,032,691)
  • COVID-19 Global positivity rate: 5.51%
  • COVID-19 Global single-day positivity rate: 4.44%

*:incomplete data set.
Tip: click on any of the graphs for larger and clearer images and click on READ MORE to view the complete articles. Also, please forgive the occasional typos.
Russia COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 4
  • 1,480,646 cases (+17,340) peak
  • 25,525 deaths (+283)
  • 56,230,544 tests (+546,615)
  • positivity rate 2.63%
France COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 7
  • 1,041,075 cases (+42,032) peak
  • 34,508 deaths (+298)
  • 14,630,713 tests (+224,214)
  • positivity rate 7.64%
Belgium COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 27
  • 270,132 cases (+16,746) peak
  • 10,588 deaths (+49)
  • 4,375,231 tests (+87,928)
  • positivity rate 6.17%
Italy COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 15
  • 484,869 cases (+19,143) peak
  • 37,059 deaths (+91)
  • 14,314,453 tests (+182,032)
  • positivity rate 3.48%
Why countries are resorting to pandemic lockdowns again | washingtonpost.com
The lockdowns are back. On Thursday, Ireland is set to become the first country in Europe to impose a second national lockdown as cases of the novel coronavirus surge once again. “We’re making a preemptive strike against the virus, acting before it’s too late,” Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said as he announced the measures.

Ireland is not alone in moving toward drastic action, although the extent of measures varies. The Czech Republic, only months ago considered a rare pandemic success story, announced similar plans on Wednesday. Britain, France, Germany and Spain have set regional restrictions this month, prompting demands for nationwide action.

“We are going to a partial lockdown. That hurts, but it’s the only way,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a news conference last week. He announced measures including the closure of bars and restaurants for at least a month.

No governments take these steps lightly. Even limited shutdowns have consequences. National lockdowns like the one seen in Ireland can take a brutal toll on the economy. When he announced the six-week lockdown Monday, Varadkar said that 150,000 people could lose their jobs and the cost to the economy could reach $1.78 billion.

The return of lockdowns highlights an uncomfortable reality: Despite significant medical advances in the treatment of covid-19 and an unprecedented race to find a vaccine to beat the virus, the only proven measures to stop its rampant spread as of yet are crude, perhaps draconian limits on human interaction.

The tactic is deeply unpopular in many places. As the economic turmoil of the spring and summer continues, lockdown is a dirty word for many governments. Officials in Sweden and Belgium emphasized that new restrictions, reported as lockdowns in the media, were recommendations, not rules.

“In the end, [a lockdown] is a failure of the recommendation of restricting people’s contacts,” Belgian state virologist Steven Van Gucht told the Brussels Times on Friday. “If that system fails, a lockdown is the only thing left.”

Scientists mobilize against herd immunity approach

An international group of scientists has written a response to a push for a "herd immunity" approach to managing the pandemic, which would involve letting the virus spread.

The WHO last week denounced the herd approach—a term used for vaccines—as "scientifically and ethically problematic," because it could greatly boost deaths and expose more people to a virus that may have long-term health consequences. However, a document, known as the Great Barrington declaration, with a list of supporters of the approach was reportedly embraced by the White House.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America has denounced the document, and pushback gained more steam today with the publication in The Lancet of the John Snow Memorandum, which includes scientific references and has now been signed by more than 2,000 scientists, researchers, and health professionals.
In the US
Utah COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 29
  • 101,509 cases (+1,960) peak
  • 567 deaths (+4)
  • 1,364,743 tests (+14,174)
  • positivity rate 7.44%
  • 24hr positivity rate: 13.83%
South Dakota COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 39
  • 37,202 cases (+1,185) peak
  • 356 deaths (+9)
  • 241,002 tests (+2,556)
  • positivity rate 15.44%
  • 24hr positivity rate: 46.36%
America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began | washingtonpost.com
America on Friday hit its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, recording at least 82,600 new infections and surpassing the previous record set during the summertime surge of cases across the Sun Belt.

The rising numbers put the nation on the precipice of what could be its worst stretch to date in the pandemic with some hospitals in the West and Midwest already overwhelmed and death counts beginning to rise.

The current surge is considerably more widespread than the waves from last summer and spring. The unprecedented geographic spread of the current surge makes it more dangerous, with experts warning it could lead to dire shortages of medical staff and supplies. Already, hospitals are reporting shortfalls of basic drugs needed to treat covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

And it’s not simply a matter of increased testing identifying more cases. Covid-19 hospitalizations increased in 38 states over the past week. The number of deaths nationally has crested above 1,000 in recent days.

The last time the country hit a new daily record for coronavirus cases — 76,533 on July 17 — just four states accounted for more than 40,000 of those cases: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to a Washington Post analysis.

On Friday, 11 states accounted for that same lion’s share of cases. And in the past two weeks, 24 states have broken their records for single-day highs of cases.

More than 170 counties across 36 states were designated rapidly rising hotspots, according to an internal federal report produced Thursday for officials at the Department of Health and Human Services and obtained by The Post.

“One key way we got through previous waves was by moving health-care workers around. That’s just not possible when the virus is surging everywhere,” said Eleanor J. Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University.

Equally alarming, Murray said, is that no one knows how high this wave will grow before peaking.

“We are starting this wave much higher than either of the previous waves,” she said. “And it will simply keep going up until people and officials decide to do something about it.”

The high case numbers of recent days have stoked concerns because the country has not even hit the stretch of holidays and cold weather, which experts have long warned will send cases soaring even higher. More interactions could mean more transmission during celebrations of Halloween, Christmas and the New Year. The winter’s cold, dry air will also help the virus stay stable longer, even as it drives people to hunker down together indoors.

On Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (D) announced new restrictions on businesses. Hours later, White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx warned that closing public spaces may not be enough.

“It won’t be as simple as closing public spaces,” Birx said, pointing to increased gatherings in people’s homes. “What has happened in the last three to four weeks is that people have moved their social gatherings indoors.”

In some areas of Wisconsin, 90 percent of hospital intensive care unit beds are full, the office of Gov. Tony Evers (D) said. The first patient was admitted Wednesday to a makeshift field hospital erected at a state fairgrounds.

Hospitals from Missouri to Idaho are starting to reach capacity. On Thursday and Friday, America had more than 40,000 current covid-19 hospitalizations — the first time that level has been reached since August. In the past three weeks, 37 states saw sizable increases in hospitalizations, and the number has more than doubled in Connecticut, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming.

In Utah, leaders are trying to open a field hospital at an exposition center. State epidemiologist Angela Dunn warned that the health-care system is at capacity, hospital staff are exhausted, and Utahans are getting scared.

“You know, I just, I don’t know what to do anymore,” Dunn said at a Thursday news conference, pleading for residents to be more cautious. “I’m really not trying to scare anyone. I’m just trying to inform you of what’s going on.”

Health-care workers at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City work in a state where hospitals are running out of intensive care beds.

COVID-19 in the USA

  • Cases: 8,746,931 (+81,188) NEW NATIONAL PEAK
  • Deaths: 229,284 (+903)
  • Death rate: 2.62%
  • Testing: 131,036,036 individual tests (+1,231,468)
  • Positivity rate: 6.68%
  • Single-day positivity date: 6.59%
US top 5 infected states:

  1. Texas: 903,286 COVID-19 cases, 17,954 deaths
  2. California: 900,458 COVID-19 cases, 17,317deaths
  3. Florida: 771,780 COVID-19 cases, 16,349 deaths
  4. New York: 528,025 COVID-19 cases, 33,549 deaths
  5. Illinois: 368,746 COVID-19 cases, 9,688 deaths
In California
Coronavirus: Huge backlog of cases in Los Angeles County explains spike in California | mercurynews.com
The number of COVID-19 cases in California spiked Thursday, but it was fueled by a significant backlog of tests reported in the nation’s largest county.

In total, the 6,359 new cases were, far and away, the most reported in California a single day since Aug. 31, but more than half of those came in Los Angeles County, where there was an estimated backlog of 2,000 cases, county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.

However, even subtracting LA County, California’s average daily cases ticked up 5.5% on Thursday alone. Altogether, the new cases Thursday resulted in a 15.1% increase to the seven-day average of new cases in 24 hours, raising it to about 3,630 per day — its highest point since Sept. 9.

In the past week, there has been an increase in cases in multiple regions of the state, along with an uptick in hospitalizations. And, since the positivity rate reached its lowest point on record over the weekend, it has increased three-tenths of a point to 2.7%.

As recently as Wednesday, an apparent decline in cases in Los Angeles has been offsetting an uptick in the Bay Area in the statewide figures. Instead, a testing backlog appears to be the culprit for any recent decrease in case totals in LA. Once those results were entered into the system, LA’s daily average shot back up to where it was nine days ago.

The 3,579 total cases reported Thursday in Los Angeles were quadruple the county’s previous daily average and its most in a single day since July 29. The LA Public Health Department said it expects to receive more backlogged tests in the coming days.

In the Bay Area, the daily average of cases remained about flat from the day before but has increased about 10.5% since this time last week.

In Alameda County, the cumulative case count crossed 23,000 Thursday, and in San Francisco, it reached 12,000. Each locale has reported more cases in the past week than the previous one. In San Francisco, the daily average is up 17.9% from a week ago to about 35 cases per day, while in Alameda County, it has increased 46% in that time to about 90 per day.

At about 6.2 cases per day per 100,000 residents over the past week, the per-capita infection rate in the Bay Area is still well below the state and national averages. In California, the rate is about 9.2/100K, while nationwide it had soared to about 18.9/100K.

  • COVID-19 California cases: 900,458 (+5,851)
  • COVID-19 California deaths: 17,317 (+52)
  • COVID-19 California death rate: 1.92%
  • COVID-19 California testing: 17,483,293 individual tests (+124,523)
  • COVID-19 California positivity rate: 5.15%
  • COVID-19 California single-day positivity rate: 4.70%
In the Central Valley
The Madera County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Update:

10/23/2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Reporting 32 cases from the public and 4 from Valley State Prison (total 36 cases) bringing the total number of reported cases to 4,981.
Of the 4,981:
  • 310 active case (including 6 Madera County residents hospitalized in Madera County) 
  • 4,597 recovered (21 released from isolation) 
  • 74 deceased
Madera County is averaging 17 new cases per 100,000 residents, with 233 new cases revealed over the last 14 days. We need to get down to an average of 11 cases per day or 154 cases over 14 days to switch from purple to red (from "widespread" to "substantial" contagion risk).

Today, the seven local counties together confirmed 365 new infections and 9 new coronavirus deaths. In the combined 7 counties, COVID-19 has infected 104,721 and has killed 1,452 residents of our region since it claimed its first central valley victim, in Madera, on March 26, 2020. Our friends and neighbors are needlessly dying, many families are suffering. Science and the courage to follow its logic will solve this pandemic, any other discourse is inadequate.
COVID-19 in Madera + 6 local counties (+% is the positivity rate)

  • Mariposa: 78 cases, 2 deaths, 6,827 tests, 1.14+%
  • Merced: 9,465 cases (+26), 155 deaths (+1), 61,918 tests, 15.29+%
  • Madera: 4,981 cases (+36), 74 deaths, 70,649 tests, 7.05+%
  • Fresno: 30,731 cases (+111), 436 deaths (+6), 343,087 tests, 8.96+%
  • Tulare: 17,495 cases (+70), 286 deaths (+2), est. 145,792 tests, 12.00+%
  • Kings: 8,196 cases (+16), 83 deaths, 104,142 tests, 7.87+%
  • Kern: 33,775 cases (+106), 416 deaths, 214,225 tests, 15.77+%

COVID-19 in the 7 counties together

  • 7 counties cases: 104,721 (+365)
  • 7 counties deaths: 1,452 (+9)
  • 7 counties death rate: 1.39%
  • 7 Counties tests: 946,640 (est.)
  • 7 Counties positivity rate: 11.06%
This week, the 7 counties monitored in this section of the report confirmed 2,281 new covid-19 cases, 398 more than were counted last week. Together, the counties reported 30 covid-19 fatalities in the last week, a number that has substantially come down (-20) to the level reported two weeks ago. Currently, of the seven counties, Mariposa is the only county qualified for the yellow (minimal) contagion risk category. Madera and Tulare are still in purple (widespread), while Fresno, Merced, Kings, and Kern counties are currently in the red (substantial) category. Fresno appears to be headed back to the widespread category as new infections counts are sharply up this week: from 695 a week ago to 1,064 (+369) this week, which puts Fresno back above the state’s “widespread” metric threshold.
Keep observing the simple yet proven safety habits of physical-distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand-washing, that will help drive down new infections and new deaths numbers, to a level low enough so as to give us a chance to reopen our schools for onsite education and thus, reopen our economy. Nothing else will work until we have a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
From our hearts to yours,

Fredo and Renee Martin
Workingarts Marketing, inc.

PS: We welcome comments and questions. If you wish to review previous reports, we now host past issues here.