Our Response to COVID-19: Information
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September 18, 2020 -- Today’s total of new global coronavirus infections dwarfs the previous record set a week ago. Beside India’s rampant spread topping 90,000 nine out of the last ten days, Europe is now fully engulfed in its dreaded second wave of the pandemic, with France and Spain repeatedly breaking their daily records in the last week, the UK toping numbers it had not reported since the month of May, and flares in northern, central, and eastern Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Germany, Switzerland, Czechia, Moldova). A few cities in Spain and in France, are now severely restricting some businesses and social activities or reducing gatherings down to 6 or 10 people, canceling large events (Madrid, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nice), considering another lockdown (in the UK) or started a second hard lock down today: Israel is handing out the equivalent of $150 fines to people who wander more than half a mile from their home without valid reason. The daily total is staggering: 353,256 new confirmed global infections, which is 100,000 more than the world had been averaging for the last two months, proving yet again that the virus spread is aggressively expanding in many places on our planet:

  • COVID-19 Global cases: 30,690,402 (+353,256) peak
  • COVID-19 Global deaths: 955,803 (+4,923)
  • COVID-19 Global death rate: 3.11%
  • COVID-19 Global testing: 592,657,715 confirmed tests (+4,691,445)
  • COVID-19 Global positivity rate: 5.18%
  • COVID-19 Global single-day positivity rate: 6.69%

*: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.
Coronavirus second wave: Which countries in Europe are experiencing a fresh spike in COVID-19 cases? | euronews.com
Countries across Europe are seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases after successfully slowing outbreaks early in the year.

Some countries — such as Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Montenegro, North Macedonia — are seeing higher case numbers in August than they did earlier in the year.

Belgium, Italy and the UK — among Europe's worst-hit countries — are seeing a resurgence but, so far at least, nothing like March and April. Of the three, the UK's figures look the most worrying. It registered 3,539 cases on September 12.

France, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain are likely dealing with the much-feared second wave and have started taking action to curb it. France, for example, declared 10,593 new cases on Thursday, the highest figure it has recorded.

"We have a very serious situation unfolding before us," said Dr Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization's regional director for Europe, on Thursday. He was speaking as he revealed Europe's number of weekly infections was higher now than at the first peak in March.

While on the face of it infection numbers might be higher, it could be accounted for by the increase in testing - many countries didn't have the capacity to carry out tests in such a high volume earlier in the year.

Great Britain COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 14
  • 385,936 cases (+4,322)
  • 41,732 deaths (+27)
  • 21,368,297 tests (+268,687)
  • positivity rate 1.81%
France COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 12
  • 428,696 cases (+13,215) peak
  • 31,249 deaths (+154)
  • 11,200,000 tests
  • positivity rate 4.29%
Netherlands COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 39
  • 90,047 cases (+1,974) peak
  • 6,273 deaths (+7)
  • 2,042,887 tests
  • positivity rate 4.41%
Czechia COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 60
  • 46,262 cases (+2,107)
  • 495 deaths (+6)
  • 1,148,880 tests (+25,659)
  • positivity rate 4.03%
'A Very Serious Situation': WHO Says Coronavirus Cases Are Rising In Europe Again | npr.org
The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that weekly coronavirus case numbers are rising in Europe at a higher rate than during the pandemic's peak in March.

At a virtual news conference, Dr. Hans Kluge, regional director of WHO in Europe, warned, "We do have a very serious situation unfolding before us."

"Weekly cases have exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," he said. "Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients."

Wearing a green face mask, Kluge said, "Strict lockdown measures in the spring and early summer yielded good results. Our efforts, our sacrifices paid off. In June, cases hit an all-time low."

Reported cases in Spain, France and the U.K. were in the hundreds in June and July.

However, Kluge said the early September case numbers "should serve as a wake-up call for all of us." He said the numbers reflect more comprehensive testing but also "alarming rates of transmission across the region."

"More than half of European countries have reported a greater than 10% increase in cases in the past two weeks," said Kluge. "Of those, seven countries have seen newly reported cases increase more than twofold in the same period."

In the US
An expert’s take on what the U.S., U.K did wrong in Covid-19 communications — and what others did right | statnews.com
Some governments have been praised for being forthright about being science-driven in the way they’ve communicated about the Covid-19 pandemic. Other countries, most notably the U.S. and the U.K., have been hit with criticism for public health messages that are confusing or not based in science.

Heidi Tworek, a health communications researcher and an associate professor of history and public policy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, joined STAT’s biotech podcast, “The Readout Loud,” this week, to talk about that issue. She and a team of researchers just put out a report examining the Covid-19 communications strategies of nine different nations: Senegal, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, and Canada.

This transcript of the conversation was lightly edited for clarity.

Heidi, among the governments that you looked at, which one has done the best job in communicating about Covid-19?

Oh, it’s a great question. I think if I had to pull out a couple that were best for very different reasons, I’d say Senegal, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, and British Columbia. They all took extremely different approaches. But they followed some very basic principles that we lay out in the report, including simple things like having transparency, communicating about social values, and having very clear definitions of what they meant by success in combating Covid-19.

So, by contrast, the United States and the United Kingdom have received a lot of criticism for the way officials there have communicated with the public about the pandemic. What have they done wrong?

What have they done right is another way of phrasing that question. Let me lay out a couple of things. I mean, it begins with even the simple basics.

If you asked 10 people in the United States, what does success look like in fighting Covid-19, you would get 10 completely different responses. If you ask someone in New Zealand, what is success? They understand that it is eliminating Covid-19 in New Zealand. If you are someone in Sweden, what does success mean? They understand that it means a sustainable strategy over the long run. So even if people have fought about, well, has Sweden chosen a good strategy epidemiologically, what we know is they communicated that strategy really quite clearly.

So I think that was a sort of base-level problem [in the U.S. and U.K], a lack of transparency. Importantly, guidelines that are often orders that fluctuate surprisingly swiftly — we see that in the United Kingdom as well. Sometimes orders come down seven minutes before they’re about to be enforced and they’re so complicated that nobody really understands them.

What we’ve seen in places like British Colombia that’s worked very well is you have guidelines that give people some room for autonomy. So you say something like, look, the maximum number of people who can gather is 50. If you, as a workplace or as a restaurant, are going to open, you need to submit a plan about how this is going to be safe. But we give you some autonomy to decide how to do that. A good strategy doesn’t mean orders from the top. It means guidelines that are clearly communicated that give people some room for autonomy, but where they actually have to have some sense of what success, in fact, looks like. And we see all of these kinds of basic principles getting violated in the U.S. and the U.K.

COVID-19 in the USA

  • Cases: 6,925,610 (+51,014)
  • Deaths: 203,141 (+928)
  • Death rate: 2.93%
  • Testing: 96,223,060 individual tests (+988,038)
  • Positivity rate: 7.20%
  • Single-day positivity date: 5.16%
The US experienced a significant spike of new cases today, resulting from states with flares (California, Tennessee, Iowa), high plateaus (Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, Idaho), regions with sharp spikes establishing new daily records (Wisconsin, Utah), or significant growths (Minnesota, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota). Arizona, which had successfully reduced its spread down to 81 new cases only ten days ago, added 1,753 new cases yesterday and 1,282 today. The US had not breached 50,000 new daily cases in two weeks, but ended Friday with 51,014 new confirmed coronavirus infections. We may have to brace ourselves with more spikes of new cases as we approach the two week mark after Labor Day weekend.
Wisconsin COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 22
  • 97,279 cases (+2,533) peak
  • 1,238 deaths (+7)
  • 1,412,537 tests (+13,067)
  • positivity rate 6.89%
Utah COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 31
  • 61,775 cases (+1,117) peak
  • 439 deaths (+1)
  • 931,331 tests (+8,644)
  • positivity rate 6.51%
US top 5 infected states:

  1. California: 779,945 COVID-19 cases, 14,912 deaths
  2. Texas: 717,972 COVID-19 cases, 15,056 deaths
  3. Florida: 677,660 COVID-19 cases, 13,225 deaths
  4. New York: 481,788 COVID-19 cases, 33,172 deaths
  5. Georgia: 302,737 COVID-19 cases, 6,537 deaths
In California
14-Year-Old Girl Survives Coronavirus After 57 Days in Calif. Hospital: 'COVID Is Not a Joke' | people.com
A Southern California teen is speaking out about the importance of taking COVID-19 seriously after she spent nearly two months in the hospital fighting for her life.

Augustina Rojas tells PEOPLE she never expected to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, but that's exactly what happened to the then 13-year-old when she went to the doctor in early June after feeling ill.

"My head was hurting, I couldn't breathe," Augustina, now 14, says. "I thought I was sick, but I thought nothing of COVID. For me, I didn’t think it was real."

Augustina's father, José Rojas, says he was also caught off guard by the diagnosis, especially when doctors proceeded to tell his daughter — who had no underlying health conditions and was otherwise healthy — that she needed to get to Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) "right away."

"I was nervous," he recalls. "It was kind of a surprise... We didn't know what was going to happen."

On June 7, Augustina was officially admitted to CHOC Children's in Orange for respiratory distress.

She was initially put on a high-flow nasal cannula, a device that provides supplemental oxygen to patients, before her condition worsened and she required a non-invasive breathing support mask called Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP).

As weeks went by, Augustina required a breathing tube and then a ventilator. At one point, doctors considered putting the teen on an ECMO heat-lung machine, which would provide Augustina with cardiac and respiratory support.

Despite all the physical trauma to her body — which also included two surgeries — Augustina says she has no recollection of the events in the hospital.

"I don't remember anything — what happened, how I got there. It just happened," explains the teen, who believes she may have been exposed to the virus by a family member who had previously been exposed.

José, however, says he went through a very different experience as he showed up at CHOC Children's every day for nearly two months and watched his daughter fight for her life.

  • COVID-19 California cases: 779,945 (+4,408)
  • COVID-19 California deaths: 14,912 (+100)
  • COVID-19 California death rate: 1.91%
  • COVID-19 California testing: 13,177,186 individual tests (+97,149)
  • COVID-19 California positivity rate: 5.92%
  • COVID-19 California single-day positivity rate: 4.54%
In the Central Valley
The Madera County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Update:

9/18/2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Reporting 26 new cases bringing the total number of reported cases to 4,296.
Of the 4,296:
  • 500 active case (including 11 Madera County residents hospitalized in Madera County)  
  • 3,738 recovered (11 released from isolation) 
  • 58 deceased

Today, the seven local counties together confirmed 611 new infections and 18 new coronavirus deaths (in Kern, Fresno, and Merced counties). 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: 75 cases, 2 deaths, 5,590 tests, 1.34+%
  • Merced: 8,750 cases (+31), 134 deaths (+1), 51,778 tests, 16.90+%
  • Madera: 4,270 cases (+26), 58 deaths, 51,510 tests, 8.29+%
  • Fresno: 27,055 cases (+316), 355 deaths (+7), 264,706 tests, 10.22+%
  • Tulare: 15,599 cases (+82), 256 deaths, est. 129,992 tests, 12.00+%
  • Kings: 7,201 cases (+43), 77 deaths, 70,610 tests, 10.20+%
  • Kern: 31,261 cases (+113), 350 deaths (+10), 185,512 tests, 16.85+%

COVID-19 in the 7 counties together

  • 7 counties cases: 94,211 (+611)
  • 7 counties deaths: 1,232 (+18)
  • 7 counties death rate: 1.31%
  • 7 Counties tests: 759,698 (est.)
  • 7 Counties positivity rate: 12.40%
This weekly report is showing improvement of the situation in the central valley (for example, there were no new COVID-19 deaths reported in Madera and Mariposa counties in the last two weeks) but also reveals that the spread is still active, preventing us from reaching the baseline required to safely resume social and economic activities as we did before the pandemic. The coronavirus is not a hoax, it is a dangerous emerging disease we must respect and fight with care and compassion, as we await the successful development and availability of a fully tested, safe, and effective vaccine. Until then, wear a mask, stay away from large gatherings, wash your hands, and use common sense. We can only weaken the contagion if we all work together. As other areas of the world are being hit by a second wave, we can learn from their experience and keep up our safe behaviors to minimize the spread's impact. A century ago, the pandemic's second wave packed the hardest punch; let's get ready for it. We must remain vigilant and humbly learn from other countries' experiences.
Keep observing the simple yet proven 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.