Bad streak: Covid-19 deaths in the United States topped 1,000 for four days straight this week, according to The Washington Post. More than 1,400 Covid deaths were reported Wednesday, the biggest number in more than two months. California reported 174 deaths on Tuesday, a single-day record that lasted only until Wednesday, when 189 deaths were reported in the state, according to the Los Angeles Times. Florida set single-day mortality records three days in a row, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when 253 virus-related deaths were reported.
- Also: Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit the 4.5 million mark, and the country has suffered more than 152,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Globally, at least 17.3 million people have been infected and more than 673,000 have died.
Bad place: The New York Times spoke to 20 public health experts across a range of disciplines about the current state of the epidemic in the U.S. Their outlook was bleak: “We are in a worse place than we were in March,” said Dr. Leana S. Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner. “Back then we had one epicenter,” New York and New Jersey. “Now we have lots.” Donald G. McNeil Jr. writes that defiance and dread have been replaced by sadness and exhaustion. “We’re all incredibly depressed and in shock at how out of control the virus is in the U.S.,” said Dr. Michele Barry, the director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University.
- Also: Earlier this week, the president pondered why the public likes Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, more than him. “He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating … with respect to the virus?”
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Notable passing: Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, died of Covid-19 at the age of 74. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Cain was hospitalized July 1 with symptoms of the virus after traveling throughout June, including a stop at President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Cain was photographed while not wearing a mask.
- Also: Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, tested positive for the virus this week, CNN reports. Prior to testing positive, Gohmert often was seen in public areas on Capitol Hill without a mask, and he has theorized that he contracted the virus because he had recently started wearing a mask more often. The news pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to announce new rules requiring masks on the House floor.
Goodbye, Buddy: The first dog to test positive for coronavirus, a German shepherd named Buddy, died this month, Natasha Daly reports for National Geographic. Although Buddy was also probably sick with cancer, there are still lots of questions about his death and how coronavirus might have contributed to it. To date, 12 dogs and at least 10 cats have tested positive for coronavirus in the U.S. Two of the other dogs that tested positive–one in Georgia, the other in South Carolina– have also died, apparently from other causes. The other ailments might have made the animals more susceptible to coronavirus, just as underlying conditions make humans more vulnerable.
Phony cure-alls: A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City has indicted a Utah resident on fraud charges for selling phony coronavirus treatments. Gordon H. Pedersen sold ingestible silver-based products that he claimed could cure Covid-19. Pederson also masqueraded as a physician in photos and videos to promote the products. “The Department of Justice will take swift action to protect consumers from those who offer phony cure-alls for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Ethan Davis. “We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Food and Drug Administration to quickly shut down schemes to promote and sell unlawful products during this pandemic.” A company Pederson previously co-owned has agreed to stop marketing these products as coronavirus treatments and to issue refunds to people who purchased the items.
Essential workers: As a federal visa program for guest farmworkers has ballooned, so have alleged abuses against temporary employees, Suzy Khimm and Daniella Silva report for NBC News. In 2019, the Labor Department closed 431 cases with confirmed violations of H-2A visa program rules, 150 percent more than in 2014. They found nearly 5,000 workers in the program had been cheated out of wages and nearly 12,000 violations by employers. And those are just the violations that got reported. “Farmers get a very, very productive workforce, because these workers are so vulnerable,” said Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, a national advocacy group. “They do what they say, and very few of them will speak up about unfair or illegal conditions, because they fear the consequences will be even worse if they do.”
Reductions with benefits: A new study from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has found that a program designed to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast also resulted in lower rates of asthma, preterm births, and low birth weights in children, Brian Bienkowski writes for The Daily Climate. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has reduced fine particulate matter, also called PM 2.5. The study estimated that, as a consequence, the region avoided 537 cases of childhood asthma, 112 preterm births, 98 cases of autism spectrum disorder and 56 cases of low birthweight from 2009 to 2014.
- Also: A new report from World Resources Institute shows that since 2005, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have increased GDP while cutting back on carbon emissions, proving that reducing emissions need not harm economic growth, Kristin Toussaint writes for Fast Company.
FairWarning contributor Jessica McKenzie is an independent journalist. Find more of her work at jessicastarmckenzie.com.
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