Coronavirus Report June 16: Good News/Bad News

A woman wearing a face mask to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Photo by Li Lin on Unsplash.
A woman wears a face mask to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Photo by Li Lin on Unsplash.

Please note: There was no report yesterday because the New York Times website upon which we rely for data was not updated until late afternoon.

The coronavirus news is a mix of good and bad today, with the majority coming down on the “bad” side of the scale.  For example, global cases have surged past 8 million, reaching 8.063 million with 437,532 deaths.  As of this morning, the U.S. is reporting 2,124,000 cases of COVID-19 and 116,210 deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

The good news is that a rather robust study involving thousands of patients has shown that the use of dexamethasone, a common and inexpensive steroid, reduced deaths in patients who required supplemental oxygen by 35 percent and by 20 percent for those who needed breathing machines.

That new, combined with reports that retail sales exceeded expectations to turn in almost an 18 percent gain in May, has the stock market up again.  Clothing stores saw the largest increase as many of these non-essential stores were able to re-open for the first time.

In the U.S., cases continue to rise in Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona and other states. New clusters have been reported in West Virginia churches, a bit of a surprise because West Virginia was the last state to be hit and has only 2,322 cases overall, ranking it as the 44th worst-hit of the 50 states.  Right now, 79 new cases have been tracked back to places of worship.

A Small Outbreak in China

In Asia, the Chinese, who claimed to have gotten their case load down to negligible numbers, have reported 40 new cases, 27 of which were in Beijing, and are reacting with draconian actions.  They have blamed the latest cluster on salmon imported from Europe and have shut down 11 food markets  as well as banning further imports. (It is widely believed by Western sources that blaming the outbreak on European salmon is an excuse designed to save face.)

With global numbers continuing to rise in places like Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Iran and Egypt, the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt around the globe, affecting travel, tourism and commerce.

COVID-19 is clearly not going away. We’re going to have to do a better job learning to live with it, to mitigate its impact on our lives, and to protect vulnerable populations.

In the end, you are responsible for your survival. Stock up while stores are open, take preventative steps, and prepare for things to get worse before they get better.