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Coronavirus update: New cases are surging, home sales are plunging

Gilead is working on an inhaled version of remdesivir

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 2,281,903 (2,255,119)

Total U.S. deaths: 120,036 (119,719)

Total global cases: 8,999,645 (8,809,872)

Total global deaths: 468,907 (464,572)

U.S. cases surge over the weekend

It was a bad weekend for Americans in terms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who have become the unofficial tracker of the virus, report cases surged by 30,000 on Friday and by approximately the same number on Saturday.

New cases appear to be rising the most in states that initially had the fewest number, mostly in the South, West, and Midwest. A handful of states, including Florida and South Carolina, reported record-breaking single-day spikes. 

The sharp increase in cases is worrying to health officials since the pandemic was expected to begin to diminish over the course of the summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now predicts there will be between 129,000 and 145,000 total reported COVID-19 deaths by July 11.

Coronavirus sends May home sales skidding

With most of the country still under fairly tight lockdown during part of the month, perhaps it’s no surprise that sales of existing homes plunged by nearly 10 percent in May. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is interpreting the dismal numbers that way, predicting that will turn out to be the bottom of the housing market.

“Sales completed in May reflect contract signings in March and April – during the strictest times of the pandemic lockdown and hence the cyclical low point,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year.”

When homes did sell, they went for more money. The median existing-home price was $284,600 -- 2.3 percent higher than in May 2019.

Gilead working on an inhaled version of coronavirus drug

Gilead Sciences, which is currently conducting clinical trials with its experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, has announced it is exploring the use of an inhaled version of the potential coronavirus treatment.

Remdesivir is currently given to patients intravenously through daily infusions in a hospital setting, meaning it is normally given only to severely ill patients. 

“An inhaled formulation would be given through a nebulizer, which could potentially allow for easier administration outside the hospital, at earlier stages of disease,” Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day wrote in an open letter. “That could have significant implications in helping to stem the tide of the pandemic.”

Report: Ride-sharing faces bleak post-pandemic future

Just a few months ago, Uber, Lyft, and other new and potential ride-sharing services appeared to be the wave of future mobility. A new report suggests that the coronavirus pandemic has turned that prediction upside down

A new report from the Strategy Analytics’ In-Vehicle UX (IVX) service, “Cars in the Time of COVID-19: Consumers Weigh In”, has found consumers will be less likely to use all mobility services once COVID-19 passes. Instead, consumers say they’re likely to hang on to their personal vehicles and may be more likely to buy one.

Derek Viita, the report’s author, says that doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in new car sales. “Instead, consumers could end up holding on to their current cars or buying a used car,” Viita said.

Kids seem to handle it better

The younger you are, the milder COVID-19 symptoms appear to be. A report from researchers at Children’s Hospital of Chicago shows that infants under 90 days of age who tested positive for COVID-19 tend to be well, with little or no respiratory involvement. 

Fever was often found to be the primary or only symptom. Findings were published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Health officials still worry about the large number of young people contracting the virus from bars and parties in recent days, saying they can easily spread the virus to a more vulnerable population.

Around the nation

  • Texas: Two Houston bars have had their liquor licenses suspended after being charged with violating social distancing rules. In all, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission cited more than a dozen establishments across the state for violating safety rules. Texas has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases. 

  • Wisconsin: The state’s coronavirus numbers continue to improve. There were 280 new cases confirmed on Sunday but no deaths from the virus. The state health department reports the number of positive test results Sunday was the second-lowest over the last two weeks.

  • Tennessee: Officials in Shelby County, which includes the city of Memphis, are considering a return to Phase 1 restrictions after a troubling spike in cases last week. Tennessee is one of several states experiencing a sharp increase in coronavirus cases after lifting some restrictions.

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