What you need to know about COVID-19: Expert says COVID-19 is now the No. 3 cause of death in the US

A virus that didn’t even exist a year ago has now killed more Americans than Alzheimer’s disease, accidents and diabetes. Over the past three weeks, the U.S. has averaged more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per day.”COVID is now the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S. — ahead of accidents, injuries, lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many, many other causes,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the CDC.The rate of deaths from COVID-19 is also much greater in the U.S. than in many other countries, Frieden said.”Last week, Americans were eight times more likely to get killed by COVID than were Europeans,” he said.The latest numbersIn the U.S., more than 5.4 million people have been infected with the virus and at least 170,400 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. US reports 1,000 virus deaths nearly every day this month The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has soared to more than 170,000, just 18 days after the nation marked 150,000 lives lost.As cases have increased in the U.S., the lull between grim milestones has grown shorter. It took 54 days for the number of people killed by the virus to go from one to 50,000, and then 34 days to cross 100,000 mark on May 27.By Sept. 5, the number of deaths could grow to 189,000, according to a projection from an ensemble forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.More than 1,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported nearly every day this month. Since July 27, only five days have been under that threshold.Cases and deaths are climbing as a potential vaccine is still months away and as students return to school for in-person classes amid growing outbreaks among younger populations.Infections reported as colleges reopenCases have also cropped up at colleges and universities as students return to campus.Oklahoma State University announced Sunday that at least 23 sorority members in an off-campus house tested positive for the virus. The entire house is in isolation or quarantine and “will be prohibited from leaving the facility,” the university said.After a spate of COVID-19 infection clusters during the first week of classes, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will shift all undergraduate instruction to remote learning Wednesday and continue efforts to greatly reduce residence hall occupancy.“Since launching the Roadmap for Fall 2020, we have emphasized that if we were faced with the need to change plans — take an off-ramp — we would not hesitate to do so, but we have not taken this decision lightly. We have made it in consultation with state and local health officials, Carolina’s infectious disease experts and the UNC System,” wrote Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert A. Blouin in a Monday campus email announcing the changes. UNC System President Peter Hans said, “There are no easy answers as the nation navigates through the pandemic. At this point we haven’t received any information that would lead to similar modifications at any of our other universities. Whether at Chapel Hill or another institution, students must continue to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing, as their personal responsibility, particularly in off-campus settings, is critical to the success of this semester and to protect public health.”Campus Health Services reported a significant rise in positive COVID-19 tests over the past week (Aug. 10-16).Currently, 177 students are in isolation and 349 are in quarantine, both on and off campus. UNC-Chapel Hill identified four separate coronavirus clusters in three residence halls and a fraternity in three days.The two clusters were identified in the Ehringhaus Community and Granville Towers Friday, according to the university. A third cluster was identified Saturday in the Sigma Nu fraternity, located in the 100 block of Fraternity Court.A fourth cluster was identified Sunday in the the Hinton James residence hall Sunday. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services defines clusters as five or more cases that are deemed in close proximity, such as a college residence hall. ‘We’ve got to break through to our young people’While older Americans are more at risk for severe illness from coronavirus, health experts and officials are continuing to warn that younger populations are at the forefront of its spread.”We’ve got to break through to our young people that they are not immune to the virus,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.The city has seen a steady increase in cases, which she attributed to 18 to 29-year-olds.Also steadily increasing is the number of cases among children, according to CDC guidance.Early data led many experts to believe that children did not contract or spread the virus in the same way that adults do. But as more research has been done into their age group, that belief is changing, the CDC said.”Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared with adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in households and camp settings,” the guidance states.The new guidance comes as many schools have opened their doors to bring students back for in-person learning. Several have already experienced outbreaks, prompting quarantines and closures.The Los Angeles Unified School District, which will begin its school year virtually this week, is launching a new program “that will provide regular COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to school staff, students and their families,” Superintendent Austin Beutner announced in a news release Sunday.”Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary actions, and while this testing and contact tracing effort is unprecedented, it is necessary and appropriate,” Beutner said. Positivity rates climbingHealth officials are hopeful that a new saliva test could give Americans a fast and inexpensive way to learn if they have COVID-19 and help to prevent increasing spread.The SalivaDirect test, from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.”If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine,” said Nathan Grubaugh, a Yale assistant professor of epidemiology.The test comes as frustration grows over testing delays and shortages. Seventeen states are performing fewer tests this past week compared with the previous week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.But while testing has gone down in those states, test positivity rates have increased in 34 states.The test positivity rate is the percentage of tests being performed that come back positive for the virus. It is one of the metrics experts encourage officials to monitor when making reopening decisions.Part of Illinois will be under new guidelines after three days in a row with a test positivity rate of 8% or higher, according to a news release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.Beginning Tuesday, all bars, restaurants and casinos in the Metro East area of Illinois will close by 11 p.m. Party buses will be closed and gatherings will be limited to 25 people or less, Pritzker said Sunday.”If the data shows we need to go backwards in our reopening, I won’t hesitate to tighten restrictions to protect our collective health,” said Pritzker.Stop the spread of COVID-19To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask.Masks are required in public places in some states and businesses. Multiple major retailers have announced mask requirement policies as the nation continues to see a large number of cases reported in certain areas.The CDC also recommends you keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.Make sure to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.For more tips on how to stay safe, CLICK HERE.

A virus that didn’t even exist a year ago has now killed more Americans than Alzheimer’s disease, accidents and diabetes.

Over the past three weeks, the U.S. has averaged more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per day.

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“COVID is now the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S. — ahead of accidents, injuries, lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many, many other causes,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The rate of deaths from COVID-19 is also much greater in the U.S. than in many other countries, Frieden said.

“Last week, Americans were eight times more likely to get killed by COVID than were Europeans,” he said.

The latest numbers

In the U.S., more than 5.4 million people have been infected with the virus and at least 170,400 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US reports 1,000 virus deaths nearly every day this month

The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has soared to more than 170,000, just 18 days after the nation marked 150,000 lives lost.

As cases have increased in the U.S., the lull between grim milestones has grown shorter. It took 54 days for the number of people killed by the virus to go from one to 50,000, and then 34 days to cross 100,000 mark on May 27.

By Sept. 5, the number of deaths could grow to 189,000, according to a projection from an ensemble forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 1,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported nearly every day this month. Since July 27, only five days have been under that threshold.

Cases and deaths are climbing as a potential vaccine is still months away and as students return to school for in-person classes amid growing outbreaks among younger populations.

Infections reported as colleges reopen

Cases have also cropped up at colleges and universities as students return to campus.

Oklahoma State University announced Sunday that at least 23 sorority members in an off-campus house tested positive for the virus. The entire house is in isolation or quarantine and “will be prohibited from leaving the facility,” the university said.

After a spate of COVID-19 infection clusters during the first week of classes, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will shift all undergraduate instruction to remote learning Wednesday and continue efforts to greatly reduce residence hall occupancy.

“Since launching the Roadmap for Fall 2020, we have emphasized that if we were faced with the need to change plans — take an off-ramp — we would not hesitate to do so, but we have not taken this decision lightly. We have made it in consultation with state and local health officials, Carolina’s infectious disease experts and the UNC System,” wrote Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert A. Blouin in a Monday campus email announcing the changes.

UNC System President Peter Hans said, “There are no easy answers as the nation navigates through the pandemic. At this point we haven’t received any information that would lead to similar modifications at any of our other universities. Whether at Chapel Hill or another institution, students must continue to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing, as their personal responsibility, particularly in off-campus settings, is critical to the success of this semester and to protect public health.”

Campus Health Services reported a significant rise in positive COVID-19 tests over the past week (Aug. 10-16).

Currently, 177 students are in isolation and 349 are in quarantine, both on and off campus.

UNC-Chapel Hill identified four separate coronavirus clusters in three residence halls and a fraternity in three days.

The two clusters were identified in the Ehringhaus Community and Granville Towers Friday, according to the university.

A third cluster was identified Saturday in the Sigma Nu fraternity, located in the 100 block of Fraternity Court.

A fourth cluster was identified Sunday in the the Hinton James residence hall Sunday.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services defines clusters as five or more cases that are deemed in close proximity, such as a college residence hall.

‘We’ve got to break through to our young people’

While older Americans are more at risk for severe illness from coronavirus, health experts and officials are continuing to warn that younger populations are at the forefront of its spread.

“We’ve got to break through to our young people that they are not immune to the virus,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

The city has seen a steady increase in cases, which she attributed to 18 to 29-year-olds.

Also steadily increasing is the number of cases among children, according to CDC guidance.

Early data led many experts to believe that children did not contract or spread the virus in the same way that adults do. But as more research has been done into their age group, that belief is changing, the CDC said.

“Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared with adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in households and camp settings,” the guidance states.

The new guidance comes as many schools have opened their doors to bring students back for in-person learning. Several have already experienced outbreaks, prompting quarantines and closures.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, which will begin its school year virtually this week, is launching a new program “that will provide regular COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to school staff, students and their families,” Superintendent Austin Beutner announced in a news release Sunday.

“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary actions, and while this testing and contact tracing effort is unprecedented, it is necessary and appropriate,” Beutner said.

Positivity rates climbing

Health officials are hopeful that a new saliva test could give Americans a fast and inexpensive way to learn if they have COVID-19 and help to prevent increasing spread.

The SalivaDirect test, from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.

“If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine,” said Nathan Grubaugh, a Yale assistant professor of epidemiology.

The test comes as frustration grows over testing delays and shortages. Seventeen states are performing fewer tests this past week compared with the previous week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

But while testing has gone down in those states, test positivity rates have increased in 34 states.

The test positivity rate is the percentage of tests being performed that come back positive for the virus. It is one of the metrics experts encourage officials to monitor when making reopening decisions.

Part of Illinois will be under new guidelines after three days in a row with a test positivity rate of 8% or higher, according to a news release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Beginning Tuesday, all bars, restaurants and casinos in the Metro East area of Illinois will close by 11 p.m. Party buses will be closed and gatherings will be limited to 25 people or less, Pritzker said Sunday.

“If the data shows we need to go backwards in our reopening, I won’t hesitate to tighten restrictions to protect our collective health,” said Pritzker.

Stop the spread of COVID-19

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask.

Masks are required in public places in some states and businesses. Multiple major retailers have announced mask requirement policies as the nation continues to see a large number of cases reported in certain areas.

The CDC also recommends you keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.

Make sure to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

For more tips on how to stay safe, CLICK HERE.