What you need to know about COVID-19: US on track to hit 1 million new cases in 2 weeks

The U.S. is heading in the wrong direction with COVID-19 numbers, and it’s doing so with astonishing speed.Just after 1,000 people died in a single day, the country is about to reach 4 million COVID-19 cases.To put that in perspective, the first reported case came on Jan. 21. After 99 days, 1 million Americans became infected.It took just 43 days after that to reach 2 million cases.And 28 days later, on July 8, the U.S. reached 3 million cases. The 4 millionth case could come just two weeks after that. Some states are reporting record-breaking numbers of new cases. More governors are requiring masks, and dozens of hospitals are out of ICU beds.At least 27 states have either halted or rolled back their reopenings to try to get a grip on the virus.For the first time in three months, President Donald Trump gave a public COVID-19 update from the White House briefing room Tuesday and said his administration is “developing a strategy.”He said the pandemic will likely “get worse before it gets better,” echoing earlier predictions made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Last week, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the fall and winter will likely be “one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health.”The latest numbersCurrently, more than 3.9 million people in the country have been infected with the virus and more than 142,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 15 million people in the world have gotten the coronavirus. Some good news on the vaccine frontSeveral vaccine trials are progressing well, and researchers say a vaccine might be publicly available by early 2021.And any COVID-19 vaccine that’s sponsored by the U.S. government will be free or affordable for the American public, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC on Wednesday.”For any vaccine that we have bought — so for instance the Pfizer vaccine — those hundred million doses would actually be acquired by the U.S. government, then given for free to Americans,” Azar said.He said the same would apply with the AstraZeneca and the Novovax vaccines.”We will ensure that any vaccine that we’re involved in sponsoring is either free to the American people or is affordable,” Azar said.And while some anti-mask protesters refuse to wear a piece of cloth to help save American lives, enormous signs of altruism have emerged.More than 100,000 people have volunteered to participate in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”You’re talking about tens and tens of thousands of people that will be needed for these multiple vaccine trials,” Fauci said during a webinar Wednesday with the TB Alliance.”I think we’ll be fine with regards to getting enough people.”Where cases are surgingSome politicians, including the president, have insisted that much of the soaring case numbers are a reflection of increased testing.But the surge in new cases has greatly outpaced the increase in testing, with troubling rates of transmission and test positivity in many states.A CNN analysis of testing data from the COVID Tracking Project reveals that the positive test rate — or the the average number of positive test results out of 1,000 tests performed — has increased significantly in many of the current hotspots, including Florida, Arizona, Texas and Georgia.Florida saw an average rate of 35 positive results per 1,000 tests during the month of May. But in June, that number nearly tripled to 105. So far in July, the average rate of test positivity has been 187 out of 1,000.But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is on the “right course” in the fight against the virus.”I think we will continue to see improvements,” the governor said Tuesday. “We just have to, particularly Floridians, have to continue doing the basic things.”Over the weekend, nearly 50 Florida hospitals said they were out of ICU beds. Statewide, the ICU bed availability had dwindled to 15.98% on Tuesday, down from about 18.1% on Monday.And new data from the CDC also show infections could be more than 10 times higher than the number of reported cases in some parts of the U.S.Young people drive spread of cases in Los AngelesCalifornia, the first state to shut down months ago, seemed to get COVID-19 under control — only to suffer a massive resurgence, now surpassing New York with the most coronavirus cases in the nation.This month, the governor shut down bars and indoor restaurant services again due to a massive influx of cases after reopening.In Los Angeles, the number of daily hospitalizations hit a new high for the fourth time in a week Monday. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County officials said young people were driving the spread of the virus, with 57% of new cases reported in people under 41 years old.”The tragedy of what we are witnessing is that many of our younger residents are interacting with each other and not adhering to the recommended prevention measures,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN earlier this week he was on the “brink” of issuing another stay-at-home order for the city, urging residents to avoid gatherings.Here’s what’s at stake:With the continuing spread, if you don’t already know someone infected with COVID-19, officials have said that’s likely to change in the coming weeks as the country’s infections keep rising.More than 150,000 Americans will die from the virus by Aug. 8, according to an ensemble forecast published by the CDC.The previous forecast, published July 9, projected roughly 147,000 coronavirus deaths by Aug. 1. The future of the pandemic in the country will also help determine what school will look like.Trump has said he’s pressuring governors to reopen schools in a push to reopen the country. But parents and educators have protested a return to class saying that while children may not get as sick from the virus, they can still contribute to transmission.And several districts across the country have announced they’ll only hold virtual classes for at least the first several weeks of the upcoming semester.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.

The U.S. is heading in the wrong direction with COVID-19 numbers, and it’s doing so with astonishing speed.

Just after 1,000 people died in a single day, the country is about to reach 4 million COVID-19 cases.

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To put that in perspective, the first reported case came on Jan. 21. After 99 days, 1 million Americans became infected.

It took just 43 days after that to reach 2 million cases.

And 28 days later, on July 8, the U.S. reached 3 million cases. The 4 millionth case could come just two weeks after that.

Some states are reporting record-breaking numbers of new cases. More governors are requiring masks, and dozens of hospitals are out of ICU beds.

At least 27 states have either halted or rolled back their reopenings to try to get a grip on the virus.

For the first time in three months, President Donald Trump gave a public COVID-19 update from the White House briefing room Tuesday and said his administration is “developing a strategy.”

He said the pandemic will likely “get worse before it gets better,” echoing earlier predictions made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the fall and winter will likely be “one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health.”

The latest numbers

Currently, more than 3.9 million people in the country have been infected with the virus and more than 142,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 15 million people in the world have gotten the coronavirus.

Some good news on the vaccine front

Several vaccine trials are progressing well, and researchers say a vaccine might be publicly available by early 2021.

And any COVID-19 vaccine that’s sponsored by the U.S. government will be free or affordable for the American public, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC on Wednesday.

“For any vaccine that we have bought — so for instance the Pfizer vaccine — those hundred million doses would actually be acquired by the U.S. government, then given for free to Americans,” Azar said.

He said the same would apply with the AstraZeneca and the Novovax vaccines.

“We will ensure that any vaccine that we’re involved in sponsoring is either free to the American people or is affordable,” Azar said.

And while some anti-mask protesters refuse to wear a piece of cloth to help save American lives, enormous signs of altruism have emerged.

More than 100,000 people have volunteered to participate in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“You’re talking about tens and tens of thousands of people that will be needed for these multiple vaccine trials,” Fauci said during a webinar Wednesday with the TB Alliance.

“I think we’ll be fine with regards to getting enough people.”

Where cases are surging

Some politicians, including the president, have insisted that much of the soaring case numbers are a reflection of increased testing.

But the surge in new cases has greatly outpaced the increase in testing, with troubling rates of transmission and test positivity in many states.

A CNN analysis of testing data from the COVID Tracking Project reveals that the positive test rate — or the the average number of positive test results out of 1,000 tests performed — has increased significantly in many of the current hotspots, including Florida, Arizona, Texas and Georgia.

Florida saw an average rate of 35 positive results per 1,000 tests during the month of May. But in June, that number nearly tripled to 105. So far in July, the average rate of test positivity has been 187 out of 1,000.

But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is on the “right course” in the fight against the virus.

“I think we will continue to see improvements,” the governor said Tuesday. “We just have to, particularly Floridians, have to continue doing the basic things.”

Over the weekend, nearly 50 Florida hospitals said they were out of ICU beds. Statewide, the ICU bed availability had dwindled to 15.98% on Tuesday, down from about 18.1% on Monday.

And new data from the CDC also show infections could be more than 10 times higher than the number of reported cases in some parts of the U.S.

Young people drive spread of cases in Los Angeles

California, the first state to shut down months ago, seemed to get COVID-19 under control — only to suffer a massive resurgence, now surpassing New York with the most coronavirus cases in the nation.

This month, the governor shut down bars and indoor restaurant services again due to a massive influx of cases after reopening.

In Los Angeles, the number of daily hospitalizations hit a new high for the fourth time in a week Monday.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County officials said young people were driving the spread of the virus, with 57% of new cases reported in people under 41 years old.

“The tragedy of what we are witnessing is that many of our younger residents are interacting with each other and not adhering to the recommended prevention measures,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN earlier this week he was on the “brink” of issuing another stay-at-home order for the city, urging residents to avoid gatherings.

Here’s what’s at stake:

With the continuing spread, if you don’t already know someone infected with COVID-19, officials have said that’s likely to change in the coming weeks as the country’s infections keep rising.

More than 150,000 Americans will die from the virus by Aug. 8, according to an ensemble forecast published by the CDC.

The previous forecast, published July 9, projected roughly 147,000 coronavirus deaths by Aug. 1.

The future of the pandemic in the country will also help determine what school will look like.

Trump has said he’s pressuring governors to reopen schools in a push to reopen the country. But parents and educators have protested a return to class saying that while children may not get as sick from the virus, they can still contribute to transmission.

And several districts across the country have announced they’ll only hold virtual classes for at least the first several weeks of the upcoming semester.

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.