Worldwide there are over 19 million confirmed cases and over 780,000 deaths. Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States have topped 5.3 million and 166,000 deaths — by far the highest caseload in the world. Brazil has over 3 million confirmed cases and 165,000 deaths, the second highest number of cases behind the US. As the new school year starts or approaches for kids across the US, a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that nearly 100,000 children contracted COVID-19 in the last two weeks of July.
Across five US states, more than 2,000 students, teachers and school employees have been quarantined, after hundreds tested positive for the coronavirus at the start of the school year. That includes nearly 1,200 people quarantined in the Cherokee County School District outside Atlanta, Georgia. In another Georgia school district, a high school that recently suspended two students for posting images of classmates ignoring social distancing guidelines and not wearing masks announced it is implementing remote learning for part of the week, after at least nine students and staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
A school district in Arizona canceled its plans to reopen schools after several dozen teachers staged a “sick out” in protest. “We have received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students,” Gregory Wyman, the superintendent of the J.O. Combs Unified School District, said in a letter to families posted online Friday. “In response, we have received a high volume of staff absences for Monday citing health and safety concerns.” All classes, including virtual learning, will be canceled, though breakfasts and lunches will be available for pickup, he said. Arizona has over 190,000 confirmed cases and over 4,000 deaths.
In California, the director of the Department of Public Health abruptly resigned Sunday, following the discovery of a computer system failure that led to an undercounting of California’s COVID-19 cases. California has a recorded 630,000 cases and 11,545 people have died. With cases still surging, most schools in California will not be reopening for in-person education this month.
Across the globe in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Auckland may go back into a lengthy lockdown, after 13 new community coronavirus cases were detected. New Zealand spent more than 100 days without reporting any cases, after health officials responded early and aggressively to the pandemic. They have 1,458 confirmed cases and just 22 deaths.
In Australia, Melbourne remains on a strict lockdown as the country reported a record 21 coronavirus deaths. Sixteen of the deaths are linked to outbreaks in nursing homes. Australia has over 23,000 confirmed cases and over 400 deaths recorded.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force said the US is in a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the deadly virus is more widespread than when it first took hold in the US earlier this year. “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas.” Birx stressed that Americans need to follow health recommendations, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Birx would not give a projection of how many deaths the US would see by the end of year, but she said a death toll largely depends on southern and western states to maintain and accelerate their mitigation efforts. Those states have become hot spots for the virus