More than 2,000 students and faculty are in quarantine, and the CDC says COVID-19 immunity lasts about three months.
The coronavirus outbreak continues to ravage the country, affecting nearly every segment of the population. Research and reports show that everyone from young people to the elderly are feeling the repercussions of the pandemic—from physical and mental health concerns to economic pain—and things could get worse this fall.
Here are the latest non-political coronavirus updates you should know, in no particular order:
More than 2,000 students and faculty are in quarantine after school started.
School districts in five states report at least 230 COVID-19 cases since in-person instruction resumed recently, leading to more than 2,000 students, teachers, and faculty to quarantine. It’s still unclear whether it’s safe to reopen schools, but it’s definitely contributing to new cases and deaths, particularly in states like Georgia.
Public health experts say COVID-19 immunity lasts three months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday revealed that patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can expect antibodies to last three months. The time frame falls short of what medical professionals had hoped, according to The New York Times. Other viruses related to the novel coronavirus typically yield antibodies for up to a year.
However, the findings at least provide better guidance on how long people can safely expect to be free of COVID-19 after their infection. While antibodies don’t guarantee immunity, they are an indicator of how long you are protected from being reinfected. Research is ongoing.
These are the most effective face masks.
The CDC declared people should not wear masks with valves or vents, because these don’t effectively protect people from the virus. They work best for people working construction before the pandemic, but they let potentially asymptomatic people infect others with COVID-19. The agency encourages wearing cloth masks that have multiple layers of cotton.
Duke University also recently completed a study on which masks were best and worst at preventing small droplets from being emitted. Researchers there found that neck gaiters were the worst offenders for breaking down large droplets—which fall to the ground quickly after being emitted— into smaller ones that pose a higher risk of infecting others.
The CDC issues a crisis warning.
CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield is strongly encouraging every American to follow a few guidelines or the country will be facing “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had.”
Those guidelines include wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, and trying to avoid crowds of people. “I’m not asking some of America to do it,” Dr. Redfield told WebMD in an interview. “We all gotta do it.”
California records 600,000 cases.
On Thursday, the state became the first in the U.S. to reach 600,000 known coronavirus cases. Florida and Texas follow behind with their numbers, at more than 560,000 cases and 530,000 cases respectively. Since surpassing the five-million cast count last weekend, the country has added more than 230,000 cases this week.
Nursing homes sound the alarm.
Community spread in coronavirus hotspots are threatening the safety of long-term-care facilities, places that serve the elderly population most at risk with COVID-19. Two federal elder-care associations—the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living—reported a 58% increase in coronavirus cases within nursing homes between June 21 and July 19. Deaths have stagnated, but that data lags a week or two behind reported cases.
Where is the true death toll at now?
The U.S. has recorded more than 167,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University database, and the true death toll can be far higher than that. The New York TImes suggests that it could be at 200,000 already. The outlet analyzed CDC estimates and found that the true number of fatalities lies in “excess deaths,” or more deaths than usual than the previous year.
Young adults’ mental health shattered.
A new CDC survey found that a quarter of young Americans between 18 and 24 considered suicide in the last month due to the pandemic. The survey also discovered people self-reported anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. It’s not just young adults—the CDC said mental health is also rocky for minorities, caregivers, and essential workers.
Weekly jobless claims dips below a million.
According to the Labor Department, 963,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, marking the lowest level of claims filed since the pandemic. It’s the first time claims were less than a million in 20 weeks, when the economy was hit hardest by the pandemic in March. Those receiving jobless benefits dipped from a little over 16 million to 15.5 million.