Covid-19 In Brief

As of October 3 at 12:44 p.m., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported 7.31 million confirmed U.S. cases and 208,118 total U.S. deaths as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last seven days, there have been 3,897 new confirmed cases in Massachusetts. There were no new confirmed cases on Andover campus. However, as the percentage of positive testing results rise in the Andover area, extra precautions will be taken, according to Amy Patel, Director of the Sykes Wellness Center.

Economy: As of September, the unemployment rate in the United States has declined and currently sits at 7.9 percent. Despite the number of unemployed Americans decreasing in the past few months, the numbers are still much greater than pre-pandemic conditions in February. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the groups with the highest unemployment percentages are Black Americans (12.1%) and Hispanic-Americans (10.3%). 

Culture: On October 2, President Trump announced that both he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19. After being moved to Walter Reed Hospital, he was administered an experimental antibody treatment, usually reserved for severe cases of Covid-19, at a dosage higher than convention, according to Science Magazine. Despite the drug being in the later stages of testing, its safety and efficacy are not yet known. On October 4, at 3:30 p.m. White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah commented on the president’s condition, saying that “he continues to trend upward.” At least 27 other White House officials, including senior advisor Stephen Miller, have tested positive. 

Health: On September 20, CEO Stéphane Bancel of Moderna, a biotechnology company tasked with the development and testing of a Covid-19 vaccine, stated that “If Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is proven safe and effective, the general population could have access to it by late March or early April next year.” According to Bancel, many experts worry that pressure from the Trump administration for the quick development of this drug will impact its efficacy. Bancel expects that the vaccine will first be administered to the most high risk populations, such as healthcare workers and the elderly, before being released to the general public. 

Community: As schools across the country reopen, school-related transmission has struck communities across the country. On September 21, the New York Times reported that over 21,000 new cases have been recorded as a result of the reopening of schools. There has been no federal effort to monitor or contain Covid-19 cases in schools, and only 14 U.S. states have confirmed plans to publicly report extensive case data. Meanwhile, as of September 29, 138,105 people in prison tested positive, a four percent increase from the prior week. Texas prisons have the largest total number of cases, at 22,746, while Arkansas possesses the highest rate of infection with 4,081 cases per 10,000 prisoners.

Massachusetts COVID-19 Updates: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 600 new confirmed cases on October 3, bringing the total to 131,814. Currently, Massachusetts has the 18th largest number of confirmed cases, California, Texas and Florida taking the lead with cases ranging from 0.7 to 0.8 million per state. Most of the state’s businesses will enter step two of the third phase of reopening on October 5. Restrictions on indoor performance venues, roller rinks, fitting rooms will be lifted, and other indoor spaces such as gyms and museums can increase their capacity and outdoor gathering limits to 100.