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Coronavirus Daily Digest: May 26, 2020

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The United States is approaching 100,00 deaths officially attributed to coronavirus, but that didn’t stop people all over the country from crowding together for Memorial Day celebrations. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that reopening too quickly could bring an “immediate second peak.” Catch up on coronavirus developments from the long weekend:

  • COVID-19 didn’t pause for the holiday: The world added 400,000 more confirmed cases, bringing the total over 5.5 million. An additional 13,000 people died, taking that total to almost 347,000. Recoveries worldwide now number over 2.25 million. At home, the numbers also leapt, with another 100,000 confirmed cases bringing our total to over 1.66 million. More than 98,000 Americans have died, and 379,000 have recovered.
  • The U.S. is fast approaching 100,000 dead from coronavirus. Each one with their own life story. On Sunday, the New York Times dedicated its entire front page plus a few more inside to memorializing just 1% of them. To list all of the Americans who had died from the virus would have required every page of the Sunday paper — and the paper would have needed to be more than twice as thick as usual.
  • Two months since social distancing measures began in the U.S. to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, all states have begun reopening parts of their economies. See what exactly has reopened in each state, broken down by category. As stay-at-home orders expire and businesses reopen, all the scientific data is being scrutinized anew. But the numbers are often ambiguous, with large margins of error
  • The World Health Organization says it is temporarily halting its clinical trials that use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients over published concerns that the drug may do more harm than good. President Trump said he had "just finished" taking a two-week course of the antimalarial drug, the medication he has vigorously promoted as a preventative or curative treatment for the coronavirus.
  • As dozens of meatpacking plants that closed because of outbreaks begin reopening, meat companies’ reluctance to disclose detailed case counts makes it difficult to tell whether the contagion is contained or new cases are emerging even with new safety measures in place.  Meanwhile, the industry’s reliance on foreign-born workers and uncertainty about the virus fuels concerns about possible labor shortages to meet demand for beef, pork, and chicken.
  • U.S. pharmacy chains are preparing a big push for flu vaccinations when the season kicks off in October, hoping to curb tens of thousands of serious cases that could coincide with a second wave of coronavirus infections.
  • Wondering what you can do safely this summer? NPR asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.
  • Like we don’t have enough to worry about: With restaurants and other businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic, rats may become more aggressive as they hunt for new sources of food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.
  • Brazil is fast emerging as a coronavirus epicenter. The country’s daily coronavirus deaths were higher than the United States’ for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country’s Health Ministry. But many are denying the problem. Doctors and psychologists say denial at the grassroots stems from a mixture of misinformation, lack of education, insufficient testing, and conflicting messages from the country’s leaders. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation suspending entry into the U.S. from Brazil.
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