(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Fourth in the world for most new cases
Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Sunday, as the Trump administration renewed its push for schools to reopen and anti-mask protests were planned in Michigan and Missouri.
If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth worldwide for the most new daily cases, after the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis.
Health officials have pleaded with the public to wear masks to limit the virus spread, but the issue has become politically divisive in the United States, unlike many other countries with far fewer infections and deaths.
Many Americans still refuse to wear a mask, which health experts say helps stop transmission of the virus that has killed more than 134,000 Americans.
Antiviral drug hope
One in three South Korean patients seriously ill with COVID-19 showed an improvement in their condition after being given Gilead Sciences’ antiviral remdesivir, health authorities said.
More research is needed to determine if the improvement was attributable to the drug or other factors such as patients’ immunity and other therapies, they said.
Remdesivir has been at the forefront of the global battle against COVID-19 after the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times in a U.S. clinical trial.
In its latest update on the drug, Gilead said on Friday an analysis showed remdesivir helped reduce the risk of death in severely ill COVID-19 patients but cautioned that rigorous clinical trials were needed to confirm the benefit.
Counting the burials
Long after the funding for his project was frozen, Bilal Endris has kept a lonely watch over cemeteries in Ethiopia’s capital by slipping cash to gravediggers to alert his team to any sudden spikes in burials.
In a nation where fewer than 2% of deaths are registered, an increase in burials may be one of the first signs that a killer disease is on the loose.
The program was set up to monitor deaths related to HIV/AIDS a decade ago. Now doctor Bilal monitors for a spike in fatalities linked to COVID-19.
He has yet to see one, but projects like his are being set up in other African countries where many deaths go unrecorded, making it hard to assess the scale of a disease. In some cases, nations are dusting off programs set up during Ebola outbreaks.
Outbreaks on U.S. military bases
Japan and the United States are sharing infection information after about 62 cases at three U.S. military bases from July 7 to Sunday provoked ire in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, a top Japanese official said on Monday.
“I can’t help but have strong doubts about the U.S. military’s measures to prevent infections,” said Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, pointing to reports of personnel leaving base for beach parties and visits to nightlife districts around Independence Day on July 4.
On its Facebook page for Pacific bases, the Marine Corps said it was prohibiting off-base activity for all installations across Okinawa, except essential needs such as medical appointments approved by a commanding officer.
Life after Zoom
Corporate travel agents are using the coronavirus-induced lull in bookings to work with companies on how to get their staff out of Zoom videoconferences and safely back in the air.
They are launching new tools to provide on-the-ground information about local mask requirements, social distancing regulations and quarantine rules, as well as details of hotel, airline and ground-transport hygiene.
Travellers are moving away from cheaper online bookings to seek counsel from experienced consultants amid a slow but growing rebound in the corporate travel industry, which normally accounts for $1.4 trillion of annual spending.
“I am seeing a trend now starting to pick up … We can Zoom or Microsoft meetings but nothing beats the face to face,” said Jo Sully, regional general manager Asia-Pacific at American Express Global Business Travel.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes and Karishma Singh; Editing by Mark Heinrich)