The week in numbers: $600 in jobless benefits expires, a plan for 6M daily tests by December
LOS ANGELES - Two significant COVID-19 case milestones were crossed this week, but those were far from the only notable coronavirus news items. This week saw details from a federal health organization’s efforts to ramp up coronavirus testing by December, the looming expiration of a key COVID-19 unemployment benefit made headlines, and health leaders discussed the need for states to incorporate different types of data into their coronavirus response.
Here is a look at the week in numbers:
That’s the number of daily tests in the U.S. that an initiative from the the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hopes to perform by December.
While the quantity of COVID-19 tests being performed in the United States has grown since March, access and availability to coronavirus testing still remains in issue in various states across the U.S.
Daily diagnostic testing capacity in the U.S. for June was between 520,000 and 823,000 tests, according to an article published on the initiative's progress in the New England Journal of Medicine.
RELATED: NIH details plan to increase number of daily COVID-19 tests in US to 6 million by December
The NIH said when test samples are transported to a central laboratory, there may be delays in receiving results that range from a few hours to days. During that time, a person who has been infected by the novel coronavirus but has not yet received their results can unknowingly spread the virus to more people, the NIH said.
“These issues highlight the need for reliable, rapid, point-of-care testing diagnostics,” according to the article.
As of July 24, that’s the number of days that have passed in Florida since the state tallied less than 1,000 new daily cases, according to FOX 13 Tampa Bay.
The Sunshine State has recorded a significantly higher number of new cases than 1,000 in recent days, ranging anywhere from 9,343 to 12,468 from July 17 to 23.
Florida was one of the earliest states to reopen bars, restaurants and other businesses in May, with daily case counts beginning to climb upwards in early June.
As of July 24, there were more than 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
That’s the number of essential indicators that a health organization is advising states to report immediately in their efforts to help track the COVID-19 crisis.
Headed by former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, Resolve to Save Lives said in a new report that states are not uniform in their COVID-19 tracking efforts.
RELATED: Report from former CDC director’s health group examines how states fail to report key COVID-19 data
Due to the lack of a cohesive federal coronavirus response, states have been tracking data on their own in an effort to contain the virus, with some reporting different types of statistics than others.
Among the key data indicators that the report suggests states track are:
-New confirmed and probable cases and per capita rates by date with 7-day moving
-COVID-19 daily hospitalization per capita rates and 7-day moving average
-New COVID-19 confirmed and probable deaths and per capita rates with 7-day moving average
-Time from specimen collection to isolation of cases, by week
-Percentage of new cases from among quarantined contacts, by week
That’s the amount in dollars of weekly federal unemployment benefits that are expected to expire on July 31, with this being the last week that recipients will receive the benefit, according to the Associated Press. The weekly federal $600 boost is in addition to funds that an unemployed person may receive from their state, which vary widely in the amounts offered.
Enacted in March, the CARES Act paved the way for the benefit to be distributed to America’s unemployed, many of whom lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. An additional $1,200 payment and a small business lending program were also part of the package.
In addition to the federal boost to unemployment benefits ending, eviction relief passed in March to protect renters and homeowners with mortgages is also set to expire — putting many Americans at risk of facing eviction or losing their home.
Congress is negotiating another aid package that could extend the extra unemployment benefits, though likely at less than $600.
RELATED: Jobless claims rise as cutoff of extra $600 benefit nears
Negotiations over a new COVID-19 rescue bill were in flux Friday after the White House floated cutting an unemployment benefits boost to as little as $100 and President Donald Trump turned to a new priority, adding money to build a new FBI headquarters.
One sticking point for Republicans trying to resolve their differences with the White House is how to cut the $600 weekly jobless benefit boost that is expiring.
Republicans largely believe the add-on, which had been approved in an earlier aid bill, is too much and becoming a disincentive for returning to work. In some situations, the boost gives the unemployed more money than if they were working. Under McConnell's plan, senators proposed cutting it to $200 and then transitioning over the next few months to a new system more closely linked to a state’s own payment levels.
An administration official granted anonymity to discuss the private talks said the White House viewed the Senate GOP's proposal as too “cumbersome” and the $200 boost as too high.
A number of different solutions were being discussed, the official said Thursday, including dropping the add-on to $100.
Democrats warned time was running out. The benefit officially expires July 31, but due to the way states process unemployment payments, the cutoff is effectively Saturday.
That’s the milestone crossed for number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to July 23 data from Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world. In total, there are more than 15.5 million cases globally.
RELATED: More than 15 million people have COVID-19 around the world, according to Johns Hopkins
California recently surpassed New York as the state with the highest amount of COVID-19 cases. A record one-day total of newly confirmed coronavirus cases gave California more than 415,000 since the pandemic began, sending it past New York for the most in the country, data from Wednesday showed.
New York, though, still has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths with over 32,000, according to Johns Hopkins.
Austin Williams, Kelly Taylor Hayes and the Associated Press contributed to this report.