While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for September 18


INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Hope for stimulus package. After weeks of stalled negotiations on a new stimulus relief bill, Democratic and Republican leaders both expressed a willingness to work together again but they are still hundreds of billions of dollars apart from each other and from the White House, on their respective stimulus measures.

“We want to have an agreement. And we will stay until we have an agreement,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday at a press conference focused on the importance of testing.

Pelosi asserts Democrats have been the more flexible party on negotiations for a stimulus package.

Under her leadership, Democrats’ HEROES ACT called for more than $3 trillion for various stimulus measures. Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have since come down to a $2.2 trillion package.

“We have compromised,” said Pelosi. “We came down a trillion dollars, we asked them to go up a trillion dollars. Instead they went down.”

Republicans’ most recent stimulus package, introduced last week in the Senate, totaled somewhere between $500 billion and $700 billion. The bill, according to sources within Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, called for $300 billion in new spending and hundreds of billions more in additional funding that was repurposed from previous stimulus measures.

The Republican bill is about $800 billion less than where President Trump stands. The President expressed support for larger deal worth $1.5 trillion Wednesday.

FDA approved. Pine-Sol has approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “for kill claims against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on hard non-porous surfaces,” according to a company news release.

The common household cleaner, a product of Clorox Company, was tested by a third-party laboratory and proved to be effective against the virus with a “10-minute contact time on hard non-porous surfaces.”

“Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner now offers the clean families have trusted through generations with the protection they need right now against the spread of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” Chris Hyder, vice president and general manager of the cleaning division at Clorox, said in a statement. “We hope this new Pine-Sol kill claim will increase access to disinfectants that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The company recommends using Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner at full strength with a clean sponge or cloth on hard, nonporous surfaces. For wet surfaces, let stand 10 minutes, and then rinse.

Encouraging signs. Health officials are encouraged by Indiana’s latest COVID-19 spread rate, which is one of the lowest in the country.

But that doesn’t mean Hoosiers should stop taking precautions. Some say it only proves they need to be continued.

One way scientists measure the spread of a disease is known as the Reproductive rate, R-naught, or RO. No matter what you call it— the data shows how many people an infected person will infect.

“R-naught above one tell us that the disease is going to be spreading, R-naught below one tells us that the disease is going away,” said Regenstrief Institute Vice President of Data and Analytics Dr. Shaun Grannis.

“Indiana has one of the lowest spread rates in the nation right now,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box. “[It is] less than one, which I am very proud of.”

At last check— Indiana’s spread rate was .95.

“That tells us that in general, the spread of the coronavirus, right now, is declining, so I think that’s encouraging,” said Grannis.

Infectious disease experts say it’s indicative of the precautions Hoosiers are taking to stop the spread, including masks and social distancing.

Cases top 30 million. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have topped 30 million worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The worldwide count of known COVID-19 infections climbed past 30 million on Thursday, with more than half of them from just three countries: the U.S., India and Brazil, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins researchers.

The number increased by 10 million in just over a month; global cases passed 20 million on August 12.

The United States leads the by-country count with at least 6,675,560 reported cases, followed by India with at least 5,214,677 and Brazil at 4,455, 386, the numbers showed.

Individual numbers could vary as the university’s tally sometimes lags behind country reports.

The U.S. also leads in the number of deaths at 197,643, followed by Brazil at 134,935 and India with a death toll of 84,372, the tally showed.

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