A version of this story appeared in the July 16 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.

CNN  — 

Who do you trust?

When it comes to coronavirus information, most Americans don’t trust President Donald Trump. But they do trust Dr. Anthony Fauci — despite White House attempts to discredit the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Fauci himself described the attacks he has been facing as “a bit bizarre” and warned they would end up hurting the President. Nearly every aspect of the raging pandemic, from ventilator distribution to school reopenings, has become a political issue. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order to ban local municipalities from mandating masks is just the latest example of the power struggle.

But facts matter. And they are not good. The number of infected Americans is fast approaching 3.5 million. At least 39 US states are reporting an increase in the number of new cases from the week before. Hard-hit parts of Arizona and Texas are bringing in refrigerated trucks as morgues fill up. An influential model from the University of Washington is projecting 224,000 people will die from the virus by November 1 – an increase of almost 16,000 from last week.

Facts and trust matter because the battle against this invisible, highly contagious enemy cannot be won without them. The novel coronavirus spreads when people interact with each other, so clear and consistent science-based guidance based on science is key. Confusion over what to do – and what not to do – is a major problem that could cause real harm.

Because the virus is brand new, some uncertainty is inevitable. Advice may need to change over time. How to avoid confusing the public as the message evolves? Communication expert Peter M. Sandman says one way to do that is by “emphatically and loudly warning the audience in advance to expect uncertainties, reversals, and even screw-ups.”

The cardinal sin of crisis messaging? Overconfidence. Like saying the virus will disappear or that your state is doing just fine, even when the facts say otherwise.


Q: Was the surge in cases in the south caused by visitors from the north?

A: Coronavirus cases are surging in the south because states reopened too soon, not because northerners traveled to southern destinations over Memorial Day, the Harvard Global Health Institute asserted in a statement yesterday.

The institute has pushed back against comments made by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield, blaming travelers from the north for the southern surge.

“Northerners are not the cause of big outbreaks in the south,” the institute said in a statement. “What the states that are seeing large outbreaks have in common is that they relaxed Covid-19 regulations around the same time in May, leading to the surge of cases seen in early June.”

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.


Coronavirus is igniting rage against governments

Major protests have broken out in several countries as demonstrators take to the streets to voice their anger at perceived failures by their leaders to rise to the unprecedented challenges heightened by the pandemic. In Israel, rising public discontent coincided with record numbers of new coronavirus cases. In Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, protests sparked by the government’s plan to impose a curfew turned violent last week. In Lebanon, hunger protests started in May just as the country was loosening its lockdown, and beginning to contend with poor living conditions exacerbated by the near-shutdown of the economy.

A coronavirus test could cost as little as $20 or as much as $850

The list price of a Covid-19 diagnostic test in the US varies widely depending on the hospital, a new report from Kaiser Family Foundation has shown. The study found that large facilities nationwide charge between $20 and $850 for each test, not including the cost of the provider visit, facility fee or other services.

While federal law now requires insurers, Medicare and Medicaid to cover the tests at no cost to patients and provides funding to cover costs for testing the uninsured, limits to the requirements mean that some patients may still receive bills, Kaiser said. The typical list price for the test was $127, and about half of hospitals charge between $100 and $199. Nearly one in five price their tests at more than $200.

She tested positive for the second time

Shelby Hedgecock thought a negative Covid-19 test meant she had recovered from her initial infection. But three months and another positive test later, she is still feeling unwell. “I’m having neurological issues, cognitive issues, trouble putting words together,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday. “It’s just all over the place, and I am insanely tired.”

As health experts work to get the virus under control, stories like Hedgecock’s raise concerns about whether people can get reinfected and if herd immunity is possible.

How they did it

When Covid-19 suddenly ravaged New York, hospitals looked “apocalyptic.” Refrigerated trucks turned into morgues because there wasn’t enough space for all the victims. That was March. Now, the rates of infection, hospitalizations or deaths have plummeted in New York and several other states – paving the way for full economic reopenings.

New York isn’t alone. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont all managed to get the epidemics under control. Here’s how they did it, and what are they doing to keep it that way.


Chilean nurse Damaris Silva plays the violin for patients in Santiago, Chile.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean have topped 3.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 150,000 deaths. Brazil’s death toll has now surpassed 75,000.
  • 1 million people in the UK have quit smoking during the pandemic.
  • Walmart, Kroger and Kohl’s will start requiring customers in US stores to wear masks. They are joining major chains including Starbucks, Best Buy, Costco and others in imposing the rule.
  • India is fast approaching the 1 million cases mark. Meanwhile, China recorded only one new case in the past 24 hours.
  • Scenes of drunken young tourists cavorting without masks on the streets of a resort town have raised concerns in Spain as the country teeters on the edge of a fresh coronavirus surge.
  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has tested positive for Covid-19. His announcement came on the day his state reported a record number of new cases.
  • China’s economy is growing again after its worst three-month period in decades – a sign that could bode well for the global post-coronavirus recovery.
  • The 132nd Tournament of Roses Parade, held every New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California, has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
  • A website is allowing people to peer out of someone else’s window for a change.


Even babies need diet advice

Experts from the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have — for the first time ever — issued guidelines for feeding kids under two. The key message is no surprise: Added sugar is bad.

“Nutritional exposures during the first 1,000 days of life not only contribute to long-term health but also help shape taste preferences and food choices,” the report says.

Get the full guidelines on how to feed your baby here.


“While there was still discussion going on in other parts of the world in terms of monitoring people as they arrive in the country from overseas, you already had it in place … You had temperature checks. You had health surveys because of the Ebola outbreak.” — David McKenzie, CNN International Correspondent

Many experts braced for the worst and predicted a Covid-19 crisis in Africa. But while numbers have climbed up in some countries like South Africa, the continent has largely escaped the worst of it so far, McKenzie tells CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Listen Now.