August 1 coronavirus news

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7:52 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Covid-19 might affect hearing too, a small study shows

Some coronavirus survivors have been experiencing hearing problems that lasted until long after they had been released from hospital, a small study has revealed.

Audiologists at the University of Manchester surveyed 121 adults who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 eight weeks after they were released.

When asked about changes to their hearing, 16 people reported their hearing was worse. Eight reported deterioration in hearing and another eight reported tinnitus -- hearing noises that are not caused by an outside source.

The researchers said the results, published in a letter to the International Journal of Audiology, add more anecdotal evidence to our understanding of the long-term effects of coronavirus on health.

Kevin Munro, professor of audiology and the Hearing Health Theme Lead at the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, said scientists already knew that other viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can cause hearing loss and that coronaviruses can damage the nerves that carry information to and from the brain.

“It is possible, in theory, that Covid-19 could cause problems with parts of the auditory system including the middle ear or cochlea," he said.

8:04 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Iraq reports another record increase in cases

A health worker administers a coronavirus test at a testing facility Najaf, Iraq, on July 15.
A health worker administers a coronavirus test at a testing facility Najaf, Iraq, on July 15. -/AFP/Getty Images

Iraq’s Ministry of Health reported 3,346 news coronavirus infections on Friday, a new record in daily cases.

More than 124,600 people have been infected in Iraq and 4,741 have died.

Iraq is one of several countries in the Middle East that have been fighting rising numbers of new infections while also struggling with a severe heatwave this week.

In the capital Baghdad, two people were killed and 11 others injured during protests over electricity shortages, and lack of basic goods, that erupted in the capital's Tahrir square earlier this week as temperatures reached 50C (122F).

Iraq announced a 10-day curfew after the country surpassed 100,000 Covid-19 cases on Sunday. The announcement came just before the Eid al-Adha holiday, which started on Thursday night.

The four-day holiday is normally marked by congregational Eid prayers, family gatherings and large feasts. Eid al-Adha follows on from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which was also affected by coronavirus -- instead of the usual 2 million, only 1,000 pilgrims were allowed to take part this year.

7:15 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

He heard about farmers ditching unsold produce. So he delivered 3 million pounds of it to food banks

From CNN's Gabriel Kinder

George Ahearn working on a delivery of eggs.
George Ahearn working on a delivery of eggs. Photo: George Ahearn

George Ahearn, who grew up in the farming town of Othello, Washington, co-founded EastWest Food Rescue after learning that Covid-19 was costing local farmers so much business that they were willing to destroy their crops.

His non-profit has since moved three million pounds of produce from farms in eastern Washington to the western part of the state for distribution to hundreds of food banks and meal programs.

"I know these people that I grew up with on one hand, and on the other hand I know there is a need here; I'm just going to connect the two dots," Ahearn, 45, who now lives in Bothell, Washington, and also runs a nursing business told CNN.

6:25 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

The "rock star" leader of the world's global health agency WHO

From CNN's Emma Reynolds in London

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is not only the WHO's first African Director-General but also the first non-physician to lead the global health agency.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is not only the WHO's first African Director-General but also the first non-physician to lead the global health agency. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

In a speech before he was voted in as the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that when he was seven, his younger brother died "from one of the many child killers in Africa."

He said that could easily have been him, and it was "pure luck" that he was now on stage running for a global leadership position. He said he was committed to reducing inequality and ensuring universal health coverage because he had grown up "knowing survival to adulthood cannot be taken for granted, and refusing to accept that people should die because they are poor."

Who is the man leading the WHO at the time of the worst health crisis in a century? Read more here.

5:53 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

This doctor just endured the deadliest week of his career

From CNN's Kyle Almond

Dr. Joseph Varon, the chief medical officer at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, gets home after a long day at work.
Dr. Joseph Varon, the chief medical officer at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, gets home after a long day at work. Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

Dr. Joseph Varon hasn’t had a day off in months.

Friday was his 134th consecutive day leading the coronavirus unit at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center.

“If you ask me how the hell have I been able to survive for 134 days nonstop, I guess it’s adrenaline,” he said. “But I'm running on fumes. It’s tough.”

And last week was his toughest yet. With Houston dealing with a surge in Covid-19 cases, he signed more death certificates than he has at any point in his career.

“People were dying every day,” he said.

Varon and his team go over patient files during a daily meeting. “I’m afraid that at some point in time I'm going have to make some very serious decisions,” Varon said in July. “I’m starting to get the idea that I cannot save everybody.”
Varon and his team go over patient files during a daily meeting. “I’m afraid that at some point in time I'm going have to make some very serious decisions,” Varon said in July. “I’m starting to get the idea that I cannot save everybody.” Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

Varon’s workday starts early. Around 4:30 or 5 a.m., he heads to the hospital and goes straight to the coronavirus unit where he and his team go over each patient’s case.

Then he starts making the rounds.

“He's involved with everything and very, very personal,” said photographer Callaghan O’Hare, who shadowed him several times over the past month. “He will sit on the bed with people and give them hugs and have a chat. It's pretty incredible to watch.”

Caring for the coronavirus patients takes a minimum of 10 hours each day, Varon said. After that, he meets with his other patients in the hospital — the ones who don’t have coronavirus.

“If I am lucky, I get home before 10 o'clock at night. If I’m not lucky, which is most of the time, I make it home around midnight,” he said.

Read more here.

8:11 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Why Greece could be Europe's best holiday ticket right now

From CNN's Barry Neild in Vathia, Greece

Suzanne Plunkett/CNN
Suzanne Plunkett/CNN

Greece has worked hard to adapt its tourism offering in an age of infection. For the time being at least, this seems to be paying off, even as a second wave of infections threatens other European destinations.

Thanks in part to the fact that it's so far seen few cases, visiting many parts of Greece right now is almost like visiting a country where Covid-19 never happened.

Visitors need to complete paperwork before departure, giving details of where they'll be staying. On arrival, they're subject to random testing and could, if anyone on their flight tests positive, be quarantined for 14 days.

8:13 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Germany sees "alarming" rise in infections

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Germany is offering free Covid-19 tests for travelers coming from abroad.
Germany is offering free Covid-19 tests for travelers coming from abroad. Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Germany has on Friday recorded the highest number of new daily infections since early May, according to data published Saturday by Germany’s center for disease prevention, The Robert-Koch Institute.

The country saw 955 new coronavirus cases. The last time Germany recorded a higher number was May 9. 

The pandemic had largely been brought under control in Germany earlier this summer, but the government has been warning about new outbreaks of the disease in recent weeks.

The Robert-Koch Institute said laxer enforcement of distancing and hygiene rules, as well as travelers returning from abroad are to blame for the steep rise in cases. 

"The number of 955 new infections is alarming. Especially since it is not large 'hot spots' but smaller clusters of infections," Germany's economy minister Peter Altmaier said on Twitter on Saturday. "The main risks need to clearly be named so that more targeted prevention becomes possible," he added.

Starting Saturday everyone coming to Germany will be able to get a free coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival, according to a new directive from Germany’s health ministry.

5:09 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

US coronavirus daily death totals topped 1,000 on 10 days in July

From CNN's Alta Spells

During the month of July, the United States' coronavirus daily death totals exceeded 1,000 on 10 occasions, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University (JHU). 

In June, the number of daily deaths topped 1,000 on three out of 30 days, representing a drop from previous months, JHU records show. 

During May, daily death totals were greater than 1,000 on 23 of the 31 days. 

In April, the number of deaths reported each day exceeded 1,000 for each of the 30 days of the month, with 17 days reporting more than 2,000 deaths according to data from JHU.

The highest recorded daily death total in the US is 2,614 set on April 17, according to information compiled by JHU.

Here's July's breakdown:

  • Date    New Deaths
  • July 7    1,195
  • July 21   1,096
  • July 22   1,195
  • July 23   1,114
  • July 24   1,130
  • July 27   1,077
  • July 28   1,362
  • July 29   1,448
  • July 30   1,233
  • July 31   1,259
8:13 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

India reports highest 24-hour increase in coronavirus cases, with over 57,000 new infections

From CNN's Swati Gupta

Health workers collect swab sample for Covid-19 tests in Kolkata, India on July 31.
Health workers collect swab sample for Covid-19 tests in Kolkata, India on July 31. Samir Jana/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

India reported 57,118 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, its highest daily increase to date, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

As of this morning, India had a total of 1,695,988 confirmed cases of Covid-19, of which more than 565,000 are active cases.

The total number of recovered patients stands at over 1 million. 

At least 36,511 people have died from the virus across the country, according to the health ministry. 

The Indian Council of Medical Research said that they have tested more than 19.3 million samples.