U.S. COVID-19 cases drop, but schools, nursing homes still a problem

Aug. 19, 2020

The United States recently recorded its fewest COVID-19 cases in nearly two months, with over 35,000 new cases and 445 deaths, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, citing data from the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The new cases raise the total to more than 5.4 million cases and over 171,000 deaths. Though the decrease in cases is a sign that early summer hot spots, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida, are showing falling case counts, reports from schools that have opened across the country, as well as nursing home data, show congregate living is still a major contributor to COVID-19 outbreaks.

There is no official tally, however, on outbreaks in public elementary and high schools, NBC News reports. Though schools that have opened in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Indiana, have had significant outbreaks, no data are being collected about how reopening has led to outbreaks, quarantine protocols, and number of cases.

Nine states are collecting data but not making it public. According to an NBC News poll, 15 states said they would collect data and make it public, seven were still deciding, and the rest did not provide a comment. NBC confirmed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not tracking cases.

Mississippi has some of the most schoolchildren with COVID-19 infections and was one of the first states to reopen schools at the beginning of the month. Recently, Mississippi public schools have confirmed nearly 200 cases among students and approximately 250 among teachers, and school districts have ordered over 2,000 students and almost 600 teachers to quarantine at home for two weeks after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Visit CIDRAP for more news