Good afternoon, readers. It doesn’t give me any joy (quite the opposite, in fact) to send depressing missives like this. I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July holiday before returning to a bizarre and complicated world.
On July 1, America recorded nearly 51,000 new active COVID-19 cases in a single day. That was a record before going into a holiday weekend when, let’s face it, many people were probably loathe to wear a mask or socially distance after months of pandemic fatigue and hot weather.
It’s true that coronavirus is a strange pathogen that we still don’t fully understand. It’s true that many who get infected don’t present symptoms; It’s also true that hospitalizations and deaths keep racking up.
The number of COVID deaths in America crossed 130,000 people on July 6, according to Johns Hopkins. And the hospitalization numbers provide little comfort, either, and continue to overwhelm local medical capacity.
On Sunday, Texas reported a record high of 8,181 COVID hospitalizations. The mayor of Austin, Texas said that its own city of nearly one million could face a hospital bed shortage within the next two weeks if cases keep swelling. Nearly 30% of the beds allocated for coronavirus patients are already occupied in the city.
People tend to focus on death rates when it comes to a strange new disease. But the suffering endured by those who don’t die is also an important consideration.
We’ll be discussing such health care issues, coronavirus and beyond, during our first-ever virtual Brainstorm Health conference on July 7 and July 8 (i.e., tomorrow and Wednesday). We’ll have industry leaders from across the health care space, including from our founding partner IBM, hosting vigorous discussions on the most important medical issues of the day. Check out the agenda here, and look to this space and Fortune.com for coverage if you’re not digitally attending.
Read on for the day’s news.