All you need to know today.
1. Hong kong reports over 100 new cases in a day
Hong Kong reported over 100 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, its highest daily rate yet. On Saturday, it reported 64 cases, with some patients returning from abroad.
The city has been seeing a surge, with cases mainly linked to locals and often unrelated. This is somewhat puzzling, as Hong Kong successfully managed to contain the pandemic since the beginning of the year, and came out of a successful lockdown.
Social-distancing measures including dining restrictions and gym closures will remain in place for another week. The government has also extended its mask wearing mandate.
2. US reports over 70,000 new cases of Coronavirus, two days in a row
Cases of Coronavirus continues to surge in the United States, as it reported more than 70,000 new coronavirus infections for second day in a row, as of Saturday.
It doesn’t help that President Trump refuses to issue a mask mandate, leaving individual mayors and governors to issue laws and regulations for their own states and cities.
The US leads the world in reported cases with a total of 3.66 million total since Covid-19 hit.
Covid-19 by the numbers:
- Florida and Texas each reported more than 10,000 new cases Saturday, according to data from their state health departments.
- Nearly all 50 states see increases in new cases, hospitalizations are growing in 33 states.
- Arizona, Florida and Texas saw average daily fatalities from the virus increase more than 50% to record highs
- New York, once the epicenter of the outbreak, has reduced daily new infections from more than 10,000 at its peak to 776 as of this late this week. It is now poised to enter phase 4 of re-opening, which includes outdoor films and gardens. Indoor dining, movie theatres and bars will remain closed.
- San Francisco is also putting re-opening plans on hold indefinitely, as cases in California continues to see growth. The state of California has also been ordered to close all bars and dine-in restaurants last week, a mandate issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“There will be a second wave of the coronavirus, I would wager on it,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press briefing on Friday.
3. 95% of Thais say “no foreigners” please
94.51% of Thais surveyed by the Suan Dusit poll say that foreigners should be barred from entering the country in order to prevent a second wave. This sentiment has been further stressed after last week’s quarantine mishap from the government, where two separate cases of VIP “quarantine” ended up in positive covid-19 cases.
The poll was carried out online on July 14-18 on 1,459 people throughout the country following the incidents. 52.23% of respondents said they were very worried about a second wave, and 86.41% said the process of screening and quarantine of people returning from abroad must be stringent.
Following the government’s assurance that they will enforce stricter regulations on VIP travellers, such as businessmen and ambassadors, another mishap occurred on Friday when a diplomat was prevented from entering a condominium upon arriving. Now, diplomats are no longer exempt from state quarantine.
Whilst it is unlikely for local cases to remain at 0 indefinitely, infection should not spread from overseas travellers whilst quarantine measures become loosened for a specific few.
4. Online learning platform Coursera raises US$130 million
The world is going for “virtual everything”. Online learning platform giant Coursera, which offers thousands of classes taught by professors from Stanford University to Imperial College London has raised $130 million at a valuation of $2.5 billion. The funding round is led by bicoastal venture firm NEA with other investment firms such as Kleiner Perkins joining the round.
Coursera has raised a total of $464 million to date. It was founded in 2012 by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng
The pandemic has certainly boosted online learning.
“The global market for higher ed is worth $2 trillion,” says CEO Jeff Maggioncalda. “It’s just massive and it was already moving online. With Covid, it’s being forced online.”
The company now offers 4,500 courses with 160 university partners and 40 companies including Google and IBM. A typical Coursera class costs $49 and lasts 10 hours. During the height of the pandemic, Coursera also offered a handful of free courses.
Forbes estimates that sales for Coursera grew from $140 million in 2018 to $225 million last year and are on track to gain another 30%-50% this year.