Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
A death a minute
One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as 1,461 new deaths were recorded, the highest one-day increase since 1,484 on May 27, according to a Reuters tally. U.S. coronavirus deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months.
Spikes in infections in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas this month have overwhelmed hospitals. The rise has forced states to make a U-turn on reopening economies that were restricted by lockdowns in March and April to slow the spread of the virus.
Many health experts say the outbreak could be brought under greater control if guidelines to maintain social distancing and to wear masks in public were enforced nationwide.
No time to be complacent
Spikes in novel coronavirus infections in Asia have dispelled any notion the region may be over the worst, with Australia reporting its deadliest day on Thursday, Vietnam fretting over a new surge of cases and India reporting more than 52,000 new cases over the previous 24 hours.
Asian countries had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the virus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency.
In isolated North Korea, which says it has had no domestic cases, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper warned against carelessness. "A moment of inattention could cause a fatal crisis," it said.
Most infectious early on
COVID-19 patients are unlikely to spread infectious virus particles beyond nine days after symptoms begin, even though the virus is detectable in the nose and throat and stool for much longer, according to data compiled by researchers in Britain from 79 studies.
RNA, the genetic material of the virus, was detectable in throat swabs for an average of 17 days from symptom onset, and for up to 83 days. But RNA itself is not infectious, lead researchers Muge Cevik and Antonia Ho told Reuters in an email.
Studies that attempted to culture the infectious virus were not successful beyond day nine, the researchers reported on medRxiv ahead of peer review. "Many studies agree patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection have very high viral load ... in the first week of illness (and) seem to be most infectious from symptom onset to day five," Cevik and Ho said.
"This suggests many people by the time they are tested are already beyond their most infectious period," so those who suspect they may be ill should isolate themselves right away. People without symptoms are also likely most contagious soon after becoming infected, they said.
Back rent spectre of debt
More than $21.5 billion in past-due rent is looming over Americans struggling to make ends meet, global advisory firm Stout, Risius and Ross estimated, as Republicans and Democrats fight over a new coronavirus relief package.
Senate Republicans this week proposed a new plan that would not reinstate the recently lapsed federal eviction ban, which carried a stay for rent due for one-third of renters. Adding to the strain, enhanced $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits are set to evaporate this Friday.
The unprecedented amount of back rent is not a macro-economic game-changer, said Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, but for renters it is disastrous."It's catastrophic. Very few people will be able to pay this back," he said. A debt spiral could haunt displaced tenants "for a lifetime," he added.