The number of reported new daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. declined Tuesday but the death toll increased, as President Donald Trump was lambasted for his handling of the crisis at the Democratic National Convention, made virtual for the first time because of the pandemic.
There were 40,022 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, down from 42,303 on Sunday, and below the average of 50,543 cases a day over the past week, according to data provided by the New York Times. But there were at least 542 coronavirus deaths, up from 516 on Sunday.
The U.S. is by far the world-wide leader in cases with 5.44 million and also in COVID-19-related deaths with 170,586, according to Johns Hopkins University data, so speakers at the Democratic convention late Monday took the opportunity to criticize handling of the crisis.
Kristin Urquiza, whose 65-year-old father died from COVID-19 in June, said Trump’s “dishonesty” about the severity of the virus, and his pushing to end social-distancing rules before it was safe is what killed her father.
Urquiza said her father was a “healthy” 65-year-old Donald Trump supporter, and his only pre-existing condition was trusting Trump.
Among others who criticized Trump’s handling of the crisis, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised his state’s handling of the pandemic while calling the Trump administration “dysfunctional and incompetent,” as it tried to deny, then ignore and then politicize the virus. Read more about speeches from Sen. Bernie Sanders and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Meanwhile, questions remained about school reopenings amid the pandemic, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill did an about face by saying it will switch undergraduate classes to remote instruction, after a “spate” of COVID-19 infection clusters during the first week of classes. Other colleges are asking students to sign agreements acknowledging the dangers of COVID-19 before returning to class, as MarketWatch’s Jillian Berman reports.
Not all mutations are bad news
There are reports that a mutated strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, known as D614G, has popped up has popped up in Malaysia and the Philippines, but increased mutation in the coronavirus might end up being a good thing, some experts say.
Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University of Singapore and president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with Reuters that there is reason to believe the proliferation of D614G has coincided with a fall in death rates.
Tambyah also said that a mutated virus won’t make potential vaccines less effective.
There are now 21.93 million coronavirus cases globally and 775,000 deaths, while 13.92 million have recovered, the JHU data show.
After the U.S., Brazil was second in both cases and deaths, with 3.36 million new cases and 108,536 deaths. India is third in cases with 2.70 million and Mexico is third in deaths at 57,023.
Rounding out the top 5, Russia reached 930,276 cases and South Africa’s case tally rose to 589,886, while India’s death toll was 51,797 and the U.K.’s death tally was 41,454.
China, where the illness was first reported late last year, is 32nd in the world with 89,421 cases, and 27th in deaths with 4,704 fatalities.
Within the U.S., 16 states showed an increase in cases in the latest week, compared with nine states showing an increase the week before. On a daily basis, Texas had the most new cases with 5,716 and California was second with 5,542.
Home Depot, Walmart get a coronavirus bump
• Home Depot Inc.
reported Tuesday a fiscal second-quarter profit that rose above expectations, as sales jumped 23.4% to a record to beat forecasts by a wide margin.
The home improvement retailer said income for the quarter to Aug. 2 grew to $4.33 billion, or $4.02 a share, from $3.48 billion, or $3.17 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $3.68. Sales climbed to $38.05 billion from $30.84 billion, well above the FactSet consensus of $34.53 billion.
Same-store sales increased 23.4%, beating the FactSet consensus of 12.2%, while U.S. same-store sales growth of 25% was more than double expectations of a 12.0% rise.
“The investments we have made across the business have significantly increased our agility, allowing us to respond quickly to changes while continuing to promote a safe operating environment,” said Chief Executive Craig Menear. “In the second quarter, the Company invested approximately $480 million in additional benefits for associates, including weekly bonuses for hourly associates in stores and distribution centers.”
• Walmart Inc.
reported fiscal second-quarter earnings and sales that blew past Street estimates, as pandemic helped lead to a near doubling in e-commerce sales.
Net income totaled $6.48 billion, or $2.27 per share, up from $3.61 billion, or $1.26 per share, last year. Adjusted EPS of $1.56 far exceeded the FactSet consensus for $1.25.
Revenue of $137.74 billion was up from $130.38 billion last year and ahead of the FactSet consensus for $135.57 billion. U.S. same-store sales rose 9.3%, beating expectations of 5.6% growth, with general merchandise and food leading the way. U.S. e-commerce sales soared 97%. Sam’s Club sales for the quarter totaled $16.4 billion, with U.S. same-store sales excluding fuel rising 13.3%.