CDC director implores millennials and Gen Xers: Social distance, wear a mask and avoid bars
From CNN's Leinz Vales
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appealed to young Americans Thursday, calling for millennials and members of Generation X to social distance and wear face coverings to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19. "We have not been able to reach effectively the millennials and the Generation X," Redfield said at CNN's coronavirus town hall. "Tonight, I appeal to them. This is our tools. We're seeing the outbreak increase in the number of states across this nation, in a number of metropolitan areas. The most important powerful weapon we have, please social distance. Please wear a mask in public. Please wash your hands. And please, basically, let's not be going to bars right now. It's just not the time for us to do that."
More on this: In June, officials in states across the South warned that more young people were tested positive for coronavirus.
Here's what classrooms may look like during the pandemic
Dr. Sanjay Gupta visited a school to show Americans what in-person education may look like for millions of children around the country during the pandemic. Gupta said families can expect their children to wear masks regularly and adhere to social distancing guidelines, he said tonight during CNN's global coronavirus town hall. "You see here, the desks and the teacher's area, all six feet apart. Well aware that a lot of districts can't do this. All the desks facing the same direction. If there's any virus in the air, you want to go one direction as opposed to mixing," Gupta said while visiting a classroom. One of the other things school must think about is 'trying to reduce areas where children will congregate," Gupta said. "Think about staggered start times, for example. Rotating classrooms. One way hallways. Possibly even getting rid of common locker areas," he added.
CDC director says the US needs "more testing and breakthroughs"
Dr. Sanjay Gupta shared the frustration many Americans are feeling as the country continues to struggle with Covid-19 testing issues. Gupta's frustration stemmed from seeing his family wait four hours to get tested for the virus. "My wife and girls got tested the other day and they waited four hours to get their testing still. That's now in July. Why is it still so challenging? Has testing been minimized or at least not accelerated appropriately in this country?" Gupta asked Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tonight during CNN's global coronavirus town hall. "Why can't I get a test and be comfortable knowing I don't carry the virus? Why aren't we at that point now?" "I will echo it is a critical piece, and that I've always said we need readily accessible, timely results, testing. It's fundamental," Redfield answered. Redfield said that the country needs "more testing and breakthroughs, we need more rapid testing that can get results in real-time." The country is currently conducting roughly 600,000 tests across the US per day, Redfield added.
CDC is not putting out new school reopening guidelines, Redfield says
From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not issuing new guidelines on reopening schools, despite comments to the contrary made by Vice President Mike Pence, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during tonight's CNN coronavirus town hall. “They're not new guidelines that we're coming out with,” Redfield said. “We started the guidance for K through 12s back in February and higher learning back in March. We continue to update them,” he said. “The guidance that we put out recently for K through 12 and higher learning is our guidance. We continue to expand that with different tools,” Redfield added. “I want to really stress that the purpose of the CDC guidelines are to provide a variety of different strategies for schools to use to help facilitate the reopening of schools. I can tell you that the guidance that we put out is out, and they stand,” he said. Redfield said the CDC will continue to provide additional material and update the guidelines as warranted.
CDC director says he stands by guidance on how schools can reopen this year
Dr. Robert Redfield CNN Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed tonight guidelines schools around the country should consider before reopening during the pandemic. These guidelines received added attention recently after President Trump, against the advice of some of the nation's top health officials, called for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge across the country. Redfield said the guidelines "are to provide a variety of different strategies for schools to use to help facilitate the reopening of schools," he said tonight during CNN's global coronavirus town hall. The CDC guidelines for schools to reopen contain steps to keep children safe, including keeping desks to be placed six feet apart and for children to use cloth face coverings. The CDC suggests the closing of communal areas like dining rooms and playgrounds and the installation of physical barriers like sneeze guards where necessary. Redfield said that each school district should read the guidelines and see "how they can incorporate those guidance to make their school in a situation where they can reopen safely." "We do continue to provide additional material and actually had planned for some time some resources or consideration documents to help better understand the guidance, particularly for communities that are opening K-12. We have another document for parents and caregivers on how to plan for kids to go back to school," Redfield said.
Earlier today: Redfield said schools must reopen because if they were to stay closed, it would be a “greater public health threat." “I cannot overstate how important I think it is now to get our schools in this nation reopened,” Redfield said during a virtual summit hosted by the Hill. “The reason I push it is because I truly believe it’s the public health benefit of these kids."
"Having the schools actually close is a greater public health threat to children than having the schools reopen," he said. The virus is not much of a threat to most children, Redfield said.
Michigan governor says she won't send kids into schools "unless it is safe"
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Responding to President Trump's threat Wednesday to cut off federal funding for schools if they don't open in the fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted on Thursday, saying she won’t send kids and teachers back unless it’s safe. “I want to make this clear — I will not send our kids and our education workforce into our schools unless it is safe to do so, plain and simple,” Whitmer tweeted.
She continued: “I have made decisions based on science and facts to keep Michiganders safe since the beginning, and won’t stop now.”
More than 133,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US
There are at least 3,111,902 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 133,195 people have died from the virus in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. So far on Thursday, Johns Hopkins reported 57,203 new cases and 895 reported deaths. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
Study finds evidence coronavirus can spread across the placenta to the fetus
From CNN's Maggie Fox
A new study from Italy suggests that coronavirus can cross the placenta from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Two babies born to women infected with Covid-19 were born infected themselves, Claudio Fenizia of the University of Milan and colleagues reported at a conference organized by the International AIDS Society. They studied 31 women infected with coronavirus who were in late pregnancy during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. They thoroughly tested the women, their babies once they were born, the placenta, the umbilical cord, the mother’s vaginal fluids, and breast milk. Two of the newborns had positive tests at birth, they reported. “Our result strongly suggests and support that vertical transmission occurred in two cases out of the 31 studied,” Fenizia told a news conference. “The virus was found in an at-term placenta and in the umbilical cord blood, in the vagina of a pregnant woman and in milk,” the researchers wrote in a summary of their work. “This is the first ringing bell that should raise awareness about a topic that is not really well studied,” Fenizia said. The placentas were inflamed, as well — a sign of infection. The umbilical cord blood of one of the newborns had antibodies indicating a recent infection. These antibody types are not usually transmitted from mother to baby, so they indicate the fetus was directly infected, Fenizia said. Luckily, the women were infected late in pregnancy so it is unlikely the virus would have affected the babies’ development, he said. The Zika virus can pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn child, sometimes causing severe brain damage and a condition called microcephaly. HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — can also be transmitted at birth.
USC to provide in-person classes to international students for free to keep their visa status
From CNN's Jenn Selva
In response to the Trump administration's guidance to not allow foreign students to take online-only courses in the US this fall, the University of Southern California (USC) will let international students add an in-person class for free to keep their visa status. The USC Office of the Provost tweeted today, “To our international students: If you need to add an in-person course to your schedule to maintain visa status this Fall, it will be provided at no additional cost to you.” On Wednesday, USC joined Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a suit against what they called "deeply troubling" guidance by the Trump administration. The university said this is a time when universities need the autonomy and flexibility to adapt their teaching models to protect the health of their campus. There are more than 1 million international students in the United States.
Records show another 11-year-child died from Covid-19 in Florida
From CNN's Denise Royal
An 11-year-old girl from Broward County died from Covid-19 complications, according to data released from the Florida Department of Health. According to the latest health records, this is the fourth minor in Florida to die of complications from the virus. Last week, an 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade county, with severe underlying health conditions, died from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health. The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.
New Mexico governor prohibits indoor seating at restaurants
From CNN’s Laurie Ure
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she is once again prohibiting indoor seating at restaurants and breweries, saying Covid-19 trends in the state are "going in the wrong direction." Gyms, however, can remain open at current capacities. Lujan Grisham is also restricting the state's parks in New Mexico to residents only.
Some context: The amended public health order comes as Lujan Grisham announced 238 new positive cases Thursday. "We're beginning to see the kind of community spread that is creating spikes around the country," Lujan Grisham said. Indoor dining at restaurants is now prohibited, but outdoor dining can continue to operate at 50% capacity, while continuing to provide carryout and delivery service, she said. Breweries may continue to provide curbside pickup services, Lujan Grisham said. "New data is emerging that with face coverings, and the limited number of folks participating in gyms, and they're social distancing while they do that, seems to have the right mitigating impacts, Lujan Grisham said.
To note: These figures were released by the state of New Mexico and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Fauci says there's no proof of the airborne spread of coronavirus, but better to assume it's happening
From CNN’s Maggie Fox
There’s no proof that the new coronavirus spreads via an airborne route, but it’s better to assume it does, just to be safe, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. The World Health Organization said earlier Thursday that it’s possible the virus spreads in aerosols in health care settings. Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s a confusing question because of differing definitions of airborne droplets and aerosols. It’s known the virus spreads on larger droplets that fly out of a person’s nose and mouth. More worrying is the idea that particles containing virus might remain suspended in the air for longer than a few minutes. “There is no solid evidence that type of transmission is occurring, but you cannot rule that out completely,” Fauci told a news conference about coronavirus research organized by the International AIDS Society. People should assume there is some airborne transmission, and act accordingly, he said. That’s why health experts want people to wear masks. “Obviously, we are, in the United States … we have a really difficult situation, almost like a division, of those who swear by masks and those who don’t want to put masks on,” Fauci said. But he said the evidence is clear that mask use can slow the spread of the virus.
Death rate is low among Covid-19 patients under the age of 50 in Oklahoma, governor says
From CNN's Alta D. Spells
Only six people under the age of 50 have died since Oklahoma reopened, said Gov. Kevin Stitt during a Covid-19 news briefing today. "I don't want to minimize any deaths. But just want to continue to give the transparent data to Oklahoman's. That means a death rate under the age of 50 of .06%," Stitt said. According to the governor, 72% of new cases since the state reopened were people who were age 50 and below. This group accounted for 10,000 new cases. Speaking about hospitalizations, Stitt said the number has only gone up by 181 since the state began reopening, even though there have been 15,000 new cases. There were 560 hospitalizations at the peak on March 30, Stitt said. When the state began reopening on April 24, there were 306 hospitalization. As of Thursday, there were 487 hospitalizations, the governor said. "Our fight is not over. In order to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans and continue to mitigate the impacts on our economy. We need all Oklahomans to do their part," Stitt said.
Mississippi governor orders mask mandate for 13 counties
From CNN's Slover Morrison and Jamiel Lynch
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves ordered a mask mandate for 13 counties with the greatest spikes of Covid-19. The mask mandate was ordered for Hinds, DeSoto, Harrison, Rankin, Jackson, Washington, Sunflower, Grenada, Madison, Claiborne, Jefferson, Wayne, and Quitman counties. This also includes the cities of Jackson, Biloxi, and Gulfport. Reeves said the counties have seen either 200 new cases within the last 14 days or have had an average of 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days. He is also adding social distancing requirements in the counties but not requiring businesses to shut down, he said. Everyone must wear masks when in public, Reeves said. “Our numbers are getting worse,” Reeves said. “No orders will be effective if we don’t have the participation of our people.” “Mississippi is in a fight for our lives,” he added.
Coronavirus may cause fatigue syndrome, Fauci says
From CNN’s Maggie Fox
There is evidence that some people develop a long-term fatigue syndrome from coronavirus infections, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. “There may well be a post-viral syndrome associated with Covid-19,” Fauci told a news conference organized by the International AIDS Society. The group is holding a Covid-19 conference as an add-on to its every-other-year AIDS meeting. Fauci said the symptoms resemble those seen in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, once known as chronic fatigue syndrome. “If you look anecdotally, there is no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a post-viral syndrome that in many respects incapacitates them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery,” Fauci said. “There are chat groups that you just click on and see people who recovered that really do not get back to normal,” Fauci added. They report symptoms such as brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue that resemble the symptoms of ME, he said.
Hepatitis drugs may help coronavirus patients recover, study says
From CNN's Maggie Fox
A two-drug cocktail used to treat hepatitis C may also help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus, researchers reported Thursday. Three small studies involving 176 patients show the combination of the two drugs, sofosbuvir, and daclatasvir, may have hastened the recovery of patients hospitalized with coronavirus, Andrew Hill of Liverpool University told the International AIDS Society’s Covid-19 Conference. After two weeks of treatment, 94% of the patients given the two-drug combination were significantly better on a seven-point scale, compared to 70% of those not given the drugs, Hill said at a news conference. The studies were conducted in Iran, where the drug combination is widely used to treat hepatitis C patients. Hill said the studies were not the carefully controlled trials that doctors prefer to see before they adopt a new treatment. “These results need to be seen as preliminary unless confirmed with larger randomized, controlled trials,” Hill said. Hill added that the drugs have been widely used. “Millions of people have been cured of hepatitis C using this treatment,” he said. Studies involving 2,000 people are under way and Hill said results should be available by October.
Some context: Currently, remdesivir is the only antiviral drug that has emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections. Teams of doctors are testing a variety of antiviral drugs developed to treat hepatitis, HIV and other viral infections.
New Mexico governor says trends are "going in the wrong direction"
From CNN’s Laurie Ure
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said trends in the state are "going in the wrong direction.” Speaking at a news conference, Lujan Grisham said that the state had 238 new Covid-19 cases today and six new deaths. There are currently 154 people in the state in hospitals, with 32 on ventilators. The governor said they are starting to see some long lines for testing, but insisted the state is working on it. The state has reported 14,251 total cases and 533 deaths.
To note: These figures were released by the state of New Mexico and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Indoor dining capacity in Arizona rolled back to 50% as cases spike, governor says
From CNN’s Rosalina Nieves
Indoor dining in Arizona will now be limited to 50% occupancy, Gov. Doug Ducey announced at a news conference on Thursday. “We have had a brutal June in Arizona,” the governor said, as the state saw a 50% increase in Covid-19 cases. The state reported a total of at least 108,614 Covid-19 cases. He emphasized that residents are safer at home and should continue staying at home. The governor also said the United States was seeing a decrease in a number of daily cases through the month of May but in June, when Arizona’s number began to climb so did the total numbers for the United States. “It's possible that Arizona was the front of that wave of increases in these cases and the actions that we're taking can lead the way for our state to navigate forward," Ducey said. Note: These numbers were released by the state of Arizona, and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Bolivian interim president becomes third Latin American head of state with Covid-19
From CNN’s Taylor Barnes
Bolivian Interim President Jeanine Añez announced on her official Twitter account Thursday that she tested positive for novel coronavirus. Añez mentioned that many of her cabinet members had tested positive recently. “Given that over the last week many of them [my team members] have tested positive for coronavirus, I also did the test and also was positive,” she said in a video accompanying the tweet. “I will be quarantined for 14 days until I do a new test to see how I am. I feel good, I feel strong, I am going to continue working virtually from my isolation and I want to thank all the Bolivian men and women who are working to help in this health crisis we are having." In recent days, at least four top Bolivian government officials, including Health Minister María Eidy Roca, tested positive for Covid-19. The other officials positive for novel coronavirus include Minister of the Presidency Yerko Núñez Negrette, Minister of Mines Jorge Fernando Oropeza, and the commander of the armed forces, Gen. Sergio Orellana. Añez is the third Latin American head of state to test positive for the virus, following Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
Houston mayor says Covid-19 is "out of control" in the city
From CNN's Raja Razek
Houston, Texas, Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a news conference Thursday that the Covid-19 virus in the city is "out of control." "The numbers are moving in the wrong direction for us. The Covid-19 virus in the city, quite frankly in the state, it's out of control," Turner said. "What we do today, and over the next few weeks is critical to getting this virus back in a manageable state." He continued saying the goal is to bring the daily number of cases to below 300. "And I say 300, that's the number I am using because it makes it then much more practical for us to engage with our contact tracing," he added. Houston reported 412 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to at least 26,012, with approximately 250 deaths. Note: These numbers were announced by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Massachusetts man charged after allegedly pulling a gun on another man not wearing a mask
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
A Massachusetts man has been arrested after he allegedly pulled a gun on another man during an argument over the victim not wearing a face mask inside a store, according to a statement from the Bridgewater Police Department. The 59-year-old man from East Bridgewater was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace, the statement said.
The details: On July 3, around 5:20 p.m., Bridgewater Police responded to a call from the manager at a Walgreen’s Pharmacy, who reported that two men were arguing inside the store about one of them not wearing a face mask. The argument continued into the parking lot, where one of the men allegedly pulled a gun from his vehicle and pointed it at the other man, who had not been wearing a face mask in the store. The suspect then got in his vehicle and left the scene, police said. The victim, a 30-year-old Abington man, was not injured, according to Bridgewater Police. Police later identified the suspect and arrested him at his home. He then complained of a medical issue and was transported to a local hospital. According to police, his license to carry a firearm and firearms from his home was seized.
Shelter-in-place orders prevented as many as 370,000 coronavirus deaths, study finds
From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman
When 42 states and Washington, DC, implemented shelter-in-place orders in March and early April to help contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, they may have prevented as many as 370,000 deaths by the middle of May, according to new research. The study used models to examine Covid-19 death rates and hospitalizations during shelter-in-place-orders and evidence indicated they “helped reduce Covid-19 cases,” authors Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby said. Not only did lockdowns help reduce coronavirus cases, the study found, but six weeks later, deaths were down by 6%. “Projections suggest as many as 250,000 - 370,000 deaths possibly averted by May 15 in the 42 states plus the District of Columbia with statewide shelter-in-place orders,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs. They saw between 750,000 and 840,000 fewer hospitalizations in the 19 states with stay-at-home orders and public hospitalization data. The lockdowns also helped reduce daily hospitalization rates by almost 8.5% in 19 states with the mandates, the analysis found. “This evidence suggests that shelter-in-place orders have been effective in reducing the daily growth rates of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations,” the study concluded. There were 120,000 deaths and 320,000 hospitalizations from Covid-19 by the time the study was peer-reviewed, up from 83,000 deaths, and 198,000 coronavirus hospitalizations as of May 15 when the study ended, Lyu and Wehby reported. Previous studies have also concluded that stay-at-home and shelter-in-place mandates have helped reduce infections and deaths from Covid-19.
Connecticut reports 101 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Rob Frehse
Connecticut has 101 new Covid-19 cases and five new deaths due to coronavirus as of this afternoon, according to a statement from Gov. Ned Lamont. The state now has a total of 47,209 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,348 deaths. There are 90 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19.
To note: These figures were released by Lamont and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Dallas hospital to receive help from medical assistance teams as cases rise
From CNN's Raja Razek
Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, will be receiving medical assistance teams to help deal with rising hospitalization rates, hospital spokesperson Robert Behrens told CNN on Thursday. Earlier today, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted that federal partners are sending disaster assistance teams to their region. "Our federal partners are sending Disaster Medical Assistance Teams to our region to bolster our medical staffing amid the rise in #COVIDー19 hospitalizations. For now, one hospital in the @CityOfDallas will receive staff," the tweet said.
The latest statewide numbers: Texas reported at least 105 Covid-19-related deaths on Thursday, which is the highest single-day increase in coronavirus fatalities. This brings the total number of deaths in the state to approximately 2,918.
More than 1,500 people working on contact tracing in North Carolina
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
North Carolina has hired more than 480 contact tracers, which means there are more than 1,500 people working on contact tracing, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. The agency also tweeted that it launched an initiative to deploy up to 300 new, no-cost testing sites in underserved communities that currently have limited testing options. As of Thursday, North Carolina had a total of 79,349 Covid-19 cases and at least 1,034 people were hospitalized, the public health agency said. At least 1,461 people have died from the virus in the state.
Wisconsin reports the largest increase of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began
From CNN’s Janine Mack
Wisconsin reported at least 754 new cases on Thursday – its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus in a single day. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health's website, the second-largest increase of new coronavirus cases in the state was on July 4 with about 738 new cases. In total, at least 33,908 cases of coronavirus have been reported statewide and at least 809 people have died from the virus, according to the health department. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services urged people to practice physical distancing and to wear a mask when appropriate. Note: These numbers were released by Wisconsin Department of Health, and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Keeping the pandemic under control is going to be a "real problem," even with a vaccine, Fauci says
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
Dr. Anthony Fauci is skeptical about the prospects of getting the Covid-19 pandemic under control without a vaccine. “This virus, to our dismay, is spectacularly efficient in transmitting from person to person. So that makes me skeptical whether we would get permanent, sustained control of this without having a vaccine,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Thursday on Podcast-19, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly podcast on Covid-19. He does think the pandemic can be controlled. “But keeping it under control is going to be the real problem. Because this virus is not like other viruses that we’ve experienced,” Fauci said. Despite the urgency, Fauci said regulators and vaccine makers are doing everything in their power to make sure it is effective and safe. “We got to get it right. We really do,” Fauci said. “Because if we don’t, it might have a real negative impact in the long-range, in the long term, on how people approach and respond to the need for vaccination, which is the reason why we’re taking so seriously that even though we’re doing this quickly, we’re not compromising the safety and nor are we compromising the scientific integrity.”
Fauci says he doesn't blame the EU for banning American travelers
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
As some European countries are starting to reopen their borders during the pandemic, the European Union will ban most travelers from the US for now. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he thinks that’s “understandable.” “So right now, they have their infection rate very low, much lower than we do. So they’re looking at us and they’re saying the same thing that we said to them,” Fauci said on Podcast-19, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly podcast on Covid-19. The US banned travel to the US from China, Europe, and the UK in March. “I would say it’s understandable," he added. Some background: The EU travel ban went into effect on July 1. The US has recorded more cases and deaths than anywhere in the world. Brazil, Russia, and India – the three nations with the highest numbers of cases after the US – have also been excluded from the EU's list of safe countries. The decision is based on whether a country has a similar or better epidemiological situation than Europe, as well as comparable hygiene and containment measures.
Brazil reports more than 40,000 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours
From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso
Brazil is approaching nearly 70,000 fatalities from novel coronavirus after its health ministry reported at least 1,220 new deaths in the last 24 hours. The nationwide death toll now stands at approximately 69,184. The ministry also reported at least 42,619 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total to approximately 1,755,779.
Some context: Brazil maintains the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths worldwide behind the US. On Tuesday, the country's president, Jair Bolsonaro, announced he tested positive for the virus. The president's press office reported Thursday that Bolsonaro "is in good health" and "progresses well, without complications."
North Carolina reports a record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations
From CNN’s Eileen McMenamin
Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina reported the highest number of hospitalizations in the state and the second-highest number of coronavirus cases. “We’re continuing to watch with concern as Covid cases and hospitalizations increase,” he said. “And though North Carolina isn’t a surging hotspot like some other states, we could be if we don’t stay strong in our fight.” As of today, the state has at least 79,349 lab-confirmed cases of the virus, including approximately 2,039 new cases and about 1,034 people in hospitals, according to the governor. At least 1,461 people have died from the virus. North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is in a "critical period." “We need all hands on deck so we can maintain capacity for our health systems, get our kids back to school, and reignite the economy. Our collective hard work to slow the spread of the virus has allowed us to avoid what we’re seeing in other states. But ongoing attention is needed," Cohen said.
On reopening schools: The governor said he will announce his plans for reopening schools next week. He said there are currently no plans to conduct pro-active coronavirus testing of K-12 students before they return to schools, but he encouraged the wearing of face masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing to reduce the virus’s spread. “We have been working on this for quite a while. This is a tough call – how to open up schools is something that every single state, every single governor is struggling with,” he said. “I think it’s really important that we separate all of the politics here and talk about what’s best for our children. We know that they need to get back to school and do it in a safe way. And that can be a combination of in-person learning and remote learning, depending on the circumstances, depending on the student," he added. Note: These numbers were released by the North Carolina Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Some states, like Florida, reopened too fast, Fauci says
From CNN's Jen Christensen
Some states have opened too quickly, allowing the coronavirus pandemic to come roaring back, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. “There are some governors and mayors that did it perfectly correctly,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Podcast-19, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly podcast on Covid-19. “They wanted to open up, so they went through the guidelines of opening up their state. But what happened is that many of the citizenry, said, ‘You know, well, I’m either going to be locked down or I’m going to let it all rip.’" Fauci said that "some states skipped over those and just opened up too quickly." The nation's leading infectious disease doctor said he thought in some respects, Florida and Arizona’s reopening plans have contributed to the uptick in cases in those states. “Certainly Florida I know, you know, I think jumped over a couple of checkpoints,” Fauci said.
The US isn't "doing great" with Covid-19 and partisanship is in part to blame, Fauci says
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
Dr. Anthony Fauci said people would have to have "blindfolders" and be covering their ears if they didn’t think partisanship has something to do with why it is so hard to control the Covid-19 pandemic. “You have to be having blindfolders on and covering your ears to think that we don’t live in a very divisive society now, from a political standpoint,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Podcast-19, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly podcast on Covid-19. “I mean, it’s just unfortunate, but it is what it is. And you know, from experience historically, that when you don’t have unanimity in an approach to something, you’re not as effective in how you handle it. So I think you’d have to make the assumption that if there wasn’t such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach," he said. Fauci added that some parts of the country are doing “really well” at managing the pandemic, including communities where people follow the public health guidelines and have opened gradually.
“But as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not," he said.
Texas reports the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day
From CNN's Raja Razek
Texas reported 105 Covid-19-related deaths on Thursday, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus fatalities. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state is now 2,918. Texas reported 9,782 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 230,346.
To note: These figures were released by the Texas Health and Human Services and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Most key Covid-19 metrics in Los Angeles County are trending upward
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
The positivity rate in Los Angeles stands at 9%, with about 1.24 million tests having been conducted to date, according to Health Director Barbara Ferrer. Most key metrics are trending upward, she said. Los Angeles is reporting 50 additional deaths today, which is well above the seven-day average of 24 fatalities. Approximately 1,777 additional coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the county’s total to almost 125,000. Hospitalizations are also up slightly today. More than 2,000 patients are in the hospital with Covid-19 –– far more than the average of about 1,400 seen just four weeks ago. Ferrer addressed what she calls the false narrative that younger people shouldn’t worry as much because they don’t tend to get as sick.
“The problem with that is that younger people affect everyone else,” she said. “We are tied together as a community of human beings in what happens here. This isn’t the time for people to say, ‘I’m going to take the risk,’" Ferrer said. “It doesn’t work that way. It’s not just you that’s taking the risk. You’re creating a risk for other people.”
New York City mayor cancels large events through September
From CNN's Sheena Jones
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled all large events across the city through September 30, according to a statement from his office. "As New York has begun its reopening process, accessible open spaces are more important than ever," de Blasio said. "While it pains me to call off some of the city's beloved events, our focus now must be the prioritization of city space for public use and the continuation of social distancing." Events that do not conflict with "open streets" or "open restaurant" areas can still apply for a permit, the statement said. De Blasio said large events mean things like street fairs, concerts, and parades. "Things that here in the city can mean not just thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people. It's just not time for that," he told CNN on Thursday. When asked if people would be able to gather to protest, de Blasio said that was an area of sensitivity. "We understand at this moment in history, people are talking about the need for historic changes," he said. "This is a historic moment of change. We have to respect that, but also say to people the kinds of gatherings we're used to – the parades, the fairs – we just can't have that while we're focusing on health right now."
Illinois reports more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Kay Jones and Brad Parks
At least 1,018 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Illinois, bringing the total to approximately 150,450, according to the state's Department of Public Health. The state also reported 20 new deaths – bringing the total to at least 7,119. Today marked the highest testing day since the pandemic began, with 36,180 tests returned on Thursday. More than 1.8 million tests have been conducted since the start of the pandemic, the health department said. Additionally, there are about 1,507 people in the hospital and 317 patients in intensive care due to the virus, according to the health department. Note: These numbers were released by the Illinois’ public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Kentucky governor issues order mandating masks in public
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order mandating that people must wear a face covering or mask in public in certain situations. The order goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m. According to the governor, the order requires all customers in retail facilities to wear a mask, customers in grocery stores must wear a mask, and customers in most forward-facing businesses have to wear a mask if they are indoors. Additionally, if someone is outside and cannot be six feet away from another person, they also need to wear a mask. “Now it's not just us that thinks that this is the right move. The National Retail Federation and the Kentucky Retail Association specifically asked us to take this action. This is the National Retail Federation, that wanted us to open and they want to stay open. They're now at 50%. They don't want to go back. They've asked every governor to require every individual, that's not encumbered by a medical condition, to wear masks when shopping in public places,” Beshear said. “This is to protect the employees, to protect the businesses, and to protect the customers themselves.” The order will be in effect for 30 days, according to Beshear. “I want to see how well we can do in 30 days,” the governor added. “Our future and what we can do in the state, how our economy rebounds, how safe people are going to be, the health and the lives of Kentuckians all depend on our ability to wear one of these."
CDC director says Covid-19 is a "wake up call" that points to inequity in the public health care system
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention views the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to rebuild a better public health care system. “In every crisis there is an opportunity,” Dr. Robert Redfield said during a virtual summit hosted by the Hill. “I think this Covid crisis is an opportunity.” The pandemic provides a chance to “finally make the commitment it needs to make” to prepare the public health system to work better in the US, he said. “I think the other great opportunity is, to this nation, to understand that we need to have meaningful, meaningful progress in our efforts to impact social health care disparity in this nation. The Covid virus has obviously exploited it,” Redfield said. The higher hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 among the Native American, Alaska Natives, African American, Hispanic, and Latino communities, he said, is not due to anything intrinsic. “It’s actually a marker of the health disparity that exists in this nation for far too long,” he said. Statistics show these communities suffer more from health issues including diabetes, lung disease, heart and kidney disease, and obesity. Poverty also plays a large role in these chronic inequities, he said. “Clearly, you know, it’s a wake-up call to say are we serious about trying to truly impact health disparities so that there’s equity in health in this nation,” Redfield said.
Colorado governor says mask-wearing is key to economic recovery in the state
From CNN's Kay Jones
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said the key to the economic recovery in the state is for people to wear a mask. Polis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close again last week for the month of July. He said that they won't see the impact of those closures for another week or two. During a news conference, he reiterated multiple times how important it is to wear a mask. He said that wearing one will not only save lives but also the economy. "The bottom line is the key to greater economic and social activity is wearing a mask," Polis said. He said that while the state has the ability to enforce the business level requirements for mask-wearing, he is relying on local partners to enforce them in their cities and counties. "If you are waiting to wear a mask until the governor tells you to, I hope you've heard that I'm telling you, and I've made it clear: Wear a damn mask," Polis said.
Big Ten Conference to play conference-only schedule this fall
From CNN's Jabari Jackson
The Big Ten Conference has announced all fall sports, including football, will participate in a conference-only schedule due to health and safety concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement released on Thursday, the conference outlined its reason for the decision by saying, it "will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season” while allowing for fluid decision-making based on the most current medical advice. In addition, summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted. Student-athletes who decide not to play citing Covid-19 concerns will have “their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.” Other sports included in this model are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. No decision has been made on any other sports at this time. The conference-only football schedule means that games like Ohio State at Oregon and Michigan at Washington, both scheduled for this fall, are canceled.
Some Ohio counties are trending in the wrong direction, governor says
From CNN's Lauren del Valle
Many counties in Ohio are seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to Covid-19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a news conference Thursday. DeWine reiterated the mask mandate announced earlier this week for Ohio counties in the “red” zone, which indicates they’re experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations.
“When they’re red, we have problems. Trend lines are all the wrong direction,” the governor said. Testing in several counties has shown a significant increase in contraction from “non-congregate” settings, which DeWine said means there’s an uptick in community-spread transmission.
On reopening schools: DeWine said his administration will encourage high levels of testing and provide additional funding to both public and private institutions to aid in the expense attached to taking additional precautions against the virus. DeWine said he is working with legislators to approve the allocation of $200 million to higher education institutions and $100 million to K-12 schools from federal CARES act funding granted to Ohio.
Schools must reopen because keeping them closed would be a "greater public health threat," CDC chief says
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
Schools must reopen, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Thursday. If schools were to stay closed, it would be a “greater public health threat,” Redfield said. “I cannot overstate how important I think it is now to get our schools in this nation reopened,” Redfield said during a virtual summit hosted by the Hill. “The reason I push it is because I truly believe it’s the public health benefit of these kids."
"Having the schools actually close is a greater public health threat to children than having the schools reopen," he said. The virus is not much of a threat to most children, Redfield said. “I don’t think we should go overboard in trying to develop a system that doesn’t recognize the reality that this virus really is relatively benign to those of us that are under the age of 20,” Redfield said. “The greatest risk this virus causes is if there was an individual that was vulnerable in that group, like my grandson, or if there was an individual that was vulnerable like a teacher and this is why in the process we need to protect the vulnerable.” Redfield said his grandson has cystic fibrosis. He said he is confident schools can reopen safely and they must reopen. Redfield said the CDC will work with states and local jurisdictions to make sure schools can follow the CDC’s school reopening guidelines. “I’m firmly committed to do this and work with local jurisdictions that do this safely,” Redfield said.
Kentucky judge issues statewide temporary restraining order against governor's Covid-19 mandates
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced today that a Scott Circuit Judge ordered Gov. Andy Beshear to cease issuing or enforcing executive orders related to Covid-19, unless the orders meet specific criteria for an emergency as outlined by state law, a statement from the attorney general’s office said. According to the statement, the judge stated that in order to issue and enforce executive orders related to Covid-19, the governor has to “specify the state of emergency that requires the executive order, the location of the emergency, and the name of the local emergency management agency that has determined that the emergency is beyond its capabilities.” “The Governor cannot issue broad, arbitrary executive orders apart from the requirements of state law, and the Judge agreed by today issuing a statewide temporary restraining order,” Cameron said in the statement. “This is a clear win for the rule of law and will help Kentucky families and businesses across the Commonwealth who have suffered and continue to suffer financial losses and economic hardship because of the Governor’s executive orders," the statement added.
Some background: Last week, the attorney general joined the lawsuit, which challenges Beshear’s use of executive power during the pandemic and was initially filed by Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, LLC, an agritourism business.
Here's what an NFL preseason game day will look like
From CNN's David Close and Jabari Jackson
In a league-wide memo sent to the 32 teams on Wednesday night and obtained by CNN, the National Football League has outlined specific game day protocols for the upcoming preseason. With the exception of players and coaches, everyone on the sideline bench area will be required to wear a mask. Those players not substituting into the game are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. The league says it will provide disposable masks within the bench area. The cover letter accompanying the 11-page memorandum states that the NFL Players Association has agreed to the game mandates. It also acknowledges that the protocols surrounding the screening and testing of players has yet to be finalized. On Tuesday, union president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter tweeted, “The NFL's unwillingness to follow the recommendations of its own experts will put this season and the safety of all players at risk.”
Here's what else was included in the guidelines:
All players, coaches, and staff must maintain a physical distance of at least six feet within the bench area and during post-game interactions. Players are prohibited from signing autographs or taking photos with fans.
Players, coaches, and staff are not allowed to share towels, food, or clothing and will no longer be allowed to swap jerseys after the preseason games.
All on-the-field entertainment, including mascots and cheerleaders, will need to be approved by the NFL and required to pass screening and Covid-19 testing before performing.
All home teams are required to overnight at a team hotel prior to the next day’s game.
Some players reacted to the protocols on social media – specifically the ban of jersey exchanges. The San Francisco 49ers Richard Sherman tweeted on Thursday, “This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go engage in a full-contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game.” Philadelphia Eagles Darius Slay posted Thursday, “So we can tackle each other for 60min but can’t exchange jersey that takes 2 mins.”
Utah governor mandates masks in K-12 schools but not for the entire state
From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said he is mandating masks be worn in K-12 schools in his state but is not mandating a similar measure statewide. Herbert tweeted that he is “mandating that all students, faculty, staff, and visitors in all K-12 school districts and charter schools will wear a mask in buildings and on buses." Districts need to have reopening plans in place by August 1, Herbert said, adding that “some flexibility will be given to school boards and principals to accommodate younger children.” “We call on those local leaders to use common sense in the flexibility they use,” he said. Herbert noted that “as restrictions have eased, many of our residents have become complacent.”
Arkansas pushes school start date back to August 24
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
Arkansas has moved its back-to-school date from August 13 to August 24, but that date will not be pushed beyond August 26, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday. In their decision, state officials wanted to give “school districts more time to make necessary adjustments for the blending learning environment. We are committed to schools, on-site instruction,” Hutchinson told reporters in Little Rock, before adding that “we believe this is the right decision.” The governor also presented a three-prong approach to respond to infections in schools, ranging from a limited to a critical response.
The latest numbers: The state recorded at least 802 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number to approximately 26,052, Hutchinson said. The new daily “case number is high but predictable,” the governor said. With four new deaths reported Thursday, there have been a total of at least 309 people who have died from the virus, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
California records 149 new Covid-19 deaths, a new daily record
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
California has reported 149 Covid-related deaths, the most recorded in a single day for the state since the pandemic began. “The mortality rates are still front and center and should be in your consciousness,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. With more than 7,000 new confirmed cases, Newsom warned that single-day numbers don’t always show a clear picture of trend lines. Using a seven-day average, the positivity rate in California stands at 7.1%, and the average case increase is just more than 8,000. Hospitalizations climbed 4% in the past day, but are up 44% over the past two weeks, Newsom noted.
To note: These figures were released by Newsom in association with the Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database, which is drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
2 people test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Mike Pence's roundtable event
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Two people were asked to leave the site of a roundtable with Vice President Mike Pence after they tested positive for Covid-19, according to reports from the press pool traveling with the vice president. Two people associated with the event had no symptoms of illness, a spokesperson for the campaign said. The spokesperson said it was part of routine testing of everyone who will be around the vice president during such events. Pence is expected to speak at a roundtable to discuss the reopening of America.
It's just after 3:30 p.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 3 million cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in the US, including at least 132,803 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments:
CDC school guidelines: Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the guidelines for reopening schools will not be revised. This comes after the White House called them "very tough" and "expensive." President Trump has also threatened to withhold funding from districts that do not reopen.
Unemployment: Another 1.3 million people filed first-time claims for unemployment aid last week in the US. Weekly jobless claims have been falling for more than three months since their peak in the last week of March.
States' reopening: States containing over 40% of the population have now put reopening on hold, and states with another 30% have already reversed part of their reopening.
Hotspots: Arizona has led the nation with the highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people for more than a month –– today, the state is averaging 48.10 per 100,000 people. Florida has the second-highest rate at 43.08 per 100,000 people.
Sports: Ivy League sports, including football, will be postponed this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Ivy League is the first Division I conference to drop out of the upcoming college football season.
Vaccine: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the race to develop a vaccine is a collaborative, global effort. The US currently has four major investments in vaccine candidates that work in three different ways.