Atlanta Public Schools to recommend starting the school year with virtual learning
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
The head of Atlanta Public Schools will recommend that schools open virtually with a new start date of August 24, the district said Friday. Superintendent Lisa Herring “will recommend school open virtually with a new start date of August 24. August 3-21 will be used for pre-planning,” the district said on Facebook. Herring, who began her new role on July 1, will present a strategy for reopening on Monday during a school board meeting. APS originally intended to start the school year on August 10.
Covid-19 antibody therapy could be available by end of the year, biotech CEO says
From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen
An antibody therapy from Eli Lilly could be on the market by the end of the year, according to the CEO of a biotech firm working with the pharmaceutical giant. “We’re moving at breakneck speed,” said Carl Hansen, CEO of AbCellera. “It’s like running 100 meters in two seconds.” The company is two weeks into Phase 2 trials, which will involve hundreds of Covid-19 patients. Some of them will get the antibody-drug at varying doses and others will receive a placebo, or a pill that does nothing, and then doctors will compare how each group fares. He said the Phase 1 trial of a few dozen patients showed the drug was safe. To make the drug, AbCellera picked “an absolute elite superstar antibody” from someone who had recovered from Covid-19, Hansen said. The scientists had plenty of antibodies to choose from. In just 10 milliliters of blood, the patient had more than 500 antibodies. The scientists chose the one that was the most potent in fighting off coronavirus and was also easy to develop, clone and manufacture. That drug was tested in Phase 1 with hospitalized patients and is currently being tested in Phase 2 in patients who are at home. Hansen said the drug could possibly help another two groups. The first is people who have been exposed to Covid-19 but have not developed any symptoms. The second is people who are at high risk of being exposed to the virus, such as health care workers. AbCellera has studied blood from about 100 Covid-19 survivors, and if a better antibody turns up, Lilly and AbCellera may add it to the one already being studied, or possibly replace it for a “next-generation” version of the drug, Hansen said.
How coronavirus affects the entire body
From CNN's Maggie Fox
Coronavirus damages not only the lungs, but the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and nervous system, skin and gastrointestinal tract, doctors noted Friday in a review of reports about Covid-19 patients. The team at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City — one of the hospitals flooded with patients in the spring – went through their own experiences and collected reports from other medical teams around the world. Their comprehensive picture shows coronavirus attacks virtually every major system in the human body, directly damaging organs and causing the blood to clot, the heart to lose its healthy rhythm, the kidneys to shed blood and protein and the skin to erupt in rashes. It causes headaches, dizziness, muscle aches, stomach pain, and other symptoms along with classic respiratory symptoms such as coughing and fever. "Physicians need to think of COVID-19 as a multisystem disease," Dr. Aakriti Gupta, a cardiology fellow at Columbia who worked on the review, said in a statement. "There's a lot of news about clotting but it's also important to understand that a substantial proportion of these patients suffer kidney, heart, and brain damage, and physicians need to treat those conditions along with the respiratory disease."
More details: Much of the damage wrought by the virus appears to come because of its affinity for a receptor — a kind of molecular doorway into cells – called ACE2. Cells lining the blood vessels, in the kidneys, the liver ducts, the pancreas, in the intestinal tract and lining the respiratory tract all are covered with ACE2 receptors, which the virus can use to grapple and infect cells, the Columbia team wrote in their review, published in the journal Nature Medicine. “These findings suggest that multiple-organ injury may occur at least in part due to direct viral tissue damage,” the team wrote. "This virus is unusual and it's hard not to take a step back and not be impressed by how many manifestations it has on the human body," Dr. Mahesh another cardiology fellow who worked on the review, said in a statement.
68% of people tested in a single clinic in Queens had coronavirus antibodies, data suggests
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
New coronavirus antibody testing data suggests there to be large disparities among neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic across New York City, separated by race and class — but more research is needed to confirm the extent of the differences. Data from CityMD urgent care medical clinics show that more than 68% of people tested positive for antibodies at a clinic in the working-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens, and 56% tested positive at another clinic in Jackson Heights, Queens. Yet only 13% of people tested positive for antibodies at a clinic in Cobble Hill, a mostly white and wealthy neighborhood in Brooklyn. The data were first reported in The New York Times on Thursday and a spokesperson for CityMD confirmed to CNN in an email on Friday that "it's accurate." Even though the majority of people tested in those clinics had antibodies, that data do not reflect how many people in the neighborhoods themselves may have antibodies — because some patients in the clinics may not live in the neighborhoods where the clinics are located. Overall, nationwide data has been clear that Black and Brown communities across the United States have experienced higher rates of hospitalization or death from Covid-19 than White communities. As of June 12, hospitalization rates among Black and American Indian or Alaska Native people were about five times that of White people, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hispanic or Latino people have a rate of about four times that of White people.
Brazil surpasses 1.8 million coronavirus cases
From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo
Brazil surpassed 1.8 million confirmed cases of novel coronavirus Friday, according to the country's health ministry. The health ministry recorded 45,048 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total to 1,800,827. Brazil also topped 70,000 Covid-19 deaths after the health ministry reported 1,214 new deaths from the virus Friday. The nationwide death toll stands at 70,398. This comes after President Jair Bolsonaro, who is in semi-isolation after testing positive for the virus, said he hoped governors and mayors in the country would reopen "as soon as possible" and “in a responsible way."
UK eases coronavirus travel restrictions for dozens of countries — but not the US
From CNN's Simon Cullen
The UK has eased travel restrictions for dozens of countries — but the United States is not one of them. Travelers arriving into the UK from 75 countries and British overseas territories will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days starting July 10. See the full list of countries here.
Atlanta mayor plans to roll back city's reopening to phase 1
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is planning to roll back the city's reopening to phase one due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, her spokesperson said Friday. Phase one includes an order for all city residents to stay home except for essential trips. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp slammed the mayor’s decision, calling it “confusing” and “legally unenforceable,” his office said Friday. Kemp’s office said in a statement that Bottoms' "action today is merely guidance — both non-binding and legally unenforceable." "As clearly stated in the Governor's executive order, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide. Once again, if the Mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do. We ask citizens and businesses alike to comply with the terms of the Governor's order, which was crafted in conjunction with state public health officials. These common-sense measures will help protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians,” the statement said.
New York gym owner sues state over not being able to reopen
From CNN's Sonia Moghe
A gym owner filed a class-action lawsuit against New York state Thursday arguing its business is “essential” and should be allowed to open as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted. The suit seeks to represent about 2,500 fitness business owners, said attorney James Mermigis, who spoke at a news conference flanked by gym owners Wednesday before filing the suit. Mermigis said these businesses employ between 65,000 and 75,000 people across the state and that not being able to open means they have lost “hundreds of millions” in profits. The suit was filed in New York state court. “We’re not asking the governor not to respond to the pandemic. We’re just asking for equal treatment that every other business is getting,” Mermigis said. Mermigis said that because New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state has some of the lowest infection rates in the country, it’s time to open them. “I think gyms are very essential for your health, mind, body, and soul. We think they’re an important part of everyday living,” Mermigis. Jason Conwall, a spokesperson for Cuomo, said his office has not reviewed the suit but that the actions taken by the governor were intended to, and did, curb the rise of infection in the state, and allowed the state to avoid subsequent spikes of infection. “Reports show that infections are spiking in 38 states, and that officials in those states have been forced to reclose businesses and other parts of the economy that were opened too early,” Conwall said in a statement to CNN. “Every public opinion survey has shown an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support our re-opening approach. I understand some people aren’t happy – but better unhappy than sick or worse.” The suit claims that the named plaintiff, Thousand Islands Fitness center, and other gyms in the state, have “conformed” their fitness centers to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, as gyms in other states that have been allowed to reopen have done.
Texas reports more than 3,000 total coronavirus-related deaths
From CNN's Ashley Killough
Texas reported 9,765 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 240,111. The state has also reported 3,013 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. Texas reported 95 new Covid-19-related deaths on Friday.
The positivity rate is down nearly one percentage point from yesterday to 14.46%. To note: These numbers 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.
More than 1,300 new Covid-19 cases reported in Illinois
From CNN's Kay Jones, Brad Parks, and Hollie Silverman
At least 1,327 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Illinois on Friday, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health. That is the largest daily case count since June, according to information on the department's website. On June 2, there were 1,614 new Covid-19 cases. There are currently a total of 151,767 cases, including 7,144 deaths, according to the statement. The preliminary positivity rate for tests taken between July 3 and July 9 is 2.9%, the statement said.
CDC report details groups that suffer Covid-19 deaths disproportionately
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
People who were 65 or older, men and people of color who were younger than 65 make up disproportionate shares of Covid-19 deaths in the United States, according to a report released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the 52,166 Covid-19 deaths reported to CDC from February 12 to May 18, more than 55% were men, nearly 80% were older than age 65. The median age of the people who had died was 78 years old. Information reported to CDC was missing data about underlying health conditions for about 59% of people who died, so the agency collected supplemental data for about 10,000 deaths. Among those, 60.6% were male and nearly 75% were 65 years or older. Thirty-five percent were White, 24.9% were Black, 24.4% were Hispanic, 6.3% were Asian, 2.9% were multiracial or another race and .1% were American Indian or Alaskan natives. The median age of death was 71 among Hispanic people, 72 among nonwhite and non-Hispanic people, and 81 among White people. Among people younger than 65 who died from Covid-19, the percent who were Hispanic and nonwhite – 34.9% and 29.5%, respectively – were more than twice that of White people, 13.2%. The CDC called this difference “notable.” The CDC said more research is needed to understand why there is a difference, but one potential factor may be that more Hispanic and nonwhite people are in the service industry and other essential industries that make it difficult to be physically distant from others. Among the 10,647 cases with supplementary data, more than 76% had at least one underlying medical condition. For people younger than 65 years old, underlying health conditions seemed to play an even greater role; more than 83% had an underlying medical condition. The most common underlying health conditions reported among those who died was cardiovascular disease. More than 60% of those who died had some form of heart problems, nearly 40% had diabetes, more than 20% had chronic kidney disease, and just over 19% had chronic lung disease. Diabetes was the most common underlying condition among people younger than 65 – nearly half in that age group had diabetes. Most people died in hospitals, rather than at home. The median time from the start of the illness to death was 10 days. Among people younger than 65 years, 7.8% died in an emergency department or at home. “These out-of-hospital deaths might reflect lack of health care access, delays in seeking care, or diagnostic delays,” the report said. “Health communications campaigns could encourage patients, particularly those with underlying medical conditions, to seek medical care earlier in their illnesses. Additionally, health care providers should be encouraged to consider the possibility of severe disease among younger persons who are Hispanic, nonwhite, or have underlying medical conditions.”
Kentucky reports second-highest number of new Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state had its second-highest total of new Covid-19 cases ever today. The state reported 426 new Covid-19 cases for a cumulative total of 18,670. Beshear said Kentucky currently has a positivity rate of 4.5%, up from 2.87% last week. According to the governor, there are a lot of children under the age of 5 among the new cases. Kentucky also reported eight new Covid-19 related deaths. “We still have a lot of ICU beds, we still have a whole lot of ventilators, and those are all good news, but let’s keep it that way. Let’s certainly not tempt fate, let’s do what it takes,” Beshear said.
To note: These figures were released by the state’s 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.
Cases continue to surge in America's three most populous states
From CNN's Jay Croft, Madeline Holcombe and Renée Rigdon
The US reported 63,247 new Covid-19 cases nationwide yesterday, a single-day record, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The new high comes as many states set their own records in infection rates and hospitalizations.
The three most populous US states — California, Texas and Florida — continue to see a surge in coronavirus cases:
California reported 149 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, the highest number in a 24-hour period for the state, and total cases topped 300,000 on Friday. California's positivity rate as a 14-day average is climbing and currently stands at 7.4% with people between the ages of 18 and 49 accounting for almost 60% of all cases.
Texas reported 105 deaths on Thursday, also a 24-hour record for the state, and Gov. Greg Abbott does not anticipate next week will bring any relief.
Florida health officials on Friday reported 11,433 new Covid-19 cases and 93 deaths, according to data on the Florida Department of Health website. It's the second time the state's single-day tally topped 11,000, according to CNN's count. The health department reported 11,458 cases on July 4. Miami-Dade County in Florida on Friday reported a staggering 28% positivity rate, or the percentage of people tested who test positive for coronavirus.
Mississippi governor announces additional social distancing measures for 13 counties
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced additional social distancing measures for 13 counties identified as Covid-19 hotspots in order to limit transmission in communities, his office said Friday. “Governor Reeves signed a new executive order establishing additional restrictions for those thirteen counties to slow the spread of COVID-19, including requiring people to wear masks when at public gatherings or in a shopping environment and limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 indoors and 20 outdoors,” his office said in a statement. "Mississippi is in a fight for our lives. COVID-19 is an ever-present threat, and we are in the middle of a spike. It is putting a strain on our hospital system," Reeves in a statement.
Latin America and the Caribbean topped 3 million infections this week
From CNN's Tatiana Arias and Radina Gigova
Coronavirus infections in Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed 3 million this week, according to Johns Hopkins University data, with Brazil, Peru, and Chile reporting the highest number of infections. Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), expressed concern about unsafe working conditions and the lack of protective equipment for frontline health workers in much of the region. She reiterated the need for better tracking of the virus and said its impact had been worsened by inequality, political division, and under-investment in health care. Three heads of state have announced they have tested positive for the virus: Bolivian Interim President Jeanine Añez, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was hospitalized after being diagnosed in June. Furthermore, in Bolivia, in addition to the interim president, six more high-ranking government officials have also tested positive, including several ministers.
These are the countries with the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the region, as of July 10, according to latest figures from the countries' health ministries:
Brazil: 1,755,779 cases; 69,184 deaths
Peru: 316,448 cases; 11,314 deaths
Chile: 309,274 cases; 6,781 deaths
Mexico: 282,283 cases; 33,526 deaths
Colombia: 133,973 cases; 4,714 deaths
Argentina: 90,693 cases; 1,749 deaths
Ecuador: 65,801 cases; 4,983 deaths
Bolivia: 44,113 cases; 1,638 deaths
Panama: 42,216 cases; 839 deaths
Dominican Republic: 41,915 cases; 864 deaths
CNN's Ingrid Formanek, Tim Lister, Claudia Rebaza, Chandler Thornton, and Taylor Barnes contributed to this report.
Georgia to reactivate makeshift hospital at Atlanta’s main convention center, governor's office says
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
Georgia plans to reactivate a makeshift hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta amid a rising trend of Covid-19 cases, the governor’s office said Friday in a news release. The move comes as the state "is negotiating new solutions to increase its own capacity to process specimens, and we will provide more details as those plans are finalized," the statement said. The state will use its assets, comprising of hospital beds and medical equipment, and also “plans to leverage a new contract for enhanced bed capacity with a metro-Atlanta area hospital,” Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said in a statement. “In addition to the increased bed capacity developed in-house at hospitals in recent months, this new contract is expected to add nearly 100 med-surg and ICU beds to existing infrastructure, coupled with ‘standby’ beds at GWCC should additional needs arise,” the governor’s office said.
Texas to provide on-site Covid-19 testing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes
From CNN's Raja Razek
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the state will provide on-site same day Covid-19 testing and results for assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the state. "Omnicare, a CVS Health company, is partnering with the State of Texas to provide COVID-19 point-of-care testing for assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the state," Abbott's statement said. "This partnership will provide on-site same-day testing and results for both facility staff and their residents." "These test sites help enable a goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month alone," the statement added. The testing in assisted living facilities began yesterday, and state testing teams completed testing of all nursing home staff and residents in June, according to the statement. Omnicare is set to begin testing in nursing homes next week.
California will release 8,000 prisoners early following coronavirus outbreak
From CNN’s Jon Passantino and Topher Gauk-Roger
California will release an estimated 8,000 people incarcerated in the state’s prison system early after growing outbreaks inside the facilities caused thousands of infections and more than two dozen deaths. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation today said the action was being taken to “maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation, and quarantine efforts.” The department estimated the 8,000 prisoners could be eligible for release by the end of August under the new measures. At San Quentin Prison in Northern California, the site of the worst coronavirus outbreak in the state’s prison system, more than 1,300 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 and seven have died. “These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” Corrections and Rehabilitations Department Secretary Ralph Diaz said in a statement. “We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.” California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office did not immediately return a CNN request for comment.
Arkansas reports more than 700 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Kay Jones
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said today that 751 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the state, with 149 of those from correctional facilities. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the state now stands at 26,803. Hot Springs County has shown the highest return on positive cases over the past two days, Hutchinson said in a news conference Friday afternoon. A majority of the new cases being reported in the county are from the Ouachita River Correctional Unit, according to Dr. Nate Smith, director of Arkansas Department of Health. Many of the newer positive cases were from people who previously tested negative but later developed symptoms and were retested, Smith said.
More data: The state has conducted more than 5,200 tests over the past 24 hours. The average time to get test results back from a commercial lab is 2.5 days, up from a low of 1.6 in April. "That's something that concerns us because we need quick results that helps us to manage the outbreak, to control it, to isolate people that need to be isolated," Hutchinson said. "We want to watch that and, hopefully, with national support, we can get more resources in our commercial labs so we can get a quicker response time. That will help us in states like Arkansas." The governor said while he's not concerned with having enough testing materials, he is concerned with the increased number of tests the labs outside of the state are doing, which results in delayed reporting.
To note: These numbers were released by Arkansas 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.
Utah reports record-high number of new Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin
Utah has reported a record-high number of new Covid-19 cases — 850 — over the last 24 hours, state health data shows. This is the highest daily case increase the state has reported, according to records that go back to early March. The previous record for new Covid-19 cases was 729 reported on June 8. Utah does not have a statewide mask order in place, but at least two counties, Salt Lake and Summit, have been given permission by Gov. Gary Herbert to enact countrywide mandates, according to CNN affiliate KSTU. There is also a new mandate for masks to be worn in K-12 schools. The governor challenged his state’s residents to get Utah’s seven-day rolling average below 500 cases by August 1 by, in part, wearing masks.
Union calls Disney's action "shameful" on eve of parks reopening
From CNN Cristina Alesci
The union representing about 750 Disney World performers in Florida blasted Disney on Friday, a day before the company reopens two of its Florida theme parks to the public. “We continue to engage with Disney on their safety plan. It is shameful that Disney would rather pit workers against each other in a pandemic than agree to the testing of their performers,” Actors’ Equity Association’s spokesperson Brandon Lorenz told CNN in a statement.
Some context: The comments are Actors’ Equity Association’s latest shot at Disney after filing a grievance against the company on Thursday. The grievance alleges Disney is punishing its members, who entertain guests as they walk around the park and also perform in live shows, for Actors' Equity demanding coronavirus testing. The park is opening without their participation. In response to the grievance, Disney suggested another reason for reopening in Florida without Actors’ Equity Association members. The company claims the actor’s union “rejected” safety protocol and has not made itself available to continue negotiations. “Seven unions signed agreements to have their employees return to work, the Actors’ Equity rejected our safety protocols and have not made themselves available to continue negotiations, which is unfortunate. We are exercising our right to open without Equity performers,” Disney spokesperson Stephanie Corzett said in a statement to CNN on Friday.
Rhode Island governor announces initiative to stabilize housing during coronavirus pandemic
From CNN’s Molly Silverman
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is rolling out an initiative next week to help people avoid eviction during the pandemic. Raimondo said that she is thankful that Rhode Island has not had a massive spike in evictions, but is worried that once the $600 federal government benefit ends in July, this could change and the problem could get worse before it gets better. The governor said the state has been working with the Rhode Island Judiciary Court, which is the court in charge of evictions. The state is also working with United Way to launch an eviction diversion effort called the Safe Harbor Housing Program. "And this, it is my hope that this initiative will serve as an alternative to a traditional eviction process and will provide landlords and tenants an opportunity to work towards a solution outside of the court system to avoid evictions," Raimondo said. Raimondo said the state will be directing $7 million of its CARES Act funding to this effort and that she expects hundreds of Rhode Islanders will be able to use that money to maintain stable housing.
South Carolina bans alcohol sales in bars after 11 p.m. — but won't mandate masks
From CNN’s Eileen McMenamin
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said bars and restaurants in the state will be banned from selling alcoholic beverages after 11 p.m. nightly. McMaster announced said the new order — called the “The Last Call” executive order — is aimed at reducing the transmission of coronavirus, especially among young adults. “Many of the young people in our state as well as around the country seem not to be taking the virus as seriously as they should. We hope that this will help all of us, particularly the younger generations, to realize just how serious this virus is and how much is at stake if we don't see these infection rates start dropping,” he said. The order goes into effect at 11 p.m. tomorrow and does not apply to alcohol sold at convenience stores, grocery stores or wine and liquor stores. Restaurants and bars that violate the order will be subject to ticketing, fines and ultimately could have their liquor licenses temporarily suspended or revoked. “When engaging in certain social activities like eating or grabbing a drink out with friends, especially in enclosed indoor spaces, we are putting ourselves and others at greater risk of getting and spreading the virus," Director of Public Health Dr. Joan Duwve warned. "In these settings, people get close, they tend to talk louder over the music. And we know that this virus is spread really efficiently by people who are close to one another talking — the louder you talk the more efficiently it spreads — for 15 minutes or longer.” Despite the new order on alcohol sales, the governor said he will not be implementing a statewide mask mandate, saying it’s very difficult to enforce and that the state is not one-size-fits-all. “To issue a statewide (mask) mandate to be enforced by statewide authorities is impractical to do,” he said. By contrast, when it comes to limiting the sale of beer and alcohol after 11 p.m., McMaster said, “We can enforce this, and we will. We intend to and we believe that this will help in reducing the spread of this virus."
Florida's Miami-Dade County is seeing a 74% increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations
From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt
As President Trump visits Florida's Miami-Dade County today, the area is seeing a staggering increase in the number of Covid-19 patients being hospitalized in the past 13 days, according to the latest data released by Miami-Dade County government. There has been a 74% increase in Covid-19 patients being hospitalized, an 88% increase in the number of intensive care unit beds being used, and a 123% increase in the use of ventilators, data shows. With regard to its positivity rate, county officials reported a 28% Covid-19 positivity rate on Friday, according to data released by Mayor Carlos Giménez's office. Giménez's office has said the goal is to not exceed a positivity rate of 10%. The county has exceeded the 18% mark for the past 14 days. The current 14-day average is 25%, the data shows.
Remember: The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested. So, as more and more people are being tested, the focus is shifting to the positivity rate — how many of those tested are actually infected.
New Jersey reports that its rate of Covid-19 transmission has dipped below 1%
From CNN's Laura Dolan
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported that the daily positivity rate for Covid-19 tests in the state is 2.23%, which he said is an improvement over the last few days. That percentage is for tests conducted on July 6. Murphy also announced the rate of transmission has dipped to 0.98%. “Thank God, let’s keep it there,” Murphy said during his news conference Friday. New Covid-19 cases have increased slightly to 367. That’s up from 335 announced on Wednesday. The total number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey since March 4 stands at 176,628. The total number of Covid-19 deaths in the state is now 13,352, with probable deaths at 1,947. The governor has urged residents to go out and get tested because he says the more testing, the more precise the number gets. There are currently 244 Covid-19 testing sites across the state, and on Monday and Tuesday, the state partnered with Montclair to provide free coronavirus tests, Murphy said. “The daily positivity and the rate of transmission, or RT, are the two most meaningful measurements we have of the spread of this virus across the state,” said Murphy. “Feeding into both of these metrics are the results of the coronavirus tests that are recorded every day.”
Note: The figures above were released by the New Jersey governor’s office and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
More than 300,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in California
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
More than 300,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in California, with 7,798 new cases reported today, according to the state's Department of Public Health. About 40% of the state's 304,297 reported cases have been recorded in Los Angeles County. Hospitalization and intensive care unit rates continue to reach record highs with more than 6,000 patients currently being treated for Covid-19. The number of deaths recorded in the last day is 140, bringing the state’s cumulative total to at least 6,851. The only day with a higher number of deaths was yesterday, when the state reported 149. California’s positivity rate as a 14-day average is climbing and currently stands at 7.4% with people between the ages of 18 and 49 accounting for almost 60% of all cases. That age group makes up only about 43.5% of California’s population.
Note: These numbers were released by California 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.
Michigan governor requests extension of National Guard use through December
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has sent a letter to President Trump requesting he authorize the use of Michigan National Guard forces through December 31, according to a statement from the governor’s office. “The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of the state’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the guard will be vital to our ongoing recovery as well," Whitmer said. “Beyond August 21, 2020, we will continue to require the Michigan National Guard to perform humanitarian missions across the state, such as helping run mobile screening facilities, testing, distributing food and medical supplies, ensuring resiliency of supply lines, disinfecting public spaces and supporting public safety when required.” According to the statement, an extension of authority would also mean that many Michigan National Guard members will qualify for federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill.
Florida governor: "School kids are not vectors of transmission"
From CNN’s Melissa Alonso
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking at a news conference Friday, said the cost of "not giving kids an option to be able to have in-person instruction is enormous." DeSantis said reopening schools "should not be a political issue, it should be based on the facts and if we see that this is very low risk, and we see, I think overwhelmingly, in every study that the school kids are not vectors of transmission." Schools have opened in other parts of the world and "have not seen major problems but you can always have an outbreak," said DeSantis. "In terms of the risk level to school kids is very low, the cost of not at least giving them the opportunity if their parents want to do it" is "very, very high," DeSantis said.
Texas' Harris County closes testing sites due to heat
From CNN's Kay Jones
Harris County Public Health closed testing at 12 p.m. local time due to a heat advisory in the area. According to their social media accounts, anyone who had an appointment for this afternoon can return Saturday to get tested. Normal testing hours will resume Saturday, according to a post on the HCPH website. Temperatures in the area are forecast to climb between 105 to 110 degrees today, according the National Weather Service in Houston.
New York governor to send remdesivir to Florida to assist with their Covid-19 battle
From CNN's Sheena Jones
New York state will send remdesivir, the drug used to fight Covid-19, to Florida to help the state fight the resurgence of Covid-19 cases, a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said. The statement issued Friday said the drug should arrive in Florida on Saturday and that New York is sending enough of the medication to help state care for at least 280 Covid-19 patients while it waits for federal aid. "When New York was climbing the COVID mountain with no end in sight and resources were scarce, we were incredibly moved by the generosity of states around the country that stepped up to provide supplies and medical personnel in our time of need," Cuomo said. "We will stand by our fellow Americans every step of the way as our nation fights COVID-19 together," he added.
Remember: In the US, remdesivir — currently administered intravenously through infusions — is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections. Gilead originally studied remdesivir as a potential treatment for Ebola, but lab experiments suggested it might be active against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. According to a study published in May by the New England Journal of Medicine, data showed remdesivir shortened the course of illness from an average of 15 days to about 11 days. The maker of the drug, Gilead, later announced in a statement that claimed remdesivir could also be helpful in treating moderate Covid-19 pneumonia. CNN's Nadine Schmidt contributed to this report.
West Virginia has the highest rate of transmission of Covid-19 in the country, state official says
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
West Virginia currently has the highest rate of transmission of Covid-19 in the country, the state's coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said during a news conference Friday. Marsh said the state has a rate of transmission of 1.37. "We have moved, unfortunately, from number two to number one. We now have the highest RT number in the country," Marsh said. "Per that calculation, the virus is spreading faster person to person in West Virginia right now than any other state in the country." The daily positivity rate is now 3.86% in the state, which Gov. Jim Justice said is "not where we want to be." Justice said people need to continue to wear masks and social distance to help prevent further spread so that hospital systems in the state aren't overwhelmed by a potential surge. "I've warned you many, many, many times. And I told you mathematically how we could end up being Texas, with the most vulnerable. When we have the most chronic illnesses. We're the oldest, we're sitting right in the sweet spot. We don't have an ocean two thirds away around us like Texas does," Justice said. "I mean, for crying out loud. Absolutely, we have got to know just how much peril there could be right here in West Virginia. The only bullet ... in the gun right now is this right here, this little mask."
Fauci continues to contradict Trump on the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, continues to contradict President Trump on coronavirus, including sharing differing descriptions about the seriousness of the pandemic in the US. While President Trump has pushed to reopen schools and downplay the surge of cases, Fauci warned in a Wall Street Journal podcast yesterday that states with resurging coronavirus cases "should seriously look at shutting down." Fauci later noted that states with spiking coronavirus cases still can contain them by pausing their reopening processes, rather than shutting down a second time. In an interview published earlier today, Fauci said he's "trying to figure out" where President Trump got the number behind his claim that 99% of coronavirus cases were "harmless." On July 4, Trump sought to downplay the surge in Covid-19 cases by falsely claiming that testing in the US shows 99% of cases "are totally harmless." "I’m trying to figure out where the President got that number," Fauci said in an interview with the Financial Times, published Friday. "What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1%. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99% is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.” Fauci told FT that he last saw Trump on June 2 at the White House, and hasn't personally briefed him in at least two months.
Louisiana reports most positive cases in a single day since the pandemic began
From CNN's Kay Jones
The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 2,642 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the single highest day of new cases since the pandemic began. According to the Department of Health, there was one other day that reported a higher number of cases, but many of those were backlogged cases from weeks prior. The positivity rate for tests coming in on Friday is 10.52%. The agency reported that 97% of cases today are due to community spread and 39% of the new cases are for people who are under 29 years old. Hospitalizations increased by 75, bringing the total number of patients in the hospital due to Covid-19 to 1,117. Hospitalizations have been trending up since mid-June, according to data released by the agency.
Note: These numbers were released by Louisiana 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.
Florida governor says "there was no justification to not move forward" with the reopening
From CNN’s Melissa Alonso
After Dr. Anthony Fauci said that new coronavirus hotspot Florida opened too soon, Gov. Ron DeSantis said "there was no justification to not move forward." DeSantis defended the move to reopen, saying Florida had a "very low prevalence" of Covid-19 in May and early June, "particularly in the 64 counties outside of southern Florida." "We did put southern Florida on a different pathway," DeSantis said at a Friday news conference in Orlando. DeSantis said cases are on the rise in other parts of the country as well, not just Florida. Across the Sunbelt, "this is something that we're dealing with," said DeSantis. The governor did not mention Florida's 11,433 new positive cases reported today during the news conference. This marks the second time the state's single-day tally of cases topped more than 11,000, according to CNN's count. Florida health officials reported 11,458 cases on July 4, according to CNN's tally.
58 MLB players and 8 staff members test positive for Covid-19
From CNN's Wayne Sterling
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced in a statement Friday that 1.8% of team personnel have tested posted for coronavirus in the final intake screening through the end of July 9. According to the statement, there were 66 positive tests out of 3,748 total samples tested. At least 58 were players and eight staff members, and 27 of the 30 teams had an individual test positive. With the intake process completed, individuals have moved on to monitoring testing, which will test tier-one individuals every other day and tier two individuals multiple times per week.
More about the intake screening: A total of 7,401 monitoring samples have been collected and tested to date. Seventeen samples, which is 0.2%, tested positive. Thirteen of the 17 positives have been from players, four were staff members. Since the beginning of intake screening on June 27, there have been 83 positive tests (0.7%) out of 11,149 samples. Among the 83 positive tests, 71 were players and 12 were staff members. At least 28 different teams have had an individual test positive in intake screening or during monitoring testing.
South Carolina governor calls for schools to reopen
From CNN’s Eileen McMenamin
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, speaking at a news conference today, said he plans to reopen schools this fall. “We intend to open the schools and we’re making plans in that direction now,” he said. “When the children have to stay home, that means some of the parents can’t go to work. And ladies and gentlemen, South Carolina’s business is business. We must go to work. We must stay working. If we can’t work, then we cannot survive as a prosperous state.” Public Health Director Dr. Joan Duwve said 15% of the 50,458 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Carolina have occurred in people ages 20 and under, and 42% of the state’s total cases have been reported in the past two weeks. “Please think about that. Nearly half of the Covid-19 cases in the state of South Carolina have occurred in the past two weeks and think about what those numbers are going to look like two weeks from now," Duwve said. The governor said the state cannot enforce a mask-wearing provision with 5 million residents, but encouraged people to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands frequently. “Wear your mask, wear your mask, wear your mask,” he said. “Wash your hands, keep that distance. Follow those rules and we’ll get through this.” Asked about the increased risks that come with opening schools, McMaster said, “Our plan is to have the schools open and a lot of discussion’s going on about that right now.” He said of the state’s students, “We need to get ‘em back in. People have to go to work. Parents have to go to work. Teachers want to go to work. Everybody wants to get the schools started. But we have to be sure that we’re doing so safely.”
"Very unlikely" world can eradicate or eliminate coronavirus in current situation, WHO says
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
It is unlikely that the world can eradicate or eliminate coronavirus any time soon, a World Health Organization official said on Friday. "In our current situation, it is very unlikely that we can eradicate or eliminate this virus. There are very particular environments in which that can occur — island states and other places — but even they risk re-importation," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said during a briefing in Geneva. "We’ve seen countries who’ve managed to get to zero or almost zero re-import virus from outside. So there’s always a risk — either from within or from bringing disease back in — and therefore, it is a given that there is always a risk of further cases," Ryan said. "The transmission that occurs in that situation can be single, sporadic cases, which can be relatively easily isolated and quarantined. A more worrying pattern is large clusters of cases that could occur in association with super spreading events — events in which large crowds gather." Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, also said in Friday's briefing that "this is something we all need to anticipate — that there's the possibility that there could be a resurgence, there could be these small outbreaks."
Retail trade group asks Trump to institute federal mask guidelines
From CNN's Alison Kosik
The American Apparel & Footwear Association sent a letter to President Trump requesting that the administration institute federal face mask guidelines to assist retail stores as the country continues efforts to safely reopen. “Simply put, a national face mask usage standard would protect retail employees and customers across the country, as well as remove any confusion amongst U.S. consumers regarding their local face mask requirements,” Steve Lamar, president and CEO of American Apparel & Footwear Association, said in a statement. The organization, which represents hundreds of clothing and footwear companies and their suppliers, added that “with differing standards throughout the country, out members are facing situations where their employees need to educate customers on what is required to enter their stores, or even turn customers away. One simple, consistent standard at the federal level, mandated and enforced at the state and local level, would go a long way in addressing this confusion and keeping the economy open.” Versions of the letter were also sent to the heads of the National Governors Association, National Association of Counties, and the US Conference of Mayors.
WHO looking at studies that show the impact of Covid-19 during pregnancy
From CNN's Gisela Crespo
The World Health Organization said Friday it will keep a close eye on the impact of Covid-19 during pregnancy, as some recent studies point to pregnant women with underlying health conditions being at higher risk of getting severely ill from the virus. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said during a news briefing that pregnant women "don't seem to develop a different type of disease than women of the same age who are not pregnant." "However, there are some studies that have come out recently that have looked at pregnant women with underlying conditions. And if there are women with underlying conditions, they are at a higher risk of developing more severe disease," Van Kerkhove said. In a recent report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said pregnant women who get infected with novel coronavirus are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, and put on a ventilator. While the CDC said the study included the largest cohort of pregnant women with lab-confirmed coronavirus, it's not clear whether the pregnant women who were hospitalized were in the hospital because of complications related to Covid-19 or for pregnancy-related reasons. "We need to ensure that we keep a close eye on [this] and ensure that pregnant women have the right care throughout their pregnancy," Van Kerkhove said at the briefing.