Washington state pauses reopening process for at least 2 weeks
From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson
Washington state officials are pausing all applications for counties to move into the next phase starting today, said John Wiesman, secretary for the state's Department of Health. All counties will stay in their current phase for at least the next two weeks, he said.
More from Washington state: Gov. Jay Inslee said in the next couple of days, he will sign a proclamation regarding face masks. Businesses will not be able to legally serve customers goods or services unless the patrons are wearing a face covering, he said. The proclamation will go into effect on July 7.
Pennsylvania asks people traveling from states with high infection rates to quarantine for two weeks
From CNN's Lauren del Valle
As the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to move counties into the "green phase" of reopening, state officials announced a travel advisory asking people to quarantine for 14 days when they return from travel to 15 states experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases. Governors from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut similarly announced a travel advisory from these states in late June. Pennsylvania is only recommending a quarantine to its residents while its three neighbor states issued a mandate.
The 15 states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
66 people test positive in Covid-19 cluster linked to fraternity houses in Washington state
From CNN's Jennifer Henderson and Hollie Silverman
Sixty-six people linked to fraternity houses north of the University of Washington's Seattle campus have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement from Seattle and King County Public Health. At least 62 fraternity house residents have tested positive as of Thursday, the statement said. Four others, who are close contacts of the residents but do not live in the houses, have also tested positive. The Interfraternity Council, which is a student-led governing board for fraternities at the university, has reported that at least 105 residents living in 15 fraternity houses have self-reported that they have tested positive, the statement said. The university is still collecting and verifying the cases reported by that council.
Self-isolation measures lifted "for lower-risk countries," UK Department of Transport says
From CNN's Chandler Thornto
Self-isolation measures have been lifted for people traveling to England from "lower-risk countries," such as Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, according to the UK's Department of Transport. "Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Friday. The new measures will go into effect July 10 and a list of countries exempt from self-isolation upon arrival to England will be published Friday, the Transport Department said. "A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases, and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination," the department's statement read. Those traveling from countries on the exemption list will not be required to self-isolate, "unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days." "The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watchword and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with,” Shapps said in the statement.
Miami-Dade County to issue curfew to control spread of Covid-19
From CNN's Jamiel Lynch
The mayor of Miami-Dade County in Florida is issuing a countywide curfew to control the spread of Covid-19, according to a statement. Mayor Carlos Gimenez will sign the order tonight, which will take effect on Friday until further notice, the statement said. The curfew will go from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily. “This is one of the various actions I’m pursuing to tamp down this spike of COVID-19 and protect our residents,” he said. Essential workers, first responders, hospital workers, food delivery services, and media will be exempted from the curfew. The mayor also announced he is signing an order to roll back the reopening of entertainment facilities, such as movie theaters, arcades and casinos. It also includes places like concert venues, bowling alleys, and adult entertainment. Additionally, people in restaurants will have to keep face covers on while at the table. They are only able to remove their masks to eat and drink. "If you are waiting for your meal at a restaurant table, keep your mask on while having a conversation with those around you," Gimenez said in the statement.
Businesses in Washington state cannot legally serve customers unless patron wears a mask, governor says
From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced the next step forward for the state in the form of a new “Mask Up – Open Up” campaign during a news conference today. Inslee said in the next couple of days, he will be signing a proclamation that says businesses will not be able to legally serve customers goods or services unless the patrons are wearing a face covering. The proclamation will go into effect on July 7. He said the measure will be issued because of the “extremely troubling spike in the number of cases that we are experiencing across the state of Washington.”
Chicago orders travelers from states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for two weeks
From CNN's Raja Razek
Chicago issued a new order directing people entering the city from states experiencing a surge in new Covid-19 cases to quarantine for a 14-day period, Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said. The 14-day period begins from the time of the last contact within the "identified state." The states included in the order are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The order goes into effect Monday at 12:01 a.m., according to a statement from the health department. Violators could face fines, the statement said.
Pastor shuts down Alabama church after several people test positive for Covid-19
From CNN's Jamiel Lynch
A Mobile, Alabama, the pastor has shut down his church again and is going back to online services after several staff and members have tested positive for Covid-19 since reopening. Rev. Derek Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church of Tillman’s Corner, wrote a blog warning other pastors to prioritize their flock ahead of any political message around Covid-19. Allen tells CNN that the church was following all guidelines set by the state. “We shut down the church before the state even asked us,” Allen said. “We had already put plans into place on how we would continue on.” He said that during the order from Gov. Kay Ivey, the church, which has around 1,500 members, remained shuttered and went to online services. When the governor’s office issued guidelines that allowed the churches to reopen, they were ready. Allen said the church practiced social distancing and cut occupancy down to 130 people per service. They even had to add up to five services a day just to accommodate everyone. Allen also said church members wore masks and the church was cleaned regularly. In his blog, Allen warned other pastors that it happened very fast. “One week from the time I received the first phone call reporting symptoms, we were aware of more than a dozen people showing symptoms. What was even more shocking was that we could track four generations of transmission from the original person. We are two weeks in, and the numbers are growing at a faster rate now than they were last week,” he wrote in his blog. Allen also said isolation and social distancing work. “I’m convinced that one of the reasons the virus hasn’t spread faster and farther is that we have been following procedures designed to isolate sick people and keep everyone else socially distanced. At the same time, we had gotten comfortable, and on a few occasions, we were a little lax in those policies. We can trace almost all of the infections back to one of those times,” he wrote.
The US is "not going in the right direction," Fauci says
From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas
The US coronavirus pandemic is not headed in a positive direction, but it’s possible to balance the yearning to reopen with precautions that can help slow the spread of coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with JAMA on Thursday. “I think it’s pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction,” he said. On Wednesday, more than 50,000 new infections were reported in the US and at least 23 US states had paused or rolled back reopening plans. Fauci said it’s not a case of either supporting reopening or supporting public health measures. “There's this feeling of an all or none phenomenon, where you're either on lockdown or you're just going to say…the devil may care and just let it all go,” he said.
“The best way, as a vehicle to opening the country in a safe way, is to prudently use public health measures,” Fauci said. “It’s not public health against the opening.” The guidance is especially relevant as the nation enters a holiday weekend amid new evidence that suggests the virus has mutated to become more infectious. “It does look like a particular mutation may make the virus more transmissible,” Fauci said. Research released Thursday suggests that the mutation does not, however, make people sicker. Fauci said pool testing, a strategy that tests multiple samples at once, can be a helpful surveillance tool. It’s especially useful when there are not many cases of the virus in a community. “If you have a situation where you have very low penetrance, but you want to make sure it's low, it's so much better to do pool testing than it is to try and do individual testing in the community,” he said. “It saves resources. It saves time. It saves equipment, and it saves money.” Fauci said that pool testing, along with intermittent screening, could come in handy when colleges reopen in the fall. For grade schools, he recommended making decisions based on the viral activity within particular regions. “Within the realm of some prudent evaluation of the safety to the children and the impact on the community, we should try as best as possible to get the kids back to school,” he said.
Brazil nears 1.5 million coronavirus cases
From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Taylor Barnes
Brazil’s health ministry reported 48,105 new cases of novel coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the country’s total to at least 1,496,858. The number of new cases reported Thursday is the second-highest reported by Brazil during the pandemic. The highest number Brazil reported in a 24-hour period occurred on June 19 when the ministry reported 54,771 new cases, a spike the government said at the time was due in part to “instability” in how a few populous states exported their data. The ministry also reported 1,252 new Covid-19 fatalities on Thursday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 61,884.
Alabama extends public health emergency until September 9
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Giovanna Van Leeuwen
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has extended the state’s public health emergency for another 90 days – making it set to expire on September 9. This is the second 60-day extension of the state of emergency, which was declared on March 13, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “At this time, it is impossible to predict how long the COVID-19 pandemic will require the existence of a state of emergency,” Ivey said her in her proclamation. “Nevertheless, I understand and appreciate the substantial reliance that many people, businesses, and government entities have to come to place on measures adopted by the various emergency proclamations I have issued as part of the state’s COVID-19 response.” The order states that all subsequent orders or regulations remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency unless rescinded or extended by a proclamation. The state reported at least 40,111 cases of coronavirus and at least 985 deaths. Note: These numbers were released by the Alabama 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.
The pandemic could leave 41 million people unemployed in Latin American and the Caribbean
From CNN's Tatiana Arias
Latin America and the Caribbean could see a historic record number of unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labor Organization (ILO) warned in a new report published Wednesday. “The unemployment rate could rise between 4 and 5 percentage points, bringing the number of unemployed in the region to a historical record of 41 million people. If the crisis worsens, the employment situation could worsen, amplifying social inequalities,” the report says. Before the pandemic hit Latin America and the Caribbean, the unemployment rate in the region was 8.1%, or about 26 million people at the end of 2019, according to ILO. ILO’s latest report analyzes data from the World Bank, which estimates a 7.2% drop in the region’s economic growth – leading to an 12.3% unemployment rate. The ILO also analyzed the latest numbers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which estimates an economic contraction of 9.4%, resulting in a 13% unemployment rate. “In absolute numbers, these rates imply an increase in the number of people who are looking for a job and do not get it; from 26 million before the pandemic to 41 million in 2020,” ILO specialists explained during a virtual news conference on Wednesday. ILO’s report says the majority of the workers in various economic sectors are now at a high risk of unemployment due to the pandemic. About 40% of people with a high risk of unemployment work in high-risk economic sectors such as hospitality, food service, small businesses, and manual labor, another 17% are in the medium to high-risk sectors, and only 20% of the labor force is engaged in low-risk economic activities such as those in government, education and health jobs.
CDC forecast projects nearly 148,000 US coronavirus deaths by July 25
From CNN's Arman Azad
An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects nearly 148,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by July 25. This week’s national forecast relies on 24 individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 147,865 deaths by July 25, with a possible range of about 139,000 to 161,000 deaths. “The state-level ensemble forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths over the next four weeks in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming will likely exceed the number reported over the last four weeks,” the CDC says on its forecasting website. “For other states, the number of new deaths is expected to be similar to the number seen in the previous four weeks or to decrease slightly," the forecast adds. Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections for the next month. The previous ensemble forecast, published last Wednesday, projected about 139,000 coronavirus deaths by July 18. According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, at least 128,574 people have died in the US from coronavirus so far.
Peru's coronavirus death toll surpasses 10,000
From CNN's Claudia Rebaza, Radina Gigova and CNN's Jimena De la Quintana
Peru's health ministry reported 185 new Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the country’s total to at least 10,045. The ministry also reported 3,527 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the nationwide total to at least 292,004. However, the ministry said that Thursday marks the sixth consecutive day when the number of people who have been discharged from hospitals is higher than the number of new cases. During the six-day period, a total of 22,291 people were discharged, the ministry said. "Peru today recorded one of its best dates in the fight against the pandemic," the ministry said in a statement. "This data confirms that although the spread of the new coronavirus continues, it is becoming smaller on a smaller scale" due to the efforts by authorities. The ministry said the trend indicates the measures adopted by the government to stop the spread of the virus are beginning to show a positive impact in controlling the pandemic. "However, this decrease will be marked if all Peruvians assume self-care and protection behaviors, using the mask, respecting the physical distance of at least one meter and washing our hands constantly," the ministry added. Peru's Medical College reported on Thursday that at least 70 doctors have died from the virus in the country and 2,062 have been infected.
Miami mayor "extremely concerned" about Covid-19 spread over Fourth of July weekend
Miami, Florida, Mayor Francis Suarez said he is "extremely concerned" about the spread of coronavirus during the Fourth of July weekend if people don't take precautions. Suarez said the city has seen cases spike after big weekends like Memorial Day and high school and college graduations. He said the city is taking measures to prevent that from happening again. "We've canceled Fourth of July shows so people aren't tempted to congregate. Beaches are closed. We're going to be enforcing. We're hoping that enforcement prevents people from congregating and requires people to wear the masks that we know will protect them," he told CNN on Thursday. Suarez added that contact tracers have also found that the virus has been spreading from house parties. He said he agreed with Dr. Deborah Birx's recommendation earlier today that all Florida residents who attended mass gatherings get tested – even if they don't have symptoms. "I absolutely would urge them to do that. I think what happens oftentimes is we're seeing a lot, anecdotally, of one person getting sick and then the entire household gets sick," he said. "I absolutely think that's a very wise decision for everyone to get tested," he added.
University of Alabama says it knew about "Covid party" rumors for weeks
From CNN's Jamiel Lynch
The University of Alabama is responding to reports of so-called "Covid parties," saying it has been aware of the rumors "for weeks." The university said it has conducted an investigation, but it was not able to identify any students who may have participated, according to a statement. "Our students want a return to on-campus instruction and the extracurricular opportunities they enjoy, and we fully expect them to safeguard their personal health and safety and that of everyone at the university and in our city," the statement said. The university added it is committed to the safety and well-being of the community and will enforce rules about on-campus activities "stringently" as well as follow up on any more information they receive.
"It is essential that students cooperate and comply with these guidelines to allow for the safe return and continued operations of our campus," the university said. The statement said the university plans to test all students before they return to campus. Some background: Tuscaloosa City Council member Sonya McKinstry said at a meeting Tuesday that Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed with local doctors that young people in the city are throwing parties with a payout if they catch coronavirus. McKinstry said that tickets are sold to the party – and people that are Covid positive are invited. The goal is to be the first person to be confirmed by a doctor to have coronavirus, and you win the money made off the ticket sales. McKinstry says that there have been several parties in the city and surrounding area over the last three weeks, and probably more they don’t know about.
Covid-19 case average doubles in San Francisco
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
The average number of new coronavirus cases in San Francisco has doubled, according to the health department. Comparing averages from June 13 to June 27, the average daily count of new cases has gone from 24 to 54. Similarly, hospitalizations in San Francisco have increased by more than 50%. Included in that rise are 18 patients transferred from San Quentin State Prison, and Fresno and Imperial counties. “We are on high alert, and we know that when the virus takes off, it moves very fast,” Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's director of health, said Thursday. “We continue to follow the science data and facts as we guide the public to safer interactions. The most important thing that San Franciscans can do to slow the spread of the virus is to take health and safety precautions, including staying home if sick and getting tested even if they have even one symptom of Covid.” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she has paused the city’s plans to reopen further, which was originally slated for June 29.
Records show 11-year-old boy is the youngest to die from Covid-19 in Florida
From CNN's Denise Royal
An 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County is the youngest person to die from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health. According to the latest health records, he is the third minor in Florida to die of complications from the virus. The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County. Records show the 11-year-old fatality is not a travel-related case but it's unclear if the child recently had close contact with anyone who had Covid-19.
The latest numbers: As of last Friday, about 7,000 young people in Florida have tested positive for novel coronavirus.
Vice President Pence was asked about next month's GOP convention in Florida. Here's what he said.
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Vice President Mike Pence said he’s heard “very sophisticated plans” to make sure the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida is a “safe and healthy environment” when it convenes late next month. Speaking at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida on Thursday, Pence was asked if people in vulnerable populations should stay home and skip the RNC. He didn’t directly answer yes or no. “We’re excited about coming to Jacksonville,” Pence said, “and I was in a meeting not long ago when I heard about some very sophisticated plans to make sure it’s a safe and healthy environment.” “Our job right now is to do everything in our power to support the efforts of your governor and the people of Florida to bring these numbers down, and I believe we can,” Pence added.
Some context: The Florida Department of Health is reporting at least 10,109 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the state total to approximately 169,106, according to data released by the state. Thursday's data marks a new record daily high of infections in Florida since the start of the pandemic. Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health for the US Department of Health and Human Services, told the House Select Committee on Coronavirus that “four states are counting for about 50% of our new cases, and they're very concerning to all in public health.” Those states are California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida – who all posted record new cases this week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Pools in New York to open Fourth of July weekend, governor says
From CNN's Sheena Jones
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced pools across the state can open this Fourth of July weekend with some restrictions, according to a statement. Pool capacity will be limited to 50% and the governor encourages pool-goers to practice social distancing and to respect the rules, the statement said. "As we are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, we must remember all the sacrifices New Yorkers have made to flatten the curve of the pandemic and be cautious in everything we do," Cuomo said. "The virus does not take a holiday, and so I urge New Yorkers who are visiting swimming pools to follow all the social distancing guidelines in effect to protect themselves and each other," he added. Cuomo said swimmers should wear a mask if they are not in a pool and cannot socially distance. Visitors will also be asked to sign-in with contact information to make potential contact tracing easier, capacity will be limited to 50% and there can't be more than 10 people in a group, the statement said.
Arkansas sees the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases
From CNN’s Janine Mack
Arkansas is reporting 878 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, Dr. Nate Smith, the state's Department of Health secretary, said during a news conference on Thursday. That’s the most Covid-19 cases the state has reported in a single day since the pandemic began, Smith said.
What the numbers look like: At least 22,075 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state and at least 279 people have died from the virus, the health department said.
Texas governor orders most residents to wear masks in public
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday mandating face coverings in public places "in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with a few exceptions," according to a statement. This order will currently impact about 67% of Texas counties, according to state data. The text of the executive order says that failing to comply is punishable by a fine. The statement also said Abbott issued another proclamation that gives mayors and county judges the ability to restrict some outdoor gatherings with more than 10 people. The proclamation also mandates "people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others." "Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in the statement. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face-covering in public spaces." "I urge all Texans to wear a face-covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans," the statement added.
The latest numbers: Texas reported at least 8,076 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, the state's highest number of cases in a single day.
Houston mayor asks people to take additional steps to "blunt the progression" of Covid-19
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked the community to take several steps to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus during a news conference Thursday. Turner asked that people follow the recommendations for the next three weeks — including wearing masks whenever people are around, not just in businesses, ensuring social distancing in the workplace or working from home, and reducing business occupancy from 50% to 25% — to help "blunt the progression" of coronavirus in Houston. These recommendations come as the city has reached a 25% positivity rate, Houston Health Department Health Authority Dr. David Persse said. "The virus is very prevalent in the community," Persse said, adding that there are more than 1,200 people in Houston hospitals with more than 500 of them in intensive care due to complications from coronavirus. "The virus is very much out there," Persse said. "It's very much actively spreading." Turner also asked that people reduce social gatherings to no more than 10 people ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The mayor has also asked faith communities to resume virtual services in place of in-person services to help mitigate the spread of the virus. The city is producing a virtual Fourth of July show, Turner said. Turner's request came the same day that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mandated masks in public spaces statewide for counties with 20 or more positive cases. Abbott also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on outdoor gathering of over 10 people.
Top US health official urges Floridians who have been to mass gatherings to get tested
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
The White House coronavirus coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, urged all Floridians who had been to mass gatherings in the last four weeks to get tested for coronavirus even if they don’t exhibit symptoms, citing the rate of asymptomatic spread in the state. “To every Floridian, we know what works. In addition to the hand washing and the social distancing, wearing masks and not having large gatherings inside, not having large gatherings outside. But if you’ve participated in a large gathering in the last four weeks, we ask all of you to come forward and be tested, because of the level of asymptomatic spread,” Birx said during a news conference in Florida on Thursday. She also emphasized the importance of wearing masks and staying away from people with other health conditions. “So we’re asking for everyone under 40 that if you were in a gathering, please go and get tested," Birx said.
Orange County closing all county-operated beaches for July 4 weekend
From CNN’s Topher Gauk-Roger
All county-operated beaches in Orange County will be closed for the entire holiday weekend of July 4 and 5, the county's executive officer, Frank Kim, told CNN, joining other Southern California counties in the closing of their shores to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Kim explained that Orange County cities are managing their local beaches, but all are closed on July 4 with the exception of San Clemente, which has yet to make a final determination. The county closure comes after the cities of Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Laguna Beach all announced plans to close their beaches during the holiday weekend, and follows beach closures in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Access to state beaches will also be restricted for the upcoming holiday weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a news conference this week. The beaches themselves will not be closed, but rather parking lots and facilities will be. This applies to state beaches from Sonoma County down to Southern California, Newsom said.
Here are the beaches that are closing for the holiday weekend:
Salt Creek Beach
Camel Point Beach
Table Rock Beach
Thousand Steps Beach
Treasure Island Beach
West Street Beach
Georgia governor urges people to wear masks and practice social distancing
From CNN’s Maria Cartaya
Gov. Brian Kemp asked people in his state “to do the right thing" when it comes to practicing social distancing, using good hand sanitation, and wearing a mask. “(It's) not that hard to do,” said Kemp, speaking from Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Georgia. “Even on the beach do that as well (follow guidelines). We’re not going to be the nanny state. We want people to enjoy themselves, we just want them to do that in a safe way so we can continue to enjoy and have a profitable rest of the summer for the Golden Isles,” Kemp said. Asked about Savannah’s mask mandate, Kemp said, “From a legal perspective, I really haven’t had time to look at that.” “The mayor and I agree on the policy. You should be wearing your mask," he added.
California will withhold funds from people who don't comply with health orders, governor says
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
Enforcement of health orders is contingent on local authorities, but California’s governor is again threatening to withhold funding from those who do not comply. Part of California’s new budget included a trailer bill, which allows the dissemination of funds based on contingent behavior, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. He is referring to the distribution of $2.1 billion, which includes the CARES Act and realignment dollars. The enforcement directive applies to everyone in the state, not just to businesses. Yet companies seem to be the focus of intervention, with Newsom noting that the state sent out 350,00 letters to businesses on Wednesday specifically laying out expectations and good business behaviors to protect employees and customers. The governor said he supports the idea of issuing citations if necessary but stresses that education and encouragement to follow the directives should come first.
Vice President Pence: The US "will flatten the curve"
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Vice President Mike Pence, on a swing of states with sharp rises in Covid-19 cases, has been changing his tone on the virus, declaring in Arizona and Florida that the country “will flatten the curve.” In recent remarks, Pence has said the curve has already been flattened. “We will slow the spread,” Pence said, alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Dr. Deborah Birx on Thursday. “We will flatten the curve. And we will save lives and we will bring Florida’s economy back bigger and better than ever before.” He made a similar statement in Arizona on Wednesday. As recently as two weeks ago, Pence said he was “proud to report” that “we slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We cared for the most vulnerable, and we saved lives,” in remarks at a steel plant in Michigan. Even at the time, that was false. Case counts were on the increase or flat in most states, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins which tracks cases across the US. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Pence said the federal government is “considering” and will be “processing in very short order” a request for additional medical personnel to deal with coronavirus cases in Florida. But Pence still stressed the need to “keep opening back up our economy,” even as cases surge nationwide. “Even in these challenging times,” Pence said, “we’re continuing to see America’s economy coming back, Americans going back to work.” He also thanked the DeSantis for his “efforts to open up Florida again,” before touting jobs numbers.
More than 34,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the US today
There have been at least 2,721,961 cases of coronavirus in the US since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and at least 128,496 people have died. Johns Hopkins reported at least 34,634 new cases and 419 deaths on Thursday. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
New Jersey extends a public health emergency for another 30 days
From CNN's Melanie Schuman and Elizabeth Hartfield
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order extending the public health emergency in the state. The extension does not impact the state’s reopening, which is continuing to move ahead. The health emergency was first declared in the state on March 9. “What today’s action means is we will have the authority to remain vigilant and prepared to act should there be another outbreak,” Murphy said during his daily briefing Thursday. Each extension expires after 30 days unless renewed.