Here's how to safely enjoy fireworks tonight
From CNN's Alaa Elassar
Fireworks are arguably the best part of the Fourth of July. But this year, as coronavirus cases spike in areas across the US, gathering at the park or the beach to watch spectacular shows is more dangerous than usual.
Here's how to enjoy some holiday fireworks safely:
Staying home and lighting your own fireworks if you live in a state where that is allowed and you have the space to do it is the best idea.
If you'd rather go to the park or beach to watch them, wear a mask when you are near people.
Always maintain social distancing, and avoid going if it is too crowded to do so.
Bring your own chairs or blankets, and wash your hands if you touch any kind of shared surfaces.
While this year might look a little different than usual, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the holiday weekend with friends and family. Just stay safe — not just for you, but for everyone around you.
Just one state is seeing a decrease in coronavirus cases
Vermont is the only US state reporting a decrease in new coronavirus cases in the past week compared to the week before. Week-to-week cases are steady in another 12 states, and 37 are reporting increasing cases.
President Trump signs extension for small business loan program
From CNN's Sarah Westwood
President Trump this morning signed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program into law, according to the White House. The House unanimously passed the extension less than a day after the program shuttered, and PPP will now remain open to applications through August 8.
About the program: Congress created the program to help small businesses keep employees on their payrolls amid nationwide closures. The program was designed to offer small business loans to bridge the shutdowns and help businesses keep employees in their jobs — and in turn, the loans taken out would be forgiven, essentially shifting into a grant. More than 4.8 million small business owners have utilized the program, which was designed as a bridge for companies to maintain their payrolls through the worst of the pandemic.
How to stay safe at the pool or beach this holiday weekend
From CNN's Alaa Elassar
It's July Fourth and the summer heat can be brutal. What's better than splaying out on the beach or cannonballing into the pool? Since the risk of coronavirus infection is thought to be lower outside, where wind can blow the virus away, you can have fun without fear — as long as you observe social distancing measures.
Here are some tips for enjoying the water this holiday weekend:
Before heading out, it's a good idea to find out if the pool or beach you're going to is enforcing safety protocols, like social distancing rules or restricting the number of people who have access at one time. If you find that the beach or pool is too crowded to always maintain at least 6 feet from others, it might be safer to save the trip for another day.
Bring your own disinfectant wipes to clean shared chairs or pool toys and wear a face mask when you're not in the water.
Whether you're in or out of the water, keep your distance from other people. Don't swim close enough to other people that you'll come in contact with their spit or breath.
Don't blow your nose or spit in the pool or near another person. If you can, exit the water and use a tissue to cough or sneeze, then wash your hands.
Japan reports more than 200 daily coronavirus cases for the first time in two months
From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo
Japan's Health Ministry reported at least 249 new coronavirus infections and one death today, marking the first time the country is reporting more than 200 cases since May 3. This brought the national total to at least 19,994 — including 19,282 on land and 712 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — and brought the death toll to at least 990, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike urged residents Saturday to refrain from making unnecessary trips outside of Tokyo in order to contain the spread of the virus.
It's the Fourth of July. Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic.
Americans are marking the Fourth of July today — but government officials health experts are urging people to stay home for the holiday weekend.
Here's what we know about the pandemic as the US celebrates:
Summer festivities on pause: As Covid-19 cases surge, beaches in Miami and Los Angeles are closed and tubing in Texas rivers has been banned. Some July Fourth celebrations in cities across the US are happening mostly on live streams.
No social distancing at the Trump event: President Trump spoke at a holiday event at Mount Rushmore last night. Attendees clustered together in stadium seating for hours before Trump arrived, and people at the top of the amphitheater sat in rows of folding chairs that were tied together with zip ties — preventing any social distancing.
Many states require masks: Mask mandates for Texas and Kansas went into effect Friday, which means 19 states and Washington, DC, now have such requirements.
Where cases are increasing: As of this morning, coronavirus cases are rising in 37 states. California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida all posted record numbers of new infections this week. Here's a look at where cases are increasing across the US:
Lockdown ordered for 200,000 in northeastern Spain due to Covid-19 outbreaks
From CNN's Al Goodman in Madrid and Tim Lister in London
Authorities ordered a new lockdown Saturday for some 200,000 people in Lleida province, in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, due to Covid-19 outbreaks there -- the first confinement order since the nation’s state of emergency was lifted on June 21. “We’ve decided to implement perimeter controls around Segrià (county) in response to data that confirms significant growth in the number of Covid-19 cases,” Catalan regional president Quim Torra announced at a press conference. The confinement started at midday Saturday and includes the provincial capital of Lleida. It will be enforced by 24 police checkpoints around the county’s perimeter, preventing movement in and out, except for work or to care for people with special needs, two Catalan government spokesmen told CNN. For the past few weeks, medical personnel have been trying to control various coronavirus outbreaks in the county, involving seasonal farmworkers at agricultural enterprises, and also at a senior care facility and a small hotel that cares for the homeless. Spain has tallied more than 28,000 deaths and 250,000 cases from the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe. But nationwide confinement for three-and-a-half months slowed the pace of the virus' spread. The Spanish government handed back control to Spain’s 17 regional governments when it lifted the state of emergency on June 21. Since then, officials have reported some 50 outbreaks of new cases nationwide, localized around businesses, care facilities, and even parties. But none has reached the level of the Segrià county situation. Residents will be able to move around within the county for essential business, but social gatherings in public will be limited to 10 people, the Catalan government said.
A 24-year-old Covid-19 survivor is celebrating a different kind of independence this July Fourth
From CNN's Dakin Andone
On Saturday, as people across the United States celebrate America's independence, Shakell Avery will celebrate a different kind of freedom. Freedom from Covid-19. "It feels amazing," Avery told CNN. "After knowing what all I've been through, it's still kind of hard to wrap my mind around. But I'm very thankful and grateful that I'm still here." Avery, who turns 24 on July 4, recently returned home after spending 76 days in a Kansas hospital -- many of them sedated and on a ventilator -- battling the novel coronavirus. "I'm going to be at home, safe and sound with my family," said Avery, a barber from Kansas City, Missouri, when asked how he would celebrate his birthday and Independence Day. "There will be plenty of other birthdays, I'm sure, down the line where I can make up for this one." For now, Avery is focused on sharing his journey with other people his age and warning them to take the coronavirus seriously, as cases in the US rise among young people. "You're just as at risk as anybody else," Avery said. "You can be the healthiest person on Earth, and you still risk your life every time you carelessly go out here and act like it's not real."
Tokyo governor urges residents to stay in the city as Japan cases spike
From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki
Japan recorded 249 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the Health Ministry said Saturday, marking the first time in just over two months that the total has surpassed 200. Cases in the capital, Tokyo, made up half of the new infections confirmed Friday. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike urged residents Saturday to refrain from making unnecessary trips outside of Tokyo in order to limit the spread of the virus. There was also one death confirmed Friday, the health ministry said. This brings the total number of cases nationally to 19,994 (19,282 on land and 712 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship) and the death toll to 990, of which 13 were on the cruise ship.
England has one of the world's worst Covid death rates. Now many fear it may drink itself into chaos
From CNN's Joe Minihane
The thought of a pint of beer in a proper pub is a dream that has sustained many people in the UK through the tough months of coronavirus lockdown, but as the doors to drinking establishments finally reopen -- in England at least -- on Saturday, a potential nightmare looms. Just over a week after thousands of British people flouted social-distancing rules to crowd beaches in a heatwave, it's feared the heady mix of alcohol and a sense of liberation from restrictions, at a time when daily infections are still in the hundreds, could prove disastrous. Extra police have been put on standby, warnings have been issued by the government, and numerous guidelines put in place. But concerns still remain that, no matter how committed people are to keeping coronavirus at bay, after a few drinks that will all go out of the window. In the days before July 4, English drinkers could be forgiven for looking ahead to a day of carefree celebration. Amid announcements of several new freedoms, newspapers called it "Independence Day" or "Super Saturday" while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was a "patriotic duty" to go to the pub. Of course, going to the pub isn't going to be the same breezy experience as it was before the pandemic. As with everything in this brave new world, there are rules. Forty-six pages of them, to be precise. Those inevitably mean confusion, and potential for further chaos.
Hospitals in two Texas counties reach capacity; judges urge residents to avoid gatherings
From CNN's Alta Spells
Hospitals in at least two Texas counties are at full capacity heading into July 4, according to county judges who are urging residents to shelter-in-place and take precautions. Judges in both Starr and Hidalgo counties sent out emergency alerts Friday, warning residents that local hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at capacity. In Starr County, Judge Eloy Vera said there had been 18 deaths in the county due to Covid-19 and that two severely ill patients had to be flown out of the area for treatment. One of the patients was taken to San Antonio and the other to Dallas, the judge said in a post on Facebook. "The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available. I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and AVOID GATHERINGS." Vera issued a public safety alert announcing a "Level 1 Severe" threat, due to the virus spreading rapidly across the county. In neighboring Hidalgo County, Judge Richard Cortez echoed the warning. In a public safety alert posted on Twitter, he announced that hospitals were at capacity and asked residents to shelter-in-place, avoid large gatherings, wear face coverings, and practice social distancing. Cortez called on residents to celebrate July 4 "responsibly," adding that to conserve resources, they should only call 911 "if absolutely necessary."
Russia's Covid-19 death toll passes 10,000
From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow and Zahid Mahmood in London
Russia’s official death toll from Covid-19 has now reached 10,027 -- with 168 deaths recorded in the past day, according to Health Ministry figures published on Saturday. In a 24-hour period, 6,632 new cases of Covid-19 were detected in 84 regions, of which 1,960 cases did not show any symptoms of the disease, a statement said. This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 674,515, the third-highest in the world after the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University. The latest figures come as people gather in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park on Saturday to protest against the constitutional amendments that pave the way for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036.
The UK is reopening for business. London may never be the same
From Hanna Ziady, CNN Business
London has seen more than its share of crises. The 2,000-year-old metropolis has endured an influenza pandemic, the Blitz, and several financial meltdowns over just the past century. Time and again, London has come roaring back, relying on a spirit of resilience and reinvention that is being summoned once more as the British capital seeks to recover from what may be this century's greatest upheaval: the coronavirus pandemic. The spread of the virus and efforts to contain it turned one of the world's liveliest urban meccas into a virtual ghost town, driving millions of people out of the city's center and its financial district, and bringing commerce to a sudden halt. Nowhere was the standstill captured more acutely than in the mainstay of London city life: the Tube. Underground journeys for the month of March tumbled 43% from the 106 million recorded in February, and plunged even further in April, during the height of lockdown, to just 5.7 million. Social distancing rules mean the Tube can only handle up to 15% of its normal traffic, according to London's mayor, Sadiq Khan. The fallout from lockdown has been severe. London's economy is expected to contract nearly 17% this year, according to figures from the city government, a sharper drop than the 14% decline the Bank of England expects for the United Kingdom as a whole. Companies in London are expected to shed some 460,000 jobs, or about 7% of the workforce, with manufacturing, construction, retail, and accommodation and food services the hardest hit. Employment is not expected to fully recover until 2022. With transportation severely constrained, and a potential coronavirus vaccine still many months away, the people and companies that have made London into a hub for real estate, finance, the arts, hospitality, and technology are desperately trying to reinvent themselves in hopes of surviving the pandemic. One sign of progress: pubs, restaurants, and hair salons can reopen on Saturday, provided they follow social distancing guidelines.
3,000 residents in public housing blocks now under "hard lockdown" in the Australian city of Melbourne
From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney, Australia
About 3,000 people in nine public housing towers in the Australian city of Melbourne are now confined to their homes due to Covid-19 outbreaks, Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews said Saturday. The “hard lockdown” is effective immediately and will continue for at least five days, he said. Every resident will be tested for the coronavirus. Police will monitor the buildings, and no one will be allowed in or out, Andrews said. This is the first time that such an order has been issued in Australia since the pandemic began. “We at no point underestimate how challenging this will be for vulnerable people in public housing towers,” Andrews said. It will be a “massive logistical task to make sure people are fed and given the support that they need.” Two postcodes have been added to 10 areas of Melbourne already subject to a softer stay-at-home order. The hundreds of thousands of people in those 12 areas are allowed to leave their homes for “shopping for food supplies, care and care-giving, exercise, study or work if it can’t be done from home,” Andrews said. “You are on the frontline on the fight against this virus, we are proud of you and we understand you need support,” he added, addressing people under lockdown. “Your sacrifice is central to the safety of every Victorian family – you have our gratitude.” A total of 108 new Covid-19 cases were detected in Victoria on Friday -- the state's worst day since March 21 and second-worst since the pandemic began. As of Saturday, Australia has recorded 8,261 coronavirus cases and 104 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
More than 1,400 Georgia healthcare workers sign letter asking the governor for more restrictions
From CNN's Hollie Silverman, Susannah Cullinane and Steve Almasy
More than 1,400 Georgia healthcare workers have petitioned the state's governor asking that he impose further restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19. Georgia has seen the virus surge in the past week, with the number of new cases increasing by more than 50%. In a letter dated Thursday, the healthcare workers ask that Gov. Brian Kemp close bars and nightclubs and prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 25 people -- including at places of worship. The letter also recommends a statewide face-covering requirement and asks that the governor allow mayors and county officials to institute requirements appropriate for their jurisdictions.
16 fresh coronavirus cases linked to the gym in South Korean apartment building
From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul
South Korea reported 63 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, 36 of which were locally transmitted and 27 imported, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Of the new infections, 25 cases are linked to an apartment building in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, near Seoul. Sixteen of those have been connected to an indoor gym a resident visited. Another cluster recorded this week involves a temple in Gwangju, where about 60 cases have been reported. Gwangju is the sixth-largest city in South Korea, located in the southwest of the country. That brings the national total to 13,030 cases. About 11,800 people in the country have recovered from Covid-19 so far, while 936 remain in quarantine. There have been 283 deaths from the disease in South Korea, with one additional fatality Friday. Kwon Joon-wook, Deputy Director of the KCDC, said gene analysis was being conducted on the fresh clusters, the results of which will be released next week. “Mutated coronavirus has been detected in South Korea and an epidemic investigation team has been dispatched to Gwangju," he said. "It is concerning that the virus seems to be spreading faster than the past cases in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province."
India records its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases
From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi
India recorded 22,771 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Saturday -- the country's highest daily increase since the pandemic began. The total number of confirmed cases in India is now at 648,315, with 18,655 deaths. More than 394,200 people have recovered from the illness, with 235,433 active cases remaining. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, more than 9 million tests have been conducted in the country, with 242,383 tests conducted Friday alone.
As US cases rise, here are tips from afar on how to keep coronavirus in check this holiday weekend
From CNN's Angela Dewan in London
Fireworks, pool parties, and drinking at bars with friends — that's how many Americans would liked to be celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend. But many local leaders and health officials hope things will be a lot less festive this year. Just a couple of months ago, the coronavirus outbreak in the US was serious, but it wasn't such a different picture in Europe. Now, previously hard-hit European nations like Italy, the UK, France, and Spain have their outbreaks under control while the situation in the US remains grim. Despite lockdowns in many states, the US never really got a grip on the virus and now cases are rising faster than ever. On Thursday, the country reported more than 51,000 infections -- the highest number in a single day yet. There's a lot to learn from the impacted countries that managed to turn things around, as well as those that we're so quick and organized that they all but eradicated the virus. Florida, Texas, and Arizona have among the most dramatic spikes in infections, and much of the country has ordered shut the businesses they had reopened. But there is still hope the US can bounce back. Preventing more spikes this holiday weekend could be key to finding some relief later this summer and fall.
Three death row inmates at San Quentin die from coronavirus complications
From CNN's Nicole Chavez
At least three death row inmates at California's San Quentin State Prison had coronavirus and died, corrections officials say. Scott Thomas Erskine, 57, and Manuel Machado Alvarez, 59, died Friday from "what appear to be complications related to Covid-19," the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. Both men had been hospitalized outside the prison. An outbreak of the virus has overrun San Quentin since last month, with more than a third of incarcerated people there testing positive for Covid-19, according to CDCR data. Earlier this week, authorities confirmed that Richard Stitely, another death row inmate who was found unresponsive in his cell, had the virus. That was the first known death linked to coronavirus in the facility. A fourth death row inmate, Joseph Safarino Cordova, died Wednesday but it's unclear whether he tested positive for the virus. The deaths of 24 incarcerated people in state prisons have been linked to Covid-19, the CDCR said.
Trump uses Mount Rushmore address to rail against the removal of monuments
From CNN's Betsy Klein
US President Donald Trump on Friday made an impassioned appeal to his base while in the shadow of Mount Rushmore instead of striking a unifying tone, railing against what he called a "merciless campaign" by his political foes to erase history by removing monuments some say are symbols of racial oppression. "As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for," Trump warned. He continued, "Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children." The crowd booed loudly. He lambasted "far-left fascism" in media and schools and "cancel culture," which he called the "very definition of totalitarianism," and vowed to protect the monument under which he stood. "Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers, and to our freedom," he vowed as he stood at its base. There was no social distancing at the event despite record-high new coronavirus cases in the United States. And the pandemic once again made its way into the President's inner circle when news broke that Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend and top campaign official Kimberly Guilfoyle had tested positive for coronavirus upon arriving in South Dakota.
The United States is not ready to celebrate yet
From CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Back in the middle of May, I wrote an essay titled "If the United States were my patient," pondering what it would be like if the US were a flesh-and-blood person who had gotten sick with an ongoing infection. Seven weeks later, as we approach the patient's birthday -- July 4th -- I thought it would be a good time to check-in and see how the patient's doing. It turns out the answer is: not well at all. In fact, with daily infection rates breaking records on many days during the last couple of weeks, we are arguably worse off today than at any point in the pandemic. Consider: This week, 15 states saw their highest seven-day averages, and the country is seeing around 50,000 new cases a day. We have less than 5% of the global population, but about 25% of coronavirus cases and deaths. Several states, including Texas and Arizona, are on the verge of having recently infected patients overwhelm hospital capacity. As a doctor, I'm frustrated. I feel our patient's deterioration didn't have to happen and there were many unforced errors.
US reports more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for third straight day
From CNN's Faith Karimi, Ray Sanchez and Nicole Chavez
As Americans find some beaches closed and Fourth of July fireworks scarce, authorities fear the holiday weekend may worsen the already ravaging coronavirus pandemic. More than two months after the first peak affected just a handful of states, the virus is cresting again across the South and Southwest. The US reported Friday at least 51,842 new cases, marking the third day straight with a daily high of more than 50,000 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Those who have not given up celebrating America's independence outdoors are finding that beaches in Miami and Los Angeles have been closed, tubing in Texas rivers has been banned and city-sponsored celebrations will be live-streamed. California, Arizona, Texas and Florida all posted record new cases this week. Florida reported nearly 9,500 additional coronavirus cases on Friday, with Texas adding 7,555 after back-to-back days with about 8,000 a piece. Florida is averaging more new cases per day -- 7,870 -- than any other state, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. California and Texas trail close behind. The US now has a total of 2,793,435 coronavirus cases, as well as 129,434 related deaths.
Trump set for another massive event during a national pandemic
From CNN's Betsy Klein in Keystone, South Dakota
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday to celebrate an early Fourth of July at a gathering of about 7,500 people during the global coronavirus pandemic. No social distancing was planned for the event -- despite record-high new coronavirus cases in the country. And the event is taking place amid environmental concerns over the use of fireworks in the dry land and as the US engages in a reckoning over its own monuments and racist history. "We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we'll be giving out free face masks if they choose to wear one. But we won't be social distancing," Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said during a Monday appearance on Fox News. There may be health screening for ticketed guests in one area, according to recreation.gov. A recording on the park's main telephone line Monday said: "There are no social distancing requirements in place at this time." The 7,500 tickets for Friday's event are lower than the typical visitor flow during the busy summer season. On normal days, up to 32,000 visitors come to Mount Rushmore during a 10-hour period. The park never closed during the pandemic, but visitation has been down to about 20,000 people, said Maureen McGee-Ballinger, Mount Rushmore's chief of interpretation and education. Coronavirus cases in South Dakota remain stable, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with 6,893 confirmed cases and 97 deaths as of Thursday. But it remains to be seen how many attendees will travel from other states, 36 of which are experiencing a rise in new cases.
Restaurants and bars open in Rio, but experts warn worst is yet to come
From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso, Marcia Reverdosa and Shasta Darlington
A chilly wind ruffled tablecloths at the open-air restaurants along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. But it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of Pedro Assy as he prepared to open his simple eatery for the first time in more than three months. "My crew and I are excited to be back to work," he told CNN. "It will be different, with all the precautionary measures we have to take, distances of tables, the number of people sitting together, but it feels good to be working again." Assy said he barely avoided bankruptcy, laying off four of his 11 employees and freezing or reducing the salaries of the remaining seven when Rio de Janeiro ordered all but essential businesses closed in March, in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19. "Another month like this, and I would have to close completely," he said. "Today I am more afraid of staying at home and not working than of the coronavirus." Like many cities in Brazil, under pressure from growing unemployment and a tanking economy, Rio de Janeiro is relaxing restrictions -- despite warnings from experts that the city has so far failed to bring Covid-19 under control.
Kimberly Guilfoyle -- Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend and top Trump campaign official -- tests positive for coronavirus
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond and Jim Acosta
Kimberly Guilfoyle - the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign - has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a top official for the committee she leads. "After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure," said Sergio Gor, chief of staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee. "She's doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she's asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events. Donald Trump Jr. was tested negative, but as a precaution is also self-isolating and is canceling all public events." Guilfoyle tested positive in South Dakota before she was due to attend President Donald Trump's event at Mount Rushmore, a person familiar with the matter and a campaign source familiar with the matter said. Guilfoyle was not with the President, the person familiar with the matter said. That source said Guilfoyle had no recent contact with the President, but she was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was backstage for his rally there -- and was also at his event in Phoenix.