Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous reports from June 30 to July 3, listed in eastern time.
The MLB has cancelled the annual All-Star Game for the first time since 1945 due to COVID-19. The game was originally scheduled to be held July 14 at Dodger Stadium but was officially called off on Friday. It has been 40 years since Dodger Stadium hosted an All-Star game and will now have to wait two more years. In 1945, travel restrictions due to World War II caused the game to be called off, according to The Associated Press. Dodger Stadium has been awarded the 2022 Mid-Summer Classic. The pandemic has caused opening day to be moved from March 26 to July 23. The Dodgers were awarded the All-Star Game in 2018 and estimated an economic impact of $89.4 million from hosting the game.
Global coronavirus cases reached 11 million on Friday evening, more than six months after the first reported cases in Wuhan, China, according to Johns Hopkins University. The milestone marks double the number of cases for severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly a quarter of the known global deaths have occurred in the United States at over 129,000 deaths. On Thursday, the nation reported more than 55,400 new cases- a new daily global record, Reuters reported. Some countries have been experiencing a second wave of infections, driving some communities back into lockdown.
Graffiti urging people to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak in the region is shown on a wall in Gallup, N.M., Thursday, May 7, 2020. The original lockdown came as a suprise to many Navajo Nation residents who depend on Gallup for supplies they can’t access. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham renewed the lockdown order amid concerns about the rapid transmission of COVID-19 in the area. Gallup and surrounding McKinley County are one of the worst rural hot spots for coronavirus infections in the U.S. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
The coronavirus may have mutated in a way that could help the pathogen spread more easily, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci announced Thursday. It’s normal for viruses to mutate, and scientists have previously seen minor mutations in this strain of the coronavirus, but not ones that impacted its ability to spread in a significant way, according to CNBC News. Scientists are researching to confirm the possible mutations as well as what that might mean going forward, Fauci said. Earlier on Thursday, investigators at Los Alamos National Library reported on the mutation in an article published by the journal Cell. Virologists at Scripps Research in Florida also mentioned a mutation that “enhances viral transmission.” “The data is showing there’s a single mutation that makes the virus be able to replicate better and maybe have high viral loads,” Fauci said told The Journal of the American Medical Association. “We don’t have a connection to whether an individual does worse with this or not; it just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible.”
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Friday that the U.S. needs people to follow social distancing guidelines, and strict lockdown measures will do nothing if people are not able to abide by the CDC recommendations. As an example, he cited California, which has some of the strictest lockdown measures but is still seeing cases climb. “What I am saying to people is that in some sense it doesn’t matter when you reopen if people don’t follow the measures that we recommended all along when you reopen,” Adams told Fox News. He also reminded of the importance of keeping six feet apart and wearing face coverings.
Lucy Blaylock has been in the business of sewing blankets for kids in need for three years. In that time, the 11-year-old has made 500 blankets for kids in 14 countries all over the world and across the United States, according to ABC News. Now, she has shifted gears to sewing masks. Blaylock has donated 1,100 since March and even completed an order for the Ronald McDonald House. “Kindness does matter, it always will,” Lucy said. “It makes the world a better place when we do kind acts. It may get hard sometimes, but what we are doing is making a difference.”
Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, America’s Doctor took to Twitter to remind people to protect themselves and their loved ones and slow the spread of the coronavirus. “Now we must continue to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in a video posted on Twitter. “Because even though not all of us risk a severe case of coronavirus, we all risk getting it and spreading it to others, maybe even without realizing that we’re sick.” Adams lists cautionary steps to take in order to get back to a place where people can continue to go to school, go to worship and back to overall health, including:
Follow state and local guidelines
Take extra precautions if at higher risk
Wash hands frequently
Stay 6 feet from others when possible
Wear a face covering
Dallas County, Texas, has hit a grim milestone of 1,085 new cases of COVID-19 in one day, surpassing 1,000 cases in one day for the first time ever in the county. Additionally, the county has reported six new deaths. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the average number of daily cases jumped from 451 last week to 680 this week. This week also marks the deadliest week yet for the county, with 46 new deaths reported. A press release stated that a growing number of the new cases comes from individuals between 18 and 39 years old. From June 1, half of the newly reported cases have been in this age category. Jenkins asked that individuals do not celebrate Independence Day with groups of friends or extended family in an effort to combat the growing spread of the virus. “It is imperative that we do not repeat the spike in cases we saw after Easter/Passover and Memorial Day,” Jenkins said. “Please celebrate the 4th of July with your household only, meaning those you are around and in close contact with daily.”
Pubs in the U.K. are reopening this weekend, but with adjustments. For the first time since March 20, pubs are permitted to open again as long as they meet COVID-19 safety requirements. Some pubs will require adjustments such as customers to register upon entering, creating distance between tables and enforce social distancing, according to The Associated Press. Since the shut down of pubs, there has been a threat for many of the 37,500 locations to close for good as many are small operations. The British government encourages everyone to follow the new restrictions but many are fearing the reopening could lead to a rise in cases as seen in the United States after reopening bars.
The National Football League may impose fines on players who do not follow virus protocols. The NFL Player Association held a conference call about the protocols the league has been considering. The chances of a season happening will depend greatly on how well testing and contact tracing is done. A player told ESPN that other players could be fined for conduct detrimental if they engage in reckless behavior on or off the field relating to the virus. This includes eating out in restaurants and using ride sharing services. The league is also making progress on face mask and face shield requirements, but players are pushing against face shields citing breathing concerns and vision problems. Other changes include most team meetings being conducted virtually, team facilities being open to essential staff only, all teams requiring emergency-response plans, and limited media access.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed an Executive Order requiring most Texans to wear a face covering in public spaces. All counties with over 20 positive COVD-19 cases in Texas will require everyone to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth in public spaces. In addition, Abbott issued a proclamation that gives mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people. Abbott said in a statement that, “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…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.”
Face coverings are a new mandatory item to add to your packing list after the Trump administration issued a guidance to airlines. The outline, issued by the Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, mandates that masks must be worn at all times, social distancing measures are to be employed on planes and in-person interactions should be minimized both in airports and on aircrafts. Some airlines, such as American Airlines and United Airlines, have recently lifted restrictions on flight capacity limits.
Travelers wear face masks while moving through the south security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport late Monday, June 22, 2020, in Denver during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A curfew has been issued for Miami-Dade County “until further notice.” Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez announced the curfew to help slow the spread of COVID-19 after Florida reported over 10,000 new cases in one day. The curfew will be in effect every night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., but it will not apply to essential workers, first responders, hospital workers, food deliver services and media. “This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Gimenez said in a statement. “I am also rolling back the reopening of entertainment facilities, such as movie theaters, arcades, casinos, adult entertainment, concert houses, bowling alleys and other establishments that have recently had their plans approved by the County,” Gimenez said. “We can only tamp down the virus if everyone takes personal responsibility and follows the rules.”
After years of teasing its users with an edit button, Twitter seemed to suggest on Thursday morning that it would give tweeters the long-awaited feature in exchange for widespread mask wearing.
You can have an edit button when everyone wears a mask
— Twitter (@Twitter) July 2, 2020
More and more states are making mask wearing mandatory in public spaces, as Pennsylvania became the 11th state on Wednesday to adopt a universal mask mandate when outside the home.
A company based in Mexico City is now using drones to deliver personal protective equipment. Sincronia Logistica has been deploying drones to deliver equipment to local hospitals in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, Reuters reported. Diego Garcia, director of business excellence at Sincronia Logistica, said the service will reduce delivery time and human contact. “In a situation where you need medical materials supplied fast without risking the health of the people involved, drone delivery has become a comprehensive and sure-fire option,” Juana Angelica Garcia, director of the El Marques public hospital, said.
A Vanilla Ice concert scheduled for the Fourth of July weekend in Austin, Texas, was canceled due to the coronavirus. “Due to the increase in COVID-19 numbers in Austin, we’re gonna move the concert to a better date,” Vanilla Ice rapper Robert Matthew Van Winkle announced over Twitter on Thursday. “We were hoping for better coronavirus numbers by July, but unfortunately the numbers have increased quite a bit so for the safety and health of everyone we’re going to stay home.” Texas remains the state with the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases behind New York and California, according to Johns Hopkins University. “I didn’t know the numbers were so crazy in Austin, but we were hoping that it would be a lot better by Fourth of July because we booked this concert a long time ago,” Van Winkle said. “Happy Fourth of July and hopefully by New Years this corona crap will have a cure!” The next Vanilla Ice concert is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2020, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, though it is contingent upon government approval, according to the rapper’s website. Vanilla Ice is also scheduled to perform at a private event in Palm Beach, Florida, on New Year’s Eve.
Due to the increase in COVID-19 numbers in Austin we’re gonna move the concert to a better date. We were hoping for better Coronavirus numbers by July but Unfortunately the numbers have increased quite a bit so for the safety and health of everyone we’re going to stay home. pic.twitter.com/MWWfNWf3zd
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) July 2, 2020
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 10,889,434
Total deaths: 521,669
Total recoveries: 5,771,673
The Myrtle Beach City Council has approved a mandate requiring face masks to be worn in certain public places, which will go into effect Thursday, July 2, just before midnight. The order will stay in effect for 67 days through Labor Day, or until it is rescinded or the declaration of a civil emergency expires, according to WMBF News. People will be required to wear masks while inside retail establishments, food service establishments and “enclosed common areas” of places like hotels. Grocery stores are included in the category of retail establishments, along with convenience stores, pharmacies, hair salons, etc. Any person who violates the mandate could receive a fine of no more than $100, and any businesses where staff are repeatedly cited for not wearing masks could face having their business license suspended. Exemptions from the mandate include when someone is on the beach, when walking, participating in indoor or outdoor physical activity, when in an unenclosed area or food service establishment, while eating, etc.
As the NBA sets up to resume its season at Disney, league commissioner Adam Silver told TIME 100 that the sports association may have to tape-delay games in to avoid players’ bad language in empty arenas. “I think often players, they understand when they’re on the floor, they’re saying certain things to each other because it’s so loud in the arena, they know a lot of it is not being picked up,” Silver said. “They may have to adapt their language a little bit knowing what they will say will likely be picked up by microphones and in all seriousness, we may need to put a little bit of a delay.” Although some fans wouldn’t mind hearing the unfiltered games, the concern comes from protecting the brand image of companies that advertise during NBA games, according to CBS News. It is unknown if audio of strategies during the game will be left untouched.
As Major League Baseball prepares for a 60-game season, players are reporting back to their teams and fields. Ahead of workouts resuming on Friday and Saturday, players returned on Wednesday after receiving health checks and COVID-19 tests. The White Sox, for example, are splitting the team into two halves — one to work out in the morning and one in the evening, according to CBS News. They will also go through multiple temperature checks a day. “That’s going to be different to see and feel as a team,” Yoan Moncada, a player for the White Sox, said. “We’ll have to wait and see Friday how it goes.”
COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Ohio since Gov. Mike DeWine began reopening the state. The state has had 52,865 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,876 COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. DeWine had previously received bipartisan praise for leading his state through the start of the pandemic. The state’s former health director Dr. Amy Acton had also been praised. Appearing to be on the right track, DeWine began lifting stay-at-home orders on May 1, and the numbers remained flat, according to NBC News. But within the last two weeks there have been 9,779 new cases, jumping by 73% over the number for the last two weeks, according to NBC News. “I don’t think we reopened too soon, our numbers were very good,” Dr. Stephen Blatt, medical director for Infectious Disease at TriHealth Hospitals in Cincinnati, told NBC News. “The problem is that people are not wearing masks. You go out and everywhere you look they’re not wearing masks.” DeWine has yet to issue a statewide mandate for people to wear masks in public.
Despite social distancing, casinos are seeing a surge in business. Derek Stevens, who owns casinos in Las Vegas, said his businesses had higher sales this June than a year ago. Additionally, he said he would expect that other casinos are experiencing the same trend. “What’s really surprising is actually our slot numbers, our table numbers, are up, and in some areas up dramatically,” Stevens told CNBC. “The spend per person is up far more than what we would expect.” In Las Vegas, casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4, meaning they are doing better than last year with three days less to make revenue. According to Stevens, the beginning of the month saw a surge in sales due to a demand that was not able to be fulfilled during the locked down months. “The spend is there,” Stevens said. “We’re just doing everything we can to make sure people have a great experience where they can stay safe and have some fun.”
Former 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hospitalized and is receiving treatment for COVID-19. Cain tested positive for the virus on Monday, and by Wednesday he was admitted to an Atlanta-area hospital due to his worsening condition, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account. As of Thursday morning, he was awake and alert and did not require a respirator. “There is no way of knowing for sure how or where Mr. Cain contracted the coronavirus, but we do know he is a fighter who has beaten Stage 4 cancer,” the statement read. “Please join with us in praying for Mr. Cain, and for everyone who has contracted the coronavirus – as well as their families.”
Health officials in Wisconsin are urging people to stay at home this holiday weekend to avoid contracting COVID-19. “In order to help decrease the infection rate in our state, we need younger Wisconsinites to take more precautions like staying home, physical distancing and wearing cloth face coverings whenever possible,” said Andrea Palm, the Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Wisconsin is just one of many states across the U.S. that has experienced an uptick in new coronavirus cases over the past two weeks.
People that do elect to stay at home, or residents that live in a city or town where the annual firework display has been canceled, can enjoy Independence Day celebrations from home. PBS has clips of some firework shows from recent years in Washington, D.C. that people can watch from the comfort of their living room with patriotic music being played in the background. This is similar to playing a video of a yule log burning on your TV on Christmas Day for those that do not have a fireplace.
Gilead is under fire after saying it will charge $2,340 for remdesivir, a drug that shortens recovery time for those severely ill with COVID-19. Those covered by government health programs will pay $2,400 for the drug while those with private insurance are expected to pay $3,120. Gilead’s chief executive, Dan O’Day, told The Associated Press that he believed the drug has to be priced to ensure wide access rather than basing cost on value to patients and that they believe that, “we had to really deviate from the normal circumstances.” Many consumers are outraged by the price due to the amount taxpayers have invested into the drug’s development. On Monday, the government secured more than 500,000 additional courses that Gilead will produce starting in July in order to help hospitals through September. Gilead is also allowing 127 poor or middle-income countries to produce generic brand with two countries announcing they will be charging $600 per treatment. The drug is given through an IV and interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to copy genetic material. A study led by the U.S. government showed the drug shortened recovery time by 31% which reduces the average 15 day recovery time to 11 days.
The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Chicago White Sox at the Field of Dreams in Iowa amid the revised 60-game season MLB schedule. The game is to take place at the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Dyersville, Iowa, on Aug. 13. The game was originally scheduled to be played between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox before the schedule was revised due to COVID-19. The full schedule is expected to be announced as early as Monday, but reports have shown that the Cardinals can expect opening day at home on July 24 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.Fan are not expected to be in attendance for the opening series, but there are talks about opening to limited crowds in the future. Although the MLB has the “Field of Dreams” event on the current schedule, the league will ultimately adhere to local policies to determine if the game can still be played. Iowa was recently placed on New York’s COVID-19 advisory list with the state reporting nearly 30,000 cases and 717 deaths.
New York City is on track for students to return to the classroom when schools return to session in the fall. “We’re full steam ahead for September,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday said at a press conference. “The goal, of course, [is] to have the maximum number of kids in our schools as we begin schools.” When students do return to school, they will be required to wear a face coverings, New York Daily News reported. Schools will also be outfitted with hand-washing stations and will undergo deep cleanings. “We’re going to make it work the maximum with each school,” de Blasio said.
Florida has reported more COVID-19 cases in one day than Australia has reported throughout the entire pandemic. On Thursday, Florida reported over 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily total the state has had to date. New York is the only other state that has reported this many new COVID-19 cases in a single day when it counted 12,847 new infections on April 10, Reuters said. On the other side of the world, Australia has only reported 8,001 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.
As the number of cases continues to rise, Florida has started to take measures to try to curb the spread ahead of the holiday weekend. Bars and some beaches have been closed and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging people to avoid crowds and to wear a mask when in public. “Wherever you may be this July 4th, remember that #COVID19 is still present,” the DOH said on Twitter. “If you decide to celebrate, follow precautions to protect yourself and your community.“
People sit on Hollywood Beach during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Hollywood, Fla. In hard-hit South Florida, beaches from Palm Beach to Key West will be shut down for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
India has now surpassed 600,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.The past 24 hours has brought 19,148 new cases to the country which increased the total for the nation to over 604,000.Nearly 100,000 of those cases were reported in just the last four days. A majority of the cases are in Maharashtra state, Tamil Nadu state, and the capital territory of New Delhi, according to the AP. Businesses and industries have been reopening since lockdowns were eased in early June. More than 200,000 tests are being conducted every day in India and 8.8 million tests have been conducted so far, according to The Associated Press.
U.S. unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in June, but still at Great Depression levels. The Labor Department released June jobs numbers on Thursday and they show that the country added 4.8 million jobs last month, a mark that beat analysts’ expectations, according to CNBC, and helped bring down the national unemployment rate from 13.3% in May. The caveat with the latest figures is that they are coming at a time when more than half of U.S. states are experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases, and many state and local governments are pumping the brakes on the reopenings that helped fuel the job growth. As Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase, explained to The Associated Press, “This is a bit of a dated snapshot at this point.“
President Donald Trump appeared to change his stance on mask-wearing, saying on Wednesday in an interview with Fox News that he would have “no problem” wearing one. However, the president still doesn’t think a national mask mandate is necessary. “I don’t know if you need mandatory, because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks,” Trump told Fox Business’ Blake Burman.
Trump has faced criticism from other politicians for not wearing a mask in public. He told Fox News that he has worn masks in the past, but one of the reasons he doesn’t wear a mask more frequently is because everyone he meets with is tested for the virus. “If I’m in a group of people where we’re not, you know, 10 feet away, and — but, usually, I’m not in that position. And everyone’s tested. Because I’m the president, they get tested before they see me,” Trump said. “I mean, I would have no problem. Actually, I had a mask on. I sort of liked the way I looked, OK? I thought it was OK.” It was a dark, black mask, and I thought it looked OK. Looked like the Lone Ranger. But, no, I have no problem with that. I think — and if people feel good about it, they should do it.”
Vanilla Ice going ahead, no holds barred, with Fourth of July weekend performance in Texas. The 1990s pop star is set to deliver a performance in Austin that is expected to draw thousands of spectators. The city is smack in the middle of a coronavirus hotspot and officials have closed bars and canceled concerts to curb the spread of the disease. So how’s Vanilla Ice able to go ahead with his show? A legal loophole. The venue he’s slated to play, Emerald Point Bar & Grill on Lake Travis, is technically considered a restaurant, according to The Austin Chronicle, because more than 50% of its revenue is derived from food sales, and restaurants have been allowed to remain open at half capacity. As many as 2,500 people could be in attendance, and the pop star is defiant about playing the gig in Austin. “We didn’t have coronavirus in the ’90s,” he wrote on Instagram. Austin is in Travis County, which has seen more than 9,500 COVID-19 cases and more than 120 fatalities. According to the AccuWeather forecast, it will be hot in Austin over the holiday weekend, with temperatures reaching triple digits on all three days — about 6 degrees above average for this time of year.
The AccuWeather forecast for Austin, Texas, over the Fourth of July weekend.
🚨 More than 52,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported across the United States Wednesday, a new single-day record for the country during the pandemic, according to AFP, which cited data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. also reported more than 706 fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll above 128,000. The U.S has more than 2.6 million cases, over 1.2 million more than Brazil, the country with the second-highest case count in the world. Hospitalizations are rising in several major cities including Houston, and Phoenix, AFP said. Texas also set a daily record when it announced 8,076 new cases, almost 1,000 more than on Tuesday.
Lillian Palacios, left, holds her son, Daniel, 7, as a healthcare professional prepares to take a sample from him at a United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 testing site Friday, June 26, 2020, in Houston. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said that the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic and that some new local restrictions may be needed to protect hospital space for new patients. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 10,712,304
Total deaths: 516,552
Total recoveries: 5,496,362
Apple is temporarily closing reopened stores across the U.S. due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.Apple closed all 271 U.S. stores in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, but was able to reopen dozens of them as restrictions were gradually lifted. Now, the tech giant is re-closing 46 stores of those stores. “Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” Apple said in a statement. Apple announced that it is closing additional stores in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah. “We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible,” the company said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not recommending universal testing for K-12 staff and students. However, they recommended schools should test everyone who has had close contact with someone who has tested positive, as well as those showing symptoms. “It is not known if testing in school settings provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting),” the CDC said. “Therefore, CDC does not recommend universal testing of all students and staff.” The CDC recommended schools that decide to implement a testing plan should work alongside agencies such as state and local health authorities to determine the best plan of action.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom encourages cities struggling with the spread of coronavirus to cancel July 4 fireworks in an effort to eliminate crowds. Major fireworks shows have already been canceled in Los Angeles and San Francisco. At the news conference, Newsom also warned that family gatherings, barbecues and inviting extended family from outside of your household should be reconsidered. “I deeply respect people’s liberty, their desire to go back to the way things were,” Newsom said, “but I cannot impress upon you more, our actions have an impact on other people.” Fireworks sparked a wildfire larger than 200 acres in Utah on Sunday, and meteorologists fear dry weather and fireworks could ignite more fires. “It’s been very dry in many areas from Michigan and Indiana to Pennsylvania the last few weeks. With people setting off fireworks the next few days, there could be some brush fires. The good news is that there isn’t expected to be much wind to rapidly fan any fires, but people should still use caution,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick said. According to the California Department of Health, the state recorded a record 9,740 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has no plans to close state beaches or parks for the holiday weekend. DeSantis said he is less worried about July 4 outdoor gatherings because “the science is pretty clear” that they are safer. “Doing things outdoors in Florida is less risky than doing things when you’re packed indoors,” DeSantis said in a news conference Wednesday. “It needs to be controlled” but said that certain localities are doing that, so his bigger concern is people crowding indoors, according to CNN. “By and large, the virus does not like sunshine, heat, and humidity. I think every study has shown that,” DeSantis said.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a new order that requires people to wear masks whenever they leave home. Wolf said the order is “essential to stopping the recent increase in Covid-19 cases.” The order takes effect immediately. “Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing – two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening,” Wolf said. Of the 50 states, 46 either require masks to be worn statewide or have some sort of requirements, according to ABC News.
Gasoline prices are on the rise as the demand increased 10% in the last week – the highest recorded since late March. However, the numbers are still much lower than a typical summer prior to coronavirus, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). “Demand is the highest it’s been since late March,” said Tiffany Wright, American Automobile Association spokesperson. “Travelers can still expect to find pump prices are nearly 50 cents cheaper than last year’s July 4th holiday weekend.” The nation’s top 10 largest weekly gas price increases were in Kentucky, Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Indiana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Georgia. The increase in gasoline demand led to the national gas price average to jump four cents to $2.17, but the demand could decrease in states that see an increase in cases. “While that average will continue to increase ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, travelers will find pump prices about 50 cents cheaper than last year’s holiday,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.
Indoor dining in New York City, which had been scheduled to resume Monday, has been postponed, as the Big Apple continues to gradually reopen. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement at a Wednesday morning press conference. “We cannot go ahead at this point and time with indoor dining in New York City,” de Blasio said. They mayor said just one week ago, he was hopeful indoor dining could resume, but based on the number of rising cases of COVID-19 throughout the U.S., that was no longer feasible. The city would, however, “double down” on outdoor dining, he added. “Outdoor dining, unquestionably, has been a great hit,” he said. In addition, the city will reopen 15 of its biggest outdoor pools beginning July 24 and continuing through Aug.1. Beaches around New York City opened on Wednesday.
Photo by: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 6/26/20 Restaurants in NYC install dividers as anti-Coronavirus measure as Manhattan enters Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on June 26, 2020 in New York City.
An army of health care workers, composed entirely of women, has been at the forefront of India’s coronavirus battle. According to AFP, the women go door to door in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods seeking to find people infected with the virus. The workers are known as accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and there are about 1 million of them, AFP reports. In the past, they have routinely delivered vaccinations and helped deliver babies, but as the coronavirus crisis worsens, they have to act to identify new cases as well as educate individuals about how to slow the spread, AFP said. Individuals that appear like they are a potential COVID-19 patient are reported to the authorities. “I have been an ASHA for 14 years now and never have I been as scared to knock on a door with my bare hands. We don’t have gloves, not even masks,” said a woman named Alka, who asked AFP not to use her full name. Watch a video embedded in the tweet below for more.
VIDEO: Unprotected and poorly paid, an all-women army of health workers confront suspicion, anger and the threat of infection as they go door to door searching for coronavirus sufferers in India’s poor communities pic.twitter.com/J2KEUfaB58
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 30, 2020
Puerto Rico officials are now requiring that visitors to the island territory take a COVID-19 test prior to boarding a flight. According to The Associated Press, the new rules will go in effect July 15 and require flight passengers to wear a mask while also taking a molecular test 72 hours before the flight. The results of the test must then be provided to airport officials. Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo González said people who refuse to take a test or don’t have test results available will be forced into two-week quarantine. At that point, they will only be released from quarantine if they submit to a test and share the results, The AP reported. “If you don’t want to be tested, stay home. Don’t come here and complicate our situation,” González said. Puerto Rico, which is currently in the process of lifting nationwide lockdown restrictions, has over 7,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 153 deaths.
Beaches along the eastern U.S. are gearing up for a surge in visitors over the holiday weekend, but some officials across the region are warning residents to avoid some of the biggest coastal hotspots. “Myrtle Beach is an absolute hot spot and, if I were you, I would consider going somewhere else,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued a similar statement, NBC News reported. Myrtle Beach is located in Horry County, South Carolina, and has reported around 3,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, but that does not take into account every visitor who tests positive after returning home. According to WMBF News, around 100 teenagers in the Washington D.C. area tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Myrtle Beach. On Thursday, the Myrtle Beach city council will hold a meeting where they are expected to talk about a mask ordinance for the city.
A sign in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2020, asks people to maintain social distancing on the beach. People are flocking to South Carolina’s beaches for vacation after being cooped up by COVID-19 for months. But the virus is taking no vacation as the state has rocketed into the top five in the country in cases divided by population. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
The National Hockey League has reportedly made its decision for which cities will host the league’s postseason games when play resumes in the coming weeks. According to TSN, the league is looking to restart play in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Edmonton. Las Vegas had been one of the perceived favorites to host games, but a recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Nevada gave the league and the players pause, ESPN reported. Mandatory training camps are expected to begin on July 10.
The COVID-19 pandemic is being felt even in some of the most remote locations on the planet. The Associated Press reports that cases are mounting in the city of Timbuktu, located in the African Republic of Mali. Over 500 cases and nine deaths have been reported in the city, which is located in the Sahara desert. Only the capital city of Bamako has a higher case count, The AP said. A number of tents have been set up outside a local hospital, but there are currently no ventilators available. The AP says the stifling heat has been making things worse for ailing patients struggling with fevers. The high temperature Wednesday in Timbuktu was forecast to reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 celsius) and triple-digit heat is expected to continue into next week for the city, according to the latest AccuWeather forecast. The average high for early July in the city is around 91 F (33 C). “I’ve been on the brink of death because there were times I was gasping for air like a fish that’s just been taken out of the river,” Toure, a teacher in his 50s who recently contracted the virus, told The AP. “At night I couldn’t sleep, I feel like there was a rock weighing a ton on my chest that was choking me and keeping me awake. I could hardly breathe.”
Triple-digit heat is forecast to stick around through the first full week of July in Timbuktu. (Image/AccuWeather)
As some U.S.-based airlines are beginning to relax some of the tough measures implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus — and drawing the hire of health officials — at least one is clamping down a bit. Alaska Airlines has made wearing a face mask on its planes mandatory, and starting later this month will issue “yellow cards” to any passengers who refuse to wear a mask. “With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period,” the airline said in a statement on Tuesday. “That would be a decision we do not take lightly.” Guests who forget or otherwise don’t have a face covering to wear will be given a mask upon request. And that’s not the only new policy meant to protect passengers’ health as COVID-19 surges again in the U.S. The airline added that as of June 30, “All of our guests will be asked during check-in to sign off on a required health agreement to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask policy.”
As part of a final warning, a yellow card could be issued to a passenger who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on Alaska Airlines planes, the company announced. (Alaska Airlines)
Wedding in India turns into coronavirus super spreader event. A day that was meant to be a joyous occasion in Bihar, India, took a tragic turn and is being blamed for causing the infection of at least 111 guests at a wedding held in mid-June, along with the death of the groom, according to NDTV. More than 300 attended the wedding and within two days of the celebration, the groom had developed a fever and died, though he was not posthumously tested for COVID-19 before being buried. Over the ensuing weeks, members of the groom’s family have tested positive for COVID-19 as have other guests. It’s being described by local media as one of the biggest superspreader outbreaks in the state of Bihar, which is located in the northeastern part of the country about 300 miles northwest of Kolkata. Health officials in the area are trying to isolate others who attended the wedding and the groom’s funeral, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the wake of the outbreak, on Tuesday reminded Indians to practice social distancing and to wear face coverings. For more, watch the video below.
New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is deploying personal protection equipment vending machines at a number of subway stations. CBS New York reports that around a dozen vending machines will be placed at 10 stations around the city, The machines include reusable face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. “The national increase in COVID-19 cases shows how important it is for us to maintain vigilance on use of masks and other PPE,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of MTA New York City Transit. “We want to make it as easy as possible for customers who may not have masks to get them so they can ride the subway.”
The U.S. has bought up nearly the entire stockpile of remdesivir, one of the most effective drugs against COVID-19, leaving almost none for the rest of the world, The Guardian reports. The decision has rankled many. “They’ve got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there’s nothing for Europe,” Dr. Andrew Hill, a senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University told The Guardian. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the purchase of the supply on Monday from the drug’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences. The supply includes more than 500,000 treatment courses for American hospitals through September. According to the HHS, “This represents 100 percent of Gilead’s projected production for July (94,200 treatment courses), 90 percent of production in August (174,900 treatment courses), and 90 percent of production in September (232,800 treatment courses), in addition to an allocation for clinical trials. A treatment course of remdesivir is, on average, 6.25 vials.”
The U.S. is dealing with a major uptick in coronavirus cases when many countries in Europe have managed to slow the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before the Senate that “he would not be surprised” to see 100,000 cases of coronavirus per day if the country doesn’t take action to slow the spread. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said President Trump struck “an amazing deal” to make sure Americans have access to the drug, which is the first authorized therapeutic for COVID-19. “To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it,” Azar said. “The Trump Administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for COVID-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”
A different testing strategy could be implemented in the U.S. so that more people can be tested for COVID-19. The White House coronavirus task force may soon allow local authorities to begin pool testing, a testing strategy used when HIV testing kits were rare and expensive, NBC News said. In pool testing, samples are taken from several individuals, mixed together and tested as one. If the test comes back negative, then everyone who contributed samples is assumed to not have COVID-19. However, if the pooled test comes back positive, then everyone who contributed samples to that one test must be tested individually. This strategy was used by Chinese officials weeks ago to test nearly all 10 million residents in Wuhan in less than a week, according to the New York Times. “It’s absolutely feasible to do in the U.S.,” said Eugene Litvak, an adjunct professor of operations management at Harvard University’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “Moreover, I think it is much needed, and I don’t see any alternative to the pooling.”
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 10,498,090
Total deaths: 511,686
Total recoveries: 5,371,573
American Airlines will no longer restrict the number of seats sold on flights beginning on Wednesday. On Tuesday, American Airlines said it has “multiple layers of protection in place including required face coverings, enhanced cleaning procedures, and a pre-flight COVID-19 symptom checklist.” U.S. health experts criticized the move and have “substantial disappointment” with American Airlines. “We don’t think it’s the right message,” said Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). American Airlines said it knows “customers are placing their trust in us to make every aspect of their journey safe, and we are committed to doing just that.” Some lawmakers want Congress to require open seats on commercial flights. Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines are limiting the number of seats sold on their flights through at least September.
After members of the Denver Nuggets tested positive for the coronavirus, the team’s practice facility was closed, sources told ESPN. The Nuggets had two members of the team’s 35-person Orlando traveling party test positive before the practice facility was shut down starting Saturday. There has been at least one more positive test since Saturday. Players are still allowed to work out with coaches in the facility while socially distancing until the team leaves for Orlando on July 7. The Nuggets will reopen their facility based on the results of ongoing testing.
Philadelphia is delaying some of its reopening plans and will only move to a modified green phase on Friday due to a rise in positive COVID-19 tests. The green phase will allow small indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as museums, libraries and indoor shopping malls to once again open their doors. Casinos will also be allowed to open, however the re-opening of indoor dining and gyms is delayed until at least August 1.The city has also issued a travel advisory for 15 states across the country: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farely said people returning to Philadelphia from any of those states should self-quarantine for 14 days.
The European Union (EU) will reopen its borders on Wednesday to travelers from 14 countries, and possibly China soon, but U.S. travelers have been banned from visiting Europe. Europe’s countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are desperate to entice tourists back to help damaged tourism industries. American tourists make up a big chunk of the EU market and the summer holiday season is a key time. American tourists made 27 million trips to Europe in 2016, according to The Associated Press. “We are entering a new phase with a targeted opening of our external borders as of tomorrow,” European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs summits of EU national leaders, tweeted. “We have to remain vigilant and keep our most vulnerable safe.” Citizens from the following countries will be allowed into the EU: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Glow-in-the-dark-sneezes? Researchers from Florida Atlantic University turned to laser light and glycerine to demonstrate the best type of homemade cloth to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to UPI. The scientists were looking to determine the distance droplets can move with the prescience of cloth-based coverings. Their study was published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids. “Such masks have been recommended for public use by various agencies, but there are no clear guidelines on the best material or construction technique that should be used,” Siddhartha Verma, lead author and an assistant professor at Florida Atlantic told UPI. The researchers sprayed a solution of distilled water and glycerin through the mouth of of a mannequin to create the glow-in-the-dark droplets similar to those produced coughs or sneezes, UPI reported. According to the scientists’ findings, a stitched quilted cotton mask proved most effective as droplets only traveled 2.5 inches through the material.
Long lines have formed outside mass testing centers in Beijing after 19 new cases were reported in China. Mass testing has continued for the city as the area tries to prevent a second wave following a recent cluster of cases that was reported, according to AFP. Warm weather may cause uncomfortable conditions for those in line for testing in Beijing as high temperatures are expected to be above average this week. Daytime highs are expected to be in the 90s (32C) with an AccuWeather RealFeel® hovering close to 100 (38C).
VIDEO: Hundreds queue for COVID-19 mass testing in Beijing.
China reported 19 new cases of the #coronavirus on Tuesday, including seven more domestic cases in Beijing.
China’s capital has partially lifted a weeks-long lockdown imposed in parts of the city pic.twitter.com/2luAPPY0P8
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 30, 2020
The 2020 Minor League Baseball season has been canceled. The announcement came on Tuesday afternoon as some states began to reimpose restrictions due to the coronavirus. “These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without minor league baseball played,” Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O’Conner said on Tuesday afternoon. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.” Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is gearing up for the start of an abridged season due to COVID-19, with the regular season expected to begin during the second half of July.
Government officials in Sweden announced they will evaluate the country’s response to the coronavirus after harsh criticism over a growing death toll. Over 5,300 residents of Sweden have died from the coronavirus, which is over 4,500 more than Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The country was also the only nation in Scandinavia to not close schools and businesses to try and slow the spread of the virus, according to Reuters. Sweden’s measures regarding the coronavirus have been mainly voluntary, which has lead to other countries baring Swedish tourists from entering.
A new coronavirus vaccine is showing promise after early-stage human trials. The potential vaccine is being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc and is one of 17 being tested as part of the Trump administration’s program to develop a vaccine as quickly and as safely as possible. Of the 36 healthy volunteers that were given the experimental vaccine, 34 showed signs that their immune system responded to the vaccine, Reuters reported. However, the company is holding off on releasing details about the human trial until a peer-reviewed medical journal can analyze the findings. Not only did the early-stage human trial show promise in terms of efficacy, but it is also was found to be safe. Only 10 of the volunteers reported side-effects, many saying that the only side-effect was redness at the site where they received the shot. “This may be the safest vaccine among other platforms being used against COVID-19,” Chief Executive Officer Joseph Kim told Reuters.
Laser demonstration shows how easily the coronavirus can spread, and how a mask could help stop it. Back in April, researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania collaborated on an experiment that illustrates just how easily aerosols, which scientists believe are one of the primary ways the coronavirus is spread, move through the air when someone is talking and not wearing a mask. They also demonstrate what happens when someone speaks while not wearing a mask. The difference is dramatic. The scientists conducted the experiment in a dark room and used laser light to illuminate the aerosol droplets. Watch the experiment below. It’s something to keep in mind when deciding whether to venture out of the home with a mask or without one.
A smart thermometer has correctly predicted coronavirus spikes weeks before the CDC. The Kinsa smart thermometer was made eight years ago to monitor illnesses like the flu, but started mapping out hotspots for the coronavirus in March. The thermometer uploads data about the user for scientists, device users and public officials to use. All the information posted is anonymous. The data has helped prove the effectiveness of social distancing and shut downs, according to WBUR. When states started to shut down, a noticeable drop of fever levels in those regions was noticed within three to seven days. With states reopening, the data has shown high transmission levels in places that are now hotspots for the virus. On May 29, the data showed Arizona having higher levels, quickly followed by Florida and Texas on June 9. Justlast week, the data has showed the same rising transmission levels in Oklahoma and Missouri, which are now seeing increase in cases and hospitalizations.
Taiwan has kickstarted domestic tourism again with a ceremony in Taipei after getting the coronavirus under control. In the ceremony, Taiwan’s transportation and health ministers removed a face mask from a sand sculpture to designate that Taiwan residents can travel around the island for tourism. The government has put millions in subsidies to encourage travel within the island. The country has now gone more than two months without any community transmission of the virus. Watch a video of the ceremony below.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Fauci and other government health officials updated the Senate on how to safely get back to school and the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Fauci warns U.S. could see 100,000 new cases a day if outbreak isn’t brought under control. NIAID chief and coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday to testify before a Senate committee, and he delivered a dire warning for America. In response to a question posed by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts about how many fatalities Americans should brace themselves for, Fauci cautioned, “I can’t make an accurate prediction,” but added, “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.” Fauci also appeared alongside CDC Director Robert Redfield and echoed previous admonitions about mask-wearing, telling senators that health officials “recommend masks for everyone” and “masks are extremely important” to curbing the spread of COVID-19, CNN reported. Fauci was seen wearing a Washington Nationals face covering.
Meanwhile, as the pandemic threatens to spiral out of control in more than half of the nation’s states, three that had brought the outbreak under control in recent weeks added new states to the quarantine list on Tuesday. According WABC, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are now demanding Americans from 16 states quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, since enacting the travel advisory last week. The total list now includes the following states, all of which are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Below, watch a highlight of Fauci’s remarks on Capitol Hill.
Over 200 people are feared to have been exposed to coronavirus at a Planet Fitness in Morgantown, West Virginia. A person who recently tested positive for COVID-19 was at the facility, causing officials to ask anyone who was present at the Planet Fitness on June 24 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to quarantine for at least 14 days, according to the Fresno Bee. Dr. Lee B. Smith, executive director of the Monongalia County Health Department, said those that have been exposed should prevent close contact with others and to wear a mask when that’s not possible. The location has been closed in order to deep clean the facility. All workers regularly undergo temperature checks and answer health screening questions before starting their shifts.
With the abbreviated Major League Baseball season set to get underway in late July, the league announced a number of coronavirus safety procedures. Among the rules the sport will be enforcing is a ban on spitting, according to CNBC. Players will be allowed to chew gum, but can’t spit sunflower seeds, tobacco or peanut shells.
The decision to ban spitting has been a polarizing subject for people within the sport. Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt recently told 94 WIP in Philadelphia, “I don’t know how you can have a baseball season when you can’t spit.” San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler said last month that avoiding spitting would be a “tremendous challenge.” “When you’ve been doing it your whole life, it’s like breaking any habit. It’s going to be hard when things get stressful not to default to the habit,” Kapler said on KNBR in San Francisco. “But I can tell you this: Everybody’s going to be committed to doing it because it’s so worth it. The trade-off between giving up that habit and getting to play baseball, we’ll play baseball all day long.” Summer camps across MLB are set to open Wednesday.
Kansas City Royals’ Angelo Castellano blows a bubble in the dugout during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A new study of coronavirus infections in northern Italy shows the impact of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19. The study, led by a scientist at Padua University and Imperial College London, studied the people at the commune of Vò, which has a population of nearly 3,200, according to Reuters. At the start of the study, 73 people tested positive for the virus, and two weeks into quarantine, only 29 people tested positive. In both cases, roughly 40% of the subjects who tested positive showed no symptoms. The results suggest that asymptomatic cases play a big role in the spread of the pandemic. They also suggest that mass testing and self-isolation are the best ways to slow down the spread of the virus. “Despite ‘silent’ and widespread transmission, the disease can be controlled,” Andrea Crisanti, professor at Padua and Imperial, told Reuters. “Testing of all citizens, whether or not they have symptoms, provides a way to… prevent outbreaks getting out of hand.”
Los Angeles area beaches will be closed for the holiday weekend due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the area. The temporary closure that also includes piers, beach bike paths, and beach access points will be from July 3-6. “We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend,” Supervisor Janice Hahn tweeted, citing Monday’s cases. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be patrolling the beaches over the weekend and enforcing the closure. Violators could face a $1,000 fine. A look at the latest AccuWeather forecast for the holiday weekend in the Los Angeles area shows temperatures in the mid-80s at the start of the weekend, and near 90 F on Sunday, nearly 10 degrees above average.
As the world continues fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, could a second pandemic be looming on the horizon? According to a report from the BBC, a new flu virus has been identified by Chinese scientists. The recently discovered virus is carried by pigs, but it can jump from the animals to humans, the report says. Even though the researchers say this new strain of flu is not an immediate threat, it needs to be closely monitored since people have little or no immunity to it, similar to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The most recent flu pandemic was the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, also known as the swine flu.
AMC Theatres is delaying its planned reopening for another two weeks. The nation’s largest theater chain announced Monday that it would open about 450 locations in the U.S. on July 30, The Associated Press reported. The announcement comes just days after several major theatrical releases including Disney’s Mulan and Warner Bros.’ Tenet were delayed until August. “We continue to devote extraordinary resources into our plan to operate our theatres with a hyper commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates,” AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement.
A movie theatre is closed Monday, June 29, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has shut down bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks amid a dramatic resurgence of coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Indoor dining in New Jersey won’t be possible until people start wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans to postpone the restart of indoor dining as he expressed his concern for the lack of compliance over the safety guidelines enforced by the state. “Compliance is not a polite suggestion, it is a requirement,” he said according to 6 ABC. However, indoor shopping malls were cleared to reopen, as long as they have maintain 50% capacity and enforce the use of masks and social distancing. The reopening of indoor spaces could lead to an increase in the spread of the virus, as poor ventilation may play an important role in increased transmission. Experts say proper air conditioning maintenance needs to be prioritized to help reduce the risk. “What we’re recommending is that owners of buildings look at how much they can increase ventilation and still maintain control of the other functions that the system is supposed to perform,” Dr. William Bahnfleth, an Architectural Engineering professor at Pennsylvania State University, told AccuWeather. “But you got the other alternatives of putting air cleaners in rooms and just opening windows and getting more air in.”
The World Health Organization is warning that “the worst is yet to come” in regard to the pandemic. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a Monday press conference that the lack of national unity and global solidarity could further increase the spread of the virus. He expressed his concern as he announced more than 10 million cases and over 500,000 deaths caused by the virus. “We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives, but the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over,” Tedros said. Watch a brief portion of his press conference below.
$50 fine in South Beach for those who don’t wear masks in public. With coronavirus cases spinning out of control on South Florida, local governments are cracking down on mask-wearing and social distancing. According to The Miami Herald, any resident who is caught not wearing a mask in public spaces indoors and outdoors when social distance can’t be maintained will be first subjected to a verbal warning, and then for every violation thereafter, a fine of $50. Mayor Dan Gelber said the mask crackdown is meant to avoid even stricter measures. “We don’t have too many tools left in our tool kit, and we don’t want to be forced to return to a shelter-in-place order that proved so economically devastating,” he said in a statement, the Herald reported. The weather has been hot and humid lately in South Beach, with temps rising a little higher than the average for this time of year. On Tuesday, AccuWeather is calling for the RealFeel Temperature to reach 103, and it will stay warm through the holiday weekend. Mask-wearing outside may be uncomfortable in these sorts of conditions, but there are some tips people can follow to mask up and stay cool.
A look at the AccuWeather 7-day forecast for South Beach, Florida, June 30 – July 6.
On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to close for at least 30 days due to a surge of coronavirus cases in the state. “We’re not going back to normal any time soon,” Ducey said, according to KTAR. The executive order went into effect at 8 p.m. “Arizonans have been by and large terrific, fantastic and responsible,” Ducey said. “But we have found some situations and categories where we need to take more aggressive actions and that’s what are we going to do today.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey uses hand sanitizer before updating reporters on COVID-19 in the state, Monday, June 29, 2020, in Phoenix. Ducey ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until Aug. 17. Many districts planned to start the school year in late July or early August. His orders can be extended. (Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)
A 15-year-old from the U.K. invented a watch to curb accidental face touching. VybPro was created by Max Melia, who was inspired to invent a watch that would alert you every time you touched your face as people became more conscious of spreading germs to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people’s lives across the world,” Melia told CNN. “However it wasn’t until I saw the severity of the virus first-hand, when both my parents contracted COVID-19, that I truly appreciated just what we were dealing with.” The watch works by sensing hand gestures that are associated with face touching, then vibrating to alert the wearer. To monitor both hands, Melia suggests wearing one on each wrist. To fund the project, he has launched a kickstarter campaign for $74,000. So far, he has raised almost $19,000.“I believe that this device can make a real difference in the fight against coronavirus and so I’m determined to do all that I can to bring it to market,” Melia said. “I really hope that the general public can see the potential and are inspired to get behind the campaign to fund the next stage of the development.”
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 10,302,867
Total deaths: 505,518
Total recoveries: 5,235,908
Wednesday’s 41,600 new cases marked the fourth time in the past week that the United States surpassed the 40,000 threshold, a mark that had previously never been reached. Cases have been spiking in Brazil as well, as the country has seen three days with at least 40,000 new cases in the past two weeks.