July 1 coronavirus news

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8:28 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Harvard expert says governors must choose between reopening bars now or schools this fall

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

If governors want schools to reopen in the fall, they have to contain the amount of coronavirus in their communities now, and that begins with pausing or rolling back reopening plans, Dr. Ashish Jha said Wednesday on The Lead with Jake Tapper.

“I've been talking to governors about pauses. I've been talking about what they want to roll back. And when they understand the choices in stark terms— schools this fall or bars now — those are your choices … I think more and more governors, even in places that aren't having large outbreaks, are realizing that maybe we can avoid bars in the summer and fall, if that gives us a better shot at getting schools open this fall,” Jha said, who is director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. 

“The single biggest determinant of whether we're going to be able to open schools and keep schools open is how much virus there is in the community,” Jha added. “So when I look at large parts of the country right now, and think if that's the level of virus we have going into September, we're not going be able to keep schools open. So, we've got to get aggressive by bringing the virus levels down and accept that kids will do a little bit of transmission and hopefully, very few of them will actually end up getting sick themselves.” 

Asked what would happen if transmission rates are high and schools try to reopen, Jha said, “What would happen is that kids would show up — they might be infected themselves with mild symptoms — they would spread it to others, maybe a little less efficiently than adults, but still spread. They'd spread it to their teachers and staff, and they'd go home and they'd spread it to the parents and grandparents. So they would become another source. And given that all these kids are getting together indoors, I think we'd see large outbreaks in schools, and it would become very untenable to keep schools open. That's why you got to keep the virus in the community low because if we can do that, then we can open schools."

And it’s about more than just keeping crowd-attracting sites closed, Jha said.

“You can’t have bars and gyms open. I’m not sure you have restaurants open. You've got to have mandatory mask-wearing and you've got to push on surveillance, testing, tracing — all the stuff we've been talking about,” he said.

“Do all of that throughout the summer, I think there's a pretty good chance most states can bring their outbreaks to much, much lower levels, and then open up school safely.”

Watch:

7:52 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

University of Oklahoma releases data on Covid-19 testing and infections on its football team

From CNN's Jill Martin

In this March 11, 2015 photo, students walk between classes in front of the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. 
In this March 11, 2015 photo, students walk between classes in front of the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.  Brett Deering/Getty Images

The University of Oklahoma football team has returned to campus and its student-athletes began voluntary workouts Wednesday after more than a dozen students tested positive for Covid-19 this summer.

There have been 14 total positive Covid-19 cases among players; 12 of those are active.

In total, 111 football players were tested on June 29, the university said. An additional 72 staff members of the team were also tested and two were positive for Covid-19.

7:34 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Houston mayor says hospitals are "pretty much at maximum capacity"

From CNN's Raja Razek

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Covid-19 threat is higher than it has been and Harris Health hospitals are "pretty much at maximum capacity." 

"The threat of Covid-19 poses to our community right now is higher than it has been. There is a severe spread between our families, friends, and communities," Turner said in a news conference Wednesday. "And we need to slow it down, so it doesn't overwhelm our health care delivery system."

Turner said the city's Fourth of July celebration would be virtual. 

Asked how concerned the mayor is about the medical centers ability to care for all Houstonians, he responded, "I talked with several of the CEOs earlier today just to get the latest information on their capacity ... They are still indicating to me that they are within their capacity limits today."

He added: "They are busy. They are saying that. They still have room to surge within their respective hospitals with the exception of the Harris Health hospitals, LBJ and Ben Taub. They are pretty much at maximum capacity, and then they are spreading that load around."

By the numbers: Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena announced in the news conference that more than 260 firefighters are in quarantine. 

"As of today, there's been over 200% increase from just a few weeks ago, and we have 66 firefighters that are currently positive with coronavirus," Pena said. "Over the course of the operation, we've had 127 that have contracted the virus, 61 of those have come back to work. But we still have 66 of those out."

Houston reported 832 new Covid-19 cases today, bringing the total to at least 21,123, with 228 deaths, according to the mayor.

7:24 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Arkansas reports a downward trend in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Molly Silverman 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, center, speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday, March 12.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, center, speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday, March 12. Andrew DeMillo/AP

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that "for the first time in a long time" the number of active cases in the state decreased.

The 420 new Covid-19 cases reported Wednesday is the lowest number of active cases the state has seen in sometime, Hutchinson said.

Hospitalization rates have gone down as well, he said. At least 275 people remain hospitalized.

At least 21,197 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state and at least 277 people have died from the virus. 

One thing to note: These figures were released by the state of Arkansas and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

7:00 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Early message to Americans about wearing masks was "confusing," Fauci admits

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

The “mixed message” about wearing a mask at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic has contributed to the reluctance of some Americans to wear a face covering now, Dr. Anthony Fauci told NPR in an interview Wednesday.

Americans were first told in February and March not to wear a face mask to protect against Covid-19 transmission as a shortage of personal protective gear for medical works worsened. But by May, health experts, including Fauci, reversed course and urged people to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus.

“I think that did have an effect,” Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told host Mary Louise Kelly.

Fauci admitted that the early message to Americans about wearing a mask was “confusing.” Without elaborating, he said there were “many other things” now contributing to why people do not want to wear a face covering.

"We have to admit it that mixed message in the beginning, even though it was well meant, to allow masks to be available to help workers, that was detrimental in getting the message across right now. No doubt about it,” Fauci said.

 

6:56 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

New Mexico governor attributes rise in Covid-19 cases to people failing to wear face masks

From CNN’s Janine Mack

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks about the uptick in confirmed Covid-19 cases in the state and her decision to hold off on opening more of the economy during a news conference at the state Capitol in Sante Fe on Thursday, June 25. 
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks about the uptick in confirmed Covid-19 cases in the state and her decision to hold off on opening more of the economy during a news conference at the state Capitol in Sante Fe on Thursday, June 25.  Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via AP

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham attributed the rise in Covid-19 cases to people in her state not wearing masks.

“I do think failure to adhere to the mandatory masks has lead to where we are,” she said during a news conference on Wednesday. “And I just think people have gotten very relaxed about and they should not be.”

She said face coverings continue to be mandatory in the state.

The numbers: At least 12,276 cases of coronavirus have been reported in New Mexico and at least 500 people have died from the virus, according to the state's Department of Health.

New Mexico will not be entering phase two of its reopening in July due to the surge in cases, Lujan Grisham said.

6:44 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Colombia tops 100,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon and Tim Lister 

Colombia surpassed 100,000 cases of novel coronavirus Wednesday, according to the country's health ministry.

The ministry reported a record 4,163 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total to 102,009. 

Colombia also recorded 136 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 3,470. 

The Latin American country has seen a new peak this week in its average number of reported cases and deaths in a seven-day period, according to a CNN tally.

6:34 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Study shows that individual decisions to stay put helped slow the spread of coronavirus in the US

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

People’s individual decisions to stay put likely helped slow the spread of coronavirus, even before state stay-at-home orders were implemented, a study published Wednesday in the Lancet finds.

Researchers used cellphone data to track movement patterns for 25 US counties with high coronavirus rates between January 1 and April 20 to evaluate how social distancing affected the rate of new infections.

They found that social distancing measures and the slow of coronavirus were primarily driven by changes in individual behavior and local regulations, noting that state and federal regulations were implemented either too late or not at all.

Individuals moved around less in all 25 counties six to 29 days before statewide stay-at-home orders were implemented. In 21 counties, mobility slowed on an individual level even before local stay-at-home orders were in place, Dr. Lauren Gardner of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues reported.

From late January to mid-April, people reduced their daily movements by varying amounts — from 35% of normal in New York City to 63% of what was usual in Houston’s Harris County. It took about nine to 12 days, on average, for the effects to begin showing, consistent with the incubation period of the virus.

Gardner’s team said the strong connection between social distancing and decreased transmission rates means that a return to normal mobility around the country creates a significant risk of increased infections – one that will likely not be apparent for up to three weeks after mobility increases.

The study did not differentiate among low-risk trips, like going to the park, and higher-risk trips, like going to the grocery store. Because the data did not include sociodemographic information, the researchers could not isolate information about older adults, those with medical disorders and underserved communities, for whom social distancing can be more difficult.

6:24 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Miami-Dade mayor to expand mask requirement to all indoor and outdoor public spaces 

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Wilfredo Lee/AP

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is expanding the mandatory mask order in the county, according to a statement from his office.

“After consulting with the CEOs of South Florida hospitals and Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew this afternoon, I have decided to issue an emergency order requiring masks in all public spaces inside and outdoors throughout Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said in the statement. 

Gimenez said he would sign the order later tonight which will require masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. 

The current fines for violating an emergency order remain in effect; up to $500 and/or up to 180 days in jail, the mayor said.

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