Records show 11-year-old boy is the youngest to die from Covid-19 in Florida
From CNN's Denise Royal
An 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County is the youngest person to die from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health.
According to the latest health records, he is the third minor in Florida to die of complications from the virus. The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.
Records show the 11-year-old fatality is not a travel-related case but it's unclear if the child recently had close contact with anyone who had Covid-19.
The latest numbers: As of last Friday, about 7,000 young people in Florida have tested positive for novel coronavirus.
5:45 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Vice President Pence was asked about next month's GOP convention in Florida. Here's what he said.
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Vice President Mike Pence said he’s heard “very sophisticated plans” to make sure the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida is a “safe and healthy environment” when it convenes late next month.
Speaking at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida on Thursday, Pence was asked if people in vulnerable populations should stay home and skip the RNC. He didn’t directly answer yes or no.
“We’re excited about coming to Jacksonville,” Pence said, “and I was in a meeting not long ago when I heard about some very sophisticated plans to make sure it’s a safe and healthy environment.”
“Our job right now is to do everything in our power to support the efforts of your governor and the people of Florida to bring these numbers down, and I believe we can,” Pence added.
Some context: The Florida Department of Health is reporting at least 10,109 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the state total to approximately 169,106, according to data released by the state.
Thursday's data marks a new record daily high of infections in Florida since the start of the pandemic.
Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health for the US Department of Health and Human Services, told the the House Select Committee on Coronavirus that “four states are counting for about 50% of our new cases, and they're very concerning to all in public health.”
Those states are California, Arizona, Texas and Florida – who all posted record new cases this week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
5:11 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Pools in New York to open Fourth of July weekend, governor says
From CNN's Sheena Jones
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced pools across the state can open this Fourth of July weekend with some restrictions, according to a statement.
Pool capacity will be limited to 50% and the governor encourages pool-goers to practice social distancing and to respect the rules, the statement said.
"As we are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, we must remember all the sacrifices New Yorkers have made to flatten the curve of the pandemic and be cautious in everything we do," Cuomo said.
"The virus does not take a holiday, and so I urge New Yorkers who are visiting swimming pools to follow all the social distancing guidelines in effect to protect themselves and each other," he added.
Cuomo said swimmers should wear a mask if they are not in a pool and cannot socially distance.
Visitors will also be asked to sign-in with contact information to make potential contact tracing easier, capacity will be limited to 50% and there can't be more than 10 people in a group, the statement said.
5:14 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Arkansas sees largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases
From CNN’s Janine Mack
Arkansas is reporting 878 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, Dr. Nate Smith, the state's Department of Health secretary, said during a news conference on Thursday.
That’s the most Covid-19 cases the state has reported in a single day since the pandemic began, Smith said.
What the numbers looks like: At least 22,075 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state and at least 279 people have died from the virus, the health department said.
6:04 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Texas governor orders most residents to wear masks in public
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday mandating face coverings in public places "in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with a few exceptions," according to a statement.
This order will currently impact about 67% of Texas counties, according to state data.
The text of the executive order says that failing to comply is punishable by a fine.
The statement also said Abbott issued another proclamation that gives mayors and county judges the ability to restrict some outdoor gatherings with more than 10 people. The proclamation also mandates "people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others."
"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in the statement. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces."
"I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans," the statement added.
The latest numbers: Texas reported at least 8,076 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, the state's highest number of cases in a single day.
5:03 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Houston mayor asks people to take additional steps to "blunt the progression" of Covid-19
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked the community to take several steps to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus during a news conference Thursday.
Turner asked that people follow the recommendations for the next three weeks — including wearing masks whenever people are around, not just in businesses, ensuring social distancing in the workplace or working from home, and reducing business occupancy from 50% to 25% — to help "blunt the progression" of coronavirus in Houston.
These recommendations come as the city has reached a 25% positivity rate, Houston Health Department Health Authority Dr. David Persse said.
"The virus is very prevalent in the community," Persse said, adding that there are more than 1,200 people in Houston hospitals with more than 500 of them in intensive care due to complications from coronavirus.
"The virus is very much out there," Persse said. "It's very much actively spreading."
Turner also asked that people reduce social gatherings to no more than 10 people ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The mayor has also asked faith communities to resume virtual services in place of in-person services to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
The city is producing a virtual Fourth of July show, Turner said.
Turner's request came the same day that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mandated masks in public spaces statewide for counties with 20 or more positive case.
Abbott also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on outdoor gathering of over 10 people.
6:18 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Top US health official urges Floridians who have been to mass gatherings to get tested
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
The White House coronavirus coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, urged all Floridians who had been to mass gatherings in the last four weeks to get tested for coronavirus even if they don’t exhibit symptoms, citing the rate of asymptomatic spread in the state.
“To every Floridian, we know what works. In addition to the hand washing and the social distancing, wearing masks and not having large gatherings inside, not having large gatherings outside. But if you’ve participated in a large gathering in the last four weeks, we ask all of you to come forward and be tested, because of the level of asymptomatic spread,” Birx said during a news conference in Florida on Thursday.
She also emphasized the importance of wearing masks and staying away from people with other health conditions.
“So we’re asking for everyone under 40 that if you were in a gathering, please go and get tested," Birx said.
4:49 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Orange County closing all county-operated beaches for July 4 weekend
From CNN’s Topher Gauk-Roger
All county-operated beaches in Orange County will be closed for the entire holiday weekend of July 4 and 5, the county's executive officer, Frank Kim, told CNN, joining other Southern California counties in the closing of their shores to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Kim explained that Orange County cities are managing their local beaches, but all are closed on July 4 with the exception of San Clemente, which has yet to make a final determination.
The county closure comes after the cities of Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Laguna Beach all announced plans to close their beaches during the holiday weekend, and follows beach closures in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Access to state beaches will also be restricted for the upcoming holiday weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a news conference this week. The beaches themselves will not be closed, but rather parking lots and facilities will be. This applies to state beaches from Sonoma County down to Southern California, Newsom said.
Here are the beaches that are closing for the holiday weekend:
Salt Creek Beach
Camel Point Beach
Table Rock Beach
Thousand Steps Beach
Treasure Island Beach
West Street Beach
4:42 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Georgia governor urges people to wear masks and practice social distancing
From CNN’s Maria Cartaya
Gov. Brian Kemp asked people in his state “to do the right thing" when it comes to practicing social distancing, using good hand sanitation and wearing a mask.
“(It's) not that hard to do,” said Kemp, speaking from Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Georgia.
“Even on the beach do that as well (follow guidelines). We’re not going to be the nanny state. We want people to enjoy themselves, we just want them to do that in a safe way so we can continue to enjoy and have a profitable rest of the summer for the Golden Isles,” Kemp said.
Asked about Savannah’s mask mandate, Kemp said, “From a legal perspective, I really haven’t had time to look at that.”
“The mayor and I agree on the policy. You should be wearing your mask," he added.