July 2 coronavirus news

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1:53 a.m. ET, July 2, 2020

New Zealand's health minister resigns after series of blunders ... including breaching lockdown

From CNN's Angus Watson and Sol Han

New Zealand Health Minister David Clark, center, announces his resignation during a press conference on July 2.
New Zealand Health Minister David Clark, center, announces his resignation during a press conference on July 2. Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/AP

New Zealand's embattled Health Minister David Clark has resigned after a series of political blunders -- including breaching his own government's lockdown rules.

Clark has been under fire since April, when he admitted to breaking the country's stay-at-home order to take his family to the beach. 

He had offered his resignation at the time. However Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did not accept it, saying it could cause a “massive disruption" in the health sector while the country was battling the virus.

Instead, Clark was stripped of his role as associate finance minister and demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings. Last month, he faced another backlash after pinning responsibility for failures at the border on the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield. 

On Thursday, Clark again tendered his resignation. This time, it was accepted by the Prime Minister.

“It has become increasingly clear to me that my continuation in the role is detracting from the Government's overall response to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic,” Clark wrote in a statement on Facebook.

New Zealand had 22 active Covid-19 cases as of Wednesday, with one in hospital. In total, it has recorded 1,528 confirmed or probable cases and 22 deaths, according to the New Zealand Health Ministry.  

12:27 a.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Americans are still reluctant to wear face masks because of mixed messaging early in the pandemic, Fauci says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a protective mask on June 30.  
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a protective mask on June 30.   Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

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 virus from spreading.

“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 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.