July 2 coronavirus news

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2:02 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Herman Cain hospitalized with coronavirus after attending Trump rally

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi and Jeremy Diamond

Former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been diagnosed and hospitalized Wednesday with Covid-19, according to his employer Newsmax and an official statement posted on Cain's Twitter feed. 

Cain, as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, was one of the surrogates at President Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

"We are sorry to announce that Herman Cain has tested positive for COVID-19, and is currently receiving treatment in an Atlanta-area hospital," the tweet from Cain's account reads.

Cain tested positive for Covid-19 on June 29 and was hospitalized on July 1 after developing symptoms serious enough to be hospitalized, according to the statement posted on Twitter. 

He spent the night in an Atlanta-area hospital and is "awake and alert," according to the statement.  

Paris Dennard, pictured smiling right behind Cain in a picture on Cain's Twitter page from Trump's Tulsa rally, told CNN he has not been informed about Cain's positive diagnosis nor his hospitalization.

"No, I have not been informed," said Dennard, who is an adviser for Black media affairs at the Republican National Committee. "I have not seen the reports about Herman Cain."

Dennard said he himself has not been tested for coronavirus since the Tulsa rally because he has "exhibited zero symptoms" and is regularly wearing a face covering.

Some more context: At least eight Trump advance team staffers who attended the Tulsa rally tested positive for coronavirus.

After interacting with several colleagues who later tested positive, all of Trump's campaign staffers who attended his Tulsa rally quarantined the following week, CNN previously reported.

CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

Cain is a contributor for Newsmax, a conservative media outlet. According to the outlet, Cain is doing well and is not on a ventilator.

CNN's DJ Judd contributed reporting

1:36 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

German chancellor says Europe is facing "the most difficult situation in its history"

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Christian Marquardt/Pool/Getty Images
Christian Marquardt/Pool/Getty Images

Europe is facing "the most difficult situation in its history'' due to the coronavirus crisis, with the pandemic testing the continent's ability to "stick together," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint video-press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Speaking from Berlin on Thursday, as Germany resumed the Presidency of the European Union Council for the next six months, Merkel warned that the pandemic was "far from over" and that "we see every day that the virus is not gone."

Von der Leyen, speaking from Brussels, said that ''the launch of the German presidency came "at a crucial time,'' adding that ''the next six months will determine the future of Europe."

She called on EU member states to reach quick agreement on the 750 billion euro ($827 billion) recovery fund to counter the economic consequences caused by the coronavirus crisis, saying that the EU was "under extreme time pressure" and that "every day counts.''

More on this: The alliance will discuss the financial rescue plan at an extraordinary summit on July 17 and 18. However, the volume, financing and type of aid are still being disputed among the 27 member states. In addition to the coronavirus crisis, the summit will also deal with topics such as climate protection, digitalization and migration.

1:26 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

US surgeon general says masks can be "an instrument of freedom"

From CNN’s Maria Cartaya

Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, takes off a protective mask while speaking during a 'Wear A Mask' tour stop in Dalton, Georgia, on Thursday, July 2.
Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, takes off a protective mask while speaking during a 'Wear A Mask' tour stop in Dalton, Georgia, on Thursday, July 2. Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Traveling with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on the "Wear a Mask" fly-around tour of the state ahead of the holiday weekend, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said a mask is “an instrument of freedom if we all use it to slow the spread of Covid-19.” 

“The fact is most people actually agree with wearing a mask, and if you look at surveys most people are doing it when they go out in public, but if you turned on the news you’d think nobody was wearing a face covering,” said Adams while speaking in Augusta, Georgia.  

“Right now the best advice that we have based on what we know about asymptomatic spread is that everyone in public should be wearing a mask or a face covering to protect those around you,” he said. 

Adams also spoke about the importance of vaccinations. “Vaccine hesitancy is a real concern in our country,” he said. 

“We need all of you to help people understand vaccines are safe and effective, and we need you to help engage communities where that hesitancy exists so that when we do get a safe and effective Covid vaccine we actually can get it to the people that need it the most,” Adams added. 

1:18 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Atlanta airport taking extra precautions after TSA employee tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Rob Carr/Getty Images/FILE
Rob Carr/Getty Images/FILE

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be taking extra measures for the safety of all passengers after a Transportation Security Administration employee tested positive for coronavirus, the airport's General Manager John Selden said.

All lanes at the main checkpoint have been sterilized out of an abundance of caution, he said. 

Selden said they are doing everything they can to keep travelers safe and secure heading into the Fourth of July weekend, including nightly deep cleaning and providing masks for anyone who needs one. The airport has 4.7 million masks available to distribute, he said.

All airport employees are subject to temperature checks and required to wear masks, Selden said. Social distance stickers have also been placed throughout the airport, he added. 

1:01 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

USC now recommending that undergraduate students take all their classes remotely in the fall

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Reed Saxon/AP/FILE
Reed Saxon/AP/FILE

Amid the spike of Covid cases in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is now recommending that all undergraduates move to remote learning for the fall semester and reconsider living on campus.

“Given the continuing safety restrictions and limited densities permissible on campus, our undergraduate students primarily or exclusively will be taking their courses online in the fall term, and on-campus housing and activities will be limited,” university senior vice presidents Charles Zukoski and David Wright wrote in a letter to the school community.

“While not what we hoped, we are now recommending all undergraduates take their courses online, and reconsider living on or close to campus this semester. We are continuing with limited in-person, on-campus activity because we believe we can keep students, researchers, staff, and faculty safe with our low-density plan.”

Some background: USC had previously announced it would limit housing to one student per bedroom in all of their residence halls, and the city of Los Angeles has also asked the school to hold vacant rooms throughout the semester to serve as quarantine space, reducing the schools on campus living capacity to less than half of what it normally is.

The school will prioritize students whose course of study requires on campus instruction, are in named scholarship or academic programs, or require extra assistance, as well as international students.

12:58 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

California inmate found dead in cell tested positive for coronavirus, sheriff says

From CNN's Stella Chan

A San Quentin death row inmate who was found dead in his cell on June 24 tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s office. 

Richard Stitely, 71, was found with no signs of trauma at 8:38 p.m. and pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m., according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Stitely was sentenced to death in 1992 for the 1990 murder of Carol Unger, 47. She was last seen leaving the White Oak Bar in Reseda with Stitely, according to the CDCR. Her body was found in an industrial complex parking lot. 

Further details regarding the cause and manner of death for Stitely will be released by the CDCR once its investigation is complete. 

Another death row inmate, Joseph Safarino Cordova, 75, was found unresponsive in his cell Wednesday afternoon. He had no signs of trauma, according to the CDCR. His coronavirus status will be determined by the county coroner. 

San Quentin has reported 1,296 active cases. 

Some context: Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday acknowledged the rising cases at the prison. He said at least 40% of the population is medically vulnerable and the prison is an area of concern.

12:54 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Nashville mayor rolls back reopening and cancels Fourth of July fireworks display

From CNN’s Jason Morris

Nashville Mayor John Cooper delivers the State of Metro Address from the Council Chambers at the Metro Courthouse on March 31 in Nashville.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper delivers the State of Metro Address from the Council Chambers at the Metro Courthouse on March 31 in Nashville. George Walker IV/The Tennessean/USA Today

In an email to CNN, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced that starting Friday the city would “revert” to “phase two with modifications."

“Our phase three has not been effective. We are going to go back to what we know is effective in slowing the spread of the disease," he said.

The modified plan, Cooper said, “is tailored on what we’ve learned through contact tracing investigations over the past several weeks."

“Four of our six health metrics for Reopening Nashville are green. Our transmission rate is yellow, between 1.03 to 1.16, but our 14-day rolling daily case average is red. Today’s new confirmed case count is 608, a record daily high for Davidson County. This means we have to respond as a community to get us back on track,” he said.

When talking about canceling the Fourth of July fireworks display, the mayor said, “It is clear that adding any public health risk is inappropriate for Nashville at this time. So, we’ve directed the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation to cancel its fireworks display on Saturday evening."

12:53 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Austin mayor considering 35-day stay-at-home order

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

As the number of coronavirus cases surges in Texas, Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he is weighing a 35-day stay-at-home order for the state capital. “We’re putting it on the table,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. 

“We could easily be maxed out in our hospitals and our ICUs within two weeks, having to open up field hospitals in our city,” Adler said. 

The community doesn’t want to go back to a lockdown, he said, but a 35-day stay-at-home order would allow the city to stem the tide now, as well as prepare adequately for reopening again. 

Even if Texas Gov. Greg Abbott does not approve the order, Adler said the city would go ahead with protective measures. 

Texas residents are “hearing mixed messaging coming from Washington and the president, from our lieutenant governor,” Adler said. “My governor is encouraging everybody to wear masks, says it’s the most important thing to do, but won't let us enforce it…and that just sends a mixed message. So you have parties, you have gatherings, and you have people that just are not convinced that this is really serious at this point or that taking those steps effective.” 

“That mixed messaging is killing us,” he said. 

Watch the interview:

12:50 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

9 NBA players test positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

The National Basketball Association along with the players union released a joint statement announcing that nine players have tested positive for coronavirus in its latest round of testing.

“In tests conducted of 344 NBA players between June 24-29, an additional nine players have tested positive for the coronavirus. Twenty-five of 351 players have tested positive since testing began on June 23. In tests conducted of 884 team staff between June 23-29, 10 have tested positive for the coronavirus. Any player, coach or team staff member who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until they satisfy public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and have been cleared by a physician," the statement said.

The NBA season is scheduled to restart on July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.