Myrtle Beach mayor says city is "doing all that we can" to stop spread of virus despite keeping beaches open
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN's Jim Acosta on The Situation Room Friday the city is "doing all that we can" to prevent the spread of coronavirus despite keeping beaches open to thousands of visitors for the holiday weekend.
Bethune said that the city enacted a mask ordinance Thursday to help stop the spread.
"People spread this virus and we can't stop people from coming here but we all have personal responsibility in helping to prevent the spread of this virus," Bethune said.
The mayor said the city is working to get the message out that masks are needed.
She said the city has extra law enforcement that has come in from other areas to help with crowd control.
Bethune also said the beaches have been well maintained by beach patrol, firefighters, and lifeguards and there have been "very few issues" on the beaches.
5:44 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
MLB and players association announce 31 players and 7 staff members test positive for Covid-19
From CNN's Jill Martin
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced today the first set of results from their Covid-19 testing.
Here's a breakdown of the results:
The total number of positive tests is 38, which is 1.2% of the 3,185 total samples collected and tested, according to the statement.
Thirty-one of these 38 positives are players and seven are staff members, the statement said.
Nineteen different clubs have had one or more individuals test positive during intake testing, according to the statement
The testing was conducted as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s Covid-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan, prior to the workouts and full baseball activities that started today.
5:22 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
Here's the latest coronavirus update from Texas
From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin
Texas is reporting a third day of new Covid-19 cases topping 7,000, according to state health department data.
The state is reporting 7,555 new Covid-19 cases on Friday. Although this is lower than the previous two days, which included a record high for Texas, it continues the trend of sharp increases of cases in the state.
The state also reported 50 new deaths from Covid-19 Friday.
Here's what we know about the surge in coronavirus cases in Texas:
Rise in cases: Texas reported a record 8,076 new cases on Wednesday and 7,915 new cases yesterday, state data shows.
Major GOP event still happening: The Republican Party of Texas will hold their state convention in-person with an expected attendance in the thousands. The convention will be held indoors at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston from July 16-18. Committee meetings will begin on July 13.
5:32 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
This is what it looks like at Mount Rushmore, where Trump is headed for tonight's fireworks show
From CNN's Joe Johns and Betsy Klein
Despite social distancing guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say people in large gatherings should wear face masks and attempt to stay at least six feet apart, there are hundreds of black plastic folding seats linked together with plastic ties at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial amphitheater, where President Trump is expected to attend, speak and view a fireworks show tonight.
"Folding chairs at an event like these need to be zip tied together by code, per a public safety official involved with the event," a public safety official tells CNN. "In case of an emergency, like a fire event or a storm or anything that would cause people to quickly move out, the zip ties would ensure that the chairs will not be easily knocked over or fly into egress paths — moving a full row of chairs, rather than one or two. Additionally, the zip tied chairs then cannot be used as a weapon."
A majority of the attendees at the venue arriving so far have not been wearing face coverings.
There is also bleacher seating in the venue which means many spectators at the event will not have to sit in seats that are linked together.
Some background: The 7,500 tickets for the event are lower than the typical visitor flow during the busy summer season. On normal days, 28,000 to 32,000 visitors come to Mount Rushmore during a 10-hour period. Amid the pandemic, the park never closed but visitation has been down to around 20,000 people, said Maureen McGee-Ballinger, Mount Rushmore's chief of interpretation and education.
Coronavirus cases in South Dakota currently remain stable, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with 6,893 confirmed cases and 97 deaths as of Thursday — but it remains to be seen how many attendees will travel from other states. Thirty-six states are currently experiencing a rise in new cases.
4:52 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
Miami Heat closes facility after second player tests positive for Covid-19
From CNN’s Jacob Lev
The NBA's Miami Heat have closed their practice facility at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida, after a second player tested positive for Covid-19, according to multiple media reports which the team confirmed to CNN.
The team will not resume practices until it enters the NBA's "bubble" at Disney later this month.
In recent weeks, the Denver Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets had to shut down their facilities after players on both teams tested positive for the virus.
The NBA season is scheduled to restart on July 30 at the Walt Disney Resort near Orlando, Florida.
4:52 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
Man voluntarily gets off plane after refusing to wear face covering
From CNN’s Ganesh Setty
The man caught on video arguing with a police officer on Spirit Airlines flight NK197 from LaGuardia Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida chose to voluntarily deplane after refusing to keep his face covering on, according to a Spirit Airlines spokesperson.
“I’m going to my father who had a stroke. I’m not leaving the flight ... I'm a Purple Heart, I gave my life for this country,” the man said in the video.
In the video, the man said he was allowed onto the flight with the scarf draped on his head.
Spirit Airlines requires all passengers to wear face coverings, with some exemptions for children, according to the airline’s website.
“Spirit will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the health and safety of our guests. Wearing a face covering is simple, it’s easy, and it’s critical to Spirit and the airline industry as a whole,” said Spirit in a statement to CNN.
CNN has reached out to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for comment.
4:16 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
Arkansas governor says cities may implement mandatory mask ordinances
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order that will give cities the ability to mandate face coverings.
The executive order allows local municipalities to require face coverings and allows for local law enforcement and city officials to enforce the rule, according to a statement from his office.
"This provides a local option for cities to give them more flexibility if they have a community in which they might have a surge in cases. This model ordinance, from the Municipal League, provides a consistency in approach across the state," Hutchinson said in a statement.
4:00 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
Texas Rangers player tests positive for Covid-19
From CNN’s Jacob Lev
Major League Baseball pitcher Brett Martin of the Texas Rangers has tested positive for Covid-19, the team confirmed to CNN on Friday. The team says Martin is now in quarantine in Texas.
Brett Martin is also diabetic. He was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at the age of 16.
The Major League Baseball season resumed on Wednesday with players reporting to training and games are scheduled to start on July 23 or 24.
3:58 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020
Covid-19 cases in Latin America and Caribbean surpass 2.7 million
From CNN's Tatiana Arias
The number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America and the Caribbean reached more than 2.7 million and the number of deaths reached more than 121,000, according to a CNN tally.
Just in the top 10 hardest-hit countries in the region, at least 2,658,083 coronavirus cases and at least 119,608 virus-related deaths were reported, according to CNN’s tally.
Since last Friday, Argentina surpassed Ecuador, Bolivia surpassed Panama and the Dominican Republic, and Panama surpassed the Dominican Republic in number of Covid-19 cases.
As of today, these are the countries with the highest number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the region (according to CNN's tally):
Brazil: 1,496,858 cases; 61,884 deaths
Peru: 292,004 cases; 10,045 deaths
Chile: 288,089 cases; 6,051 deaths
Mexico: 238,511 cases; 29,189 deaths
Colombia: 106,110 cases; 3,641 deaths
Argentina: 69,941 cases; 1,385 deaths
Ecuador: 60,657 cases; 4,700 deaths
Bolivia: 35,528 cases; 1,271 deaths
Panama: 35,237 cases, 667 deaths
Dominican Republic: 35,148 cases; 775 deaths
With previous reporting from CNN's Ingrid Formanek, Claudia Rebaza, Radina Gigova and Stefano Pozzebon