July 3 coronavirus news

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4:32 p.m. ET, July 3, 2020

US surgeon general urges caution on US Covid-19 death rate: “We know deaths lag at least two weeks”

From CNN's Gisela Crespo and Arman Azad

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams urged caution when looking at the US death rate for the virus remaining flat while the number of new cases increases. 

"We know deaths lag at least two weeks and can lag even more," Adams said, speaking on "Fox & Friends" on Friday. "In the beginning, nursing homes were hit really hard, and the majority of our deaths were occurring on people who were 60, 65 and older. Now the majority of cases are in people who have an average age of 35, and so those folks are gonna have less comorbidities, they're gonna be less likely to end up in the hospital and to die." 

However, Adams said, "What we're really worried about  — particularly with young people  — is that they get it and then they spread it to their grandmother, to their grandfather." 

Adams called on the younger population to wear a face covering, practice social distancing when going out this weekend, and to take extra precautions if they live with someone who is older or vulnerable. 

The latest figures: According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the US, at least 128,740 people have died in the country from coronavirus. 

An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects nearly 148,000 coronavirus deaths in the country by July 25.

This week’s national forecast relies on 24 individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 147,865 deaths by July 25, with a possible range of about 139,000 to 161,000 deaths.

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections for the next month. The previous ensemble forecast, published last Wednesday, projected about 139,000 coronavirus deaths by July 18.

Watch Surgeon General's call to wear face coverings:

9:41 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

European countries urged to exempt "sweethearts" from current travel restrictions

From CNN’s James Frater

European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has urged European countries to apply “as wide a definition of partnerships as possible” to exempt the “partner or ‘sweetheart’,“ of an EU citizen from EU coronavirus travel restrictions.

The EU published on Tuesday a set of guidelines that allows for the gradual reopening of Europe’s external borders starting July 1.

The guidelines, which are primarily based on health criteria and preventing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, define a “family member” as a spouse, a registered partnership equivalent to marriage, children or dependents under the age of 21 and dependent direct relatives.

“Family members of EU citizens and of residents of the EU” are exempted from the travel restrictions explained European Commission Spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz, adding, “there isn’t any further definition of family member in this context.”

However, there is space for change in the guidelines and specific categories of travelers “may be reviewed by the Council, in close consultation with the Commission,” based on “social and economic considerations as well as the overall assessment of the evolution of the epidemiological situation.” 

Denmark had already expanded its definition of traveller with a “worthy purpose” to include “boyfriends/girlfriends, fiancées, grandparents and grandchildren, as well as business travel, job interviews,” in the list of those able to journey to the country.

This is news social media campaigners using the hashtags #LoveIsEssential and #LoveIsNotTourism have welcomed, like German/American boyfriend and girlfriend Eglain and Zuri.

American Zuri wrote on her social media: “It feels like I woke up to a hopeful miracle. I hope this is step in the right direction for couples separated by this travel ban.”

Her German boyfriend Eglain also took to social media, writing: “The head of European home affairs is supporting our cause of reuniting binational couples separated by travel bans!” Adding German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to his tweet, Eglain added, “Now the member states need to act and implement exemptions for us.”

9:28 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

Here are some tips for staying safe this July 4 weekend

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

People sit on Hollywood Beach on, July 2 in Hollywood, Florida.
People sit on Hollywood Beach on, July 2 in Hollywood, Florida. Lynne Sladky/AP

While most Americans are used to spending the Fourth of July holiday with friends at the beach or by the pool, this year the country is celebrating a little differently.

The coronavirus pandemic continues and numbers are skyrocketing with the three-most populous states setting new records for new daily coronavirus cases.

While this doesn't necessarily mean canceling your plans for the day, there are steps you can take to keep yourself and others around you healthy this holiday:

Heading to a beach or a pool?

  • Since risk of infection is thought to be lower outside, where wind can blow the virus away, you can have fun without fear, as long as you observe social distancing measures.
  • Before heading out, it's a good idea to find out if the pool or beach you're going to is enforcing safety protocols, like social distancing rules or restricting the number of people who have access at one time. If you find that the beach or pool is too crowded to always maintain at least 6 feet from others, it might be safer to save the trip for another day.
  • Bring your own disinfectant wipes to clean shared chairs or pool toys and wear a face mask when you're not in the water.
  • Whether you're in or out of the water, keep your distance from other people. Don't swim close enough to other people that you'll come in contact with their spit or breath.
  • Don't blow your nose or spit in the pool or near another person. If you can, exit the water and use a tissue to cough or sneeze, then wash your hands.

Planning a barbecue?

  • Depending on your state, there may be regulations and limits on how many people can attend a social gathering.
  • Remember that the more people you come in contact with, the higher your risk of getting infected. if you are going to invite people you haven't been isolating with, there are a few precautions you can take to make your cookout safer.
  • One tip is having everyone bring their own food and plastic utensils -- this means no shared bowl of chips. Hot dogs and hamburgers should go directly from the grill to a person's plate, not to a big tray of food. Different households should sit together — separately.
  • If you have a lot of people in attendance, its also a good idea to wear a mask.
  • If guests have no choice but to go inside your home to use the bathroom, have all the doors going toward the bathroom open, so no one has to touch any other handles. Have guests use a piece of tissue to open and close the bathroom door and make a note to close the toilet seat before flushing.

Read the full article:

9:32 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

European Commission gives conditional clearance for Covid-19 drug remdesivir, Gilead says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Vials of the drug Remdesivir are seen during a press conference on April 8 at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany.
Vials of the drug Remdesivir are seen during a press conference on April 8 at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany. Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The European Commission has granted "conditional marketing authorization" for remdesivir as a treatment for coronavirus infection, Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the Covid-19 drug, announced in a press release on Friday morning.

The authorization, based on a review of scientific data that dates back to April, means that the drug will be indicated in Europe for the treatment of Covid-19 in adults and adolescents ages 12 and older or weighing at least 40 kilograms, who have pneumonia that requires oxygen support.

"We appreciate the European Medicines Agency’s rapid review of remdesivir in recognition of the unprecedented nature of this pandemic," Dr. Merdad Parsey, chief medical officer for Gilead Sciences, said in the press release. "This conditional marketing authorization is an important step forward as we work together to address the treatment needs of patients across Europe."

Gilead noted in the release that the conditional marketing authorization is initially valid for one year but can be extended or converted into an unconditional authorization once additional data are submitted and assessed.

"Ongoing clinical trials continue to evaluate the safety and efficacy of remdesivir, including studies of remdesivir in combination with anti-inflammatory medicines and in special populations including pediatric patients," the press release said. "Research is also being conducted on new, investigational formulations of remdesivir that may enable studies of remdesivir in earlier stages of disease."

Remember: Previous research has shown separately that severely and moderately ill patients with pneumonia from Covid-19 who received a course of remdesivir were more likely to have clinical improvement after 11 days compared to those who received traditional standard of care alone, according to Gilead.

In the United States, remdesivir — currently administered intravenously through infusions  — is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections. Gilead originally studied remdesivir as a potential treatment for Ebola, but lab experiments suggested it might be active against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

 

9:14 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

5 American vacationers denied entry to Italy, per European Union's new border rules

From CNN's Valentina Di Donato and Sharon Braithwaite

Cagliari airport in Sardinia
Cagliari airport in Sardinia Shutterstock

Five Americans who flew by private jet to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia were refused entry to Italy on Wednesday due to new EU travel restrictions on countries with high coronavirus infection rates, police told CNN.

The private jet – which took off from Colorado with 11 would-be vacationers on board -- arrived in Cagliari airport on Wednesday morning, according to the Cagliari Police spokesperson.

Earlier this week, the European Union formally agreed a set of recommendations that allows travelers from outside the bloc to visit EU countries.

But the list of 14 countries did not include the United States, whose current Covid infection rate does not meet the criteria set by the EU for it to be considered a "safe country."

The five US citizens were traveling with friends from New Zealand, the UK, Germany and Italy. There were also three children on board.

Italian authorities tried to “find a solution” to the problem of the American travellers, the police spokesperson said, but there was no way around the new decree that came into effect Tuesday.

After around 14 hours on the ground, the whole group decided to leave Cagliari on their jet ‪ day and headed towards Birmingham, England, the police said.

 

9:29 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

Florida leads nation in average number of daily new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Matthew Hilk

A medical technologist processes coronavirus test samples at the AdventHealth Tampa labs on June 25 in Tampa, Florida.
A medical technologist processes coronavirus test samples at the AdventHealth Tampa labs on June 25 in Tampa, Florida. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Florida is now averaging more new reported Covid-19 cases per day than any other state, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Florida's seven-day moving average of new daily cases stood at 7,870 at the end of the day Thursday. California and Texas were not far behind. California is averaging 6,491 new cases reported each day, while the Texas average stands at 6,368.

The Sunshine State broke its all-time record for new cases reported in one day, with 10,109 reported Thursday. Only one other state has broken that daily record  — New York, in April.

In all, Florida has recorded 169,106 cases and 3,617 deaths, according to the JHU data.

Here's a look at how Florida's new cases have progressed over time:

9:43 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

Covid-19 cases are rising in at least 36 states as US heads into July 4 holiday weekend

From CNN's Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy

As Americans head into a holiday weekend in the shadow of a ravaging coronavirus pandemic, some governors are rethinking their stance on face coverings after days of record infections.

The US reported more than 52,000 new cases of the virus Thursday, a new daily record surpassing one set the previous day. At least 36 states are seeing a rise in cases compared to the previous week, with patients rapidly filling hospitals across the South and West.

California, Arizona, Texas and Florida all posted record new cases this week  — Florida reported more than 10,000 additional coronavirus cases Thursday while Texas had about 8,000.

Nearly two dozen states have paused their reopenings to combat the spread while others have taken extra measures to keep it out of their borders. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a travel advisory that requires people arriving from eight states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for two weeks.

Here's a look at where cases are rising across the country:

8:56 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

US surgeon's advice to Americans planning to attend July 4 gatherings: Wear a mask 

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams attends a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15 in Washington, DC.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams attends a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Friday didn't directly answer when pressed on whether he thinks people should attend large gatherings during Fourth of July celebrations, such as those hosted by President Trump in Washington, DC, and at Mount Rushmore. 

"It's not a yes or no. Every single person has to make up their own mind. There are gonna be people going to beaches, going to barbecues, going to different environments and they have to look at their individual risk," Adams said on NBC’s "Today." "As you mentioned, CDC says larger gatherings are a higher risk. You have to take that into account again with whether or not you're at risk, whether you live with someone who is vulnerable, and then you have to take measures to stay safe.” 

"The most important thing I would say to people is if you do go out to a gathering or in public, please, wear a face covering," Adams told NBC's Craig Melvin. 

Adams explained wearing a face covering will actually give people more freedom because it will allow more places to stay open. "We'll have less spread of the disease," he said. 

Adams said he’s not opposed to mask mandates: "I think the most important thing from a health communications point of view is helping people understand how they benefit and why they should do this." 

9:07 a.m. ET, July 3, 2020

Myrtle Beach approves face mask mandate through Labor Day 

From CNN's Tina Burnside

A sign pictured in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on June 18 advises people to maintain social distancing.
A sign pictured in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on June 18 advises people to maintain social distancing. Jeffrey Collins/AP

The Myrtle Beach City Council in South Carolina unanimously voted to enact a face mask ordinance ahead of the Fourth of July weekend as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb. 

Myrtle Beach city manager John Pedersen issued the executive order on Thursday, which requires residents and visitors to wear a cloth face mask at retail and food service establishments as well as in public spaces. 

Failure to wear a mask when required is a civil infraction with a fine of up to $100 upon conviction. The mask requirement is effective through Labor Day. 

The city joins other parts of the country that have enacted similar measures in an effort to curb Covid-19's spread.

Read more about the latest states requiring people to wear masks: