July 4 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Brett McKeehan, Laura Smith-Spark and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:48 AM ET, Sun July 5, 2020
23 Posts
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9:16 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

President Trump signs extension for small business loan program

From CNN's Sarah Westwood 

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump this morning signed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program into law, according to the White House.

The House unanimously passed the extension less than a day after the program shuttered, and PPP will now remain open to applications through August 8.

About the program: Congress created the program to help small businesses keep employees on their payrolls amid nationwide closures. The program was designed to offer small business loans to bridge the shutdowns and help businesses keep employees in their jobs — and in turn, the loans taken out would be forgiven, essentially shifting into a grant.

More than 4.8 million small business owners have utilized the program, which was designed as a bridge for companies to maintain their payrolls through the worst of the pandemic.

8:42 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

How to stay safe at the pool or beach this holiday weekend

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

People gather at the beach on July 3 in Huntington Beach, California.
People gather at the beach on July 3 in Huntington Beach, California. Michael Heiman/Getty Images

It's July Fourth and the summer heat can be brutal. What's better than splaying out on the beach or cannonballing into the pool?

Since risk of coronavirus 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.

Here are some tips for enjoying the water this holiday weekend:

  • 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.
8:26 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Japan reports more than 200 daily coronavirus cases for the first time in two months 

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo 

Japan's Health Ministry reported at least 249 new coronavirus infections and one death today, marking the first time the country is reporting more than 200 cases since May 3. 

This brought the national total to at least 19,994 — including 19,282 on land and 712 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — and brought the death toll to at least 990,

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike urged residents Saturday to refrain from making unnecessarily trips outside of Tokyo in order to contain the spread of the virus. 

8:21 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

It's the Fourth of July. Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic.

Americans are marking the Fourth of July today — but government officials health experts are urging people top stay home for the holiday weekend.

Here's what we know about the pandemic as the US celebrates:

  • Summer festivities on pause: As Covid-19 cases surge, beaches in Miami and Los Angeles are closed and tubing in Texas rivers has been banned. Some July Fourth celebrations in cities across the US are happening mostly on live streams.
  • No social distancing at Trump event: President Trump spoke at a holiday event at Mount Rushmore last night. Attendees clustered together in stadium seating for hours before Trump arrived, and people at the top of the amphitheater sat in rows of folding chairs that were tied together with zip ties — preventing any social distancing.
  • Many states require masks: Mask mandates for Texas and Kansas went into effect Friday, which means 19 states and Washington, DC, now have such requirements.
  • Where cases are increasing: As of this morning, coronavirus cases are rising in 37 states. California, Arizona, Texas and Florida all posted record numbers of new infections this week. Here's a look at where cases are increasing across the US:

7:56 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Lockdown ordered for 200,000 in northeastern Spain due to Covid-19 outbreaks

From CNN's Al Goodman in Madrid and Tim Lister in London

Authorities ordered a new lockdown Saturday for some 200,000 people in Lleida province, in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, due to Covid-19 outbreaks there -- the first confinement order since the nation’s state of emergency was lifted on June 21.

“We’ve decided to implement perimeter controls around Segrià (county) in response to data that confirm significant growth in the number of Covid-19 cases,” Catalan regional president Quim Torra announced at a press conference.

The confinement started at midday Saturday and includes the provincial capital of Lleida. It will be enforced by 24 police checkpoints around the county’s perimeter, preventing movement in and out, except for work or to care for people with special needs, two Catalan government spokesmen told CNN. 

For the past few weeks, medical personnel have been trying to control various coronavirus outbreaks in the county, involving seasonal farm workers at agricultural enterprises, and also at a senior care facility and a small hotel that cares for the homeless.

Spain has tallied more than 28,000 deaths and 250,000 cases from the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe. But nationwide confinement for three-and-a-half months slowed the pace of the virus' spread. The Spanish government handed back control to Spain’s 17 regional governments when it lifted the state of emergency on June 21.

Since then, officials have reported some 50 outbreaks of new cases nationwide, localized around businesses, care facilities, and even parties. But none has reached the level of the Segrià county situation.

Residents will be able to move around within the county for essential business, but social gatherings in public will be limited to 10 people, the Catalan government said.

5:30 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

A 24-year-old Covid-19 survivor is celebrating a different kind of independence this July Fourth

From CNN's Dakin Andone

Shakell Avery speaks with members of the press.
Shakell Avery speaks with members of the press. Courtesy HCA Midwest Health, Menorah Medical Center

On Saturday, as people across the United States celebrate America's independence, Shakell Avery will celebrate a different kind of freedom.

Freedom from Covid-19.

"It feels amazing," Avery told CNN. "After knowing what all I've been through, it's still kind of hard to wrap my mind around. But I'm very thankful and grateful that I'm still here."

Avery, who turns 24 on July 4, recently returned home after spending 76 days in a Kansas hospital -- many of them sedated and on a ventilator -- battling the novel coronavirus.

"I'm going to be at home, safe and sound with my family," said Avery, a barber from Kansas City, Missouri, when asked how he would celebrate his birthday and Independence Day. "There will be plenty of other birthdays, I'm sure, down the line where I can make up for this one."

For now, Avery is focused on sharing his journey with other people his age and warning them to take the coronavirus seriously, as cases in the US rise among young people.

"You're just as at risk as anybody else," Avery said. "You can be the healthiest person on Earth, and you still risk your life every time you carelessly go out here and act like it's not real."

Read more here.

7:22 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Tokyo governor urges residents to stay in the city as Japan cases spike

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks during a press conference on July 2 in Tokyo.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks during a press conference on July 2 in Tokyo. STR/JIJI Press/AFP/Getty Images

Japan recorded 249 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the Health Ministry said Saturday, marking the first time in just over two months that the total has surpassed 200.

Cases in the capital, Tokyo, made up half of the new infections confirmed Friday.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike urged residents Saturday to refrain from making unnecessary trips outside of Tokyo in order to limit the spread of the virus.

There was also one death confirmed Friday, the health ministry said. This brings the total number of cases nationally to 19,994 (19,282 on land and 712 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship) and the death toll to 990, of which 13 were on the cruise ship.

6:18 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

England has one of the world's worst Covid death rates. Now many fear it may drink itself into chaos

From CNN's Joe Minihane

A member of staff at a pub in north London cleans the bar on June 24 in preparation for pubs to reopen.
A member of staff at a pub in north London cleans the bar on June 24 in preparation for pubs to reopen. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

The thought of a pint of beer in a proper pub is a dream that has sustained many people in the UK through the tough months of coronavirus lockdown, but as the doors to drinking establishments finally reopen -- in England at least -- on Saturday, a potential nightmare looms.

Just over a week after thousands of British people flouted social-distancing rules to crowd beaches in a heatwave, it's feared the heady mix of alcohol and a sense of liberation from restrictions, at a time when daily infections are still in the hundreds, could prove disastrous.

Extra police have been put on standby, warnings have been issued by the government and numerous guidelines put in place. But concerns still remain that, no matter how committed people are to keeping coronavirus at bay, after a few drinks that will all go out of the window.

In the days before July 4, English drinkers could be forgiven for looking ahead to a day of carefree celebration. Amid announcements of several new freedoms, newspapers called it "Independence Day" or "Super Saturday" while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was a "patriotic duty" to go to the pub.

Of course, going to the pub isn't going to be the same breezy experience as it was before the pandemic. As with everything in this brave new world, there are rules. Forty-six pages of them, to be precise. Those inevitably mean confusion, and potential for further chaos.

Read more here.

8:16 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Hospitals in two Texas counties reach capacity; judges urge residents to avoid gatherings

From CNN's Alta Spells

Hospitals in at least two Texas counties are at full capacity heading into July 4, according to county judges who are urging residents to shelter-in-place and take precautions.

Judges in both Starr and Hidalgo counties sent out emergency alerts Friday, warning residents that local hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at capacity. 

In Starr County, Judge Eloy Vera said there had been 18 deaths in the county due to Covid-19 and that two severely ill patients had to be flown out of the area for treatment. One of the patients was taken to San Antonio and the other to Dallas, the judge said in a post on Facebook.

"The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available. I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and AVOID GATHERINGS."

Vera issued a public safety alert announcing a "Level 1 Severe" threat, due to the virus spreading rapidly across the county.

In neighboring Hidalgo County, Judge Richard Cortez echoed the warning.

In a public safety alert posted on Twitter, he announced that hospitals were at capacity and asked residents to shelter-in-place, avoid large gatherings, wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

Cortez called on residents to celebrate July 4 "responsibly," adding that to conserve resources, they should only call 911 "if absolutely necessary."