July 6 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Tara John, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:10 a.m. ET, July 7, 2020
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1:55 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Coronavirus can float and transmit in air droplets, experts say

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Lines of cars wait at a drive-through coronavirus testing site, on Sunday, July 5, outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Lines of cars wait at a drive-through coronavirus testing site, on Sunday, July 5, outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Wilfredo Lee/AP

Coronavirus can float in air droplets and is likely transmitting that way, according to a group of international experts.

The group is planning to publish an open letter on Monday to the World Health Organization and other health agencies, asking them to be more forthright in explaining how the virus can transmit in the air.

The letter is signed by 239 scientists from around the world.

It’s not a secret; health experts and countries around the world, like Japan, have warned for months that the virus transmits in close contact in crowded spaces with poor ventilation due to how it travels through droplets.

But agencies seem to be afraid to talk about the airborne nature of the virus, said Donald Milton, one of the authors and a professor at the University of Maryland.

“The airborne transmission word seems to be loaded,” Milton told CNN on Sunday. “I guess we are hoping that WHO will come around and be more willing to acknowledge the important roles of aerosols, whether they want to call it airborne transmission or not.”

What airborne transmission means: The virus is carried on droplets that come out of people’s mouths and noses, and the sizes of those droplets vary. 

Large droplets fall onto surfaces rapidly and can be picked up on fingers and carried to the eyes, nose or mouth. Smaller droplets can stay in the air longer, and can be inhaled more deeply into the lungs.

We still don't clearly understand how important droplet size is to coronavirus transmission, Milton said -- but studies show it’s a factor.

A loud bar, where people must shout to be heard, is a perfect storm of close contact, poor air circulation and people generating a lot of virus-carrying particles by talking, laughing and bellowing.

What we can do about it: Milton said the best way to protect against fine aerosols is to use an N-95 respirator or higher – something in scarce supply in many places.

But there are others ways, too, including improved ventilation, as well as distancing and mask use. That’s information the average person can use and act on.

“I am very much concerned about the general public and schools and ventilation in school buildings and in dorms on college campuses and in bars and in churches and where people sing and where people congregate,” he said.

8:12 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

As Florida sets records for Covid-19 cases, health authorities often fail to do contact tracing

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Dana Vigue

When Shaila Rivera and her new husband returned home from their honeymoon and tested positive for Covid-19, they expected a phone call from their local health authorities in Florida asking for a list of people they'd been near so that contact tracing could begin.

The Riveras waited for that phone call. And waited. And waited. But the call never came.

"I was shocked," said Rivera, a nurse who has since recovered from her bout with the virus.

Despite claims that Florida traces every case of Covid-19, a CNN investigation found that health authorities in Florida, now the nation's No. 1 hotspot for the virus, often fail to do contact tracing, long considered a key tool in containing an outbreak.

Florida recorded the nation's highest single-day jump of new cases on Saturday, with a total of 11,458, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On Sunday, the state surpassed 200,000 Covid-19 cases.

Florida's contact tracing challenges are indicative of how hard it is for states hard hit by Covid-19 to do proper contact tracing, which is a challenge even under the best of circumstances. The virus is so far along in states like Florida that it's a seemingly Herculean task to track down every infected person and follow up with all their close contacts.

CNN spoke with 27 Floridians, or their family members, who'd tested positive for Covid-19. Of those, only five said they had received a call from health authorities asking for their contacts.

Read the full investigation here:

1:25 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

121 University of Washington students test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Hollie Silverman and Susannah Cullinane

At the University of Washington in Seattle, 121 students have tested positive for Covid-19, as part of a fraternity house cluster, the university said Sunday.

Of those cases, 112 students were residents in the Greek Row section north of the campus.

Students who tested positive but are not residents of those houses are close contacts of the residents, according to a news release from the university.

On July 3, the Interfraternity Council, a student-led governing board for UW fraternities, reported that at least 117 residents living in 15 fraternity houses self-reported positive tests, the release said.

There are about 1,000 students living in 25 fraternity houses located in the neighborhood.

8:13 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Brazil tops 1.6 million coronavirus cases, nears 65,000 deaths

From CNN's Marcia Reverdosa in São Paulo

People wearing face masks enjoy the weather at Botafogo Cove, as the Christ the Redeemer statue is seen in the distance, on July 5, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
People wearing face masks enjoy the weather at Botafogo Cove, as the Christ the Redeemer statue is seen in the distance, on July 5, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Brazil's health ministry recorded 26,051 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the country's total to 1,603,055 confirmed cases.

Brazil also reported 602 new related deaths, bringing the death toll to 64,867.

The new figures come as Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, prepares to reopen bars, restaurants, beauty salons, and barbershops on Monday, and as Rio de Janeiro opened its bars and restaurants over the weekend.

Street shops and shopping malls in Sao Paulo will also be open for six hours starting Monday, after having operating four hours a day since they reopened on June 11.

1:25 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Four top Bolivian officials, including health minister, test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Taylor Barnes and Chandler Thornton in Atlanta

Four top Bolivian government officials, including the health minister, have tested positive for Covid-19 within days of each other.

  • On Sunday, a statement from the health ministry announced that Health Minister María Eidy Roca had tested positive and was in stable condition.
  • Also on Sunday, officials announced that Minister of the Presidency Yerko Nunez Negrette had been hospitalized and was receiving treatment for coronavirus.
  • On Saturday, Minister of Mines Jorge Fernando Oropeza was also confirmed to have tested positive.
  • On June 27, the previous Saturday, the official Bolivian Information Agency confirmed that Gen. Sergio Orellana, the commander of the armed forces, had tested positive and was hospitalized.

As of Sunday night, Bolivia has 38,071 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,378 virus-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.  

1:24 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

More than 30,000 people in Mexico have died from coronavirus

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Mexico's health ministry reported 4,683 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the nationwide total to 256,848 confirmed cases.

The ministry also reported 273 new related deaths, raising the coronavirus death toll to 30,639. Mexico now has the fifth highest number of coronavirus deaths globally.

Saturday saw Mexico's highest daily jump in new cases so far. This comes just after some parts of the country began reopening measures last week.

1:24 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Broadway actor Nick Cordero dies after battling Covid-19 for months

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Nick Cordero, a Broadway actor who had admirers across the world rallying for his recovery, has died after a battle with Covid-19, according to his wife, Amanda Kloots.

He was 41.

"God has another angel in heaven now," Kloots posted on her official Instagram account Sunday night. "My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth."

Kloots has been regularly updating her social media accounts with news of her husband's ups and downs as he battled the virus and complications, including an amputated leg. She said Cordero battled the disease for 95 days.

Born in Canada, Cordero grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, and eventually made his way to the Big Apple.

In 2014 he was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award his role in "Bullets Over Broadway," a role that earned him a Theatre World Award and Outer Critics Circle Award.

Cordero originated the role of the husband, Earl, in the Broadway production of "Waitress," as well as the role of Sonny in the musical version of Chazz Palminteri's "A Bronx Tale."

Read more here:

1:23 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Australian state closes borders and orders lockdowns as coronavirus cases rise

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney and Hilary Whiteman in Brisbane

The Australian state of Victoria, which has seen its coronavirus cases spike this past week, is effectively cutting itself off from the rest of the country.

Victorian authorities announced today they will close the border with neighboring state New South Wales starting tomorrow night local time.

This comes after a man in his 90s died of coronavirus in a hospital in Victoria on Sunday, bringing the state's death toll to 21, said State Premier Daniel Andrews today. There have been 105 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide.

Lockdowns and mass testing: On Saturday, Andrews placed 3,000 people in nine public housing towers in Melbourne under "hard lockdown." The residents would not be allowed to leave their homes for any reason, and will all be tested.

Authorities have provided meals and other essentials for the residents, Andrews said.

A total of 398 tests have been conducted so far in the towers, of which 53 cases have been found positive. Further mass testing statewide identified 127 new cases in Victoria by Sunday.

“If you literally are going to test everybody, you are going to find more cases, is what we are trying to achieve,” Andrews said. “When you’re invited to take a test…the only answer should be yes.” 

He added that his government was worried about the “vast numbers of people (in the towers) with underlying health conditions infected by this virus” and the “tragic outcomes that would come with that.”