July 7 coronavirus news

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3:04 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

California's coronavirus hospitalizations remain at all-time high

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Coronavirus hospitalizations in California are reaching new levels, with nearly 6,000 Covid-19 patients.

This is a 3.4% one-day increase as almost 200 more patients were admitted. There are also a record number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units, according to data from California Department of Public Health.

CDPH is recording at least 6,448 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, adding 111 fatalities in today’s report.

The positivity rate in California over the past two weeks stands at 6.8% with about 4.9 million tests conducted to date.

NOTE: These numbers were released by the California Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

2:53 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Top US health expert doesn't expect a coronavirus vaccine federal mandate in the US 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30. Al Drago/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said he doesn’t anticipate a federal coronavirus vaccine mandate in the United States. 

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a situation where you mandated for the general population,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director told Alabama Sen. Doug Jones during a Facebook Live discussion on Tuesday.

Fauci gave an example during the flu season, the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center administration mandates he get a flu shot in order to see his patients, but he said that’s different than a national or federal mandate.

“That has not happened ever — to my knowledge — at a national level or even at a state level,” he said. 

"I don't see it on a national level, merely because of all the situations you have encroaching upon a person's freedom to make their own choice of their own health,” Fauci added. 

2:52 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Mask mandate to go into effect in 7 Ohio counties Wednesday, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

The Ohio Department of Health will be issuing an order effective 6 p.m. tomorrow night that people must wear a mask in public in seven counties, Gov. Mike DeWine said. 

“Primarily this will be when they are in a public place, inside, a restaurant a bar, jewelry store, some other place in public,” he said. 

The order will be effective so long as the county remains at a red level, or purple level.

Red indicates level three risk – very high exposure and spread. Purple indicates level four rise – severe exposure and spread. 

While this is aimed at a specific seven counties, the governor encourages people in other counties to wear a mask as well so their cases do not rise, though it is not required.

Masks will be required to be worn:

  • When they are in any indoor location that is not a residence.
  • When they are outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from people that are not members of their household.
  • While they are waiting for, riding or driving public transportation or car services, such as ride shares.

This does not apply to children under the age of 10 or others who cannot safely wear a face covering. The order extends previously exceptions in existence in regard to the requirement that people wear a mask while at work.

2:50 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations in Ohio are up, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine walks into his daily coronavirus news conference at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio on April 16.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine walks into his daily coronavirus news conference at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio on April 16. Doral Chenoweth/Columbus Dispatch/ZUMA Wire

Ohio reported 948 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours — a number that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says is “down a little bit” from where it’s been “but certainly is up significantly from where it was three weeks ago.”

That is above the 21-day average of 804 which continues to increase “as these numbers continue to go up,” he said at a news conference Tuesday. 

The deaths are up over the average, with 43 reported in the last 24 hours, DeWine said 

Hospitalizations are “significantly up” with a report of 134 in the last 24 hours “as well as the ICU admissions,” he said. 

Hospital admissions are “creeping up,” he said, adding that is “obviously of some …concern.”

Some context: Ohio is one of at least 31 states that have showed an upward trend in average new daily cases, CNN reported. 

2:40 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

GOP Senate leader says he disagrees with Trump rally attendees not wearing masks

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Lauren Fox

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, takes the elevator in the Hart Building in the Capitol in Washington, DC on July 1.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, takes the elevator in the Hart Building in the Capitol in Washington, DC on July 1. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today he disagrees with how most recent Trump rally attendees opted not to wear face masks.

Asked during a press conference about his reaction Trump rally attendees largely not wearing masks, McConnell replied, “I disagree with that,” and again reiterated the importance of facial coverings during the coronavirus pandemic. 

McConnell has repeatedly encouraged mask-wearing in recent months.

2:36 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Trump "will talk about coronavirus" while in Florida, Kellyanne Conway says

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, talks to reporters outside the White House West Wing in Washington, DC on July 07.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, talks to reporters outside the White House West Wing in Washington, DC on July 07. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway said that just because President Trump’s upcoming visit to Florida isn’t about coronavirus, “it doesn’t mean he won’t be asked about it,” she told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the White House Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the North Lawn, Conway said she was “sure he’ll talk about it.”

“He’ll talk about coronavirus,” she said, but the administration has a “important message for the world” on drug trafficking.

“We are doing everything we can under tough circumstances,” she said.

Pressed on why the President is making the trip, despite the fact that more than a dozen secret service agents have gotten Covid-19 after recent trips by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Conway called the two men the “most essential workers” in the United States.

“He and the Vice President are the two most essential workers in the county so they are tested regularly,” she said. Members of the administration would be “in a little bit of a bubble” while they are at the event, which takes place at US Southern Command.

The latest numbers: Florida is reporting a new 24-hour coronavirus total case count of at least 7,347, according to the Florida Department of Health. This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to approximately 213,794.

2:31 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Vermont creates task force to oversee reopening of state's universities

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott speaks during a press conference in Montpelier, Vermont on March 13.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott speaks during a press conference in Montpelier, Vermont on March 13. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur/The Times Argus/AP

Vermont has created a task force to oversee the reopening of higher education facilities led by Rich Schneider, the recently retired president of Norwich University, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday in a news conference.

Schneider said that the state's universities have collectively agreed to a contract for all students, faculty and staff on campus at universities and colleges in the state that requires them to sign a pledge verifying their honesty when reporting their health and agreeing to practice physical distancing, wear masks/face coverings and wash their hands frequently.

Schools that are welcoming students back in the fall will require everyone  — students and staff  — to be tested upon arrival and have another test one week later.

Any subsequent routine testing will be at the discretion of each university. Any student violating the policy will be subject to discipline, including being dismissed from their college or university. Any faculty or staff found in violation will face up to and including termination.

From a legal standpoint, Schneider said liability for anyone who gets sick had not been a broached subject. He did say, though, that "if someone wants to sue you, they're going to sue you."

Most Vermont schools holding in-person instruction in the fall will send students home for Thanksgiving break to mark the end of the semester, so as not to have students traveling back and forth within a week and potentially become infected with and/or spread the virus.

The state's health commissioner, Dr. Mark Levine, said in today's news conference that deaths remain stable in the state at 56, and cases in the state have remained stable overall, with small ups and downs that Vermont residents should consider to be a new normal.

2:27 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

US education secretary says schools must reopen in the fall

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on May 19.
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on May 19. Alex Wong/Getty Images

On a call with Vice President Pence and the nation’s governors, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made it clear that it was the administration’s position that schools must fully reopen in the fall.

DeVos hammered a plan from Fairfax County in Virginia as an example of what local districts should not do, and went on to say that local leaders should look at the data and “weigh the risk” of opening.

“Here in the DC area, Fairfax County, one of the wealthiest districts in this region, with a $3 billion budget has offered families a ‘so-called’ choice in the fall of zero days in school or two days. Their attempt at distance learning this spring was a disaster," she said.

DeVos said "a couple of hours of week of online school is not okay."

"So this can't happen again this fall," she said, saying such a plan would fail students" and "would fail taxpayers who are paying high taxes for education."

"Ultimately, it's not a matter of if it needs to open, it's a matter of how and they must be fully operational and how that happens is best left to education and community leaders," she added.

2:24 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Additional resources being sent to Miami hospital to help with Covid surge, governor says

From CNN’s Angela Barajas

Patients and medical professionals enter and exit the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on May 16, 2014.
Patients and medical professionals enter and exit the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on May 16, 2014. Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

At a news conference in Miami this afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced 100 nurses will be sent to Jackson Health Memorial Hospital to help with coronavirus surge.

He also said an additional 47 beds will be sent to Jackson Health's nursing facilities, making a total of 227 beds available.

The hospital, located in Miami, currently has at least 345 Covid-19 patients with 25% of them in intensive care unit. About 20% of the current inpatients are under 50 years old, according to a Jackson Health executive. 

The state has yet to release current hospitalization data it previously promised to deliver, deflecting repeated questions by reporters. According to DeSantis, 25% of beds are currently available statewide. 

Reopening in the county: Hours after considering an emergency order to roll back the reopening, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez said that until the county didn't drop to 5% Covid-19 positivity rate, businesses would have to roll back on the reopening.

Restaurant dining will now only be allowed outdoors, but gyms will remain open.