Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations in Ohio are up, governor says
From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
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 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.
Trump "will talk about coronavirus" while in Florida, Kellyanne Conway says
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
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 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
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
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.
2:17 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Higher education advocates call for more coronavirus aid
From CNN's Haley Byrd
Higher education advocates on Tuesday called for Congress to approve federal aid in another round of coronavirus relief to help colleges and universities avoid state budget cuts in the upcoming academic year.
Timothy White, chancellor of the California State University, said California’s planned budget cuts for higher education could be reversed if Congress acts.
“We think it’s a very vital role for the federal government to play here,” he said, adding that federal dollars would “make a huge difference” for students.
Scott Pulsipher, the president of the online Western Governors University, said “the costs of adapting are quite large and great” for traditional colleges and universities, which are investing in cleaning and other safety precautions during the pandemic.
During the virtual House Education and Labor subcommittee hearing, American Educational Research Association president Shaun Harper said that he hopes “Congress will pay particular attention in its investments to ensuring that those institutions don’t have a steep hill to climb in their recovery.”
“Higher education is a public good that benefits the entirety of our nation and our nation’s position in a global economy. Therefore, federal investment into higher education is really an investment into the economic security, the homeland security, and the viability of the United States,” he said.
2:09 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Fauci favors a mask mandate, but not on a federal level
From CNN's Amanda Watts
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said he is “strongly in favor of mandating things,” such as masks, but he doesn’t want to see it done on a federal level.
“I don't like to be authoritarian, from the federal government, but at the local level, if governors and others essentially mandate the use of masks when you have an outbreak, I think that would be very important,” Fauci told Alabama Sen. Doug Jones during a Facebook live on his page on Tuesday.
Fauci also addressed the need to wear a mask correctly by covering both your nose and mouth.
“The mask is for both inhaling through the nose and the mouth. To cover your mouth and not your nose, you're leaving open a vulnerable part,” he said.
Essentially, “you've taken away 50% of your protection,” Fauci added.
He reiterated his stance on bars being the “perfect setup for the spread of infection.”
“So simple things, fundamental things, like masking, distancing, washing hands, closing bars – if you do that, I think it will be a giant step towards interfering with the spread in your community,” Fauci said.
Read about the US states requiring people to wear masks when out in public here.
2:05 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Trump administration informs Congress the US is withdrawing from WHO
From CNN's Sara Murray, Kylie Atwood, Zachary Cohen and Vivian Salama
The Trump administration has notified Congress that it is formally withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization amid the coronavirus pandemic, multiple officials tell CNN.
Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted about the development as well. "Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic," he tweeted.
A source briefed on the letter told CNN that the letter was very short, around three sentences, and confirmed it will trigger a one-year withdrawal timeline, but cautioned that they cannot confirm it was the final version.
Still, the letter indicates that the administration intends to move forward with its plan to withdraw from WHO after members of the GOP China task force urged President Trump last month to reconsider his decision to terminate relations with the international body, arguing the US can do more to affect change as a member.
Trump initially announced his intention to withdraw from WHO in May and has consistently accused the organization of aiding China in covering up the origins of the virus.