July 7 coronavirus news

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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. 

2:17 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Higher education advocates call for more coronavirus aid

From CNN's Haley Byrd

In this file photo, Chancellor Dr. Timothy White pauses during a California State University trustees meeting in Long Beach, California on November 17, 2015.
In this file photo, Chancellor Dr. Timothy White pauses during a California State University trustees meeting in Long Beach, California on November 17, 2015. Nick Ut/AP

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, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a face covering as he listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a face covering as he 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 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 World Health Organization (WHO) sign stands at their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sign stands at their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

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. 

2:04 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Airlines bookings start to tumble again as coronavirus cases spike

From CNN’s Chris Isidore

Airline travel is bouncing back — but so are American coronavirus cases. That spike could put the aviation rebound in reverse.

United Airlines presented sobering facts to employees Monday that bookings are tumbling as Covid cases soar. Also hurting travel demand: regulations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that mandate travelers from the pandemic's US hotspots quarantine themselves for 14 days. The Wall Street Journal first reported the memo.

Near-term bookings at United's hub in Newark were only 16% of 2019 bookings through July 1. Just a few weeks earlier, United's bookings were down "only" 33% from a year earlier. Although United would not release the details of the briefing being given to its employees this week, it confirmed the facts detailed in the Journal's report. 

Delta Air Lines confirmed to CNN that its booking trends in the New York area are similar to United's, although it did not release statistics.

Other airlines aren't commenting on their bookings. But other airlines' bookings are probably also falling as Covid-19 cases increase, said Philip Baggaley, chief credit analyst for airlines at Standard & Poor's.

"It certainly could be a jagged recovery," he said. "The initial surge in bookings, there was probably some pent-up demand in there. There's no doubt that the increase in [Covid-19] cases and quarantines throws a monkey wrench into it." 

He said travel to the New York area, as well as Florida, Texas and Arizona will be particularly hard hit.

Read more here.

1:59 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Jacksonville mayor to self-quarantine after being exposed to Covid-19

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Mayor of Jacksonville Lenny Curry speaks during a luncheon at Florida State University on January 7, 2019.
Mayor of Jacksonville Lenny Curry speaks during a luncheon at Florida State University on January 7, 2019.  Tori Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat/USA Today

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was notified this past Sunday that he had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19 last week, according to Jacksonville Director of Public Affairs Nikki Kimbleton.

Curry was immediately screened for the virus and tested negative, Kimbleton tells CNN.

“He and his family are in self quarantine in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for the safety of their friends, family and neighbors,” Kimbleton said.
1:47 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

One of the first games in MLS's return tournament postponed after players get Covid-19

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Nashville SC fans cheer before the game against Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on February 29.
Nashville SC fans cheer before the game against Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on February 29. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Major League Soccer's MLS is Back Tournament match between Nashville SC and Chicago Fire FC has been postponed, the league announced in a statement Tuesday.

Five Nashville players have tested positive for coronavirus since arriving in Orlando, Florida, last week. Two players received positive results last weekend and the other three received positive results Monday night.

Four other players have received test results that were inconclusive and require more testing.

The two clubs were scheduled to play Wednesday as the league kicks off the season-starting tournament at Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida. The now-postponed game was scheduled to be one of two matches played on the first day of the tournament, according to the league''s official lineup.

The league will evaluate the Nashville SC's participation in the tournament after the results of additional testing. Further details regarding when this match will be played will be announced at a later date.

On Monday, MLS withdrew FC Dallas from the tournament after 10 players and one staff member tested positive for the virus. The MLS Players Association acknowledged the complex nature of hosting a tournament during the pandemic.  

In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, the union wrote, "The removal of FC Dallas from competition in Orlando is a reminder of how difficult the circumstances involving returning to work remain across all sports amidst this pandemic."

CNN has asked the MLSPA for comment following the Nashville SC news.

1:42 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Mexico's Covid-19 cases and deaths have nearly tripled since new reopening measures

From CNN's Natalie Gallón and Tatiana Arias

A man digs graves in the Xico-Chalco Civil Pantheon, State of Mexico, on June 26.
A man digs graves in the Xico-Chalco Civil Pantheon, State of Mexico, on June 26. Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Since Mexico entered its "new normal" phase of reopening on June 1, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths have almost tripled in the country.

According to official data tallied by CNN, the number of coronavirus cases in Mexico have risen by 180% since June 1, and the number of deaths have also increased by 206% during the same period of time.

On June 1, Mexico entered the new Covid-19 phase, reopening certain sectors of the economy under what they deemed the “new normal.” Meanwhile, the country reported 93,435 cases and 10,167 deaths that day. 

On July 6, Mexico reported 261,750 cases of coronavirus and 31,119 virus-related deaths, according to official data.