States with surges should return to "phase one" guidelines, Birx says
From CNN's Kevin Liptak
People living in states with coronavirus surges should return to the White House's original "phase one" recommendations on gatherings, Dr. Deborah Birx said on Wednesday.
Citing guidelines like wearing face masks and avoiding bars and indoor events, Birx said those steps should be resumed in order to bring cases back under control.
She said they are "asking the American people in those counties and in those states to not only use those face coverings, not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes either. And decreasing those gatherings back down to our phase one recommendation, which was 10 or less."
Birx touted the importance of mask-wearing and said "any kind of indoor gathering" should be avoided in places experiencing a spike in cases.
President Trump has repeatedly said the economy should not be shut down again, even as cases increase.
12:20 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Pence says new CDC school guidelines coming next week: "It's time" to get kids back to school
From CNN's Sam Fossum
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue new guidance on reopening schools next week after President Trump dismissed their current recommendations as “very tough & expensive."
Speaking at a briefing by the White House coronavirus task force, Vice President Mike Pence said the new guidance would be "part of a five-part series of recommendations that will give all new tools to our schools."
"We’re absolutely determined to work in partnership with our states to give the guidance for states and communities to be able to safely reopen our schools," Pence said.
Still, he repeated a statement made a day earlier by the CDC's director that the agency's guidelines should not act as a barrier to reopening schools.
"We’re here to help," Pence said. "We don't want federal guidance to be a substitute for state and local laws and rules and guidance. We’re here to assist with the shared objective, which I think is shared by every parent in America, which is we want to get our kids back. We want to get them back in the classroom."
"As the President made clear yesterday it's time. It's time for us to get our kids back to school," Pence said.
Some context: Earlier Wednesday, Trump accused the CDC of producing “very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” saying he disagreed with the health agency’s recommendations.
“While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things,” Trump wrote. “I will be meeting with them!!!”
12:14 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Pence says medical personnel are being sent to states with surging cases
Vice President Mike Pence said the White House coronavirus task force is focusing their efforts in states where half of the new cases have arisen, including Arizona, Florida and California. Pence said governors have described a need for personnel.
"Over the last week, working through FEMA, the Department of Defense and HHS, we've been processing requests to deploy over 1,070 doctors and nurses and medical personnel. At this point, roughly 525 doctors and nurses are on the ground in Arizona, California and Texas and we are processing a request from Florida for an additional amount," Pence said.
Pence is holding a briefing alongside Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator; Brett Giroir, assistant Secretary for Health; Robert Redfield, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary; and Betsy DeVos, Education secretary. Those in attendance are wearing masks.
Pence, who took off his mask to speak, is making comments now.
11:58 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020
More than 3 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the US
The US has the most cases of coronavirus of any country in the world. Brazil — which has more than 1.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins' tally — is the second most impacted country. India had the third most cases, with more than 700,000.
12:38 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Hialeah, Florida, mayor: There needs to be a united message “from the top to the bottom”
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
“Mixed messages” are confusing people and leading to the spread of coronavirus in Florida, says Carlos Hernandez, the mayor of Hialeah, a city in Miami-Dade County.
“That's making it very difficult at the city levels because people are getting different messages from the federal government, state government — even here at the county, we're getting mixed messages,” Herandez said.
“We have to have one message come from the top to the bottom,” he said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
The Republican mayor said the lack of contact tracing is “not acceptable.” He said he is not aware of any contact tracing being done in his city by state officials.
“This is something that if we don't unite and if we don't all take care of each other, again, we’re going to find ourselves in a very critical situation very soon in south Florida,” he said.
11:51 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020
New York will make a decision in August on schools reopening, governor says
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today laid out the timeline for how the state will make the decisions about reopening schools in the fall.
School districts will submit their plans for reopening by the end of the month, the governor said during a coronavirus briefing today. After that, Cuomo said, the state will "look at the data in that first week" of August and "we'll make a decision" on reopening schools.
Cuomo said that the state "will open the schools if it's safe."
11:48 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Travelers from 19 states must quarantine if they travel to Northeastern states
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is adding three new states to its quarantine list: Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma.
That means that travelers from 19 states are required to quarantine for two weeks after they enter New York, Cuomo said. New Jersey and Connecticut are also requiring travelers from those 19 states to quarantine.
After touting low hospitalization and intubation rates in the state, Cuomo said he also had some "bad news" to share.
"Bad news is everything around us, frankly," Cuomo said, noting that a virus "anywhere" means it's a threat everywhere.
Cuomo said that people flying to New York from the 19 states on the quarantine list will be given a form on their flights asking them to report where they're coming from, where they're staying and informing them of the need to quarantine.
11:39 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020
New Jersey will require face coverings outdoors when social distancing isn't possible
From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph
New Jersey will require people to wear face coverings while outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible, Gov. Phil Murphy said on MSNBC this morning.
“You’re going to at least get a warning if not something stronger,” he said.
“Admittedly this is going to be harder to enforce, which is why it’s not a no-brainer, but we have to take this step particularly seeing the hotspots that we’re seeing elsewhere in the country. We’ve gone through hell in New Jersey. We’ve lost over 13,000 people, we’ve brought our numbers way down, we can’t go through that hell again,” he continued.
Murphy is expected to announce an executive order outlining the outdoor face covering policy during his 1:00 p.m. ET news conference, his office told CNN.
Read more about the states requiring people to wear masks when out in public here.
11:33 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Phoenix faces a "huge testing shortage," mayor says
From CNN's Aditi Sangal
As coronavirus cases in Arizona continue to surge, Mayor Kate Gallego says Phoenix is facing “a huge testing shortage.”
“People have been in line for eight hours in a hot car while they ache, waiting for a test," she said. "We are five months in in the United States of America. People who want a test should not have to wait that long."
Gallego says there is a need for low-barrier testing. She requested the federal government and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for mass testing sites in Phoenix, but that request has been denied.
“I believe a testing surge could help us with a backlog, and we also need help processing those tests. People are having to wait more than a week to get results. It is critical health information that they need to live their daily lives, she said. “We need our federal government to partner with us. I am taking any city resources we can and putting them towards testing. We have librarians and parks workers who are helping with testing, but their force and efficacy could be magnified if we had specialized medical experts who know about testing.”
William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor, claimed that Arizona is implementing a crisis standard of care, which means, “if you're old, you get sent home without care and you die.”
“Unfortunately, our medical professionals don't have the resources they need and so they are being asked to make difficult decisions,” Gallego said, responding to Haseltine’s comments. She emphasized that people experiencing emergency conditions such as a heart attack should still go to the emergency room and that they will receive care.
“There is the ability to care for individuals, but we are not meeting the standards of care in all cases that we want. We've been very stretched with intensive care beds,” she explained.
Medical professionals are exhausted and asking for reinforcements, while warning that “the worst is yet to come,” Gallego says.