Another 1.3 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week
From CNN's Tami Luhby
Another 1.3 million people filed first-time jobless claims last week in the US, according to the Department of Labor. That's down 10,000 from the prior week's revised level.
Weekly first-time unemployment applications have been on the decline for more than three months since their peak in the last week of March.
Continued claims, which count workers who have filed claims for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 17.3 million for the week ending July 4, down 422,000 from the prior week. These claims peaked in May at nearly 25 million.
8:50 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
At least 39 US states are reporting increasing coronavirus cases
At least 39 states reported an increase in the number of new cases from the week before.
Just two states — Delaware and Maine — are reporting a decrease in cases. The other nine states are seeing steady week-to-week cases.
Here's a look at where cases are rising and falling across the US:
8:57 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
Some horse racing canceled in San Diego after 15 jockeys test positive for Covid-19
From CNN's Stella Chan
This weekend’s races at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) in California's San Diego County have been called off after 15 jockeys tested positive for coronavirus.
The jockeys were asymptomatic and all but one had recently rode at the Los Alamitos meet in Orange County earlier this month.
The club ordered testing for jockeys and personnel after two riders, Flavien Prat and Victor Espinoza, tested positive, according to the DMTC.
"Assuming these individuals continue to show no symptoms, they will be isolated for a total of 10 days and should be able to resume their usual activities, including riding after that time,” Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of epidemiology and immunizations services of the County of San Diego, said.
“Racing will return on July 24,” Joe Harper, Del Mar’s CEO, said. “Canceling this weekend’s races will give us additional time to monitor the situation and give the individuals who tested positive additional time to recover.”
What happens next: The club will only allow California-based jockeys to ride at the club. Del Mar is also expanding the jockey’s quarters and creating more space for various race functions.
The current summer meet is held without spectators, the first time in its 81-year history. The summer meet began on July 10 and continues through Labor Day and many of the races scheduled for this weekend are postponed one week.
San Diego County currently reports at least 21,446 cases including 448 deaths.
8:39 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
Two Texas counties are sharing a refrigerated trailer to store bodies because morgues are full
From CNN's Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy
With skyrocketing coronavirus hospitalizations in several states, hard-hit counties in Arizona and Texas are preparing for the worst by bringing in refrigerated trucks as morgues fill up.
In Arizona's Maricopa County, which has the most Covid-19 cases in the state, the medical examiner's office has ordered four portable coolers with additional ones expected in the coming days, said Fields Moseley, the county spokesperson.
The medical examiner's office morgue had a total of 156 deceased people — with a surge capacity of just over 200, Moseley said Wednesday.
"Because we hit that surge capacity, multiple phone calls were made to funeral homes all over the county to try to assess their ability to make sure they were taking bodies in a timely fashion," Moseley said.
"I'm pleading with everybody in our neck of the woods, help us do your part, people's lives are at stake — not just the people getting sick, but doctors, nurses working to the bone, EMS personnel, transporting people," Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. told CNN affiliate KVEO.
If you're just reading in, here's what you need to know to start the day:
US hotspots preparing for the worst: Hard-hit counties in Arizona and Texas are bringing in refrigerated trucks as morgues fill up. In South Texas, hospitals in Laredo are full andthe federal government is converting a hotel into a health care facility. There are hospital bed shortages in Arizona, California and Florida, too.
Masks on while shopping: Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, will start requiring customers to wear masks next week. Costco, Best Buy and Starbucks previously announced customer mask mandates.
Trump: The White House said President Trump followed guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during his trip to Atlanta after the city's mayor accused him of breaking the law by not wearing a mask at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Around the world: India has reported its highest one-day jump in cases since the pandemic began. The country now has more than 960,000 cases of Covid-19. Cases are also spiking in Latin America and the Caribbean, where 33 countries have reported a total more than 3.5 million cases.
12:10 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020
France makes wearing masks mandatory for people in indoor public spaces
From CNN's Barbara Wojazer
Wearing masks in indoor public spaces in France will be mandatory from next week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex told the country's Senate on Thursday.
The government was considering implementing the new rule on August 1, but Castex said he had “heard and understood that this deadline seemed too late."
The PM added that wearing masks was an "efficient protective measure” against coronavirus.
The government has joined other European nations in changing its stance on wearing protective masks.
In March, the government said that “wearing a mask [was] not recommended for people without symptoms." But by May, Director for National Health Agency Jérôme Salomon said officials were "adapting our position."
"We are re-evaluating our knowledge," Salomon said at the time.
Encouraging the public to wear masks has since become part of the government's coronavirus strategy. Wearing masks is already mandatory for people using public transport in France.
7:41 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
Hong Kong records over 60 locally transmitted cases
From CNN's Vanesse Chan
Hong Kong's health officials are grappling with new cases of Covid-19 after a surge in local transmissions.
The city had been praised for its quick and effective response to the pandemic during its first wave of cases.
Sixty-seven new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the city on Thursday, 63 of which were locally transmitted and four were imported, health officials said Thursday.
Thirty-five of the cases came from unknown sources.
Two deaths were reported Wednesday, bringing the death toll for the city to 10 and total case numbers to 1,655.
“In the past two weeks, from July 2 to July 15, there were 355 confirmed cases, around 65% [of which] are locally transmitted," said Dr. Chui Tak-yi , Undersecretary for Food and Health. "There are also several cluster outbreaks involving different districts. To cope with the latest epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the government has already tightened the epidemic measures and social-distancing measures, in order to minimize the virus transmission risk in the community,” he added.
Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, from the Center for Health Protection, said staff and customers at restaurants were among the confirmed cases, a pattern that officials believed was “compatible” with the nature of the virus.
“When you remove the mask, you can talk and eat and you can spread [the virus],” Dr Chuang said, adding that similar patterns had also been observed with taxi drivers and other customer-facing workers.
Although Hong Kong recorded the highest number of confirmed cases Thursday since the start of its so-called "third wave," Chuang warned the city has not yet seen the peak.
“I cannot say that this is a peak, because usually you can only say this is a peak afterwards. So there's still a chance that more cases are coming,” she said.
7:31 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
England cricketer Jofra Archer dropped from Test match after breaching bio-secure protocols
From CNN's Aleks Klosok
England cricketer Jofra Archer has been “excluded” from playing in the second Test Match against the West Indies following a breach of his team's bio-secure protocols, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday.
The fast bowler had been named in the 13-man squad on Wednesday, for the match that begins in Manchester on Thursday.
The England team's three-match Test series against West Indies is being played behind closed doors in a so-called bio-secure “bubble,” meaning players are restricted to living in the hotels of the two grounds being used – Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester. The cricketers are also subject to regular Covid-19 tests.
The ECB did not specify the nature of Archer's breach.
The cricketer will now have to isolate for five days, during which he will take two Covid-19 tests, both of which must be negative before he can return to the England squad.
The West Indies team said they were “satisfied with the measures that have been imposed.”
“I am extremely sorry for what I have done,” said Archer in a statement. “I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologize to everyone in the bio-secure bubble. “It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry.”
Archer, 25, has taken 33 wickets in eight Test matches for England, which trails the three-Test Match series 1-0.
7:14 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
South Africa records more than 300,000 cases. But the country's death toll remains low
From CNN's David McKenzie
South Africa crossed 300,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases late Wednesday, with the largest number concentrated in and around Johannesburg, the country’s commercial hub, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.
Despite the spike in cases, the death toll across the country remains low, the NICD said.
That high number of cases and low death rate is mirrored in countries across the African continent, Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC) said at a press conference Thursday in Addis Ababa.
Nkengasong said the rise in cases recorded across the continent was driven by the situation in South Africa and a handful of other countries.
“Our pandemic has gathered pace and is increasing rapidly, but the pandemic across Africa is very heterogenous,” he said.
Nkengasong said there had been a 23% increase in new cases across Africa, largely driven by outbreaks in South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria.
He said it was understandable that African countries were reopening their economies but also called for increased testing.
“We cannot remain on lockdown forever. You don’t fight a war by retreating and staying behind closed doors. You have to go out and fight the enemy. It is not a choice of saving lives and saving the economy.” he said. “We need to ramp up testing, we need to trace those who are infected and isolate them and make provisions with appropriate treatment." The official added that community engagement was critical for contact tracing and care. Nkengasong also called on all African countries to ensure universal mask wearing. “We should all wear masks in public places,” he said.