Coronavirus updates: Surgeon General cautions that deaths lag at least two weeks as cases rise in 40 states; 31 MLB players test positive
The U.S. Surgeon General on Friday encouraged Americans to social distance and wear face masks over the Fourth of July weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The U.S. on Thursday saw another day of record cases that surpassed 50,000. Dr. Jerome Adams said while the death rate has remained flat amid the surge in infections, “deaths lag at least two weeks and can lag even more.”
“In the beginning, nursing homes were hit really hard, and the majority of our deaths were occurring on people who were 60, 65 and older,” he said Friday on “Fox & Friends”. “Now the majority of cases are in people who have an average age of 35, and so those folks are going to have less comorbidities, they’re going to be less likely to end up in the hospital and to die.”
He urged young people to protect their grandparents by social distancing and wearing face masks.
Here are some recent developments:
Many in New Jersey are flocking to the Jersey Shore. Boardwalks, outdoor dining, fireworks displays, water parks, amusement rides and casinos will also be open at some capacity this weekend.
That won’t be the case across some areas of Southern California, where Los Angeles and Ventura counties have closed beaches, and in Florida, where several counties including Broward and Palm Beach have done the same.
Starting noon Friday, face masks will be required in public in Texas counties with at least 20 confirmed coronavirus cases.
📈Today’s stats: The U.S. recorded 52,291 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, surpassing Wednesday’s record of 50,655, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen more than 2.7 million cases and more than 129,000 deaths. Globally, there have been more than 10.9 million cases and over 523,000 deaths.
As MLB spring training resumes, 31 players test positive for COVID-19
Major League Baseball, resuming spring training Friday, announced that 31 players and seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19 as part of intake screening. The 38 positives were 1.2% of the 3,185 total samples collected and tested, according to the league.
Teams are not permitted to identify the players who tested positive for COVID-19, but two players, Delino DeShields Jr. of the Cleveland Indians and Brett Martin of the Texas Rangers each revealed their positive tests. Any player who tests positive for COVID-19 must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart from one another, with no fever for 72 hours, before he can rejoin a team.
Insurers are scaling back telehealth to pre-COVID levels, which were limited, resuming out-of-pocket payments and using time-consuming prior authorizations that can deter doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas initially planned to end telehealth expansion May 31 but has moved the date three times. It’s now Aug. 31.
Most other insurers plan to reduce coverage of the visits in September even though Medicare and Medicaid is expected to cover them far more generously through the end of the year. Some of the expanded telehealth coverage was planned until the end of the “public health emergency,” which is ill-defined with no end in sight, said Dr. James Weber, CEO of Texas Digestive Disease Consultants.
New study claims hydroxychloroquine may boost survivors; other researchers doubtful
A team at Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan said Thursday its study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that patients who took the drug were much less likely to die. A report on the findings was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The drug got widespread attention after Trump said he had taken it. But after the FDA action, trials sponsored by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health were halted.
Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group, acknowledged to reporters that the group’s results differed from other studies but said it “potentially could be a lifesaver for patients” if used before they begin to suffer some of the severe immune reactions associated with COVID-19.
Researchers not involved with the study noted that the team did not randomly treat patients but selected them for various treatments based on certain criteria, according to CNN.
Over 100 students in fraternity houses test positive in Washington, group says
At least 105 students at the University of Washington who live in fraternity houses have self-reported testing positive for COVID-19, according to the university’s Interfraternity Council, the student-led governing board for UW fraternities.
The Florida Department of Health also reported 67 new deaths, raising the total of COVID-19-related fatalities in the state to 3,684.
The latest figures boost the total number of Florida cases to 178,594. It is the 10th consecutive day that at least 5,000 new cases have been counted, according to health department data.
The state total has nearly tripled since the Phase 2 reopening began June 5. Bars were closed for the second time during the pandemic June 26.
Cases are rising in 40 states over last 2 weeks
Four U.S. states — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — reported a combined 25,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday as the infection curve rose in 40 of the 50 states heading into the July Fourth holiday weekend.
With the number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide climbing past 50,000, an alarming 36 states saw an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus.
“What we’ve seen is a very disturbing week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said in a livestream with the American Medical Association.
All but 10 states are showing an upswing in newly reported cases over the past 14 days, according to data compiled by the volunteer COVID Tracking Project. The outbreaks are most severe in Arizona, Texas and Florida, which together with California have reclosed or otherwise clamped back down on bars, restaurants and movie theaters over the past week or so.
Nebraska and South Dakota were the only states outside the Northeast with a downward trend in cases.
– Associated Press
Texas GOP to go ahead with state convention in virus hotspot Houston
Over opposition from doctors and some local party activists, the Texas GOP is moving ahead with a three-day convention starting July 16 in Houston, one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots,
Party leaders voted Thursday night to stick with an in-person gathering that is typically one of the largest political conventions in America, drawing thousands of attendees. Some supporters suggested that changing plans is not what President Donald Trump would want.
The vote came hours after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask order as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas set another high Thursday. Hospitals in Houston have warned they are becoming stretched and the Texas Medical Association has called for cancelling the convention, saying now is not the time to pack thousands of people indoors.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, has left the decisions about the convention up to the GOP.
India nears third worst-hit country after another record high of daily cases
India reported another single-day record high of new coronavirus cases Friday while its monuments, including the Taj Mahal, are set to reopen for tourists next week.
The 20,903 new cases took the national total to 625,544. The Health Ministry also reported another 379 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing fatalities to 18,213.
With the current rate of infections, India is expected to surpass Russia’s 666,000 cases in the coming days and become the third worst-hit country after the United States and Brazil. It has the eighth-most fatalities in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
After a strict two-month lockdown, India has eased restrictions across most of the country — except for the highest-risk areas. The Culture Ministry decided to reopen all monuments Monday with a cap on the number of visitors and mandatory masks.
Dallas plans to distribute $500K to immigrant families affected by COVID-19
As coronavirus cases spike in Texas, the city of Dallas will distribute $500,000 in funding to nonprofit organizations that support immigrant families. The city’s Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs teamed with the Open Society Foundations to establish a fund.
Officials will work with local non-profits who help immigrant communities to distribute the funds. Families who are ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief programs will be prioritized.
“Immigrants have played a key role in driving Dallas’ economic growth. And they haven’t stopped working throughout the COVID crisis,” Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard said in a news release. “They are this city’s essential workers.”
The non-profits will also collect non-identifying information to “inform future emergency response for Dallas’ immigrant residents,” according to the release. City officials say they hope this program attracts additional funding from private individuals and foundations.
New York county issued subpoenas to partygoers for coronavirus contact tracing
Health officials in one New York County issued subpoenas to eight people after they refused to cooperate in the contact tracing of the coronavirus cluster tied to a party.
It worked: All eight partygoers responded to the subpoenas, avoiding possible fines of $2,000 per day from Rockland County, the first known county in the state to resort to legal action amid this public health emergency.
The party in mid-June was hosted by someone who was sick with coronavirus at the time, Rockland County Executive Ed Day told USA TODAY on Thursday. The host was symptomatic but held the party anyway, which included 50 to 100 young adults, Day said.
– Autumn Schoolman
Oregon trooper on leave after flouting state’s mask mandate at coffee shop
After a video of four troopers not wearing masks was made public Thursday and employees alleged one trooper said the mask mandate violated his “civil liberties,” OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton called the troopers’ behavior “embarrassing and indefensible.”
Officials said Thursday the trooper who refused to wear a mask has been placed on leave and the incident is under investigation. None of the troopers have been identified by the OSP.
– Whitney Woodworth, Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal
What we’re reading
More Apple stores now closed as COVID-19 cases rise across US
As of Thursday, 77 stores that had reopened are now temporarily closed again, Apple confirmed to USA TODAY. Other stores throughout the country are only open for pickup of online orders and by appointment for “in-store Genius Support.”
Last week, Apple closed 32 stores in five states but as of Thursday, added 45 more closings in 11 states. The new temporary closures include 15 in California, another 10 in Texas, five of Georgia’s six locations, four of Nevada’s five stores and two more in Florida.
Some of the new closures are open for appointments through either Thursday or Friday, according to individual store pages. Apple has 271 stores in the United States.
– Kelly Tyko
Woman spits on 7-Eleven counter in Texas after being asked to wear mask
A woman was recorded spitting on a 7-Eleven counter on Monday after the cashier refused to ring up her purchase because she was not wearing a mask. The unidentified woman spit on the counter after yelling at the cashier that she has “a right” to not wear a face mask.
“I’m spreading more germs standing here,” she is heard saying. The recording shows the woman at a Fort Worth, Texas, 7-Eleven saying, “We have a right in America not to wear a (expletive) mask.” The cashier can be heard telling the woman, “I’m just telling you to get a mask on.”
CBS Dallas reports an employee said there was a sign on the store door stating that customers must wear a mask. “It’s disheartening to see a 7-Eleven team member be treated with the disrespect shown in this video. 7-Eleven, Inc. complies with all federal, state and local laws, which includes local mandates that require face coverings in public,” 7-Eleven said in a statement to USA TODAY. “We respectfully ask that customers do the same.”
Where are states on reopening? Some are taking preemptive measures to postpone further phases of their reopening, while others have rolled back their phases to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. See the list.